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So, Two US Government Agencies Cannot Account for $21 TRILLION S


So, Two US Government Agencies Cannot Account
for $21 TRILLION Spent in Only 17 Years Less than two weeks after the Department of
Defense announced it would finally subject itself to a first-ever audit, a new report
puts into perspective precisely why the Pentagon so sorely needs a thorough analysis of where
its trillions upon trillions in taxpayer funds have gone � because a stupefying $21 trillion
cannot be accounted for by just two government agencies, including the gargantuan DoD. That sum is indeed $21 trillion � tens of
trillions of dollars � spent by the DoD and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on
� well, no one really knows what. Not just that, but this rather bewildering
amount slipped through cracks in only seventeen years � from 1998, the year legislation
passed mandating annual audits of every government agency, through 2015. Michigan State University Professor of Economics
Mark Skidmore, who specializes in public finance, authored the study, which became his brainchild
after hearing Catherine Austin Fitts, former Assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
during the presidency of George H.W. Bush, remark on a report from the Office of the
Inspector General (OIG) revealing no less than $6.5 trillion unaccounted for, but spent,
by the DoD. Skidmore, flabbergasted, had presumed from
experience with previous public financing matters the astronomical figure too high not
to be a mistake. �Sometimes you have an adjustment just because
you don�t have adequate transactions,� he explained of what typically happens when
funds aren�t accounted for, in an interview in early December, �so an auditor would
just recede. Usually it�s just a small portion of authorized
spending, maybe one percent at most. So for the Army one percent would be $1.2
billion of transactions that you just can�t account for.� Except, the erstwhile �missing� monies
didn�t total in the billions, and Skidmore soon confirmed the preposterous sum published
in the OIG report, �Army General Fund Adjustments Not Adequately Documented or Supported,�
on July 26, 2016. On December 8 � the day following the Pentagon�s
audit announcement � he and Boston University Economics Professor Laurence Kotlikoff co-authored
a column for Forbes explicating the research and expanding on the problematic OIG report,
stating, �The report indicates that for fiscal year
2015, the Army failed to provide adequate support for $6.5 trillion in journal voucher
adjustments. According to the GAO�s Comptroller General,
�Journal vouchers are summary-level accounting adjustments made when balances between systems
cannot be reconciled. Often these journal vouchers are unsupported,
meaning they lack supporting documentation to justify the adjustment or are not tied
to specific accounting transactions � For an auditor, journal vouchers are a red flag
for transactions not being captured, reported, or summarized correctly.�� He continues, �Given that the entire Army
budget in fiscal year 2015 was $120 billion, unsupported adjustments were 54 times the
level of spending authorized by Congress. The July 2016 report indicates that unsupported
adjustments are the result of the Defense Department�s �failure to correct system
deficiencies.� The result, according to the report, is that data used to prepare the
year-�end financial statements were unreliable and lacked an adequate audit trail. The report indicates that just 170 transactions
accounted for $2.1 trillion in year-end unsupported adjustments. No information is given about these 170 transactions. In addition many thousands of transactions
with unsubstantiated adjustments were, according to the report, removed by the Army. There is no explanation concerning why they
were removed nor their magnitude. The July 2016 report states, �In addition,
DFAS (Defense Finance and Accounting Service) Indianapolis personnel did not document or
support why DDRS (The Defense Department Reporting System) removed at least 16,513 of 1.3 million
feeder file records during the Third Quarter.�� Affirming the jaw-dropping anomalous figure
led Skidmore promptly to enjoin Fitts for a collaboration with graduate students examining
thousands of additional Inspector General reports, dating from 1998 through 2015, the
last year for which data was available at the time of the project � concentrating
solely on the Defense Department and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. �This is incomplete,� Skidmore advised,
�but we have found $21 trillion in adjustments over that period. The biggest chunk is for the Army. We were able to find 13 of the 17 years and
we found about $11.5 trillion just for the Army.� Although even the preliminary numbers would
sound nearly anyone�s alarm bells, Skidmore refused to propound on the nature of the unaccounted
funds � whether it could have been allotted toward covert but legitimate projects, misallocated,
brazenly wasted, or otherwise � but did characterize the raw findings as profoundly
telling of a dearth in transparency in funding and parallel evisceration of due process in
budgeting at the federal level of government. Whether the Pentagon�s vanishing funds will
ever be matched to tangible ends in its first or future financial post-mortem seems optimistically
unrealistic; however, that the ball is finally rolling presents to the disgruntled public
a momentous opportunity to pressure officials to be held accountable for squandering such
embarrassing sums of taxpayer income. After all, they�re listening � Skidmore�s
interview with USAWatchdog came out on December 3 � with the Pentagon�s announcement following
just four days later, on the 7th. Further, Skidmore noted peremptorily that,
as he and Fitts scoured figures online, they observed something suspicious on the website
for the Office of Inspector General, asserting in a side note, �[A]fter Mark Skidmore began inquiring about
OIG-reported unsubstantiated adjustments, the OIG�s webpage, which documented, albeit
in a highly incomplete manner, these unsupported �accounting adjustments,� was mysteriously
taken down. Fortunately, Mark copied the July 2016 report
and all other relevant OIG reports in advance [available at this link]. Mark has repeatedly tried to contact Lorin
Venable, Assistant Inspector General at the Office of the Inspector General. He has emailed, phoned, and used LinkedIn
to ask Ms. Venable about OIG�s disclosure of unsubstantiated adjustments, but she has
not responded.� In fact, as noted previously by The Mind Unleashed,
the Department of Defense also recently edited its original audit announcement in a superficially
innocuous yet potentially insidious detail � halving the total number of auditors to
descend on the military, as seen in an internet archive of the page, to just 1,200 � without
explanation, notation of adjusted figure, nor any other remark explicating the adjustment
a simple mistake or otherwise. Despite a remarkable $21 trillion essentially
having evaporated from just two albeit notoriously thriftless governmental agencies, Skidmore
fears public apathy will reign � with predictably wearisome results. �If the American people don�t stand up
and say this is unacceptable,� the economist admonished, �nothing is going to happen. This is just wrong.�

12 Comments

  1. Lor M.
    Lor M. December 19, 2017

    Why aren't audits done??

  2. Shannon
    Shannon December 19, 2017

    Our schools and our state departments have not been audited in my lifetime

  3. Anthony Headrick
    Anthony Headrick December 19, 2017

    Hmm the box continues to unravel

  4. Carolina Girl
    Carolina Girl December 19, 2017

    The Democrats stole all of it. Follow the money!!!!!

  5. Rhonda Sanders
    Rhonda Sanders December 20, 2017

    Trillions! I can't wrap my brain around it. Unbelievable

  6. Crow fart
    Crow fart December 20, 2017

    Can't account for trillions and they expect us to believe this ? wow bring on the Marines ! fix this mess immediately !,this is the act of a domestic enemy ,our Marines are sworn to protect us , God bless president Donald Trump ,!,get our heroes working we have a dire emergency on our hands !, our sovereign country depends on our Marines following through on their oath, trillions missing is an impossibility !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!, our enemy is within .

  7. Tawnia
    Tawnia December 20, 2017

    Seems lots of money went to the defense department, but funny how Barry didn’t use a lot of it. And how about the ghost soldiers ?? I’m sure a lot of it is in Barry’s pocket, or big mikes purse. 🇺🇸TRUMP🇺🇸

  8. Marlene Binger
    Marlene Binger December 20, 2017

    Check Obama's bank accounts! Have been reading that Obama had his hands in that till?????

  9. michael Evans
    michael Evans December 20, 2017

    I just cannot understand…follow the money trail to bush/911 and to obongo/drug trafficking expenses and setting up fake political agendas and finally, trace most of it back to killery's hit squads, i mean, they have to be paid from somewhere to maintain silence?

  10. solomon king
    solomon king December 21, 2017

    We don’t know anymore who who is telling the truth. Mr. Trump kindly clarify so confusing government

  11. Elvis Dave
    Elvis Dave January 16, 2018

    Trump is having all the government agencies audited.No wonder we were 20 trillion in debt under Obamas 8 yrs! Trump will uncover trillions of wasted government spending of taxpayer dollars!

  12. Vicki Chavez
    Vicki Chavez February 15, 2018

    This is very wrong

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