To those of you out there who are 'wasteful government spending deniers' when it comes to entitlements and any government program you happen to like, think again.
Because you are wrong.
Take a good look at this 2/1/13 Raleigh N&O news article, '$1.4 billion Medicaid funds' for the short and sweet (sour) story about just how terribly the state government has monitored and tracked your hard-earned tax-paid money over the past 3 years.
Once your stomach has stopped roiling and your blood pressure has calmed down a bit, sit down and read this Audit Report by State Auditor Beth Wood in its entirety. If you can't open the link for some reason, here's the .pdf version that should be easily readable for you.
Take your time because we really want you to consume all of this in-depth analysis in all of its gory details and desultory glory.
We hate to say 'we told you so' but...'we told you so'.
The problem? We are of the opinion that this is just a tip of the iceberg. Nationwide, this has to be the case in perhaps half the 50 states. In the others, perhaps it is only a smaller egregious act of mismanagement by a degree or two.
$450 million per year in North Carolina means what nationwide? $22.5 billion per year in wasted, overspent budgets in Medicaid? $15 billion? $50 billion?
If the North Carolina Medicaid budget has been administered this poorly, what in the heck is the figure for New York, California, Florida and Texas, our 4 largest states by population?
$50 billion per year spent in this unwise manner amounts to over $500 billion over a decade which is the usual time frame for budget scoring of such matters. Half a trillion dollars. At a time when we are desperately searching for $4 trillion in spending cuts, perhaps close to $500 billion could be found just by running the state Medicaid budgets in a more professional, 21st century sort of way. Well over half of that is your federal taxpayer dollars, the rest of it is your state taxpayer dollars.
Either way, it is mismanagement of your taxpayer dollars which we have been arguing for the past 4 years now. Many people have pooh-poohed it and said: 'How dare you suggest that any entitlement program be cut in spending? All you fiscal conservatives want to do is throw old people, poor people and babies out into the street!'
Wrong. All grown-up, clear-eyed, small government, fiscal conservatives want is the same thing everyone should want:
Their tax dollars being spent in the most efficient and economical way possible.
We know programs can be slashed and reformed and eliminated in the following government programs:
All of them. At every level of federal, state and local government across this nation.
Businesses, charities, churches and families have downsized over the past 4 years and gotten rid of their inefficient spending practices and 'programs' they couldn't afford any longer. Government is the next frontier to confront and conquer.
We think government should protect and defend us from attack and danger, from within and without.
A secure safety net should be in force to help people rebound from economic setbacks and personal distress but we should encourage eleemosynary institutions to do all that they can since they have typically done a better job of it over the course of our nation's history.
We need government to do the things that are specifically outlined in the Constitution, Article 1, Section 8 such as build roads and protect copyrights.
We don't think the average taxpayer should subsidize businesses, services or activities that are not generally available to them or the general public. Research on blind albino squirrels might be 'nice' to do...but it is not worthy of federal or state taxpayer support. 'The Friends of the Blind Albino Squirrel Foundation' can be formed by people who are concerned about such things and raise money for such research outside of any taxpayer support in our opinion.
We hope this story of the North Carolina Medicaid program stays in your mind for a long time. It is just the tip of the iceberg in North Carolina and across the nation.
Ronald Reagan once said: 'Government is not the solution to our problem. Government is the problem'.
When we clean up and fix and 'right-size' government spending, lower the tax burden to pay for smaller government and stop frittering away your hard-earned money as just found in the North Carolina Medicaid program, we will find a lot of things start to go right again in this nation.