Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Truth About The 619 Billion Federal Spending Discrepancy

The GAO reports $619 billion is unaccounted for by the U.S. government website aimed at making government spending more transparent. Not surprisingly, a $619 billion discrepancy related to the Obama administration has spawned all sorts of click bait and inflammatory headlines. Headlines that aren't quite accurate.

 According to a report by the Government Accountability Office, the federal website, set up to reveal discrepancies such as these found $619 billion missing from 302 federal programs, as reported by the GAO.

It seems the website's transparency objective is accomplished, otherwise this discrepancy may not have ever been realized.

The federal website was launched in 2007 under the Obama administration. It records all expenditures made by the U.S. government and provides behind-the-numbers transparency of federal big budget spending.

On Aug. 5, USA Today reported that the site could not reconcile $619 billion back to 300 federal programs, of which includes the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of the Interior and the White House.

Websites and media outlets should really stop with the inflammatory and click bait headlines and lead-ins. This is not a theft problem more so than it is an accounting one.

The bulk of the $619 billion miscue is because of the HHS not reporting some $540 billion. They have admitted misreporting their numbers for $5.3 billion in spending on 163 out of its 265 programs.

The White House had not reported which programs it was directly responsible for, however the audit by the GAO indicates that only 2 percent to 7 percent of the information is fully consistent with agency records.

The White House Office of National Drug Policy told auditors they thought the HHS was the main one responsible for the report on the $619 billion missing.
According to reports, the GAO requested the White House Office of Management and Budget show more mistakes of the website.

In the meantime, Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla. a big opponent of government financial waste and mismanagement said:

"The administration set a goal of 100 percent accuracy by the end of 2011. Three years later the federal government cannot even break a 10 percent accuracy rate. This complete failure in spending transparency hurts our ability to assess the pros and cons of how Washington spends tax dollars."

According to The Examiner, responsibility for the website's maintenance has since fallen into the hands of the Department of the Treasury.

Sorry GOP, Obama did not rip off 619 billion. You might want to resort to Benghazi or some other worn out accusation in your quest to convince anybody that there is something "just not right" about this President.

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