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Are there checks and balances for government programs?

The term checks and balances are inherent in the structure of our economy and our businesses.  This phase is not limited to government operations but businesses use this method of operation to ensure there results agree with the intentions for specific decisions and processes.  A system of checks and balance is a necessary activity for both government and private industry but today the focus seems to be on government functions and programs.

The amount of money spent on government programs begs for some accountability. We often hear about cost overruns on government contracts and while some may not be the fault of the company doing business other times they are responsible.  Distinguishing between government responsibilities and private responsibilities for cost overruns must be determined by some method of monitoring by the government.  Often we hear complaints about the money government spends but the question to be answered is whether there are appropriate checks and balances on government programs before costs skyrocket and requires an investigation.

The need for checks and balance by the government for monitoring their programs can be seen to some extent through the monitoring of Medicaid and Medicare payments to health associations.  Reports in the news have identified Medicare and Medicaid fraud and individuals have been arrested, tried and are serving time in prison.  This example is only a fraction of what must be in place.  The question today is whether there is enough money being allocated to accomplish this important function.  It is unknown at this point whether this function is properly funded as there is not much if any coverage in the news of this aspect of government operations.

Monitoring government programs is a responsibility of the government to ensure program objectives in addition to cost are achieved over the life of a program.  Some will say that government monitoring their own programs is like the fox guarding the chicken house.  This statement may be more true than you think as we have seen where government organizations have not lived up to their responsibilities on various programs as can be seen in congressional investigations of the past and present.

Some organizations today do some monitoring of their own regarding how funds are spent and whether the funds are appropriate for the costs involved.  While it is primarily the responsibility of government it has become necessary for private industry to do some monitoring of their own.

The point being made is that there needs to be both monitoring functions and they need to be independent of each other.  This is the only way there can be accuracy, integrity and accountability in the produced results.

Government must live up to its responsibilities in monitoring the funds it spends on the various programs now in place.  The burden should not be on the public to identify problems with government programs.  Government at all levels has a responsibility to ensure money is wisely spent and within the funds allocated for specific activities or functions.  This responsibility should not be taken lightly.  It is true there are limited funds with the economic conditions now in place not only in our country but around the world.  The size of government has grown in our country to such a degree that real monitoring of government programs has to be hindered based on the funds allocated for monitoring operations.  Hard decisions need to be made in terms of what programs and monitoring operations are necessary and within constitutional authority.  I commend any government entity who efficiently utilizes the funds it is allocated to monitor the expenditure of funds by private companies in relation to contract requirements.  Granted there are going to be exceptions to costs incurred but these should be the exception rather than the rule.  The only way to determine what costs overruns are an exception is to perform monitoring activity on government contracts.


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Dennis AuBuchon

4 comments to Are there checks and balances for government programs?

  • Don Frankel

    Well there are checks, plenty of them and as long as everyone is getting there’s no one seems to be complaining.

  • Don

    Thanks for commenting on this article, much appreciated. Let us home that the new Congress will pay attention and do their job.

  • Dennis,

    Well, Don’s got a point. LOL But the SS checks will only go up about $4 per mo. Let’s get real–they’re lying about the size of inflation. It’s not pretty. So hang on, the complaints may come yet!


  • Mark

    I totally agree. The calculation used to determine the inflation rate is skewed. While gas is at a lower price the cost of food and healthcare is rising so much that it forces families to have multiple jobs just to get by. Many individuals live paycheck to paycheck. The same is true with the unemployment rate. It does not take into account the individuals who are out of work and have quit looking for a job. The job numbers which are reported to increase do not identify that many of them are part time not full time.

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