Saturday, February 10, 2018

February, 2018, Part 6, Political Class Insanity: Pelosi Still Living In A Different Reality and FEMA and DHS Incompetence Shining Through Again

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.

Let's get started:

1) We have not reported on a good old fashioned government wasteful spending project so let’s review a doozy today. The Freedom Outpost website reported a recent FEMA screw up as reported by the New York Times:
  • The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) contracted with a company owned by Dr. Tiffany Brown to provide 30 million meals to Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.
  • The cost to taxpayers was $156 million.
  • Unfortunately, Brown’s company, Tribute Contracting LLC, ended up delivering only 50,000 meals.
  • By the way, Brown was the only employee of her company that had just received a $156 million government contract.
  • Brown also runs three other companies including Tiffany Brown Designs (women’s clothing line), Tiffany Brown Holdings Inc. (a consulting firm that has five divisions: entertainment, vending, radio, food, nonprofit management and book publishing, and Luxe Fuel (a beverage delivery software app), leading one to believe that she may have not been the best, most experienced business person to deliver life saving meals to Puerto Rico.
  • Not only did Brown have no experience in large scale disaster food relief but she had at least five canceled Federal government contracts in her past.
  • She ended up hiring an Atlanta wedding caterer which had a staff of only 11 people in order to deliver the millions of meals she had been contracted to provide.
  • By the time that 18.5 million meals were due for delivery Brown had only delivered 50,000, at which point her contract was terminated.
  • To add to the insanity of the situation, Brown is now suing FEMA and the American taxpayer for $70 million for breach of contract.
  • The New York Times summarized some of her past shenanigans: “The government has also canceled Tribute contracts on at least five occasions. Four cancellations involved the Federal Prison System, which found that Tribute failed to deliver meat, bakery, cereal and other food products to various correctional institutions. A fifth termination involved the Government Publishing Office, which terminated a contract for 3,000 tote bags after Tribute failed to print the Marine Corps logo on both sides of the bags. An investigation by the office’s inspector general found that Tribute “altered and submitted a false shipping document and subcontracted the predominant production function on two contracts without proper authorization,” according to a 2015 report submitted to Congress.”
And despite this pathetic history of wasting taxpayer money, FEMA STILL went ahead and granted her another big contract that, surprise, surprise, was another failure.

2) But as we all already know, FEMA is not the only inept Federal organization:
  • According to Mark Swanson, writing for the NewsMax website on February 5, 2018, somehow a set of Department of Homeland Security (DHS) anti-terrorism documents were found by a CNN employee in a seat back pocket on a commercial airline flight.
  • The documents were marked "for official use only" and "important for national security." 
  • They contained strategies for after action government responses to a simulated biological attack.
  • The documents apparently belonged to DHS microbiologist Michael Walter since his boarding pass and travel itinerary were attached to the secret government documents.
  • A former DHS official, Juliette Kayyem, who is now employed by CNN, stated the obvious, that leaving the documents behind on a plane was a "really stupid thing:" "Who knows who else could have picked this up. The biggest consequence of this mistake may have less to do with terrorists knowing our vulnerabilities and more to do with confidence in the Department of Homeland Security. In the end, confidence in the federal government at a time of crisis is what the American public deserves."
  • CNN reported that the documents showed shortcomings in local state, and Federal agencies responses to a potential attack in Minneapolis, the recent site of the Super Bowl.
So FEMA is stupid and wasteful when it comes to resolving a problem and DHS cannot keep secrets secret. Insanity.

3) We have discussed the many real benefits that the Trump tax cut has had on millions and millions of Americans:
  • Hundreds, if not thousands, of American companies have given millions of Americans bonus checks of upwards of $3,000 as a result of the tax cut.
  • Many companies have raised the minimum wage they pay their workers (e.g. Walmart, CVS, etc.) as a result of the tax cut.
  • Over a hundred million taxpayers will see a reduction in their 2018 tax bills as a result of the tax cut.
  • Companies have promised to increase their domestic spending on capital improvements, employee training, and donations to charities as a result of the tax cut.
Some of these benefits can be viewed in more detail by accessing the following post:

Americans get to keep more of their hard earned money, great! Employees are getting higher wages, bonuses and more job training, great! Companies are bringing up home overseas earnings to invest in the domestic economy, great! Charities are seeing greater contributions from companies, great! 

Well not so great if you are Nancy Pelosi. According to a recent article by Caleeb Hull, writing for the Independent Journal Review on February 1, 2018, Pelosi characterized these benefits to the American worker and American economy as “crumbs”: “In terms of the bonus that corporate America receives versus the crumbs they are giving to workers to put the schmooze on is so pathetic.”

So, employees getting $1,00, $2,000, or possibly up to $3,000 in bonuses is crumbs? Families getting a doubling of the child care credit is crumbs? Employees saving on their taxes on every paycheck for at least eight years is crumbs? 

This idiotic response to the tax cuts raises two questions Ms. Pelosi:
  1. Isn’t giving Americans “crumbs,” crumbs that were basically theirs to begin with before the government confiscated their “crumbs” via high taxes, better than nothing, which was the position of you and every other Democrat who voted against giving American back some of their hard earned wealth or crumbs?
  2. Second, how is a tax cut and thousand dollar bonuses crumbs when back in 2012 you hailed the $40 tax cut you engineered several years ago as the best thing in the world: “160 million Americans will continue to receive their payroll tax cut — nearly $40 per paycheck in the pockets of the average family. I salute the work of the unified House Democratic caucus on behalf of the American people.” 
So the Trump tax cuts and the reduction in taxes every paycheck AND millions of Americans getting thousands dollar bonuses is crumbs but in your world $40 is worth saluting? I still wonder what the color of the sky is in Pelosi’s world because she is certainly not living in this world.

That will do it for today’s insanity: Pelosi is still living in another reality, FEMA is still inept when it comes to managing taxpayer wealth, and the DHS cannot keep a secret. More insanity to follow.

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