Wednesday, August 2, 2017

August, 2017, Part 2,Political Class Insanity: MIsmanaging Taxpayer Wealth From Texas To Kentucky

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.

1) According to Elizabeth Harrington, writing for the Washington Free Beacon on July 26,2017, the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) entity of the Federal government has been very busy wasting taxpayer money in a very original way:
  • According to a HUD inspector general report, the organization spent over $800,000 on apartments for people who “did not exist.
  • And this was in just one housing complex (Beverly Place) in one county in Texas.
  • Apparently, housing managers at the housing complex defrauded the government and taxpayers by stealing the identities of former tenants and falsifying incomes.
  • According to the inspector general’s findings: "Beverly Place's owner did not administer its project-based Section 8 program in accordance with HUD regulations. Specifically, the owner billed HUD for at least 97 tenants who did not exist or whose income eligibility was either falsified or unsupported."
  • These so-called “ghost tenants” are people who either never lived in the apartment building or were past tenants who had moved out.
Fortunately, this fraud was uncovered, the people responsible are looking at prison time, and the government is going after the owners of the apartment complex to recoup the money illegally paid out. But did I mention this was only one housing complex in one county? I believe there are over 3,000 counties across the country, how much other fraud do we think the American taxpayer is paying for in the other thousands of counties? Insanity.

2) Okay, HUD seems to be doing a good job of misusing taxpayer wealth but let’s rest assured it is not the only government entity that is inefficient and ineffective in executing its duties. Consider an article by Kelsey Harkness, writing for the Heritage Foundation on July 21,2017, concerning an Obama administration Commerce Department job program:
  • A Federal job training program that was supposed to train residents of Kentucky’s coal country to become computer code writers has succeeding in only placing 17 residents into tech jobs at a cost of $2 million. 
  • This means it cost well over $100,000 per person placed in a job, hardly an efficient use of training funds.
  • The program was supposed to spend $4.5 million through 2019 to train up to 200 people from an economically struggling region of Kentucky, or a job placement cost of $22,500 per placement.
  • Instead, less than 9% of the 200 have been trained at a cost that was about five times more expensive than planned.
  • Interapt, the company supposed to do the training and receive the Federal funding is closing up shop in Kentucky two years before the program was to end.
  • Former students did not have kind words for Interapt: “Interapt was kind of smart,” one woman who participated in the training program said. “They preyed upon underemployed and unemployed people because we were vulnerable.”
  • Another former student: “It was a light at the end of a dark tunnel for me, a way to rise up out of the poverty my family has lived in for years and make a bright future for my wife and kids. Now it is a shattered dream.”
  • Another student: “It was like a bad joke poorly told, it felt unreal. I never would have imagined that I’d be asked out. I’d poured my heart into this program.”
Despite this massive failure of employment and taxpayer money, the company is trying to expand its program to other parts of the country while again tapping into Federal and state government money. And this is probably just one of many, many other failed job programs that the American taxpayer is funding for missed objectives and the dashing of hopes of desperate Americans everywhere.

3) Washington Democrats did a horrific job running the economy at the beginning of the Obama administration when they had control of the White House and both houses of Congress. As a result, they ran up four consecutive years of annual trillion dollar Federal government spending deficits, the first time any administration came close to exceeding an annual trillion dollar deficit. 

They put the country on a path that would double the national debt from $10 trillion to almost $20 trillion in short eight years. In other words, during the Obama reign, the Federal government overspent its tax revenue stream by about the same amount that ALL previous administrations had overspent their tax revenue streams.

Given this insanely bad handling of the Federal government budget, it should come as no surprise that we now find out that the Democratic National Committee (DNC) is flat broke. In fact, according to reporting by the New York Observer and Federal government documents, the Democrats nationally are $3.3 million in debt. The DNC has $7.4 million in bank accounts as assets but owes over $10 million in expenses.

Bottom line: if you cannot efficiently and effectively manage millions of dollars under your own direct control, how can you expected to efficiently and effectively manage trillions of dollars of the Federal government? Given the past years of ever mounting national debt and fiscal mismanagement, you cannot be expected to manage either money streams.

So what did we learn today: HUD cannot manage taxpayer wealth, the Commerce Department, the government entity responsible for the Kentucky training fiasco above, cannot manage taxpayer wealth, and the Democrats cannot manage their own wealth. Strike one, strike two, strike three, the taxpayer loses. More insanity to follow.

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