NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Bring on the Federal Pork

November 7, 2003

This was one of the worst years for fiscal conservatives in many moons. The federal budget grew by more than $150 billion - more than twice as much as any year that Bill Clinton was in the White House - and deficit spending eclipsed $300 billion, a 10-year high, notes Stephen Moore, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute.

A new Institute for Policy Innovation report chronicles the budget orgy. "What we have in Washington today," it glumly notes, "is a bipartisan fiscal cop-out. No one in Congress or the executive branch has insisted that federal tax dollars be spent judiciously."

Yet, examples of waste and fraud in the federal budget have reached gargantuan proportions:

  • According to the General Accounting Office (GAO), the Pentagon can not account for $22 billion.
  • An audit of Medicare discovered the federal government made $12.5 billion in erroneous payments in fiscal 2001.
  • In 2000, the last year that estimates were provided, improper food stamp payments cost more than $1 billion.
  • The U.S. Department of Commerce spent tens of millions of dollars on Advanced Technology Program grants to just 10 companies from 1990-96; these firms had combined profits over that period of $31 billion.

Republicans have almost all of the levers of power in Washington. They've proven they can cut taxes. But they have also proven incapable of cutting fat out of the budget and of setting spending priorities. Instead we get more - of everything, says Moore.

Source: Stephen Moore, "Where's the fiscal outrage?" Washington Times, November 7, 2003.


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