Thursday, April 30, 2015

May, 2015,Part 1,Political Class Insanity: What $4 TRILLION of Government Spending Does NOT Buy YOu

Every month we do a regular series under the theme, “political class insanity.” We look at the many, many different, and often original, ways that the American political class wastes our tax dollars, undermines our freedoms, and generally act in the most idiotic ways possible, via their quotes, actions, and laws. For past examples of hundreds of instances of political class insanity, just page through the historical listings on the right side of this page at the beginning of each month or enter “political class insanity” in the search box above.

We usually do not start a new month's insanity until the current month has ended. However, given that the political class idiocy seems to be increasing, we are starting May's insanity review a day early in order to get a little head start on what is shaping up as an epic month of insanity.

1) As most of us have just gotten through tax season, it is a good time to review how poorly the IRS is serving the American taxpayer. We have already reported in past insanity posts that upwards of 60% of the calls coming into the IRS customer service lines were going unanswered and those that do get answered are answered only after a lengthy delay. 

Well, the cause of that lousy customer service might not be the budgets cuts the IRS has recently been subjected to, according to reporting by the great website, Bankrupting America:
  • According to the Washington Post, despite a heritage of lousy service, the IRS spent $60 million on IRS employee bonuses in 2014, an amount that could have been used to answer upwards of seven million customer calls for help. 
  • The amount of time that IRS employees spent working strictly on union activity could have been redirected to answering an additional two millions customer calls for help.
  • According to the Washington Post, “In 2011, the agency spent $129 million on taxpayer services and $79 million on operations support. In 2015, taxpayer services funding was scheduled to drop to $49 million while support funds were set for $411 million.” Thus, between just these two budget line items and in just four years, total funding went up more than double, from $208 million to $460 million, but funding for customer services went down by more than 50%, from $129 million to $49 million. Bad priorities or bad management?
  • According to a recent House committee report, despite a level budget for taxpayer assistance from 2014 to 2015, the average wait time for calls went from 19.7 minutes in 2014 to 34.4 minutes in 2015 and the total number of answered calls in 2015 dropped from 6.6 million to 5.3 million.
Horrible customer service at the cost of billions of dollars a year. Maybe it is time to drop the 70,000 page Federal tax code and replace with with a simple flat tax so that the need for the calls in the first place goes away forever, as does the IRS, sparing the country the frustration of unanswered calls and long waiting times on hold, often for answers that turn out to be incorrect after all. Insanity.

2) According to a recent Associated Press report, two more Air Force nuclear missile launch officers have been charged with illegal drug use. Yes, those Air Force guys that have their fingers next to the buttons that launch nuclear missiles may be serious drug users of Ecstasy, cocaine, and other drugs. 

1st Lt. Michael Alonso and 1st Lt. Lantz Balthazar, of the 12th Missile Squadron at the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana, will undergo hearings to determine whether they will be court-martialed. One of their fellow missile officers, who was a target of the same investigation, has already pleaded guilty to illegal drug use in January and was kicked out of the Air Force.

Taxpayers give the Pentagon about have a trillion dollars a year in their budget. Is it too much to ask for them to have an effective drug testing program so that a handful of Air Force people do not sit next to nuclear missiles while high on drugs?

3) Staying with the Pentagon and its half a trillion dollar annual budget, the Associated Press and other news sources reported that Defense Secretary Ash Carter publicly revealed that the Pentagon recently suffered a cybersecurity breach after Russian hackers infiltrated a defense computer network earlier this year. In a talk at Stanford University, Carter said the DOD was able to identify the intruders within 24 hours and kicked them out, but added,"I still worry about what we don't know because this was only one attack." 

I am not so sure that I would be bragging it took 24 hours to resolve the intrusion. A lot of damage and classified information could have been incurred and stolen in a few minutes, 24 hours later, one hour later would have been too late to have any preventive effect. Again, half a trillion dollars and it still took 24 hours to realize you had been hacked? Pathetic.

Oh, and this attack is not to be confused with different Russian hacking attacks that got into State Department and White House computer systems. Can’t anyone do any kind of basic firewall work for this government?

4) It used to be that the Secret Service was viewed as a highly trained, highly effective, and well respected aspect of the Federal government. It had the very difficult job of protecting the President and First Family, from loner nut cases and to enemies of the state. 

Well, that used to be the case. Unfortunately, even this once hallowed government entity seems to have degenerated into the same quagmire of incompetence that the rest of the Federal bureaucracy has become. In the past week another person jumped the security fence at the White House and had to be apprehended before he could do any serious damage. The good news is that no one and nothing was harmed. The bad news, why do these intrusions keep happening?

According to the Associated Press: “The [Secret Service] agency has been beset by a series of security lapses, including an incident last Sept. 19 in which authorities said a man with a knife jumped a fence and ran inside the executive mansion, looking for the president. It was the sixth time someone had jumped the fence in 2014 and the 16th in the past five years, according to the Secret Service.”

This report does not include the group of German tourists who wandered off into a restricted area of the White House or the gun shots that shattered White House windows. The Federal government spends almost $4 TRILLION a year in our tax dollars, is it too much to ask to have some decent security around a single government location, the White House? The incompetence is wide and deep when it comes to just about any aspect of the $4 TRILLION a year Federal government.

So, what did we learn today?: Despite giving the Washington political class and Federal government $4 TRILLION a year, that government and the politicians who operate it are incapable of:
  1. Effectively and efficiently answering the phone calls of Americans trying to comply with an onerous and stupid tax code.
  2. Keeping drug users and abusers away from launch buttons for the nation's nuclear missile system.
  3. Protecting government diplomatic, defense, and executive computer systems from Russian hackers.
  4. Protecting a single location, the White House, from intruders and gun play.
$4 TRILLION for insanity and incompetence. And we are not even close to summarizing the latest insanity and incompetence from just the past month.

Our book, "Love My Country, Loathe My Government - Fifty First Steps To Restoring Our Freedom And Destroying The American Political Class" is now available at:

It is also available online at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Please pass our message of freedom onward. Let your friends and family know about our websites and blogs, ask your library to carry the book, and respect freedom for both yourselves and others everyday.

Please visit the following sites for freedom:

Term Limits Now:

No comments: