Opinion: Greatest Hits of Government Waste Rife in Latest Spending Bill

Congress passed, and President Joe Biden just signed, the most recent short-term government funding bill to keep the government running.

The bill effectively kicks the issue further down the road and ensures taxpayers continue to pay for a bloated government until January. Democrat Patty Murray, Senate Appropriations Committee Chair of Washington, said, “…avoiding a (government) shutdown is so very far from mission accomplished. We have a lot of work to do after the dust settles and before the next shutdown deadline comes up.” 

In the past, the government shutdown fake scenario has meant preserving all current spending while adding additional debt. This time around, it will be different. 

Because the “work” is not likely to include reforming Medicare and Social Security — the most significant debt driver — fiscally conservative Republicans should focus on additional spending to shame corrupt spenders and let voters know that their borrowed money and tax dollars are being wasted.

President of Citizens Against Government Waste, Thomas A. Schatz, has devised a list of proposed cuts that should be a starting point.

Several unnecessary expenses need to be cut

The Pentagon announced last year it would spend $5.1 million to construct a new golf course at Joint Base Andrews when there are already 19 military golf courses located in the Washington D.C. area.

There has been one unnecessary expense cut — the $440,000 for attendants to push the buttons on automated elevators in the Capitol Hill complex.

The CIA and Pentagon hired psychics in the hopes they would provide unique insights about numerous foreign threats. Cost = $11 million.

The National Endowment for the Humanities spent $4.2 million to conduct a “National Conversation on Pluralism and Identity.” 

There was also a study to determine the quality of life in Hawaii. That cost us $187,042.

Then, there was $40 million in false food stamp claims. Five Florida residents stole $20 million from Medicare, part of annual $17 billion in annual Medicare fraud.

Many congressional members don’t seem to care because it isn’t their money being spent.

If Republicans started at the relatively small amounts and used them toward the debt, they may be better positioned to trim the massive spending like Medicare and Social Security. They could also encourage people to look at the U.S. Debt Clock.

Financial advisory firm Morgan Stanley summarized the threat we face from debt in a recent post on its website: “The current federal debt pile is already massive, at over $33 trillion, a staggering post-WWII high that represents $122 of gross domestic product (GDP). A recent report from the Treasury showed the government spent $659 billion in net interest payments during the fiscal year ending in September — around 39% more than the previous period. 

The Congressional Budget Office estimates this interest expense could double in the next decade, meaning the United States government might be spending more on interest payments than other budget categories, including defense. 

The Congressional Budget Office estimates this interest expense could double during the next decade, meaning the government of the United States might be spending more on interest payments than on other significant budget categories, including defense. 

Burgeoning national debt can not only increase borrowing costs for everyone; it could additionally crowd out funding for other priorities.

Debt hasn’t been a significant contributor to the decline and, in several cases, collapse of nations in the past. Why do we think we can ignore the basic rules of economics and not suffer similar consequences?