President Obama asked federal workers to suggest ways for the federal government to save money, and American citizens responded – with 86,000 suggestions.
But his administration picked only 67 of those ideas, most of which are either minute or simply take credit for savings that have already been implemented, according to Washington Post reporter David A. Fahrenthold.
The Obama administration created the online comment box in 2009. Sixteen ideas have been given a presidential SAVE award, and 51 ideas have been included in past Obama budget proposals.
Not one savings idea has been included this year, because Obama’s 2013 budget is still late.
The Post found that 20 – nearly a third – of the 67 ideas were actually old savings plans that were already being acted upon by the government.
For instance, Obama claimed the SAVE award program reduced drug costs at the National Institutes of Health. “But that actually started in 2008, under President George W. Bush,” writes Fahrenthold. “The White House also cited the SAVE program for an effort to digitize the X-rays of federal prisoners. That began in 2004, during Bush’s first term.”
In all, these are the results of Obama’s budget crowd source:
- 86,000 ideas submitted since 2009.
- 67 ideas chosen by the Obama administration.
- 20 of these ideas had already been implemented in some form before 2009.
- 15 ideas have not been implemented or had no details available.
- Four ideas have been implemented but were watered down to generate less savings.
- 28 actual savings ideas have implemented since 2009.
Looking for ways to save tax dollars is always worthwhile. Heritage has highlighted ways that the Department of Education, Transportation Security Administration, and Environmental Protection Agency can save taxpayers’ money. Heritage also outlined, in detail, $150 billion in cuts Congress should enact.
But in the end, the President should reform the main drivers of spending: entitlements. Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security together drain 44 percent of the budget each year, and that share will grow. There are six bipartisan proposals that would achieve substantial savings through entitlement reform – if they were championed with presidential leadership.