Don't look now, but the Tea Party has a point

  • Article by: By Margaret Carlson , Bloomberg
  • Updated: October 2, 2013 - 11:47 AM

Spending sprees at fiscal year end confirm their charges of waste.

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fursideOct. 2, 1311:49 AM

Where does Bloomberg think that spending goes? I will tell you. It goes often to local businesses, both republican and Democratic owned. Our economy only works when money is out and running around the track. The other reason that Bloomberg's point is skewed is that if the budget year actually runs as a calendar year as opposed to a fiscal year that is like July to June or some such. As a manager of a retail satellite store, as a pole proprietor and as a teacher, budget requests and purchases were always made at the end of the year. Because then personal history shows what we can use, want or need to replace. If Bloomberg's point is that we should not have automatic incentives to spend budget money to get more, how about letting department heads not be penalized by carrying the amount forward for a future bigger budgeted money. A savings program. i have always wondered why that seems so improbable. Since the population is not getting smaller nor is inflation totally non existent, there is no good reason to believe that even with streamlining procedures and savings that budgets should not actually grow from year to year.

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essdee09Oct. 2, 1312:17 PM

Another broken system. There's no reward for saving -- only the penalty of getting less than you budgeted for the next year when you truly might need the dollars.

I'm not generally one of those who believes government must be run like we run our family and business financials, but in this case, it only makes sense to allow agencies to put money away for the rainy days you know are coming. Spending it all so you don't show a "profit"? You end up getting what you measure, even if it's not what you need.

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arspartzOct. 2, 1312:24 PM

Our economy only works when money is out and running around the track.

That same money could be "out running around the track" if it was spent by a private party, who now can't because that money was taken by the government. The same multipliers would apply. The bigger difference is that privately spent money is individually controlled. Why is money spent by the collective better?

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bblheadOct. 2, 1312:28 PM

There DOES need to be scrutiny on expenditures. I run a small business and even though I own the business, I have to justify my expenditures. Why should it be any different for government?

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alphasongOct. 2, 1312:30 PM

Why are conferences always perceived as waste? I go to one or two general industry events every year for my profession, and I find them valuable and important. My conservative, cost-conscious, Fortune 50 employer sponsors a couple corporate gatherings a year for people in my role, and those too are valuable. Sure, people get together in the bar after 5. But during the day it's work & learning from colleagues you don't normally get to spend time with. Why would we want to deny this to people who work for the government? Stupid expenditures on over the top entertainment are different, I have no sympathy for those.

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humph010Oct. 2, 1312:44 PM

Oh Margaret, how 'tongue in cheek'!

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comment229Oct. 2, 1312:53 PM

My reaction to this was that certainly, the concept of having to spend that money by any government organization is wrong. However, I hardly believe that the tea party was the first whistleblower and deserves the credit. I know that this issue has been on 60 Minutes for years, and the last time I checked, they are not affiliated with the tea party. And finally, I dislike the fact that people complain without suggesting a PLAUSIBLE solution. I see none here.

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shutdownmomOct. 2, 13 1:09 PM

Zero Based budgeting!

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bobrekOct. 2, 13 1:09 PM

comment229 - The author did propose a plausible solution - Take the suggestion that President Obama gave in 2010 and make it law.

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army1994Oct. 2, 13 1:18 PM

To define all the expenditures spent in that last month as wasteful is ridiculous. It's accurate to say that spending spikes in that last month. However, I can tell you from firsthand experience that the spending is usually on items that were put off until that last month because you had to see how much money was left in the budget to see if you could afford it. It's a completely justifiable purchase, one that needed to happen, but one you had to wait to see if you had the funds for. Sometimes it entails living with a leak in the roof until you have a fiscal year that you have the right color money available so you can make the repair. I can honestly say that in my more than 20 years as a government employee (Soldier) I have never seen alcohol, gift baskets, concerts, limos, helicopter rides and spa treatments purchased, and the reason you hear about them is they are so unusual and sensational.

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