In this year’s budget $57 billion will be spent on Housing and Urban Development, $48 billion on Homeland Security, $23 billion on NASA – and that won’t even total what the government spent on “nothing.”
Not literally nothing – but errors that amount to the waste of taxpayer dollars. The latest Government Accountability Office (GAO) report is out, and government waste in fiscal year 2019 totaled $175 billion.
As reported by Just The News:
The GAO refers to the payments as “improper” and said they occur when the federal government “overpays, underpays, or makes payments to ineligible recipients.” It also includes payments made for “an ineligible good or service.”
The report found that the majority of the improper payments occurred in the areas of Medicaid, Medicare and the Earned Income Tax Credit. The payments occur because of fraud and other reasons, which the GAO describes in its full report.
According to the Office of Management and Budget, the 2019 improper payments were reported in four categories:
- Overpayments, about $79.1 billion, equaling roughly 45.2 percent;
- Underpayments, about $12.9 billion, equaling roughly 7.4 percent;
- Unknown, about $74.1 billion, equaling roughly 42.4 percent;
- Technically improper due to statute or regulation, about $8.7 billion, equaling roughly 5 percent.
In other words, the majority of improper payments fall in the categories of “paying people too much money,” and “we have no idea where the money went.” Promising!
While just months ago this report would’ve implied that we could wipe out nearly 20% of our annual budget deficit simply by getting rid of improper payments, we now seem to have reached a point where $175 billion could be a rounding error.