Business: Autumn Binge

Spend, spend, spend!

As summer blends into fall, the bureaucrats in federal agencies are often faced with a problem that few taxpayers will ever have to wrestle with: an overabundance of cash and a pressing need to spend it as quickly as possible. Usually the officials meet the challenge, pumping out money like ticker tape at a parade, and if some of this last-minute spending goes for wasteful, even harebrained projects — well, it's a tradition in town.

The reason for this Washington rite of fall is that if an agency does not spend...

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