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National Debt

Government Wasting Taxpayer Dollars on Empty Bank Accounts

  • April 26, 2013

    This week, a Washington Post article revealed that the U.S. Government has spent $890,000 this past year to maintain…empty bank accounts. That’s right. These are accounts with no funds and exist essentially on paper. However, whether the government uses them or not, it still must pay the yearly maintenance fee of $65 on each of the accounts. $65 isn’t much money when the Government routinely runs up deficits in excess of $1 trillion each year. But when multiplied across the 13,712 empty accounts, the money adds up.


    According to the Washington Post this is how the government winds up spending all of your tax dollars on empty accounts:


    “First, a federal agency gives out a grant. It doesn’t just write a check; it creates an account within a large, government-run depository. The grantee can draw money out from there. Then, at some point, it’s over. The money runs out. Or the grant’s time limit expires. The agency is given notice: It’s time to close the account down.


    “But that takes work. An agency is first required to audit the account, to make sure the money was spent properly. (In rare cases, some money is returned to the grantee, and the dead account comes alive again.) That’s generally supposed to happen within 180 days. If it doesn’t happen, however, there is no formal consequence. And so, sometimes, it doesn’t happen. Right now, about 7 percent of the 202,000 total government grant accounts are devoid of money. These sit on the books, costing about $5.42 per month. The service fees are the same, whether an account is full or empty. Last year, the Government Accountability Office found that all that nothing was costing about $2.1 million a year.”


    Americans know, and so does the Government, that there are many more items on the books like empty bank accounts that are wasting billions of taxpayer dollars. Yet the Government has been slow to act, or at times has not acted at all. The Government Accountability Office (GAO), each year has been making recommendations to Congress and the Administration on ways to crack down on these expenditures. Yet both have failed to act.

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