Look at it this way. Obama’s big hustle for a tax hike on the upper middle class and rich only brings in 70 billion a year. The government makes more in improper payments than even that tax hike can pay for. And that’s a fraction of government waste showing once again that you cannot tax your way out of wasteful and inefficient government.
And that $108 billion isn’t even the full figure.
On Jan. 17, the Department of the Treasury came out with its year-end report for fiscal 2012. One of the biggest highlights of the report was the Government Accountability Office’s estimate that $108 billion was lost to improper payments by the federal government.
This means the federal government has improved by only about 1 percent in its oversight since 2009.
First, while the Treasury report reveals improper payments totaled $108 billion, only about 64 percent of federal spending was able to be examined by the GAO. As such, the amount lost to improper payments could easily total more than $160 billion.
Second, the GAO has released two of its three audits on duplication in the federal government. While the agency has not defined just how much this spending costs the taxpayers, Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., has estimated the cost to be $100 billion in each report thus far. If we assume the third report — due out in February — has the same amount of duplication, this means at least $300 billion lost to duplicated programs.
Last year, Coburn’s office found as much as $700 billion may simply be sitting in never-used federal grant funds. In examining one-tenth of the total, his office found funds going as far back as the Atlanta Olympics in 1996.
There is no way to tell exactly how much money is lost to fraud, waste, abuse, duplication and simple stupidity in the federal government. However, based on the above calculations, it is not unreasonable to estimate that anywhere from $400 billion to $450 billion is lost in improper payments plus duplication.
So the ceiling may well be anywhere at all. We have no idea. It might be 300 billion. It might be a trillion. Most of the Federal budget may just be a dream in the mind of a sleeping butterfly in China.
… but if only we raise taxes some more, our spending will be sustainable once again.