Thursday, June 4, 2015

June, 2015, Part 4, Political Class Insanity: The Unneeded Export-Import Bank, Building Castles In The Afghan Desert, And Overwhelming Us With Useless Regulations

It is the start of another month which means it is time to review the latest political class insanity that the American political class has dropped on our heads in the past month or so. We do this review every month in order to continually prove our view that we are currently being served by the worst set of politicians in the history of our country. Their inane quotes, their failed programs and laws, their wasteful spending, their ineptness, and continued focus on their own careers and self enrichment at the expense of taxpayers is constant and disgraceful.

This month could be one of the worst ever, given the backlog that needs to be discussed. The insanity will cover a full range of areas where today’s politicians continue to disappoint and fail us. As always, the new ways they find to screw up is never ending and always creative.

This is the fourth installment in this month's review of political class insanity The first post in this series can be accessed at:

1) The Export-Import Bank in theory is supposed to help American businesses, from large to small businesses, sell their goods and services overseas. It does this by providing low cost loans to foreign buyers who purchase American made products. I have always had a problem with this since nowhere in the Constitution have I found a provision where the American taxpayer, via the Federal government, should operate as a low cost banking option for foreign entities.

There are also other serious issues with this arrangement:
  • This financing of foreigners puts American businesses who buy from American businesses at a disadvantage. For example, if Delta wants to buy jets from Boeing, both American businesses, Delta can get no help from the Export-Import Bank. But if a foreign airline wants to buy from Boeing, it can get cheap financing from the Bank, via the American taxpayer, disadvantaging an American company, Delta, in the marketplace.
  • If these low cost loans go bad, it is the taxpayer left holding the bag. Shouldn’t businesses like Boeing use shareholder value to finance the purchase of its jets and its risk, not the taxpayer?
  • And finally, depending on how you do the measurement, the overwhelming portion of loans from the bank go to huge American businesses and the overwhelming portion of those loans actually do go towards purchases of Boeing products. This is not a program that does a lot of good for small/medium size businesses.
Given that the Bank’s future is coming up for vote in Congress, with a growing contingent of Congress people realizing what a bad program this is trying to kill it, maybe they should also consider the following insanity, facts, and realities of a very corrupt government operation (double click on the image for a larger view):

Just another wasteful, crony infested political class program.

2) We have previously discussed how the U.S. Navy spent $300 million on two new Navy ships, building them almost to completion before spending another $10 million to scrap them. We have previously discussed the story where the State Department spent $40 million to build a consulate complex in the hinterlands of Afghanistan only to abandon it before it was used because it could not be defended against a terrorist attack.

So it should come as no surprise that Washington and the Pentagon spent $26 million to build a military base in Afghanistan that…. nobody is using and nobody is likely to ever use. Details of this massive waste include the following:
  • The base was built despite the fact that field generals said it was not needed and would be a waste of money.
  • The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) found “$36 million in U.S. taxpayer funds was spent on a building the U.S. never used.”
  • The request for the base was made in January, 2010 but by spring of 2010, just a few months later, Major General Richard Mills sent an informal letter to the deputy commanding general of the U.S. Forces Afghanistan. Mills found that the $36 million building and five other proposed projects were “not necessary” because “the need was already met via other means.”
  • Two similar memos requesting the cancellation of the facility were sent on June 22, just five months after the funding for the base was requested, but were obviously ignored.
  • Requests to stop construction of the base once construction started, since it was still deemed unnecessary, were also ignored.
  • Senator Claire McCaskill, a Democrat who serves on the Permanent Subcommittee of Investigations, stated that the base was “one of the most outrageous, deliberate, and wasteful misuses of taxpayer dollars in Afghanistan we’ve ever seen.”
  • Other Washington Congressional people also chimed in with their disgust of the wasteful spending, but of course took no responsibility for the fact that they are supposed to be protecting American taxpayer dollars BEFORE they are wasted, not be outraged AFTER they are wasted.

Makes you wonder how many military veterans could have finally gotten the medical support they neede and were promised if that wasted $36 million went towards their needs and not the wasteland of Afghanistan?

3) Ten Thousand Commandments is an annual survey conducted by the Competitive Enterprise Institute. It estimates the size, the scope and the cost of Federal regulations on American consumers, businesses, and the U.S. economy. It is a problem that continues to grow by leaps and bounds regardless of which party is in charge, placing undo strain and bureaucratic red tape in the way of Americans and businesses.

Quite often many of these new regulations have nothing to do with protecting Americans or protecting the environment. The Federal beast has gotten so large that often Federal employees and bureaucrats have to continually churn out new regulations to justify their unnecessary jobs and organizations and keep them from disappearing.

Depressing top line findings of this years study include:
  • Federal regulation and intervention cost American consumers and businesses an estimated $1.88 trillion in 2014 in lost economic productivity and higher prices.
  • If U.S. federal regulation was a country, the $1.88 trillion would be the world’s 10th largest economy, ranking behind Russia and ahead of India.
  • Economy-wide regulatory costs amount to an average of $14,976 per household – around 29 percent of an average family budget of $51,100. Although not paid directly by individuals, this “cost” of regulation exceeds the amount an average family spends on health care, food and transportation. 
  • The “Unconstitutionality Index” is the ratio of regulations issued by unelected agency officials compared to legislation enacted by Congress in a given year. In 2014, agencies issued 16 new regulations for every law—that’s 3,554 new regulations compared to 224 new laws.
  • Many Americans complain about taxes, but regulatory compliance costs exceed what the IRS is expected to collect in both individual and corporate income taxes for last year—by more than $160 billion.
  • Some 60 federal departments, agencies and commissions have 3,415 regulations in development at various stages in the pipeline. The top six federal rulemaking agencies account for 48 percent of all federal regulations. These are the Departments of the Treasury, Commerce, Interior, Health and Human Services and Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency.
  • The 2014 Federal Register contains 77,687 pages, the sixth highest page count in its history. Among the six all-time-high Federal Register total page counts, five occurred under President Obama.
  • The George W. Bush administra­tion averaged 62 major regulations annually over eight years, while the Obama administration has averaged 81 major regulations annually over six years.
The Federal government has been around for well over two hundred years. You cannot tell me that we still need to be adding thousands of regulations to the the economy and businesses every year that fill needs that were somehow unidentified up until now. Almost 78,000 pages of regulations, out of control government and bureaucracy. No wonder the economy continues to limp along, it has a 78,000 page book on its back weighing it down.

And to add insult to injury, the Obama administration recently tried to sneak a whopping two thousand new regulations into place without anyone seeing it, despite claiming to be the most transparent administration ever. They quietly and sneakily released the regulations late on the Friday before the three day Memorial Day weekend. 

That will do it for today. Four days into this month’s political class insanity and we are nowhere close to be done. Tune in tomorrow for the next installment and I am absolutely sure that tomorrow will not be the end of the insanity for this month.

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