The U.S. Senate has passed, and the U.S. House is currently considering, a five-year reauthorization to the farm bill. Included in the farm bill is funding for food stamps. What is this program? How much does it cost and what changes is Congress considering making to it?
Yesterday, POLITICO and Reuters reported on the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration’s (TIGTA) audit of IRS executive travel for fiscal years 2011 and 2012. According the report, 4 percent of executives were the source of more than a quarter of the total $4.8 million in executive travel expenses in 2011, with similar numbers in 2012.
Well, we thought the Defense Department was getting serious about spending cuts, and then we read this story in The Washington Post. According to the newspaper, some staff in the agency are working furiously to find ways to spend this year’s appropriations so they don't lose any funding next year.
In another case of federal government (and Internal Revenue Service) incompetence, National Journal (subscription required) reports that the IRS mistakenly revealed tens of thousands of Americans’ Social Security Numbers. Remember, this will be the agency partially in charge of your healthcare under Obamacare.
Reuters reports U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said in a television interview yesterday, “We have already done a lot of deficit reduction.” While this year’s budget deficit is expected to be less than $1 trillion – the first time in four years that’s happened – it’s still expected to top $750 billion. Which means: Mr. Treasury Secretary, we still need more deficit reduction.
The president promised shopping for insurance after his bill would be akin to shopping online. Not so says The Associated Press. According to the wire service, “[P]eople will end up with something more mundane than online shopping, like a call to the help desk. Struggling with a deadline crunch, some states are delaying online tools that could make it easier for consumers to find the right plan when the markets go live on Oct. 1.”
This week, The New York Times revealed that taxpayers had financed $340,000 in farm bill subsidies to the wealthy Rockefeller family. $340,000 is just 0.00001 percent of the federal government $3.537 trillion fiscal year 2012 budget, but here is what taxpayers could have gotten for that money instead.