Wednesday, November 2, 2016

November, 2016, Part 1, Political Class Insanity: More Public Education Failures, More IRS Corruption, and An Overwhelming Debt Burden

It is the beginning of another month which means it is again time to review the latest political class insanity from Washington and around the world. Political class insanity takes many forms including the wasting of taxpayer wealth, criminal fraud within government programs, inane and stupid political quotes and actions, the inability to create and implement effective and efficient government programs, stupid and ill performing economic policies and strategies, and other forms of insanity that continue to evolve and surprise and shock us.

The current monthly record for the number of posts that were needed to cover one month's worth of insanity is ten. We equaled that record last month when we needed ten days to cover one month’s worth of political class insanity. There is a very good chance that the ten day record could fall this month since as we get closer and closer to the election, the volume of ineptness grows almost exponentially. 

But today and for all of the insanity posts this month, let’s start off with a welcome piece of honest political dialog. It comes from a State Department spokesperson. Mark Toner, who is about to start the daily State Department press briefing. In a joking matter, he makes the following quote: "Welcome to the State Department. I think we have some interns in the back. Welcome. Good to see you in this exercise in transparency and democracy." 

He then burst out laughing at his own quote, indicating he also knew what a joke the Obama administration has been, especially Mr. Toner’s State Department, when it comes to cover ups, lack of transparency, denial of Freedom of Information Act requests, the prosecution of whistle blowers, etc. But at least it was a little refreshing to finally hear some actual honesty out of Washington as we see from the actual clip of the news conference:

With that context of honesty, let’s see what other insanity has been going down:

1) Obviously, the Federal government and Washington politicians have a lot to say about how our schools educate our kids these days. There is the Federal Department of Education which gobbles up tens of billions of dollars every year in its budget. Since its founding, I would bet that the Department has spent over a trillion dollars over the decades. 

And what have we gotten for our dollars? According to a recent Heritage Foundation article by Walter Williams on October 12, 2016, not much, given the sorry state of public education across the country today:
  • 93% of Detroit public school eighth graders are not proficient in reading.
  • 96% of them are not proficient in math.
  • These horrific results occur even though the state of Michigan spends $13,743 per student every year in Detroit to educate the city’s kids, putting them in the top 6% of per pupil spending in the state.
  • In an article by the American Psychological Association, 80% of teachers surveyed say they had been violently victimized at least once in the past or prior year.
  • In the public schools of Baltimore, on average, every day four teachers and staff members are assaulted and the Baltimore Sun has reported that that last year over 300 Baltimore school staff members had file workers’ compensation claims because of injuries received via assaults on the job.
  • In Detroit, annual teacher attrition rates are about 5% and in California, $20,000 signing bonuses for teachers are not enough to keep teachers from leaving their schools or seeking out less violent schools.
But these problems are not unique to just a few school districts across the country. Many times we have reported how this country's public schools, and the government bureaucrats and politicians that oversee them, spend a lot of money to vastly under educate our kids relative to the rest of the world. One would have hoped that spending a trillion dollars over the years would have had a better payoff than violent schools, dumb kids, and disgruntled teachers.

2) It is pretty clear from all of the evidence that the Obama administration conspired with the IRS several years ago to deny First Amendment rights to hundreds of citizens and organizations that wanted to attain non-profit status from the IRS to indulge in perfectly legal political actions. The applications that were sent to the IRS from Tea Party, Republican, and conservative groups were stonewalled, ignored, or rejected simply because they were not in alignment with the Obama administration’s policies and positions.

Although it can never be proven, such actions may have prevented Romney from becoming President in 2012 since many grassroots organizations had been blocked from putting forth their Romney friendly ideas in front of the public, facilitating Obama's reelection. In any case, such illegal and un-Constitutional action did not help Romney and certainly did not harm Obama, which may have been the plan the whole time.

Alice Greene, writing for the Punching Bag website on October 20, 2016, pointed out that recent judicial actions lend credence to the reality that the IRS did conspired to deny First Amendment rights to many, many Americans:
  • While the Obama administration via the IRS and the Justice Department refused to investigate, indict and prosecute those responsible for the denial of tax exempt status to over 500 organizations, the judicial system has stepped and done their job for them to a certain degree.
  • District Court Judge Reggie Walton ordered the IRS earlier in October to resolve all pending applications for tax exempt status of the affected groups by November 11, 2016: “The IRS will, at long last, be required to disclose the details of the lawless and unconstitutional Tea Party targeting scheme,” said Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice. “As a result of Judge Walton’s order, these years-long applications processes are finally concluding, and the organizations are receiving the review and determinations they deserve. This is a major victory.” 
  • As an example of the IRS stonewalling, Sekulow’s organization asked for tax exempt status seven years ago but never received approval.
  • This ruling came about because back in August, 2016, the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit found that even after all of the publicity and damage done by the IRS, the court found the stonewalling was still going on.
While all of this is good news and those denied their rights have finally had the truth come out, the author points out why this is actually a hollow victory: “November 11th is too late. The damage has already been done. Tea Party groups were unable to operate fully during an important election year. The responsible parties at the IRS has not been punished for blatant criminal activity. If Hillary Clinton is elected President of the United States next month, this sort of behavior will become the norm, and individuals like Lois Lerner will continue to act against conservative groups with no consequence.”

Justice delayed is justice denied and the embedded and corrupt political class wins again even when they lose.

3) Lauren Bowman writing for the Heritage Foundation on October 29, 2016, had some really depressing news as it concerns the terrible financial shape that the Washington political class has placed the country into:
  • The House of Representatives Budget Committee recently released their analysis of what our high national debt is doing to our economy and our country.
  • As Washington continues to spend more than it collects in taxes in any fiscal year, it has to borrow wealth from other sources to close that annual budget gap, adding to the national debt burden every year.
  • On the current spending path, by 2046, every American family will need to pay an incremental $12,000 a YEAR to pay for the accumulated debt and other Federal government expenses.
  • Obviously, if every family is paying an additional $12,000 a year in Federal taxes, that is $12,000 fewer dollars they have to buy a house, buy a car, go out to dinner, take a vacation, etc., i.e. that removal of that $12,000 will have a severe economic drag on overall national economic growth.
  • We are seeing the beginning of that already since over the past few years, as Obama has doubled the national debt from $10 TRILLION to $20 TRILLION, national economic growth has stagnated at around 2% a year, far less than the historical average which is over 3% a year.
  • Not only has overall economic growth suffered under this increasingly heavy debt load, but the number of Americans working part time since the last recession is still up by 42% while about 14 million Americans have left the labor force since 2009, many too discouraged to continue to look for a good job.
  • Obviously, once economic growth slows, tax revenue growth slows and the debt gets even worse, leaving the only solution left to contain the damage: substantially reduce government spending.
Outside of Gary Johnson and the Libertarian Party, neither Clinton or Trump have any kind of plan to help your kids and your grandkids avoid paying an incremental $12,000 every year to pay for the wasteful spending of today by Washington.

More political class failures in the realm of public education, more corruption in the IRS, and more and more debt that will cripple the economy and the future of our kids and grandkids. More insanity tomorrow.

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