Government Spending

Obama Administration Finds Federal Government Spends $125 Billion on Improper Payments, Proposes Pilot Programs That Might Save $100 Million

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In 2010, the federal government spent $125 billion—that's billion with a "b"!—on "improper payments." That's taxpayer money spent on fraud, error, checks cut to dead people, prisoners, crooks, scammers, and figments of our collective imagination who never existed at all. But don't worry. The Obama administration has made it a "priority" this year to weed out bad payments. And so, according to a blog post signed by Obama's top budget geek, Jacob Lew, the White House is instituting four new pilot programs it hopes will help "save money and significantly improve program integrity, service delivery and efficiency." Pilot programs! How much money will these programs save? Well, according to Lew's post, "if they are successfully scaled," they "could" (maybe!) save $100 million—yes, that's million with an "m." 

To be fair, the administration does have bigger savings in mind: The president's budget, if passed, includes a variety of reform proposals that are estimated to save as much as $160 billion over the next decade. Why, that's almost 13 percent of the $1.25 trillion worth of improper payments we'd see over the next decade if bad payments simply held flat at this year's levels. Unfortunately, that doesn't seem especially likely given that between 2009 and 2010, improper payments rose by $15 billion. 

This isn't the first time a White House budget director has stroked his chin and suggested that perhaps all these faulty payments are a problem: Last year, former Obama budget braniac Peter Orszag noticed that the federal government was making a lot payments to criminals and people of the not-alive persuasion, and wondered aloud about whether the administration should maybe do something about it. 

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  1. We have too many stupid and wasteful programs, so we are addressing this problem by implementing stupid and wasteful programs.

    Sounds about right.

    1. Lets add another thirty stories onto this delapidated lean-to. What’s that? No, we will worry about the foundation and the plumbing after we get finished building skyward. Don’t you tards understand how building in Progressive America(TM) works?

  2. In 2010, the federal government cut $125 billion?that’s billion with a “b”!?worth of “improper payments.”

    At first glance I thought this sentence meant that they cut it as cutting a budget, not as in cutting a check…

    1. Between reading it first and reloading it to read the comments, the ‘cut’ was changed to ‘spent’. Good thing, cause I was confused as well.

    2. Chalk it up to “improper sentence writing.”

      1. How much does that cost us, Suder-Man?

  3. It’s hard–almost impossible–not to view the whole budget as a giant con game.

    1. $3.7 trillion monte.

      1. It’s like a mob called Congress is running everything.

        1. Seeing the anarcho-capitalist point of view yet, ProL? How are these fucks any different than warlords/strongmen, except in this case, they have supposed legitimacy?

          1. You can’t vote for strongmen! Democracy!

          2. No, but I do think the desire of most of us to enslave and/or steal from all of us is a big problem. One that maybe we can’t overcome in any permanent way.

            1. So if that’s the case, why do you prefer a system where you legitimize the enslavers and stealers? At least in anarchy, there would be no pretending that these people were anything other than what they are.

              Government–any government–is best for whom, ProL? It’s best for those in it, as always.

              1. No minds were changed.

                1. This is correct.

                  I think we’re going to have government whether we call it that or not. With nothing, something is going to fill the void. With a limited government–one more limited and with better checks than what we started with–maybe we can delay the inevitable slide into corruption and oppression.

        2. It’s like a A mob called Congress is running everything.

          FTFY

          1. I accept this revision.

  4. former Obama budget director Peter Orszag … wondered aloud about whether the administration should maybe do something about it.

    Well, there’s your problem.

    Here, the former budget director wouldn’t be wondering aloud, if you catch my drift.

    1. former Obama budget director Peter Orszag … wondered aloud about whether the administration should maybe do something about it.

      BLASPHEMER!!!

  5. The only so0lution is to cut the programs that waste, all of them. If there are over 1300 federal agencies and departments, and there are, I bet we can survive with 1% of those. Lets start there.

    1. That would make a fine History Channel production: Life After Bureaucracy.

      http://www.history.com/shows/life-after-people

    2. I would wager that we could, in fact, thrive with 0%.

  6. It is really a simple equation, more governmental spending is good, less is bad. Removing $125 billion, and its’ subsequent multiplier effect, from the US economy would throw the economic recovery off. Or something along those lines.

    1. Fair point. More waste and fraud please! For teh economies and jobs!

  7. How much money will these programs save? Well, according to Lew’s post, “if they are successfully scaled,” they “could” (maybe!) save $100 million?yes, that’s million with an “m.”

    They neglect to mention that enacting these pilot programs will cost $1 billion.

    1. Just think of the jobs they will create.

  8. I read a great idea about this. (May have even been here.)

    List every single budget item, and then prioritize them, with the obvious sacred cows of non-discretionary spending at the top, and proceeding down to less and less important things. Then, allocate the budget to items by priority. Anything that isn’t funded when the incoming funds are used up is permanently cut from the budget. Easy!

  9. Orszag noted that the federal government was making a lot payments to criminals and people of the not-alive persuasion, and wondered aloud about whether the administration should maybe do something about it.

    Are you kidding? They are the administration’s target demographics!

  10. Waste, fraud and abuse?

    I think we know whom to blame.

    1. Could it be …… SATAN?!

  11. It’s hard–almost impossible–not to view the whole budget as a giant con game.

    Sounds like a, you know, scam to me.

    1. Sounds like a scam to me, too. If fact, we should call it a scamocracy.

  12. people of the not-alive persuasion

    Oh. You must mean Hubie Brown.

    And anyone he’s bit.

  13. Just a thought, I’m on mostly everyones side here that these programs have to go, but what in God’s name are we going to do that the semi-useless people that are now unemployed with the 99% cut in federal workers. Better get ready for the immense unemployment compensation, which would be cheaper none the less.

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