Washington, DC - At a time when the National Debt is so obviously out of control, two recent reports put a new spotlight on "the government's blatant, wasteful" spending habits, according to Dan Weber, president of the Association of Mature American Citizens.
"A Government Accountability Office assessment shows that federal spendthrifts are shelling out big bucks for no good reason to the tune of nearly $125 billion for things we don't need, don't want or can't use. Meanwhile, scrutiny of one agency's budgets over the past several years shows a puzzling pattern of spending the EPA. The agency has created an enormous propaganda machine and appears to be preparing for war with expenditures for state of the art military weaponry," Weber said.
The non-partisan government watchdog project, openthebooks.com, says the Environmental Protection Agency has spent millions equipping a 200-man army with guns, ammunition, body armor, camouflage, unmanned aircraft, amphibious assault ships, radar and night vision surveillance equipment.
The agency also employs "1,020 employees with the title of general attorney" who have been paid more than $1.1 billion over the past eight years, the OTB report reveals. The EPA also has 198 in-house public affairs officers on the payroll who are aided by outside mega-buck public relations consultants.
"I guess their strategy is to shoot and sue environmental miscreants and if that doesn't work they can talk them to death," quipped Weber.
The Government Accountability Office this week also issued a report exposing recklessly inappropriate spending at 22 other government agencies "and the numbers are astronomical," the AMAC chief added. "It was bad enough last year when it was reported that $105.8 billion of taxpayer money was lost or misspent, but the GAO says that a year later some 20% more 'loose change' went missing, an astounding $124.7 billion."
These were payments that "should not have been made or that were made in an incorrect amount (including overpayments and underpayments)," the GAO explained, noting that its aim was to identify ways the government can keep track of bad spending habits. The agency cited, as an example, the need to strengthen the ways the government verifies Medicare providers and suppliers as a means of reducing improper payments.
"It's bad enough that the government has a tendency to play fast and loose with taxpayer dollars with regards to their budget estimates. The issue of improper spending is almost an obscene punctuation mark that stresses the need for greater oversight of those we entrust with our hard earned bucks," said Weber.
When he saw the GAO report, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Orrin Hatch, succinctly summed up his take on the problem. "We talk about so much money here in Congress - millions, billions, and trillions of dollars. We casually cite dollar figures that are incomprehensible to most people. And, too often, politicians and policymakers talk about these dollars as if they are Washington's, as if the funds just materialized out of thin air for the sole purpose of being spent by the government."
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