“$8.5 TRILLION In Taxpayer Money Doled Out By Congress To The Pentagon Since 1996 … Has NEVER Been Accounted For”

We’ve repeatedly documented that military waste and fraud are the core problems with the U.S. economy.

For example, we’ve noted that we wouldn’t be in this crisis of hitting the debt ceiling in the first place if we hadn’t spent so much money on unnecessary wars … which are horrible for the economy.

But it goes far beyond actual fighting.  We could easily slash the military and security budget without reducing our national security.

For example, homeland security agencies wasted money on seminars like “Did Jesus Die for Klingons Too?” and training for a “zombie apocalypse” instead of actually focusing on anti-terror efforts.

Republican Senator Tom Coburn notes that the Department of Defense can reduce $67.9 billion over 10 years by eliminating the non-defense programs that have found their way into the budget for the Department of Defense.

BusinessWeek and Bloomberg point out that we could slash military spending without harming our national security. Indeed, we could slash boondoggles that even the generals don’t want.

BusinessWeek provides a list of cost-cutting measures which will not undermine national security. American Conservative does the same.

Moreover, we’ve shown that the military wastes and “loses” (cough) trillions of dollars.  See this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this and this.

The former Secretary of Defense acknowledged in May 2012 that the DOD “is the only major federal agency that cannot pass an audit today.”  The Pentagon will not be ready for an audit for another five years, according to Panetta.

Reuters quantifies these numbers today:

The Pentagon is the only federal agency that has not complied with a law that requires annual audits of all government departments. That means that the $8.5 trillion in taxpayer money doled out by Congress to the Pentagon since 1996, the first year it was supposed to be audited, has never been accounted for. That sum exceeds the value of China’s economic output last year.

Category: Politics, Really, really bad calls, Think Tank, War/Defense

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

19 Responses to “Military Waste and Fraud Are the Main Cause of Our Problems”

  1. Ah . . . one of my favorite gripe subjects along with NSA abuses . . . keep it up WB.

  2. farmera1 says:

    So which industry has more corrupting power, the military industrial complex or the too big to fail banks. Tough call but Eisenhower saw the potential for the disaster in the military industrial complex as he stated in his 1961 speech.

    “This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

    In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”

    Let me see, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq all undeclared wars. All very profitable to the military industrial complex and all disasters for the USA. Suppose Eisenhower knew what he was talking about??????

    • ilsm says:


      Ike knew and Marshall knew too that is Ike “jumped” over a lot of names on the
      “list” to get his job in 1944.

  3. ilsm says:

    GAO High Risk for Waste Fraud and Abuse list:

    http://www.gao.gov/highrisk/overview (click a button on gao.gov!!)

    DOD Approach to Business Transformation
    DOD Business Systems Modernization
    DOD Support Infrastructure Management
    DOD Supply Chain Management
    DOD Weapon Systems Acquisition (The annual report is due anyday)
    DOD Financial Management (Add the adove and this will never happen)

    Why doesn’t anyone act on what GAO recommends (for the past 20 years)?

  4. denim says:

    This is another example of misunderstood economics. The trouble with our economy is lack of spending money on anything at all. Remember Keynes essentially said burying coke bottles of money only to have them dug up by those who needed paying jobs would be better than nothing. So it is with alleged military waste. That money circulates… it is not burned up. The Bush wars economic problem was the borrowing part of its borrowing and spending spree. Essentially, the debt notes, were foisted upon us to pay while the borrowed proceeds were given to the IMC.

    • DeDude says:

      I think you are misunderstanding Keynes. The dig and fill a hole was meant as a desperate last resort when more productive ways of spending money were not possible. In fact it was not a real “proposal” at all, it was meant to explain the principle that spending was always better than not spending if the economy was in a slump (even if the spending was completely non-productive it would be better than not spending/austerity). If you have the choice between productive and non-productive spending Keynes never suggested that you should choose the non-productive.

  5. san_fran_sam says:

    Funny how Republicans complain about how throwing money at social welfare programs doesn’t solve the problem, yet they never met a Defense Department budget or war or weapons programs that they didn’t like. Except when it was too low.

    • LeftCoastIndependent says:

      Dems and Cons all spend too much of our money, they just spend it on different things.

      • VennData says:

        Like what?

      • LeftCoastIndependent says:

        Like go to USA.gov/directory/A-Z index of U. S. government departments and agencies. This is a smorgasbord of special interest groups, some good, some bad, depending on how you look at it, and some that are mutually acceptable to both parties. The name of the game in D.C. since Reagan showed up is , I scratch your back if you scratch mine, and what the heck, just put it on the credit card, go home and put the debt blame on the other 535 members of congress.

  6. James P says:

    Hard to say what Keynes would think of it all. Modern (Keynesian) economics seems to promote the idea that all (gov) spending is equal. That the Fed buying bags of dirt is the same as building infrastructure. That flowing money and societal wealth are the same thing. I have a machine shop. When work gets low and I don’t want to lose my skilled labor, we work on tools or projects that will make our work more efficient when paying work returns. Not only do the employees feel better about the work they do, it makes us better able to compete. Moneys spent on the war machinery do very little to increase the social wealth because it is all expended in battle or stored until it is obsolete. I’m not complaining about food stamps here. I obviously think there should be a social contract embedded in capitalism that makes society more wealthy as time goes on. Military spending is simply wasting the opportunity.

  7. theexpertisin says:

    Military waste is a problem. Why not ask, or give orders to, folks within the military at ranks from Lieutenant to Colonel to submit their observations on waste?As with corporations, mid-level management directly observes where the waste occurs. Promote those who are most effective at saving taxpayer money.Those above Colonel are too vested in zero-based budgeting for most programs and automatic budget increases for the rest. Those below Lieutenant don’t know how the budget is rigged.

    I think many readers and pseudo-experts in the media would be surprised at how much of the military budget is eaten up by benefits and programs advanced by politicians and non-defense agencies to benefit their constituents or a targeted social class, not national defense.

    We all share blame for DOD waste in unequal measure, not just a few bigwigs at the Pentagon.

  8. VennData says:

    Citizen’s United will solve this as billionaires who do not want this or that war will surely take out ads on TV saying as much.

    And if you believe that one, I have a blocked bridge to sell you.

  9. gordo365 says:

    Speaking of defense waste

    New B2 Bomber – $2B
    B2 Bomber Repair – $1B
    photo of melted bomber – priceless


  10. willid3 says:

    is it the equipment? or is it the structure? why do we still have the marines? its about the size of one of the Armies army? and why do we have so many training bases? why not reduce them to maybe 1 or 2 that are responsible for training for one particular skill (like flying)? i suppose one could also combine all of the military branches into one, with fewer executives (admirals/generals). at least if we did that maybe we wouldn’t have so much support buying (you know like buying their own version of uniforms for combat)

  11. victor says:

    Wasteful? of course but all Government run entities are wasteful. But our Military is also a gigantic social/training program and please show some respect: they do defend us.

    • zman1527 says:

      Defend us? From what? Stone-age towel heads that live half way around the world? Disgruntled young russian immigrants threatening the entire nation with a pressure cooker bomb? Grenada? Panama?

      Has Canada threatened us lately? Mexico? They protect not much more than corporate profits and congressional egos.

  12. James Shannon says:

    …. and $9 Trillion has been spent on the Nuclear Program since inception.
    Our entire National Debt – all defense spending!