The scare tactics surrounding the budget “cuts” that were set to be triggered today are so ludicrous, because even if they involved actual cuts, they’d be so negligible that you couldn’t see them with the naked eye.
There is absolutely no incentive whatsoever for the federal government to be careful with the money it extracts from the taxpayer, the money it borrows or the money it creates from nothing. From their perspective, they have an endless flow of money with which they can use to do whatever they want. They might talk about fiscal responsibility to get elected, but once they get into office and are surrounded by Washington money and power, many of them just can’t resist it.
There’s no way to catalogue total government waste because it’s endless. Most of government spending is waste, and especially when you factor in the unconstitutionality of the vast majority of federal agencies, practically everything is waste. “Government waste” has become redundant. That’s what makes this whole sequestration thing preposterous.
Recently, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee released a report that detailed how much had been spent last year just on big-ticket government conferences. Big-ticket conferences are those that cost $100,000 or more. In total, there were 894 big-ticket conferences last year that cost $340 million:
“[T]he Defense Department, which is also the biggest department in Washington, held nearly 300 conferences at a cost of $89 million. The Department of Veterans Affairs held 127 at a cost of $72.7 million; the Justice Department held 107 at a cost of $58.7 million; and the Department of Health and Human Services held 140, at a cost of $56.1 million.”
A few years ago, the Heritage Foundation released a list of 50 examples of government waste. Here are some of the bigger ones:
- Examples from multiple Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports of wasteful duplication include 342 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.
- The federal government made at least $72 billion in improper payments in 2008.
- Washington spends $92 billion on corporate welfare (excluding TARP) versus $71 billion on homeland security.
- 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.
- A GAO audit found that 95 Pentagon weapons systems suffered from a combined $295 billion in cost overruns.
- Audits showed $34 billion worth of Department of Homeland Security contracts contained significant waste, fraud, and abuse.
These are old numbers from 2009, so they’re likely much bigger today. The point is that it’s beyond ridiculous to try to scare people about these budget “cuts” when there are already hundreds of billions if not trillions of dollars of sheer waste in government right now that should be cut. Besides, these “cuts” are actually increasing the federal budget by $110 billion.