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Obama: Government should waste not

First-term Senator Barack Obama (D-Il.) has been on the cover of Time Magazine in a story that called him the "fresh face". Well, this weekend he was on NBC's Meet the Press and made some comments about the business of government. Of course, Obama was the co-sponsor of the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act, directs the Office of Management and Budget to create a searchable online database of federal spending.

On Sunday, MTP moderator Tim Russert asked him an interesting question:

MR. RUSSERT: You write in your book this: "I also think my party can be smug, detached, and dogmatic at times. I believe in the free market, competition, and entrepreneurship, and think no small number of government programs don't work as advertised." Which programs?

SEN. OBAMA: Well, you know, I think that if you look at how our health care system is structured right now—I'm, I'm a big supporter of Medicaid and Medicare, but I think that there's no doubt that we could squeeze more efficiencies out of those, those systems there. Simple example, we don't, we don't use electronic billing for Medicare and Medicaid providers. Now, the—there's no other business on earth that still has people filling out paper forms to get reimbursed, especially for a system that large. We could drastically reduce the costs of those systems.

So the—overall, when you look at the federal budget, one of the problems that I've discovered, you know, during the time that I've been in Washington, is we don't seem to have any mechanism where we look at the entire budget, and we make priorities. It is a piecemeal, haphazard process. And part of what I'd like to see is some more discipline and structure to how our budget process proceeds, part of the reason why I worked, for example, with Republican Tom Coburn. Recently a bill was signed by the president that we had passed, that would call for all federal spending to be on a searchable Internet database. That's part of the reason why one of the provisions that I included in a recent appropriations bill called for the end to no big contracts when it came to Katrina reconstruction.

There, there are a number of steps where we could obtain significant savings, and that money could be applied to programs that do work. And one of the things that I've always said is, is that if you're progressive, you have at least as much of a stake, if not more, in efficient government as fiscal conservatives, because money wasted on things that we don't need is money that we could have put into programs that do help the American people.


Obama is the buzz of political DC, seen as the candidate who can run against Hillary, so at least he is speaking out on government operation issues.

Posted by Christopher Dorobek on Oct 23, 2006 at 12:15 PM


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