Thank goodness for whistleblowers in the government, whether regarding intelligence activities or the mundane bureaucratic waste that occurs in every department. Congress does a generally pathetic job of oversight and presidential administrations are rarely transparent—despite their promises. So the citizens who pay for our $3.6-trillion government rely on federal workers who witness illegal and unethical activities to come forward and inform the press.
The real loss for fiscal conservatives this week was not that Obamacare wasn’t defunded or that there were no entitlement cuts in the deal that reopened the government…Instead, the bigger concern is that the Republicans caved in on renegotiating the discretionary spending levels set by the 2011 Budget Control Act and sequester.
The federal government has been subsidizing so-called clean coal for decades, and the hand-outs have resulted in one bipartisan boondoggle after another.
A Wall Street Journal story today begins “America’s road to recovery may face a costly detour due to a fraying transportation network. One in nine of the country’s 607,380 bridges are structurally deficient …”
Despite the fears expressed in news stories, federal worker furloughs do not seem to have caused major economic disruptions. While the National Parks were closed, most government workers that provide useful services to citizens are at the state and local level, not the federal level.
Former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher’s autobiography indicates that the internal struggles in her Conservative Party in the 1980s were as intense as today’s struggles within the Republican Party.
You may remember the scene in Animal House where Kevin Bacon plays a fraternity pledge being hazed. Down on all fours getting paddled, Bacon says, “Thank you sir, may I have another?”
The abuse and overspending in government disability programs is so bad that even National Public Radio and 60 Minutes have taken notice. On the heels of this excellent NPR examination of the “disability industrial complex,” the venerable CBS news show last night profiled Senator Tom Coburn’s efforts to uncover fraud in the two big federal disability programs.
Alexander Hamilton won in the end. As Treasury Secretary in the 1790s he championed an array of “internal” taxes to supplement federal revenues from import tariffs. Thomas Jefferson despised Hamilton’s internal taxes as assault on liberty, and when elected in 1800 he made sure that they were abolished.
A benefit of the government shutdown may be that it slows the stream of waste and bad behavior flowing from the federal bureaucracy. Catching up on my reading, I noticed these items in just the last few days of the Washington Post: