Cutting government waste starts with 'little stuff'

Wednesday - 11/23/2011, 6:53pm EST

John Kamensky, senior fellow and associate partner, IBM Center for the Business of Government

Download mp3

By Jolie Lee
Web Editor
Federal News Radio

In June, President Obama issued an executive order to cut waste in government and make agencies run more efficiently.

"I think a lot of people thought it was just another press announcement, but there's a lot of substance behind it," said John Kamensky, senior fellow and associate partner at the IBM Center for the Business of Government, in an interview with In Depth with Francis Rose.

In a story in AOL Gov, Kamensky compiles the various directives and orders that target government waste.

"When you pull them together, it's a fairly formidable list that really sends a message that the President is serious about doing something," Kamensky said. "While the Congress and budget commission might be on stalemate on the big stuff, Obama really has a campaign underway for the little stuff."

Among the "little stuff" is an order from this month cutting agencies' travel, cell phone use and "swag" — souvenirs agencies buy to promote themselves. Other initiatives, like the SAVE Award, encourage federal employees to come up with innovative, cost-saving ideas.

Such small savings can help agencies bear the budget cuts to come. The Office of Management and Budget has mandated agencies submit fiscal 2013 budget requests that cut at least 5 percent in discretionary spending compared with this year, plus another version that cuts at least 10 percent.

"In this world, a flat budget is the new up," Kamensky said.

RELATED STORIES

Obama signs order to cut travel, cellphones, swag