Bean Counters

I suspect that this is a feature, not a bug:

In 1990, Congress enacted legislation requiring all federal agencies to pass independent audits. Every year, the Defense inspector general dispatched dozens of auditors to the military’s financial and accounting centers. Every year, they reported back that the job couldn’t be done. Defense Department records were in such disarray and were so lacking in documentation that any attempt would be futile. In 2000, the inspector general told Congress that his auditors stopped counting after finding $2.3 trillion in unsupported entries made to force financial data to agree.

The Pentagon budget, larger than the GDP of most of the world’s nations and roughly one quarter of the entire U.S. Government budget, is unaudited and unaccountable. But because each of the branches — Air Force, Army, Navy, etc. — want to keep their independence, there’s no way to bring them all together. And since defense spending exists in a parallel universe to all other government spending (a universe where Republicans support big government, where projects don’t really have to justify their budgets, and where overspending is par for the course).

So, in honor of Tax Day, here’s a chart, courtesy of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: