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Opportunities to Reduce Potential Duplication in Government Programs, Save Tax Dollars, and Enhance Revenue

GAO-11-441T Published: Mar 03, 2011. Publicly Released: Mar 03, 2011.
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This testimony discusses our first annual report to Congress responding to a new statutory requirement that GAO identify federal programs, agencies, offices, and initiatives--either within departments or governmentwide--that have duplicative goals or activities. This work will inform government policymakers as they address the rapidly building fiscal pressures facing our national government. Our annual simulations of the federal government's fiscal outlook show continually increasing levels of debt that are unsustainable over time, absent changes in the federal government's current fiscal policies. Since the end of the recent recession, the gross domestic product has grown slowly and unemployment has remained at a high leveWhile the economy is still recovering and in need of careful attenwidespread agreement exists on the need to look not only at the near term but also at steps that begin to change the long-term fiscal path as soon as possible without slowing the recovery. With the passage of time, the window to address the fiscal challenge narrows and the magnitude of the required changes grows. This testimony is based on our March 1, 2011, report and addresses two key issues: (1) federal programs or functional areas where unnecessary duplication, overlap, or fragmentation exists, the actions needed to address such conditions, and the potential financial and other benefits of doing so; and (2) other opportunities for potential cost savings or enhanced revenues. The issues raised in the report were drawn from our prior and ongoing work.

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