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Press Release - Open Letter from Newt to CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf

September 16, 2011

Dear Director Elmendorf,

If the news reports about your testimony to the super committee are accurate, you owe the American people a clear and detailed explanation of your reasoning.

As someone who led an effort which reformed government and led to four consecutive balanced budgets - paying off over $400 billion in federal debt - I was astounded by the news reports of your testimony.

According to the reports you suggested that efforts to eliminate waste and fraud would produce "a negligible impact."

For those of us who believe in modernizing government this was an alarming statement.

If your statement represents the official attitude of the Congressional Budget Office then everyone involved should be fired and a new CBO team should be assembled.

Your statement is the management equivalent of ruling out air travel in calculating how long it takes to go from New York to California.

There are three expert estimates of potential waste and fraud savings in the federal government that propose "$100 billion a year", "$70 to $120 billion a year" and "$500 billion a year" as reasonable estimates of potential waste and fraud savings in the federal government.

$100 billion a year in saved costs is the estimate of the IBM Center for the Business of Government, which can be done by adopting commercial business practices in government operations.

$70 billion to $120 billion a year is the Medicaid and Medicare fraud estimate in "Stop Paying the Crooks," published by the Center for Health Transformation. If Social Security Supplemental Income fraud and food stamp fraud were included the number would almost certainly exceed $150 billion a year.

$500 billion a year is the estimate of Strong America Now, a nonprofit founded by Michael George, one of the leaders in creating the Lean 6 Sigma management system used by many of our most effective and efficient companies.

How can you dismiss this widespread, independent analysis that suggests between $625 billion and $2.5 trillion in savings over five years is possible through profound management reforms?

In every one of these areas there are private sector examples of real life success.

What is the CBO explanation for rejecting the real world in favor of defending existing Washington inefficiency, incompetence, waste, and fraud?

We look forward to an explanation.

Sincerely,

Newt Gingrich

Newt Gingrich, Press Release - Open Letter from Newt to CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/298328

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