e're hearing a great
deal from the media and the Gore campaign about George W. Bush's purportedly
weak record as governor of Texas. But little has been reported about Al
Gore's record during the past 7-½ years, for which Bill Clinton has called
him the greatest vice president in American history. This record is especially
relevant to judging Gore's claims to be a good steward of national policy.
Gore claims responsibility for "reinventing" the federal government, i.e.,
streamlining the bureaucracy and making it more efficient; and he is proposing
a massive expansion of the federal bureaucracy, including such areas as
health, education, and the environment. But the fact is, waste, fraud,
and abuse have flourished under Gore's stewardship:
According to the Associated Press, the Medicare program made overpayments
totaling $13.5 billion in one year; based on various 1998 investigations,
the House Budget Committee reported that the Supplemental Security Income
program loses $1 billion to fraud each year; and the Department of Housing
and Urban Development has wasted $18 billion.
The Medicaid program loses approximately $17 billion a year. Penny Thompson
of the federal Health Care Financing Administration, which oversees
Medicaid and Medicare, told AP late last year that the idea of overhauling
Medicaid to end fraud is something "we haven't really looked into with
GAO also reported that the Army could not account for $833 million in
shipped inventory in budget year 1998.
Department officials reported recently that $660 million was stolen
annually, from 1996 to 1998, from the Food Stamp program.
year the accounting firm of Ernst & Young reported that computer breakdowns
and missing paperwork left the Department of Education unable to account
for $500 million in unawarded grants.
General Accounting Office (GAO) reported this year that $6 of every
$10 spent on the Superfund program, which is charged with cleaning up
hundreds of toxic-waste sites throughout the country, went for support
Business Administration auditors reported that the agency lost about
$56 million on loans liquidated in 1994 due to errors in the liquidation
GAO reported last year that there are major lapses in fire prevention
in the national parks, including defective sprinklers, and lack of smoke
detectors, fire extinguishers, and fire-fighting equipment.
from congressional leaders of both parties conclude that federal regulations
cost the private sector from $230 billion to over $700 billion a year.
uncovered that "hundreds of companies prosecuted or sued for defrauding
the government can still receive federal business and many have
gotten new contracts because agencies chose not to ban them.
Perhaps Mr. Gore will have an opportunity, during tonight's debate, to
defend his own record.