For those confused as to exactly why the government’s spending practices are harmful to taxpayers, Bankrupting America — part of the fiscal watchdog Public Notice — has made understanding wasteful spending simple through their new web series, “The Government.”
“The Government,” launched last month, is a series of “mockumentaries” based off of the hit television show, “The Office.” Staff at the Department of Every Bureaucratic Transaction (DEBT), shown in the series’ pilot episode, has entered into the fourth quarter of the fiscal year. With Sept. 30 nearing, the company’s top dogs have engaged in the all-too-common “spend it or lose it” practice, in which federal agencies rush to spend the last of their funds to prevent their budget from being slashed the following fiscal year.
Bankrupting America’s web series shows the drastic measures agencies take, with workers drinking coffee from mugs made of solid gold and brainstorming different ways to hastily drain their coffers, including smashing their computers to buy new ones. Though the series is a parody, DEBT’s spending policy mimics the federal government’s reality.
“When you take the day and age we’re living in, with the out-of-control spending we’re seeing, the contrast of the culture in the federal government that is looking to burn through every last dollar of their budget by the end of the fiscal year to make the case for a bigger budget, there’s such a disconnect there,” Bill Riggs, deputy communications director for Public Notice, told Red Alert Politics.
“The Government” was created as part of Bankrupting America’s “Stop Spend It or Lose It” campaign and seeks to educate taxpayers of the ways this spending practice is harmful. “Spend-it-or-lose-it” results in agencies doling out millions to fund lavish conferences, create training videos based on blockbuster films and hire “happiness experts” for federal workers — all on the taxpayers’ dime.
“[‘The Government’] also provide[s] the sober assessment from the taxpayers perspective,” Riggs said of the web series. “It highlights the absurdity and parody and addresses how it’s a serious problem that should be addressed.”
After the video was unveiled, former government workers took to Bankrupting America’s Facebook page to recount their experiences with the “spend-it-or-lose-it” practice, proving that what was created as a parody was all too close to reality.
“As a former government employee, it is all too true,” wrote one user.
“I’ve seen this firsthand,” said another. “So true!”
Supporters’ of Bankrupting America’s campaign can sign a petition urging the government to stop “spend-it-or-lose-it” and send letters to members of Congress in an effort to encourage them to abandon the practice. Thus far, more than 5,600 letters have been sent pressing the nation’s lawmakers to cease.
“With the debt being nearly $17 trillion and after four years of trillion dollar deficits, it’s clear that federal spending is out of control,” Riggs said. “The CBO has us heading towards a long-term fiscal crisis if we continue down that path.”
Bankrupting America is proposing three pillars to curb “spend it or lose it:” a rollover of leftover funds to be used in the next fiscal year; more transparency and accountability from the federal government; and increased oversight, with vacant inspector general positions filled to ensure taxpayer dollars aren’t being wasted.
And though the campaign is still in the beginning stages, Bankrupting America is seeing results.
Sens. John Boozman (R-AR), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H) introduced the VACANT Inspector Generals Act — legislation that would address the empty positions — last week.
But there is still work to be done.
“The President speaks frequently about being responsible stewards of the taxpayer dollar,” Gretchen Hamel, executive director of Public Notice, said in a statement. “That won’t happen until we end spend it or lose it.”
Check out the pilot of “The Government,” and look for a new video in the coming months.