Wednesday Waste: Washington Blows $108 Billion on “Improper” Unemployment Payments

Wednesday Waste | January 30, 2013

According to a report released last week by the Government Office of Accountability (GAO), $108 billion of unemployment benefits and other government appropriations went towards “improper payments.” The payments identified either went to the wrong person, or were issued in the incorrect amount. According to Roll Call, “No business would allow this much of its budget to be wasted. Sadly, this is business as usual in Washington, and solutions are tough to come by.”  

So, what’s $108 billion in improper payments to Washington, anyway? Let’s put it another way: The median household income in the U.S. is about $52,800. The GAO estimates that the government-wide rate of error for payments is 4.35 percent. That’s as if a household earning about $52,800 a year paid nearly $2,300 of their bills to the wrong person, or paid an incorrect amount.

The $108 billion could also be used to buy 366,000 Ferraris or make 101 million mortgage payments at $1,061 per month.

With the need for a responsible budget and living within our means already noted in past presidential addresses, perhaps it’s time to commit to spending taxpayer money properly. If Washington cannot make payments responsibly, what signal does that send the rest of America?

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