GAO: Veterans Administration at High Risk for Fraud & Waste

Last Wednesday, a report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported what is less than surprising news: The Department of Veterans Affairs health care system is a “high-risk” area that is particularly prone to “fraud, waste, abuse and mismanagement.”

Despite recent scandals and Congress’s all-too-predictable response of throwing money at the problem, as Wall Street Journal notes, “The VA hasn’t fully addressed more than 100 of the accountability office’s recommendations, some stretching back more than a decade including those that have reportedly harmed veterans, according to the report.”

It’s time for real reform. Simply pouring money into a troubled agency is a familiar and flawed response to any problem that demands real and meaningful oversight.

Keith Hall to Succeed Elmendorf as Director of Congressional Budget Office

Breaking news out of Washington this morning:

“Dr. Hall has more than 20 years of distinguished government service, including as Chief Economist for the White House Council of Economic Advisers and as Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics,” said Chairman Enzi. “He has dedicated his career to managing teams focused on strengthening the economy by providing policy makers and the public with superior economic analysis and information. I thank Mr. Elmendorf for his service and look forward to working with Dr. Hall as Congress begins the difficult task of addressing our nation’s chronic overspending, which threatens America’s future.”

In addition the work above, Dr. Hall also has experience serving in leadership or management in the United States Treasury, the International Trade Commission, the Department of Commerce, and the Executive Office of the President. He served as the 13th Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) tasked with evaluating legislation and providing long-term economic forecasts, is one of the most critically important agencies. We look forward to seeing more of how Dr. Hall will serve in this important role.



See Jonathan Bydlak at CPAC 2015

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We’re very pleased to announce that Coalition to Reduce Spending president Jonathan Bydlak will be addressing attendees at the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference on the topic we believe is the issue of our time: spending and debt.

Date: This Saturday, February 28
Time: 11:10 AM
Place: National Harbor’s Gaylord Resort & Conference Center; Potomac 4, Breakout Room #4

He’ll be joined by House Budget Committee Chair Representative Tom Price, Tennessee State Senator Mark Green, and moderator and CRS advisory board member Deroy Murdock of The National Review. We can’t wait for what is sure to be an excellent conversation.

Our work is built upon the idea that spending is the issue of our time. We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to discuss our strategies for solving the spending problem with one of the largest gatherings of political activists and thinkers in the country.

Join us!

New Greek leadership targets tax cheats and corruption to stop the bleeding

Struggles continue for the troubled Greek economy, as the Eurozone and Greece faced one last chance to fix the simmering fight over Greece’s debt bailout.

Eurogroup head Jeroen Dijsselbloem said finance ministers from the 19-member eurozone would meet in Brussels Friday to consider a make-or-break request by Athens to extend its European loan programme that expires at the end of the month.

In its request sent to Brussels, Athens “pledges fiscal balance… and will carry out immediate reforms against tax evasion and corruption,” the source added.

Wording is key to resolve the feud, with Greece’s ruling Syriza party swearing that it is only requesting an extension to the loan part of the 240 billion euro rescue that came with commitments to push through austerity and deep reforms.

Experience in the United States suggests that this is a worthy avenue to pursue — but it likely won’t be a magic bullet Greece’s government hopes for. In the United States, nonpartisan reports have shown that billions are wasted each year just through duplication and waste; and a 2012 report shows that hundreds of billions in legally owed taxes have gone unpaid.

Both in Greece and in the United States, such waste and abuse is well-worth pursuing. Whether doing so will solve long-term liabilities is another matter entirely.

Update: Greek leadership and European finance officials have worked out a deal to continue financial rescue for Greece.

Jeb Bush calls for busting budget caps

This rhetoric is troublesome, to say the least.

Early 2016 GOP frontrunner Jeb Bush offered no fiscal plan to alter existing law so he could implement the Pentagon budget hikes he called for Wednesday. . . Bush told a luncheon audience that ‘engagement is the key’ to dealing with myriad global challenges. He unveiled a mostly vague blueprint for his hawkish foreign policy approach, trotting out his “liberty diplomacy” theme.

One of the few specifics he did call for was an increase in annual US military spending.”

Read the rest here, and remember, as political and military leaders on all sides have noted, there’s plenty to cut. We shouldn’t tolerate rhetoric that uses our armed services as an excuse to continue irresponsible government spending.

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