‘Fiddlin’ Foresters,’ Other Examples of ‘Ridiculous’ Spending to Get Axe from White House Waste Cutters

3 mins read
Image: Sophia Winters

Just as families across the country are cutting back, the U.S. government must do so as well — and increasingly, administration cost cutters are looking to the low-hanging fruit.

The White House announced today the launch of the Campaign to Cut Waste, which aims to cut back on “misspent tax dollars” in all federal agencies and departments.

The targets are often ridiculous examples of government waste: unnecessary government websites, including one for banjo-wielding forest rangers, and untold acres of unused federal property.

“Targeting waste and making government more efficient have been a priority for my administration since day one,” President Barack Obama said, in a short video posted to the White House blog, announcing the program’s launch. “But as we work to tackle the budget deficit, we need to step up our game. No amount of waste is acceptable — not when it’s your money; not at a time when so many families are already cutting back.”

As evidence of the administration’s efforts so far, Obama cited the fact that the government had put an end to the automatic snail-mail delivery of the Federal Register to federal locations across the U.S., an idea proposed through the SAVE Awards, a competition designed to gather ideas from federal employees on how to cut unnecessary spending.

The president said deficit-reduction measures often involve cutting programs that are actually useful. “But what should be easy is getting rid of the pointless waste and stupid spending that doesn’t benefit anybody, waste that we should be getting rid of — even if we didn’t have a deficit,” he said.

The government has “already pulled the plug” on a number of “ridiculous” programs, such as a website for banjo-playing forest rangers.

“I’ll put their music on my iPod, but I’m not paying for their website,” Obama said.

So far, efforts to identify and target government waste have netted about $33 billion in potential savings this year, Obama said.

Vice President Joe Biden is scheduled to speak from the White House this morning on the new initiative.

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