Recently a Pentagon funded and internally-conducted study revealed $125 billion of wasted taxpayer funds in 2014 alone. Reportedly the Pentagon attempted to hide the study results because of fears that Congress would use them as a reason to cut federal spending. The waste spans across many aspects of the government’s budget, including “Medicare and Medicaid mismanagement” to ineffective and/or inefficient “transportation programs”. Despite the Government Accountability Office recommending 440 changes across “180 areas where federal agencies can cut back on fragmented, overlapping, and duplicative spending programs”, as of November 2014, only 29% of these fixes had been carried out. This report shows yet again that government bureaucracies not only create waste, but are additionally culpable for their incapability to fix the problems that cause the wasteful budgeting.
The pattern of waste that the Federal Government displays is a real problem that, if fixed, would be a huge first step in reducing our nation’s debt. Currently just under $20 trillion, the U.S. Government’s debt is still increasing, and is a very important issue that cannot be ignored, even though it is rarely discussed. Although debt accumulation and large-scale borrowing is the result of a complex set of various factors, there is now definitive proof that the current U.S. Federal Government is bad at managing funds.
When asked about the “rampant wasteful spending” in the Internal Revenue Service’s budget report, the IRS actually claimed that their mistakes of spending too much money (to accomplish nothing) were caused by a lack of funds and manpower. The absurdity of claims such as these, and the fact that they are taken as legitimate reasons for wasteful spending, is appalling.
The root cause of the mismanagement and poor allocation of government funds seems to be overpopulated bureaucracies that cost a lot and produce very little. The nature of a bureaucracy has evolved into a situation where any simple task is delegated, because no one wants to deal with the problem. Eventually this delegation leaves the task in the hands of someone with too little power, money, or experience to properly deal with it. The rate at which our country is acquiring debt, while simultaneously failing to remedy the problem, is fiscally unsustainable in the long term. Obviously something as large and clunky as the U.S Federal Government cannot be expected to make no mistakes; details are bound to fall through the cracks. However, for hundreds of billions of dollars to disappear into the blackhole of bureaucracy is unacceptable.
The U.S. Federal bureaucracy and Congress borrow money like a young married couple buying a house. Unfortunately they have the spending habits of a 28 year old shopaholic who can’t drive past a mall without picking out a new pair of boots, while relying on a credit score backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. Government. Rather than looking for wasteful program funding to cut, Congress looks to foreign countries to bail us out. When that money runs out, we return on our hands and knees to foreign investors who are more than happy to lend us more money. This cycle of borrowing more than we can chew has caused our severe level of national debt to rise $12 trillion in 14 years.