Why Cutting Defense Spending Doesn’t Keep Me Up At Night

Posted by | November 25, 2011 10:43 | Filed under: Top Stories

by Stuart Shapiro

Well the real reason is that I’m usually exhausted.  But #2 on the list is all of the wasteful spending at DOD.  The Office of Management and Budget recently completed a scorecard showing 23 of 24 agencies are on their way to being able to pass fiscal audits.  DOD is the one failure.  Truthout explains the consequences.

After working on many qui tam whistleblower DoD lawsuits to return contractors’ ill-gotten gains to the federal government, I have learned that defense contractors and the DoD actually benefit from fiscal chaos because it makes it very hard to prove fraud when you can’t even follow the money. Being “unauditable,” as the DoD calls it, has its benefits, because it creates an inherent lack of accountability. The Congress just hands over the money each year to the DoD while tepidly asking for the DoD to get its fiscal house in order. The DoD and the military services have spent billions and billions of dollars on accounting programs that don’t even talk to each other.

I’m often skeptical of claims that curbing waste fraud and abuse can save money.  However at the Defense Department, the numbers are so big that perhaps the sequester will force Secretary Panetta and the leaders at the Department to curb the most egregious problems.

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Copyright 2011 Liberaland
By: Stuart Shapiro

Stuart is a professor and the Director of the Public Policy
program at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers
University. He teaches economics and cost-benefit analysis and studies
regulation in the United States at both the federal and state levels.
Prior to coming to Rutgers, Stuart worked for five years at the Office
of Management and Budget in Washington under Presidents Clinton and
George W. Bush.

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