represented in the examples of 30 government waste below:
The federal government made at least $72 billion in improper payments in 2008.
Washington spends $92 billion on corporate welfare (excluding TARP) versus $71 billion on homeland security.
Washington spends $25 billion annually maintaining unused or vacant federal properties.
Government auditors spent the past five years examining all federal programs and found that 22 percent of them—costing taxpayers a total of $123 billion annually—fail to show any positive impact on the populations they serve.
The Congressional Budget Office published a “Budget Options” series identifying more than $100 billion in potential spending cuts.
Examples from multiple Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports of wasteful duplication include 342 economic development programs; 130 programs serving the disabled; 130 programs serving at-risk youth; 90 early childhood development programs; 75 programs funding international education, cultural, and training exchange activities; and 72 safe water programs.
Washington will spend $2.6 million training Chinese prostitutes to drink more responsibly on the job.
A GAO audit classified nearly half of all purchases on government credit cards as improper, fraudulent, or embezzled. Examples of taxpayer-funded purchases include gambling, mortgage payments, liquor, lingerie, iPods, Xboxes, jewelry, Internet dating services, and Hawaiian vacations. In one extraordinary example, the Postal Service spent $13,500 on one dinner at a Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, including “over 200 appetizers and over $3,000 of alcohol, including more than 40 bottles of wine costing more than $50 each and brand-name liquor such as Courvoisier, Belvedere and Johnny Walker Gold.” The 81 guests consumed an average of $167 worth of food and drink apiece.
Federal agencies are delinquent on nearly 20 percent of employee travel charge cards, costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars annually.
The Securities and Exchange Commission spent $3.9 million rearranging desks and offices at its Washington, D.C., headquarters.
The Pentagon recently spent $998,798 shipping two 19-cent washers from South Carolina to Texas and $293,451 sending an 89-cent washer from South Carolina to Florida.
Over half of all farm subsidies go to commercial farms, which report average household incomes of $200,000.
Health care fraud is estimated to cost taxpayers more than $60 billion annually.
A GAO audit found that 95 Pentagon weapons systems suffered from a combined $295 billion in cost overruns.
The refusal of many federal employees to fly coach costs taxpayers $146 million annually in flight upgrades.
Washington will spend $126 million in 2009 to enhance the Kennedy family legacy in Massachusetts. Additionally, Senator John Kerry (D-MA) diverted $20 million from the 2010 defense budget to subsidize a new Edward M. Kennedy Institute.
Federal investigators have launched more than 20 criminal fraud investigations related to the TARP financial bailout.
Despite trillion-dollar deficits, last year’s 10,160 earmarks included $200,000 for a tattoo removal program in Mission Hills, California; $190,000 for the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming; and $75,000 for the Totally Teen Zone in Albany, Georgia.
The federal government owns more than 50,000 vacant homes.
The Federal Communications Commission spent $350,000 to sponsor NASCAR driver David Gilliland.
Members of Congress have spent hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars supplying their offices with popcorn machines, plasma televisions, DVD equipment, ionic air fresheners, camcorders, and signature machines—plus $24,730 leasing a Lexus, $1,434 on a digital camera, and $84,000 on personalized calendars.
More than $13 billion in Iraq aid has been classified as wasted or stolen. Another $7.8 billion cannot be accounted for.
Fraud related to Hurricane Katrina spending is estimated to top $2 billion. In addition, debit cards provided to hurricane victims were used to pay for Caribbean vacations, NFL tickets, Dom Perignon champagne, “Girls Gone Wild” videos, and at least one sex change operation.
Auditors discovered that 900,000 of the 2.5 million recipients of emergency Katrina assistance provided false names, addresses, or Social Security numbers or submitted multiple applications.
Congress recently gave Alaska Airlines $500,000 to paint a Chinook salmon on a Boeing 737.
The Transportation Department will subsidize up to $2,000 per flight for direct flights between Washington, D.C., and the small hometown of Congressman Hal Rogers (R-KY)—but only on Monday mornings and Friday evenings, when lawmakers, staff, and lobbyists usually fly. Rogers is a member of the Appropriations Committee, which writes the Transportation Department’s budget.
Washington has spent $3 billion re-sanding beaches—even as this new sand washes back into the ocean.
A Department of Agriculture report concedes that much of the $2.5 billion in “stimulus” funding for broadband Internet will be wasted.
The Defense Department wasted $100 million on unused flight tickets and never bothered to collect refunds even though the tickets were refundable.
Washington spends $60,000 per hour shooting Air Force One photo-ops in front of national landmarks.