Budgetology: Alley Oops!

| March 18 2013

Budgetology: Alley-Oops!

Amidst the sequester debate, the White House has tirelessly argued against cutting spending, insisting that “there’s no smart way” to do it so quickly.  But how much time have they actually spent examining areas where spending could be cut? Despite promises to go “line-by-line” through the budget, stories of excessive waste are still making headlines: “VA made stunning $2.2 billion in mistaken payments in 2012,” “Millions Improperly Claimed U.S. Phone Subsidies,” “In Oklahoma, tiny airport attracts federal money, but few planes.” When will our leaders realize that federal spending has gotten out of hand?

 

WHITE HOUSE: “NO SMART WAY” TO IMPLEMENT SEQUESTER CUTS

President Obama: “The problem is, when you’re cutting $85 billion in seven months … there’s no smart way to do that.  There’s no smart way to do that.” (“Obama On Sequester Cuts: ‘There’s No Smart Way To Do That,'” Real Clear Politics, 2/26/13)

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney: “There is no positive way to slice $85 billion out of the budget in six months.” (Jay Carney, White House Press Briefing, 3/13/13)

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney: “There is no way to do this.  $85 billion over that short window of time … there is no way, if you follow the law written by Congress, that implementation of those cuts would not have the draconian, drastic effects that the President talked about.” (Jay Carney, White House Press Briefing, 2/19/13)

 

YET WASTEFUL SPENDING EXAMPLES STILL SPLASING ACROSS HEADLINES

Washington Guardian: “VA made stunning $2.2 billion in mistaken payments in 2012” (John Solomon, “VA made stunning $2.2 billion in mistaken payments in 2012,”Washington Guardian, 3/18/13)

  • Errant Payments Increased from 2011 to 2012. “And despite increased attention from the agency’s internal watchdog and its fiscal managers, the VA’s percentage of errant payments actually jumped substantially from 2.65 percent in 2011 to 3.4 percent in 2012, according to the department’s own fiscal records.” (John Solomon, “VA made stunning $2.2 billion in mistaken payments in 2012,” Washington Guardian, 3/18/13)

 “TSA Signs $50 Million Uniform Deal, As Billions In Federal Cuts Ripple Across America.” “The Transportation Security Administration agreed on a deal last month worth as much as $50 million to buy new uniforms for rank-and-file agents, despite concerns that imminent budget cuts would result in furloughs and 90-minute flight delays. Agency officials signed the contract just days before the start of the $85 billion in federal budget cuts known as sequester.” (“TSA signs $50 million uniform deal, as billions in federal cuts ripple across America,” Fox News, 3/6/13)

“GOP leaders spent tens of thousands on coffee, doughnuts and catering.” A congressional audit report for October, November and December showed the top three Republican House leaders’ offices spent almost $30,000 in “supplies and materials”  – of which almost $24,000, or 80.4 percent, was for food and beverages. (Sara Carter, “GOP leaders spent tens of thousands on coffee, doughnuts and catering,” Washington Guardian, 3/16/13)

Lake Murray State Park Airport in Ardmore, Oklahoma: “An Airport Without Passengers” That’s Kept Open By The Government. “Every year, Oklahoma is allotted $150,000 in federal funding because of this place, the result of a grant program established 13 years ago, in Congress’s golden age of pork. The same amount goes to hundreds of other tiny airfields across the country — including more than 80 like this one, with no paying customers and no planes based at the field.” (David A Fahrenthold, “In Oklahoma, tiny airport attracts federal money, but few planes,” The Washington Post, 2/25/13)

“Millions Improperly Claimed U.S. Phone Subsidies.” “The U.S. government spent about $2.2 billion last year to provide phones to low-income Americans, but a Wall Street Journal review of the program shows that a large number of those who received the phones haven’t proved they are eligible to receive them. … A review of five top recipients of Lifeline support conducted by the FCC for the Journal showed that 41% of their more than six million subscribers either couldn’t demonstrate their eligibility or didn’t respond to requests for certification.” (Spencer E. Ante, “Millions Improperly Claimed U.S. Phone Subsidies,” The Wall Street Journal, 2/11/13)

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