Friday, January 17, 2014
Random ruminations from your resident curmudgeon...
The House of Representatives has passed a $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill and forwarded it to the Senate for their review and approval. It is expected to pass the Senate and be sent to the President for his signature. The passage of the spending bill keeps the government open through October and avoids another potential government shutdown. Republicans are congratulating themselves over avoiding the negative publicity of shutting down the government and showing citizens that they can work with the Democrats. Democrats are pleased that some of their pet programs, such as Head Start, have been funded. According to Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-Md), "It puts an end to shutdown, slowdown, slamdown politics." In other words, legislators are happy. But what about the people paying the bills? You and I as taxpayers have watched Congress hustle along this legislation with little to no input. And what is tucked into that $1.1 trillion spending bill that you and I will pay for? Here are a couple of things:
Amtrak: The rail system has yet to turn a profit because its cost of doing business is too high. This is primarily because of non-competitive bidding of contracts for services that Amtrak uses. Despite bleeding red ink for years and not using sound business practices, the rail service received $1.39 billion.
Job Corps: Studies from previous years have shown that Job Corps programs do little to boost participants wages or train them to secure full time jobs. This agency received $1.69 billion.
U.S. Postal Service: Tucked into the omnibus bill is a provision that BLOCKS two much needed reforms for the postal service- closing rural post offices that are under utilized and stopping Saturday delivery. Congress has specifically prohibited two cost saving measures for an entity that has defaulted on its pension payment obligations and desperately needs to cut costs.
Head Start: Who doesn't want to help children achieve and get a good education? The Head Start program was designed to take at risk children and give them the tools to do just that. Instead, the results have been dismal. Even the Obama administration confirmed in a study that "access to Head Start had no statistically measurable effect on all measures of cognitive ability, including numerous measures of reading, language, and math ability." The program doesn't work, yet Congress increased the funding to Head Start by $612 million over the previous year.
Friends, this is insanity of the highest order. We are funding programs that do not work, preventing cost saving measures from being implemented, and all the time our elected leaders are giving the American taxpayer the finger. And there are more- many more- pork programs in this budget.
If we are going to restore fiscal sanity in this country, the people in Washington, the elected leaders are going to have to change. Democrats are failures when it comes to fiscal discipline. Most Republicans have shown themselves to be the same.
The problem is that these elected representative don't live daily with their failures. You and I bear the brunt of the ineptitude that come from Washington. We face higher taxes, more regulations, and a lesser standard of living because our legislators cannot or will not govern.
But this is a two sided problem. We as an electorate have allowed our representatives to govern in this manner. And now it is time to stop.
Politics for many is a repugnant field, one in which we have little interest unless it is an issue that affects us directly.
Well, friends, this affects us all, directly and in our wallets.
Washington has created an environment where jobs are scarce, regulations are onerous, and the result is that for each of us our standard of living is falling.
It impacts all of us!
We have a choice.
We can continue to let our elected leaders spend us into oblivion.
Or we can begin to get more involved and rein them in.
Either way, it will affect you and me.
We as a nation will be better off financially or we will be broke.
The choice is ours.