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.
- 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
- A record number of police officers have been assassinated in the past week.
- 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.
1) The Federal government has run a college student aid program for a long time called Pell grants. These grants, not loans, are aimed at students who theoretically cannot afford to attend college on their own. In theory, a decent idea. In practice, not so much.
Apparently, the Feds do not keep track of the graduation rates of those students who receive free Pell grants. Thus, the government has no way of determining if the program is actually effective in helping students become college graduates. You would think that any entity, public or private, which dispenses over $31 BILLION a year in a single effort would like to you what it is getting for the billions of dollars spent.
Well, the results of Pell grants are not good, according to a recent analysis by the Hechinger Report:
- The research polled 50 of the country’s largest public and 50 of its largest private universities to provide Pell grant recipients’ six year graduation rates.
- Of the 82 schools that responded to the survey, “more than a third of Pell recipients at those schools hadn’t earned degrees even after six years. Of those schools that did respond, the average six-year graduation rate for all students was 70 percent, higher than the national average of 59 percent. For Pell grant recipients, the graduation rate was 66 percent. The more Pell students an institution enrolls, these statistics show, the lower their likelihood of graduating,” Sarah Butrymowicz, the author of the study, noted.
- Thus, a rough estimate would say that over $10 billion of the annual Pell grant budget is a failure relative fulfilling its objective to get students to graduate college.
- Richard Vedder, the director of the Center for College Affordability and Productivity stated: “There's two scandals here. We have spent over the last decade one quarter of a trillion dollars on Pell grants, and if you ask the federal government what percentage of those kids graduate from college, they can't tell you. The second scandal is as far as we can estimate, that graduation rate is embarrassingly low.”
2) Although this President promised to operate the most transparent administration ever, it has turned out that it is one of the most secretive, opaque one of all time. It has stonewalled Freedom Of Information Act requests, it has spied on journalists, and it has lied and deceived America on a whole slate of issues and problems
And now we can add another scandal to the whole transparency charade. According to the New York Times, the Defense Department’s inspector general is investigating whether or not intelligence reports concerning our airstrike campaign against ISIS in the Middle East have been changed to make it seem like the Obama administration’s strategy is working better than the reality of the war effort.
The investigation centers around reports from a civilian working at the Defense Intelligence agency which accuses Defense Department personnel of rewriting progress assessment reports before they are forwarded to Congressional members. If true, this is a blatant violation of government rules which state that assessments like these “must not be distorted” by a political agendas of any type. The inspector general is looking into what changes were made to the reports and why.
Given that ISIS continues to grow in strength, numbers, and geographic impacts despite the Obama strategy of spending billions of dollars to bomb their positions, many defense and strategy experts both inside and outside of the government doubted that the strategy is working. This conclusion was strengthened when government intelligence sources released their report last month which also concluded that ISIS is no weaker than they were at the beginning of the air campaign.
And now we are seeing this administration possibly stonewalling another assessment of failure. No transparency, no truth, no integrity.
3) A big problem with letting politicians and government bureaucrats do anything is that they usually have no clue of what unintended consequences will occur as a result of their actions. The latest example of their ineptness involves the favorite cookie of all time, Oreos.
The Federal government has long given favorable treatment to the sugar industry in this country, resulting in Americans paying about twice the amount for sugar than the rest of the world because of Federal sugar tariffs placed on sugar. Obviously, this results in outsized and undeserved profits for the sugar industry players.
Since the largest component of ingredients in Oreos is sugar, this results in a higher than necessary costs for the makers of Oreos cookies. In order to stay competitive and profitable, the makers of Oreos are required by their shareholders to reduce costs as much as possible.
In this case, they found that they could pay for and build a new factory in Mexico to make Oreos, pay the additional transportation costs to ship Mexican produced Oreos into this country, and be much more profitable. All because the Federal government and the politicians that operate it raised the cost of sugar so much that 600 good paying American manufacturing jobs have now been shipped to Mexico.
But 600 jobs is not the only damage from the government making sugar so expensive for Americans to the benefit of their financial backers and donors. According to a 2006 analysis from the Federal government’s International Trade Administration: “Chicago, one of the largest U.S. cities for confectionery manufacturing, has lost nearly one-third of its SCP manufacturing jobs over the last 13 years. These losses are attributed, in part, to high U.S. sugar prices.”
Unintended consequences from people that have no clue about simple business concepts and economic principles, all for their own selfish political objectives.
Enough insanity for today. Politicians shipping jobs out of the country, lying about a failed Obama military strategy, and an expensive government program with a one third failure rate. Different areas, different failures and all insanity from today’s politicians. More insanity tomorrow and beyond.
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