Is Our Government Intentionally Hiding $21 Trillion In Spending?

By Laurence Kotlikoff

This column is co-authored with Mark Skidmore, a Professor of Economics at Michigan State University.

In our prior column, Mark and I wrote about $21 trillion in unaccounted government transactions, primarily on defense. The DOD’s (Department of Defense) as well as HUD’s (Department of Housing and Urban Development) Offices of Inspector General (OIG) reference these transactions as “unsupported journal voucher adjustments.” This is polite accounting language for lost, hidden or stolen money. If such “adjustments” were small, it would be one thing. But they totaled some $21 trillion between 1998 and 2015!

The origin of our column was a report, released some nine months ago, by Mark and Catherine Austin Fitts. Catherine is a former (under Bush 1) Assistant Secretary of that the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).Billions in unaccounted government transactions ($278.5 billion in 2015 alone!) emanating from HUD originally caught Catherine’s attention in 2000 in connection with subsequent responsibilities as lead financial advisor to the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). Catherine was unable to secure an explanation for HUD’s lost money and became concerned that something terribly inappropriate might be going on at HUD and DOD and in the related financial marketswithout the public’s knowledge. She has remained concerned for years and shared her concern with Professor Skidmore more than a year ago. From then till now, Fitts and Skidmore have repeatedly asked the DOD’s OIG to explain why it can’t account for trillions in apparent irregular if not illegal outlays. They’ve received no response whatsoever apart from acknowledging the requests.

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