As many of you may know, if the political class does not get its act together by March 1, 2013, automatic Federal government spending cuts will kick in that will reduce government spending by over a trillion dollars over the next ten years. This “sequestering” of budget dollars was agreed to by Congress and Obama in August of 2011 in the debt ceiling negotiations.
While this is a decent first step in reining in government spending, it is still pretty meager. Overall government spending will still increase in the baseline budget view, it will just increase at a somewhat lower rate. Annual spending deficits will continue to mount up, increasing our national debt and burdening future generations of Americans with that debt.
How anemic is this effort at reducing spending? Let’s do some simple math:
- Let’s assume that the ten year trillion dollar spending reduction averages out to about $100 billion a year.
- According to the official White House website, the Federal government will spend about $4.5 trillion in 2017.
- This $4.5 trillion is less than it spent in 2012 but is less than it will likely spend ten years from now, under baseline budget assumptions, so the 2017 estimate is a good ten year annual average.
- $100 billion a year in spending cuts against an average spending budget of $4.5 trillion is only a meager 2.2% spending decrease.
- According to the White House website budget spreadsheet, in 2017, this $100 billion in spending cuts would still add over half a TRILLION to the national debt.
Despite this feeble attempt at expense reduction, many in the administration are choking on it. Retired Defense Secretary Leon Panetta claims our national defense would be endangered by a 2.2% reduction in spending. Secretary of State John Kerry asserted that we could not afford a meager 2.2% reduction in his budget since we needed to continue to butt into the lives of people in other countries around the world. President Obama has been spreading panic, claiming many vital government services would be slashed because of this meager 2.2% cut in spending.
Makes you wonder if these so-called leaders are 1) that out of touch with the real world, 2) want to protect their turf at any cost regardless of the impact on the fiscal integrity of the country, or 3) are just that fiscally incompetent that they do not know how to run an efficient operation and can only operate it by increasing their budget rather than decreasing their organization’s waste, redundancy, and incompetence.
To help these politicians understand why this 2.2% reduction is a very easily attainable goal, let’s point out via just a HANDFUL of examples of how wasteful, redundant and incompetent their organizations are today:
- Medicare and Medicaid lose over $100 billion a year to waste, inefficiency, and criminal fraud.
- Social Security loses over $100 billion a year to waste, inefficiency, and criminal fraud.
- The IRS admits that it is so incompetent that it fails to collect over $380 billion a year from tax evaders.
- The U.S. Navy, one of Panetta’s former organizations, spent $300 million to build two Navy ships almost to completion before spending another $10 million to turn them both into scrap metal without ever using them.
- The State Department, John Kerry’s organization, recently spent $80 million to build a consulate building in northern Afghanistan that will never be used since the $80 million is not defensible from a terrorist attack and was built by bypassing the State Department’s own building guidelines relative to terrorists.
- The Transportation Safety Agency recently bought over $180 million worth of airport security equipment that it will never use, storing it in a warehouse in its original packaging.
- Employees in the General Services Administration threw themselves a Las Vegas bash at taxpayer expense, resulting in the dismissal and resignations of GSA employees and executives.
- The Obama administration recently made the inane, indefensible decision to give Egypt over one billion dollars worth of F-16 fighter planes and tanks, weapons that could eventually impact both Department of Defense and State Department operations in the future.
- And last but not least, consider some new findings relative to the President’s economic stimulus plan, as recently reported by the Independent Journal Review. Unfortunately, these types of expenses are no confined to the stimulus program, they happen every day in every Federal government department and entity.
These insults to the taxpayer occurred even though when President Obama signed the $831 billion stimulus into law in 2009, he stated that “tough choices smart investments” needed to be made. So ask yourself: if these are the “smart investments,” you can only wonder what the dumb expenses were:
- $250 was sent to a woman in Maryland who died in 1967.
- $840 was spent to disassemble and assemble three desks.
- The Lincoln Center in New York City was paid to host a “tango salon.”
- $10,000 was spent replacing light fixtures at a fish hatchery.
- $425,000 was spent in $250 increments to 1,700 prisons inmates for social security checks.
- $426,000 was spent to rebuild a bridge that is used by a average of ten cars a day.
- $500,000 was spent in subsidies for rain barrel installation.
- $600,000 was sent to a school district in Kansas …that no longer exists.
- $1 million was spent in New York on road signs advertising stimulus projects.
- $1 million was used to build 250 bike lockers.
- $1.25 million was used to use electric fish to study animal sensory information.
- $1.75 million was spent on energy-efficient garage doors.
- $2.2 million was spent to install skylights for a liquor store in Montana.
- $2.8 was million spent installing toilets in New Mexico’s national forest.
- $15 million was spent to build an airport in Ouizinkie, Alaska …a town of 165 people.
Disgraceful wastes of money. Which gets us back to our central question: Are Kerry, Panetta, and Obama out of touch, protecting turf or just fiscally incompetent? Or possibly all of the above?