Unlimited Debt Ceiling

Here we go again; another crisis. If we don’t raise the debt ceiling, the sky will fall. Just like the $1.4T it took to keep the economy sucking wind with “stimulus,” we are now told of the national catastrophe we must avoid by allowing government sanctioned sodomy of taxpayers.

According to a letter sent to every member of Congress by Timothy Geithner, not raising the debt ceiling could cause the loss of “millions of American jobs.” Just when I thought there was nobody left to lay off?

Ceilings are called ceilings for a reason. Ceilings imply that that’s as high as it goes. If all you do when you butt up against the ceiling is raise it, then you are on a frickin’ elevator.

What truly would happen, if we don’t raise this “ceiling?” Creditors will have to wait on their money as we get our financial house in order? Therein lies the purpose of the ceiling. Government would actually have to run like Conservatives run their households.  Government would have to do wild and crazy things like cut back, or tell the kids, “No.”

I’m just thinking out loud here, but if you were on something hoisting you towards the ceiling, your natural response would be to say, “Whoa,” and possibly duck as you approached the ceiling. Our government instead brings in union contractors and raises the ceiling, the bonus being an appropriate amount of waste and fraud.

The other interesting thing about ceilings is people usually build in wiggle room. The ceiling is the thing one can never reach, theoretically. The setting of the ceiling has factored in the capacity to handle the absurd, i.e. the worst case scenario. Yet we are continually approaching and raising the ceiling with the Fed.

It’s certainly not a matter of budget.  All government bureaucracies have ample budget. There is no sane person in America who would argue that we give the government plenty of money. In fact too much money, so much they can’t even keep up with it all.

For example, the federal government made at least $72 billion in improper payments in 2008. That was only one year. How do you make $72B in improper payments? Where do you get a degree that allows that? In the private sector, that is called embezzlement, Madoff!

If paying out $72B isn’t enough, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports of wasteful duplication that includes 342 economic development programs; 130 programs serving the disabled; 130 programs serving at-risk youth; 90 early childhood development programs; 75 programs funding international education, cultural, and training exchange activities; and 72 safe water programs. Government auditors spent the past five years examining all federal programs and found that 22 percent of them–costing taxpayers a total of $123 billion annually–fail to show any positive impact on the populations they serve.

The bureaucrats who have set this system up, believe they are royalty.  Their refusal to fly coach costs taxpayers $146 million annually in flight upgrades. If you’re wondering who’s keeping the airline industry in business, credit the Defense Department. DoD wasted $100 million on unused flight tickets and never bothered to collect refunds even though the tickets were refundable.

The National Institutes of Health spends $1.3 million per month to rent a lab that it cannot use. The federal government owns more than 50,000 vacant homes, likely by the beaches where Washington has spent $3 billion re-sanding. Perhaps the Fed could sell these homes to those who are victims of Obama’s inability to create or save jobs. There are many people who could use a low-interest home, and the taxpayers could use some relief, and many businesses could use the $25 billion spent annually maintaining unused or vacant federal properties.  How about we allow these properties to be rented by businesses at a reduced rent, again recovering some of our money?

How’s that for government waste, but what about fraud? Audits showed $34 billion worth of Department of Homeland Security contracts contained significant waste, fraud, and abuse. Fraud in health care is estimated to cost taxpayers more than $60 billion annually, a virtual rounding error in the cost of Medicare. It’s no wonder Obama wants to double-down on health care.

A GAO audit found that 95 Pentagon weapons systems suffered from a combined $295 billion in cost overruns. And even when projects are not exceed costs, Congress finds out a way to spend even more.  Like when Congress spent $2.4 billion on 10 new jets that the Pentagon insists it did not need and will not use. What do you think you will find if you follow the money on that deal? Any chance there will be Congressmen from the states where these contracts were let and a few lobbyists spooning in the room of some fancy hotel at our expense.

The state of Washington sent $1 food stamp checks to 250,000 households in order to raise state caseload figures and trigger $43 million in additional federal funds. Do you think one of the Congressional staffers tipped off the state of Washington on this loophole? How many other states are doing the same thing? Since we don’t audit the Fed, who knows.

Congress has ignored efficiency recommendations from the Department of Health and Human Services that would save $9 billion annually. The reason efficiency recommendations are ignored is there is no money in not collecting more money. It’s better when we are finding new and creative ways to spend money. Like when the Securities and Exchange Commission spent $3.9 million rearranging desks and offices at its Washington, D.C., headquarters. Or how about when the Pentagon spent $998,798 shipping a two 19-cent washers from South Carolina to Texas and $293,451 sending an 89-cent washer from South Carolina to Florida. That has to be a Guiness record for waste. Is it any wonder that Federal agencies are delinquent on nearly 20 percent of employee travel charge cards, costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars annually?

Two drafting errors in the 2005 Deficit Reduction Act resulted in a $2 billion taxpayer cost. In China, the person creating this error would have been executed. Gotta hand it to the commies on that score.

There are over half a trillion dollars in savings identified here.  How about we begin cutting waste and fraud, before we start doing construction on that ceiling?

That’s my rant!

© 2011 Kevin Jackson – The Black Sphere

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