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The 6 biggest federal foul-ups in 2011

Readers of the Washington Post’s Federal Eye blog have voted and determined that the biggest "government “oops of 2011 was federal waste — erroneous payments to dead people, fraud linked to the economic stimulus program and inadequate oversight of tax cuts.

Here at Management Watch, we took a similar approach and called on our readers to find other events or political leaders that deserved to be included on this list of 2011 federal fiascoes. Here is a breakdown of some those suggestions:

Pay freeze extension: “Expanded federal pay freeze is unacceptable to me,” commented Scott. “I have a family and bills, why should my family suffer because of the debt, we did not create it. The lawmakers need to vote this bill down. The rich need to be taxed accordingly. As it is now the poor and middle class are being taxed way too much.”

Congressional inaction: “The biggest waste is that we have paid salaries to Congress and their staff for a year of nonsense and lack of action,” another reader said. “Instead of a continuing pay freeze and fed workers paying more for their benefits, I think Congress ought to work with no salary until they get it fixed.”

Transportation Security Administration: “TSA gets my vote for a too powerful department who under the guise of protecting us from 'terrorists' and with the protection of the Orwellian 'Patriot Act',’ treats American travelers with disrespect and a fascist-like approach that makes flying a chore rather than a pleasure,” reader Stig Larsen said.

Republican lawmakers: "Congressional Republicans' DELIBERATE holding the U.S. debt limit hostage to their ‘no new taxes for the rich’ ideology,” Susan S. Pastin said. “Their spurning of Obama's $4 TRILLION offer to ‘go big’ on deficit reduction. Their attitude - if Obama's for it, we're against it.”

Cancellation of Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository: “How about this one, the Obama administration (DOE) canceled the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository after spending $11 billion as a political favor to Harry Reid,” commented Joe NRC. “Reid even had his former aide at NRC, Chairman Greg Jaczko, stop the legally mandated safety review that the NRC was conducting.”

Federal Aviation Administration furlough: “I was totally disgusted with the way the FAA furlough was handled (July 25 through Aug. 5, 2011),” GRL wrote. “As employees, we were treated very poorly. Information was not provided on a timely basis and it took a long while for the decision to be made to reimburse employees for the time lost. Shame on a prestigious agency like the FAA! We expect better from you.”

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Reader comments

Wed, Dec 28, 2011

Congressional inaction is a good thing. I get queasy whenever congress tries to do something. It's best if they do nothing especially when it comes to the economy. Please do nothing.

Fri, Dec 23, 2011 Jim

With the way Congress is acting, they are all asking to be replaced. Come election time, my vote is not for anyone currently in office. My second push would be to require Congress to give back some of the frills they currently get. We as the working public don't get a free ride for our retirement. Congress on the other hand gets retirement for the rest of their life after only one term in office. That seems to me like a good place to cut back the Federal Budget as they are making all other Federal employees not get a pay raise. Come on people, smell what Congress has done, I mean not done for this country.

Thu, Dec 22, 2011 Ken K Retired in Thailand

These are all very good comments pointing out that the US Government is a broken out-of-control behemoth of an organization that makes a business of giving away resources it does not possess. It needs to get back to the basics of governing, starting with a Flat Tax, Popular Vote, Post Depression controls of the Financial Markets, while embracing a free market economy and doing away with pork and other subsidies.

Thu, Dec 22, 2011 Steve Temple Hills MD

This ties in with Congressional InactioN: Failure to do anything significant to eliminate waste and abuse of Federal funding. a. MediCare fraud -- Acouple government and non-government organizations estimate that over $50 Billion a year are lost due to overcharges and non-performance by medical providers and equipment suppliers. Yet Congress does hardly anything to remedy the situation ?because of big donations by various healthcare groups? b.Duplication of government agencies and services. The GAO estimates that over $200 Billion per year could be saved by eliminating redundant organizations which produce the same or similar services, e.g., a couple dozen job training organizations, 30+ organizations promoting math and science studies among school students, etc,etc. Elimnating this waste would go a long way in reducing the Federal dificit, and would allow for federal pay raises without straining the Budget.

Thu, Dec 22, 2011 Cowboy Joe

Yep - Mark Twain had it right. Congress gets my vote ... on this list. What scares me is that nobody seems to be able come up with anything better than what's takin' up those seats right now. I KNOW there are a lot of honest, hard workin' folks out there with the organizational and legal skills to do the job and do it well - that they ain't runnin' - or can't run - worries me a mite for this country.

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