Half of All Federal Budget Spending is Waste

Bruce fowarded to me a remarkable poll from Gallup. He suggested that I, rather than he, was the right person to comment. I am happy to oblige one of my bloggers-in-crime.

The poll shows that, on average, Americans today believe that 50 cents of every federal tax dollar is wasted. Gallup makes a big deal of the fact that this is an increase from 46 cents per dollar in 2001.

There’s one problem: the poll never defines “waste.”

Is it:

  1. Money used for a wasteful purpose?
  2. Spending on a project that will have a negative economic return?
  3. Appropriations for something you think is not the government’s responsibility?
  4. A program that could be implemented more efficiently?
  5. Benefits paid to people you think aren’t legally eligible?
  6. Benefits paid to people you think shouldn’t be eligible?
  7. A program that is working well but you think has outlasted its usefulness?
  8. Any or all of the above and anything else you can think of?

Without a definition or any other type of guidance everything in the federal budget can and will be called “waste” by someone. Because of that, I’m actually surprised that it was only 50 cents and not a much higher number.

In other words…This poll is worthless.

Bruce…Any comments?

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About Stan Collender 126 Articles

Affiliation: Qorvis Communications

Stan Collender is a former New Yorker who, after getting a degree from the University of California, Berkeley, moved to Washington to get it out of his system. That was more than 30 years ago.

During most of his career, Collender has worked on the federal budget and congressional budget process, including stints on the staff of the House and Senate Budget Committees; founding the Federal Budget Report, a newsletter that was published for almost two decades; and for the past 11 years writing a weekly column for NationalJournal.com and now RollCall.com.

He is currently a managing director for Qorvis Communications, where he spends most of his time working with and for financial services clients.

Visit: Capital Gains and Games

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