Out-of-Control Spending Highlights Need for Fiscal Sanity

Lobster tail, crab, booze, and a foosball table were purchased in the Federal Government’s use-it-or-lose-it spending spree.

Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) won election to the United States Senate for promising to make the federal government “squeal.” The reference is in response to the out-of-control spending that has plagued the federal government for decades. The current federal budget process is broken, and spending is on autopilot symbolized by our growing $22 trillion national debt. The national debt is perhaps one of the greatest threats to the future of the nation.

In order to bring some fiscal sanity to the federal government, Senator Ernst has introduced The End-of-the Year Fiscal Responsibility Act, which “would limit an agency’s spending in the last two months of the fiscal year to no more than the average it spent per month during the preceding 10 months.” The proposed legislation would only be applied to discretionary spending and entitlements and national security would be exempt.

Senator Ernst argues that the goal of this legislation is to “halt federal agencies ‘use-it or lose-it’ shopping spree by removing incentives for the government to spend needlessly.” This legislation would prevent federal agencies from wasting taxpayers’ dollars by spending money just to spend money before the end of the fiscal year. “With our national debt now surpassing $22 trillion, Washington should be looking for ways to save by canceling or delaying unnecessary expenses, rather than encouraging bureaucrats to splurge on end-of-year wish lists,” stated Senator Ernst.

Senator Ernst has even catalogued some of the examples of this wasteful spending:

  • $4.6 million for lobster tail and crab;
  • $2.1 million on games, toys, and wheeled goods;
  • $1.2 million for sponsorship of Professional Bull Riders, LLC.;
  • $308,994 on beer and booze;
  • $201 million on advertising;
  • $53,004 for china tableware;
  • $40,379 on clocks;
  • $24,993 for candy and candy bars;
  • $17,900 for five tons of tater tots, ten tons of dry pinto beans, and five tons of dry pasta;
  • $11,816 on a commercial foosball table; and
  • $9,341 on a Wexford leather club chair.

Open The Books, a watchdog policy group that sheds light on government spending, has issued an extensive report chronicling the wasteful spending as a result of this practice. The report: The Federal Government’s Use-it-or-Lose-it Spending Spree “found federal agencies took their taxpayer-funded shopping spree to a new level last year, spending $97 billion on contracts, in total.” This marks a 16-percent increase from fiscal year 2017, and a 39-percent increase from fiscal year,” noted the report’s findings.

Senator Ernst estimates that this fiscal year that $825 billion exists in unspent taxpayers dollars and the End-of-the-Year Fiscal Responsibility Act would help prevent this money from being spent recklessly.

Senator Ernst has brought forth a common-sense budget reform proposal, but even greater spending restraint is needed if we are to restore our fiscal health.