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
Let it not be said that our far Northwest state, Alaska, has a monopoly on Nowhere. While their "Bridge to Nowhere" garnered much national attention on the political and comedy circuit, here in Southeast Georgia, we've got a whole lot of nowhere. Not only have we got the state Department of Transportation doing a major expansion of a road to nowhere from two lanes to four, we've got a peninsula on our island (bet you didn't know that it was possible to have a peninsula on an insula), sporting more than fifteen mapped roads that aren't to be found on Read on →
The Confederate flags are now gone from around the incumbent marble Robert E. Lee, at eternal rest with his riding boots on in the innermost sanctuary of Lee Chapel in Lexington, Va. That is as it should be, for many reasons. One is historical. Our campus was a sanctuary of recovery from the Civil War, where “the sun falls through the ruined boughs of locusts/ Up to the president’s office.” That president was Lee, “in a dark civilian suit who walks,/ An outlaw fumbling for the latch, a voice/ Commanding in a dream where no flag flies.” These are lines from “Lee in the Moun Read on →
Some are born lucky. Others are born rich or marry into money. Still others create endless streams of opportunity. And perhaps when we can’t answer yes to the aforementioned, we can easily feel entitled. But in other ways, the playing field remains level. Certain attributes of the human condition we have control over, starting with the meaning we assign to the events of our life. And yes, positive events lead us to assign more pleasant meanings. There is enormous manipulation, pursued in the name of profit, to get us thinking about our bodies with a “cattle mentality.” Once we buy into what we “s Read on →
After stating in his introduction that “history is written and marketed... to enforce existing political orthodoxy” and that “Those who control the present take great pains to control our understanding of the past.” Michael Parenti goes on to attempt to persuade the skeptical reader of the truth of those assertions. The persuasion takes the form of chapters on how those who have written history are of a certain class with predictable biases, how the victor's narrative is often the only one available, how the university keeps to the correct line, how publishing is kept orthodox, the death of President Zackary Taylor Read on →