Posted by Steve Markowitz on July 15, 2014
Blog reader Liz sent in this unbelievable story from the Wall Street Journal titled Obama’s Nonpolluting Fire Fighters. According to the Journal, the Department of Defense (DOD) has for years loaned firefighting equipment to states and municipalities through programs called Federal Excess Personal Property Program and Firefighter Property Program. The equipment included trucks, tankers and pumps. The Journal reports that the DOD has suspended the programs since some of the equipment may not meet federal government admission standards.
The DOD bizarro decision is straight from the Progressive manifesto of irresponsible government. In this case the government would hinder smaller fire departments’ abilities to fight wildfires in the name of some potential future pollution issue or global warming. No matter that this decision will lead to more pollution and carbon gases being spewed into the atmosphere, it meets the logic of some lame governmental law or regulation.
This is yet another blaring example of why President Ronald Reagan properly concluded that government is the problem, not the solution.
Posted in Environmentalists, Government Ineptness | Tagged: Defense Department, DOD, Wildfires | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Steve Markowitz on July 7, 2014
The VA scandal involved veterans dying as they waited for medical treatment from Veterans Administration hospitals. In addition, VA management personnel were given bonuses as a result of their falsified reports that indicated timely treatment.
The IRJournal.com published VA salary information that adds fuel to the fire of the growing scandal. The compensation list comes from the Office of Personnel Management. It includes the number of civilian governmental employees who earn more than $180,000 annually that indicates:
- Just over 25,000 government civilian workers earn more than $180,000 annually.
- 18,709 of the 25,000 works for Veteran Affairs Department, 5% of its workforce.
- For comparison, 2,355, or 3% of the Department of Health and Human Services workforce, earn more than $180k annually.
- Also, 1,605, or 3% of the Department of Transportation’s workforce, earn more than $180k per year.
The government’s knee-jerk reaction to the VA scandal has been to increase the Department’s budget for the coming year. However, the problem is not related to a lack of funds. It is caused by employee greed, pure and simple. While Liberals decry greed in the private sector, they hide from the discussion when it comes to governmental employees since such a discussion will likely lead to the conclusion that the power and funds going to the government should be limited.
Posted in Government Ineptness, Government Waste | Tagged: $180, 000, salary, Scandal, VA, veterans-administration | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Steve Markowitz on June 21, 2014
Paul Ryan tends to be a soft-spoken Republican who rarely goes into attack mode. However, his fangs rightfully came out during Friday’s Congressional Budget Committee hearing that he chaired.
On the hot seat was IRS Commissioner John Koskinen who had to try to explain how Ms. Lois Lerner’s emails from just a few years ago were all lost by the IRS. The exchange included
Ryan - “You bury in a 27-page letter to the Senate asking for them to conclude the investigation that you’ve lost Lois Lerner’s emails during the time in question because of a hard drive crash. Monday our investigators ask your agency whether any other hard drives crashed, and we learn that six other hard drives of the people we’re investigating. You didn’t tell us that.”
Koskinen – “We told you Monday”.
Ryan - “On Monday… because we asked you. You are the Internal Revenue Service. You can reach into the lives of hardworking taxpayers, and with a phone call, an email or a letter, you can turn their lives upside down. You ask taxpayers to hang onto seven years of their personal tax information in case they’re ever audited, and you can’t keep six months of employees emails?”
As Ryan correctly noted, while taxpayers are responsible for keeping records for seven years if audited by the IRS, Koskinen was unapologetic for the IRS’s blunder/cover up. In fact he shows disdain for Congress and the People who we supposed to work for in the video below, a remarkable example of the tyranny of the IRS and other governmental agencies.
Posted in Government Ineptness | Tagged: Congress, Emails, IRS, Koskinen, Lost, Paul Ryan | 1 Comment »
Posted by Steve Markowitz on April 27, 2014
It seems that on nearly a weekly basis the People are exposed to yet another scandal at the hands of their government. Last week the amount scandal involved the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care system. According to CNN, the Phoenix VA used a hidden list to a cover-up their inept services. This hidden list allowed the Phoenix VA to keep the fact that veterans were seeking services and had to wait extended periods of time from being logged into the computer.
In an unusual usual show of bipartisanship, both sides of the aisle announced outrage at the VA’s behavior including Republican Congressman Jeff Miller of Florida and ultraliberal senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Sanders stated: “I am troubled when I hear that any veteran may have received substandard service from VA.” Well Senator Sanders, being troubled does not help those who received substandard services including those who may have died as a result.
According to CNN, the Phoenix VA Hospital set up an “elaborate scheme” to hide from bureaucrats in Washington the fact that approximately 1,600 sick veterans were forced to wait many months to receive any medical attention. It quoted whistleblower, Dr. Sam Foote, who said:
- “The scheme was deliberately put in place to avoid the VA’s own internal rules,” and that “they developed the secret waiting list.”
- “So then when they did that, they would report to Washington ‘Oh yeah. We’re makin’ our appointments within – within 10 days, within the 14-day frame.’” He then went on to state that some veterans were forced to wait between 6 and 21 months for appointments.
Making this story even more tragic, it has been reported that the VA’s sleight-of-hand may have be carried out so that hospital officials in Phoenix could obtain bonuses from the government. CNN reported that the Phoenix VA director, Sharon Helman, received in 2013 a nearly $9,300 bonus above her annual salary of $170,000.
The government’s incompetence likely led to the deaths of veterans. In addition, it shows the uselessness of congressional oversight that typically holds hearings only after the genie is out of the bottle. Their “oversight” does not improve the government’s future behavior. Finally this Phoenix tragedy should bring fear into those many Americans whose healthcare will soon be under the control of the government bureaucrats as the result of the Affordable Care Act.
Assuming VA hospital officials’ desire to receive bonuses was the motivation behind the scandal, it again demonstrates that human greed is not eliminated when the government hires employees. Politicians will likely hold hearings and create new laws and/or rules and regulations as a result of the VA tragedy. However, they will not change human nature or its weaknesses. Only by using harsh penalties for those involved with these schemes, whether in the public or private sector, can there be deterrence for similar behavior going for.
Posted in Government Ineptness | Tagged: bonus, hospital, Phoenix, Scandal, scheme, Sharon-Helman, VA, veteran-affairs | 2 Comments »
Posted by Steve Markowitz on April 23, 2014
IRS Scandal-1 involved its employees targeting groups with conservative political leanings for special scrutiny. While at first the President Obama called this a serious matter, he shortly thereafter began calling it a false scandal, a phrase he uses when his administration is caught with its hands in the cookie jar.
Well, the Internal Revenue Service is at it again, now with IRS scandal-2. As reported by CNNMoney, an audit by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration found that the IRS gave bonuses of nearly $3 million and thousands of hours of paid time to IRS employees over a two-year period who had recently received discipline for workplace misconduct. Incredibly, approximately 1,100 employees received $1 million in bonuses even though they were in trouble with the IRS on their own taxes. You can’t make this stuff up!
This latest IRS scandal is an example of the growing problem of an out-of-control government. Public-sector employees are no different than employees in the private sector. They are susceptible to the same human frailties including greed. In the private sector such greed is often damaging to the employer with the most costly sanction being the death of the company (at least before bailouts). The public sector’s employer, the government, is not subject to this ultimate sanction. It is not surprising, therefore, that with the growth of government the scandals are becoming more numerous and more expensive.
Posted in Government Ineptness | Tagged: bonus, IRS, Scandal, Tax | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Steve Markowitz on January 14, 2014
The Washington Examiner posted a story of regulations gone wild within the United States. It included a photograph from Utah Sen. Mike Lee Facebook page that shows 80,000 pages of rules and regulations created in 2013 by unelected bureaucrats who work for the federal government. On top of the case that includes these voluminous pages is the small stack of papers that are all of the laws passed by Congress and signed by the President during the same period.
This comparison is an indication that the Country is being run by unelected bureaucrats, which was never intended by the Founders or included in the Constitution. It also goes a long way in explaining not only the ongoing problems of our economy, but of the greater country.
The problems of the ever-increasing regulations go beyond the resistance they add to the economy or even the more general problems they cause to society. These regulations also give powers to bureaucrats endangering personal liberties and freedoms. However, the ever-increasing number of regulations should not come as surprise. As government and its employees grow, they are often rewarded based on finding societal problems and then solving them through regulations. Whether these regulations hurt or benefit the Country rarely plays in the equation.
Posted in Government Ineptness | Tagged: Bureaucrats, Government, Regulations | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Steve Markowitz on December 21, 2013
A recent CBS News poll indicates a significant shift in American public opinion towards government. Americans trust in government is at historic lows, as indicated in the first chart below. Given this it is not surprising that 63% of Americans believe that government is doing too much. This does not bode well for Liberals who promote the government and governmental solutions as the way to solve societal ills.
For the past three years President Obama has blamed problems on the “do-nothing” Republicans in Congress. The results of this poll would seem to indicate that the American people want more of less action. Still, the Republican Congress must accept some fault in the negativism Americans have towards government. However, this is greatly overshadowed by the inept action of government in general and more specifically the Obama administration.
The Obama administration’s failures include the catastrophic implementation of Obamacare. The very word “Obamacare” has become synonymous with inept government. However, the NSA snooping, the IRS scandal, “fast and furious”, failures such as the wasteful Solyndra “investment”, and America’s inept response to the ongoing mess in the Middle East have shown almost a continuous failure of government since Obama’s first election. In fact, if it were not for the successful hit Obama put on bin Laden, his failure rate would be almost perfect.
The government’s failure in recent years should not come as a surprise. First, we have had at the helm of the executive branch for the past five years a person with no prior executive experience. In addition, the growth in government over recent decades has made an inefficient bureaucracy even more cumbersome to operate.
The CBS News poll opens opportunity for Republicans, but by no means a guarantee. The GOP has been inept over the years and many of its politicians are more concerned with their reelection then governing, just like the Democrats. In fact, Americans distrust for government may be an opening for a libertarian-type third-party movement. It is likely that continued inept government programs will stoke the fire of such movements.
Posted in Government Ineptness | Tagged: CBS-poll, Congress, Democrat, distrust, Fast and Furious, Government, IRS-scandal, Liberals, Libertarian, NSA, Obama, Obamacare, Republican, Solyndra | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Steve Markowitz on December 10, 2013
John Lehman, who was President Reagan’s Secretary of Navy, has written an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal concerning America’s depreciating military capabilities. In the editorial titled More Bureaucrats, Fewer Jets and Ships Lehman points out that the problem is not lack of funding for the military, but instead inefficient and wasteful usage of the funds. Here are some of the issues pointed out by Lehman:
- America’s defense spending, adjusted for inflation, is now higher than at the height of Reagan’s military buildup. However, the then 600 ship Navy is now down to less than half that number. In addition the then 20 Army divisions have been cut in half.
- Air Force fighters are now about 30 years old and their numbers have been cut significantly since the Reagan administration.
- In the past 20 years the number of civilian and uniformed bureaucracy has increased by more than two times. Currently there are over 1.5 million full-time civilian employees working for the Department of Defense, as well as 1,000 civil servants and 700,000 contract employees. Making these numbers more protests, Lehman points out that currently more than half of active-duty servicepeople have staff positions. As an example, Lehman points out that in the past 25 years Joint Task Force Staffs have increased from seven to over 250.
- One of the most complex weapon systems developed by the US military was the Polaris missile system that took a near four years from its initial draft requirement to the first operational submarine. Today, complex procurements require about 22 years for the same steps.
The inefficient bloating of US military costs is an example of government out-of-control. It does not seem to matter whether the spending is for national defense, education, the needy, entitlements or the Department of Energy, costs increase and services depreciate. This is an unfortunate result of a system that rewards (reelects) politicians for spending money that in essence purchases their future votes. In addition, bureaucracies are self-perpetuating islands of power that fear cost-cutting as it endangers that power and potentially the incomes of those working for government.
Unless government employees are rewarded and disciplined based on results and not the size of the programs, the misappropriation of taxpayer funds will increase. There is no better example than the current debacle that is called Obamacare. Our depreciating military capabilities is a close second.
Posted in Government Ineptness, Military | Tagged: Air Force, Army, bureaucracy, inefficiency, Lehman, Military, Navy, Reagan, Spending | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Steve Markowitz on December 2, 2013
This past Sunday the Obama administration released a statement concerning the Obamacare website, healthcare.gov. It included the following rather remarkable quote:
“While there is more work to be done, the team is operating with private sector velocity and effectiveness, and will continue their work to improve and enhance the website in the weeks and months ahead”.
Finally, even Progressives are getting the idea when it comes to ineffectual government. This was not lost on even the usually Left-leaning NBC when its reporter Chuck Todd said on last weekend’s Meet the Press (see video below): “That is an acknowledgement that, ‘You know what? If this was a government operation for a long time and it failed, now we’re bringing in the private sector folks.’ I mean, that is an indictment on the whole idea of government as a solution, frankly…”
President Obama, through his failed programs, has done more to hurt the cause of expanded big government than any Tea Partyier could have hoped. Quite remarkable!
Posted in Government Ineptness, Obamacare | Tagged: failed, NBC, Obama, Obamacare, Private, Public, Todd | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Steve Markowitz on November 18, 2013
During last week’s hour-long news’ conference President Obama was untypically contrite in discussing the catastrophic implementation of his signature legislation referred to as Obamacare. An important eight minute segment of that conference is included in the video clip below.
Mr. Obama’s responses, although long-winded, are reasonable concerning problems related to the website, as well as those Americans who’s insurance was canceled after the President promised they could keep their policies. However, missing from the discussion is how a website costing in excess of $200 million did not work in the first place. Why did a government with nearly unlimited assets and spending with over three years on preparation fail so miserably at implementation? These important questions need to be openly discussed as America considers future directions and power of the federal government.
Posted in Government Ineptness, Obamacare | Tagged: Failure, News Conference, Obama, Obamacare | Leave a Comment »