When it comes to fraud and abuse, government programs are always chasing their tail. In the private sector, businesses have a financial incentive to stop abuses before they happen. No such incentive exists with government programs. Instead, government officials usually uncover abuses after the fact.
Senate Budget Committee chairman Kent Conrad has released his budget plan for the next five years. The following are some thoughts on the proposal:
The Government Accountability Office recently reviewed 18 federal programs that provide food and nutrition assistance to low-income households, a subset of the nearly 70 programs that provide food and related subsides.
Peter Wallison calls attention to President Obama’s amnesia regarding events that precipitated Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s collapse. Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Wallison points out that in 2005 then-Senator Obama joined with his Democratic colleagues in stopping legislation that would have helped rein in the government-sponsored housing duo’s risky behavior:
Food stamp enrollment has reached a record high of almost 40 million people. You can blame the recession and legislated benefit increases under presidents Bush and Obama. According to Obama’s latest budget, the total cost of the program will reach $73 billion this year, or more than double the 2007 price tag.
Comments from members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee at a recent hearing on the U.S. Postal Service’s woes indicate they don’t appreciate the USPS’s union problem. Postmaster General John Potter went before the committee to make his case for restructuring the postal operation, including greater labor flexibility.
According to the Congressional Budget Office’s recent estimates of President Obama’s current budget proposal, debt held by the public relative to the size of the economy is heading toward heights last seen since the end of the Second World War:
The 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act sparked a huge increase in federal education spending and regulations. The legislation’s Title I was supposed to provide aid to K–12 schools in high-poverty areas, but by the end of the 1960s it was providing aid to 60 percent of the nation’s school districts. Today, Title I is the largest federal subsidy program for K–12 education.
The budgetary recklessness that was a hallmark of the Bush presidency has gotten worse under President Obama. Like the previous administration, the Obama administration was fully aware when it took office that the country is facing an entitlement-driven budgetary crisis.