Where does our money go?
After more than two hundred years dedicated to growth, hard work and prosperity, why are we sinking, carrying the shame of millions in poverty, worried for our children, afraid of next month, and listening to silly oligarchs tell us to polish, well, to accept their limitless credit cards?
Launching our trillion dollar death machine might be, might be, keeping us alive, and may require $3,000 toilet seats. Who really knows? But building an American plutonomy where we fail to be rational about managing huge and concentrated government budgets is slowly maiming us.
A trillion here and there
We’re spending, we’re overspending, and we do not know where our money goes. Each one of a trillion dollars that fails its purpose is reducing us, and in too many cases may shorten our lives too.
We’re overspending not because we support the poor, the ill, the old, young children, or immigrants; not because our water is clean, our environment is green, our roads are smooth, our schools and buildings are strong or our neighborhoods are safe. We need these services for a livable nation.
We overspend because our money is not under our control.
Choose any day. In any thousand public and corporate offices we are being pilfered – money siphoned away because of poor performance, lax control, trickery and outright fraud.
There are few audits, less evaluation, and piddling efforts to keep us informed. Not one local, state or federal representative is on the evening news each day to tell us about the success of a spending program or that we’ve achieved new benchmarks in sensibility. Count ’em. Send me their names. Instead we learn we’re buying FEMA trailers at the price of McMansions.
A cost overrun needs only the time it takes to get a piece of the funding. We provide windfall riches to hustlers of every type at all levels, from toilets seats to treatment plants to water systems that span across our continent. We’re flooded in worry and increased burden because our vaults are leaking.
It’s recently fashionable to build a costly local army in every village; to hastily post boot-camp recruits in every factory, tank farm and under every bridge. But this is not the first time we’ve spent large. We took a ride erecting America’s infrastructure. We worried about the mayor’s cousin painting the town’s offices once a year. We established a generation of procedures to prevent three tons of cement sold as thirty. But we don’t use these rules today, or if we do, we don’t know why they’re ineffective.
The mid- to late 20th Century seems quaint compared to today. We didn’t have teams of highly paid, astutely trained and institutionalized hustlers with a cellphone and a plane ticket on every nearby golf course while they subserviently steer every deal into the pockets of controlling shareholders.
Today we might be bilking ourselves as we purchase an a la carte menu of sweat-proof shoulder badges, shopping mall munition sniffers, nursery school taser training, street corner frown and twitch behavior specialists, and rebuilding convention resorts to bomb-proof the meeting rooms for our security planners.
Future spending might bring us the least while we build an invasive security fiefdom where white pick-up trucks roam to detect outgassing from our front porches. Any mosquito you see tomorrow might be the latest spy robot from a platinum funded research program that cost us billions, and consumed a million of our kids on our credit-card’s tuition for science training. But these mosquito keep us alive, maybe.
The Effective Dollar
What truly might cost more than any item in the budgets of this country is that we don’t get what we pay for.
Not bridges. Not schools. Not insurance. Not even peaches or cookies. Certainly not school lunches. And this may be why there’s more rich each year while we’re going broke. We’re being hustled. We are supplying more yachts, sandbar Dubai plantations, caviar pedicure and gems on underwear to such a huge layer of new wealth it’s time to see if the mayor is not only contracting his relatives but if he’s also selling himself the paint at profiteering prices.
Enough from me.
The NYTimes hires better writers and a few journalists too.
They also say it’s our simple civilian programs that bankrupt us.
The story at the NYTimes tells us we can go to a pharmacy with $3,500 for an oxygen breathing apparatus, as one example, including a 3 year supply of oxygen in little green canisters. But Medicare will pay $8,280. “Medicare spends billions of dollars each year on products and services that are available at far lower prices from retail pharmacies and online stores.”
For erectile dysfunction, (this post is suddenly spam), a retail penile pump is just over $100, but Medicare spends $450. Now that’s enlargement!
The paper tells us even minor changes in the rules are “confronted by obstacles” from phone and letter rallies and face-offs with corporations.
But as government works in real life, our leaders and officials are merely confronted with conversation, at dinner perhaps – clobbered by a lobster with enough butter to loosen a billion or more of our tax dollars.
I don’t want one more official telling us they’re being confronted with “political and logistical obstacles” whether arms dealers or physician groups, medical device manufacturers, insurance companies and other businesses. These so-called obstacles are not weapons, just talk, merely compromise and agreement, often over dinner. We’re not invited.
The paper tells us “dozens of industries have tried to harness the political might … for corporate goals.” Harness political might? What is political might except what a politician does and what he doesn’t say?
The purpose of our vote
It’s politicians that encumber our politicians, not rallies or lobbyists.
I don’t want to hear one more politician campaign on morality or religious belief. If their campaign stumps about abortion, it’s clear to me who must be aborted, even if it’s late in their term. We don’t need a politician to harness our morality any more than we should provide a harness to lift that huge lobster on their plate. It’s time they spoke only for all of us and for making better use of our money.
The Penny Party
We need an assembly of voters with nothing to argue about at their convention except why we are losing the prosperity th
at generations died to give us. We need new political goals, keeping our focus only on value and results – and theft, and guile. All our confrontation are belong us.
The fashion of politicians speaking for God has cost us too much.
When the rich steal from the rich, it’s Good Business.
When the rich steal from the rich for the poor, it’s Noblesse Oblige.
When the middle steal from the middle, it’s Corruption.
When the rich and the middle steal from the poor, it’s Fiscal Responsibility.
When the poor steal from the rich and the middle, it’s Crime.
When the poor steal from the poor, it’s Tough Luck.