Saturday, July 15, 2017

July, 2017, Part 5, Political Class Insanity: Stupid in L.A., Poorer In Europe, and Busted Everywhere

As we do every month, we review the latest idiocy, lunacy, ineptness, and general insanity from the American political class. The members of the political never cease to amaze us with their greed, idiocy, gumption, and criminal activities. And just when we think there is no new way to disappoint us and tick us off, they manage to find a way to do it, wasting our tax dollars and destroying our freedoms in the process.

The political class has been very busy this month so let’s get right to it:

1) One of the biggest pieces of political class insanity that has been going for decades is the reality that the Washington political class and the government operations it oversees is extremely inefficient and crime infested. A little while ago we reported on a government inspector general report that found that Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security basically lost at least $144 billion a year in taxpayer wealth due to fraud and inefficient operations. The wasted wealth gets higher if you include government welfare, food stamp, and other horribly run government operations.

All of this history is bad news. But there is some good news recently, as reported on the Dennis Micheal Lynch website by reporter Anneta Griffee on July 13, 2017:

  • Recently, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that a massive set of arrests had been by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force that helped break up a ring of Medicare fraudsters.
  • The fraud involved $1.3 billion in criminal Medicare and Medicaid billings.
  • It is the largest bust in the history of the Justice Department and it involved arresting 412 people across the country including 114 doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel.
  • In addition, 295 health care providers can longer participate in any Federal health program.
  • The arrest operation involved 1,000 Federal, state, and local law enforcement officers and 350 agents from the office of the inspector general.
  • The press release also said that, “Over 120 defendants, including doctors, were charged for their roles in prescribing and distributing opioids and other dangerous narcotics.” 
  • Criminal charges included filing fraudulent billing schemes including Medicare, Medicaid and the military’s TRICARE program for medically unnecessary and false drug prescriptions which involved the illegal distribution of opioids.
  • According to the Justice Department press release, the schemes involved such elaborate setups a, “One fake rehab facility for drug addicts in Palm Beach is alleged to have recruited addicts with gift cards, visits to strip clubs, and even drugs-enabling the company to bill for over $58 million in false treatments and tests.” and “Another illegal clinic in Houston allegedly gave out prescriptions for cash. Just one doctor at this clinic allegedly gave out 12,000 opioid prescriptions for over 2 million illegal painkiller doses. These defendants have been charged and they will face justice.”
This is obviously great news for the American taxpayer who is the real victim in this criminal activity. But let’s be clear this is one tiny, tiny step. $1.3 billion is less than 1% of the annual fraud we documented above, $144 billion. It is doubtful the entire $1.3 billion will ever be recovered and how much additional taxpayer money had to be spent on the task force and law enforcement to bring this criminals to justice, for less than 1% of the fraud. 

The numbers and waste is mind boggling even in the face of the biggest bust EVER in the history of the Justice Department. The numbers are insane.

2) A lot of people in this country think it would be great if we changed our current economic system to those that are in Sweden, Denmark, Germany or other more socialistic countries around the world. We have already shown how stupid an idea that is relative to Denmark in the following post:

But what about Sweden, and Germany, countries that liberals and Democrats like to point out are virtual heavens on earth from an economic perspective? Ryan McMaken writing for the website on October 26, 2015, went through an analysis that should sober up even the most socialistic Democrat or liberal:

  • According to the analysis, if Sweden and Germany were part of the United States, their citizens would rank among the lowest states from a wealth perspective.
  • His analysis was more sophisticated than just dividing a country or state’s GDP by the number of citizens since that ratio can be skewed if a state or country has a lot of really, really rich people.
  • Instead, this analysis “takes into account taxes, and include social benefits (e.g., "welfare" and state-subsidized health care) as income. Purchasing power is adjusted to take differences in the cost of living in different countries into account.”
  • Thus, in this better and more accurate analysis approach it turns out that Sweden would be poorer than all but 12 United States states with a median income of just $27,167.
  • States such as Colorado ($35,830), Massachusetts ($37,626), Virginia ($39,291), Washington ($36,343), and Utah ($36,036) have incomes that are over 30% higher than in Sweden.
  • German does even worse, having a median income that is higher than just 9 U.SA. states. 
  • In fact, with the exception of just Luxembourg ($38,502), Norway ($35,528), and Switzerland ($35,083), all other countries shown would fail to rank as high-income states were they to become part of the United States with most of them being far, worse than Mississippi, the poorest U.S. state.
  • According to the article, “Mississippi has a higher median income ($23,017) than 18 countries measured here. The Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, and the United Kingdom all have median income levels below $23,000 and are thus below every single US state. Not surprisingly, the poorest OECD members (Chile, Mexico, and Turkey) have median incomes far below Mississippi.”
  • Even the richer countries in the study only rank as middling U.S. states from a median income perspective, Australia ($29,875), Austria ($28,735), and Canada (28,288). 
  • The analysis was then taken a step further and the cost of living was factored in since a median income in low cost MIssissippi might be okay vs. a higher median income in New York which has a much higher cost of living.
  • When this more sophisticated layer is added on, Sweden ranks higher than only six states while German ranks higher than no state.

The analysis goes on and on and can be viewed at:

The point to be made here is that as liberals and Democrats continue to try to push us towards a European socialistic economic system, the numbers above prove that this is a sure fire way to make every American poorer. The overreaching government intrusions into our lives not only robs us of our freedom and privacy but deprives us of economic opportunities to beas well off financially as we can be. The numbers do it lie even if politicians do. To try and be more like Sweden, Germany, or just about any other country in the world is economic suicide over time.

3) One last piece of disgusting political class insanity for today. California as we have discussed many times is going down the drain from a financial, job creation, economic, and poverty perspective. Their government liabilities, both funded and unfunded are astronomical. The state and its cities have more citizens living in poverty than any other state in the union. 40% of Los Angeles residents are so poor that they qualify for Medicaid. The LA schools massively under educate their kids. Businesses, companies, and residents are leaving the state in record numbers. State politicians have done a great job destroying what they like to call the sixth largest economy in the world.

But apparently their major screwups did not get to the local politicians running the city Los Angeles these days:

  • An L.A. city commission recently voted to give members of the city’s board of education a massive pay raise.
  • Board members with no outside income sources will see their board pay go from $45,637 a year to a cool $125,000 a year.
  • Those get income from other sources will see their pay go up from $26,437 to almost double, $50,000 a year.
  • They are getting these raises even the San Francisco Gate recently found in their analysis that the L.A. school system ranks in the lowest ten school districts in the COUNTRY.
  • Upwards of half of L.A. senior high school students are not educated enough to graduate.
  • The school district faces an operating expense deficit of over $400 million in the 2019-2020 school year as enrollment continues to drop as parents take their kids out of the L.A. public schools and into charter schools, private schools, or move out of the state altogether, all of which results in fewer tax dollars for the city’s public school kids.

And yet despite these massive failures, some politically connected commission people decided to vastly enrich school board members for their massive failure in serving mostly poorer kids in the L.A. school district. And the politicians running the city government let them get away with this robbery. Unbelievable insanity.

That will do it for today’s insanity: paying more for abysmal performance, wanting to be like poorer countries makes no sense, and Medicare fraud takes a minor but well deserved hit. More insanity to follow.

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