Since 2004, the 20 largest federal agencies have spent trillions in improper payments. Yes, trillions of tax dollars wasted. 

“Last year, these improper payments totaled $175 billion – that’s about $15 billion per month, $500 million per day, and $1 million a minute,” Forbes reported. “What can $175 billion buy? Last year, the federal government wasted the equivalent of a full year of all federal salaries, perks, and pension benefits for every employee of the federal executive agencies. A stunning example of institutionalized incompetence.” 

Improper payments are “payments made by the government to the wrong person, in the wrong amount, or for the wrong reason.” 

But where is the money going? Nearly $872M were paid to dead people through Medicaid, Social Security, and other programs. Six million Social Security numbers are active for Americans over 112 years old (there are only 40 known people over 112 years old in the world). 

Most of the missing money accounts for the government’s inability to authenticate eligibility, failure to verify death, administrative error, and insufficient documentation. Basically the government is terrible at doing its job. Wait, maybe this isn’t newsworthy.

The federal government has run wild. They actually admit to $1M per minute of wasted money. That’s your money and mine. Trillions of dollars fraudulently spent. Who will pay the price for this? Likely no one in government. Just you and me… out of our pockets. 

Sadly, it looks like it won’t be fixed soon. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) even admitted they will continue to improperly spend our tax dollars. 

“… the IRS does not have the resources to audit every return claiming return tax credits… Without legislative change to greatly improve effective tools to administer these credits, the improper payment rate will not drastically change,” Forbes reported on the IRS’s sorry excuse. 

Maybe the IRS would have the resources if they hadn’t spent $84.35B improperly over the last 5 years. 

If I was working at a fast food restaurant, and my checks didn’t add up, I would be fired. Now multiply that amount of money by hundreds of billions. We need to hold our federal government accountable.

Hat Tip: Forbes

About The Author

Mark was a co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, and served as the national coordinator. He left the organization to work more broadly on expanding the self-governance movement beyond the partisan divide. Mark appears regularly on television in outlets as diverse as MSNBC, ABC, NBC, Fox News, CNN, Bloomberg, Fox Business and the BBC. He’s highly sought after for the tea party perspective from print and electronic media outlets, from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, L.A. Times, Washington Examiner, Politico and the The Hill. Mark blogs at, and his opinion editorials regularly run in many of the leading political newspapers both on and offline. Mark has a BA in English from San Diego State University and graduated with honors from University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in 1988. He practiced real estate and business law for almost a decade. For the last eleven years of his legal career he specialized in Internet advertising law. When not fighting for the future of our nation, Mark is an avid horseman, and lives in rural northern California with his wife Patty and two children.

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