Government Made $108 Billion in Improper Payments Last Year

And don’t worry, that’s only the tip of the iceberg. How much is 108 billion in a time when the government treats money like it’s an imaginary value?

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.

  • cxt

    And those on the Left wonder why people are so opposed to new taxes.

    It's NOT the taxes per-se. Money is tight, people are hurting so any new tax is a serious problem. But more-often-than-not people are willing to dig deeper to help out (IMO)

    But when the money we dig deeper to help out is simply wasted people have no confidence that MORE monies will be better spent…….all most folks see is more money that is going to be WASTED.

    As Mr. Greenfield pointed out.

    • Mary Sue

      that's because they're TRYING to bankrupt people, in order to force them onto the government dole.

  • tagalog

    In ten years, a savings of $108 billion a year would total almost $1.1 trillion. That kind of savings is NOT chump change. Other proposals for savings in areas of waste involve lower amounts of money, which has been downplayed by the Obama administration as too small to make a difference (as if saving $10 million here and $15 million there, times a dozen or so isn't significant), but this one involves, as one Senator once remarked, "real money."

    $700 billion in lost federal grant funds dating back 16 years would get pretty close to paying off the stimulus bail-out money from 2009. That would be nice, actually seeing our government pay some of its debts.

  • Ar'nun

    What exactly do they mean by "improper payment"??? Are we talking welfare, Medicaid? Or are we talking payments on our debts?

    • Frank

      "An improper payment occurs when the funds go to the wrong recipient, the recipient receives the incorrect amount of funds, or the recipient uses the funds in an improper manner. By strengthening financial management controls so that Federal agencies can better detect and prevent improper payments, the Federal Government can better ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent wisely and efficiently."

  • barkway

    How much have all our dabblings in the Middle East, including rebuilding efforts cost? (also frought with massive waste, fraud, & abuse as evidenced by Reuters report on the lack of any Pentagon audit as required by for 20 yrs).