Whenever Democrats argue for more federal spending, they pay lip service to the universally known truth of government waste. But simply saying, “Yeah, we should do something about that…” isn’t good enough. There isn’t anything to be done about it. It’s the nature of the beast, and it would take a dramatic overhaul of the political process to bring it within shouting distance of acceptable. There are plenty of good economic reasons to take a hacksaw to the federal budget, but poor fiscal responsibility has to be up there at the top.
Case in point. It turns out that the U.S. Department of Agriculture misspent $2.4 billion on the food stamp program in 2014. Granted, that’s only a small fraction of the estimated $80 billion SNAP budget, but we can’t get to the point where we look at such a massive number and shrug. It’s crunch time, and we need to closely examine where each and every billion goes.
That’s Not All…
The report comes from the Office of Inspector General, and the improper payments for food stamps were only part of the problem. The OIG also pointed out improper spending through the National School Lunch Program totaling $1.7 billion as well as another $923 million in improper payments through the school breakfast program. This isn’t just a matter of overfunding; the report pointed out that “misspending” includes payments for “goods and services not received.” In other words, money is being thrown into the void.
As long as there are taxes, there will be a citizenry ready to complain about said taxes. But while irritation about the government’s greedy paws may be almost cliché, we can’t ignore the myriad of ways in which our tax dollars are being wasted. The food stamp program is only the tip of the iceberg. Much of our tax money is frittered away in ways the federal government fully owns up to. A report in October showed some of the most ridiculous things Washington has seen fit to do with our hard-earned money. They include:
– $387,000 for a study on how rabbits respond to robot-provided Swedish massage.
– $331,000 for a study to see if couples would be more likely to stab a voodoo doll representing their spouse when they were hungry.
– $4.2 billion in improper tax refunds for identity thieves.
– $371,000 for a study to see if moms loved their pets as much as their children.
– $100,000 for the Coast Guard to prevent people from crashing exclusive holiday parties.
It goes on and on. Liberals think that conservatives have some kind of strange ideological obsessions with privatization, but that’s really not the case. Government has its place. But private corporations have to be responsible for their expenditures (when the federal government isn’t bailing them out, of course.) That isn’t a philosophy shared by Congress or the president’s administration. Waste leads to higher taxes, inefficiency, and a spiraling national debt. We can do better.