It’s the dirty little secret in both non-profit and government spending: when a line item has money available at the end of a fiscal year, those who are doing the accounting and budgeting assume that that money is not needed and may well not budget anything in that line for the next year.
In households and businesses across the globe, that money can be held over as part of savings toward a future purchase, but that mentality does not hold for non-profits and in government.
Therefore, at the end of the fiscal year, it does not matter where one is within government and non-profits, line items are taken to zero with spending occurring on just about anything that will eat up the money.
Such a spending spree happened in September 2018, and now that the “expenses” themselves have been made public, quite a number of patriots strenuously object to their taxpayer dollars being spent in this fashion.
The “use it or lose it” mentality explains why the Defense Department spent $9,241 on a Wexford leather chair, $2.3 million on crab and another $2.3 million on lobster tails in September, according to a study released Thursday by OpenTheBooks….
But there were also the lobster tail and crab, $163,636 spent on paint brushes, and $7.6 million on workout equipment — including ski equipment for “adults and junior” earmarked to Misawa Air Base in Japan.
The lobster tail purchases in September were a bit more than 10 percent of what the federal government spent on the delicacy the entire year, suggesting only a slightly elevated rate of spending.
But more than a third of the $721,661 agencies spent on pianos came in September.
And while taxpayers bought $1.6 million worth of golf carts in fiscal 2018, 42 percent of that was spent in the last four weeks. The same with the government’s bill for china tableware, OpenTheBooks’ founder and CEO Adam Andrzejewski said….
The report showed Lockheed Martin was the largest recipient of cash in the final month, raking in $8.7 billion. It was followed by Boeing with $5.1 billion and Raytheon at $3.3 billion, while Northrop Grumman was paid $1.7 billion….
Taxpayers also splurged on one federal agency’s $11,800 tournament-level foosball table, records showed.
There’s more detail at OpentheBooks.com, however for the portion of the population who lives with the “use it or lose it” form of budgeting, none of this is much of a surprise. The tournament-level foosball table is a bit much, to be honest.
“This year-end spending habit is one of the most deceptive budgetary tactics in use in Washington,” said Curtis Kalin, spokesman for Citizens Against Government Waste. “It’s deeply ingrained in the culture of federal bureaucrats, and it perpetuates the myth we can never stop spending.”
Yet the data shows the final-month binge is getting worse. Last year’s $97 billion marks a 16 percent increase from 2017 and a 39 percent increase from 2015.
“As the national debt surpasses $22 trillion, it’s time to end Washington’s use-it-or-lose-it spending culture,” Mr. Andrzejewski said. “Ending this wasteful phenomenon would go a long way toward generating big savings and winning the public’s trust.”
Maddening as it might be, some years spending is higher for unexpected items, and getting the funds appropriated might well be a challenge. That’s the fear.
And that is the topic that needs to be addressed before the “use it or lose it” mentality in government and non-profit spending will dissipate.