The Fiscal Times reported last week that the State Department has missing files or incomplete files for more than $6 billion in State Department contracts. Steve Linick, State's inspector general, issued a "management alert" warning that "significant financial risk and a lack of internal control at the department has led to billions of unaccounted for dollars over the last six years."
"For instance," writes the FT, "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."
State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf says the $6 billion isn't missing, but that State is merely experiencing "bureaucratic issues," which it's addressing.
The lack of internal control is an apt description for what is wrong with the federal government, which seems incapable of controlling its spending.
Oh, how far we've come from the days of our grandparents, who lived through the Great Depression and World War II. Then, slogans like "waste not, want not" and "use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without" were necessities not just for winning a war, but surviving as a family.
Then, children were told to clean their plates because somewhere in the world people were starving. The Puritan ethic reminded people to always live within their means. Envy, greed and entitlement were regarded as "sins."
I recall an address given by the late Catholic Bishop Fulton J. Sheen. He asked, "How do you define a football field?" His answer? "By its boundaries." Sheen's point was that when boundaries are crossed, trouble ensues.
The Founders gave us a Constitution with boundaries that restrict the power and reach of government. We have exceeded those boundaries, which is why government no longer works and we have massive debt.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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