If I Were Dictator (Part 29)

Posted on Wed 07/27/2011 by


By Marlin6

On 02/05/2008, I authored a post “Benevolent Dictators Make Good Government”. Examples are King David – Israel – (1010 BC –970 B.C.) in ancient times and General Douglas McArthur – Japan – (1945 –1947) in modern times. I started musing about what I would do if I were absolute dictator of the United States to fast track our country back to a position of greatness and prosperity. Therefore I am submitting a series of posts to PA Pundits (many controversial) about how I would provide solutions to the major issues facing our nation.


I would issue an order that there will be no funding of any programs or agencies other than the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the National Institute of Health (NIH). These three agencies have resulted in more innovation and technology for Americans than any other government entities. There will be no subsidies or funding for education, agriculture, infrastructure, or any other Federal Department that I eliminated (See Executive Branch). There will be no taxpayer bailouts of any company, financial institution, or governmental entity and no takeover of any company by the Federal Government. All funding will be managed by the individual states, where there is more accountability to the voters.

For the first time in United States history, a President of the United States fired the CEO of a major corporation, with the coerced resignation of GM president Rick Wagner. This is another example of President Obama’s distaste for capitalism and the free market. He also abrogated the rights of GM bondholders (never before done in the history of the United States) in favor of the United Auto Workers. In the thirty-one months he has been in office, he has basically nationalized major insurance and banking companies and is now threatening other industries that did not accept taxpayer money, costing us tens of billion of dollars. Why doesn’t the American public recognize that Obama is destroying the private sector institutions that made the United States the greatest economic and military engine in world history?  The private businesses in our country are learning to their dismay that “if you take the king’s shillings, you do the king’s bidding”. British Petroleum CEO Tony Hayward left his post and transferred to Russia for participation in a joint venture. This is another scalp for President Obama to hang on his wall of private company executives he has brought down, including GM’s Rick Wagner and some bank CEO’s. Since BP is not an American company, Obama had to do it surreptitiously. It was initiated at a meeting in the White House Roosevelt Room on June 16, 2010, with several BP executives, Obama, Biden, some cabinet members and staff. Sources in attendance said VP Joe Biden leaned forward and bluntly informed the BP officials they had no choice. If they didn’t do the right thing and put $20 billion in an escrow account, it would be done to them.

The Federal Government admits that last year it wasted a total of $125 billion in “improper payments” alone. Now $125 billion is a large amount of money. It’s only slightly less than the GDP of Hungary. It’s enough to buy around 2,700 tons of gold. It’s more than the combined Federal taxes paid by: Nevada, Delaware, Rhode Island, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Idaho, Hawaii, West Virginia, Maine, South Dakota, Alaska, Montana, North Dakota, Wyoming, and Vermont. Yes, combined. The people in those states paid the Federal Government a total of almost $116 billion in 2009 – 16 states worth of tax revenue gone. Upon presentation of these facts, liberals inevitably respond with some variation of: “We don’t need to cut program X, we just need to cut the waste, it needs to be run better.” There’s no possible way you could be so naive and irresponsible as to promote bestowing more power to an organization with a monopoly on the use of force. The states could be called “The Gang of 16″ (giving politicians the taste of their own medicine) or “The Forgotten States” or possibly some hilarious double entendre. Contact your State Representatives and strongly “suggest” they propose bills declaring solidarity with the other 15 states. Bring this up at town halls, get the word to your federal representatives. They should be holding press conferences on the steps of the capital with fellow congressman from those 16 states. When everyone starts realizing where all that money missing from their paychecks is going, any argument for bigger government will seem laughable.
Soaring government spending and trillion-dollar budget deficits have brought fiscal responsibility — and reducing government waste — back onto the national agenda. President Obama recently identified 0.004 of 1 percent of the federal budget as wasteful and proposed eliminating this $140 million from his $3.6 trillion fiscal year 2010 budget request. Aiming higher, the President recently proposed partially offsetting a costly new government health entitlement by reducing $622 billion in Medicare and Medicaid “waste and inefficiencies” over the next decade. Taxpayers may wonder why reducing such waste is now merely a bargaining chip for new spending rather than an end in itself. It is possible to reduce spending and balance the budget. In the 1980s and 1990s, Washington consistently spent $21,000 per household (adjusted for inflation). Simply returning to that level would balance the budget by 2012 without any tax hikes. Alternatively, merely returning to the 2008 (pre-recession) spending level of $25,000 per household (adjusted for inflation) would likely balance the budget by 2019 without any tax hikes.
Most have heard the saying that no one takes care of a rental car like they take care of their own. Why not floor the gas pedal or track sand into the car – the reasoning goes – if you’ll never see it again after this week? In many ways, this is a perfect analogy to government waste. No matter which party is in power, spending other people’s money rarely compels one to be as prudent as if they were spending their own. Combine this with the typical politician’s time horizon (the next election) and it’s easy to see why so many government projects and initiatives have been swallowed by waste over the years. The six categories of wasteful and unnecessary spending are: programs that should be devolved to state and local governments; programs that could be better performed by the private sector; mis-targeted programs whose recipients should not be entitled to government benefits; outdated and unnecessary programs; duplicated programs; and Inefficiency, mismanagement, and fraud.

The federal government made at least $72 billion in improper payments in 2008.
Washington spends $92 billion on corporate welfare (excluding TARP) versus $71 billion on homeland security.
Washington spends $25 billion annually maintaining unused or vacant federal properties.
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 Congressional Budget Office published a “Budget Options” series identifying more than $100 billion in potential spending cuts.
Examples from multiple Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports of wasteful duplication include 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.
Washington will spend $2.6 million training Chinese prostitutes to drink more responsibly on the job.

A GAO audit classified nearly half of all purchases on government credit cards as improper, fraudulent, or embezzled. Examples of taxpayer-funded purchases include gambling, mortgage payments, liquor, lingerie, iPods, Xboxes, jewelry, Internet dating services, and Hawaiian vacations. In one extraordinary example, the Postal Service spent $13,500 on one dinner at a Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, including “over 200 appetizers and over $3,000 of alcohol, including more than 40 bottles of wine costing more than $50 each and brand-name liquor such as Courvoisier, Belvedere and Johnny Walker Gold.” The 81 guests consumed an average of $167 worth of food and drink apiece.
Federal agencies are delinquent on nearly 20 percent of employee travel charge cards, costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars annually.
The Securities and Exchange Commission spent $3.9 million rearranging desks and offices at its Washington, D.C., headquarters.
The Pentagon recently spent $998,798 shipping two 19-cent washers from South Carolina to Texas and $293,451 sending an 89-cent washer from South Carolina to Florida.
Over half of all farm subsidies go to commercial farms, which report average household incomes of $200,000.
Health care fraud is estimated to cost taxpayers more than $60 billion annually.
A GAO audit found that 95 Pentagon weapons systems suffered from a combined $295 billion in cost overruns.
The refusal of many federal employees to fly coach costs taxpayers $146 million annually in flight upgrades.
Washington will spend $126 million in 2009 to enhance the Kennedy family legacy in Massachusetts. Additionally, Senator John Kerry (D-MA) diverted $20 million from the 2010 defense budget to subsidize a new Edward M. Kennedy Institute.
Federal investigators have launched more than 20 criminal fraud investigations related to the TARP financial bailout.
Despite trillion-dollar deficits, last year’s 10,160 earmarks included $200,000 for a tattoo removal program in Mission Hills, California; $190,000 for the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming; and $75,000 for the Totally Teen Zone in Albany, Georgia.
The federal government owns more than 100,000 vacant homes.
The Federal Communications Commission spent $350,000 to sponsor NASCAR driver David Gilliland.
Members of Congress have spent hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars supplying their offices with popcorn machines, plasma televisions, DVD equipment, ionic air fresheners, camcorders, and signature machines — plus $24,730 leasing a Lexus, $1,434 on a digital camera, and $84,000 on personalized calendars.
More than $13 billion in Iraq aid has been classified as wasted or stolen. Another $7.8 billion cannot be accounted for.
Fraud related to Hurricane Katrina spending is estimated to top $2 billion. In addition, debit cards provided to hurricane victims were used to pay for Caribbean vacations, NFL tickets, Dom Perignon champagne, “Girls Gone Wild” videos, and at least one sex change operation.
Auditors discovered that 900,000 of the 2.5 million recipients of emergency Katrina assistance provided false names, addresses, or Social Security numbers or submitted multiple applications.
Congress recently gave Alaska Airlines $500,000 to paint a Chinook salmon on Boeing airplanes.
The Transportation Department will subsidize up to $2,000 per flight for direct flights between Washington, D.C., and the small hometown of Congressman Hal Rogers (R-KY) — but only on Monday mornings and Friday evenings, when lawmakers, staff, and lobbyists usually fly. Rogers is a member of the Appropriations Committee, which writes the Transportation Department’s budget.
Washington has spent $3 billion re-sanding beaches — even as this new sand washes back into the ocean.
A Department of Agriculture report concedes that much of the $2.5 billion in “stimulus” funding for broadband Internet will be wasted.
The Defense Department wasted $100 million on unused flight tickets and never bothered to collect refunds even though the tickets were refundable.
Washington spends $60,000 per hour shooting Air Force One photo-ops in front of national landmarks.
Over one recent 18-month period, Air Force and Navy personnel used government-funded credit cards to charge at least $102,400 on admission to entertainment events, $48,250 on gambling, $69,300 on cruises, and $73,950 on exotic dance clubs and prostitutes.
Members of Congress are set to pay themselves $90 million to increase their franked mailings for the 2010 election year.
Congress has ignored efficiency recommendations from the Department of Health and Human Services that would save $9 billion annually.
Taxpayers are funding paintings of high-ranking government officials at a cost of up to $50,000 apiece.
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.
Suburban families are receiving large farm subsidies for the grass in their backyards — subsidies that many of these families never requested and do not want.
Congress appropriated $20 million for “commemoration of success” celebrations related to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Homeland Security employee purchases include 63-inch plasma TVs, iPods, and $230 for a beer brewing kit.
Two drafting errors in the 2005 Deficit Reduction Act resulted in a $2 billion taxpayer cost.
North Ridgeville, Ohio, received $800,000 in “stimulus” funds for a project that its mayor described as “a long way from the top priority.”
The National Institutes of Health spends $1.3 million per month to rent a lab that it cannot use.
Congress recently spent $2.4 billion on 10 new jets that the Pentagon insists it does not need and will not use.
Lawmakers diverted $13 million from Hurricane Katrina relief spending to build a museum celebrating the Army Corps of Engineers — the agency partially responsible for the failed levees that flooded New Orleans.
Medicare officials recently mailed $50 million in erroneous refunds to 230,000 Medicare recipients.
Audits showed $34 billion worth of Department of Homeland Security contracts contained significant waste, fraud, and abuse.
Washington recently spent $1.8 million to help build a private golf course in Atlanta, Georgia.
The Advanced Technology Program spends $150 million annually subsidizing private businesses; 40 percent of this funding goes to Fortune 500 companies.
Congressional investigators were able to receive $55,000 in federal student loan funding for a fictional college they created to test the Department of Education.
The Conservation Reserve program pays farmers $2 billion annually not to farm their land.
The Commerce Department has lost 1,137 computers since 2001, many containing Americans’ personal data.
These are just a sampling of thousands of wasteful or redundant programs, and do not include bailouts of financial institutions, auto companies, and real estate firms at a taxpayer commitment of $11.0 trillion. These are detailed in my chapter on bailouts.