What if you lost a whole lot of money? Can you imagine the horror and desperation you’d feel? Well, the US government has lost $21 trillion, and they don’t seem to care. But the rest of us have to care about our own budgets.
Planning to save money is at the top of Statista’s list of 2024 New Year’s Resolutions. In the past, resolutions like losing weight and eating healthy foods have been more popular, but times are changing.
The inflation that’s making average Americans so miserable right now was preventable. Many of us knew, once the Federal Reserve started printing money during Covid that at some point, we would all have to pay. And now those bills are now coming due. While the situation reveals terrible leadership at the top of American society, the Americans attempting to improve their financial literacy deserve commendation. (If you are trying to live more frugally, check out our sister site, The Frugalite. and Daisy’s book, The Ultimate Guide to Frugal Living.)
But what about our political class?
Are the Americans responsible for the money flow at the national level trying to get their financial house in order, too?
It looks unlikely. As we mentioned in a previous article, Congress hasn’t passed a budget with no government shutdowns and no continuing resolutions since 1997,
Think about what you were doing in 1997. I was in high school. That was a generation ago. We’ve had a full generation of a Congress that cannot get its financial house in order. And worse, almost no Congressional members pretend to try.
Is this incompetence? I’m sure a lot of it is. Yet the problems are too deep to blame solely on that.
For example, the government “lost” $21 trillion recently.
In 2018, Michigan State University Economics Professor Mark Skidmore and former assistant secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Catherine Austin Fitts issued a report showing that, after combing through official databases of government budgets, there was $21 trillion unaccounted for.
Mainstream sources were quick to point out that the Pentagon has never had $21 trillion to spend. That ridiculously huge figure probably came from sums of money being accidentally double- and triple-counted.
However, the enormous sum of missing money did spark the Pentagon’s first-ever audit in 2018. Congress had required every department to audit itself since 1990, but the Pentagon, 28 years after the fact, was the last department to get around to it. And they did not pass it. In fact, in 2023, the Pentagon failed its sixth audit in a row.
Politicians such as Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez have focused on the Pentagon misplacing $21 trillion, but that’s not fair. As Professor Skidmore and Austin Fitts have repeatedly pointed out in a variety of articles and interviews, some of that $21 trillion also came from HUD.