Watchdog Group Supports the Bush Proposal to End the GPO Monopoly
Friday, May 10, 2002
WASHINGTON, May 7 -- Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) cheered Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mitch Daniels for his recent directive to create competitive bidding for the executive branch's $500 million annual printing and copying contracts. Daniels' move withdraws the Government Printing Office's (GPO) monopoly over such jobs and will likely save taxpayers tens of millions of dollars per year. "Mitch Daniels again shows he's working for taxpayers against the entrenched Washington waste status quo," CAGW President Tom Schatz said. "Breaking up stultified government monopolies to provide better services at lower cost is exactly the right approach. The GPO, the classic bureaucratic middleman, will have to compete with private companies for government agencies' business, thereby improving service and creating cost savings." According to the OMB, the GPO currently contracts out 84 percent of its printing work to the private sector, while charging substantial handling fees and premiums. The OMB estimates such fees annually cost the executive branch between $50 million to $70 million. "At a time of online shopping, ATM machines, and all-night photo copying chains, the federal government is falling further and further behind the private marketplace in providing fast, efficient services at low cost. Director Daniels' reform agenda is on the right track, and he should introduce privatization and competition throughout the government," Schatz said. "The GPO is a good start; we hope the Post Office, Amtrak, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac will be next on the Bush Administration's privatization list." The GPO is protesting that Congress rejected a similar proposal in 1987 and 1994, and that OMB's savings figures are inflated. "This is the typical response of an agency that fears reform. Once the reforms are implemented, the savings will likely be substantial," Schatz concluded. "Besides, whatever the final number is, in this era of battling terrorism, when resources are precious, every dollar that can be saved should be."