By Thomas J. Edwards
Federal bureaucrats have reached a peak of arrogance sufficient to be able to tell their bosses — U.S taxpayers — to go to hell. And that arrogance recently and intentionally wasted enough money on parties and extravagance to rejuvenate all of the country’s public housing, build the entire U.S-Mexico border wall, house the homeless, and still have some money left over to help repair the nation’s roads.
We’re talking here of $97 billion — the accumulated amount a survey by OpenTheBooks.com tallied that bureaucrats wasted on lobster tail, snow crab and rib eye feasts, new iPhones and iPads, musical instruments, and furniture, all spent to ensure that all of the money appropriated by Congress to run the government was spent before the Sept. 30 end of the annual federal spending cycle.
A massive loophole in federal spending policy requires bureaucrats to show that all the money appropriated is necessary to do the job before any new money can be allocated. If a bureaucrat shows any semblance of efficiency and saves the taxpayers money, the reward is a penalty — the savings are “recaptured” and attached to the following year’s appropriation which would be cut to match the amount of savings.
That policy is what is known as government logic. Why wasn’t there a big media splash about wasteful spending? That spending rationale and corresponding binge escaped public scrutiny because of a media environment largely bereft of economic knowledge and how to conduct research.
“Agencies worry spending less than their budget allows might prompt Congress to appropriate less money in the next fiscal year,” OpenTheBooks.com says. “To avoid this, federal agencies choose to embark on an annual shopping spree rather than admit they can operate on less.”
Some examples of the binge include:
• Furniture: The federal government spent $490.6 million on furniture — including $1.1 million on standing desks, $2.7 million on ergonomic chairs (a Wexford Leather club chair cost taxpayers $9,241), $643,833 on sofas, and $40,379 on clocks. Another $62.1 million was spent on household furnishings.
• Food: More than $402 million was spent on food. The Pentagon spent $2.3 million on snow crab, Alaskan king crab and crab legs, and $2.3 million on lobster tail. The State and Defense departments spent $308,994 on alcohol, including a $76,173 contract with Coors Brewing Company. More than $293.000 was spent on top sirloin, rib eye, and flank steak.
• Tech Toys: $7.7 million was spent on iPhones and iPads.
• Sports & Fitness: $9,8 million on workout and recreation equipment including top-of-the-line CrossFit equipment.
• Toys: Defense, State, and Homeland Security departments spent $412,008 paint and artist’s brushes. New golf carts cost taxpayers $673,471. Games and toys cost $2.1 million.
• Music: $1.7 million on pianos, tubas, and trombones.
• Propaganda: To camouflage the extravagance, bureaucrats poured $462 million into public relations for disinformation and deception ploys.
OpenTheBooks.com notes that bureaucrats rushed to spend a total of $53 billion in the final seven days of the fiscal year, more than they spent during the entire month of August 2018.
To set the record straight, it is estimated that $50 billion would repair our public housing safety net, $25 billion would build the wall and pay for all the surveillance accouterments including more border patrol agents, and $10 billion would largely resolve the homelessness crisis for the time being.
So much for prudent spending of our tax dollars.
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