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Reader's Digest: The Federal Goverment Wastes Nearly $1 Trillion a Year

I thought that this could be useful information to RP supporters, when discussing with people the desperate need for real change in our government.


The Government Is Wasting Your Tax Dollars!
How Uncle Sam spends nearly $1 trillion of your money each year.

You've Been Had!
Almost a decade ago, the federal government dropped $100 million for an Earth-monitoring satellite that never made it into space. Today it sits in a closet in Maryland. Cost to taxpayers for storing it: $1 million a year. And that's just what's hiding in one closet. Who knows what's in the rest of them? Reader's Digest decided to find out.
Because we think the government should be held to at least the same standards as a publicly traded company, and because as taxpayers, we're America's shareholders, we performed an audit of sorts of the federal books. We're not economists, but we do have common sense. We tried to be apolitical and got help from Congressional staffers from both parties, as well as various watchdog groups and agencies (see list*). In the end, we found that the federal government wastes nearly $1 trillion every year.

That's roughly equal to the amount collected annually by the Internal Revenue Service in personal income taxes. Put another way, it's also equal to about one-third of the country's $2.9 trillion total annual budget. And reclaiming that lost trillion could help wipe out the country's annual budget deficit, improve education, and provide health insurance for those who don't have it.

So how do you define "waste"? David Walker of the Government Accountability Office (GAO), a federal watchdog agency, calls it "the government's failure to give taxpayers the most for their money." For our part, we used the kind of household test you would use on a piece of meat sitting in your refrigerator: If it smells rotten, it's waste. And there is plenty to sniff out. Our government regularly pays for products and services it never gets, wildly overpays companies to do things it could do more cheaply itself, loses money outright due to lax accounting and oversight, fails to collect what it's owed, and antes up for unnecessary programs.

*Source list: OMB Watch, Tax Payers for Common Sense, Citizens Against Government Waste, Cato Institute, Heritage Foundation, Government Accountability Office
Next Page: How Does It Happen?
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