OpinionMeister

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Top 10 List for Government Waste

Brian M. Riedl of The Heritage Foundation has compiled a top 10 list for government waste. Link. The whole article is worth reading, but I will just wet your appetite with Number One in its entirety.
1. The Missing $25 Billion

Buried in the Department of the Treasury’s 2003 Financial Report of the United States Government is a short section titled “Unreconciled Transactions Affecting the Change in Net Position,” which explains that these unreconciled transactions totaled $24.5 billion in 2003.[2]

The unreconciled transactions are funds for which auditors cannot account: The government knows that $25 billion was spent by someone, somewhere, on something, but auditors do not know who spent it, where it was spent, or on what it was spent. Blaming these unreconciled transactions on the failure of federal agencies to report their expenditures adequately, the Treasury report con­cludes that locating the money is “a priority.”

The unreconciled $25 billion could have funded the entire Department of Justice for an entire year.

I have seen many lists like this before. They make for amusing and frustrating reading, but I do not think that any of them had ever resulted in any wasteful program being cut or eliminated. Here's hoping the President Bush's push to cut the growth of federal spending will catch some of these.

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