Government Waste:

Let’s list it:

  1. The federal government made at least $72 billion in improper payments in 2008.[1]
  2. Washington spends $92 billion on corporate welfare (excluding TARP) versus $71 billion on homeland security.[2]
  3. Washington spends $25 billion annually maintaining unused or vacant federal properties.[3]
  4. Government auditors spent the past five years examining all federal programs and found that 22 percent of them–costing taxpayers a total of $123 billion annually–fail to show any positive impact on the populations they serve.[4]
  5. The Congressional Budget Office published a “Budget Options” series identifying more than $100 billionin potential spending cuts.[5]
  6. Examples from multiple Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports of wasteful duplication include342 economic development programs; 130 programs serving the disabled; 130 programs serving at-risk youth; 90 early childhood development programs; 75 programs funding international education, cultural, and training exchange activities; and 72 safe water programs.[6]
  7. Washington will spend $2.6 million training Chinese prostitutes to drink more responsibly on the job.[7]
  8. A GAO audit classified nearly half of all purchases on government credit cards as improper, fraudulent, or embezzled. Examples of taxpayer-funded purchases include gambling, mortgage payments, liquor, lingerie, iPods, Xboxes, jewelry, Internet dating services, and Hawaiian vacations. In one extraordinary example, the Postal Service spent $13,500 on one dinner at a Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, including “over 200 appetizers and over $3,000 of alcohol, including more than 40 bottles of wine costing more than $50 each and brand-name liquor such as Courvoisier, Belvedere and Johnny Walker Gold.” The 81 guests consumed an average of $167 worth of food and drink apiece.[8]
  9. Federal agencies are delinquent on nearly 20 percent of employee travel charge cards, costing taxpayershundreds of millions of dollars annually.[9]
  10. The Securities and Exchange Commission spent $3.9 million rearranging desks and offices at its Washington, D.C., headquarters.[10]
  11. The Pentagon recently spent $998,798 shipping two 19-cent washers from South Carolina to Texas and$293,451 sending an 89-cent washer from South Carolina to Florida.[11]
  12. Over half of all farm subsidies go to commercial farms, which report average household incomes of $200,000.[12]
  13. Health care fraud is estimated to cost taxpayers more than $60 billion annually.[13]
  14. A GAO audit found that 95 Pentagon weapons systems suffered from a combined $295 billion in cost overruns.[14]
  15. The refusal of many federal employees to fly coach costs taxpayers $146 million annually in flight upgrades.[15]
  16. Washington will spend $126 million in 2009 to enhance the Kennedy family legacy in Massachusetts. Additionally, Senator John Kerry (D-MA) diverted $20 million from the 2010 defense budget to subsidize a new Edward M. Kennedy Institute.[16]
  17. Federal investigators have launched more than 20 criminal fraud investigations related to the TARP financial bailout.[17]
  18. Despite trillion-dollar deficits, last year’s 10,160 earmarks included $200,000 for a tattoo removal program in Mission Hills, California; $190,000 for the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming; and $75,000 for the Totally Teen Zone in Albany, Georgia.[18]
  19. The federal government owns more than 50,000 vacant homes.[19]
  20. The Federal Communications Commission spent $350,000 to sponsor NASCAR driver David Gilliland.[20]
  21. Members of Congress have spent hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars supplying their offices with popcorn machines, plasma televisions, DVD equipment, ionic air fresheners, camcorders, and signature machines–plus $24,730 leasing a Lexus, $1,434 on a digital camera, and $84,000 on personalized calendars.[21]
  22. More than $13 billion in Iraq aid has been classified as wasted or stolen. Another $7.8 billion cannot be accounted for.[22]
  23. Fraud related to Hurricane Katrina spending is estimated to top $2 billion. In addition, debit cards provided to hurricane victims were used to pay for Caribbean vacations, NFL tickets, Dom Perignon champagne, “Girls Gone Wild” videos, and at least one sex change operation.[23]
  24. Auditors discovered that 900,000 of the 2.5 million recipients of emergency Katrina assistance provided false names, addresses, or Social Security numbers or submitted multiple applications.[24]
  25. Congress recently gave Alaska Airlines $500,000 to paint a Chinook salmon on a Boeing 737.[25]
  26. The Transportation Department will subsidize up to $2,000 per flight for direct flights between Washington, D.C., and the small hometown of Congressman Hal Rogers (R-KY)–but only on Monday mornings and Friday evenings, when lawmakers, staff, and lobbyists usually fly. Rogers is a member of the Appropriations Committee, which writes the Transportation Department’s budget.[26]
  27. Washington has spent $3 billion re-sanding beaches–even as this new sand washes back into the ocean.[27]
  28. A Department of Agriculture report concedes that much of the $2.5 billion in “stimulus” funding for broadband Internet will be wasted.[28]
  29. The Defense Department wasted $100 million on unused flight tickets and never bothered to collect refunds even though the tickets were refundable.[29]
  30. Washington spends $60,000 per hour shooting Air Force One photo-ops in front of national landmarks.[30]
  31. Over one recent 18-month period, Air Force and Navy personnel used government-funded credit cards to charge at least $102,400 on admission to entertainment events, $48,250 on gambling, $69,300 on cruises, and $73,950 on exotic dance clubs and prostitutes.[31]
  32. Members of Congress are set to pay themselves $90 million to increase their franked mailings for the 2010 election year.[32]
  33. Congress has ignored efficiency recommendations from the Department of Health and Human Services that would save $9 billion annually.[33]
  34. Taxpayers are funding paintings of high-ranking government officials at a cost of up to $50,000 apiece.[34]
  35. The state of Washington sent $1 food stamp checks to 250,000 households in order to raise state caseload figures and trigger $43 million in additional federal funds.[35]
  36. Suburban families are receiving large farm subsidies for the grass in their backyards–subsidies that many of these families never requested and do not want.[36]
  37. Congress appropriated $20 million for “commemoration of success” celebrations related to Iraq and Afghanistan.[37]
  38. Homeland Security employee purchases include 63-inch plasma TVs, iPods, and $230 for a beer brewing kit.[38]
  39. Two drafting errors in the 2005 Deficit Reduction Act resulted in a $2 billion taxpayer cost.[39]
  40. North Ridgeville, Ohio, received $800,000 in “stimulus” funds for a project that its mayor described as “a long way from the top priority.”[40]
  41. The National Institutes of Health spends $1.3 million per month to rent a lab that it cannot use.[41]
  42. Congress recently spent $2.4 billion on 10 new jets that the Pentagon insists it does not need and will not use.[42]
  43. Lawmakers diverted $13 million from Hurricane Katrina relief spending to build a museum celebrating the Army Corps of Engineers–the agency partially responsible for the failed levees that flooded New Orleans.[43]
  44. Medicare officials recently mailed $50 million in erroneous refunds to 230,000 Medicare recipients.[44]
  45. Audits showed $34 billion worth of Department of Homeland Security contracts contained significant waste, fraud, and abuse.[45]
  46. Washington recently spent $1.8 million to help build a private golf course in Atlanta, Georgia.[46]
  47. The Advanced Technology Program spends $150 million annually subsidizing private businesses; 40 percent of this funding goes to Fortune 500 companies.[47]
  48. Congressional investigators were able to receive $55,000 in federal student loan funding for a fictional college they created to test the Department of Education.[48]
  49. The Conservation Reserve program pays farmers $2 billion annually not to farm their land.[49]
  50. The Commerce Department has lost 1,137 computers since 2001, many containing Americans’ personal data.[50]
Anyone else disgusted?

BZ

11 thoughts on “Government Waste:

  1. This is decades of incompetence, over-regulation and just plain pay-offs by Congresscritters to their favorite businesses and social groups. These are beyond just the mere amount wasted on earmarks (and if these earmarks are ‘off budget items’ then how do they get enacted?) but structural waste. Do we really need something like a Dept. of Agriculture? That proved to be a conduit for money from the Reagan Administration to the Iran/Contra deal, then was plussed up by Congresses both D and R led for ‘pet projects’. Really, do we need to give Monsanto more money to do things they are already doing and would do without the government? How many foreign offices does the Ag Dept. have? Sixteen rings a bell from a couple of years ago, possibly more. The corruption of paying Floridians a stipend not to farm their small plots in N. Dakota really does boggle the mind at the low end of pay offs.

    Then the Dept. of Education which has not gotten the reading rate of US schoolchildren above where it was when poor Johnny couldn’t read. Hundreds of billions of dollars for what? The key statistics were flat before the Dept. of Education and remain flat to this day.

    We have had a Dept. of Energy and two major oil shocks and the result is? New energy sources? Better transmission lines? No?

    HHS is set up to deny people who are disabled by putting up a massive, multi-hundred page form in front of them, with necessary tests, doctors reports, etc. to be attached. Say what if you have a mental problem that disables you? One confirmed by another branch of the federal government? Or NIH? Good luck on that, I tell ya.

    How about all that foreign aid? Has it brought peace to Darfur? Found out where all the UN Blue Helmet Baby fathers are? Actually brought any good to the world that we get thanked for? You can’t even point to the 2004 Tsunami as the best relief we could send came in the way of an aircraft carrier battle group that brought the equivalent of a few floating hospitals and water purification plants with it, plus transportation. Seems DoD does better at humanitarian work than State Dept.

    America generates up lots of small businesses on its own, why do we need an SBA?

    The Federal Reserve did the exact wrong things in the late 1920’s and 1930’s and repeated those mistakes the last decade, yet it was made to ‘regulate’ the economy. Good job in turning an economic downturn into something worse! All the while the purchasing power of the dollar that had been stable up to 1912 has plummeted since 1912. Amazing how well we did without a Federal Reserve, no?

    The fact that billions burst along the seams points to the fact that the government is outgrowing not only its clothing but any attempt to keep it IN clothing. The government needs liposuction, a frugal diet and we need better and more representation to keep it on that diet. For that you need a 1:30,000 Max House and letting the legislative branch rip the budget apart down to line items and then scorching those one by one. Small, representative districts remove fat as it won’t help those districts. Open up the skin of this beast with that and start the sucking of money out of government… I’ve had it with elite run government by the Zero Party State of Incumbistan.

  2. Yesterday it was pointed out that the “first time homeowner tax break” was given to illegals and two year old children and yes… somewhere around a 100 IRS employees.

    This government will go down as being more corrupt than Grant’s administration was!!!

  3. And yet, despite this absolute show of incompetence, Congress wants to stick their nose into providing health care for everyone.

    Yeah, I’m disgusted.

  4. Actually I would LOVE someone to do a study on where the Economic Stimulis Funds got apportioned to in realation to who voted for the Obamanation. Here in Dutch Harbor/Unalaska we had several “shovel ready” projects that got turned down. The Tiny village of Akutan on the island next to us got 8 million for a “proposed” airport that they do not yet even own the land for!!!
    Unalaska/Dutch Harbor :McCain/Palin
    Akutan :The Obamanation

    HUMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!!!!!!

  5. That’s a lengthy list BZ, and I bet you missed a lot. Waste and corruption is rampant in D.C., but these guys just don’t care—its not their money. Its always easier spending the other guys money. We could vote them all out, but I feel that would do little good. Something else needs to be done, but I’m just not sure what!

  6. There are plenty of jaw-droppers here. But, in my view, this may take the prize:

    Washington will spend $2.6 million training Chinese prostitutes to drink more responsibly on the job.

    !!!

  7. I tried to pick-out a few that were the most egregious. I couldn’t do it, although I can’t stand knowing that I’m buying wine for bureaucrats. It was assuredly better wine than I can afford to buy to for myself!

    How about the Pentagon spending $998,000+ to ship two 19 cent washers???

    I have acquaintances who get the farm subsidies and certainly should not – their operation does not qualify, but they get it anyway.

    OMGosh. We know this is going on – the waste and abuse, but when you read the details – it is outrageous.

    Thanks BZ. I don’t have to get on the treadmill now. My blood pressure has already had a workout.

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