Yahoo Finance: Federal Government Wastes Enough Money to Buy Half a Million Houses Every Month 72_Yahoo_IP

June 14, 2023 02:51 PM



By Elizabeth Troutman | Yahoo Finance

The federal government wasted an averge of $683 million per day in 2022, according to an analysis from spending watchdog Open the Books.

In 2022, 17 federal agencies reported $247 billion in estimated improper payments, averaging $20.5 billion of waste per month or about $683 million per day, according to the Open the Books report released Monday.

The government's monthly waste last year was enough to buy 10 million 2023 Toyota Corollas or 657,000 homes, according to Open the Books.

The top three departments for waste of taxpayer dollars in overpayments were the Department of Health and Human Services, with $154.3 billion in waste; the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program, with $37.3 billion; and the Treasury Department, with $25.9 billion.

Such spending has contributed to the growth of the federal deficit.

The federal government’s budget deficit increased to $2.1 trillion over the last 12 months and is more than twice as large as the pre-pandemic deficit, according to a new report by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB).

Other top-ten offenders for overpayments include the Department of Labor, with $19 billion; the Department of Education, with $15.7 billion; the Social Security Administration, with $7.4 billion; the Department of Veterans Affairs, with $3.5 billion; the Department of Defense, with $2 billion; the Department of Agriculture, with $1.9 billion; and the Department of Transportation, with $756 million.

The government identified $51.7 billion of overpayment but had an actual recovery rate of only 9%.

Dead people received $532.5 million in 2022 in mistaken payments for federal retirement services, old-age, disability insurance and social security. The two-year total of payments to dead people across 2021 and 2022 was $974.3 million, according to Open the Books.

The Small Business Administration saw the largest increase in overpayment from 2021 to 2022, rising from $671 million in 2021 to $37.3 billion in 2022. This was due to the Paycheck Protection Loan Program and COVID-Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, which caused $35.9 billion in overpayments combined.

The Department of Labor overpaid less in 2022 than in 2021, dropping from $78.2 billion in overpayments in 2021 to $19 billion, marking a 75% reduction.

Several Republican presidential candidates are campaigning against government waste as they make their 2024 White House bids.

"We have to end all unnecessary spending that’s occurred," presidential candidate and former Vice President Mike Pence said on Fox News. "We’ve got to freeze non-defense domestic spending at current levels."

Former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley outlined a plan to address the debt crisis in a March town hall event.

"Don’t let them ever tell you Republicans and Democrats don’t agree on anything, because they love wasting our money," she said.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has said the government is "careening toward bankruptcy," and Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., has called for less failed government spending in response to the housing crisis.


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