Wednesday, December 28, 2016

December, 2016, Part 4, By The Numbers: The Obama Recovery Stinks, The Pentagon Lies, and IRS Employees Love the Ritz Carlton Lifestyle.

On a periodic basis we do some posts that fall under the theme of “by the numbers.” Rather than trust what the American political tells us about reality, we like to examine the real numbers and the real reality in the world to understand what is actually going on. Relying on politicians, and their cohorts in the media, to tell us what is reality is always a sucker bet. They have their own agendas and goals, usually centering around their needs and self-enrichment. So we need to look at the reality of the numbers to determine what is really going on.

Previous analyses of “by the numbers” can be accessed by entering the phrase in the search box above. This is the third and final post this month where we look at the numbers to truly find out how good, not likely, or bad, most likely, the American political class is doing in managing our tax dollars, protecting our freedoms, and resolving major issues that affect all of us. 

1) Let’s start today’s “by the numbers” series with a look at one of the worst managed Federal government operations of all time, the development of the F-35 fighter jet. Winslow Wheeler, writing for the War Is Boring website, gives us the details: 
  • After Donald Trump recently stated that the F-35 costs were “out of control,” U.S. Air Force Lt. General Chris Bogdan, who is in charge of the project, issued a press release to give out his view of reality. 
  • The general said that the cost to build a new F-35 would range from $102.1 million for the Air Force version to $132 million for the Marine and Navy versions. 
  • But these costs do not include the costs to make and buy maintenance equipment and other support needs nor do they include the need to fix unforeseen problems which undoubtedly arise in a new plane. 
  • Estimating these additional costs moves the cost of the Air Force version up to $157 million per plane and the upwards of $355 million for a single navy or Marine version of the same plane, more than a third of a BILLION dollars for a single plane. 
  • These are much higher costs than what was originally sold to Congress and the American taxpayer: the Congressional Research Service reports that in 1994 the Pentagon promised that the final cost of the F-35 would range from $31 million to $35 million each, or in 2017 dollars, the cost per plane would be $53 million to $60 million. 
  • This is a far cry from what is actually happening today where a single plane could cost hundreds of millions of dollars. 
As if these costs are not bad enough, they do not include the hundreds of billions dollars that have already been spent in research and development on this plane. We previously reported on analyses that estimated over a trillion dollars had been spent over the past two decades to develop this plane. 

Thus, not only are the construction costs per plane much higher than promised, but if you spread the embedded research costs across each plane that may eventually be built, the fully loaded cost of each plane is easily over a billion dollars each. Typical numbers of a typical government project, low ball the initial estimate to get funding and then manage the project so poorly that the costs eventually get out of control.

2) Tyler Durden, writing for the Zero Hedge website on December, 21, 2016, put some numbers to a problem we have talked about for a while, another blow to any credence that Obama’s economic strategies have been effective, namely the reality that the number of American millennials living at home has reached a 75 year high: 
  • Back in 1940, 76 years ago, at the end of the Great Depression, 40% of millennials were living at home, which one might expect in such a difficult economic time. 
  • Today, six years into the Obama economic recovery, just under 40% of millennials are living at home, just short of the record set back in the waning days of the Depression. 
  • This data comes from an analysis of census data carried out by the real estate tracker Trulia and reported in the Wall Street Journal. 
  • Back in 2005, about one in three millennials were living with family but again, six years into the Obama recovery, that number is still ridiculously high at about 40%. 
  • This runs counter to historical economic cycles where this number always went down once a recession ended, indicating how bad Obama’s economic policies and strategies have been. 
  • In fact, over the past decade, including the six years of the Obama recovery, the number of adults under the age of 30 has increased by 5 million but the number of households for that age group has grown by just 200,000 in that same time frame according to the Harvard Joint Center For Housing Studies. 
With rising rents in some cities, tougher mortgage lending standards and most importantly, the economy’s inability to generate sufficiently high paying jobs that would allow many more millennials to strike out on their own, it is no wonder that junior is still living at home and not out buying furniture for his or her new place, buying a house, etc., further depressing an economic recovery that has been pathetic by just about any measure. 

The numbers do not lie, this recovery sucks.

3) Ali Meyer, writing for the Washington Free Beacon on December 15, 2016, gave a contrasting set of numbers vs. the numbers from above that show how millions of American young adults cannot find a decent enough job to get out of their parents’ house. Apparently, life is much better for IRS employees vs. struggling millennials: 
  • According to Meyer, IRS employees spent $1.l4 million of taxpayer wealth on lavish travel arrangements. 
  • A Senate committee investigation found these travel options by IRS employees “to be excessive and inappropriate.” 
  • The committee found that “the IRS had 27 employees who traveled 125 business days at a cost of more than $1.4 million in fiscal year 2015. The average cost of each trip totaled $52,800...” 
  • In fact, one employee ran up $72,544 in hotel costs, spending an amazing $43,726 just at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Arlington,Virginia while another IRS employee spent half a year living at the Grand Hyatt in Washington DC at a taxpayer cost of $38,799. 
  • Another IRS employee decided to avoid hotels and spent $4,950 a month to stay at a million dollar townhouse in Arlington,Virginia while another IRS employee rented a downtown Chicago apartment on taxpayer dollars at $4,605 a month. 
  • Other outrageous costs included “a $100 Uber Black car service tab for an airport ride. One employee spent $1,513 on dry cleaning, another spent $178 per month for a cable bundle that included premium channels, and another employee spent $1,185 for a monthly metro pass—which exceeded the daily commuting cost from their lodging to the IRS headquarters.” 
  • The Senate report concluded that: “The lodging selected by these employees often appeared to be excessive and inappropriate. The committee also notes that there were a number of instances where vouchers and/or receipts appeared to be missing when compared to the initial aggregate IRS data for all employees traveling more than half a year. The committee found that while the IRS has a number of employees who travel more than half of the fiscal year incurring $1.4 million in travel costs, the IRS has routinely failed to take allowable steps to reduce its travel expenditures. The lack of effort by IRS employees to exercise prudence and economy when utilizing taxpayer funds is concerning, and more importantly, a direct apparent violation of the [Federal Travel Regulation].” 
A disgusting waste of taxpayer funds. I wonder (and doubt) that any of these employees will be forced to pay back the money they wasted. I also wonder how many times this type of behavior goes on throughout the entire Federal bureaucracy, an insult to every working American whose kid cannot find a decent job after getting out of high school or college but whose tax dollars support Ritz-Carlton level living for government employees.

That will do it for today’s and this month's “by the numbers” series. Today we learned that the IRS has little regard for taxpayer dollars, that the Obama recovery stinks for anyone under 30, and never believe the Pentagon when the give you a cost estimate since it will always go up. More numbers next month.

Our book, "Love My Country, Loathe My Government - Fifty First Steps To Restoring Our Freedom And Destroying The American Political Class" is now available at:

It is also available online at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Please pass our message of freedom onward. Let your friends and family know about our websites and blogs, ask your library to carry the book, and respect freedom for both yourselves and others everyday.

Please visit the following sites for freedom:

No comments: