Category Archives: Budget and Spending

Getting a Good Deal — How to Do Federal Contracting Right

Oliver Hart and Bengt Holmström won the 2016 Nobel Prize for Economics for their contributions to contract theory—which looks at how contract incentives help resolve conflicts of interest between parties. And, as anyone who’s hired a contractor knows, ensuring that … Continue reading

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Preparing the Next Leaders

The elections are over and new leaders are assembling staff, setting priorities, and preparing to tackle major issues facing the nation. What do these leaders and their staff need to know to hit the ground running in January? Our Management … Continue reading

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Priority Recommendations

Every year we make hundreds of recommendations to federal agencies on ways to improve government operations and reduce costs. With so many opportunities for improvement, agency heads and other policymakers may have trouble deciding where to start. We’ve got plenty … Continue reading

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Priorities for Policy Makers – Our App for Government on the Go

The election is over. The transition is here. But how will new executive branch leaders and new congressional staff decide where to start? As policymakers shift gears from campaigning to governing, they need to quickly learn about their new positions … Continue reading

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Following the Money: The Audit Trail

You may remember from your elementary school civics class (or our previous Watchblog posts) that Congress allocates the money that executive branch agencies use to carry out their work. But who makes sure these agencies are spending this money correctly? … Continue reading

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National Save for Retirement Week

The U.S. population is changing and so is retirement. Boomers are aging, traditional pensions are shifting to voluntary contribution plans, and Social Security faces important financial challenges. Planning—and saving—for retirement is more important than ever. For National Save for Retirement … Continue reading

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Funding What Works (infographic)

A new policy tool called “tiered evidence grantmaking” allows federal agencies to award smaller amounts of grant funding to test promising ideas, and larger amounts to replicate practices with a proven record of success. How exactly does that work? Scroll … Continue reading

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Working toward Implementing the DATA Act

Federal agencies spend more than $3.7 trillion a year. But it’s not always easy to get reliable, useful, and consistent information about this spending—information that can help improve oversight, decision making, and transparency. So, Congress passed the Digital Accountability and … Continue reading

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What You Need to Know about Tax Incentives and the Federal Budget (infographic)

The federal budget consists of revenue (mostly taxes, but also things like user fees and intragovernmental revolving funds) and spending. But not all spending looks the same. Spending through tax provisions—known as tax incentives or expenditures—is not as well-known as … Continue reading

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Will “Hamilton” Win Big? Its Namesake Already Inspired a Lot of GAO Work

Alexander Hamilton has quite the legacy: he was the first Secretary of the Treasury; he created a plan for managing the national debt; and he is now the inspiration behind the Tony Award-nominated musical, Hamilton. In anticipation of this Sunday’s … Continue reading

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