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Tag: Department of Agriculture

March
1st

The federal empire: Who made this mess, anyway?

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

If there’s one agency of the federal government that distinguishes itself in the stewardship of tax money, it’s the Government Accountability Office.

At the direction of Congress – good move, lawmakers – the nonpartisan GAO has just delivered its first annual report on duplication and other inefficiencies in the far-flung federal empire. Much of the information has long been public, but now for the first time we have a single, 340-page that tells the story in all its baroque detail.

It would take this entire page to summarize the overlaps and fragmentation the GAO found in the nation’s mushroom farm of federal programs. A few examples:

• Congress doubled down last year on its politically driven efforts to prop up the dubious ethanol industry by giving it $5.4 billion-a-year worth of tax credits. The GAO said the federal fuel standard already guarantees a market for farm-state ethanol producers; the annual cost of this needless giveaway is projected to rise to $6.75 billion a year in 2015.
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