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Fiscal reform needs accountability, less agency overlap

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Government fiscal reform needs to come in the form of accountability, prioritizing by need and training if long term success is to be seen, witnesses told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

In a hearing Tuesday, witnesses outlined various waste and changes that could be made while offering different thoughts on sequestration-level cuts of roughly 10 to 15 percent.

"Almost any organization can cut 10 to 15 percent," without seeing much harm,said Thomas Schatz, president of Citizens Against Government Waste. The real danger, he said, is that "there are no consequences for wasting money. No one goes to jail, so there needs to be at least an incentive for performing your job at a certain level, and a disincentive for performing the job incorrectly."

He also said responsiblity for federal excess often lies with Congress, which "tends to create a program to solve a problem." As a result, duplicate efforts are tackle the same problem, such as the 56 separate financial literacy programs across 20 agencies. These should be streamlined and evaluated, he said, and "the key is to get rid of programs that don't work."

Dan Blair, president of the National Academy of Public Administration, warned that a certain amount of overlap and fragmentation is unavoidable. Before going after this overlap agencies, should be trained on how to identify waste versus need, he said.

Without "proper training and skill sets for the right people, you're throwing good money after bad. Under sequestration, training is one of the first budget lines that would go," Blair said.

Ryan Alexander, president of Taxpayers for Common Sense, called for a series of Defense Department cuts in areas without immediate security needs. "Within Defense, we can look at service contracting reductions without affecting core functioning," suggesting 15 percent reductions in both DoD and of non-DoD service contracts.

For more:
- go to the hearing's webpage for video and testimony

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