Closing Unnneeded and Obsolete Independent Government Agencies


Closing Unnneeded and Obsolete Independent Government Agencies

January 25, 1995 26 min read Download Report
Ronald D.
Policy Analyst

(Archived document, may contain errors)

1015 January 25,1995 CLOSING UNNEEDED AND OBSOLETE INDEPENDENT GOVERNMENT AGENCIES INTRODUCTION The new C ongress is promising to take a fresh look at all federal spending to meet its ambitious deficit reduction target. As part of this task, lawmakers can find a wealth of opportunity in abolishing or consolidating the scores of independent federal agencies th at spend billions of taxpayer dollars on inessential, replicative, regional, or trivial activities.

The new congressional leadership seems willing to undertake a radical overhaul of government. Several members of Congress already have announced their intentions to close or consolidate many government agencies and offices. The new Chairman of the.

Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, Senator William Roth (R-DE is considering reducing the number of government agencies by up to half in an effort to combat e xcess overhead and waste. Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM estimates that Congress can terminate at least 100 of the roughly 3,600 federal programs and at least one major department.

The approximately 130 independent federal agencies offer budget cutters many targets of opportunity. Established over the past hundred years, these independent agencies-in cluding such institutions as the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Office of Nu clear Waste Negot iator, and the Christopher Columbus Quincentenary Jubilee Commis sion-were created and funded to pursue objectives that appeared important at the time.

But times change, and a careful review of these programs indicates that many of the serv ices they provi de are 0 Provided by another government department or agency 8 Amenable to management efficiencies through consolidation No longer justified in an era of competing needs and limited resources.

Of regional rather than national interest.

A review of the 13 0 independent agencies indicates that at least 40 meet one or more of these criteria and should be considered for termination, consolidation, or transfer to an other agency or department. The potential budgetary savings of this recommendation would be as h igh as $2 billion per year if all programs were terminated. Savings would be slightly less if recommended programs instead were consolidated and thus experi enced significant savings in overhead from the elimination of duplicative functions. A brief discu ssion of each of the 40 independent agencies proposed for termination is pro vided in the next section of this analysis, and the five-year CBO baseline budget projec tion is provided for each in the appendix.

Programs Replicated Elsewhere. Illustrating the wasteful replication of public serv ices are the several different agencies tasked with nuclear safety. These include the Nu clear Regulatory Commission, the largest and oldest of the group, the newer and mu c h smaller Defense Nuclear Facilities Board, the Office of Nuclear Waste Negotiator, the Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board, and the Presidential Commission on Cata strophic Nuclear Disasters. In addition to these overlapping independent agencies, simi l a r functions are performed within the Department of Energy by the Office of Nuclear Performance Assessment, the Office of Nuclear Safety Enforcement, the Office of Nu clear Safety Policy and Standards, the Office of Radiological Oversight, and the Division of Transportation and Packaging Safety.

While one could argue that there is no such thing as too much nuclear safety, this scat ter-shot approach, with independent offices spread throughout Washington, D.C., means costly replication. More troublesome from a safety perspective, unintentional lapses and gaps in oversight arise because of divided responsibility, communications difficulties and excessive overhead at the expense of safety initiatives.

Achieving Efficiency Through Consolidation. Even when the s pecific responsibili ties of independent agencies are decidedly different, their functions still may be suffi ciently similar to allow for management efficiencies through consolidation, leading to re duced costs and allowing more federal financial resourc es to go directly to the intended beneficiaries rather than to administering bureaucrats.

In recent years, Congress has chosen to honor some of Americas great leaders, not through statues, pantheons, or memorial gardens, but through permanent scholarship f unds established in their names. At present there are five independent agencies estab lished to administer federally funded scholarship programs, including the Barry Goldwa ter Scholarship Foundation and the Moms K. Udal1 Scholarship and Excellence in Na t ional Environmental Policy Foundation. While worthy in purpose, the creation of these funds with the status of independent government agencies has rendered them needlessly top-heavy with bureaucratic burdens that diminish their ability to achieve the mand a ted purpose. For example, in the Presidents FY 1995 budget, the Harry S. Truman Scholar ship Foundation is projected to incur a million dollars in administrative expenses to pro vide just over two million dollars in scholarships, while the James Madison M e morial Fellowship Foundation will incur $1.6 million in administrative costs to provide just 998,000 in fellowships to students. These high rates of overhead would be unacceptable in the private sector and should be in the public sector. A better way to h o nor Americas leaders would be to consolidate these scholarship programs within existing agencies mak ing academic grants, such as the National Science Foundation or the Department of Edu cation. This would reduce overhead costs substantially. Given the mo d est size of each of 2 these programs, it makes no sense to maintain five separate accounting departments, five mailrooms, five travel budgets, five costly executives, five executive assistants, and five versions of all the other offices needed to operate a scholarship program sibly of interest and importance to a few, cannot be justified in an era when available government resources are far short of what is needed to satisfy competing demands. If the Department of State and Department of Defense are fulfil l ing their costly functions adequately, then why must millions of dollars be spent on the Institute of Peace, the North-South Center, or the Japan-United States Friendship Commission? And does the President of the United States really need a Commission of F ine Arts, spending a half million dollars per year in salaries and renting premium office space at $144,000 per year, to advise him and Members of Congress on matters of architecture, painting, and Agencies of Regional Interest. Finally, there are those p r ograms whose benefits are purely regional with no national impact. Examples are the several independent agencies conducting special programs for specific East Coast river basins, such as the Susque hanna River Basin Commission. These programs may have som e significance for spe cific states or regions, butthey provide little direct value beyond that. More comprehen sive water and river programs exist within the Environmental Protection Agency, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the Department of the Interior. These bureaus have been tasked with national waterway responsibilities. Projects with a more specific regional fo cus should be the responsibility-both financially and managerially-of the affected states. Similarly, the Pennsylvania Avenue Development Cor p oration since 1972 has been investing millions of taxpayer dollars on a one-mile stretch of road in the District of Columbia. Although the once-seedy Pennsylvania Avenue corridor reached showpiece status in the mid-l980s, the Corporation continues to draw on the public purse-an ex pected $184 million in this fiscal year-by pursuing costly commercial development bet ter left to the private sector.

It should be noted that while this analysis proposes the abolition of just 40 of the ap proximately 130 indepen dent agencies, this should not be construed as an endorsement of the activities of the other agencies or of their current levels of federal funding. Nor should their omission from this listing in any way imply or suggest that they need not be subject to c lose examination, funding reductions, fundamental reform, or even abolition.

In most cases, the excluded agencies are of a size and significance that place them be yond the summary review nature of this study and necessitate a more exhaustive and de tailed study of their operations before recommendations can be made. Such independent agencies include the Small Business Administration, the Commodity Futures Trading Corporation, the Resolution Trust Corporation, the Central Intelligence Agency, and many othe rs of similar size and significance. Recommendations on these programs will be provided in subsequent studies.

While some may regard abolishing many independent agencies to streamline govern ment and reduce costs as extreme, a review of recent budgetary ac tions regarding inde pendent agencies indicates that terminations and consolidations often have been used in the past to eliminate agencies that have outlived their usefulness. Examples of the many agencies shut down or consolidated over the past few year s include ACTION, the Advi sory Commission on Conferences in Ocean Shipping, the Commission on Agriculture Low-Priority Agencies. Other independent agencies perform functions that, while pos sculpture 3 Workers, the Interagency Council on the Homeless, the Civil Aeronautics Board, and the National Afro-American History and Culture Commission-to name just a few AGENCIES THAT SHOULD BE CLOSED DOWN Administrative Conference of the United States Purpose: Assists the President, Congress, and federal departments i n improving the effi ciency, adequacy, and fairness of the administrative procedures used within govern ment and with private citizens Rationale: Given the general agreement between Congress and the executive branch, and between Republicans and Democrats, on the need for a fundamental and drastic over haul in the way government does business and serves the public, it is apparent that the Conference has little to show for the millions of taxpayer dollars it has spent in its 30 years of existence. Significan t government and administrative reform proposals are be ing developed through the Vice Presidents Reinventing Government Program and the National Performance Review. The new Congress promises a companion effort to achieve similar goals. The Commission shou l d be abolished in favor of these more com prehensive and more promising efforts Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations Purpose: Examines federal, state, and local trends, events, and programs that affect inter governmental relations and makes r ecommendations as appropriate Rationale: Despite its stated purpose, the Commission has never played a serious role in the debate over pressing issues concerning the levels of government in the federal sys tem. Key debates and decisions on issues such as r evenue sharing, unfunded mandates interstate commerce, and transport generally have been handled elsewhere as mayors governors, Congress, and the President interact, resolve problems, and develop policy in other forums Advisory Council on Historic Preserv a tion Purpose: Provides independent advice to the President and Congress relating to the na Rationale: Historic preservation, including the development of appropriate policies tional historic preservation program should be a local responsibility and activi t y, except when landmarks are of national sig nificance. These cases can be handled quite satisfactorily by the U.S. National Park Service and its Division of Cultural Resources Appalachian Regional Commission Purpose: Provides guidance and financial assis t ance to the 13 Appalachian states for ba sic facilities and support to promote economic growth in the region. Programs focus on transportation access and on community, business, and human development Rationale: The Commission is one of the more costly ind e pendent agencies, with an oper ating budget of over $200 million in this fiscal year. There is no convincing evidence that this program, after 30 years of operation, has been effective in creating new jobs or capital investment or that it is needed to pro mote local or regional development. In real 4 ity, it serves largely as a source of pork-barrel spending for the regions politicians.

West Virginia, a focus of much of the Commissions attention, is still poor and becom ing poorer relative to the rest of th e country. Its citizens income ranked 43rd in the country in 1980 but fell to 47th by 1993, and its unemployment rate is consistently the highest in the country. The Commission thus has failed in its stated goal. Its programs replicate the already extensi v e rural-based development and economic programs of the Departments of Agriculture, Transportation, Labor, and Housing and Urban Develop ment Purpose: Advises the President, Congress, and Department heads on matters of architec ture, sculpture, painting, a n d other fine arts, particularly as they relate to the appear ance of the National Capital Arms Control and Disarmament Agency Purpose: Advises the President and Secretary of State on arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament activities and participa t es in negotiations with other countries Rationale: As a product of the Cold War, ACDAs mission largely has been fulfilled by a series of nuclear, conventional, and chemical weapons agreements. For many years ACDA has been overshadowed by other U.S. agenci e s, particularly the State, Energy and Defense Departments. The Agency is outmoded and duplicative and should be abolished, with arms control issues mandated to other, more appropriate agencies Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Founda t ion Purpose: Awards scholarships to outstanding undergraduates in mathematics, science and engineering as the sole permanent tribute to the former Senator from Arizona Rationale: The Foundations independent status leads to high administrative costs relati v e to direct program benefits. It should be consolidated with other scholarship programs within another grant-giving, academically oriented entity in order to maintain the cur rent level of scholarships but at far lower administrative costs Christopher Col u mbus Fellowship Foundation Purpose: Encourages and supports research, study, and labor designed to produce new Rationale: This foundation should be consolidated with other similar fellowship pro discoveries in all fields of endeavor for the benefit of man k ind grams to minimize overhead and administrative costs and maximize benefits Commission for the Preservation of Americas Heritage Abroad Purpose: Encourages the preservation of cemeteries, monuments, and historic buildings Rationale: To reduce overhead a n d administrative cost, this task should be handled associated with the foreign heritage of the United States through the Foreign Service and the cultural attaches in relevant U.S. embassies, using local contractors as appropriate 5 Rationale: Congress alr e ady possesses the long-standing office of the Architect of the Capitol, whose skills, resources, and capabilities render him and his staff more than suitable to provide advisory services directly, or through referral, in the event that Members of Congress , the President, or any of the Cabinet heads need expert guidance and advice on the fine arts. The Commission does not create art; it reviews and judges the work of others Commission on Civil Rights Purpose: Engages in studies concerning areas in which the r e may be denials of civil rights and reports on these matters to the President and Congress Rationale: The Commission replicates the civil rights responsibilities of the many other federal civil rights offices, including the Equal Employment Opportunity C o mmission the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department, and the Division of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity in the Department of Housing and Urban Development. There also are specialized offices within these divisions. HUD, for instance, has an O f fice of Fair Housing Initiatives and Voluntary Programs, an Office of Investigations, an Office of Program Compliance, an Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Employment Op portunity, and an Office of Regulatory Initiatives and Federal Coordination. In t he De partment of Labor, civil rights issues are pursued by the Directorate of Civil Rights through its Office of Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action and Of fice of Program Compliance and Enforcement. Similar Offices and Divisions are lodg e d at the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Educa tion, which has an extensive series of offices covering numerous civil rights issues Commission on National Community Service Purpose: Established in 1990 to encourage all citize n s, especially young people, to en gage in community service. Makes grants to states and other entities to create service opportunities for students and out-of-school youth Rationale: America has a extensive tradition of volunteer work and charitable givin g most of which is oriented toward locally based community service organizations. It is a waste of taxpayer dollars for the federal government to encourage Americans to do what they already are doing in great numbers Corporation for National and Community S ervice Purpose: Engages Americans of all ages and backgrounds in community-based service fo cusing on the nations educational, human, public safety, and environmental needs Rationale: Again, given Americas proud tradition of volunteerism and charitable gi v ing much of it oriented toward locally based community service organizations, it is a waste of federal dollars to encourage Americans to do what they already do in great numbers Corporation for Public Broadcasting Purpose: Provides grants to qualified pub l ic television and radio stations to beased at their discretion for purposes related to program production and acquisition. Established in 1968 to provide additional programming and support to the many noncommercial ra dio and television stations that had b een established throughout the country begin ning in 1917 for radio and 1953 for television. Public broadcasting now includes nearly 6 600 radio stations and 340 television stations, and this extensive nationwide system re ceives more than 80 percent of i t s support from sources other than the federal govern ment, with contributions from subscribers and business accounting for the largest and second-largest sources of income Rationale: The CPB now provides only 14 percent of the public broadcasting systems t o tal financial support, the loss of which could be offset by greater reliance on other fi nancial sources, improved management and administrative efficiency, and elimination of low-priority programming and grant activities. The loss of federal dollars al s o could be offset by selling commercial air time, particularly in time slots now devoted to CPB promotion and self-justification. Although this would violate the goal of noncommer cial broadcasting, it would not interfere with the quality programming obje c tive. The Arts Entertainment Network, the Discovery Channel, the Learning Channel, Na tional Empowerment Television, and the new History Channel demonstrate that quality educational programming can be maintained in a commercial format and without fed eral financial support.

To date, the CPB has enjoyed extraordinarily generous federal support. Since 1985 during a time when many government programs have been restrained or reduced, fed eral spending on the CPB rose by 94 percent, compared with a 60 percent i ncrease in the budget as a whole. It is time for the CPB to make its long overdue fair-share sacri fice and to become financially independent of the U.S. taxpayer and competitive with existing, privately funded educational networks Defense Nuclear Facilit i es Board Purpose: Responsible for evaluating the content and implementation of standards related to defense nuclear facilities of the Department of Energy. Also investigates events or practices at defense nuclear facilities that may affect public health a d versely Rationale: The Board is one of five independent agencies concerned with nuclear safety issues. The others are the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Office of Nuclear Waste Negotiator, the Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board, and the Presidents C o mmis sion on Catastrophic Disaster. There also are seven separate offices within the Depart ment of Energy-the Offices of Nuclear Safety Enforcement, Nuclear Performance As sessment, Nuclear Safety Enforcement, Risk and Policy Analysis, Nuclear Safety Pol icy and Standards, Civilian Radioactive Waste Management, and Radiological Over sight. In addition, a number of similar offices and responsibilities are lodged within the Department of Defense in the Office of Atomic Energy, the Defense Nuclear Agency and the On-Site Inspection Agency. It makes little sense, from either a management or a financial perspective, to have more than a dozen overlapping agencies pursuing simi lar responsibilities. The Boards responsibilities, as well as those of several of the o t her independent bodies concerned with nuclear arms and energy, should be consolidated within the appropriate office of the relevant department to improve both congressional and executive oversight at less cost to the budget Delaware River Basin Commission Purpose: Participates jointly with basin states New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Delaware in the development of water and related resources of the region 7 Rationale: The benefits of the Commissions activities accrue mostly to the states in the rive r basin. If those benefits are deemed valuable, then contiguous states should fund the program in its entirety. Otherwise, there is no reason for federal taxpayers to fund costly programs of strictly regional interest and benefit. Moreover, such programs i n variably become vehicles for pork-barrel spending. To the extent that there are pressing river basin issues of national concern, existing programs and resources of the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers would be sufficient to meet them East-West Center Purp o se: Promotes better relations between the U.S. and the nations of Asia and the Pa cific through cooperative programs of study, research, and training Rationale: The resources and talents of the State Department, which maintains a network of embassies and c onsulates in Asian and Pacific nations, should be more than suffi cient to maintain good diplomatic relations with these countries. In addition, good gen eral relationships are achieved and maintained best through the extensive private con tacts that occu r independently of government, thanks to business, the academic commu nity, cultural exchanges, and tourism. Any deficiencies that remain in the quality of U.S. relationships with these nations are not likely to be rectified by the cooperative programs of t he Center FDIC Affordable Housing and Bank Enterprise Purpose: Enterprise offers select properties in inventory to eligible households and organi zations for low-income housing Rationale: The Enterprise competes directly with the objectives and programs o f HUD, as well as numerous state and local programs with a similar purpose. Experience demon strates that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) has had a difficult enough time pursuing its main purpose-promoting the safety and soundness of banks and ought not to involve itself in the difficult task of attempting to house the poor.

The FDIC should focus instead on making secure the bank deposits of Americans while HUD should continue to focus primarily on Americas housing needs. The Enter prise sh ould be terminated and consolidated with similar HUD programs which Vice President Gores National Performance Review recommends for privatization Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial Commission Purpose: Responsible for formulating plans for a memorial to FD R Rationale: Before his death President Roosevelt requested that any memorial to him be simple, no larger than his desk, and placed near the National Archives. Although this request was fulfilled many years ago, Congress has persisted in trying to erect so m e thing grander. The Congress should honor President Roosevelt by adhering to his re quest Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation Purpose: Awards scholarships to students who demonstrate outstanding potential for and interest in careers in public service a t the state, local, and federal level 8 Rationale: As with all other federal scholarship programs, direct benefits are limited by high overhead and administration costs. According to the Presidents FY 1995 budget the Foundation incurs one dollar of overhe a d costs for every two dollars of scholarship money provided. The scholarship budget should be consolidated with other similar pro grams and transferred to the National Science Foundation or to the Department of Edu cation for less costly operation Institu t e of American Indian and Alaska Native Culture and Arts Purpose: Provides Native Americans with an opportunity to obtain postsecondary educa tion in various fields of Indian art and culture Rationale: It is unwise for the federal government to be in the b u siness of directly fund ing studies in one culture in preference to others. Existing student loan and grant pro grams can be used to support postsecondary education for eligible students through ac credited institutions of learning. The program either sho u ld be terminated or consoli dated with other scholarship funds or related programs, such as the Indian Arts and Crafts Board affiliated with the U.S. Department of the Interior or existing Indian Edu cation programs within the Department of Education. Thi s would save overhead and ad ministrative costs Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin Purpose: Created on behalf of the four states and the District of Columbia in the Potomac River basin for water pollution abatement and control and for the man a gement of water and land resources Rationale: The responsibility for the funding and management of this commission should rest with the District and the affected states. Programs with primarily regional benefits are the responsibility of the states, not t h e federal government. Any national interest that does need to be served can be met by existing programs of the Environmental Pro tection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers. Federal involvement should be lim ited to those activities that are truly nati o nal in scope and that lead to broad benefits for all Americans James Madison Memorial Fellowship Foundation Purpose: Encourages graduate study of the framing, principles, and history of the Ameri can Constitution Rationale: This Foundation has the highest ratio of administrative costs to, scholarship benefits of any of the independent scholarship programs funded directly by the federal government: according to President Clintons FY 1995 budget estimates, just 62 cents of direct scholarship money for every d ollar of administrative costs incurred. The Foun dation should be consolidated with other similar programs to reduce overhead costs Japan-United States Friendship Commission Purpose: Makes grants to promote scholarly, cultural, and artistic activities bet w een Ja pan and the United States 9 Rationale: Given the extensive business, cultural, academic, diplomatic, and political rela tionships between the United States and Japan, there is no shortage of interaction be tween the citizens and institutions of the s e two countries. The Friendship Commis sions activities are therefore both redundant and a waste of money Legal Services Corporation Purpose: Funds private attorneys, non-profit organizations, and state and local agencies to provide free civil legal assis t ance to the poor Rationale: Despite years of controversy surrounding the misuse of funds by Corporation supported lawyers and grantees to pursue political and lobbying activities at the ex pense of direct legal representation for the poor, federal spendin g on the Corporation has soared under the Clinton Administration, rising by more in the first year of this Ad ministration as in the seven years preceding it. The Corporation, for example, has funded legal opposition to welfare reform, Proposition 187, and state and local tax re ductions. Given its history of political activism and the substantial funding the legal services system receives from non-federal sources, taxpayer support should be termi nated and the Corporation privatized.

At present, the Corpor ation serves largely as a conduit of federal money to approxi mately 323 locally based grantees-such as the Legal Aid Society of Central Texas and the Food Research Action Center-that do the actual work. In addition to the tax payers money these grantees c ollectively received from the Corporation in 1993, they received an additional $245 million from other sources, including IOLTA (Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts) fund, state and local grants, and private and non-profit contri butions. Moreover, the leg a l profession provides significant amounts of pro bono work for needy clients and social issues. The New York Bar Association, for example, re ported in 1992 that its members had provided 2,080,000 hours of pro bono work which, if valued at $100 per hour, a mounts to more than $200 million of free legal services just in New York State. A privatized Corporation easily could build on this ex tensive funding base and work with state, national, and local bar associations to secure and enhance IOLTA and other pri v ate or non-profit funding for grantees and to pro vide a tighter focus for their representational work Marine Mammal Commission Purpose: Coordinates Americas marine mammal policy, reviews the status of the marine mammal population, and recommends conserva t ion steps to relevant government de partments Rationale: No other form of non-human life, endangered or otherwise, has its own com mission. This costly precedent should be terminated. Existing federal programs such as NOAAs Coastal Ecosystems Health and R e covering Protected Species programs are tasked to perform similar responsibilities, as is the Interior Departments Fish and Wild life Service. Disparate and competing agencies performing similar or identical func tions waste money, replicate duties, and d e ter effective oversight and management 10 Morris K. Udall Scholarship and Excellence in National Environmental Policy Foundation Purpose: Provides educational resources to promote studies in the natural environment and Native American public health and tr i bal policy and to fund the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy at the University of Arizona Rationale: Like the several other scholarship programs that honor outstanding Ameri cans, the Foundation should be consolidated into an existing department o r agency with significant academic grant-giving experience. This would reduce overhead and maximize financial benefits to program scholars National Capital Arts and Cultural Affairs Purpose: Provides payments for general operating support to Washington, D. C ., arts and other cultural organizations Rationale: Citizens of and visitors to Washington, D.C and the metropolitan area already are the beneficiaries of major federally supported arts and cultural programs, including the Smithsonian complex of museums, t he Kennedy Center, the National Symphony the FolgerTheater, the Marine Band, Wolf Trap, and Carter-Barron. Washingtons cul turally rich environment would scarcely notice the loss of this $7 million taxpayer funded program National Capital Planning Commiss i on Purpose: Central planning agency for the federal government in the national capital Rationale: Washington, D.C., is unique among U.S. cities in having a federally funded planning commission to help guide its development. Despite whatever expertise this Commission may bring to bear, the economic and social environment of Washington continues to deteriorate. Crime is endemic, business and residents continue to flee, pov erty remains unrelieved, and the federal-local relationship remains strained. The Com m ission should be terminated to give the new Congress and the mayor the opportunity to establish a fresh approach to the relationship unhindered by the attitudes, prejudices and ineffective institutions of the past National Commission on Libraries and Info r mation Science Purpose: The Commission is responsible for developing plans for meeting the library and information needs of the nation, and for coordinating federal, state, and local govern ment activities to meet these needs Rationale: Americas system of libraries-most of them locally based and supported-is the envy of the world. The rapid technological advances taking place within the infor mation industries promise unprecedented access to a wealth of information at modest cost. Much of this rapid change is driven by the profit-seeking private sector, and there is little need for government involvement, financial support, or expert guidance. Librar ies gain from this rapid innovation in the private sector. The federal governments great est contribution wo u ld be to get out of the way and not try to coordinate the explo sive innovations in information technology 11 National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities Purpose: Umbrella organization for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and Na tional Endowme n t for the Humanities (NEH) as well as the Institute of Museum Serv ices. The NEA provides grants to,and contracts with groups, individuals with excep tional talent, and state and regional organizations engaged in or concerned with the arts. The NEH funds a ctivities intended to improve the quality of education and teach ing in the humanities Rationale: In recent years, Americans have had good reason to be concerned about pro jects funded by the NEA, as well as other official efforts to inflict government-sa n c tioned art upon them. From public commissions to approve or reject architectural de sign; to requirements that some portion of a buildings construction budget be devoted to art, to the bureaucratically approved and funded art of the NEA, the result has b een an apparent preference for the bizarre that has widened rather than narrowed the gap be tween art and the average citizen. The NEA should be closed down and American art ists encouraged to turn their energies to creative endeavors rather than politica l grantsmanship distorted curriculum for the teaching of American history, thereby confirming the worst fears of those who argued that federal involvement in education would be used more for purposes of propaganda than as part of the search for truth. It i s time to termi nate the NEH before more amateurish efforts like the National Committee for History Standards further undermine education and the appreciation of American culture Similarly, the NEH recently has demonstrated questionable judgment in produci n g a Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation Purpose: Performs a number of functions intended to reverse neighborhood decline, de Rationale: Programs of the Corporation duplicate those of HUD, particularly now that velop housing strategies, and replicate suc cessful neighborhood preservation strategies.

HUD has established its Empowerment Zones and Enterprise Communities program to focus resources more precisely on impoverished neighborhoods. The Corporations pro grams should be transferred to HUD to avoid dup lication and excess overhead North-South Center Purpose: Promotes better relations between the United States and the nations of Latin America and the Caribbean and Canada by bringing together scholars and students for cooperative study, training, and rese arch Rationale: The program should be terminated in favor of long-standing activities of the State Department to sustain and improve relations within the Western Hemisphere.

With improved commercial links, helped by the U.S.-Canada Free Trade Agreement and the NAFTA, increased private contacts by business people, academics, journalists and tourists render the Center unnecessary Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board Purpose: Directed to evaluate the technical and scientific validity of the activities of the D epartment of Energys nuclear waste disposal program 12 Rationale: As in the case of the Defense Nuclear Facilities Board, the responsibilities of this Board should be consolidated with another agency, such as the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, already tas k ed with nuclear safety responsibilities or with the many simi lar offices and divisions of the Departments of Energy and Defense Office of Government Ethics Purpose: Provides overall direction of executive branch policies designed to prevent con flicts of interest and ensure high ethical standards Rationale: Recent significant ethical lapses within the executive branch suggest that the Office has been less than effective in imposing a higher ethical standard on government officials, notwithstanding the mor e than $8 million in taxpayer dollars it will expend this fiscal year. The enhancement of ethical conduct should be internal to each agency and the monitoring of ethical standards should be the direct responsibility of the inspec tor general and general co u nsel of each department and agency. This ineffective Office should be terminated, and Congress and the executive branch jointly should review ex isting procedures to insure that government officials are held to a much higher ethical standard in the future Office of Nuclear Waste Negotiator Purpose: Directed to attempt to find a state or Indian tribe willing to host a nuclear waste site Rationale: As with other independent agencies concerned with nuclear issues, the Nego tiators office should be consolidate d with another independent agency, such as the Nu clear Regulatory Commission, or with the appropriate division within the Department of Energy or the Environmental Protection Agency Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corporation Purpose: Performs a variety o f functions, including design, land acquisition, and construc tion of projects related to the improvement of the Pennsylvania Avenue corridor con necting the White House with the Capitol Rationale: Since its creation in 1972, the Corporation has invested m i llions of taxpayer dollars on this one-mile stretch of road, best known to Americans as the route of the in augural parade, turning the once-decrepit strip of deteriorated buildings into an attrac tive urban showpiece, named by Scenic America as one of Am e ricas ten Most Scenic Byways. Although this primary task has been fulfilled, the Corporation continues to exist and draw down substantial public funds-an estimated $184 million in FY 1995 for commercial real estate development activities best left to the p rivate sector. The Corporation has achieved its goal. All federal financial support should be terminated and the Corporation should become a wholly private entity subject to a payback plan to recover federal loans, accrued interest, and investments State J ustice Institute Purpose: Established in 1984 to make grants and undertake activities to improve the ad ministration of justice in the United States 13 Rationale: Rapidly escalating crime rates and growing public disappointment in the be havior of the cou r t system over the past several years suggest that the Institute has not much to show for its costly ten-year effort to improve Americas administration of jus tice. Rather than an Institute, what is needed is new federal and state legislation Susquehanna R i ver Basin Commission Purpose: Participates jointly with affected states in the development of water and related resources in the basin Rationale: As with similar commissions, the responsibility for funding and management should be turned over to the conti g uous states. Programs whose benefits are largely re gional should be the responsibility of the states, not the federal government. Existing programs of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers whose scope is national, should be r esponsible for waterways and related issues Thomas Jefferson Commemorative Commission Purpose: Established to honor the 250th anniversary of Jeffersons birth an anniver Rationale: Despite the passing of the anniversary 600,000 is scheduled to be spent in s ary which occurred in 1993 FY 1995 and another $700,000 is committed for FY 1996 in post-birthday events. Hav ing met its stated objective, the Commission should be terminated United States Institute of Peace Purpose: Conducts and supports research and sc h olarship in the fields of international peace and conflict resolution Rationale: Although the world remains a dangerous place, responsibility for maintaining and enhancing peace should remain with the State Department and Department of De fense, in cooper a tion with Congress and the multilateral organizations of which the United States is a member. Moreover, the scholarly endeavors of the Peace Institute merely replicate, at taxpayer expense, the efforts of academics and private research or ganizations conc erned with international relations.

Ronald D. Utt, Ph.D.

Visiting Fellow 14 APPENDIX Select Independent Agency Outlays: $10.6 Billion in Possible Budget Cuts Millions of Dollars Total Saving!

Function Independent Agency I995 I996 I997 I998 1999 1995-99 75 I Administrative Conference of the United States $1.9 $2.0 $2.0 2. I $2.2 $10.1 808 Advisorv Commission on lntereowmmental Relations I .o 1.1 1.1 I .2 I .2 5.6 I53 Arms Contml and Disarmament Agency I 502 Bany Goldwater Scholarship Foundation 54.2 56.4 58.3 60.3 62.3 29 I .5 2.9 3.0

3. I 3.2 3.3 15.4 45 I Commission of Fine Arts I 75 I Commission on Civil Riehts 0.8 0.8 0.9 0.9 I .o 4.4 8. I 8.4 8.8

9. I 9.5 43.9 503 Corporation for Public Broadcasting I 053 Defense Nuclear Facilities Board 292.6 3 12.0 320.4 3

29. I 338.0 I .5

92. I 17.1 17.7 18.4 19.1 19.8

92. I 604 808 FDIC Affordable Housing and Bank Enterprise Franklin Delano Roosevek Memorial Commission I 7. I 7.3 7.5 7.7 7.9 37.5 0. I

0. I

0. I

0. I

0. I 0.3 304 502 Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin lames Madison Memorial FellowshiD Foundation I 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.6 0.6 2.7 2.6 2.7 2.7 2.7 2.7 13.4 302 Marine Mammal Commission I .3 I .4 I .5 I .5

7. I 5.3 I 502 Moms K. Udal1 Scholarshio and Excellence in Nat Emir. Pol. Found. 2.6 2.7 505 National Commission on Libraries and Information Sciences 0.9 I .o 1.1 1.1

5. I I 503 National Foundation on the Arts and H umanities 384.6 390.5 400.6 41 1.9 423.6 2,Ol 1.2 27 I Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board I 805 OfficeofGowmment Ethics 2.2 2.3 2.5 2.6 12.0 8.6 9.0 9.8 10.2 47.0 I 752 StateJusticelnstitute 30 I Suvluehanna River Basin Commission 13.6 13.9 14.3 14.7 15 .1 71.6 0.6 0.6 0.7 0.7 3.3 I TOTALS SL035.6 52089.9 SZI 10.2 $2,148.7 $2.2082 $10,592.6 Note: Figures represent projected outlays Figures may not add up due to rounding I Source: Congressional Budget ORice. Baseline, August 1994 15


Ronald D.

Policy Analyst