Candidate Barack Obama promised that if elected president he would “go through our federal budget—page by page, line by line—eliminating those programs we don’t need, and insisting that those we do need operate in a sensible cost-effective way.”
Since the 2009 inauguration, there has been some progress in this important direction. The Obama administration proposed $20 billion in program terminations, reductions, or consolidations in its first two budgets, and Congress has enacted about 60 percent of those savings. This year’s budget includes an additional $33 billion of savings.
Of course, we need to do more. The United States is on an unsustainable fiscal course in the long-term that will require a redoubling of budget discipline. But we can’t sacrifice investments that are creating jobs and helping the economy recover and grow. Bottom line: It’s never been more important to spend every public dollar wisely.
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This was originally published in The Public Manager.