The Federal Shopping Spree Has Begun

Federal agencies are engaging in a shopping spree to use up all the money budgeted to them so they can ask for more.

We can’t cut the budget we are told. We must increase spending even though we are spending more than we collect in revenue.

Yet federal agencies are recklessly spending money to prevent from having anything left over at the end of the fiscal year. The Washington Times reports, “Federal agencies end fiscal year with shopping spree.”

If you ever doubted that Christmas shopping really begins in September, look no further than Uncle Sam.

Federal agencies went on a spree last month, spending whatever leftover federal funds they had rather than give back the excess money to taxpayers before the federal fiscal year ended Wednesday.

The Social Security Administration bought $8,788 worth of hand sanitizers in its New York office alone, while its Maryland office dropped $41,133 more on “housekeeping supplies.” The Interior Department, the agency charged with protecting the nation’s forests, spent $33,472 on toilet paper. And overseas, the State Department’s embassy in Benin stocked up on more than $37,000 worth of ink and toner.

The “use it or lose it” shopping spree for this September could end up costing taxpayers $471 billion, according to analysts. It’s a mentality that frustrates fiscal watchdogs, who wonder why agencies simply don’t return to the Treasury their unused budget funds to help ease crushing deficits and a national debt over $18 trillion.

“The end of the fiscal year in September is a glaring showcase of waste just as agencies rush to spend the very last dollar. Taxpayers, current and future, receive no consideration in this annual exercise, which takes place regardless of the size of the federal deficit,” said Romina Boccia, a research fellow in budgetary affairs at The Heritage Foundation.

Just think: a government “shutdown” might have stopped a lot of that. So not only have Republicans continued the funds flowing to Planned Parenthood, but they have empowered this spending spree.