If the Obama administration follows through on its newly announced effort to identify and weed out unproductive federal programs, it could build public confidence and support for more sweeping fiscal reforms in the future.
The White House has asked federal agencies to submit lists of the programs that are “least critical” to their missions and total at least 5 percent of their budgets. Administration officials say they may not just cut back on these programs but eliminate them.
This is one of several recent attempts by the administration to respond to rising public concern about high deficits. Even if these newly announced efficiency efforts succeed, the savings would amount to only a fraction of the money the government will need to address massive projected deficits. But as Steve Winn, Concord’s communications director, notes in a blog posting, these efforts would at least be moving in the right direction. So the administration needs to follow through on them as well as prepare for the heavier lifting to come.External links:White House Blog: Saving Taxpayer Dollars by Streamlining and Modernizing GovernmentWhite House Memorandum for the Heads of Departments and AgenciesOrszag: Eliminating Waste by Getting Rid of Unneeded Federal Real EstateGallup: Federal Debt, Terrorism Considered Top Threats to U.S.