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CBS MarketWatch’s Brett Arends recently featured a number of “brain-busters,” in a Question & Answer format, related to findings that the U.S. Government Accountability Office has made regarding waste, duplication, and inefficiencies in the federal government’s operations. We reviewed each of the items and selected those that fit into a special category, which we’ll explain below the excerpted Q&A material.
Question. How many facilities does the Pentagon own and operate worldwide?
Answer: 562,000, spread across 4,800 sites.
Q: For what percentage of those facilities does the Pentagon have utilization data?
Just 53% — which means there about 264,000 military facilities around the world where the Pentagon doesn’t know for sure what they’re used for — if they are used at all.
Q: What percentage of federal procurement is managed through strategic sourcing in order to make sure we get the best value per dollar?
About 5%, or $26 billion — compared to about 90% for private sector businesses.
Q: How much money does the government spend each year on maintenance and operations of old, “legacy” computer systems without conducting proper reviews to see whether they’ll still worth it?
Q: How much money is still sitting idle in the bank account of an old and defunct uranium-management agency, the U.S. Enrichment Corp.?
Q: How much could the government pocket by selling off the excess amounts of oil in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve?
Q: How much does Medicare overpay to 11 specialist cancer hospitals due to poor billing systems?
$500 million a year
Q: Of the 440 cost and efficiency changes recommended by the GAO in previous years, how many remain partially or completely undone?
269, or around 60%
While there are a number of other items on the full list that relate to what would amount to be tax evasion on the part of U.S. individuals and businesses, the items we’ve listed above are the ones that U.S. federal bureaucrats are fully capable of addressing all by themselves, not requiring the actions of anyone else, if only they would.
Alas, making the federal government less wasteful, and getting it to work better for the people it is intended to serve, would not appear to be among Uncle Sam’s top priorities.