Government wastes a third of all tax dollars, private group charges

April 16, 1993|By Chicago Tribune

WASHINGTON -- On the day that taxpayers dread the most, a government watchdog group charged yesterday that 34 cents of "every individual tax dollar surrendered to Uncle Sam is being wasted."

That amounts to $2,108 of the average middle-income family's taxes, according to a report released by the Citizens Against Government Waste.

"That waste tax could supply six months' worth of groceries, pay two house payments or cover most of the health insurance for the average family," said Tom Schatz, president of the private organization.

In their second annual report, called "Prime Cuts," the group recommended nearly $1.2 trillion in spending cuts already suggested by, among others, the Congressional Budget Office, the Office of Management and Budget and the inspectors general offices of various government departments.

Among its suggestions for a leaner government were continuing the closing of military bases, canceling the superconducting super collider and space station projects, and requiring the National Institutes of Health to seek research funding outside the government.

Mr. Schatz said that while science projects such as the super collider may be beneficial, the government cannot afford to spend money it doesn't have. The deficit for the current fiscal year is estimated to be about $322 billion, and the national debt totals more than $4.2 trillion.

"Official Washington is skilled at generating the false impression that anything deeper than nominal spending cuts would lead to wholesale chaos, deprivation for millions, and ruin for the Republic," he added.

The group estimated that the government will waste more than $170 billion this year on "pork, bureaucratic bloat, mismanagement, redundancy and programs that have outlived their usefulness."

In particular, the group attacked President Clinton's $16.3 billion economic stimulus package, saying it contained too much wasteful spending.

"On the average, each parking attendant, bike-path maintenance technician and golf caddie put to work by these and other spending projects [in Clinton's stimulus proposal] will cost taxpayers plenty," Mr. Schatz said.

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