Government Waste

Pivotfarm's picture

 

Waste is a many splendid thing that in all circumstances we attempt to reduce and get rid of, shunning it like a pariah. Well, perhaps almost all circumstances. There are times when waste is just the by-word for government these days. But, are we all equal in the quantity of waste that is generated in our countries’ governments?

China

Let’s take a look at China which seems to be the place that is cracking down on waste more than most (if we are to believe their figures). The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) stated that there was a fall of 53% of state money spent on meetings, money for official overseas trips was also cut by 39% and there was a 10% reduction in vehicle purchases between 2012 and 2013.

Xinhua, the official news agency of the People’s Republic of China stated that the anti-corruption chief Wang Qishan (March 15th) wishes to have a “Sword of Damocles” hanging over the heads of officials in the government to keep them from wasting public money. Perhaps allegorical and perhaps a moral anecdote, but the Sword is usually seen to be an illusion to imminent and impending, ever-present peril at the court of a tyrant.

Qishan stated that his fight against corruption was taking him to investigating the Ministry of Science and Technology, Fudan University, China National Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Corporation and Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps. He would also be looking closely at regional governments such as Beijing City.

The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection under the leadership of President Xi Jinping has been publically espousing the benefits of fighting tooth and nail to break with corruption, shoring up the governments mandate to rule. However, moving away from decades of suspicion, wasteful use of taxpayers’ money and outlandish extravagancies are hard things to inspect and even harder to discipline.

But, we could clearly do with a great deal more of that discipline and a great hefty blow of inspection (independent, of course) in the USA these days, however.

USA

Remember back when the Republicans and the Democrats were wasting our money flogging out the question as to whether or not they should vote the budget despite not having any money? Remember all those people that got told to stay at home and got laid off because Washington couldn’t find the greenbacks for them?

Well, the guys in Washington were certainly able to agree on continuing voting the budget for that Super Twiggy Squirrel advert that was running in Spain and trumpeting the healthy benefits of walnuts grown in California. The Department of Agriculture was spending $200 million a year on that promotion and $3 million went into the adverts. The Republicans and the Democrats voted 322 (only 98 against) for keeping that advert running while the Federal workers got sent home and told to eat humble pie (some of which incidentally were paid $4, 000 per month for doing nothing at all).

Here are some prime examples:

• The Department of Defense continued spending $432 million on the construction of aircraft that will never be put in the air. They have been financing the building of the C-27J Spartan since 2007. Despite having been told that the Air Force considered that this aircraft could not offer superior capabilities during airlift missions and that it could not match the already existent C-130. Since 2012, Congress has been informed that funding of production should stop. It hasn’t. Waste.
• The Department of Defense has thought up the wonderful idea of destroying $7 billion-worth of military equipment and vehicles that are in the Middle East as it pulls out and it feels that it’s too expensive to ship home. Waste.
• $60.4 million that was voted to be spent on Hurricane-Sandy victims should have gone to helping them rebuild things. Instead New York and New Jersey (state-level officials) spent that money on tourist ads. Waste. 
• Children are being taught about the effects of global warming by NASA ($390, 000) through a kids’ show (Green Ninja) via YouTube. Waste.
• Facebook gets a tax rebate (yes it doesn’t pay any tax and gets a refund from the state) worth $295 million. Waste. 
• NASA is searching for signs of intelligent life in space still ($3 million), while we can’t even find a trace of it in Washington itself. Waste.

Boondoggle Bungles by Washington that’s all they are. The examples of waste by Washington lead us to question every day what the government is actually doing with our money.

Governments don’t tend to ever cut back on wasteful spending. They reduce the level of services available to citizens and they attempt (perhaps outwardly) to continue providing that same service. That means that the federal workers just have to do more with less. But, it doesn’t ever limit the scope of the government. It rarely reduces the possibility of getting access to money that is embezzled, diverted or exploited by those that are in positions of authority.

The true question that comes to mind however is whether or not the government is a waste or just completely wasted when it thinks up he reasons why it should spend out hard earned tax-payers’ money on frivolous, questionable things. Baked, folded, call it what you will. But, governments when wasting must always be belligerent when it comes to justifying why they spent that money. Always remember that attack is the best form of defense; we all know that.

What a waste, government!

What waste has been the biggest for you?

Originally posted:  Government Waste