Former Chief Economist at Dept of Labor: Federal Workers Are Rewarded When They Waste Your Money


In DC the general rule is that agencies should spend every single dollar allocated for that agency so that next year the agency can ask for even more. Plus agency managers measure their stature by the size of the budget they command. If for some reason the amount of money spent by agency X dropped significantly, this in the mind of the bureaucrats means a commensurate drop in power and influence for that agency. No one wants that. (No one inside the Beltway anyway.) So every year it’s spend spend spend. Little regard is given to the fact that it’s the taxpayer’s money the agencies are spending. Anyone who did raise the issue seriously would be laughed out of the boardroom.

(From Real Clear Markets)

Of course, these purchases are a drop in the bucket compared to our total 2014 budget deficit, which the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates will come in at about $506 billion ($3 trillion in revenue and $3.5 trillion in outlays). The year 2014 is an improvement upon 2013, when the deficit was $680 billion ($2.8 trillion in revenues and $3.45 trillion in outlays). The deficit is driven by entitlement spending, not pianos and paintings.

Even so, there should be a way to save last-minute unspent dollars, rather than spending them.

Funds appropriated to federal agencies must be obligated before October 1 or be forfeited to the Treasury. Agencies are encouraged to spend every last dime in their budgets to justify their current funding levels, in an attempt to avoid becoming a target for future spending cuts in Congress.

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