Tuesday, March 12, 2019
The Government's Use-it or Lose-it Spending Spree
American Transparency (website: OpenTheBooks.com) is a public charity who's Government oversight reports present hard data so citizens can "follow the money". Its stated goal is to enhance public discourse with delineated facts.
The group recently published an oversight report entitled: The Federal Government's Use-It-Or-Lose-It Spending Spree - How the Federal Government Spent $97 Billion in One Month. True to its goal, American Transparency doesn't try to blame anyone or any organization in particular for wasteful spending but just points out the facts related to (fiscal) year end spending. But the listing of items purchased does give one pause to wonder why the Government needs fidget spinners, alcoholic beverages, crab and lobster, and expensive furniture ($50 thousand chair).
American Transparency believes that the use-it-or-lose-it mentality has been a problem forever. Agencies feel that they need to spend their budgeted funds in order to secure at least the same amount the following year. That's not necessarily true. It could be that Agencies are holding back funds during the year to cover unforeseen contingencies and as the year progresses and those contingencies do not materialize, are comfortable spending the funds on other needs. Or, perhaps there is just more pressure on contracting officers to get contracts awarded by year-end. Some in the Government feel that contractors intentionally drag their feet in negotiations knowing that if they wait until year-end they will be able to negotiate a more favorable price because of pressure on contracting officers to finalize contracts by year-end.
The report contains two appendices that list the top 100 spending categories and the top 100 contractors receiving year-end spending spree funds. You can download and read the full report here