Government overpayments going up by billions

Government marches on! A GAO report has found that since 2003 the federal government has wasted almost a trillion dollars in improper overpayments, with the numbers increasing by 20% in 2014.

The GAO said three programs were most at fault: Medicare, Medicaid and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). These three government programs were responsible for a full three-quarters of the nearly $19 billion in erroneous payments the federal government made in fiscal 2014, the GAO said. “Improper payments remain a significant and pervasive government-wide issue,” the congressional watchdog unit warned.

The Earned Income Tax Credit program was the worst offender. The Internal Revenue Service estimated that the program erroneously handed out $17.7 billion worth of “improper” payments. That amounts to a whopping 27.2 percent of the total $65.2 billion in EITC refund checks that the IRS sent out in fiscal 2014. And that means the federal government is now fast approaching the day when one out of every three earned income tax credits is erroneous.

Medicare was nearly as bad. The program, which covers about 54 million elderly and disabled beneficiaries, incorrectly doled out $59.9 billion in fiscal 2014, which is about a tenth of its $603 billion budget. So, one out of every $10 that Medicare spent last year was erroneous, the GAO found. Medicaid made $17.5 billion in mistaken payments out of its $304 billion budget, for a nearly 6 percent error rate.

It is obvious that the solution to this government problem is to give the government more power and money. How else can they reduce this waste but by spending more money!

For the fourth year in a row, President Obama has defied a law that demands he take action on Medicare.

The law is such an inconvenient thing: For the fourth year in a row, President Obama has defied a law that demands he take action on Medicare.

This paragraph sums up why Obama has been so negligent:

Why won’t Barack Obama put forth a Medicare proposal? Simple. If he does, Democrats lose the opportunity to demagogue the issue in the run-up to the 2012 election.

The only politicians to propose any reasonable plan to make Medicare solvent have been the Republicans, led by Paul Ryan. I don’t like all the details in Ryan’s plan, but at least he’s proposed something. All Obama and the Democrats have been doing is fiddling while Rome burns, while blaming others for the fire.

Rep. Ryan agrees that his plan played a role in Democrats’ special-election win

Rep. Ryan agreed today that his budget plan played a role in Democrats’ special-election win in New York yesterday.

If Ryan is right, we are in big trouble. His plan might not be the solution, but the Democrats refuse to offer any alternatives. And if it is this Democratic non-plan that the public is choosing, it means that the public remains unwilling to deal with the debt in any way at all.

GOP senators focus on entitlement cuts

More debt ceiling negotiations: GOP senators focused on entitlement cuts in a meeting with Obama on Thursday. I found this quote quite intriguing and a refreshing change from previous such meetings:

Obama was careful not to dominate the meeting, according to Republican senators who attended. The president opened the session with brief remarks and spent most of the session listening to lawmakers’ concerns and responding to their arguments.