Tracking Your Taxes: Programs Proven to be Wasteful, but Still There

Published September 15, 2009

| FoxNews.com

The Congressional Budget Office and the White House Office of Management and Budget say billions are being wasted on projects that are not needed or duplicative -- and experts say one reason the federal budget is out of control is that Congress and the president rarely agree on what to cut.

But there are several programs that both have agreed need trimming.

FOX News compared two lengthy reports from the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and Congressional Budget Office (CBO) on recommended cuts. 

Here is what the experts on both sides of Pennsylvania Ave. agree wastes your money:

Rural Boost
The Denali Commission was created 10 years ago to bring infrastructure and improve health facilities to rural Alaska, with similar programs in Appalachia and the Mississippi Delta. The government spends $17 million annually through grants, loans and tax incentives.

The OMB says the program is "duplicative" and points out 29 other programs in the "federal government that accomplish" the same goals. It even raises the question if "these initiatives are providing positive results."

The CBO has also recommended that that cuts be made to all three areas that benefit from funding -- a saving of $100 million worth of taxpayer money.

Power of the Future
The "Nuclear Power 2010 Program" is a seven-year-old joint government-industry program to develop nuclear power that would feature advanced nuclear plant technologies. As taxpayers we've already paid $500 million. Now the CBO says we can save $600 million because "it is inappropriate to provide public subsidies for projects whose risks would otherwise be prohibitive to private enterprise"

Like Wine For Chocolate
The Market Access Program uses federal money to help U.S. food producers, exporters, and private companies finance promotional activities overseas. Today it is a bloated $200 million corporate welfare program where taxpayers subsidize the biggest names American business.

Both the CBO and OMB recommend $40 million be cut because "taxpayers' money should not advertise brand-name products like Gallo Wines, Dole Fruit and M&M's."

Say No to Drugs
The aim of The Safe and Drug Free Schools is to support programs that prevent violence in and around schools, prevent the illegal use of alcohol, tobacco and drugs, while promoting academic achievement. It doles out $300 million a year to stop violence and drug use in low income schools. The White House calls the program"profoundly flawed" and the CBO says there is no evidence it reduces violence or drug use.

Future Warriors
Future Combat Systems is the largest development effort in Army history to create a fast and flexible battlefield network and aided by high tech vehicles. But the White House wants to cancel almost half of it. It says the vehicles being developed are less reliable and more vulnerable than the Howitzers, troop carriers and fighting vehicles currently used by the Army. After $159 billion invested, both agencies say it's time to cut bait on the vehicle portion of FCS.

Even Start
The Even Start program gives 20,000 low income families $3,000 a year to improve their education. Grants support local family literacy projects that integrate early childhood education, adult literacy, parenting education, and interactive parent and child literacy activities for those eligible.  But national evaluations say the $66 million a year program is ineffective. Half the families using it quit after 10 months and the others failed to perform as expected, according to the OMB.


Now the question is what will Congress do in the next two weeks? Will they cut programs their own auditors say don't work -- or will they continue to throw good money after bad on policies experts say simply don't work?

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