It’s a bleak search for good news on the Three Martini Lunch. Today, Jim and Greg cringe as reports show the federal government has been flailing unsuccessfully for a sound policy in Afghanistan, lying to the public about what’s been achieved, and wasting an obscene amount of taxpayer dollars. They also react to the mass shooting committed by a Saudi military officer at Pensacola Naval Air Station Friday, in what increasingly appears to be an act of Islamic terrorism. And they roll their eyes hard as the Democratic counsel for the House Judiciary Committee claims his young son asked him a deep and probing question about the character of the president.
The national debt just eclipsed $22 trillion, so wasting $100 billion per year seems small in comparison, but a government watchdog says federal agencies are wasting huge sums of money to ensure they keep getting even more.
It’s called “use it or lose it” spending. Agencies get a certain amount of money allotted each year in federal spending, and as the fiscal year draws to a close, the spending tends to ramp up dramatically.
“The federal agency heads spend down their budgets this year so they get the same or more money appropriated by Congress for the next year,” said Adam Andrzejewski, founder and CEO at openthebooks.com.
In September 2018 alone, Andrzejewski reports that federal agencies shelled out nearly $100 billion. Twenty percent of of the annual budget went towards this spending.
“In the last week, federal agencies spent $53 billion on contracts. This was roughly one out of every ten dollars spent on the year was spent on this last week,” said Andrzejewski.
Listen to the full podcast as Andrzejewski offers examples of how that taxpayer money was spent at the end of the year and what he thinks of President Trump’s budget blueprint that calls for a five percent spending cut in Fiscal Year 2020.
President Trump never mentioned the national debt, the federal deficit. or wasteful spending in his State of the Union message, and Democrats also dodged the issues in their response. A leading fiscal watchdog says that was a big mistake.
“I really think the president missed an opportunity here to take his own party to task on spending,” said Adam Andrzejewski, CEO and Founder of OpentheBooks.com.
Andrzejewski joined dozens of other conservative allies in taking out an ad in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal, imploring Trump to address the issue. The letter included many former lawmakers and public officials, including former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese III.
The base of his party wants the president to hone the budget. They want him to go after waste, fraud, corruption, and abuse,” said Andrzejewski.
Trump is hamstrung on the issue in multiple ways: He refuses to reform entitlements and Democrats now control the U.S. House of Representatives. Andrzejewski says the president is also facing stiff resistance within his own administration to his call for five percent spending cuts.
“We hear that the cabinet secretaries aren’t serious about the five percent cuts. That’s the purpose of coming back to this topic to encourage the president to really make this a signature part of his administration,” said Andrzejewski.
Andrzejewski says Trump could also pressure Congress to cut way back on the $600 billion spent every year on grants. Those grants include $1.4 to teach sex education to California prostitutes, and nearly a million dollars each for Cornell University to study where it hurts most to get stung by a bee and Harvard to breed pugilistic mice.
He also says taxpayers lost $136 billion on mistaken payments and that the average pay and benefits for a federal bureaucrat now exceeds $100,000.
Listen to the full podcast to hear Andrzejewski explain other bad habits in Washington that cost us money and how citizens must be the ones to demand better.