A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from September 18, 2009
Waste, Fraud and Abuse ("big three")

Meg Greenfield (1930-1999), a columnist for Newsweek and the Washington (DC) Post, called waste, fraud and abuse “the dread big three” in a July 1993 column.

A March 1982 story by the Associated Press named this “big three” a decade earlier: “They are partners in the big three of What’s Wrong With Government: Waste, Fraud and Abuse.”

The term “waste, fraud and abuse” (also in the combinations “fraud, waste and abuse,” “fraud, abuse and waste,” and “waste, abuse and fraud") is cited in print since at least 1976.


Wikipedia: Meg Greenfield
Mary Ellen (Meg) Greenfield (December 27, 1930 – May 13, 1999) was a Washington Post and Newsweek editorial writer and a Washington, D.C. insider known for her wit and for being reclusive.

Greenfield was born in Seattle, where she attended The Bush School. She graduated summa cum laude from Smith College in 1952. She also studied at Cambridge University as a Fulbright Scholar, and there was friends with Norman Podhoretz, who also went on to a distinguished career in journalism.

She became influential in a male-dominated world and a close confidante of Post publisher Katharine Graham. She was awarded journalism’s highest honor, a Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing, in 1978, and spent 20 years as the editorial page editor for the Washington Post, and 25 years for Newsweek.

She never married, something she came to regret. When diagnosed with cancer, Greenfield partly retired to Bainbridge Island in her native Washington, where she wrote a posthumously-published memoir entitled Washington. She died of the disease, aged 68.

Recovery.gov
Fraud, Waste and Abuse
The Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board (RATB) is responsible for overseeing all funds under the Recovery Act and providing the public with a direct and immediate link to spending through Recovery.gov. The RATB not only wants to provide the public with unprecedented oversight of Recovery Act funds, but also ensure swift and immediate action to prevent fraud, waste, and mismanagement.

17 February 1976, Salt Lake Tribune (Salt Lake City, UT), “Moss Details Clinic Graft,” pg. 6, col. 1:
“It is my belief,” he concluded, “that eliminating fraud, abuse, waste and inefficiency in the federal health care programs may make it possible for us to move toward that balanced federal budget that we all desire. And it will no doubt improve the quality of health service to the poor and aged.”

15 March 1976, Zanesville (OH) Times Recorder, “Help The Poor,” pg. 17, col. 1:
They are the large number of unemployed and the continually rising cost of feeding a family.

Neither of these could be changed by reforms aimed against waste, abuse, fraud and misallocation of resources. Yet the full focus of reform appears to be centered on who gets there first and how deep the cuts will go.

5 December 1976, Times Herald Record (Middletown, NY), “Group to fight welfare cuts,” pg. 9, col. 1:
Dr. Peter Rogatz, a physician who heads the health committee of the Task Force on the New York City Crisis, said the lobbying effort is being planned “because we feel that clients are the victims, not the villains of widespread waste, fraud and abuse” in the Medicaid system.

30 December 1976, Blytheville (AR) Courier News, pg. 2, col. 1:
Waste, Fraud, Abuse
In recent years the news has been full of stories about waste, fraud and abuse in federal social programs, and the end is not in sight.

Google News Archive
3 April 1978, Spokesman-Review (Spokane, WA), “Billions ‘misspent’ by HEW,” pg. 9, col. 4:
WASHINGTON (AP)—The Department of Health, Education and Welfare misspent $6.3 billion to $7.4 billion in fiscal 1977 due to waste, fraud and abuse, its Office of Inspector General said Monday.

Google News Archive
7 June 1978, Eugene (OR) Register-Guard, “Califano urges Congress not to hack up HEW funds,” pg. 9A, col. 1:
WASHINGTON (UPI)—Secretary Joseph Califano appealed to Congress today not to make “meat-ax cuts” in the Department of Health, Education and Welfare funding as a way to deal with fraud, waste and abuse.

OCLC WorldCat record
Prevention and detection of fraud, waste, and abuse of public funds.
Publisher: Washington, D.C.: U.S. Gov. Print. Off., 1980.
Edition/Format: Book

OCLC WorldCat record
[Miscellaneous publications]
Author: Waste, Fraud, and Abuse Reduction Act of 1981.
Publisher: [Washington, D.C.]
Edition/Format: Book : English

14 March 1982, Elyria (OH) Chronicle-Telegram, pg. C7, col. 1:
Uncle Sam’s good guys
Not all Washington bureaucrats lazy, overpaid

WASHINGTON (AP)—Everybody knows about bureaucrats. They are lazy, overpaid and indifferent to the public that pays them. They live in Washington and have no idea what’s really important to the rest of the country. They are partners in the big three of What’s Wrong With Government: Waste, Fraud and Abuse.

OCLC WorldCat record
Fraud, waste, and abuse in government: causes, consequences, and cures
Author: Jerome B McKinney; Michael Johnston
Publisher: Philadelphia : Institute for the Study of Human Issues, ©1986.
Edition/Format: Book : English

Google News Archive
17 January 1992, Kingman (AZ) Daily Miner, “Just say ‘I don’t think so’” by Jeff Greenfield, pg. 4, cols. 4-5:
Or take the claims of various Democratic candidates that ambitious social spending plans can be financed by eliminating “fraud, waste and abuse.”

I don’t think so. The problem lies in an aphorism that has been applied to the military and to advertising. half of all the money spent is wasted; the problem is, we don’t know which half.

Nearly every presidential candidate from James Madison on has promised to squeeze a fortune out of “fraud, waste and abuse.” If anyone’s actually does it, history has not managed to disclose that fact.

Newsweek
12 July 1993, Washington (DC) Post, “Has Vetting Become Harassment?” by Meg Greenfield, pg. A15:
My guess is that so far as expenditure of government time and money go, as well as the leveling of unfair charges and the tromping into the most private concerns of would-be public servants, we are in much of this process observing a classic case of the dread big three: waste, fraud and abuse.

New York (NY) Times
METRO MATTERS; Core of Tax Cut Debate: New York’s Self-Image
By Joyce Purnick
Published: Monday, October 3, 1994
(...)
Mr. Pataki argues otherwise. He wants to reduce income tax rates significantly—up to 25 percent over four years—and says a growing economy and eliminating waste, fraud and abuse—every campaign’s Big Three—will pay for it.

Google Books
Safire’s Political Dictionary
By William Safire
New York, NY: Oxford University Press
2008
Pg. 794:
Columnist Meg Greenfield followed up in July (1993—ed.) “observing a classic case of the dread big three: waste, fraud and abuse.”

Washington (DC) Post
Does He Lie?
By Charles Krauthammer
Friday, September 18, 2009
(...)
Obama said he would largely solve the insoluble cost problem of Obamacare by eliminating “hundreds of billions of dollars in waste and fraud” from Medicare.

That’s not a lie. That’s not even deception. That’s just an insult to our intelligence. Waste, fraud and abuse—Meg Greenfield once called this phrase “the dread big three”—as the all-purpose piggy bank for budget savings has been a joke since Jimmy Carter first used it in 1977. 

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • (0) Comments • Friday, September 18, 2009 • Permalink