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Outrageous waste: You overpaid by how much?


The federal government wasted $105.8 billion worth of taxpayer money on overpayments in the 2013 fiscal year, according to a new Government Accountability Office report. So much for President Obama’s promise to crack down on “waste, fraud and abuse.”

Overpayments by federal agencies peaked in 2010, so Obama can claim to have slowed the bleeding. That year’s figure was $121 billion, so there has been a reduction of $15.2 billion, or 12.5 percent over three years. Some crackdown.

The GAO criticized “the federal government’s inability to determine the full extent to which improper payments occur and reasonably assure that appropriate actions are taken to reduce them as a material weakness in internal control.”

The report found that the government made $14.5 billion in improper payments through the Earned Income Tax Credit alone, almost a quarter of the EITC’s total payments. The federal government’s largest anti-poverty program wasted almost as much money as Americans spent on books last year. What an outrage.

Medicare overpaid by $36 billion, Medicare Advantage by $12 billion, and Medicaid by $14 billion. That is $62 billion, or the entire budget of the nation of Qatar.

These figures do not include the massive amounts of waste on programs that don’t work, on pork, on corporate welfare.

Americans say we don’t find this kind of thing acceptable. But what do we ever do about it?

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