Tuesday, March 8, 2016

March, 2016, Part 6, Political Class Insanity: A Failed War On Drugs, A Failed Tax System, Paying Criminals Not To Commit Crimes and More

It is the beginning of another month which means it is time again to review the latest political class insanity from the American political class. Each month it takes us multiple posts to cover the wasteful spending, incompetent government organizations and employees, government programs that usually make a problem worse than resolving it, inane and idiotic politician comments, etc.

To review past posts on this insanity and idiocy, just click on the first few posts in each month listed to the right of this page. After reviewing just a handful of these insanity posts we think you will agree that we are currently being served by the worst set of American politicians ever to hold office in our entire history.

This will be the last post for this month’s political class insanity. Most of today’s insanity is a bunch of quick hitters as we clean up all of the insanity that is still left to tell from today’s American politicians:

1) The Federal government and the political class that operate it give out a lot of taxpayer money in the form of loans to college and vocational school students. The theory is that if everyone gets more education, the country will be better off, a theory that has never been proven. Bernie Sanders, running for President on the Democratic side, wants to do away with loans and just give free college education to anyone who wants it but that is another story of insanity for another time.

How is the current process working out of the Federal government giving out education loans with taxpayer money? According to the Wall Street Journal, more than HALF of the students at 347 colleges and vocational schools failed to pay back ANY of their student loans after seven years. These 347 schools received $2.2 billion in Federal/taxpayer loans in 2015 alone. 

Thus, over a seven year period, it is likely that the American taxpayer easily lost $6-7 billion in loans that were never paid back based on the Wall Street Journal reporting. $6-7 billion could have fed a lot of hungry Americans, sheltered a lot of homeless Americans, treated a lot of American drug addicts, and medically serviced a lot of ailing veterans. Instead, the Federal government wasted it all on student loans that were never repaid.

2) Political class insanity is not restricted to Washington. Consider the case of Marc Kohn. Unfortunately, his daughter, Melanie, recently died, according to a piece in the April, 2016 issue of Reason magazine. Melanie happened to be a big fan of the NHL’s Washington Capitals hockey team. To honor the memory of his daughter, Mr. Kohn built an ice skating rink and allowed his neighbors to use it on land he owned. 

It appears that Mr. Kohn was not trying to build a business out of it or disrupt the area, he just wanted to honor the memory of his daughter and her passion for ice hockey and her favorite team. According to the article, the rink was very popular with local families. There was no mention that the rink had been too noisy, too disruptive, created traffic jams, etc.

Of course, such a nice story and the happiness of Mr. Kohn and his neighbors was too good to be true. County politicians made him close the rink, claiming that he did not have a permit and the property was zoned for farming even though Mr. Kohn owned the land and was not using it for any commercial purposes. Government intrusion into the lives and happiness of Americans, that is what we have come to in this country as government and its bureaucrats overreach their authority.

3) We have previously discussed the reality of how bad the current Federal tax code is, namely that it has encouraged American companies to keep profits offshore since bringing those profits home and investing those profits in the American economy would incur a heavy Federal tax expense. Most estimates say that there could be a trillion dollars worth of profits sitting offshore rather than being brought home to the benefit of the economy and our unemployed.

The main driver of this insanity is that the U.S. has a top corporate tax rate that is higher than the top corporate tax rate of every other country in the world except one. Rather than drop the tax rate and get tax revenue back into the country for the Federal government, the Washington political class leaves the rate so high that it gets NO income tax revenue from the offshore profits.

But it is not just the trillion dollars already sitting overseas. According to an article in the February 5, 2016 issue of The Week magazine, U.S. company Johnson Controls plans to merge with an Irish company, Tyco International, and become an Irish company, a country with a much lower business tax rate. This is the twelfth so-called tax inversion since September, 2014. Thus, there will be even less Federal tax revenue as more and more of these companies take their tax savings and investment wealth elsewhere in the world.

Of course, the insanity here is that the Washington political class would rather have a higher tax rate and collect less in taxes than have a lower tax rate and collect more in tax revenue. 

3) In a world where common sense prevails, criminals would go to jail for breaking the law. However, at least in Washington D.C., common sense does not exist since the city council recently approved a plan to pay convicted NOT to commit crimes. Let that thought sink in: the local politicians are paying career criminals not to commit more crimes.

The council decided that up to 200 criminals deemed to be “at risk” of committing more crimes would be put into a behavioral therapy program and if they somehow avoided jail time they could get cash payments of up to $9,000 a year. Yes, paying criminals taxpayer wealth not to commit more crimes vs. helping the homeless, the hungry, and the addicted in the city, yes common sense has left the city.

4) Obama has been meddling in Syrian affairs for years. He threatened to militarily intervene if the Syrian government used chemical weapons on its own citizens and when it did, the Obama administration did nothing. It has supported the rebels in the Syrian civil war. It likely ran weapons through Libya to the rebels, which got four Americans killed in Benghazi, all of which significantly contributed to the rise of the ISIS terror organization.

What have all of these failures accomplished? According to Roger Cohen writing for the New York Times:

  • Syria will be the largest blot of the entire Obama Presidency.
  • 250,000 Syrians have died in the fighting.
  • 4,000,000 people have left their homes.
  • Europe is being overrun by refugees.
  • ISIS has established a large physical presence in both Syria and Iraq.
  • ISIS has established outpost in countries throughout the Middle East and has inspired terror attacks around the world.
Could not have done a worse job if his administration tried to screw up. Insanity.

5) One last piece of insanity for this month. The American political class has been waging a lost war on drugs for over four decades. It has not reduced addiction levels, it has overcrowded our prisons, and created powerful and violent drug cartels. 

This failed war on drugs has left us with the following situation, as described in the Briefing section of the The Week magazine’s February 19, 2016 issue:

  • 47,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2014, the last year for which complete data is available.
  • This was a 7% increase over 2013.
  • 47,000 deaths is about 1.5 times more than the number of Americans killed by guns or car accidents each year.
  • 1.9 million Americans are addicted to prescription painkillers.
  • 19,000 Americans fatally overdose on painkillers in 2014, up from 16,000 in 2010.
  • Heroin death are also increasing and increasing quickly, up to 11,000 deaths in 2014 from 3,000 in 2010.
Failure for over four decades. A long running political class disaster.

That will do it for this month’s insanity. A failed war on drugs, a failed foreign policy in Syria, paying criminals to NOT commit crimes, a failed student loan program, an evil ice skating rink, and a counter productive tax system. Quite the day of insanity. More of the same next month.

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