Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget

Another Savings Idea, Brought to You by the White House

The Obama Administration has been putting out a flurry (see here and here) of modest savings proposals over the past few weeks. The latest comes in a memorandum from President Obama that would order more efficient use of federal real estate. In a blog post on OMB's website, OMB director Peter Orszag explained that of the 1.2 million "buildings, structures, and land parcels" that the government owns, about 14,000 of them are designated as "excess" and 55,000 are either under-utilized or not utilized.

In order to better make use of this space, the agencies would either sell buildings they didn't need or make better use of the existing space. The process for determining what excess buildings or assets the government has would be streamlined to accelerate the savings. Orszag estimates that the efforts will save $8 billion, with $5 billion of that coming from the BRAC commission, and $3 billion coming from the agencies (the memorandum states that the agencies should save "no less than $3 billion.")

It's great that the White House is making a continued effort to attack wasteful and inefficient spending. The savings from all these proposals might be small, but they still help in making sure we get as much as we can from each tax dollar. However, we seriously hope that the White House will attack the drivers of our future debt with as much vigor as they are doing with wasteful spending.