Congress must stop this farce

In Washington, government spending is discussed in terms of billions and trillions of dollars. A million bucks isn’t even enough to merit decimal-point mention in most agency budgets.

But out here in the hinterlands, $1 million is still thought of as big money.

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and a colleague, Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., apparently have not been indoctrinated sufficiently to ignore a million dollars in easily preventable waste. So they have introduced a bill to address it.

It seems the government has about 13,712 bank accounts, most used for programs that no longer exist, containing no money.

That costs taxpayers at least $890,000 a year in bank service fees. In all likelihood, the amount is substantially more.

Obviously, the accounts should have been closed, some years ago. But no one in the bureaucracy seems to have felt saving taxpayers’ money was worth the trouble of filling out a form or two to close the accounts.

Manchin and Fischer have introduced the Grants Oversight and New Efficiency Act – GONE – that would require closing unused bank accounts.

Let’s hope GONE is enacted soon, before official Washington forgets about it, too.