Federal Government Cannot Identify How Many Government Welfare Programs Exist, Much Less Whether They Are Working
September 9, 2011
On June 1, 2011, the Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs, Stimulus Oversight and Government Spending of the House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a hearing on the issue of “Duplication, Overlap, and Inefficiencies in Federal Welfare Programs.” Patricia A. Dalton, the Chief Operating Officer of the General Accountability Office (GAO) testified. In response to questions from House Subcommittee Chairman Jim Jordan asking what the overall number of federal welfare programs is and their success rates, Ms. Dalton stated that the GAO could not identify all existing welfare programs in the various federal departments and agencies or determine how much they cost. She said further that she and the GAO could not give a specific number of welfare programs or even “hazard a guess” as to what percentage of those programs are actually accomplishing the purposes for which they were created. She agreed that it “would be good to have a number of how many programs there are, what exactly are we spending, and what are we getting for that money” but that the GAO did not know and was unable to ascertain answers to those questions.
This exchange between Ms. Dalton and Chairman Jordan is contained in this 3 and half minute video.