NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

"Reinvented" Government Still Wasteful

August 1, 2000

Vice President Al Gore claims as his greatest achievement "reinventing" the government bureaucracy. But critics claim that waste is still rampant in Washington.

Here is the record, based on a number of different sources:

  • The Medicare program made overpayments totaling $12.6 billion in one year, the Supplemental Security Income program loses $1 billion to fraud each year, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development has wasted $18 billion.
  • The Medicaid program is losing an estimated $17 billion annually.
  • Agriculture Department officials report that $660 million was stolen annually between 1996 and 1998 from the Food Stamp program.
  • Some $6 of every $10 spent on the Superfund program went for support activities, rather than cleanups.

The list goes on.

  • The Army could not account for $833 million in shipped inventory in budget year 1998.
  • The Department of Education has been unable to account for $500 million in unawarded grants -- and it is faced with up to $6 billion in discrepancies with the Treasury Department.
  • The Small Business Administration lost about $56 million on loans liquidated in 1994 owing to errors in the liquidation process.

In addition, the Associated Press reports that "hundreds of companies prosecuted or sued for defrauding the government can still receive federal business -- and many have gotten new contracts -- because agencies chose not to ban them."

Source: Mark R. Levin, "Reinventing Government Waste," Washington Times, August 1, 2000.


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