Occasional episodes of government mismanagement explode into big scandals, such as the General Services Administration’s party in Las Vegas that wasted more than $800,000.
Other waste gets flagged by auditors but generally goes unnoticed. I came across this new Inspector General (IG) report revealing $1 million of waste at the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). Unlike the GSA scandal, it included no photos of bureaucrats in bathtubs, so you probably won’t see it on the cable news.
Still, the BIA episode revealed many standard elements of federal waste. According to the IG, the episode included:
In sum, routine bureaucratic and political factors resulted in the BIA spending $1 million from which taxpayers and the intended recipients received “no benefit,” according to the IG. So no bathtubs on this one, just a run-of-the-mill Beltway boondoggle.
Chris Edwards is the director of tax policy studies at the Cato Institute, and editor of www.DownsizingGovernment.org. Before joining Cato, Edwards was a senior economist on the congressional Joint Economic Committee, a manager with PricewaterhouseCoopers, and an economist with the Tax Foundation.
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