Govt waste in one year: Just a glimpse

by Paul E. Scates at

In 2021, your federal government spent $6 million every single minute.  That’s $9 billion every day, almost $3 trillion per year.

For just a glimpse of that insanity, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a part of the enormous Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS), has 27 Institutes and Centers (I.C.s), and in fiscal year 2020 had a budget of $41.6 billion (plus a separate $3.6 billion for COVID-19 that year).  President Biden’s request for fiscal year 2023 was almost $49 billion…plus the new “mandatory” budget items ($5 billion for a new Advanced Research Projects Agency — Health, $12.5 billion for Pandemic Preparedness, and $1.2 billion for PHS Program Evaluation, etc.), which runs the total to over $62 billion.  All 27 I.C.s asked for more money; last year, the Office of the Director was the only unit that took a “cut,” from $2.521 billion to $2.519 billion.  It asked for $2.728 billion for next year.

This is for the Cabinet department (HHS) that ranked the absolute worst, by far, in “improper payments” (i.e., waste) in 2022 of $132.6 billion.  A distant second was the Small Business Administration, which wasted $37.3 billion, followed by the Dept. of the Treasury, which wasted “only” $26 billion.  Sure, let’s add some new projects and programs, ’cause it’s not as if we have a $34-trillion national debt, the interest alone on which has now surpassed the defense budget.  

According to OpentheBooks, a government watchdog group, the total “improper payments” for 2022 was estimated at $247 billion by 17 federal agencies.  That’s an average waste of $20.5 billion per month.