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The Pentagon's Missing Trillions. What You Need To Know.

The Pentagon's Missing Trillions. What You Need To Know.
By James Corbett and Mark Skidmore
Global Research, March 09, 2019
Corbett Report

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez



$21 TRILLION of Pentagon financial transactions “could not be traced, documented, or explained.”

$21T in Pentagon accounting errors. Medicare for All costs ~$32T.

That means 66% of Medicare for All could have been funded already by the Pentagon.

And that’s before our premiums.


Medicare for All: But how will we pay for it?

Military: We actually have no idea what we’re even paying for


3:08 PM - Dec 2, 2018
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This is misleading.

Representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the New York Democrat who has become a darling of the progressive left, was quoting from an article in The Nation about “massive accounting fraud” committed by the Pentagon from 1998 to 2015. But her suggestion that the $21 trillion in military transactions could have “already” paid two-thirds the cost of a “Medicare for all” health care system goes beyond what the article reported — and is misleading.

For starters, the combined Pentagon budget from 1998 to 2015 was $9.2 trillion. One study by a libertarian economic think tank found that “Medicare for all” legislation by Senator Bernie Sanders, independent of Vermont, would cost the federal government $32.6 trillion over 10 years.

So where did the $21 trillion figure originate?
It comes from an analysis of the Pentagon’s “unsupported journal voucher adjustments,” by Mark Skidmore, an economist at Michigan State University. The term refers to improperly documented accounting adjustments that are made when different financial ledgers do not match.
In other words, $21 trillion is the total value of adjustments made to the Pentagon’s financial records over those years that could not be traced.

That is not the same thing as $21 trillion in spending.

David Norquist, the Pentagon’s comptroller, explained in testimony to Congress in January that the adjustments occur after money is spent because “we have systems that do not automatically pass data from one to the other.”

For example, Mr. Norquist said, the Army’s general ledger may initially estimate the cost of property and equipment. That estimate is later updated with a more specific cost, based on the actual value of property.

In the 2015 fiscal year, the Army general fund reported making about $1 trillion worth of adjustments to its assets, according to the Defense Department’s inspector general. It also made about $1 trillion in adjustment to its liabilities.

Together, that accounted for $2 trillion in adjustments — even though the actual dollar amounts potentially offset each other.

“I wouldn’t want the taxpayer to confuse that with not — with the loss of something like a trillion dollars. It’s not. That wouldn’t be accurate,” Mr. Norquist said. “But it’s an accounting problem that does need to be solved, because it can help hide other underlying issues.”
In an interview, Professor Skidmore faulted the Pentagon for its lack of transparency and expressed skepticism that mismatches in property evaluations could account for all $21 trillion. He noted that large state governments like New York and California will make similar adjustments, but equivalent to small percentages of their budgets — not magnitudes larger.

The Pentagon’s adjustments could well be “accounting gimmicks to reconcile accounts, fine — or something else, I don’t know,” Professor Skidmore said. “I’m just absolutely perplexed. Why not have the underlying information?”

The same article from The Nation that Ms. Ocasio-Cortez quoted also noted that Professor Skidmore’s analysis “does not contend that all of this $21 trillion was secret or misused funding” and that the transfers “are found on both the positive and the negative sides of the ledger, thus potentially netting each other out.”
Todd Harrison, the director of defense budget analysis at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the $21 trillion figure “double and triple counts funding that is transferred internally.”

“And just because a transaction cannot be fully traced and documented does not mean it was fraudulent or wasted,” Mr. Harrison said. Instead, it means the Defense Department “has not been able to pass an audit,” he said.

The Pentagon did indeed fail an audit in November.

Sources: The Nation, Office of Management and Budget Historical Table 5.2, Mercatus Center, Pentagon comptroller report, Pentagon inspector general report, Todd Harrison, Mark Skidmore, C-Span
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Linda Qiu is a fact-check reporter, based in Washington. She came to The Times in 2017 from the fact-checking service PolitiFact. @ylindaqiu

The Misleading Claim That $21 Trillion in Misspent Pentagon Funds Could Pay for ‘Medicare for All’


21 trillion of transactions between 1998 and 2015 not accounted for at the Department of Defense. Taxpayer money.
Sounds like a movie fictional story.
You have an idea how much money that is: About 65,000 dollars for every American from newborn to centenarian.
Not included: Trillions unaccounted for at other federal Departments.

A taboo topic at all US mainstream media. Why? None asks questions and/or makes demands.

Those who have tried to get information are stymied.

Scandalous. Isn't it?

Obviously, practically all of our senators and representatives don't want to know where that money went to.
Don't they have a fiduciary duty to THE PEOPLE. Don't they?

Once I read a report that 2 billion dollars, transported on pallets to Iraq, disappeared.
No one has a clue what that money had been used for. Just disappeared...
21 Trillion is more than 10,000 times that amount. An massive container ship full of 100 dollar bills.

Are you out of your mind, my dear Americans, not to want to know what happened to your money???
Not interested in how many thousands of people the US is bribing?
Or how many militant pro-US groups the US is providing with weapons?
Or part of it is money simply disappearing in the pockets of whom?

Never encountered a people with a civic deficit of Americans, collectively...