“Use it … or lose it.”
It’s one of government’s worst-kept secrets. As the clock ticks down on the fiscal year, spending goes up at agencies worry about not receiving more taxpayer dollars the following year if they don’t use up their existing budget authority.
Whether it’s cartridges stacked close to the ceiling for a printer that’s years out of date, or ordering a truckload of flower pots when only four are needed, we’ve all heard stories that cause us to throw up our hands at how wasteful our government has become. Spending even crosses time zones to avoid the midnight deadline for as long as possible.
In September 2015, Jason Fichtner, Senior Research Fellow at the Mercatus Center, testified before Dr. Paul’s Senate Subcommittee on Federal Spending, Oversight, and Emergency Management that “[y]ear-end spending surges have become the norm, regardless of administration, party control of Congress, or delays in finalizing agency appropriations.”
According to a study at the National Bureau of Economic Research, “Spending in the last week of the year is 4.9 times higher than the rest-of-the-year weekly average … quality scores for year-end projects are 2.2 to 5.6 times more likely to be below the central value,” meaning taxpayer dollars are spent on lower quality projects during this time.
One of the best ways to combat this rampant problem is to ask those on the frontlines to remain vigilant for their ultimate employer: the American taxpayer.
As the September 30 fiscal year deadline approaches, Dr. Paul invites all federal employees who see “use it or lose it” spending sprees causing waste, mismanagement, or other abuses of taxpayer funds to email his Federal Spending Oversight Subcommittee at Report_Waste@hsgac.senate.gov to help him get the word out in coming months and bring long-overdue reform to the budget process.
All emails will be considered confidential, and employees can remain anonymous.
Current law allows an agency’s Inspector General to pay bonuses up to $10,000 of savings realized when a federal employee identifies waste, fraud, or mismanagement of funds, and Dr. Paul is working to expand what can be reported through his Bonuses for Cost-Cutters Act (S. 1378).
Let’s turn “use it or lose it” into “name it and save it.”
(Printer cartridges discovered when Dr. Paul took over the Federal Spending Oversight, and Emergency Management Subcommittee.)