Wednesday, January 6, 2016

January, 2016, Part 2, Political Class Insanity: Corruption In Massachusetts, Budget Insanity and Low Ethics In Washington, and EPA Law Breaking

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 stalling.
  • 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.
  • 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, saying and wasting.

1) The politicians within the Washington political class always seem to be telling us what to think, how to act, give them more of our wealth in the form of taxes, and to trust them. What do Americans think of being told what to do by these people? Should we trust them like we may have trusted them in the past?

According to a new Gallup poll, most Americans have a very low trust level of today’s politicians:

  • 64% of those polled say that they rate the honesty and ethical standards of Congressional members as either low or very low.
  • In contrast, 85% rate the honesty and ethical standards of nurses as high or very high. Talk about a world of difference in integrity between two professions.
  • Americans are SEVEN times more likely to rate the honesty and ethical standards of police officers as high or very high, 56%, vs. the only 8% who rate the honesty and ethical standards of members of Congress as high or very high. 
  • Of the 20 professions used in the Gallup study, members of Congress had the highest percentage of rating their honesty and ethical standards as low or very low.
  • Even lobbyists, the scourge of Washington and American taxpayers, and lowly telemarketers rate higher in honesty and ethical standards than members of Congress.
  • Pharmacists and medical doctors ranked second and third for their honesty and ethical standards, with a combined 68% and 67% respectively rating them as either high or very high.
  • I find it ironic that politicians are often telling nurses, pharmacists, and doctor what to do via Obama Care and telling police officers how to behave when the honesty and ethical standards of these same politicians are a fraction of what these other professions enjoy.
I doubt that America has ever had lower faith and trust in the politicians in Washington. And while this low rating is richly deserved, given how poorly these people have served the country, this is not good news for the country. It will be near impossible to unite the country and proceed forward with unifying solutions to the issues facing Americans if we do not trust anything that those in power do or say.

It is just insane that people in such powerful positions can be held in such low esteem. That is why term limits are so important because really, how much worse could it be if we threw every Washington politician out of office and replaced them with other Americans? 

The level of trust in Congress would probably go up, a very low bar to exceed given the Gallup results, and any progress in resolving our major issues would be an improvement in what lack of progress we have lived through with our current politicians in Congress.

2) Congress just passed a massive Federal government spending bill and it is a disaster on so many fronts:

  • First of all, it is for $1.1 TRILLION which means that there are a whole lot of hiding places for wasteful and fraudulent spending.
  • It is a massive 2,242 pages long, reinforcing our conclusion that there are a lot of hiding places for waste.
  • According to Senator Rand Paul, he voted against this travesty of legislating since: “It was over a trillion dollars, it was all lumped together, 2,242 pages, nobody read it, so frankly my biggest complaint is that I have no idea what kind of things they stuck in the bill. I voted against it because I won’t vote for these enormous bills that no one has a chance to read. We were given it yesterday or the day before the bill came forward, and so this is not a way to run government. It’s a part of the reason why government is broke.”
One day to read a 2,242 page piece of legislation that will definitely add hundreds of billions of dollars to the national debt, come nowhere near to balancing the budget, and is a fraud and a sham of Congressional responsibility. Congressional people do not have a lot to do besides oversee government operations and responsibly spending taxpayer wealth. This little incident shows that they are terrible at doing both.

3) A Heritage Foundation article by Daren Bakst on December 14, 2015 reporting on how the EPA broke Federal law with so-called “covert propaganda” on social media sites relative to a water ruling and regulation it was pushing. According to the New York Times, “[t]he Environmental Protection Agency engaged in ‘covert propaganda’ in violation of federal law when it blitzed social media to urge the general public to support President Obama’s controversial [water] rule[.]” This report was based on the conclusions of the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

Besides being a stupid rule and regulation along many dimensions, as the Heritage article documents, this is just another example of how the law of the land only applies to the Obama administration and the Federal government when it serves their purposes. In other words, for those in Washington, laws are merely suggestions, but for the rest of us, laws are requirements.

4) While there is no doubt that Washington politicians are corrupt and inept, that diseases is not restricted to Washington. Consider the case of a state politician from Massachusetts:

  • John George is a former Massachusetts state politician.
  • In early 12015, was convicted for embezzling money from a taxpayer-subsidized bus company he owned (how this was not a conflict of interest from day one is beyond me).
  • Now he is in trouble again, according to Boston’s WCVB, since he apparently stashed $1 million in cash in safety deposit boxes which he did not report on his taxes, something he was required to do back in July, 2015 when he was sentenced for his embezzling.
  • At that time he claimed he only had $160,000 in bank accounts and $28,000 in cash.
  • U.S. Marshals found the hidden cash when they got access to boxes in several different banks.
  • The cash was in rolls of small bills which must have required a set of large boxes, a million dollars in small bills has to take up a lot of room.
Just another example that verifies the Gallup finding on honesty and ethical behavior cited above: we are currently be served, or not served, by the most inept and corrupt set of politicians in the history of this country, both at the national level and at least in one instance in Massachusetts.

That will do it for today’s insanity. Corruption in Massachusetts, law breaking at the EPA in Washington, ultimate budget fail in D.C. and how low can you go with Washington politicians from an honest and ethics perspective. More insanity tomorrow.

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