Wednesday, August 31, 2011

With All the Talk of Budget Woes…

Why doesn’t the government first do a systematic audit of all departments to cut waste and fraud?  We could save billions be simply figuring out where the money that we do spend actually goes and tighten up from there. 

Here’s a perfect example
As much as $60 billion in U.S. tax dollars has been lost to waste and fraud in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade due to lax oversight of contractors, poor planning and corruption, according to an independent panel.


The commission cited numerous examples of waste, including a $360 million U.S.-financed agricultural development program in Afghanistan. The effort began as a $60 million project in 2009 to distribute vouchers for wheat seed and fertilizer in drought-stricken areas of northern Afghanistan. The program expanded into the south and east. Soon the U.S. was spending a $1 million a day on the program, creating an environment ripe for waste and abuse, the commission said.

"Paying villagers for what they used to do voluntarily destroyed local initiatives and diverted project goods into Pakistan for resale," the commission said.

The Afghan insurgency's second largest funding source after the illegal drug trade is the diversion of money from U.S.-backed construction projects and transportation contracts, according to the commission. But the report does not say how much money has been funneled to the insurgency. The money typically is lost when insurgents and warlords threaten Afghan subcontractors with violence unless they pay for protection, according to the report.

The Associated Press reported earlier this month that U.S. military authorities in Kabul believe $360 million in U.S. tax dollars has ended up in the hands of people the American-led coalition has spent nearly a decade battling: the Taliban, criminals and power brokers with ties to both. The military said only a small percentage of the $360 million has been garnered by the Taliban and insurgent groups. Most of the money was lost to profiteering, bribery and extortion by criminals and power brokers.
Talk about a waste of money.  Before we start gutting programs, why not first figure out what in the world is actually being done with our tax dollars and then streamline, reorganize, and cut waste and fraud?  Wouldn’t it make more sense to actually understand the budget before we start cutting programs?  I know that there are people on both sides on the isle that just want to cut things that they don’t like, but that attitude is asinine.  Our politicians need to do a real and true assessment of the budget and go from there, first gutting waste and fraud and then determining which things need to be cut. 


Anonymous said...

I find it humorous that you provide an example of waste and fraud in the military. I think you have a valid point and we should investigate waste in every program or government function, but I think in presenting only the military as an example you express a narrow minded viewpoint. Anyone who has ever held a real job can tell you that there is always a few people who do all the work and the rest just bring the company down. That is true for government, too. Every single department has lazy, incompetent, or corrupt people doing things that waste our tax money. The solution should be a mix of things. First, we should cut down government programs to only what is absolutely necessary and do so according to the powers given to the government in the constitution. Secondly, we should then investigate fraud, waste, and mismanagement. Then, we can find out how to streamline our programs and spend our taxes in the most efficient way possible.

Open your eyes and rise above party politics.

Dave said...

Anonymous said: "Open your eyes and rise above party politics."

Obviously you know nothing about me. I selected this story because it was the story that I saw that morning and provided a good example. Had it been a story about FEMA or the DOJ or any other department, I would have used that story instead, but it wasn't so I didn't. I abhor party politics, despise both major political parties, and trust politicians about as far as I can throw them. The fact that you are blaming me of "party politics" solely on my choice of news story to quote shows that you are the pot calling the kettle black. If you actually read what I wrote you'd see that there is nothing partisan about my ideas.

Anonymous said...


Your blog is titled Oklahoma Lefty, you posted an article about waste and fraud in the military, and your response seems like you were worked up a little by my comment. Forgive me if I made the mistake of assuming you believed exactly the way it was presented.

I didn't try to say your ideas were entirely wrong they just needed some tweeks. The party politics comment was in regard to the way you choose to display your opinion. If I needed to know you personally to comment on the ideas you present, than I have been thoroughly confused about internet blogging. I can only guess at your beliefs and views by what and how you present them. To me the way your ideas were presented and the comment you responded with are "party politics" type of thinking.

And to reverse your comment for a moment, you don't know me either, so to accuse the pot of calling the kettle black is a little off base. You are basically acting in a way that you chastised me for.

If you truly are opposed to the typical way of political thinking, than all I am suggesting is that you take more effort to let both sides know. Personally, I don't see anything wrong with the content of your post. It's just what wasn't in your post that bothered me. There is more to the story and by not addressing all of it, it gives the impression of bias. Maybe I am expecting more out of a blog than you intended to give, but you have a voice and a responsibility to change things. If you aren't into party politics, please work against them.
If I assumed too much, than I apologize.

Otter Limits said...

From my perspective, the post was to point out waste and corruption in general from the government. The example of the military was just that, an example. I'm sure he could have given more examples if he wanted to make the post more long-winded (for lack of a better) term but I'm guessing at the time he wrote it this (the military) was the one big example he thought of when he wrote it.

I didn't really see it as a narrow-minded viewpoint. I know as well as Dave certainly does that the military is not the only area of government that wastes money needlessly.

I think we can all agree that the government needs to audit itself and figure out where the money is needed most, eliminating the areas where the money is not necessarily needed.

But anyway, after reading Dave's post again, I really didn't see this as an example of party politics. Now, if, in his example of the military, he blamed all of the problems on the Republicans or the Democrats, that, I would consider talking party politics.

Personally, I'm not really understanding how you see party politics in this post unless you are basing your opinion solely on the title of teh blog. In that case, I can understand that.

Anonymous said...

The party politics section of the original comment was only two lines and more of an off hand remark. Although I stand by what I said for reasons that I won't go into, the bulk of the original comment was directed towards how I would specifically go about what Dave said.

Dave said...

Anonymous – Fair enough. I can see how someone who doesn’t either know me or hasn’t read this blog for a while could interpret that post in the way that you did. For my part in creating the confusion I apologize. Steve has the advantage (or disadvantage) of knowing me quite well so he can often gleam my intent even when I am not obvious about it. I’ve almost entirely given up on writing about politics so when I read your original comment it did irk me a bit (plus one of my pet peeves is when people post using Anonymous, but I give you props for coming back and continuing the conversation, it seems that most that post under Anonymous just make a comment and run, for lack of a better term). There was a time when 95% of the stuff that I wrote about on this blog was political, but I just can’t bring myself to write about politics on a regular basis anymore. Your comment about the lazy people in all organizations is a completely accurate one. I disagree with you on the cutting portion of your comment because I think getting rid of the waste and fraud could save a lot of programs.

Steve – You got the point of the post exactly right. Like I mentioned above, you were able to read in-between the lines since you know me where as someone who doesn’t could interpret it differently.

I wonder if I should change the title of this blog…

Anonymous said...

Don't give up on politics, man. I think more reasonable people need to have their voices out there. I probably overreacted with the party politics comment, but you actually had a decent conversation with me. That's a lot more than some other bloggers would have bothered to do.

Dave said...

I'll probably still discuss politics from time to time, but I'm not sure that it will ever be the main focus of this blog again. Hopefully when I do you'll stop by again. :o)