Wednesday, June 26, 2013

By The Numbers: Government and Political Class Incompetence, Part 1: HIgh On IRS Parties, Low On Happiness and Other Depressing Numbers

This is a first in a series of posts we are doing that look at the state of our country “by the numbers.” Using only the most recent and trustworthy statistics and numbers, we are examining how badly the American class has managed our country’s finances, spending, freedom, and future. Only by understanding the underlying statistics, numbers and realities of the issues facing Americans, can we have any hope of efficiently and effectively resolving those problems.

Unfortunately, as we review the latest numbers and statistics, you will see that our politicians have dug such a hole for this country that it will be very difficult to get out of it in order to save our economy, our democracy, and our future. That is why the overarching theme and proposed solution in all of these post is the need to impose term limits on all Federal politicians. The long term, career politicians in Washington have created this mess and the associated depressing numbers that go with it, they no longer deserve the right to fix what the monster they themselves created.

The following starts the “by the numbers ”analysis of our plight:

1) The Harris polling organization recently completed their regular “Happiness Index” poll and it turns out that Americans are not too happy these days, as reported by a June 1, 2013 UPI article:
  • The survey of 2,345 U.S. adults surveyed April 10-15, 2013 by Harris Interactive found certain groups, such as minorities, recent graduates and the disabled, trended downward in the last couple of years in their happiness level.
  • "Our happiness index offers insight into what's on the minds of Americans today and is a reflection of the state of affairs in our country," Regina Corso, senior vice president of the Harris Poll, said in a statement. "While the attitudes on the economy may be improving, we're seeing that this is not translating into an improvement in overall happiness."
  • Relative to the last happiness index poll that was taken in 2011, the latest happiness levels were especially low among the Hispanic-Americans.
  • Americans whose incomes were under $50,000 per year were less likely to qualify as very happy relative to 2011, dropping down from 33% to 29% among those earning less than $35,000, and from 35% to 32% among those earning between $35,000-$49,999.
  • Those 50 and older were more likely to be very happy than younger people.
  • Thirty-two percent of independents voters were less likely to be very happy than members of either the Democratic or Republican parties at 35% each.
Thus, we have both low happiness levels and numbers that are trending downward, not a good sign.

2) Let’s face it, the IRS has been in the news a lot lately on how the organization illegally and immorally targeted political opponents of President Obama when it came to tax matters. But besides shredding the Constitution, the organization has also been very busy wasting taxpayer wealth in a gluttonous, straightforward, old fashioned manner, according to a June 3, 2013 online website article of the Wall Street Journal:
  • The IRS spent $50 million on conferences for employees just between 2010 and 2012.
  • A single conference in August, 2010 cost the agency a whopping $4 million.
  • The agency brought in $135,000 worth of speakers, including a “leadership through art” speaker for $17,000, and distributed baseball tickets and Presidential suites to employees which cost up to $3,500 per night per person.
Destruction of taxpayer wealth and citizens’ freedom, a double IRS whammy against America.

3) A recent report by the trustees that over see the Social Security and Medicare programs had some very disturbing analyses of the future liabilities of the two organizations:
  • Under the current program parameters, the total long term financial liability of the Social Security program is about $23 TRILLION.
  • The long term financial liability of the Medicare program is about $43 TRILLION.
  • Thus, the total future financial liabilities of just these two government programs is about $66 TRILLION, the equivalent of about four years of the nation’s total GDP.
  • The per household share of the total liability is about $574,000 FOR EACH household.
Obviously, if you do a little bit of number crunching like we just did, you see that the future of these two programs is going to end badly. There is just not enough wealth to fund just these two government programs.

And by the way, as we have discussed many times before, taxing the wealthy in this country to cover this liability will not work. Even if you confiscated and liquidated the wealth of America’s wealthiest citizens, a true totalitarian move, it would not come anywhere close to paying off $66 TRILLION in liability.

And these government financial liabilities do not include the current liabilities of almost $17 TRILLION in our national debt today. And our politicians still have no solution or clue on how to resolve these dire numbers and trends.

4) Interesting number $1 billion, nice round number with lots of zeroes. $1 billion of taxpayer wealth could have been used to operate White House tours for over 1,000 years. $1 billion in taxpayer money could be used to give every American household about $9 dollars each, enough for a meal. $1 billion could have created a nice number of American jobs if invested domestically. Who knows how many more cancer research professionals or teachers, or social workers, etc. could be hired for $1 billion.

But we will never know since according to a Forbes article from April 4, 2013, the Obama administration is going to give a Russian helicopter manufacture, Rosoboronexport, $1 billion of American taxpayer money to provide helicopters to the Afghanistan armed forces once the U.S. pulls out most of its troops. The administration took this action on this number even though:
  • The National Defense Authorization Act for 2013 expressly prohibits the use of funds to enter into any contracts or agreements with Rosoboronexport.
  • During consideration of the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2013, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved an amendment prohibiting further contracts with Rosoboronexport by a vote of 407-5.
  • A strongly worded letter to the administration from ten members of Congress pointed the illegality of doing this deal.
  • There are perfectly good helicopter manufacturers within the U.S. that should have been given the opportunity to win this contract and should have had the inside track to do so.
  • However, this was a no bid contract so they never even got the chance.
$1 billion, a nice round number to flush down the toilet.

So let’s review. Americans are not happy because the numbers in their lives (high unemployment numbers, declining family wealth numbers, high national debt numbers that their family today and in the future will have to pay for, etc.) are not good.

IRS employees are happy because they get to spend millions of dollars on themselves on lavish conferences despite crushing the freedom of speech of Obama’s political opponents.

America’s retirees are not happy since the Federal government and political class have not planned to financially care for the retirement income and medical needs of older Americans.

At least one Russian helicopter manufacturer is happy, and $1 billion richer via the American taxpayer.

Seems like the wrong people are happy and the right people are unhappy. All the more reason to get term limits put in place for all Federal politicians and find people that can reverse the trend of unhappiness and negative numbers and statistics concerning ordinary American citizens that do not work for the IRS or a Russian helicopter company.

Our depressing adventure of "by the numbers" will continue tomorrow and go on for a number of other posts since the numbers do not lie and there are a lot of bad talking numbers to review.

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