I sometimes think this is all a dream, or, more specifically, a nightmare. Can it be true?
Food Stamp Programs in their various forms are the number one job of the Department of Agriculture. Proud as it is of spending over half of its $150 Billion budget on food stamp programs, the Department of Agriculture has recently informed us that there are more people using food stamps today than at any time in history. The irony is that the National Park Service, another arm of the Department of Agriculture spends millions each year on signs, brochures, and film clips telling us “Please Don’t Feed the Animals.” Why? Because they know the animals will grow dependent and will not learn to take care of themselves. There is a nice post here about this situation and the irony/hypocrisy/idiocy of the growth of our Food Stamp programs.
Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska was narrowly defeated for an unprecedented 8th term in the Senate in 2008. The election was less than 2 weeks after Mr. Stevens was convicted of federal corruption charges. Prior to the conviction, Mr. Stevens looked like a sure thing for reelection. Interestingly, his conviction was vacated before sentencing because of findings of gross prosecutorial misconduct. The Federal Prosecutors had withheld and fabricated evidence. His election loss was not overturned. This month, some 500 pages describing the extent of the prosecutorial misconduct will be released to the public for the first time. Why did it take so long? The Federal prosecutors have been fighting the release of the information since the verdict was overturned. The irony here is that the prosecutors in question worked for the Public Integrity Section of the U.S. Department of Justice. Also, it is interesting note that the current (not at the time of this trial – only form Feb 3, 2009 to date) Attorney General, Eric Holder, was an attorney in the Public Integrity Section for 12 years (’76-’88).
At the end of January, this year, Mr. Obama went to Las Vegas to promote his call for alternative energy and alternative energy vehicles in particular. He visited a UPS facility that now uses a fleet of natural gas burning trucks to deliver packages to an area from Long Beach, California to Salt Lake City, Utah. The UPS fleet was purchased with a $5.6 million grant (cost share) written into the Stimulus Bill. The irony? Mr. Obama toured Las Vegas with a 22 vehicle convoy. How many do you think were natural gas or electric vehicles?
The list goes on:
Our government tells us we must attend college so we can get a good job. Then it ‘gives’ us the loans we need to get the college degree and we find ourselves in debt for years to come, even if we do get better jobs due to our degrees.
Our government wants to make certain that when it buys goods and services our government gets the best price. To accomplish this goal, it has created a purchasing protocol so bound with administrative costs that it both limits competition and forces prices up.
Our government pushed banks to loan to marginally qualified people and created a market that drove housing prices to all time highs. They then required banks to increase their reserves to insure they could cover losses from bad loans. That tightened the loan market, dried up demand for homes that had been falsely created by government in the first place. The result: Banks foreclosing on people who should not have qualified for loans and Banks failing due to losses from bad mortgages.
When will government (especially our elected officials) get the message to leave well enough alone?