Monday, September 3, 2018

September, 2018, Part 2, Political Class INsanity: Corruption In Texas and California and Saving Some Taxpayer Wealth In D.C.

It is 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 always been big fans of term limits, one and done. It seems that the longer a politician is in office the better the chance is that he or she abused their campaign funds for personal use. Such was the case of a California Congressman:

  • Congressman Duncan Hunter and his wife Margaret Hunter were recently indicted for improper use of campaign funds.
  • They are alleged to having diverted campaign funds for personal use.
  • They were indicted on charges that they took a quarter million dollars and used it for their kids' tuition, shopping at malls, fancy restaurants in D.C. and surf shops.
  • They then tried to cover up their alleged theft by forging false documents claiming that they contributed to a charity called “Smiles For LIfe” and that concert tickets were a fundraising cost.
  • Most despicable, when the charges first surfaced he tried to pin the blame on his wife who was his campaign manager.
Obviously, he is considered innocent until proven guilty but it does not look good, another member of the political class more worried about self enrichment than serving the country and his voters.

2) But the California Congressman is not the only American politician who is corrupting the integrity of the system:

  • At least Dwaine Caraway, a Texas councilman politician had the decency to plead guilty to his transgressions of accepting over $450,000 in bribes and kickbacks.
  • In return he used the power of his position to help out at least one businessman.
  • His transgressions also included conspiracy to commit tax evasion and wire fraud.
Given his admission of guilt we do not have to assume innocent til proven guilty in this case. So sad that local council men up to Washington Congressmen spend more time getting rich vs. doing their jobs and addressing the major issues facing the country and Americans.

3) Trump recently took a small but a positive action to get the Federal government out-of-control spending under control. He decided to freeze the the scheduled pay raises for Federal employees that were going to take effect in January.

Of course, Democrats immediately did their typical knee jerk reaction and objected to the Trump move like they do with everything else. But as we previously discussed, several years ago, the reality is that Federal employees are overwhelmingly paid more in salary, benefits and retirement options than the vast majority of Americans who finance these employees' lavish compensation levels:
  • The Federal pay system gives the average Federal employee wages 22% above the average private worker’s for doing the same type of work when the data are adjusted for time in position and education.
  • If you include benefits, the average compensation disparity between a Federal worker and their comparable private sector counterpart rises to between 30% and 40%.
  • Federal workers receive automatic seniority-based raises irrespective of performance whereas most private sector employees only get a raise for good or outstanding performance, assuming that their company actually has the wherewithal to give raises in tough economic times.
  • Federal employees receive more enhanced health benefits, for retirement they receive both a defined-benefit and defined-contribution pension plan (whereas very few private sector employees can still receive a defined contribution pension), and Federal employees get full retirement at 56 with full health benefits (while private sector employees retire at a much later age on average).
  • Federal employees get significantly more paid leave than private-sector workers with a Federal employee with three years on the job receiving all 10 Federal holidays, 20 paid vacation days, and 13 sick leave days per year.
  • Despite millions of jobs being lost in the private sector during the last recession, resulting in an overall unemployment rate in the country of 8.6% and an underemployment rate of about 16%, the Federal government civilian payroll has expanded by over 230,000 employees over the past few years which is the equivalent of a 12% increase. Ask yourself if you are getting 12% better service from the Federal government over the past few years.
  • Federal employees voluntarily leave their jobs at one third the rate that private employees leave their positions, indicating that Federal employees realize what a sweet deal they have.
  • Federal guidelines make it almost impossible to fire a Federal employee regardless of their behavior and how poorly or well they perform their jobs.
As you can see, Federal employees will not starve or go homeless if they do not get a 2% pay raise. Hopefully, this gesture is a first move to more substantial actions to get the Federal government spending under control.

That will do it for today: more sad, political corruption in Texas and California and a first step in reducing the size of government. More insanity to follow.

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