Thursday, September 3, 2015

September, 2015, Political Class Insanity, Part 1: Bad Presidential Priorities, An Inept IRS, An Inept EPA, and More

It is the start of another month which means it is time for our monthly review of the latest political class insanity that continually spews forth from America’s politicians. Their actions, words, quotes, incompetency, and general ineptness continue to reinforce our theory that we are currently being served by the worst set of politicians in the history of the nation.

As you read about the latest shenanigans and ineptness of the political class, keep in mind what should be their priorities in these difficult times and compare this list to what they are actually working on:
  • NBC recently reported that ISIS forces are getting larger and stronger despite the Obama administration spending billions of dollars on a failed air campaign and military strategy.
  • The stock market is in free fall.
  • Job creation is barely keeping up with population growth.
  • Wage growth is anemic, growing just .2% in the second quarter, the lowest quarterly growth since 1982.
  • The labor participation rate is at the lowest level in decades because the Obama economy cannot generate enough jobs.
  • Thousands of veterans are still not getting the medical care they were promised by the Federal government.
  • A record number of police officers have been assassinated in the past week.
  • 45 million Americans are still receiving monthly Federal food assistance.
  • Our borders still leak and thousands of illegal immigrant criminals continue to walk our streets.
  • Major programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security are hurtling towards insolvency and lose hundreds of billions of dollars every year to fraud and mismanagement.
  • Our kids are still getting lousy public educations at most public schools.
  • The IRS and other government functions seem to be getting their computer systems hacked on a regular basis, exposing tens of millions of Americans to identity theft potential.
  • Obama Care is a failure along so many dimensions as health care costs continue to soar despite the Obama promise that they would decrease.
  • Annual Federal deficits, while down, are still about half a TRILLION a year meaning that even though the Federal government is collecting more in taxes than ever before, it still cannot run a balanced budget.
Again, keep these real crises in mind as you read what our politicians are actually doing.

1) The Obama administration recently announced that the President has decided to rename Mount McKinley in Alaska to its original name, Denali, which means “the great one.” He will personally make this announcement during a three day trip to Alaska. 

If you asked any American to name the top 100 issues and problems facing America today, do you think that anyone of them would say, “We need to rename Mount McKinley?” Doubtful, yet this Presidential administration thinks that this is news worthy and worthy of the President’s time in the face of all of the above listed crises. Pathetic.

2) According to a story in the June 12, 2015 issue of The Week magazine, the FBI has secretly and probably illegally been operating a small fleet of low flying planes that circle above U.S. cities while they conduct video and cell phone surveillance. According to the article, 11 cities have been targets of the FBI’s secret air force and the surveillance usually was done without a judge or court order of permission.

Given that the FBI tried to hide the existence of the planes by creating 13 fake companies, one has to be suspicious that what they were doing was illegal. The FBI defended the program by claiming that the planes and their surveillance equipment only tracked specific individuals and there was no mass surveillance. Right, we are supposed to trust you when you set up 13 fake companies to cover your tracks. Smacks of Orwell’s 1984. Lying government officials and politicians allowing them to get away with it, breaking of laws, and possible violations of the Fourth Amendment.

3) According to a blurb in the July 24, 2015 issue of The Week magazine, the Federal government actually spent $2 million on a program whose purpose was to encourage wives to nag their husbands to give up chewing tobacco. The cynic in me would say that American wives do not need $2 million to nag their husbands about a disgusting habit. The realist in me says that maybe that $2 million could have been better spent treating our armed forces veterans who are not getting the medical care they need rather than wasting it on an inane idea like this.

4) If the EPA ever found out that you threw a partially filled paint can in the garbage you would probably be fined for pollution. However, when the EPA’s incompetence results in its employees accidentally spilling 3 million gallons of toxic wastewater, wastewater containing arsenic, lead, and other pollutants, into a major river, there are no consequences, no employee gets fired, no employee pays a fine, etc. 

This is what happened out west when 3 million gallons of mustard colored pollution ended up in the Animas River that flows in Colorado and New Mexico. Just another Federal agency that is so inept that they make any existing situation worse or in this case, actually create a brand new problem.

5) What kind of country are we creating for our kids? The current set of Washington politicians have never been able to create economic policies and strategies that create a robust, growing economy and as a result, this is what they are doing to our young adults according to an article in the August 21, 2015 issue of The Week magazine:
  • The percentage of young adults, aged 18 to 34, that are living with their parents at home has increased to 26% from 24% in 2010 despite what Obama called a successful economic recovery.
  • The unemployment rate for these folks is now 7.7%, more than two percentage points higher than the overall national unemployment rate.
  • A whopping 56% of these young adults say they have had to delay a major life event, e.g. buying a house, getting married, etc., due to their high level of student debt and the lack of well paying jobs.
This is not the American dream, this is American survival, all courtesy of a political class that is inept and ignorant when it comes to managing for a robust and growing economy. And it is our kids and the next generation of Americans that are paying the price with living standards and expectations that are not growing like they have done historically from one generation to the next.

5) In the August 28, 2015 issue of The Week magazine, we find out that the IRS has admitted that a hack attack of its computer systems back in May is far worse than what the IRS originally reported. Apparently, identity thieves accessed 334,000 personal files, not the 114,000 files that the IRS admitted to in May. 

According to the article the hack occurred back in November, 2014 but the IRS did not realize what had happened until seven months or so later. In one of the great understatements of the year, Congressman Peter Roskam stated: “The revelation that the IRS didn’t understand this security breach for months is not confidence inspiring.” Ya think? No word on whether anyone in the IRS lost their job for this level of incompetence. Probably not, if history is any guide.

That will do it for today, we are just getting warmed up. But today we learned that IRS is still clueless when it gets its records robbed and hacked, finding out months after the fact that it screwed up. Our young adults are getting screwed by an Obama economy that is neither robust nor conducive to hiring recent college graduates. The Feds spent $2 million to encourage wives to nag their husbands. We have the FBI operating its own private, and probably illegal, air force. And finally, we have a President who thinks renaming a mountain is more important than anything else in our list of real problems listed above. 

Months change, the insanity changes, but the politicians that create the insanity remain the same. Unfortunately.

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