The Corner

Federal Programs to Die For

Just in time for Halloween, Senator Coburn has released a report detailing more than $1 billion in federal funds (Social Security, home-heating assistance, farm-subsidy payments and more) that have been paid out to more than 250,000 deceased individuals since 2000. This one maybe my favorite:

• Medicaid paid over $700,000 in claims for prescriptions for controlled substances written for over 1,800 deceased patients and prescriptions for controlled substances written by 1,200 deceased doctors.

Here is what I would like to know: Why is it that wasteful spending never seem to go away?

We know that there is waste in the federal government. Over the years, Dr. Coburn has done a remarkable job of exposing it. Also, according to a Public Notice poll, getting rid of wasteful spending such as earmarks is a goal supported by a majority of the American people.

Obviously, wasteful spending is a very small portion of our fiscal problem. But that’s no reason to let such spending continue. One would think that because it is so small, and there is support for eliminating it, it should be easy. So why isn’t it?

Veronique de Rugy — Veronique de Rugy is a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

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