Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Running the USA into the Ground

By Alan Caruba

I needed a mattress cover so I went over to the local dollar store today and discovered they have them in every size but twin. I returned home. I went online to Bed, Bath and beyond. With a few keystrokes I not only had the exact item I wanted, I also received an email confirmation of the sale and a notice that once shipped, I will be able to track its delivery from the warehouse to my front door.

If only the federal government operated with such efficiency. Instead, we have a government that has been operating on “continuing resolutions” for over a thousand days due to a lack of a budget. An essential job of the executive branch is to produce a budget, but if you don’t have one, you can egregiously waste billions.

Everybody else has a budget, but not the federal government.

As we head into an election year, even more political madness and maneuvering will ensue. As a Wednesday editorial in The Wall Street Journal said:

“The GOP leaders have somehow managed the remarkable feat of being blamed for opposing a one-year extension of a tax holiday that they are surely going to pass. This is no easy double play. Republicans have also achieved the small miracle of letting Mr. Obama position himself as an election-year tax cutter, although he's spent most of his Presidency promoting tax increases and he would hit the economy with one of the largest tax increases ever in 2013. This should be impossible.”

Serendipitously, the Journal also ran an opinion by Peter J. Wallison, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. “The Securities and Exchange Commission's lawsuits against six top executives of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, announced last week, are a seminal event. For the first time in a government report, the complaint has made it clear that the two government-sponsored enterprises played a major role in creating the demand for low-quality mortgages before the 2008 financial crisis.”

“More importantly, the SEC is saying that Fannie and Freddie—the largest buyers and securitizers of subprime and other low-quality mortgages—hid the size of their purchases from the market. Through these alleged acts of securities fraud, they did not just mislead investors; they deprived analysts, risk managers, rating agencies and even financial regulators of vital data about market risks that could have prevented the crisis.”

One member of Congress, among many who protected Fannie and Freddie, who will not be indicted, is Rep. Barney Frank who is retiring with full pension and benefits, no doubt more wealthy than he arrived.

A new book by Peter Schweizer, the William J. Casey Fellow at the Hoover Institute is titled, “Throw Them All Out: How Politicians and Their Friends Get Rich off Inside Stock tips, Land Deals, and Cronyism that would Send the Rest of Us to Prison.” At this point, the only bipartisan activity in Congress is the way, on both sides of the aisle our elected representatives increase their personal wealth. The book so rattled Congress it is now holding hearings on the extraordinary premise of requiring its members to obey the same laws as the rest of us!

A familiar theme of those of us that comment on government is its size, its waste of public funds, and its general inefficiency. It is a government that sends millions in checks to dead people. It is a government that has turned the process of flying anywhere into a nightmare because of its one-size-fits-all idiotic approach to getting on an airliner. The Israelis accomplish this with far less inconvenience to passengers and their system works.

My contention is that our metastasizing government has gotten progressively worse from the days of the Great Depression and now we learn—if we did not already know—that it was two “government sponsored enterprises” that brought about the mortgage crisis that plunged the nation into a pretty good imitation of the Great Depression.

Now we are forced to watch Congress play political gamesmanship while millions of Americans are out of work.

Now not a week goes by without another “green” enterprise going belly-up, taking our money with it or one of those wonderful electric cars has batteries that are likely to catch fire. The Mackinac Center for Public Policy just released a report that estimates that each of the Chevy Volt cars sold thus far has as much as $250,000 in state and federal dollars in incentives behind it—a total of $3 billion thus far. We never needed electric cars.

What kind of idiocy throws money away when the U.S. sits atop reserves of oil that are so vast they could end imports?

What kind of President refuses to permit Canada to ship its ample oil to Houston for refining?

Why are we holding our breath hoping that Congress will let us purchase Thomas Edison’s incandescent light bulbs, one of the greatest inventions of the modern era?

Little wonder that the polls demonstrate the record-setting low esteem in which Congress is held. It is running the nation into the ground. To the belated astonishment of everyone, the nation is led by the President whose greatest achievements have been to destroy jobs and plunge the nation into unimaginable debt.

November 6, 2012 cannot come soon enough.

A majority of the electorate wanted “change” in 2008. Let’s give it to Congress in 2012. Let’s support candidates who want to significantly reduce the size of the federal government, restructure the “entitlement” programs, and reduce the debt before it impoverishes the next generation and the one to follow.

© Alan Caruba, 2011


Dave's Daily Day Dream said...

"A majority of the electorate wanted “change” in 2008. Let’s give it to Congress in 2012. Let’s support candidates who want to significantly reduce the size of the federal government, restructure the “entitlement” programs, and reduce the debt before it impoverishes the next generation and the one to follow."
Well written, Alan. Are you thinking of Dr. Paul? Can you point to anyone else who might even consider these actions?

Guy in Ohio said...

Tea anyone?

Will Harmon said...

US Government efficiency is the epitomy of an oxymoron. There is absolutely nothing the government runs that is a success; Post Office, Fannie / Freddie, Social Security, Medicare, one. One might argue the US military is an exception. Yes, maybe, if cost is not considered. The defense department budget (another oxymoron) is so wrought with waste, fat, fraud, excess, and patronage, yet the US Military is a huge success in spite of itself. I think the old adage applies here: "throw enough mud at the wall and eventually some of it will begin to stick". We should be able to run a military on 1/6 the current budget and still have the best, most prepared and most sophisticated fighting force on the face of this planet.

To use your words in an analogy, government has matastesized in the nation as cancer mastesizes in the body. Once that state has been reached in patient care, the only treatment available to save the patient is radical invasive surgury or chemotheropy so severe that the body is poisoned nearly to the point of death. We have reached that state with government; it is so large, lethargic, and strangling that it literally threatens the life of the host.

I doubt that even if we could completely clean house and replace the President, the entire Congress, and Supreme Court, nothing would change. 'Absolute corruption corrupts absolutely'. There is too much money from lobbys, PACS, unions, you name it, flowing under the table to anybody who sits in those chairs that nothing can stop it. The lambs we send there soon become wolves and turn on us.

My credo anytime something smells like dead fish or a sewer is, follow the money. Why would anyone leave lucrative careers in the private sector to pursue a position in 'public service' and take a pay cut (on paper)? They go into office as a middle income or upper middle income people and leave office after 20+ years on the public dime as multi-millionares. The math is easy and it doesn't compute unless one considers the payola factor.

The diagnosis for the United States is terminal cancer. The prescription is radical, experimental surgery which, in and of itself, could kill the patient. But doing nothing is certain death.

The common people in this country had better soon wise up, forget about the "D" or "R" or "I" stamped on their foreheads, use the brains they have been endowed with by their creator, figure out that the greedy politicians and big government is going to destroy this country as we know it, and do something about it.

When the bottom falls out as it surely will, only the middle class dupes and slobs, along with the poor will be wiped out. The rich Hollywood stars, rich news anchors and media execs, rich politicians, rich wall street moguls, rich union leaders, and rich captains of industry will still be able to live a life of luxery with their off shore investments, mansions, and estates, gold, silver, and Swiss bank accounts.

Elected Democrats, Republicans, independents, you name it, care about one thing and one thing only....number one. Anybody who trusts these professional liars in public office who are mostly lawyers, are either naieve or stupid. Just follow the money.

When the aristocrats callously utter 'let them eat cake', the revolution will begin and heads will roll.

Bud Bromley said...

Right on Alan!

Alan Caruba said...

@Dave: No, not thinking of Ron Paul. Try to think about him as little as possible.

Dave's Daily Day Dream said...

Ron Paul's strong stand on issues of importance cannot be denied. He seems to be on the edge of rational thinking but that is only because the moderate Republican stand on things are now so far, and I mean FAR, left as to be no different from the Demosocialists in things of real importance. The ethical action we expect from our elected representatives is put at naught once they arrive in D.C. and get on the money train. Dr. Paul has the (anatomical reference inferred) to stand strong in the face of opposition and ad hominem attacks. He may not win, but he continues to embarrass the other candidates with his insistence on dealing with real problems.

Alan Caruba said...

Dave, it's not that Ron Paul doesn't say some things with which I's all the "other" things he's said (check out his quotes about African-Americans) and his isolationism, etc, that make me wonder about how tightly wrapped he is.