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An Explosion in Federal Government Waste

Monday June 6th, 2016   •   Posted by Craig Eyermann at 5:49am PDT   •  

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By definition, waste is an act or instance of using or expending something carelessly, extravagantly, or to no purpose.

In practice, the existence of waste means that costs get run up while nothing of benefit is produced.

As an example, the U.S. federal government is extraordinarily wasteful. In fact, Investors Business Daily reports that the amount of waste it produces annually has doubled since the end of 2008.

Big Government: The federal government wasted more than $100 billion on overpayments last year. It knows this, even tracks it, but somehow can’t seem to stop it. Is there a better indication that government is too big?

A federal website called Payment Accuracy tracks in great detail what it calls “improper payments” made by the federal government through Medicare, Medicaid, farm programs, school lunch programs and others to contractors, doctors, students, and so on.

Last year, the government made $126 billion in overpayments, nearly double the amount it made in President Bush’s last year.

To put the federal government’s wasteful management of its current finances into perspective, IBD puts it into a perspective that even a federal bureaucrat can understand:

It is, for example, equal to the combined budgets of the Departments of Justice, Energy, Interior, State and the EPA for 2015.

It’s twice as much all the income taxes paid by everyone making less than $50,000.

It’s roughly equal to the combined 2015 profits of Apple, Exxon Mobil, Wal-Mart, Google, Pfizer and Comcast.

Successfully eliminating waste is like finding on the street money you thought you had lost forever. It’s a shame that stopping wasteful spending on the scale executed by the people responsible for spending money in the U.S. government doesn’t appear to be have been much of a serious priority for the people who have managed them over the last seven years.

The U.S. National Park Service offers the following solution for how to eliminate waste:


In words, instead of throwing it around mindlessly, put it where it’s supposed to go.

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June 2016