Washington has entered “use it or lose it” season. It’s a time when agencies spend whatever funds are left in their budget or else they will lose the money by October 1. Last year more than $45 million was spent in the last week of September. If agencies don't spend everything this week they risk their budget being docked by congress next year.
“Use it or lose it” season is not marked on any official government calendars,” Senator Tom Coburn said in an interview with the Washington Post. “But in Washington, it is as real as Christmas. And as lucrative.”
This week the Department of Veteran Affairs bought $562,000 worth of artwork, and in one day the Agriculture Department spent $144,000 on toner cartridges. The most frivolous amount of spending came from the IRS in 2010. That year the leftover money was spent on shooting an IRS themed Star Trek parody video set on the planet NoTax.
When President Obama set up an online suggestion box for the “use it or lose it” season, many federal workers anonymously spoke out against Washington’s ancient practice altogether. Many suggested the money be rolled over for the next year.
The suggestion box was also a place for government workers to air their grievances on what the rest of the budget was spent on. One agency bought three years worth of staples, another bought portable generators that were never used, and the National Guard spent the rest of their money on an abundance of bullets
“When you get BORED from shooting MACHINE GUNS, there is a problem,” an anonymous employee wrote in the suggestion box.
One of the companies profiting off the “use it or lose it” season is the software company Immix. More than 25% of Immix’s business comes toward the end of September. Contractors of the software company have catered food set up for them so they can conduct business in Washington without taking a break. During this time Immix can make as much as $16 million in a day.