On Wednesday, the Small Business Committee held a hearing to examine duplication and inefficiencies found among 52 federal entrepreneurial programs identified by the GAO. Specifically, we highlighted the fragmentation, overlap and duplication in entrepreneurial assistance programs across the federal government, specifically between the Small Business Administration and the United States Department of Agriculture. Entrepreneurial assistance programs can be helpful to small businesses; however, a more streamlined and efficient government would help small firms more. It’s time to get beyond the nice names of programs or their stated purpose and dig down into what these programs are actually doing and if they are really helping anyone or helping enough people to justify the cost.
The president made a joke about duplicative government in his 2011 State of the Union address. “The Interior Department is in charge of salmon while they’re in freshwater, but the Commerce Department handles them when they’re in saltwater,” Obama said. “And I hear it gets even more complicated once they’re smoked.” Billions of dollars being spent on multiple government programs that do the same thing is no laughing matter.
Washington must start asking the question: Is this program important enough to continue borrowing $16.7 trillion from China and other nations and loading that debt on future generations? To restore confidence in our economy, we must confront our $16.7 trillion debt and reverse the pattern of deficit spending. Every federal agency in Washington must take part in this responsibility and find savings.
Rep. Sam Graves, R-Mo., is chairman of the House Small Business Committee.