Friday, July 17, 2015

July, 2015, Part 1, By The Numbers: Weak Economy, Weak Govenrment Systems Security, Weak Audit Controls, Weak Politicians

On a semi-regular basis we revisit the theme "by the numbers" just to check in on the state of the country and political class using actual realities and their underlying numbers, not the spin or lies from our politicians. You see, politicians usually have nothing to gain by looking at reality and the numbers since they are more than likely to have screwed up reality and our lives in the first place.

That is why they would rather lie and deceive than tell the truth. But that approach can be destroyed by looking at the hard numbers behind the mess they have created. I once worked for a boss whose favorite saying was: "There is nothing more devastating to an opinion than the right number.” And that is what we try to do with this theme, devastate politicians’ opinions by looking at the right numbers.

So let’s take a look at the numbers that have recently cropped up and again prove that the political class in America continues to be one of the worst set of people to ever hold office, given the state of the country, the many ways they screw up our wealth and government functions, and their inability or non-desire to step up and tell the truth.

1) Think about how bad the job situation is in America, based on the June employment statistics from the Federal government:
  • The June job numbers were not only weaker than expected but the previous two months' job estimates were reduced by 60,000.
  • Underneath we see that the number of part time jobs increased substantially, 161,000, but the number of full time jobs dropped by more than twice as much, 350,000.
  • 640,000 Americans dropped out of the workforce in just the single month of June.
  • A whopping 94 million American adults are now sitting idly outside of the labor force.
Now Obama supporters will point out that this administration has been in power during the past 57 months of consecutive job growth. Impressive….until you realize that:
  • While the job growth has been positive for almost six years, the growth is still anemic, barely keeping up with population growth.
  • Wage growth has been virtually non-existent for most Americans during that time period, meaning that most Americans lost buying power over those 57 months.
  • A very high proportion of those created jobs were part time jobs and in lower wage industries, accounting for much of the stagnant wage growth.
  • Having 94 million Americans NOT working or employed, the lowest labor participation rate since the dark days of stagflation during the Carter years, means that this is not a healthy economy.
The numbers do not lie, Washington and the Obama administration do not know how to operate a vibrant, growing economy.

2) In this blog, the TSA, the Social Securriy Administration (SSA) and the EPA constantly stick out and compete for the title of worst performing Federal entity. Just when you think that the TSA is the worst, the SSA screws up royally to move ahead when out of the blue the EPA does something remarkably inept to forge a lead.

That is where we find ourselves today with one unbelievable number from the EPA. According to a recent Inspector General (IG) report, an estimated 90,000 tons of hazardous waste comes into this country every year from foreign countries, but the Environmental Protection Agency often can’t say what or where the dangerous stuff is: “Based on our assessment of data in EPA information systems, the EPA has an incomplete picture of hazardous waste entering the country. This can give rise to undetected and unenforced violations of federal hazardous waste laws, which could result in unknown human and environmental exposure to toxic substances.”

Some toxic waste shipments analyzed by the IG never reached their intended destination, but the EPA couldn’t confirm whether those shipments were lost since the EPA cannot locate those shipments. The EPA officials also weren’t sure about the exact volume of hazardous waste entering the U.S. In some cases, they incorrectly identified where the waste shipment originated.

Inept on all counts, with dozens of tons of toxic waste floating around inside the country somewhere unbeknownst to the EPA.

3) We have previously reported on how the Federal government’s personnel data systems are so inept that Chinese hackers were able to steal the private and confidential information on over 4 million current and past Federal government employees. Such a serious hack is likely to cause massive identity theft issues for Federal employees in addition to exposing Federal employees and their families to blackmail and extortion threats.

But the numbers recently got even worse. It is apparently not 4 million Americans who had their private information stolen but an amazing 21.5 million Americans who got hacked via the inept Federal government. In addition to over 21 million Social Security numbers being stolen, the stolen information included employment history, family information, addresses and information regarding mental health, including drug abuse, on almost 20 million Americans who had submitted to background checks as part of the Federal government job application process. An additional 1.8 million records were those of associates and family members of those applicants. Many of the records stolen included fingerprints, educational history and health information.

As dire as this hack was, the reaction to it was just as bad or worse, according to the numbers. Congressional testimony shows that while the hack began in May, 2014, those responsible for protecting that information did not apply a security fix until an atrocious eight months later.

4) You can always tell when people do not know how to do their jobs, they end up working on trivial stuff that they can handle but which makes no contribution to resolving major issues they are supposed to be resolving. Such is the case with the latest set of numbers. 

Consider what is going on in America today. The economy is weak, 45 million Americans are getting food assistance every month, ISIS is terrorizing the world, our public schools still stink at education, we are still losing the hopeless “war on drugs,” millions of Americans are homeless, our military veterans are dying after not receiving the health care they were promised, etc. 

All of these major issues are going down but over two dozen Congressional members are working to eliminate the words "husband" and "wife" from Federal law. Are you kidding me? Of all the crises, of all the suffering many millions of Americans are experiencing, two dozen politicians want to edit Federal law for two words, according to the bill from Congresswoman Lois Capps: "The Amend the Code for Marriage Equality Act recognizes that the words in our laws have meaning and can continue to reflect prejudice and discrimination even when rendered null by our highest courts. Our values as a country are reflected in our laws. I authored this bill because it is imperative that our federal code reflect the equality of all marriages."

And it is not just one screwball politician doing this, news reports are saying dozens of them have nothing better to do, or are incapable of doing anything constructive, and are working on this garbage. Pathetic priorities.

5) One last set of numbers for this month but these will be in graphic form. As most informed people know, the government Greece is facing a severe financial problem since they have run up so much debt in running their government that the debt load is crushing their financial integrity and economy. Bloomberg recently ran a graph that shows how their debt over time eventually outran their economic ability to support such high debt levels:

As we see, about seven years after the Greek government debt exceeded the annual Greece GDP, the whole economy started to fall apart.

Now look at the U.S. numbers of national debt vs. GDP from the website:

The U.S. GDP level is the blue line and the Federal government debt is the red line. They crossed about a year ago which, if the numbers hold true, by around the year 2021 or so we can expect the U.S,. economy to also implode if we do not heed the Greek numbers and find a way to the out of control Federal government spending and debt under control.

Unfortunately, as we see today, it is very seldom that the numbers created by the Washington political class are good numbers. The economic numbers are weak, the EPA audit numbers are weak, Federal government systems controls are weak, and politicians; priorities are weak, and pathetic. The numbers do not lie even if politicians do: the numbers say we are in a bad way in every way imaginable way due to the incompetence of the American political class.

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