May 17, 1998
by: Doug Fiedor
E-mail to: email@example.com
But our federal government -- the very same government that demands we keep excellent records -- does things slightly differently.
The office of the President is in charge of administrating the $1.7-trillion enterprise we call the federal government. Congress is the Board of Directors. That few people in government have any significant business experience is evident. Because, if the officers of any major corporation ran their businesses like the federal government is operated, the bureaucrats of the federal government would put the businessmen in prison. Waste, fraud and error are common throughout the federal government. In all areas of government, the duplication of effort and the overlapping of programs permeates, and program managers who have no idea whether or not they are effective are the norm.
"Public relations charades like 'Reinventing Government' cannot change the way Washington works," said House Majority Leader Dick Armey (who, incidentally, has a Ph.D. in economics). And Armey is exactly correct. Al Gore's "Reinventing Government" program has done nothing to remedy any of the problems in government. On the other hand, the 'Government Performance and Results Act of 1993' (the Results Act) may actually be helping somewhat.
Under the Results Act, federal agencies are evaluated on 10 factors: 1. Mission statement; 2. General (strategic) goals and objectives; 3. Strategies to achieve general goals and objectives; 4. Relationship between general goals and annual performance goals; 5. External factors; 6. Program evaluations; 7. Treatment/coordination of cross-cutting functions; 8. Data capacity; 9. Treatment of major management problems/high-risk areas; 10. Congressional and stakeholder consultations.
Most federal agencies, as was reported, could not even answer numbers 1 and 2 properly. Some agencies set goals well beyond their statutory authority. For instance, EPA said it wants to measure success as the number of acres grabbed up as wetlands. Other agencies set goals that defy common sense -- such as the Department of Agriculture's goal of resolving the Year 2000 computer problem (food stamps) by the year 2002. HUD said its mission includes empowering people, but within their plan they give up on those who have reached 30 years old and who aren't employed in the economy. And the Department of Labor proposes to measure some of its success by counting the number of people indicted.
Grading was from 0 to 100. The agencies ranged from GSA, with only a 14, to Transportation, which received a 71. The average of all federal departments and agencies, however, was only 42.2 -- a failing grade. In fact, if these were school grades, only Transportation would have passed.
The federal government did not do any better with their first accounting test this year, either. This was the first time, ever, the federal government attempted to apply public sector accounting to federal accounts.
The federal government's books were so screwed up that they received a "disclaimer" from the auditors. Which means, the books were so screwed up that the accountants could not make a determination about much of anything. For a public corporation, this would be disastrous! The company's stock would tumble, and most heads in the front office would roll.
But, this is government. Hardly anyone cares how many billions of our tax dollars are lost. Worse, very few bureaucrats know or care.
Agriculture, Health and Human Services, Transportation and Defense received the lowest grades from accountants. But the books for all departments were a mess. The General Accounting Officer report states that widespread problems with record keeping and documentation prevented the government from accounting for billions of dollars in property. The IRS alone "lost" a few billion of our tax dollars.
For instance, the report said the Defense Department "does not have a centralized record keeping system to keep track of property, plant and equipment." The GAO also found that government (EPA) was completely unable to adequately estimate such things as the outstanding environmental cleanup liabilities, and bureaucrats couldn't even estimate the cost of federal credit programs -- such as all those student and small business loans, etc.
As near as anyone can tell, the federal government had assets of $1.602 trillion -- but liabilities totaling a whopping $6.605 trillion.
By the way, the federal government now owes over $57,000 per taxpayer. And, no matter what they say, the national debt is increasing. Furthermore, by their own reports, we know that the bureaucracies not only are not sure what they are supposed to be doing, they want even more oppressive authority to do that which they are not authorized. We also learned that, because of shoddy accounting, the bureaucracy loses -- not wastes, that's another subject -- about $200 a year per taxpayer.
For more on Federal Spending see: http://www.ncpa.org/pd/budget/budget.htm
Or, to see more information on the Results Act, go to: http://freedom.house.gov/results/
There is some very good basis for this socialist tag, too. We are far from being alone in this assessment. Specifically, we find the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) in total agreement.
First, though, a little information on the DSA. Here's a few excerpts taken directly from the DSA (http://www.dsausa.org/dsa.html) web page:
"The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) is the largest socialist organization in the United States, and the principal U.S. affiliate of the Socialist International. DSA's members are building progressive movements for social change while establishing an openly socialist presence in American communities and politics.
"At the root of our socialism is a profound commitment to democracy, as means and end. We are activists committed not only to extending political democracy but to demanding democratic empowerment in the economy, in gender relations, and in culture. Democracy is not simply one of our political values but our means of restructuring society. Our vision is of a society in which people have a real voice in the choices and relationships that affect the entirety of our lives. We call this vision democratic socialism -- a vision of a more free, democratic and humane society." . . .
"We are socialists because we share a vision of a humane international social order based both on democratic planning and market mechanisms to achieve equitable distribution of resources, meaningful work, a healthy environment, sustainable growth, gender and racial equality, and non-oppressive relationships." . . .
"To advance the cause of socialism, DSA has established the Center for Democratic Values. (http://www.igc.org/cdv/index.html) The Center for Democratic Values is a network of intellectuals committed to bringing progressive ideas on society, the economy, and government into mainstream discussions. CDV produces letters to the editor, op-eds, pamphlets, and books."
So there you have it. Social-democrats "building progressive movements for social change" by "establishing an openly socialist presence in American communities and politics," and through supporting "democratic planning and market mechanisms to achieve equitable distribution of resources."
How does this fit in with Congress and the Democratic Party? Easy. The only outwardly avowed socialist in Congress is Representative Bernard Sanders of Vermont. However, Sanders is also the chairman of a Congressional group calling itself the Progressive Caucus. The Progressive Caucus, incidentally, aligns itself with the Democratic Socialists of America, and the DSA aligns itself with the Progressive Caucus. Interestingly enough, the Congressional membership list can be found at: http://www.dsausa.org/pc/pc.caucus.html
Meanwhile, back to the DSA web page:
"The Progressive Caucus of the US House of Representatives is made up of 58 members of the House. The Caucus works to advance economic and social justice through sponsoring legislation that reflects its purpose. The Caucus also works with a coalition of organizations, called the Progressive Challenge (http://www.netprogress.org/), to bring new life to the progressive voice in US politics."
In truth, there are well over 100 Democrats in the House (and a few Republicans who act like it) who subscribe to all of these socialist world economy and world government programs -- those programs designed to allow the chosen elite complete control over the peasant-citizens.
What we see today as corruption in government was brought about simply because these people, as a group, feel that any means to their end is acceptable. This includes, of course, taking campaign funds from foreign Communists as well as passing some very obnoxious people-control laws.
These groups (and Members of Congress) are, in turn, politically aligned with Socialists International (http://www.dsausa.org/si/si.html), which is based in London:
"The Socialist International is the worldwide organization of socialist, social democratic and labour parties. It is the oldest and largest international political association in the world, currently comprising more than 120 parties and organizations from all continents.
"The Socialist International, whose origins go back to 1864, has existed in its present form since 1951 when it was re-established at the Frankfurt congress.
"The International provides its members with a forum for political action, policy discussion, dialogue and exchange. Its statements and decisions advise member organizations and the international community of consensus views within the global family of socialist, social democratic and labour parties and organizations."
Most of these groups may be publicly quiet, but they are very, very active in the political background. And -- check out the web pages -- generally, they all support exactly the same agenda. That socialist agenda, by the way, has made up the bulk of the Democratic Party's official platform for nearly two decades.
Last but not least: For more information, on just how neatly the socialist's activities blend in with the U.S. Democratic Party, be sure to check the Social Democrats, USA web page. That is also very enlightening. Find their web page at: http://www.socialdemocrats.org/sdusa/.
We Constitutionalists would do well to copy some of their organizational framework.
This time, of course, it's the Senate Commerce Committee's proposed tobacco legislation. The Lords and Ladies of The Hill want to raise taxes on cigarettes by at least $1.10 per pack. And, as usual, they have little or no consideration for the unintended consequences.
Every place in the world where cigarette prices have been increased, cigarette smuggling flourished. The black market will, of course, drastically reduce the revenue the legislation is expected to raise with the new tax. And, not only would the black market make it easier for children to get cigarettes, combating the black market would require a whole new policing structure in the United States. In this case, that means more out of control BATF thugs. Who will they kill for cigarettes?
All the prohibition of alcohol did was get a lot of people killed and imprisoned. The semi-prohibition of tobacco won't work any better. Every teenager in the country knows where to buy any illegal drug they want. In fact, kids can buy illegal drugs easier than they can legal alcoholic beverages. The black market availability of cigarettes for American teenagers can be expected to quickly approach that of illegal drugs simply because the profit will be nearly as good.
The attorneys general of Colorado, Ohio, Utah and Washington made a good point recently. They reported that interstate cigarette smuggling is already a $1 billion per year enterprise. Reports estimate that contraband cigarettes already make up as much as 23 percent of the market in California. The AG's said that, "there is a definite correlation between tax rates and the level of smuggling." When Alaska, recently raised its tax from 29 cents to $1 per pack, cigarette sales at legitimate stores went way down because the people smuggled them in from other sources.
In dollar value, Massachusetts reportedly loses $4 million a year; New York City, $9.2 million; California, $30 million; Michigan, $50 million; Washington state, $100 million; and New York, $300 million -- all because high tobacco taxes encourage smuggling.
Even the head of the Fraternal Order of Police joined in: "We are extremely apprehensive that passage of this [tobacco] legislation will precipitate the emergence of a thriving black market in cigarettes, posing huge problems for law enforcement at every level."
Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Lawrence Summers testified before the Senate Committee that there was a "leakproof" system in place to prevent smuggling. But Senator Orin Hatch (R-Utah) says: "Law enforcement officials are extremely apprehensive that passage of this legislation will precipitate the emergence of a thriving black market in cigarettes . . . giving organized crime a new line of business and undermining not only respect for the rule of law, but also the real goal of the legislation, preventing underage tobacco use."
Hatch also said: "One of the most frightening outcomes of a new black market would be the likelihood that children will find it easier than ever to purchase tobacco products." Contraband cigarettes sold on "literally every street corner" will make it even harder than it is now for parents to keep cigarettes out of their children's hands.
If we take Treasury's Lawrence Summers at his word, and Treasury actually does know how to construct a "leakeproof" system to prevent smuggling, there are a whole lot of American people who must be let out of prison immediately. Because, if that statement is true, it must be the federal government allowing all those illegal drugs into the United States.
They can't have it both ways. We don't grow cocaine or heroin here, but they both get in by the ton anyway. We already have good tobacco growing all over numerous States. If government tries to stop that -- and the increase that will come to supply the black market -- there will soon be quite a large number of politicians looking for new jobs.
Besides, any law Congress passes on this subject is unconstitutional. If States wish to stop teenage smoking, their respective legislatures may pass a law forbidding it. The federal government, however, must stay out of it.
Anyway, Ndiaye issued a report urging the United States to suspend capital punishment, calling it "unfair, arbitrary and discriminatory." This jerk actually compared our justice system to Iran's and Yemen's, among others, which didn't win him many friends in Washington's halls of government.
Secretary Halfbright at the State Department let him in, saying that the United States should submit to the same UN inspections it endorses for other nations. Now the State Department is letting him come back to stay. Waly Bacre Ndiaye, you see, has just been appointed to run the United Nations' human rights office in New York City.
"I am looking forward to working with Bacre Ndiaye, and I am confident that he will play a very important role in the further development of our work," wrote Mary Robinson, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, in an April 22 message to human rights dogooders.
"As head of the N.Y. office he will play a key role in the implementation of the [secretary-general's] reform measures," she wrote. Secretary-General Kofi Annan made the appointment on Mrs. Robinson's recommendation.
The job pays about $100,000 after taxes and they also give him a $33,000 cost-of-living allowance. Our tax dollars, of course, will pay part of that.
"It's our view that he did a poor job investigating our prison system, and his assessment was flawed," the Washington Times reported U.S. Ambassador Bill Richardson as saying last Tuesday. "I hope he'll do a better job in his new assignment."
Marc Theissen, spokesman for Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jesse Helms (R-NC), called the appointment "a poke in the eye. We've long known that the way to get promoted in the United Nations is to beat up on the United States," he said.
Senegal, where Ndiaye is from, is a backward little country in Africa that still practices arbitrary arrest, lengthy pretrial detention, and the police still use torture on suspects during questioning. It is also a major drug running country, and one of its major exports to the United States is heroin.
Nevertheless, such people are allowed to come here as part of the United Nations and freely criticize us with impunity. Ten to one he'll also receive a diplomatic passport so as to be above our laws. Such is the way of the world government.
Folks, let's get the UN out of the U.S., and the United States out of the UN.
This message should be important to all of us.
Therefore, we reprint the press release here as received.
WASHINGTON, DC -- "We're in a more threatened position than we have probably been in the history of this country! We're at one-half the defense Force that we were in in 1991. We don't have a national defense system!" Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) declared on this morning's edition of "Morning View" on America's Voice television.
A member of the Senate Armed Services Committee on Intelligence, Inhofe shared his concern with host Blanquita Cullum. "It was only a week ago that General Shelton, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said, 'Well, we're not concerned about a national defense system because there's no threat out there. We will have three years warning. Our intelligence tells us that we will have three years warning before a missile can come to the United States.' It was two days later that this [nuclear test] happened in India, and our intelligence didn't know it! That's the same intelligence community."
Inhofe said, "I'm on the Intelligence Committee. I'm supposed to know what's going on. In 1996, President Clinton signed a waiver that allowed the Loral Corporation to sell missiles to China. . . . We found out, just two weeks ago, they have 18 of them. 13 of those 18 are targeted at the United States of America."
He added, "Here we have a President who signs a waiver to allow the Loral Corporation to sell missile technology and missiles, and, then later, a guidance system that will give them more precision. He did this in secret, and then he was caught." Inhofe pointed out; "The first contract was a 200 million dollar contract that went to the Loral Corporation. The Loral Corporation is the largest contributor to Clinton."
On a related item, Senator Inhofe attempted to get unanimous consent of the Senate Armed Services Committee to "stop the transfer of the naval port in Los Angeles to the Chinese shipping company, COSCO. . . . This is the company that is owned by the Chinese communist military. This is the company that was caught bringing two thousand AK-47's in to be used in street gangs in Los Angeles."
Inhofe explained that it takes a unanimous vote of the committee to bring matters to the floor in the Senate. Yesterday, Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) blocked passage by casting the lone dissenting vote. Therefore, Inhofe introduced an amendment to the Senate Armed Services authorization bill using Congressman Duncan Hunter's language of a House bill that passed 45 to 4.
Inhofe urged America's Voice viewers to call
their two Senators to support his amendment, which is
scheduled for a vote on Tuesday, May 19th.
America's Voice has a web page at: http://www.americasvoice.com/ They offer some useful information, as well as web TV that works rather well.