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NOLAN FINLEY

Editor’s Note: Waste doesn’t slow big government

Nolan Finley
The Detroit News

One firm prerequisite for expanding a government program should be to assure that the taxpayer money already being spent is being used well.

But that’s not how Washington works. The Government Accountability Office, according to Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal, reported $124.7 billion in improper payments to individuals not eligible to participate in federal assistance programs. That’s up $19 billion over the previous year.

The official error rate for government payments is 4.5 percent. The Journal notes one of the most egregious examples of squandered funds is the earned income tax credit, which had an error rate of 27.2 percent.

Both Democrats and Republicans in Congress are backing a White House effort to expand the EITC, without even considering that the program could grow without additional funds simply by checking the waste.

It’s your money. And this is how your politicians are spending it. It shouldn’t matter whether you’re a Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative. It should bother you to see the hard-earned money of working Americans tossed away in such a cavalier manner.