nancylebov (nancylebov) wrote,

On (not) auditing the Pentagon

The Pentagon hasn't had an outside audit for 20 years.
"By 2017, they have a goal of being auditable. The Pentagon brass has such chutzpah that they came to a hearing last fall and said, 'If you want us to be auditable by 2017, we're going to need more money, to construct the system so we can be auditable,'" [Oregon Representative] Defazio said.

Much as I hate to disagree with someone who's trying to do something about fraud, waste, and abuse, the Pentagon may have a point about wanting yet more money to become auditable.

I'm related to CPAs, and a large amount of work goes into keeping financial track even for ordinary-sized organizations who haven't neglected their records for 20 years. I shudder to think of what a job setting up the Pentagon to be audited and then auditing it would be, but I'm sure existing accountants (they have some, I hope) aren't going to be doing it in their spare time.

IIRC, there were pallets full of American currency that went missing early in the Iraq war. It would be elegant to use that money to pay for the audit, but the money would probably have to be imported from an alternate universe. Some of it might be in a warehouse next to the Ark of the Covenant, but that isn't going to be much easier to find.

I seem to be heading off into whimsy because of lack of practice at moral outrage, but I would be grateful if someone who's good at moral outrage would pick up this story and let me know what you do with it. By the way, note that 20 years. We have something that isn't GWB's fault.

In vaguely related editorializing, has anyone seen a moral argument for not defaulting on the national debt? After all, the money was lent to the US in good faith, and making the payment wouldn't be a short-term disaster.

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Tags: audit, pentagon

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