Shoplifting Blamed for Federal Budget Deficit
Washington, D.C., April 16, 2010 -- A report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has determined that everyday shoplifting is to blame for the bulk of the federal government's projected $434 billion 2010 budget deficit.
The report by the non-partisan audit agency states "virtually all of the recurring $300 billion and higher fiscal shortfalls of the past decade can be traced to that which we would characterize as typical neighborhood hoodlums with sticky fingers," and offers several recommendations for preventative measures than can be taken to reduce the losses, reawakening Clinton-era hopes for a balanced federal budget.
President Bill Frist, in a brief press availability following the release of the report, said he finds the results "not that surprising".
"In my former experience as a doctor and as a major stockholder in HCA [Hospital Corporation of America] I have run up against the regular annual 2%-4% inventory losses incurred due to inadequate security procedures around the health maintenance organization facilities," President Frist said. "The GAO report simply proves we're dealing with the same type of thing at the federal level, only on a larger scale."
According to the University of Florida's annual National Retail Security Survey, typical retail establishments generally cope with inventory shrinkage on the order of 1.65-1.75 percent of gross annual sales. In 2009, employee theft and shoplifting together accounted for over 80% of the $51 billion total inventory shrinkage across the United States retail industry.
The GAO report establishes that similar factors are at work in the case of the federal budget deficit. Of a total 2010 federal budget of roughly $3.1 trillion, an estimated $361 billion, or 11.65%, is projected to be lost to "the removal by shoplifters of poorly secured office supplies, military and other hardware, snacks, candy and batteries, corporate welfare packages, and certain tax breaks."
"The problem, as always, is fundamentally one of security," President Frist said. "Based on the results of this GAO report, I'm appointing a cabinet-level committee to look into ways by which we can secure federal property and revenue inventory and therefore reduce this unfortunate trend, which is threatening our children's future, who I believe are important."
President Frist said the committee will focus on security measures including the installation of closed-circuit security cameras and Sensormatic sensor tag checkpoints at all federal installations, including the Pentagon, the House of Representatives, and the Senate.
"Most of the shoplifting seems to be centered in those three areas," President Frist said. "It's hard to imagine, but it seems more than one of our top military contractors and a number of my former colleagues in Congress may have a fake arm in their sleeve."
The GAO report, which examined a ten-year window, found that on at least one occasion during the George W. Bush presidency "undetermined oil industry executives" had "strolled nonchalantly through the halls of Capitol Hill wearing long, flappy trench coats. When they were gone, surprised shopkeepers found nearly $30 billion missing from the shelves."
A similar incident occurring during the same time frame involved a White House and Congressional tour by a small group of relatives of deceased billionaires and multimillionaires, during which the deceptively respectable but sticky-fingered group apparently made off with roughly $1 trillion in estate tax receipts hidden in secret recesses of their filmy designer dresses.
"Those incidents are certainly important and will be looked into at a level of priority to be determined by the committee I will shortly be appointing," President Frist said, "but first I think we need to get to the bottom of these candy, snacks and batteries issues."
According to President Frist, the Sensormatic tag sensors can be implemented at an annual cost to taxpayers of less than $39 billion.
By Ion Zwitter, Avant News Editor
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