$500 BILLION IN GRANTS: "WE DON'T KNOW EXACTLY WHERE IT WENT"
Updated: Jul 6, 2019
On March 15, 2019, The Washington Free Beacon ran an article entitled "Report: Feds Not Monitoring How Taxpayer Funding Is Being Spent: Agencies failing to monitor grant recipients"
To illustrate why we need Digital Accountants and Ombudsmen, over $500 billion in taxpayer money in 2017 was spent on grants without Federal agencies monitoring how it was exactly disbursed. Whether research grants were properly disclosed to the public, or not, the government claims to have no knowledge.
This is government at its worse.
From what we have seen so far from the Deep State, we can conjecture that some of the money was wasted, misappropriated, defrauded, or embezzled.
According to the World Bank, across the globe, corruption can eat up 20% of expenditures or higher. Our Digital Accountants could have saved at least $100 billion, and if we were to add Digital Ombudsmen to monitoring the entire process from application, all the way to funding, we could ax grants that were bogus, duplicate, or unnecessary, saving even more.
The Departments of Education, Labor, and Health and Human Services, and Education failed to enforce the "Stevens Amendment, which requires grant recipients to disclose federal funding when they publicize their projects." This new report, which comes way too late after the fact, was released by the Government Accountability Office.
The Labor Department's Employment and Training Administration (ETA) does not know how much taxpayer funding is going towards salaries for groups who receive grants. and the National Institutes of Health says it has difficulty calculating where taxpayer funding is going because research programs can have "multiple funding streams" and research portfolios of academics are "now more complex."
The three agencies accounted for over $500 billion in taxpayer-funded grants in the fiscal year 2017. HHS alone handed out $455 billion in grants.
It is just worse to learn that the ETA does not know how much we are spending on salaries for entities that receive grants, or that the NIH has "difficulty calculating" because of "multiple funding streams" and academic research portfolios increase in "complexity."
This is a challenge for which elegant and cost-saving solutions could arise from Big Data and Machine Learning. It is a perfect job for a transparent and honest Digital Government and Law.
Since 1989 the Stevens Amendment, named after the late senator Ted Stevens of Alaska, has required grant recipients to disclose how much federal funding they received for projects when they publicize their taxpayer-funded work in press releases, statements, and other documents.
In his rationale for the law, Stevens said taxpayers "ought to be informed how much money comes from Federal sources in any program, project, or grant activity."
Sounds good, in theory.
Institutions have failed to comply with the law.
Why have laws if you can't or won't enforce them?
In response to the report, Sen. Joni Ernst (R., Iowa) released legislation to require every taxpayer-funded project to "include a price tag that is easily available for taxpayers." The Cost Openness and Spending Transparency Act, or COST Act, would update the Stevens Amendment by not only requiring disclosure of taxpayer cost but giving the Office of Management and Budget the power to withhold grant funding from academics and organizations that are not being transparent to taxpayers.
"Taxpayers in Iowa, and across the nation, have a right to know exactly how their hard-earned dollars are being spent," Ernst said in a statement. "While current law requires projects funded by some federal agencies to disclose the costs, my office has found that these agencies are largely ignoring the law and failing to comply. That's unacceptable."
Ernst's office cited examples of taxpayer-funded NIH studies that have not been properly disclosed, including a $1.3 million study that found "cats that are pampered with treats and classical music every day are less likely to poop outside of the litter box or cough up hairballs."
Digital government and law could do a much better job by tossing out ridiculous projects, monitoring expenditures, catching abuse, disclosing the abusers, and recommending actions to stop funds or prosecute. Learn more about Deep States that take your wealth and what to do about it in my new book.
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