We are non-commercial, all volunteer and supported by our readers. Please help sustain the Dew by making a donation.
It's Just Money
Forget the debt ceiling, what’s that smell in the basement?
As long as politicians continue looking up at a debt ceiling and forward at future spending, they will never have to confront the problem they so comfortably wallow in up to their necks today, a problem only they can fix: systemic waste.
Debate in Washington rarely turns to addressing the root of a waste problem which infects all levels of government. There are, of course, talks about how to cut spending, but cutting programs and funding does nothing inherently to cut waste.
Consider this sad-but-true illustration:
I work for a state government institution. Recently, I requested a piece of technology necessary for doing my job. The item retails between $150 and $200 from multiple sellers on Amazon, but since I work at a state institution, the item had to be purchased through an “approved vendor.” The idea is that these vendors will give the state the best possible price. What did the state pay for the item? Over $300.
Instances like that happen every day at thousands of state and federal institutions. If you started to do the math, you would see why our country is in such trouble–not because we spend, but because the system allows “approved” vendors and contractors to fleece the taxpayers. Immovable barriers of bureaucracy have been cleverly constructed to funnel taxpayer dollars right to where the political architects of those barriers want them to go.
The unethical (although not always illegal) and mutually beneficial relationships between the vendors and the politicians who approve them are what really need to be “cut” before operating budgets are sacrificed. If you simply cut funding to government institutions and programs, those entities will lay off employees and deny citizens beneficial services, not fix the problem of corruption at levels beyond their control.
For another example, consider what America is paying for a typical American defense contractor overseas ($150k/year) versus what a typical deployed US soldier makes ($50k). Keep digging and you will find how close the CEOs of the defense contractors are with the representatives who approve paying for their services with your money.
Republicans have for decades successfully sold the half-truth that the cause of government waste is a society full of lazy takers. Admittedly, there are far too many Americans receiving thousands of dollars in un-needed benefits across the country. However, focusing solely on social welfare as the primary source of big government waste has been such a successful diversion for Republicans that their fiscal support of big business and bloated military has gone unchecked—and where the constituents aren’t looking, the politicians are quietly allocating. The Democrats might be giving American welfare queens thousands, but the Republicans are currently giving hundreds of billions to foreigners by way of defense contracts (only a quarter of defense contractors are Americans).
For too long, freely elected politicians have determined what vendors and contractors get to financially rape the American people with impunity, and that is America’s fatal flaw now. The people chosen to fix the system are the same people who benefit by ensuring it stays broken.
Worthy of Comment
Also on the Dew
The excitement and acclaim that greeted both the Peachtree and the Broadway premieres of producer David O. Selznick’s adaptation of Gone With the Wind seventy-five years ago this week seems genuinely cringe-worthy today, after multiple indictments over recent years of Margaret Mitchell’s novel as racist and historically distorted. Mitchell is clearly culpable on the first count, although by no means uniquely so, but latter-day critics who charge her with distorting history would be well advised to consider the history she had to work with and, in some aspects, even undertook to revise. Released in mid-summer 1936, Mitchell’s book had already sold more Read on →
I arrived in Beijing on an old Boeing 707 China Air flight in November 1978 after a week in Japan. The entry formalities at Beijing Airport were slow but considerably quicker than the Shenzhen Railway Station where I had previously entered China from Hong Kong. I caught a taxi from the airport to the Beijing Hotel on Dongchangan Jie. Taxis were a new experience for me in China, previously it was the “foreigners bus”. The Beijing Hotel had a long and fascinating history. It was built as a five-story brick building in 1915 and two years later a seven-story French sty Read on →
My friend and co-author, Robert Clark, and I long planned to give readers a look at the Southland and its abundant beauty, unusual charms, and fascinating stories. We came up with “Closed Wednesdays” but never got it off the ground. Too much traveling, too many book-related events, and life’s way of throwing detours in our path got in the way. We stepped back and thought things over and decided to offer readers something a bit shorter. Seems today’s hectic pace discourages many from reading long pieces. Robert’s idea, “The Photo of the Week,” resulted and so far it is getting a good recept Read on →
It’s that time of year again. Ya’ll know what I’m talking about … the holidays. Some see it as the song claims “It’s the most wonderful time of the year” … But others among us are just left wondering. First it’s the sugary shock of Halloween. Then it’s surviving the Thanksgiving glutton-fest. Followed by a tsunami of high-octane shopping you can’t afford, partying, last minute gift buying, a morning of exchanging gifts you don’t need, a mad rush to return the gifts you don’t want, more shopping and finally a drunken evening, ending with new year’s resolutions and false resolve to quit your shameful and glut Read on →