THE FIVE

Note to Washington: Save Money, Buy in Bulk

Not hard to find government waste

 

This is a rush transcript from "The Five," September 20, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

(MUSIC)

GREG GUTFELD, CO-HOST: Are we trying to send some kind of message?

ANDREA TANTAROS, CO-HOST: Bob's theme song.

(LAUGHTER)

GUTFELD: Welcome back to "The Five."

So this week, federal agencies and departments will start buying their office supplies at the same time in order to save $600 million over the next four years. That buys a lot of suspenders and massages, Bob.

(LAUGHTER)

But this move is also forcing departments like Homeland Security and Commerce to take inventory. One bureaucrat confesses -- quote -- "One of the things we discovered is that agencies don't have a clue what they have. They don't realize how many cell phones and Blackberries they have." And one agency, the guy says, discovered it had almost one printer for every employee. Now to put that in everyday terms, that one person for every employee.

So here's my point. If just a simple inventory of paperclips and thumb tacks yields a half billion dollars in savings, what does that tell you about government? That it sucks. But also that they are whining about cutting is pure garbage. You can find $600 million under the Post-it notes, the whole argument over raising the debt ceiling or taxes is meaningless. Fact is, the savings wouldn't have been found if someone didn't have to look for it. But someone had to because the gravy train is over. And once the gravy train stops flowing it's amazing how easy it is to find the turkey.

DANA PERINO, CO-HOST: Gobble-gobble.

GUTFELD: Yes. Dana, this is what families do to save money. They buy in bulk.

DANA PERINO, CO-HOST: What I am shocked about is that the government wasn't doing this already?

GUTFELD: Yes.

PERINO: Like -- because I'm not home very often, I don't go to the Costco to get all the extra stuff because I don't have anywhere to put it -- but my friends who have three kids, they go and they buy in bulk because it saves them money. We are having this conversation in 2011 --

TANTAROS: Well, better 200 years later than not at all.

BOB BECKEL, CO-HOST: I went to Coscovo (sic) once. Is it Cosco --

GUTFELD: Kosovo. You went to Kosovo.

BECKEL: They don't give out paper bags. And I had a party and I bought all these beans and stuff. I had to carry them out and I dropped them in the parking lot and they rolled under the cars and they threw me out.

PERINO: That's an outrage.

BECKEK: I think it is an outrage. Now, if you sell it in bulk, why don't you put a damn bag there to put it in? I don't get t. But Dana's right -- this has been going on a long time, right?

GUTFELD: Yes.

BECKEL: A long time. Now all of a sudden, they are discovering this? I think, this will make you happy, there probably is a sense among bureaucrats and governments saying, whoa. And, by the way, thumb tacks? Nobody uses thumb tacks. Well, I know a couple of people, but not for thumb tack reasons.

PERINO: What?

ERIC BOLLING, CO-HOST: Six hundred million bucks? Holy cow.

GUTFELD: Yes, from just pooling office supplies. It's amazing. And no one would have done that unless they had to do it. And that's the point. Somebody has to tell them.

PERINO: I have found in the private sector, they buy the cheapest stuff -- like the cheapest office supplies. Not Fox News -- let me be clear.

BECKEL: Yes they do.

PERINO: But I worked in a PR firm, you got the cheapest pens. I'm like, I just want my own pen. And so I went and bought them myself.

TANTAROS: Doesn't that make you feel better about the government handling Obamacare and all these other things? Does anyone really believe they are going to bring down costs?

BECKEL: Going back to what you said, this has been going on for a long time in government. It's not an Obama-related thing, Eric. It didn't all --

PERINO: Didn't we fix this under Clinton? Didn't he have the Improving Government Act?

BOLLING: I don't know, Bob. But when government gets bigger at the rate it's getting bigger -- under Obama, the first three years here versus last three years of Bush -- the size of government has grown 27 percent.

BECKEL: Do you know how many thumb tacks you need to be a socialist? You need a lot of them because we have to put a lot of our things on the wall.

(CROSSTALK)

GUTFELD: It used to be one person, one vote. Now it's one person, one printer. Isn't that beautiful?

TANTAROS: Look, it's not the thumb tacks' problem, it's the bureaucrats' problem. I pulled up a funny list of the 10 most wasteful government agencies. There was one audit revealed that between 1997 and 2003, 270,000 airline tickets resulting in $100 million that were refundable, but they never refunded. Another one: credit cards used by these bureaucrats that are buying the thumb tacks, on entertainment, gambling, cruises, exotic dance clubs and prostitutes at about $73,000 each.

GUTFELD: That was all Bob's bill.

BECKEL: Look, everybody needs to have a little fun once in a while. But look, let's not indict every bureaucrat, please. There are a lot of very good people who work for government and they are decent, dedicated people. We can always find the exception and certainly Eric will always find the exception. But most of these people are good, hard-working people that do a good job and go to work every day. And frankly I think we beat up on them all the time because it's easy to do it.

PERINO: And they have their own printer.

TANTAROS: And I am jealous.

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