In what has become an annual ritual, the nation’s top accountability officer panned the government’s handling of its finances and estimated accounting errors cost taxpayers almost $100 billion per year.
Acting Comptroller General Gene Dodaro said Friday the federal government likely wastes about $98 billion on mistaken transactions and other improper payments. He also criticized the federal government’s inability to effectively collect taxes or secure its computer systems and pressed for action on financial regulatory reform.
“Problems in the nation’s financial sector have exposed major weaknesses in the current U.S. financial regulatory system. If those weaknesses are not adequately addressed, we could see similar or even worse crises in the future,” Dodaro cautioned.
As acting head of the Government Accountability Office, Dodaro followed in his predecessors’ footsteps by declaring that poor financial management in the Pentagon and serious accounting weaknesses throughout the government prevent his office from rendering an opinion on the government’s financial statements.
Dodaro also urged the administration to tackle the rising long-term deficit by addressing unsustainable spending on entitlement programs. He said the total cost of the government’s recent efforts to stabilize the economy would take years to calculate and noted that a significant chunk of the money from the Recovery Act has yet to be disbursed.
“Long term, the federal government faces huge structural deficits driven by rising health-care costs and demographics. Focused attention from Congress and the administration is needed to address these problems and put the government on a more sustainable path,” Dodaro said.