OMB Keeps Chipping Away

We reported last week many times on efforts by the Obama Administration to save small chunks of change (see here, here, and here.) But they're not finished yet! A few more small savings ideas have been reported on OMB's website this week.

The first idea is to make all payments from the US government to individuals electronically. OMB director Peter Orszag says that this reform has the double benefit of both saving taxpayer money (about $1 billion over ten years) and making benefits more convenient and less susceptible to being lost or stolen.

The second idea, which is actually already being implemented, would save money on Air Force cell phone plans by optimizing the plans they choose for actual cell phone usage. The idea actually came from a participant in the SAVE awards, which had federal employees submit ideas to save the government money. The savings, though, are miniscule even for the ideas that have been proposed so far ($2 million per year), but Orszag did say that they would look to further optimize the cell phone plans in order to achieve more savings. 

Regardless of how much (or little) these ideas save, there is no downside to making the government run better at a lower cost. The White House should keep coming up with these ideas, but they should not lose focus of the bigger picture: our long term budget problems.