Exposing the Federal Government’s Annual September Spending Binge
Article from For Liberty by Norm Leahy.
Official Washington is entering a very special time of year – the annual end of the fiscal year spending binge on federal contracts.
What does this little known, but very expensive, government practice involve? According to researchers at OpentheBooks.com, it’s when federal agencies spending all of the remaining money they have been given for the year. Spending it all is key – because if they don’t they may be given much less to spend next year.
This perverse incentive system leads to some astounding outlays of taxpayer money. In their report, which looked at spending on federal contracts in September 2019, Open the Books discovered expenditures for:
Alcohol ($502,026); guns and ammunition at non-military, non-law enforcement agencies like HHS, VA, and ED ($1.5 million); games, toys and musical equipment including pianos, flutes, and French horns ($3.7 million); lobster tail and snow crab ($4.6 million); golf carts, motorcycles, scooters, bicycles ($6.2 million); books and pamphlets ($23 million); workout and recreation equipment ($25.1 million); batteries ($53 million); vehicles ($253.8 million); public relations and marketing ($456.8 million); and furniture ($457.8 million).
On the feds’ booze tab for September 2019, Open the Books notes:
The 2 departments awarding these contracts were Defense ($308,025) and State ($194,001). Vendors winning the business included Carisam-Samuel Meisel, Inc. ($248,744), Foreign Awardees ($194,001), and Coors Brewing Company ($59,282).
All alcohol purchased by the State Department was on behalf of embassies and consulates. The beer acquisition was all through Coors.
The kicker? Spending in September 2019 may have topped $91 billion (out of $575 billion for the entire fiscal year). But that was a decrease from 2018 when contract spending exceeded $96 billion.
Given the massive increase in federal spending this fiscal year owing to the coronavirus, it’s possible September could be even more lucrative for federal contractors.
Image Credit: By Jericho [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons