US Government "misplaces" trillions
In June 2001, the Senate Governmental Affairs
Committee published a study, Government
at the Brink describing the failure of
government agencies to maintain reliable financial
systems and/or to publish audited financial
statements. President Bush's initial 2002 budget
(before increases for 9/11) proposed that 85%
of federal appropriations be awarded to the
very same agencies criticised by the study.
The Department of Defense has failed to produce
independent audited financial statements since
The US Constitution says: "No money shall
be drawn from the Treasury but in consequence
of appropriations made by law." According
to a New York Times article (July 22, 1999),
however, "Congress says in a new report
that the Pentagon defied the law and the Constitution
by spending hundreds of millions of dollars
on military projects that lawmakers never approved."
Is anything being done to stop this? According
to Catherine Austin Fitts, the company credited
with an accounting "misplacement"
of $59 billion at HUD has been awarded the contract
to redesign the Pentagon's business processes.
Let's put these figures into perspective. $59
billion would pay the total cost of UK unemployment
welfare (£5bn/year) for 7 years. $3.3
trillion would cover it for 420 years. How do
you "misplace" an amount that size?
Meanwhile, "black," or classified,
or "don't tell the public," programs
requested in President Bush's 2004 defense budget
are at the highest level since 1988 (source:
Washington Post, 27/8/03). As John E. Pike,
director of GlobalSecurity.org, says, with amusing
understatement: "It's puzzling. It sets
the mind to wondering where the money's going
and what sort of politically controversial things
the administration is doing because they're
not telling anybody".
And, meanwhile, as an example of the wage levels
most unprivileged US workers can expect, the
odds against a typical US welfare recipient
landing a job which pays at least $8.89 per
hour (the minimum needed to afford a one-bedroom
apartment, according to the National Coalition
for the Homeless) are about 97 to 1. (Source:
Preamble Center for Public Policy, reported
in Barbara Ehrenreich's 'Nickel and Dimed').
Of course, the quality of life of the "typical"
unprivileged employed/unemployed person has
absolutely nothing to do with the fact that
$11,700 *per person* of public money disappears
into a black hole every few years. Of course.
People should take responsibility for their
own livelihoods and not blame the government.
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