Obama Seeks to Eliminate “Unnecessary” Printing

WASHINGTON, DC—President Obama announced he would sign an Executive Order that will cut waste and promote more efficient spending across the federal government, the White House said.

Under the order, the president is directing agencies to, among other things, reduce spending on travel; limit the number of information technology devices (cell phones, smartphones, tablets, laptops) that can be issued to individual employees; stop printing documents that can be posted online; and end the practice of buying swag—the plaques, clothing and other “unnecessary” promotional items that agencies purchase.

The order reportedly will cut spending by 20 percent, providing billions in savings.

In addition, a finalist for the 2011 Securing Americans Value and Efficiency (SAVE) Award—which seeks ideas from federal employees to make government more effective, efficient and taxpayer-dollar conscious—suggested the Social Security Administration (SSA) stop printing and mailing the OASIS employee magazine, making it available online only.

Last year’s SAVE winner suggested that Uncle Sam stop printing and shipping excess Federal Registers to federal government offices, which costs millions of dollars per year, when the content is available online. As a result, the Obama Administration cut the number of copies that federal agencies receive by 85 percent within the past year.

The executive order to stop “unnecessary” printing directs agencies to provide written information electronically and limit the production of hard copy documents. Some agencies have begun doing this; the Department of the Treasury plans to reduce spending on printing by increasing the number of paperless transactions it conducts with the public. Treasury expects to reduce printing costs by up to 24 percent in fiscal year 2012. It is also expected to save more than $500 million and 12 million pounds of paper during its first five years alone.

  • lithoman

    I think the President should issue an "executive order" and have each dept in the government reduce their budget by 5%……..then in 2013, get another 5% cut……….and again in 2014…….etc
    This will force the government to reduce spending, staffing, and save OUR tax dollars.

    Since he uses his teleprompter so well, why doesn’t he just address the groups as a web feed and never have to fly Air Force One…….to any are of the country or the world….

  • Tim in Michigan

    Let’s see here — Solyndra $ 538,000,000.00 lost in less than 2 years vs 12 million pounds of paper over 5 years at $ 60.00 cwt $ 7,200,000.00. There is no justification there.

  • RgP

    Why doesn’t the White House begin saving money by curtailing needless and self-serving trips via Air Force One and support aircraft for family members before he worries about "unnecessary printing"?

  • Steve in Tennessee

    So while I await the economy’s return I see Obama trying to cut costs. Yet today, in San Diego, there is a basketball game being held on an aircraft carrier between two college teams that do not normally play in that area of the country, with seating arranged on deck for thousands. Given the $180,000 per hour cost of flying Air Force 1 and then the cost of the game setup along with security for the ship and the president I can quickly think about one way to cut costs. Oh, by the way, Obama is on his way for another vacation in Hawaii.. My last vacation was to a trade show to see what new business opportunities existed. Remember, we had three years to think of ways to save this same money.

  • Bill in MI

    The cutbacks make sense. Apparently the directive leaves room for discretion.

  • Joe in Jersey

    Well said Tom. This isn’t George W Bush vs Obama, which the Dems don’t seem to understand. He won the last election running against Bush and not McCain but I’m not sure he can run against W again in 2012, although I’m sure he’ll try. Maybe he’s in an impossible situation due to the state of the global economy but his job is to fix it. Washington is broke and if I ran my company like the Obama and Congress is running DC, I’d be the next printer out of business.