STATE DEPARTMENT AUDITOR: Uhm, Any of You Guys See $6 Billion Lying Around Somewhere?

But, hey: what’s $ 6 billion among friends?

The State Department has no idea what happened to $ 6 billion used to pay its contractors.

In a special “management alert” made public Thursday, the State Department’s Inspector General Steve Linick warned “significant financial risk and a lack of internal control at the department has led to billions of unaccounted dollars over the last six years.

The alert was just the latest example of the federal government’s continued struggle with oversight over its outside contractors.

The lack of oversight “exposes the department to significant financial risk,” the auditor said. “It creates conditions conducive to fraud, as corrupt individuals may attempt to conceal evidence of illicit behavior by omitting key documents from the contract file. It impairs the ability of the Department to take effective and timely action to protect its interests, and, in tum, those of taxpayers.”

In the memo, the IG detailed “repeated examples of poor contract file administration.” For instance, a recent investigation of the closeout process for contracts supporting the mission in Iraq, showed that auditors couldn’t find 33 of the 115 contract files totaling about $ 2.1 billion. Of the remaining 82 files, auditors said 48 contained insufficient documents required by federal law.

…Before Linick took office last fall, the State Department had been without an inspector general position for five years—the longest IG vacancy in the government’s history, as noted in The Washington Post.

By contrast, the Air Force — in order to save just $ 3.5 billion over five years — slashed the invaluable A-10 Warthog (pictured above) program.

Priorities: for Democrats, waste, fraud and abuse trumps protecting America’s warriors.

Hat tip: BB.

Doug Ross @ Journal

37 Reasons the Media is Lying to You About a “Recovery”

Guest post by Michael Snyder

“If you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it.” Sadly, that appears to be the approach that the Obama administration and the mainstream media are taking with the U.S. economy.

They seem to believe that if they just keep telling the American people over and over that things are getting better, eventually the American people will believe that it is actually true. On Friday, it was announced that the unemployment rate had fallen to “7 percent”, and the mainstream media responded with a mix of euphoria and jubilation. For example, one USA Today article declared that “with today’s jobs report, one really can say that our long national post-financial crisis nightmare is over.” But is that actually the truth? As you will see below, if you assume that the labor force participation rate in the U.S. is at the long-term average, the unemployment rate in the United States would actually be 11.5 percent instead of 7 percent. There has been absolutely no employment recovery. The percentage of Americans that are actually working has stayed between 58 and 59 percent for 51 months in a row. But most Americans don’t understand these things and they just take whatever the mainstream media tells them as the truth.

And of course the reality of the matter is that we should have seen some sort of an economic recovery by now. Those running our system have literally been mortgaging the future in a desperate attempt to try to pump up our economic numbers. The federal government has been on the greatest debt binge in U.S. history and the Federal Reserve has been printing money like crazed lunatics. All of that “stimulus” should have had some positive short-term effects on the economy.

Sadly, all of those “emergency measures” do not appear to have done much at all. The percentage of Americans that have a job has stayed remarkably flat since the end of 2009, median household income has fallen for five years in a row, and the rate of homeownership in the United States has fallen for eight years in a row. Anyone that claims that the U.S. economy is experiencing a “recovery” is simply not telling the truth. The following are 37 reasons why “the economic recovery of 2013” is a giant lie…

#1 The only reason that the official unemployment rate has been declining over the past couple of years is that the federal government has been pretending that millions upon millions of unemployed Americans no longer want a job and have “left the labor force”. As Zero Hedge recently demonstrated, if the labor force participation rate returned to the long-term average of 65.8 percent, the official unemployment rate in the United States would actually be 11.5 percent instead of 7 percent.

#2 The percentage of Americans that are actually working is much lower than it used to be. In November 2000, 64.3 percent of all working age Americans had a job. When Barack Obama first entered the White House, 60.6 percent of all working age Americans had a job. Today, only 58.6 percent of all working age Americans have a job. In fact, as you can see from the chart posted below, there has been absolutely no “employment recovery” since the depths of the last recession…

#3 The employment-population ratio has now been under 59 percent for 51 months in a row.

#4 There are 1,148,000 fewer Americans working today than there was in November 2006. Meanwhile, our population has grown by more than 16 million people during that time frame.

#5 The “inactivity rate” for men in their prime working years (25 to 54) has just hit a brand new all-time record high. Does this look like an “economic recovery” to you?…

#6 The number of working age Americans without a job has increased by a total of 27 million since the year 2000.

#7 In November 2007, there were 121.9 million full-time workers in the United States. Today, there are only 116.9 million full-time workers in the United States.

#8 Middle-wage jobs accounted for 60 percent of the jobs lost during the last recession, but they have accounted for only 22 percent of the jobs created since then.

#9 Only about 47 percent of all adults in America have a full-time job at this point.

#10 The ratio of wages to corporate profits in the United States just hit a brand new all-time low.

#11 It is hard to believe, but in America today one out of every ten jobs is now filled by a temp agency.

#12 Approximately one out of every four part-time workers in America is living below the poverty line.

#13 In this economic environment, there is intense competition even for the lowest paying jobs. Wal-Mart recently opened up two new stores in Washington D.C., and more than 23,000 people applied for just 600 positions. That means that only about 2.6 percent of the applicants were ultimately hired. In comparison, Harvard offers admission to 6.1 percent of their applicants.

#14 According to the Social Security Administration, 40 percent of all U.S. workers make less than $ 20,000 a year.

#15 When Barack Obama took office, the average duration of unemployment in this country was 19.8 weeks. Today, it is 37.2 weeks.

#16 According to the New York Times, long-term unemployment in America is up by 213 percent since 2007.

#17 Thanks to Obama administration policies which are systematically killing off small businesses in the United States, the percentage of self-employed Americans is at an all-time low today.

#18 According to economist Tim Kane, the following is how the number of startup jobs per 1000 Americans breaks down by presidential administration

Bush Sr.: 11.3

Clinton: 11.2

Bush Jr.: 10.8

Obama: 7.8

#19 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, median household income in the United States has fallen for five years in a row.

#20 The rate of homeownership in the United States has fallen for eight years in a row.

#21 Back in 1999, 64.1 percent of all Americans were covered by employment-based health insurance. Today, only 54.9 percent of all Americans are covered by employment-based health insurance, and thanks to Obamacare millions more Americans are now losing their health insurance plans.

#22 As 2003 began, the average price of a gallon of regular gasoline was about $ 1.30. When Barack Obama took office, the average price of a gallon of regular gasoline was $ 1.85. Today, it is $ 3.26.

#23 Total consumer credit has risen by a whopping 22 percent over the past three years.

#24 In 2008, the total amount of student loan debt in this country was sitting at about 440 billion dollars. Today, it has shot up to approximately a trillion dollars.

#25 Under Barack Obama, the velocity of money (a very important indicator of economic health) has plunged to a post-World War II low.

#26 Back in the year 2000, our trade deficit with China was 83 billion dollars. In 2008, our trade deficit with China was 268 billion dollars. Last year, it was 315 billion dollars. That was the largest trade deficit that one nation has had with another nation in world history.

#27 The gap between the rich and the poor in the United States is at an all-time record high.

#28 Right now, 1.2 million students that attend public schools in the United States are homeless. That is a brand new all-time record high, and that number has risen by 72 percent since the start of the last recession.

#29 When Barack Obama first entered the White House, there were about 32 million Americans on food stamps. Today, there are more than 47 million Americans on food stamps.

#30 Right now, approximately one out of every five households in the United States is on food stamps.

#31 According to the Survey of Income and Program Participation conducted by the U.S. Census, well over 100 million Americans are enrolled in at least one welfare program run by the federal government.

#32 In 2000, the U.S. government spent 199 billion dollars on Medicaid. In 2008, the U.S. government spent 338 billion dollars on Medicaid. In 2012, the U.S. government spent 417 billion dollars on Medicaid, and now Obamacare is going to add tens of millions more Americans to the Medicaid rolls.

#33 In 2000, the U.S. government spent 219 billion dollars on Medicare. In 2008, the U.S. government spent 462 billion dollars on Medicare. In 2012, the U.S. government spent 560 billion dollars on Medicare, and that number is expected to absolutely skyrocket in the years ahead as the Baby Boomers retire.

#34 According to the most recent numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau, an all-time record high 49.2 percent of all Americans are receiving benefits from at least one government program.

#35 The U.S. government has spent an astounding 3.7 trillion dollars on welfare programs over the past five years.

#36 When Barack Obama was first elected, the U.S. debt to GDP ratio was under 70 percent. Today, it is up to 101 percent.

#37 The U.S. national debt is on pace to more than double during the eight years of the Obama administration. In other words, under Barack Obama the U.S. government will accumulate more debt than it did under all of the other presidents in U.S. history combined.

Fortunately, it appears that most Americans are not buying into the propaganda. According to a new CNN survey, the percentage of Americans that believe that the economy is getting worse far exceeds the percentage of Americans that believe that the economy is improving…

Americans views on the state of the nation are turning increasingly sour, according to a new national poll.

And a CNN/ORC International survey released Friday also indicates that less than a quarter of the public says that economic conditions are improving, while nearly four in ten say the nation’s economy is getting worse.
Forty-one percent of those questioned in the poll say things are going well in the country today, down nine percentage points from April, and the lowest that number has been in CNN polling since February 2012. Fifty-nine percent say things are going badly, up nine points from April.

So what do you think?

Do you believe that the U.S. economy is getting better or getting worse? Please feel free to share what you think by posting a comment below…

Doug Ross @ Journal

SURELY YOU JEST: President Obama Now Lying About Massive, Fraud-Riddled Food Stamp Program

Guest post by Adam Tobias

MADISON, Wis. — President Barack Obama seems to be stretching the truth — again.

But his latest round of deceit doesn’t involve people being told they can keep their health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act.

This time the commander in chief is stretching the truth about the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which faces about $ 39 billion in cuts under a bill passed last month by House Republicans.

Obama, who is touting the taxpayer-funded program as a fiscal engine that helps boost the economy, claims in a report released this week that SNAP participation and spending will fall significantly as America recovers from tough financial times.

If only that were true.

Since Obama signed into law the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which provided close to $ 45.2 billion in additional SNAP benefits over four years, the national unemployment rate has dropped from 8.3 percent to 7.3 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

From 2009 to 2012, the country’s gross domestic product increased from $ 13.9 trillion to $ 15.6 trillion and the national average wage index also jumped from $ 40,711 to $ 44,321.

Yet the number of people who take advantage of SNAP and the money allocated for the program continue to skyrocket every year.

In 2008, the year Obama was first elected president, close to $ 37.5 billion was spent on SNAP, with 28.2 million Americans and 12.7 million households participating.

Funding for SNAP more than doubled to $ 78.4 billion in 2012, and this year is on pace to surpass that total.

Approximately 46.6 million people and 22.3 million households received SNAP assistance in 2012.

Numerous states, including Wisconsin, also have seen their food stamp beneficiaries and spending soar.

Wisconsin, which is experiencing its lowest unemployment rate in several years and has added 11,590 new businesses since Gov. Scott Walker took office in 2011, paid out $ 466 million in FoodShare benefits – the state’s version of SNAP – in 2008.

So far this year, the Badger State already has shelled out a little more more than $ 1 billion.

Wisconsin had 647,560 FoodShare recipients in 2008 and 1.1 million in 2012.

But Obama insists the growing number of people who rely on government support is actually good for the economy.

Every new SNAP dollar generates up to $ 1.80 in economic activity for the more than 230,000 retail food outlets that take part in the program, according to Obama, who is referring to the economic theory known as the Keynesian multiplier effect.

But others aren’t so quick to hop on the president’s bandwagon.

An article co-written by Harvard economics professor Robert Barro says that, in most instances, multipliers only result in stimulus programs that raise the gross domestic product by less than the hike in government spending.

That seems to be the case with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which is expected to increase budget deficits by $ 830 billion between 2009 and 2019.

But the amount added to the gross domestic product because of the ARRA could be as low as $ 231.6 billion through 2012, according to Congressional Budget Office estimates. And the uptick for 2013 could come in at only .1 percent.

“So, basically, you shrink the economy,” said Veronique de Rugy, a senior research fellow at George Mason University’s Mercatus Center.

Michael Tanner, a senior fellow with the Cato Institute, said there is no evidence to suggest that SNAP provides a shot in the arm to the economy.

“The money spent undoubtedly does generate a certain amount of activity, but the money needed to pay for that comes from taking money out of the economy, which deprives the economy of needed investments and spending,” Tanner said.

Even the Office of the Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Agriculture can’t prove the ARRA funding for SNAP achieved the goals of the stimulus package.

A 2013 audit could not evaluate the outcome because the performance measures developed by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service failed to properly gauge the implementation of the extra SNAP money.

“As a result, FNS had not assessed or reported on the use of the approximately $ 45.5 billion in additional SNAP funds to show the American taxpayer, in terms of the established goals, what was received for the Recovery Act investments,” the report says.

Contact Adam Tobias at atobias@watchdog.org or follow him on Twitter @Scoop_Tobias

Doug Ross @ Journal

Sen. Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY): Yeah, “We All Knew” Obama Was Lying About Keeping Your Health Insurance

Guest post by TruthRevolt

New York Senator Kristen Gillibrand admitted Sunday to knowing the promises President Obama made about his signature health care plan were false. On ABC’s This Week, fill-in host Martha Raditz asked Gillibrand, considering the now nearly universally acceptance of the fact that the President said things about the law that weren’t true, whether she felt misled by the President:

He should’ve just been more specific. Because the point is, if you’re being offered a terrible health care plan, that the minute you get sick you’re going to have to go into bankruptcy, those plans should never be offered.

Following up on an obvious non-answer, Raditz asked again about being misled. This time, Gillibrand offered a startling revelation:

He should’ve just been specific. No we all knew. The whole point of the plan is to cover things people need, like preventive care, birth control, pregnancy. How many women, the minute they get pregnant, might risk their coverage. How many women paid more because of their gender, because they might get pregnant. Those are the reforms.

Hat tip: BadBlue News.

Doug Ross @ Journal

WAPO: Administration So Desperate It’s Now Reduced to Lying About How to Count Obamacare Enrollees

WonkBlog, of all places, spotlights yet another complete fabrication on the part of the geniuses behind Obamacare.

The fight over how to define the new health law’s success is coming down to one question: Who counts as an Obamacare enrollee?

Health insurance plans only count subscribers as enrolled in a health plan once they’ve submited a payment. That is when the carrier sends out a member card and begins paying doctor bills.

When the Obama administration releases health law enrollment figures later this week, though, it will use a more expansive definition. It will count people who have purchased a plan as well as those who have a plan sitting in their online shopping cart but have not yet paid.

“In the data that will be released this week, ‘enrollment’ will measure people who have filled out an application and selected a qualified health plan in the marketplace,” said an administration official, who requested anonymity to frankly describe the methodology.

The disparity in the numbers is likely to further inflame the political fight over the Affordable Care Act. Each side could choose a number to make the case that the health law is making progress or failing miserably.

On Monday, the Wall Street Journal, citing anonymous sources, said insurance companies have received about 50,000 private health plan enrollments through HealthCare.gov. Even combined with state tallies, the figure falls far short of the 500,000 sign-ups the administration initially predicted for both private sign-ups and those opting for the expansion of Medicaid.

This is simply more fraud.

If Amazon attempted to tell its shareholders that sales included items left un-purchased in visitors’ shopping baskets, they’d probably be subject to criminal and civil penalties.

But big government seems to be above the law.

Doug Ross @ Journal