Tag Archives: waste

$10 billion wasted on military projects

Government marches on! In the past decade the Pentagon’s Missile Defence Agency has wasted $10 billion on defense projects that were either impractical and impossible.

I can’t provide any single quote about the absurd stupidity of these projects because the article is filled with so many. Read it all and weep. However, here is one quote which indicates who we should blame:

President George W. Bush, in 2002, ordered an urgent effort to field a homeland missile defense system within two years. In their rush to make that deadline, Missile Defense Agency officials latched onto exotic, unproven concepts without doing a rigorous analysis of their cost and feasibility. Members of Congress whose states and districts benefited from the spending tenaciously defended the programs, even after their deficiencies became evident.

You are probably thinking the fault lies with Bush and Congress for proposing foolish programs and then funding them even after they were revealed to be obviously foolish, because they provided pork for congressional districts. You are wrong. Though Congress and Bush certainly share the guilt, the really guilty party is the American public, which has been voting in favor of pork for decades.

We get the government we deserve. Until we stop electing candidates (from either party) who promise pork, we will continue to get pork, and waste, and a society that is steadily going bankrupt.

Nearly two thirds of the fraud and waste lost by the federal government in 2013 was paid by HHS, the agency running Obamacare.

Nearly two thirds of the fraud and waste lost by the federal government in 2013 was spent by HHS, the agency running Obamacare.

The total amount lost by either fraud, waste, or error equaled $106 billion, slightly down from 2012’s $108 billion figure. Of that, about $65 billion occurred in Health and Human Services.

But hey, what’s a few billion dollars here and there. It’s not like the federal government has a debt problem, does it?

Obama’s nominee to manage contracting and budget at the Energy Department had serious problems doing the same job while she was at NASA.

The merry-go-round: Obama’s nominee to manage contracting and budget at the Energy Department had serious problems doing the same job while she was at NASA.

A Washington Times review of NASA inspector general reports finds the space agency struggled to achieve austerity under Ms. Robinson’s financial leadership, as cost overruns grew sixfold from $50 million in 2009 to $315 million in 2012. … Audits conducted during Ms. Robinson’s tenure as CFO uncovered that NASA spent an average of $66 per person per day for light refreshments at conferences, shelled out $1.5 million to develop a video game to replicate astronauts’ experiences and reimbursed employees $1.4 million for tuition dating to 2006 for degrees unrelated to their NASA jobs.

But no matter. Her resume lists all these important past jobs, so she must be qualified!

The federal government spent $1.4 billion on the Obama family last year.

It’s good work if you can get it: The federal government spent $1.4 billion on the Obama family last year.

This included entertainment, housing, travel, and staff. It was also more than 24 times what the British spend on their royal family.

In related news, Agriculture Department employees spent more time visiting foreign countries then they did the farmlands of the U.S.

The pork of Obamacare

The Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), created by Obamacare, announced its first round of grants today, part of a funding program of fifty “pilot projects” totaling $30 million.

It didn’t take much research for me to conclude that, while some of this work might be useful, most of it sounds like bureaucratic claptrap. For example, consider the description Nature gives for these three grants:
» Read more

Spending money on silliness at the NSF and NIH

Your tax dollars at work: Spending money on silliness at the NSF and NIH.

Coburn’s report identified a number of projects that will make most Americans—scientists and nonscientists alike—shake their heads. They include studies of: how to ride a bike; when dogs became man’s best friend; whether political views are genetically predetermined; whether parents choose trendy baby names; and when the best time is to buy a ticket to a sold-out sporting event. And it noted that “only politicians appear to benefit from other NSF studies, such as research on what motivates individuals to make political donations, how politicians can benefit from Internet town halls…and how politicians use the Internet.”

Read the whole thing, as it gives a scientist’s perspective of this waste, which is sometimes not as obvious as the examples above.

Ninety-five federal workers have racked up $750,000 in travel expenses, while working at home.

The wolves guarding the chicken house: Ninety-five federal workers have racked up $750,000 in travel expenses, while working at home.

Of 95 work-at-home employees, 12 are supervisors who received reimbursements of more than $200,000 for travel-related expenses in 2010 and 2011, the documents provided to congressional committees show. A majority of the 95 are listed at the GS-14 and GS-15-level.

By the way, this happened in the General Services Administration, the same agency that ran a four day conference in Las Vegas costing almost a million dollars.

The federal judges in the Ninth Circuit plan to hold a conference in Hawaii this August that could cost $1 million or more, and will include a golf tournament, a tennis tournament, an ice cream social, a garden tour, sport fishing, yoga, surfing lessons, and Zumba dancing lessons.

Our federal government at work: The federal judges in the Ninth Circuit plan to hold a conference in Hawaii this August that could cost $1 million or more, and will include a golf tournament, a tennis tournament, an ice cream social, a garden tour, sport fishing, yoga, surfing lessons, and Zumba dancing lessons.

Though many of these recreational events are supposingly not being paid for by government funds, there is something rotten here, without doubt. I’ve been to too many of these kinds of conferences as a journalist, and saw millions wasted for the entertainment of government employees. And in this case, the government is getting them to Hawaii.

The fourth video showing Medicare fraud released

We’re here to help you: A fourth video was released today, showing the incredible willingness of Medicare employees to support drug smuggling, prostitution, and a host of other illegal activities in their effort to get applicants approved.

The first video was for me the most damaging — and sadly hilarious — with the government employee telling the so-called Russian drug smuggler and pimp for under-age prostitutes to put “baby-sitting” on his application instead.

Obama to announce plans to cut government waste

Obama to announce plans today to cut government waste.

Though I applaud any effort to reduce the federal government’s out-of-control spending, to me this paragraph suggested strongly how symbolic and superficial this announcement by Obama will be:

One of the campaign’s first steps will be targeting waste and duplication among federal websites. The administration will halt the creation of new websites, as well as shut down or consolidate one-fourth of the 2,000 government websites in the next few months.

For one thing, having an employee launch an extra website is hardly very costly, as you are already paying that employee’s salary. Will they be laying off these workers as well? I doubt it.

For another, shutting down websites is hardly a demonstration of transparency in government.

How Los Angeles’s community colleges wasted millions on green energy construction

How the head of Los Angeles’s community college construction program wasted millions on green energy construction. This quote sums up the absurdity of this environmental wet dream:

As head of a $5.7-billion, taxpayer-funded program to rebuild the college campuses, Eisenberg commanded attention. But his plan for energy independence was seriously flawed. He overestimated how much power the colleges could generate. He underestimated the cost. And he poured millions of dollars into designs for projects that proved so impractical or unpopular they were never built. These and other blunders cost nearly $10 million that could have paid for new classrooms, laboratories and other college facilities, a Times investigation found.

The problems with Eisenberg’s energy vision were fundamental. For starters, there simply wasn’t room on the campuses for all the generating equipment required to become self-sufficient. Some of the colleges wouldn’t come close to that goal even if solar panels, wind turbines and other devices were wedged into every available space.

Going off the grid did not make economic sense either. Given the cost of alternative energy technology, it would be more expensive for the district to generate all its own electricity than to continue paying utilities for power.

Weather and geology also refused to cooperate. Three solar power arrays had to be scrapped because the intended locations were atop seismic faults. Plans for large-scale wind power collided with the reality that prevailing winds at nearly all the campuses are too weak to generate much electricity. To date, a single wind turbine has been installed, as a demonstration project. It spins too slowly in average winds to power a 60-watt light bulb. [emphasis mine]

Worse, the man who forced this idiocy on the colleges still sees nothing wrong with it. And his justification illustrates how completely uneducated he is.

He cast himself as an environmental visionary and predicted that the college system would eventually achieve energy independence. “Somebody needs to be first,” he said. “If the great explorers really had a map and knew where they were going, maybe we wouldn’t have the result we have today.

The fact is that the great explorers always had a map, and worked carefully from real data. Granted, the horizon was unknown, but the explorers who succeeded all ground their exploration on reality, not fantasy.

With foolish leadership like this, it is no surprise California is about to go bankrupt.

Great Moments In Government “Investment”

Great moments in government “investment”. Key quote:

To turn wood chips into ethanol fuel, George W. Bush’s Department of Energy in February 2007 announced a $76 million grant to Range Fuels for a cutting-edge refinery. A few months later, the refinery opened in the piney woods of Treutlen County, Ga., as the taxpayers of Georgia piled on another $6 million. In 2008, the ethanol plant was the first beneficiary of the Biorefinery Assistance Program, pocketing a loan for $80 million guaranteed by the U.S. taxpayers.

Last month, the refinery closed down, having failed to squeeze even a drop of ethanol out of its pine chips.

That’s $164 million of tax dollars to a company that produced nothing.

FEMA considers, than cancels spending a billion on MREs

Government stupidity in action: FEMA considered then canceled (thank goodness) a proposal to spend more than a billion dollars on Meals-Ready-to-Eat on the very slim chance that the New Madrid fault in the midwest might produce a major earthquake sometime in the three years.

Unfortunately, they still haven’t canceled plans to buy 7 million emergency blankets and 550 million gallons of water in individual 1-liter plastic bottles.