More Spending=More Waste, Fraud and Abuse
Seems simple but until now no one has really pinpointed the core reason for the vast amounts of waste, fraud and abuse that the United States is currently experiencing. All levels of the American government, federal, state and local, are just bleeding money in an unending torrent.
The simple reason is that the more we spend, the more waste, fraud and abuse that we have. After the passage of the Stimulus bill, the Inspector General of the program testified to Congress that he was stunned when he estimated the potential waste that would occur.
He estimated that the average amount of waste in government programs was in the area of 7-8%. Although it was a significant percentage, it became more impactful when this was translated into dollars. At a revised total of $831 billion, the waste comes out to between $58.2 and $66.5 billion. Wow!
According to a September 2011 poll by Gallup, Americans believe that the federal government wastes $.51 out of every dollar. This is similar to a poll from 2009. By comparison in 1986 during the Reagan presidency the poll found that Americans believed that $.38 was wasted.
Americans are less likely to believe state and local governments waste money they spend than they are to believe this about the federal government, with the state estimate at 42 cents on the dollar and the local at 38 cents.
This pattern of mistrust of the federal governments wasteful spending habits dates as far back as 1979 when Americans believed that $.40 of every federal dollar was wasted while they felt that $.31 was wasted at the state level and $.25 was wasted by local governments.
Whether these figures are true or not, it points out the basic lack of trust that Americans have with all levels of their government.
According to The Fiscal Times in a July 24, 2013 article by Jacqueline Leo the federal government is wasting more money than we think. According to figures that they meticulously compiled agency by agency, they estimated that the government wasted $788,595,076,947.
They admitted that they probably missed a lot and included what some might consider one-time expenses, Afghanistan for instance. Nevertheless, what becomes clear is that billions of dollars are going down the drain instead of being poured into infrastructure, education and other sorely needed programs and services.
The plain facts are that if we were able to cut our waste by half we wouldn’t need the sequester. In fact, at about a saving of $400 billion we could eliminate the entire sequester in three years and then start working on the national debt. The deficit would shrink to a balanced budget in less than two years. Yet, we can’t seem to pull it off.
Politicians of all stripes campaign on the promise to curb waste, fraud and abuse. Election cycle after election cycle the voters hear this broken record of broken promises. Yet, nothing seems to happen.
You see, politicians are judged by how many bills that they pass. The media is fond of publishing a Congressional scorecard of bills passed. But passing bills only adds to the deficit and the national debt.
I always wonder about the bills and programs that were passed a year ago, five years ago or ten years ago. I suppose that they are continuing to be funding eternally. How much waste is simply outdated programs that continue on their merry way.
Ronald Reagan once said that the nearest things to eternal life was a government program and we know that he was speaking the absolute truth.
The simple truth is that politicians love to spend our tax money. It gives them the opportunity to be on the front pages of their local newspapers posing for holy pictures with this group or that organization that has benefited from their largesse.
Maybe the answer is the need for a new set of representatives with limited terms, limited perks and limited salaries. If they weren’t making so much money, maybe they would do their jobs and go home.