Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Those Darn Washers

This story has had a lot of press lately; but, I have yet to read a news/editorial/blog posting that makes the argument that this is a great example of how the US can afford to pay for better education and health service for its people.

If you have not heard the story:
(From Bloomberg.com)
A small South Carolina parts supplier collected about $20.5 million over six years from the Pentagon for fraudulent shipping costs, including $998,798 for sending two 19-cent washers to an Army base in Texas, U.S. officials said.

The company also billed and was paid $455,009 to ship three machine screws costing $1.31 each to Marines in Habbaniyah, Iraq, and $293,451 to ship an 89-cent split washer to Patrick Air Force Base in Cape Canaveral, Florida, Pentagon records show.

There is no doubt in my mind that the US could afford good quality health service for all Americans simply by cutting government waste. How can this be done? Well, it is easier than you think. Although these are hyperbolic examples, irrational spending is a staple for companies doing business with the Government at all levels, from 500 dollar toilet seats to 500,000 dollar washers.

People, When you pay your taxes, you do not decide what goes where: it all goes into general revenue. It is my guess that if we reduced irrational spending country wide (and that include getting rid of the waste in the IRS) we would, without raising taxes find several hundred billion dollars. That is billion, with a "B".

This abuse occurs at every level and must be fought at every level, from the local contractor selling 500 dollar toilet seats to the Member of Congress with both a contractor in the family and an earmark. Bridges to nowhere need to end up with charges being laid.

Basically the US needs to do a better job of taking care of its people's money.

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