Can every thinking adult finally understand that our country is broke? Our outlays exceed our receipts by 140%. The last time we were so out of balance was during the Second World War, and deficit spending restraint was not optional. The American people seem to have washed our collective hands of oversight for that out-of-control spending. We used to have leaders in the House and Senate like Wisconsin’s Senator Proxmire, who publicized waste and fraud for 14 years by bestowing his Golden Fleece Awards. Out-of-control government spending was then and is now a target-rich environment. Remember the $20,000 toilet seats and $40,000 coffee makers? Proxmire brought all that to light.
Now there doesn’t seem to be the pushback that used to make everyone roll their eyes and frequently call their Representatives to complain. Proxmire found petty change compared to our current list of worse craziness below. What could be the constituency for all this? Remember the famous bridge to nowhere years ago? Our examples;
- The U.S. will give three Native American tribes supposedly threatened by climate change $25 million each to move inland.
- China, the world’s worst polluter, and the second-largest economy is still technically considered to be a developing nation and may be in line for Climate Reparations from the United States. How Bazaar is that? While not likely to pay China directly due to public outrage, the U.S. is poised to give other nations vast sums of money to punish ourselves for the pollution that resulted from creating a U.S. economy that lifted billions out of poverty.
- The theft of as much as $80 billion — or about 10 percent — of the $800 billion handed out in a Covid relief plan known as the Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP. That’s on top of the $90 billion to $400 billion believed to have been stolen from the $900 billion Covid unemployment relief program — at least half taken by international fraudsters.
- President Biden’s plan to cancel student debt. Final cost? Nobody knows. The Federal government has foregone interest payment collections from borrowers since 2019, costing the Treasury tens of billions of dollars. Add another $500 billion to $1 Trillion over the next ten years. All that money was borrowed.
- The Department of Homeland Security canceled a project to build a technology-based “Virtual Fence” across the Southwest border after spending more than a Billion dollars.
- $60 billion is dedicated to reducing environmental injustice and protecting low-income areas and communities of color that are ostensibly more affected by pollution.
- Earlier this year, Congress passed the Camp Lejeune Justice Act for those (or their descendants) injured for claims from dangerous drinking water at the camp between 1953 and 1987. Those claimants are now entitled to billions in restitution. I fear the only ones who will make money here are lawyers and Medicare, who will have a priority claim on the money!
- Twenty months after Congress passed a bill that rained $2.53 billion down on Wisconsin, the governor’s office in sole charge of administering the funding, as well as legislative audit and budget officials, have almost no idea of how all that money was spent. Do you think that might be true for other states as well?
- NYC Mayor’s wife “lost” $850 million (mostly, or exclusively federal money) on mental health initiatives.
- $122 billion in federal money was set aside for school Covid relief, with 93% unspent.
Friends, you can’t make this stuff up! Outrage does not do these issues justice. Why aren’t a lot of people in jail? If I had an unlimited amount of time to research, in detail, government spending, what do you think I would find? Could annual government spending be reduced by a trillion dollars and still serve our requirements?
The above examples alone total over $2 trillion. Not billions, trillions! Everyone is to blame for this. Earlier this year (the numbers have since dropped), 27% of federal workers were still telecommuting. I had a Zoom call with four FAA workers working remotely in October. Telecommuting might be acceptable for some work, but how many times recently have you experienced long hold times, slower resolutions to your problems, or given up in frustration with a near-total inability to resolve your issue? If you are like me, it is a growing phenomenon, and I blame lax leadership and Wokeness for allowing this to happen.
Back to our title: From the President down to our elected officials, the career bureaucrats, and the rest of those supposed watchdogs who supposedly look out for us, where’s the outrage? Let’s get one thing straight. You can destroy a country economically and socially through a failed fiscal policy. Entitlement spending currently represents 65% of the budget, which is going up fast. How can anyone not say that’s not an existential crisis? Yet, no administration seems willing to deal with what amounts to a runaway train because of the political pushback.
Circle back to my earlier statement that we are broke. Not only is this a fiscal issue, but there is no guarantee that we can sell our debt at low-interest rates forever. There’s also the security implication of needing other countries’ goodwill and forbearance. It can be reasonably understood that in some future time, some countries will hold our debt, like China, and may become adversaries (China unarguably already is). Should the fact that they have about a trillion dollars of our debt concern us? Today’s friend could be tomorrow’s adversary. There are no guarantees.
The fact that we have too few well-thought-out strategic policies indicates how reactive we have become. Politicians are wont to shake any more trees than may be necessary, and when they finally must deal with a crisis, it is always at a disadvantage.
Budget tricks are famously used by both sides to make something look good when it’s really and truly a dog. Whenever you hear someone pedaling a Bill through Congress that relies on ten years to make the bill appear to work, you know whatever was relied on in the out years to make it work is nothing short of pure fantasy. There will be no one to hold accountable by that time, and of course, it will always be the fault of a different administration or leadership. And they know it, and that’s why they do it.
The Inflation Reduction Act is one of those examples. Without getting into the weeds too much, there is no there, there. The Act is nothing more than “if we flood the zone with money, we will solve climate problems.” Inflation? How do we conquer inflation by spending $740 Billion to fight Climate Change? And that is “just a down payment,” Biden says.
Only those who are recent products of our current faulty education system could conceivably buy into this deception. Unfortunately, and due to the passage of time, some of our leaders in Congress and the Senate are products of those very same Woke educational establishments.
God bless America and forgive me. Does anyone know of any good places to live where folks haven’t already fallen down the rabbit hole? “Curiouser and curiouser, Alice!”God bless America.
Allan J. Feifer