Imagine That, Writing a Budget to Reduce Government Waste

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The GAO released a report for efficiencies in various government programs, Opportunities to Reduce Potential Duplication in Government Programs, Save Tax Dollars, and Enhance Revenue. While the headlines buzzed about savings, ya all need to read this. The GAO is going after a lot of low hangin' fruit, that being not large corporations but instead social programs and individual taxpayers.

Take this paragraph for example:

The housing market downturn is resulting in billions of dollars of forgiven mortgage debt. In tax year 2008 (the most current data available), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) estimates that individual taxpayers excluded $6.4 billion to $11.8 billion in forgiven mortgage debts on principal residences. While most forgiven debt is treated as a financial gain and included in taxable income, forgiven mortgage debt is, according to complex rules, sometimes excluded from taxable income.

Forgiven mortgage debt means you probably were foreclosed on and declared bankruptcy. The GAO is recommending this be treated as taxable income? Talk about adding insult to injury.

Through 2012, taxpayers may exclude forgiven mortgage debts from taxable income if the mortgage proceeds were used to buy, build, or substantially improve a principal residence. Forgiven mortgage amounts used for other purposes, including purchases of vacation or investment properties, would generally still be considered taxable income unless the taxpayer is bankrupt or insolvent.

So, you lost your home, or got a home equity loan in order to pay off debt. So, the GAO is recommending people pay taxes on this as if it was income? Think about hedge funds being taxed at 15% or the capital gains rate instead of the income tax rate and then think about this.

However, in recent years many taxpayers cashed out equity from their primary residences and used the proceeds for personal consumption or to consolidate other debts—not to buy, build, or improve the home. In addition, taxpayers losing investment or vacation homes through foreclosure are still liable for taxes on forgiven mortgages secured by these properties. Vacation home and investment property purchases are estimated to be well over a quarter of all house purchases in recent years. Despite the financial hardship that leads to forgiven debt, recent housing market analyses suggest that thousands of taxpayers with forgiven mortgage debt not eligible for exclusion (debt forgiven on second homes or investment property) may be able to pay the taxes legally due on such debt.

Another target is education tax credits. That's right, supposedly while trying to earn a Masters degree or even a second language, oops, the GAO is recommending you be nailed to the IRS cross for trying to claim that tax credit.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) faces challenges ensuring compliance with the eligibility requirements of the Hope and Lifetime Learning tax credits. Millions of taxpayers claim the credits to offset qualified postsecondary education expenses. For fiscal years 2009 through 2013, taxpayers are estimated to claim Hope and Lifetime Learning credits totaling $27 billion and $13 billion respectively.

Another is sole proprietors, or people who earn a living running a small business, as if they have not been slammed enough. Sole proprietors are vulnerable and self-employed, yet here's what the report claims:

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) estimates that $68 billion of the $345 billion gross tax gap for 2001 was due to underreporting of federal income tax liabilities by self-employed owners of unincorporated businesses—also known as sole proprietors. An additional part of the tax gap was due to the noncompliance of some sole proprietors with employment tax laws. The federal tax gap is the difference between the amount of income and other federal taxes owed and the amount that is voluntarily and timely paid. The gap arises from taxpayers underreporting taxable income, underpaying known tax liabilities, and not filing required tax returns.

Sole proprietorships cannot qualify for unemployment insurance and have to provide for all benefits, health, disability, retirement. So now, instead of going after large corporations with offshore accounts or the super rich, they want to squeeze the small business?

While the below paragraph sounds unnerving, $4.1 billion dollars, look at the other number, this is spread across 7688 businesses or an average of $500,000 dollars for each. Problem is, odds on there are probably 100 or so bad actors in this number and the rest are probably not each earning $500k a year.

For two states, GAO analyzed 2007 data on the businesses that IRS initially identified as potential nonfilers but later determined were not liable to file returns. Of these, GAO found 7,688 businesses where IRS data indicated little or no business activity, but Dun and Bradstreet data showed business activity as measured by sales totaling $4.1 billion.

It gets worse, while the report seems to imply there is waste through redundancy and multiple programs:

We identified 44 federal employment and training programs that overlap with at least one other program in that they provide at least one similar service to a similar population.

...and there are plenty of improper payments breakin' the bank:

Reported estimated improper payments government wide have steadily increased over the past decade from an estimated $20 billion in 2000 to approximately $125 billion in 2010.

.... the report sprinkles lots of horrific poverty, hunger and homeless facts and how more and more people are desperate for help:

The federal government spent more than $62.5 billion on 18 domestic food and nutrition assistance programs in fiscal year 2008.

Approximately 643,000 individuals and persons in families experienced homelessness on a single night in January 2009.

In 2009 federal agencies spent about $2.9 billion on over 20 programs targeted to address the various needs of persons experiencing homelessness.

Unfortunately what comes after these facts are some sort of implication these programs are wasteful, even from multiple agencies handling things like driving the disabled as a service or providing training.

In fiscal year 2009, 47 programs spent about $18 billion to provide services, such as job search and job counseling, to program participants.

In fiscal year 2009, the federal government spent over $4 billion specifically to improve the quality of our nation’s 3 million teachers through numerous programs across the government.

As if having a particular offering, such as training in one government agency is a problem when another has a similar program for it's division.

Now, let's look at some of the numbers from the DoD, also listed in the report as wasteful:

Over the next 5 years, the Department of Defense (DOD) expects to invest almost $343 billion (in fiscal year 2011 dollars) on the development and procurement of major defense acquisition programs.

Here is the amount going to contractors from the government, $540 billion. That number is absolutely incredible and one must wonder why so much is going to outside contractors. Why isn't the government developing or providing those services in house, as part of the government itself? Look at this, since 2002 spending on contractors has doubled:

Since 2002, spending on federal contracts has more than doubled to about $540 billion in 2009, consuming a significant share of agencies’ discretionary budgets.

The GAO reports $170 billion was spend on no bid contracts in 2009. Compare that to the $4.1 billion of suspected businesses in taxes.

Federal agencies obligated approximately $170 billion on noncompetitive contracts in fiscal year 2009 alone. While there has been some fluctuation over the years, the percentage of obligations under noncompetitive contracts recently has been in the range of 31 percent to over 35 percent.

To make matters worse, bonuses (think CEO pay), have made it to federal contract awards:

GAO has reported that several major agencies spent over $300 billion from fiscal year 2004 through fiscal year 2008 on contracts that included monetary incentives known as award fees. The purpose of these incentives is to motivate enhanced contractor performance. In 2005, however, GAO found that the Department of Defense (DOD) paid billions of dollars in award fees regardless of acquisition outcomes. In 2007, GAO found significant disconnects between program results and fees paid at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. In 2009, GAO reported
that five agencies had paid more than $6 billion in award fees, but were not consistently following award fee guidance and did not have methods for evaluating the effectiveness of an award fee as a tool for improving contractor performance.

Herein lies the problem. The report seems to weight equally a few teachers getting some classes to $300 billion in contracts that contained these bonuses or some job search training to $170 billion in no bid contracts. Medicare fraud and waste is amplified, or put almost on equal footing with the fact the government doesn't use it's power to lower health care costs from for profit servicers and vendors.

Yet, instead of really going after defense contractors, the for profit health care sector, or large, multinational corporations, we have more of this, going after individuals, the little people.

The Joint Committee on Taxation estimated that individual taxpayers’ deductions of home mortgage interest reduced federal revenue by about $80 billion in 2009. Also, in its most recently completed comprehensive study of individual taxpayer compliance for 2001, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) found that 12 percent to 14 percent of individual taxpayers deducting mortgage interest misreported deducted amounts. About half of taxpayers underreported the deduction while about half overreported.

With all of these contracts what is even more astounding is the refusal to recognize, outsourcing the government is costly.

The report gets worse. The report changes the time period for total sums of potential waste. For example, one area targeting the poor, the GAO reports for a few years, yet areas targeting say the DoD, the time period is one year, or even a select year. Very manipulative reporting to change the time window and dates in comparing areas of waste.

Bottom line, we cannot get any focus on the real causes of the United States budget deficit. Truly, it's just amazing how screwed up our government is, although this report seems to be almost a strategy. By consolidating programs for the poor, hungry and needy, it might very well be easier to de-fund these services and eliminate them.

Imagining a budget that reduces real government waste, in the national and people's interest, is just that, only in your imagination.

Read the report for fun facts like 12 million tax returns have basic math errors and we pay $23 billion a year for equipment corrosion damage. Yup, Americans can't add and equipment is rusting on the vine. If only the GAO had estimated the tax dollar waste caused by corruption.

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Comments

Government Waste and Taxes

Its long been common knowledge that our government is in the habit of wasteful spending and unfair unjust taxation. I doubt that you can find anyone that can dispute the findings with facts which would support their claim. Its also common knowledge that "kick-backs" from "beneficiaries" of government no-bid contracts, and other forms of waste, such as subsidies, infest both the executive and legislative branches of government. The well publicized fraud, corruption, and waste, connected to the two senseless deadly costly wars, are prime examples.

Examples of Government Waste :

(1) Such projects as "The Fence"
(2) Looking for water on the surface of Mars
(3) Exploring the far reaches of outer space
(4) Subsidies paid to Brazil for corn crops
(5) Centuries of monetary aid to African nations
(6) Care and support of illegal immigrants ( government assistance programs )
(7) Subsidies paid to big oil companies and rich farmers
(8) Government no-bid contracts ( military )
(9) Ridiculous pension benefits paid to federal employees ( Senators, Congress-persons, The President )
(10) Federally funded studies such as "The sex habits and communal structure of ants"

Examples of Unfair and Unjust Taxation :

(1) Yearly renewal of vehicle licence plates
(2) Excessive tax penalty on tobacco and tobacco products
(3) Toll tax to drive on roads that your highway taxes paid for
(4) Inheritance Tax
(5) Excessive tax on gasoline at the pump
(6) Excessive property taxes
(7) Luxury Tax

Our government is a very poor steward of tax dollars and resources under their control. Corruption, fraud, and waste, are all proper and merited descriptives of our government, and their habits and practices.

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Because you can do wrong, and get away with it, doesn't make it right

It's no wonder "smaller government" has caught on

The more they buy elections and are corrupted, the more inept and incompetent elected officials are to manage. The government is the biggest corporation out there and it appears most elected officials couldn't operate a corner candy store to profit and efficiency. Although the DoD does know how to manage for the most part, I think in that case, it's more corruption from politicians in part.

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Corrupt Politicians

I think it's obvious that we do indeed have a "Washington" filled with corruption and corrupt politicians. Ever wondered where the untold hundreds of $Millions handed-out by Lobbyists go? Ever wondered what the actual effect of influence by the power brokers has on legislation and policy? Ever wondered why legislation and policy benefit a select few at the expense of the whole?

One only needs to take a close hard look at our decline over the past half century to answer those questions. As I've said several times before, what happened didn't happen by chance or accident, but was engineered and planned by those we entrusted with the well-being of this once great nation.

Even our military power and strength has been neutralized to an extent by diplomacy and anti-America policies. A pro-America representative government would not have allowed us to fall this far.

Through fraud, waste, corruption, and greed, we've become a much dependent nation, deeply in debt, at war, and without the resources to correct the many wrongs in a timely and beneficial manner. The more taxes we pay, the more revenue the government waste and gives away. There will never be enough tax revenue to satisfy the habits of our spend and borrow government.

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Because you can do wrong, and get away with it, doesn't make it right

More Waste

In today's news :

WASHINGTON (AP) - A rocket carrying an Earth-observation satellite is in the Pacific Ocean after a failed launch attempt, NASA officials said Friday.
The Taurus XL rocket carrying NASA's Glory satellite lifted off around 2:10 a.m. PST from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
The $424 million mission is managed by the NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland.
A duplicate is now scheduled to fly from Vandenberg in 2013.
NASA suffered a similar mishap two years ago when a satellite that would have studied global warming crashed into the ocean near Antarctica after launching from the same kind of rocket that carried Glory. Officials said Friday that Glory likely wound up landing near where the previous satellite did.

"We failed to make orbit," NASA launch director Omar Baez said Friday. "Indications are that the satellite and rocket ... is in the southern Pacific Ocean somewhere."

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Because you can do wrong, and get away with it, doesn't make it right

I don't know if that is waste per say

More I get the impression NASA is working with some seriously outdated technology. Watching the shuttle take off was like watching a garbage can be jettisoned out into space. Think about it, that's from the 1980's. The probably need complete redesigns with modern technology, ICs, microprocessors, components.

Did you see this report is manipulated? It's really not good to have the GAO put any bias, whatsoever, in a report and this has some. They should be pristine, not corruptible, no bias.

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If Not Waste, What Do We Call It?

Two failed attempts, and $Millions lost, is not waste? Ok, what do we call it? Are you saying that it was money ( taxpayers' money ) well spent? I wonder, with all of the dire "citizen" needs here on the ground, could that money ( taxpayers' money ) have been put to use for a more beneficial purpose?

In my opinion, the non-military/defense spending by NASA is waste, especially at hard economic times like we're presently experiencing. So, we have multi-$millions to spend on looking at atmospheric changes and the effects of solar radiation? WOW !!

I guess that it all boils down to priorities. By the way, was that not borrowed money that was spent to send the rocket to the bottom of the ocean, for the second time?

Exactly where do we draw the line concerning wasteful spending? Are we not over $14Trillion in debt, and counting? Are state governments cutting back services and laying-off teachers and police officers? Do we not have close to 44 million citizens on food stamps? Do we not have infrastructure in need of repair and up-grading? And, playing around in space is a priority? Who would've thunk it?

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Because you can do wrong, and get away with it, doesn't make it right

waste is paying $30k for a refrigerator

waste is giving bonuses on contracts w/o one line of usable good or work, take your "virtual fence" as a good example, or Halliburton (pick one).

You can claim NASA is a waste, but what type of waste is that? In other words, are they failing because they cannot get the funding to properly update all of their technology?

Each case is different and that's the point, one has to look at this case by case.

We have an entire government that's corrupt, political favors driven, they don't do "real management" for what makes sense.

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Label It

OK. Again, what do we call it? I'll let you label it. I believe you to be capable of putting a label on such government spending at a time when our economy is in the tank, debt is in astronomical figures, and the general public is down to their proverbial last dollar.

Yes, in my opinion, NASA is a waste at present. Of course, I will exclude NASA projects and activities connected to our military and national security.

What kind of waste, you asked? Well, in my opinion, it's nothing short of "In Your Face" waste. We borrow money each and every day just to fund government and to support two senseless deadly costly wars. We borrow money each and every day to fund Social Security, government assistance programs, and the give-aways some call foreign aid. And, ontop of that, we borrow money to look for water on the surface of Mars, explore the far reaches of outer space, and to send telescopes into space to look at distant stars.

Meanwhile, back here on the ground, we have approximately 27 million citizens either out of work, under-employed, or working for close to poverty wages. We have close to 44 million on food stamps, some living in shelters and tent cities, and college grads moving back home to live with parents. We have roads and bridges in bad need of repair and ungrading, teachers and police officers being layed-off due to declining tax revenue, public services being cut, and school lunch programs for the poor without adequate funding. We have many many citizens too poor to get proper health care, the elderly making choices between buying medicine or buying food, and the gap between the cost of living and real wages continue to widen.

Now, please explain to me why two failed "non-national security non-military project" NASA rockets sent to the bottom of the ocean, was not waste of taxpayers' dollars. If not waste, please attach a label to the funds used for the failed project.

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Because you can do wrong, and get away with it, doesn't make it right

because.....

NASA generates a lot of technology that is used in industry and generates jobs. So, they are the least of my worries. Social security is actually solvent. The biggest "wastes" are letting private, for profit, health care industry gouge the U.S. on prices. The U.S. pays anywhere from 2x to 8x more than any other industrialized nation on medical care and this is the great untold story of "health care reform"....the ones who won were the health care sector lobbyists. The privatization of the military through the form of contractors and the general use of contractors by government is also another huge waste area.

NASA probably needs to be revamped, but organizations like NASA, DARPA, government funded research arms, these organizations really do bring value to the U.S. and also plain do generate jobs long term.

Not saying that blowing up a rocket and screwing up a launch isn't really bad news and why I mentioned they seem to be using antiquated technology..

but something like $30k for a refrigerator...the entire "virtual fence" for border technology, ask any engineer out there and in 5 minutes they could have told you that technology was not feasible for deployment in the field....so from the onset, that entire contract was bogus. Pure politics, complete waste of U.S. taxpayer funds.

SAIC I believe got a $2 billion dollar contract for merging databases from the FBI and not one line of usable code was written.

There are tons of these contracts, huge, not a single thing is delivered and the companies they get them....clearly "insider trading", i.e. lobbyists and politics versus a contract for a project that is feasible or that the contractor can actually deliver.

Accenture is another one of these who has their corporate headquaters in the Cayman's, pays no taxes, cannot engineer their way out of a paper bag....

Halliburton, good god, they completely ripped off the government, so many examples and hearings,I think a book could be written on all their contractor ripoffs.

Right now, in Afghanistan, we have contractors subcontracting and guess who ends up getting the money? The Taliban, literally the U.S. is funding the enemy by privatization and subcontracts.

Finally scale. The problem is people zero in on one piece of waste, usually reacting emotionally instead of comparing the numbers.

That's why I highlighted the numbers, contracts are over $500 billion each year. How does that number compare to $1 billion?

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Benefit ???

OK, fair enough. So, you disagree that it was waste. Now, if you don't mind please, tell me exactly how it was a benefit, and money well spent. As far as government contracts, i.e. Haliburton and the like, you're preaching to the choir my friend. I've been writing about those scams and kick-backs for over 6 years now. And, no need to preach to me about the medical and health care industry, I know first hand how those scams and kick-backs work. My wife just spent 4 days in the hospital, two of which were of no need, and got a bill yesterday for over $21,000. Over $7,000 was for room and board, in nasty filthy rooms. I can also write pages on the scams and kick-backs that cover 9 1/2 years of medical treatment concerning my ex-wife that died 5 years ago yesterday.

I have written many pieces on government no-bid contracts, including those that mention $400 hammers that can be purchased at any hardware store for less than $30.00. The list is a very long one that covers everything from $400.00 toilet seats to over $90,000 to ship less than $5.00 worth of screws. Again, you're preaching to the choir on this one my friend.

I will agree that some very beneficial technology and innovations have come from the NASA programs. But, who's to say that we would have never had those, had it not been for NASA? Using the techologies and innovations gained from the NASA programs, present a very weak argument when talking about the enormous amount of wasteful spending associated with that agency. I have already mentioned a few of them, i.e. looking for water on the surface of Mars.

Yes, we both agree to the enormous waste associated with the two failed and perpetual ridiculous wars, and the contractors involved which scam and steal from us taxpayers.

When we're forced, through government dereliction of duty and mismanagement of taxpayers' dollars, to fund such projects as the two that went to the bottom of the ocean, it's nothing short of more government waste at a time when we can least afford it. I call it waste, you can call it anything that you like. But, the bottom line remains the same, waste is when no measurable benefit reached those that foot the bills, i.e. the taxpaying citizens of this country.

Can you give me at least one benefit, across the board, that ALL of us gained from the two failed attempts to launch those rockets? Again, if not waste, do you have a word that would best describe your opinon as to the failed attempts?

Since we're talking about the waste of taxpayers' hard earned dollars, I have a long list of such if you'ld like to read it. The list includes such items as the care and support of illegal immigrants, subsidies paid to big oil companies and rich farmers, and the ridiculous and outrageous pensions and retirement benefits paid to members of Congress.

Have you ever wondered exactly how ALL of us directly gain and benefit from monetary foreign aid packages, much of which falls into the hands of corrupt foreign governments, and even some going to terrorists?

Now, back on topic, my opinion is that most of NASA is unnecessary, wasteful spending, and has absolutely nothing to do with our military, nor anything to do with national security. An example would be exploring the far reaches of the universe. That, in my opinion, falls into the catagory of "nice to know information" when data is sent back to earth. While it might be beneficial to science, it doesn't put food on my table, nor does it allow me to pay my mortgage. I can think of many more important and urgent needs to spend taxpayers' dollars on.

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Because you can do wrong, and get away with it, doesn't make it right

benefits

DARPA invented the Internet and is responsible with not only IETF standardization but a host of advance research going on surrounding networking technologies and methods plus other advanced research. I cannot even list all of the research, past/present projects of DARPA, but I do think something called the Internet, should help you realize their value to the U.S. economy.

History of DARPA.

NASA has created a host of advances in material science. These organization have what is called spin-off, to commercial enterprises.

NASA spinoff.

The reason you would not have a lot of this technology is because the private sector has slashed and burned it's advanced R&D and even worse, labor arbitrage their advanced R&D STEM personnel. Bell Labs is no longer what it used to be and the lack of patents tells the tale.

You need to look up some of this yourself instead of railing on NASA frankly. Read the study...

the point of this post is how people are manipulated into zeroing in on workers or some minor "budget buster", when that is not the point! The point is the budget is used as a political weapon, they are not looking at the big picture in terms of efficient and effective management.

NASA is TRIVIAL in comparison to the $540 Billion in contracts each year.

This is the last reply on NASA, if you want to talk about $540 billion dollars in one fiscal year in comparison of $2 billion dollars over 8 fiscal years....

that's the point of this post. The real waste is with the private health sector, that's big pharma, the medical complex, the system itself, insurance companies gouging Americans as well as the government. Additionally the DoD is littered with "favored" no bid contract awards that are often pure waste and they don't get one thing functioning back.

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Appology

Sorry, I didn't mean to touch a nerve. I seem to have a habit of doing that on EP. But, If I'm not mistaken, the word "waste" was part of the root article title. I guess that I completely missed the intent of the piece. I won't mention NASA again. We'll just agree to disagree on that subject.

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Because you can do wrong, and get away with it, doesn't make it right

you are missing the entire point of this post

The reason if you read this post is to not do precisely what you are doing. That is fixating on one little piece of news you read and then getting all pissed off about it.

A budget should be a system, a spreadsheet, just like a corporation or a for profit business....what is not giving any returns and where is the serious bloat?

That is the point. The damn report is biased, they are picking and biasing towards minor amounts as "waste" and the real budget busters are going unscathed.

You're not touching a nerve in so much as not reading the post and understanding the intent.

It is AGAIN, $540 billion dollars in contracts each year, $170 Billion in no bid contracts each year!

By going on and on again about $1 billion or whatever it is, you are defocusing from $540 billion. Which is bigger? $1 billion or $540 billion?

That is the point, again, people who do not get ratios, time periods of course will pick their favorite claim whether that be teacher's unions or the fact they do not have a pension, therefore public workers should not have one, or say "bridge to nowhere", or Congressional private jets....

But regardless, if one cannot understand that $540 billion is 540 times larger than $1 billion, if they have no concept of scale, or proportion and ratios...

the real theft of the government pocketbook, corruption and budget busters will never be addressed.

Look, the biggest budget busters are Medicaire/Medicaid and the DoD. That is where the waste is. That is where the money is going and I've listed now, multiple times, the causes...

but you cannot seem to grasp the causes and somehow think this is one little agency that just screwed the pooch on a satellite....this post is NOT. It's overviewing a GAO budget report which has "wording bias" contained within.

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Minimum Acceptable

OK, I get your point now. Please forgive me for being a little slow. I'm not the brightest bulb on the tree.

Just so I'll know in the future, when speaking of government waste, what is the minimum amount allowed to be discussed on EP? In other words, funding several $$Million studies concerning the effects of pollution in the ocean would not qualify as large enough to be included in any discussion on government waste, correct?

Am I correct in saying that NASA's budget is not large enough to be of any concern? Again, I appologize for not meeting your waste threshold of hundreds of $Billions.

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Because you can do wrong, and get away with it, doesn't make it right

NASA screwed up and has many times

But in terms of the "big picture", it's almost a distraction. Some good Science comes out of NASA whereas what benefit, beyond lining Halliburton's pockets, does outsourcing the military to them in terms of building, food, and all of the day to day infrastructure that makes a military run effectively and smoothly? They are charging the U.S. taxpayer sometimes 500x more than what it used to cost as part of the military service, i.e. peeling potatoes, mess hall, building infrastructure, latrines, shipping, ....this is all the stuff the military used to do internally and obviously by outsourcing it to the "Private sector", there isn't any real cost savings.

So, each agency has it's ineffectiveness but I do not believe NASA for example, as burned through cash like say the virtual fence or multi-billion dollar contracts awarded each year where literally nothing, nada, zippo was delivered for the money.

Again, it's ratios, as I try to list in the above post, i.e. having multiple "job training" programs handed through the various divisions, regions and branches of government are nothing in comparison to multi-billion dollar contracts where that company gets the money yet the U.S. government literally gets nothing that functions in return. Getting gouged on prescription drugs or insurance companies and even Hospitals driving up the cost of health care for all, there is no comparison to those billions to say "inefficiencies in food stamp distribution".

Even NASA blowing up a satellite/rocket doesn't compare to the billions in losses.

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Bernanke 200,000 jobs, really, that's all?

I haven't gotten to Bernanke's testimony this past week, but budget cuts were testified to cost 200,000 jobs. This is a whole other issue, GDP multipliers but at least he brought home reality that government workers are people, workers, earning wages, salaries.

Although it's a pretty sad day when the sanest commentary on the economy is Bernanke, but lately that's what appears to be happening.

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