Culture Beat / Jun. 6, 2016

Your Tax Dollars at Work: $136 Billion in Improper Payments

From the Department of Waste…

From the Department of Waste: During the 2015 fiscal year, the U.S. government improperly paid out $136 billion, according to a Government Accountability Office report. The improper payments come when the government sends the wrong recipient money, or it sends too little or too much. Perhaps the recipient takes the money and doesn’t use the money as intended. The lion’s share, about 75%, occurs in Medicare, Medicaid and the Earned Income Tax Credit. But it’s not the whole picture. The government doesn’t have to report improper payouts under a 1.5% error rate, and the GAO didn’t have access to the Pentagon’s budget. Still, with the data it did have, the GAO determined the government pays out money incorrectly 4.8% of the time.

This isn’t all. Despite sequesters to the military budget, the government has found about $645,000 this year to spend on plays and programs that promote its propaganda platform. The National Endowments for the Arts used taxpayer money for advertisements at bus stops educating the riders about “gender-stereotyping” and a theater group that put on a play about global warming. All the government’s patronage and grants do not good art make. “The Great Immensity” had its curtain drawn early for the critics thought the play was so-so. And those were just two examples on the NEA’s list.

It’s always important to know where our tax money is going, but at the same time, let’s put this in perspective: The current federal debt is $19 trillion. So while $136 billion is nothing to sneeze at, it’s also a minor part of the overall problem.

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