Thursday, June 30, 2016

July, 2016, Part 1, Political Class Insanity: Arming The Bureaucracy, Overstating A Congressman's Value, 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. In fact, last month we set a record, needing ten full posts to cover it all.

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.

It looks like our politicians have been especially insane over the past month or so let’s get started with the latest insanity from today’s American politicians one day earlier than we usually do:

1) According to a recent report from the Washington Post, that was summarized in the June 24, 2016 issue of The Week magazine, in 2013, 99% of ALL Federal government workers received a performance rating of at or above fully successful. This was based on a compilation of performance reviews. The Government Accountability Office looked at 1.2 million Federal civil servants ratings and found that less than 1% of these Federal employees were rated “minimally successful” or “unacceptable” at their jobs.

Where to start with this insanity? No human endeavor EVER had such good staffs that 99% of that staff was so outstanding in the performance of their work. No one has a human based group where nearly everyone in that group is so near perfect. Given how poorly the Federal government performs, I would contend that these numbers are reversed, maybe, maybe 1% of Federal employees do their job in an outstanding manner. 

This is just another example of where politicians and the Federal government employees they oversee have no accountability in their their jobs. No matter how poorly they perform their jobs, whether sitting in Congress, the White House, or a government bureaucracy, you will get paid and paid well and never experience any accountability in how good or how poor their job performance is.

2) According to a recent article by, American total wealth has now reached a record high $88.1 TRILLION. While this would seem like good news, consider the reality that when Obama leaves office, he would have doubled the national debt to about $20 TRILLION. That means to pay off the national debt, every American family on average would have to give up about 22% of their TOTAL wealth to pay off that debt. 22%, more than one fifth. 

And since the debt is growing faster than the economy, you can be sure that the 22% figure will rise substantially in the coming years. This is the sad legacy that we are leaving our kids and grandkids, a sad legacy that was doubled under Obama. 

3) One would expect certain parts of the Federal government to allow some of their employees to carry weapons and be trained in the use of guns. The DEA, the FBI, the Secret Service, U.S. Marshals, and maybe a few others can rationally be expected to possibly need firearms in the execution of their duties. No big deal.

But a recent report from Philip Hodges on June 24, 2016 tells us that there are some other parts of the Federal government that somehow think they need to use taxpayer money to arm their employees also:

- According to the report, some unexpected Federal bureaucracies possess more weapons than the U.S.Marines.

- Apparently, the IRS, the Social Security Administration, the EPA, the Department of Education (DOE), and even the United States Postal Service (USPS) has armed some of its employees.

- The Washington Free Beacon, reporting on the results of a study by the watchdog group, Open The Books, found the following atrocities:

  • Civilian agencies of the Federal government has spent an amazing $1.48 BILLION on weapons, ammo, and military style equipment between 2006 and 2014.
  • As an example of the insanity, the IRS has outfitted some of its agents with AR-15 rifles and EPA employees have access to camouflage outfits.
  • The Food and Drug administration has 183 armed “special Agents,” 50% more than what it had ten years ago.
  • Some Health and Human Services inspector general employees have been trained with very sophisticated weapons by the same consultants that train the Pentagon’s special forces troops.
  • Open The Books’ analysis determined that the Federal government now has 200,000 non-military officers with arrest and gun authority, a number that is larger than the current size of the U.S. Marine Corps which has 182,100 Marines in its ranks.
  • The IRS has purchased such weapons as pump-action and semi-automatic shotguns, semi-automatic Smith & Wesson M&P15s, and Heckler & Koch H&K 416 rifles, which can be loaded with 30-round magazines.
  • The EPA spent $3.1 million on guns, ammo, and equipment, including drones, night vision, “camouflage and other deceptive equipment,” and body armor.
Unbelievable. As many in Congress and the political class are trying to shred the Second Amendment and disarm Americans at the same time they are taking taxpayer money to provide weapons to civilian Federal employees. Why does a Department of Education need armed employees to collect on delinquent student loans? Why does the Social Security Administration need armed employees to go after 80 year old retirees for some reason? Does the IRS need agents armed with 30 round magazines to go after someone who did not pay their taxes on time? 

I am sure that occasionally these outfits my need some protection in the executing of their jobs. But we do not need 200,000 Federal employees armed to the teeth. It is amazing that civilians have not been accidentally killed with 200,000 armed Federal employees wandering around. On the surface, this is a tremendous and huge waste of taxpayer money. 

Deeper down, this has the potential for creating a national police force under the control of Washington bureaucrats, people who have seldom had our best interests and freedoms at the top of their priorities. The word Gestapo comes to mind but that is probably just an overblown paranoid concern. But I bet a lot of Germans thought the same thing at one point in time when they were being disarmed while a national police force was being formed. More insane things have come out of the American political class.

4) Most Americans, as measured by opinion polls, usually have a pessimistic view of where the country is today and what the trends into the future are:

  • Real unemployment is still close to 10%. 
  • The national debt has almost doubled since Obama came into office.
  • Wages and household income levels have been stagnant or negative six years after the recession ended.
  • 45 million Americans still need Federal food assistance every month.
  • Taxes are still high with little benefit in return.
  • Domestic terrorist attacks have been trending upwards over the past 18 months or so.
  • Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are hurtling towards insolvency.
  • Our kids are still being under educated vs, kids in most other countries despite the high cost of education in this country.
  • Our borders still leak and are insecure.
  • The war on drugs is still being lost.
  • The country’s infrastructure is collapsing despite high levels of taxation.
We could go on and on but you get the idea. The country is being run by inept politicians and bureaucrats, the results speak for themselves.

Which makes the recent demand from a Florida Congressman so insane. According to Natalie Johnson, writing for the Washington Free Beacon on June 9, 2016, Congressman Alcee Hastings recently complained that members of Congress deserve a pay raise, despite their dismal performance as outlined above. The Congressman complained that he has to pay high rent to live in Washington D.C. and that should be reason enough for him and his peers to get a pay raise. 

Keep in mind that an average salary for a Congressman is about $174,000, which is about three and half times the average American household income level. While I have no doubt that it is expensive to live in Washington D.C., I doubt it is three and half times more expensive to live in D.C. than in an average American location. And yet, the Congressman still thinks that he deserves a pay increase: “[Congressional] Members deserve to be paid, staff deserves to be paid and the cost of living here is causing serious problems for people who are not wealthy to serve in this institution,” he said during a Rules Committee hearing on the upcoming appropriations bill. “We aren’t being paid properly.”

Excuse Mr. Hastings, based on your performance and the overall performance of your peers, you are lucky you are getting paid at all. There is no aspect of the Federal government and bureaucracy that is operating efficiently, effectively, and creating value for taxpayers. In the real world, outside of government jobs, you would have been fired for incompetence and non-productivity, based on the list above.

That’s a good start for this month’s insanity. A Congressman who vastly overstates his value, a dangerously armed Federal bureaucracy, a dangerously growing national debt level, and overrating just about every Federal employee. 

And this is just the start of the insanity.

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