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Roosting chickens and Obama

Michael Goodwin at the NY Post writes up a pretty damning summary of Barack Obama’s time in office as President of the United States.  One of the primary criticisms of candidate Obama was that he’d never really done anything of note.  He’d never run a company or tried to meet a payroll, deal with government regulations, etc.  He was, critics cautioned, a politically driven empty suit.  Even his experience in politics was minimal.  Every political office he held he used as a platform to run for the next highest office, accomplishing little or nothing at each stop.

Those are his “chickens” and they’re certainly coming home to roost:

Obama’s sixth year in the White House is shaping up as his worst, and that’s saying something. He’s been in the Oval Office so long that it is obscene to blame his problems on George W. Bush, the weather or racism. Obama owns the world he made, or more accurately, the world he tried to remake.

Nothing important has worked as promised, and there is every reason to believe the worst is yet to come. The president’s casual remark the other day that he worries about “a nuclear weapon ­going off in Manhattan” inadvertently reflected the fear millions of Americans have about his leadership. Not necessarily about a bomb, but about where he is taking the country.

Anyone who looks objectively at these past 6 years has difficulty in saying anything good about the time this administration has been in power.  The lack of real governing experience has left us adrift in a hostile world:

The view from his faculty lounge has no space for reality. Anything that doesn’t fit the grand plan is dismissed as illegitimate. So while global hot spots multiply and the world grows dangerously unstable, the president still plans to slash the military.

Government programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and EITC lose hundreds of billions to waste, fraud and abuse, but this administration chooses to balance the budget on the backs of the only institution that is Constitutionally mandated for the defense of the country during a time of extreme danger.  Cognitive dissonance of the highest order.

And his “legacy” piece of legislation, forced through the Democratically controlled congress in the face of popular protest, has been a dismal failure to this point:

ObamaCare is the domestic expression of the president’s ineptitude. The law that was supposed to fix health care has become a problem for millions, and now enjoys mere 26 percent approval, a poll finds. It is proving so unworkable that the White House has given up defending it as written and instead simply changes key provisions when they prove impossible to implement or politically inconvenient.

Change No. 38 came when officials extended the March 31 deadline for signing up. Never mind that those same officials said recently there would be no extension, and that the law wouldn’t allow it.

Presto — the limits on his power are moot because the president says so. Meanwhile, aides claim they don’t know how many of the 6 million who enrolled actually paid for insurance..

Perhaps the most damning quote from Goodwin’s piece is this one which succinctly sums up the Obama experience thus far:

A Caesar at home and a Chamberlain abroad, Obama manages to simultaneously provoke fury and ridicule. He bullies critics here while shrinking from adversaries there.

He divides the country and unites the world against us, ­diminishing the nation in both ways. His reign of error can’t end soon enough, nor can it end well.

The country must weather a little over 2 more years of this awful presidency and hope it survives it somehow.  If it survives it, one has to hope that upon reflection, the voters will realize that electing a president isn’t a beauty contest nor is it a venue within which to make a social statement.  “The first” this or that are not as important as the ability of the candidate to govern competently.  And, it is is certainly not a position in which the incumbent should be engaged in “on the job training”.

Hopefully these lessons have been learned and, in 2016, we’ll see a resurgence of common sense among the voting public.

Yeah, and pigs will fly.


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The ‘Catch and Release” mandate

Here we are.

Quick hits on the last day you have, had, might have had, to sign up for your ObamaCare insurance.  Curiously a rush of people appeared to sign up that I predict the Administration will report will carry them over the 7 million lost policies, log ons , applications, enrollments payed policy holder goal line.  If anyone can recall 7 million was the original goal when this benevolent plan to help the uninsured portion of the population of the United States started.  We should overlook the percentages of likely to use older and less healthy participants versus the younger will pay and never use participants and the predicted cost curves and such.  If you have a plan and don’t like what they’re offering they promise you can keep your plan.  Ha!  Fooled you!  It’s okay though, your old plan sucked whatever it was and whether you thought it did nor not.

There’s a rumble of war in the east, the Russians will, they won’t, they can’t because we stood up to them, occupy Ukraine, or eastern Ukraine, and will maybe go so far as to establish casino dominance in the Crimea.  Take that Winstar Casino!  But Putin is now in a box owing to the stringent actions of the EU and the US to contain his aggressive ADHD driven tendencies.  And owing to the President’s our ever watchful eye we have Putin’s army where we want it now.

At the pump gas prices are consistently higher over time under the current administration than the previous administration.  But not the highest single spike and that’s what’s important.  We can assume the personal finances of the President are secure as it was a well documented fact during the Bush administration that upticks in gas prices are the result of the President’s holdings in oil companies and his desire to make sure his retirement fund is well padded.  Harry Reid said that when they rose under Bush, or someone said they heard Harry Reid say someone said that.    Meanwhile in another energy independent decisive policy act the President is going to render a decision on the job creating, oil providing,  Keystone pipeline at any moment.  If you click on those links, you might want to jot down the dates on the articles for reference and hilarity.  Continued samples of the brilliant ultra decisive actions we’ve come to expect from this President.

Environmentally the administration is rolling out a new plan to deal with global warming.    It’s likely this plan will establish policies to deal with dangers such as earth quakes, meteor strikes, comets and other ill portents all suspected to be linked to man made catastrophic global warming by the consensus science community.  Officially known as the American Economy Wrecking plan Climate Action Plan, they should consider calling it Obamafarts as a sort of short catchy handle that will appeal to the millenials almost as much as Pajama Boy did.

Speaking of American youth, they continued this last weekend to demonstrate their anger over being spied on, lied to and future taxed into oblivion by focusing on what’s important the same way the President uses his laser like focus to solve the country’s problems.   Such a trend could, in as little as 300 years, lead to as broad a nationwide protest to the current government policies as was seen in the 60’s and 70’s during America’s involvement in Vietnam,  though the former Soviet Union would need to rise up again and send us more campus agitators.

Finally the President’s 4 point approach to deal with America’s immigration problem is showing very positive signs in at least 2 of the 4 parts.    Coupled with his crack down on companies that hire illegals, it was shown over the weekend by an independent study of ICE’s activities that the President can safely add the title “Deporter in Chief” to his list of accomplishments.    We’re calling this latest ‘by Presidential order’  approach the “Catch and Release” mandate.   It’s thought highly likely that once the mid-term elections are over the Administration (and the Republicans) will step up their efforts on part 3, “Streamlining Immigration” by declaring any individuals, living or deceased, in the continental US, it’s states, or territories on Jan 1st 2015 be recognized officially as American citizens. The President may extend the deadline to January 15th 2015 for those who thought about coming to the US, but couldn’t make it before the cutoff date.

Have a great day America.

UPDATE – April 1st

As my two Great Danes could have predicted – “With daily volumes continuing to surge, analysts believe the final tally could approach or even exceed an original goal of 7 million”

Now, don’t let the fact that the system was down for a good portion of the day deceive you.   This “surprising” come back was destined, written, fated, according to prophecy, etc.

I wish the numbers in my checking account were as flexible as the numbers used by the Obama Administration.

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Observations: The QandO Podcast for 30 Mar 14

This week, Bruce, Michael and Dale talk about arresting climate change deniers, voter fraud, and Obamacare.

The podcast can be found on Stitcher here. Please remember the feed may take a couple of hours to update after this is first posted.

As a reminder, if you are an iTunes user, don’t forget to subscribe to the QandO podcast, Observations, through iTunes. For those of you who don’t have iTunes, you can subscribe at Stitcher. And, of course, for you newsreader subscriber types, our podcast RSS Feed is here.

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Economic Statistics for 28 Mar 14

Personal income and spending both rose 0.2% in February, while the PCE price index rose 0.1%, at both the headline and core level. On a year-over-year basis, personal income is up 3.1% while personal spending is up 3.1%. The PCE price index is up 0.9% at the headline level and 1.1% at the core.

The University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment index rose 0.1 points to 80.0 in March.

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More Climate Science

A new study from National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado revealed that a ‘small’ nuclear exchange would solve the global warming problem.

That wasn’t what they intended it to show, but it sure would be a quick fix to this impending global climate change heating up disaster the President and John Kerry keep flogging wouldn’t it?      But seriously, it shows a drastic global cooling effect brought on by nuclear exchange.   The term nuclear winter is bandied about, but in this theoretical exercise things don’t go quite far enough to trigger Fimbulwinter.

In the study, only the US is still a superpower but we’re not the problem.   That term superpower may need to go to the shop for repair all things considered, but for once the study didn’t presume Evil Bush pushed the buttons to send us to perdition. Instead India and Pakistan square off and slug it out with low yield bombs in the Hiroshima class range.  To the tune of 100 15kt weapons.

What they collectively have 100 of that would need nuking isn’t clear, but assume bases, cities and so forth, and maybe re-nuking some targets.   It’s a study in long term effect after all, not military use of the weapons.   100 of them in the territory given certainly implies some tactical activity for their deployment as well as strategic hits on infrastructures and civilian centers. Therefore we can assume air bursts and ground bursts, as each one will have different effects for the purposes of the study.  As an aside, they must have really dedicated fighters and leaders in their model to continue fighting long enough to exchange 100 nukes.  Be that as it may, once the blasting is over the study simulates the effect on climate on land, sea and air.   The conclusion as you would expect is catastrophe not just for India and Pakistan, but globally.

We’re talking, according to the study, global cooling effect and the loss of the ozone layer for as long as a decade.    The cooling to be caused by 5 million metric tons of dust spewing into the atmosphere.

The conclusion is that 100 weapons of Hiroshima scale would throw up 5 million metric tons of sunlight blocking dust and drop average surface temperatures world wide 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit ( or for fuzzy foreigners 1.5 degrees Celsius).  That would be the lowest averages in over 1000 years. Here in the US we’d experience winters that were significantly colder by from 4.5 to 10.8 degrees F and cooler summers.  All of which would lead to lethal frosts and reduced growing seasons.  No doubt causing world wide famine and destruction of biblical plague proportions.   if it didn’t say that last part, it can be pretty much concluded though.   It was originally thought by previous studies that the temperatures would go back to something like normal after a decade or so, but this new study shows the cool temperatures could persist for 25 years or more.   Global precipitation would fall off and this would lead to forest fires world wide which of course would raise the amount of particulate in the atmosphere.   Somewhere in there dogs and cats probably start living together and there’s mass hysteria.

Now this is the third study of this nature that’s been done, and “their conclusions support each other”.    As the models get more sophisticated they show the effects of a limited regional nuke war to be more and more pronounced.

If you have access, you can see the detail of their findings here, but your bumbled journalist here gets a big 403 Forbidden from the link.

All of this stuff is cool, no pun intended, and interesting.  Well, other than perhaps the models might look to real climate history for some reference about effects of nuclear above ground detonations on the earth’s climate.  It’s not like the world hasn’t had any experience or history to go by.

First there’s the bombs.    100 bombs at 15kt each is 15000 kt, or 1.5 megatons.  That’s gonna be a bad start to anyone’s weekend.  After all 1 exploding dumb 250 lb iron bomb ruins your day if you’re nearby.

But the “BRAVO” hydrogen test shot on Bikini Atoll was 15 megatons all by itself, so, multiply this little ground war’s explosions by 10 and we’re in the same range as this one explosion on Bikini.   India and Pakistan are going to have to fight a little harder.   The United States alone, in atmospheric nuclear testing,  accounted for 137 megatons worth of explosions above ground over a 17 year period.  That works out to a little over 8 megatons worth of nuclear explosions per year for 17 years.   That’s just the US contribution.  France, Britain, The Soviets, ‘Red’ China,  all tested atmospheric bombs, all in the megaton range.   The Soviet Tzar Bomba was rated, by itself, as at, or over, 50 megatons.   Before the distinction is made about tests over the ocean, versus tests over the land, the US detonated 27 nuclear devices here in the US, above ground, in 1957 alone.

The various nuclear armed parties continued with these above ground tests up until 1980.

1.5 megatons causes drastic global cooling?

Then there’s the dust estimates – 5 million metric tons of dust high into the atmosphere.   By way of comparison, Mount St. Helens in 1980 is estimated to have blown 1.5 million metric tons 20 miles into the atmosphere with 500 million falling tons falling in Washington, Idaho and Montana.  Krakatoa in 1883 is estimated to have produced 12 BILLION metric tons of dust – I based this number on a study here – which estimates a 10,000 megaton nuke war would put 25 billion metric tons of dust into the atmosphere and that study estimates that amount to be about double the dust produced by Krakatoa.  Krakatoa is credited with screwing up the weather in 1884, with results like crazy prolific rain in Southern California and average Northern Hemisphere summer temperatures falling by 2.2 degrees F.

There’s no disputing the effect of dust in the atmosphere, there should be a serious dispute about the effect the amount of dust used in their sophisticated model will produce.   The warmers will probably claim that was why it didn’t get warmer until after 1980 when atmospheric nuclear testing stopped.

Finally there’s the business of stripping off the ozone layer in the atmosphere.   We can only speculate that our modern ozone must be different than the ozone available in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s since that old timer ozone didn’t all vanish when we nuked Enewetak in 1952 to the tune of 10.5 megatons worth of boom, dust and excited atomic particles.

It is safe to believe that some fair percentage of the people involved in these studies probably don’t remember atmospheric nuclear testing, or possibly even Mount St Helens, but they, or their elders who do, might consider cracking open a world history book from the WWII onwards and then a climate history review between 1945 and 1981.

And then try tuning their keeno sophisticated nuclear war climate models and running them again.

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Russia, Afghanistan and the US: A changing of the guard

Earlier in the week, former SecDef Donald Rumsfeld had some rather harsh words to say about the current administration’s relationship with Afghanistan.

“Our relationship with Karzai and with Afghanistan was absolutely first-rate in the Bush administration,” Rumsfeld told Fox News’s Greta Van Susteren on Monday. “It has gone down hill like a toboggan ever since the Obama administration came in.”

Rumsfeld pointed to the fact that the Obama administration has failed to get Karzai to sign an agreement that would allow some U.S. troops to remain in Afghanistan after 2014, when combat ends.

The U.S. has status of forces agreements with more than a hundred countries, Rumsfeld noted. “A trained ape can get a status of forces agreement,” he said. “It does not take a genius. And we have so mismanaged that relationship.”

Now I’m not going to go for the troll about that being a “racist statement”.  Neither of our SecStates or SecDefs were/are black and that’s who would be charged with getting a SOFA agreement.  Rumsfeld’s right.  The relationship has dramatically and drastically changed.  And he’s also right about why:

“And what happened is, the United States government — and I realize these are tough jobs, being president or secretary of state. But, by golly, they have trashed Karzai publicly over and over and over — (Richard) Holbrooke, the special envoy did, Vice President Biden did, Secretary Hillary Clinton has. The president has been unpleasant to him.

“And it seems to me they pushed him in a political box where he really has very little choice. I think there is probably not a politician in the world who dealing with the United States, instead of having the United States deal with him privately through private diplomacy, came out repeatedly, publicly, in an abusive, unpleasant, manner. And I personally sympathize with him to some extent.”

Again, he’s precisely right.  This administration did all it could … in public … to poison the relations.  And yes, Afghanistan is likely corrupt and Karzai as well, but that’s nothing new there.  Karzai was installed by the Afghanistan’s Loya Jirga (assembly).  He’s their president.  It’s a tribal culture.  Figure it out for heaven sake … oh, and keep in mind the big picture instead of playing small ball.

Anyway, these sorts of actions cause reactions and have consequences.  The latest?

Citing “the free will of the Crimean people,” Karzai’s office said, “We respect the decision the people of Crimea took through a recent referendum that considers Crimea as part of the Russian Federation.” To date, only Syria and Venezuela have taken a similar position.

Does it embarrass the US publicly?  You bet.  And that’s precisely why Karzai did it (or it is at least one of the reasons he did it).  And, there’s more:

“In Afghanistan, Russian officials point to their development activities as a counterexample to U.S. aid projects, which many Afghans criticize as wasteful and misguided. . . . Many Afghans, including President Hamid Karzai, praise the Soviet model even though they fought a bloody 10-year war against the country’s army, which invaded in 1979 to support an unpopular communist government.

“The Soviet money went to the right place. They were efficient in spending their money and doing it through the Afghan government,” Karzai said in an interview with The Washington Post this month.

Yes, there’s likely corruption. Yes the “Afghan government” is likely getting its hands on some of that money. But when in Rome, and looking for particular results, maybe knowing what to expect in such a culture and a willingness to play the game might turn out better results (and be cheaper) in the long run that trying to go around the incumbent government and forcing yourself on the population. You know, just a thought … which, apparently is more than our State Department commits to Afghanistan anymore.

Funny, in an ironic sense, isn’t it? “We welcome our former overlords”.

Outplayed by Russia … again.


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Economic Statistics for 27 Mar 14

The Commerce Department’s final GDP revision for the 4th Quarter shows a below-trend annualized rate of 2.6% GDP growth.

Weekly initial jobless claims fell 10,000 to 311,000. The 4-week average fell 9,250 to 317,750. Continuing claims fell 53,000 to 2.823 million.

Corporate profits in the 4th Quarter of 2013 were $1.905 trillion, compared to $1.869 trillion in the 3rd Quarter. On a year-over-year basis, corporate profits are up 6.0%.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index fell -2.5 points to -31.5 in the latest week.

The National Association of Realtors’ Pending Home Sales Index fell -0.8% to 93.9 in February.

The Kansas City Fed manufacturing index rose to 10 in March, versus 4 in February.

The Fed’s balance sheet rose by $4.9 billion last week, with total assets of $4.890 trillion. Total reserve bank credit rose by $13.2 billion.

The Fed reports that M2 money supply rose $12.2 billion in the latest week.

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The ‘Bed Mandate’

Let’s talk about immigration, no, let’s talk about inmate costs, well, both of them, and throw in a sample of how crappy unintended deliberately misinterpreted and probably profitable laws are crafted in the hallowed halls of Congress.

My last post was, sort of, about White House fibbing; largely the prevarications of the immigration policy it’s forwarding, with a dash of their fictitious healthcare policy advertising tossed in for spice.    My head was kind of in the Immigration game, and it’s my amateur opinion we ought not hand out citizenship to 11 million people based merely on the qualification they could sneak in without being caught.   I don’t want to hear how I’m a racist and hate immigrants.  I’m only 2nd generation American myself.  My great grandparents, documentably, could neither read nor write in English. When I’m in a lighter mood maybe I’ll do a post about how great I think a nation of immigrants really is (note to self…)

Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions issued a critical alert yesterday questioning the legitimacy of the claim that Barack Obama is now “Deporter in Chief of the United States”.   Sessions points out that what we used to consider deportation, which was catching them in the heartland and removing them, is now what we call catching them at the border.   Border enforcement isn’t deportation, unless you work for the same administration that pretends our unemployment rate is 6.7% these days.  I was glad to hear we were catching them at the border.   Not real happy deportations from the interior are down.  And definitely not happy that the numbers are being used to mislead.  I wandered down that path a little but was having a hard time getting really exercised there.  When you get lied to nationally on a daily basis by half a dozen official government agencies, it loses it’s anger generating potential after a bit.

Not that I didn’t try.  That was when I ran across a mention of immigrant inmates in privately run prisons going on a hunger strike.   So I checked that out.   During that zig off the path I ran across this thing called ‘the bed mandate’.

The bed mandate deals with incarceration of potential deportees, be they illegal immigrants or now undesirable legal immigrants.  If you’re curious, you can do a search on ‘the bed mandate’ but I included some links below.  Here’s a nifty link to a Bloomberg article on it that mostly does it justice.

According to a lot of folks, the ‘bed mandate’ requires our various rounding up agencies, ICE, Border Patrol, etc under DHS (we have waaaaaay too many agencies that are responsible for rounding up people in my opinion) to lock up 34,000 illegal immigrants a day.

Remember now it’s called the bed mandate, not immigrant detention mandate.

Like a cop ticket quota (but which they swear is NOT a quota), they’ve decided they have to have some fixed number of PEOPLE in jail for immigration reasons every day, 365 days a year, every year since 2009 when Robert Byrd, sainted Democrat and former KKK grand wah-zoo, added the ‘mandate’ to the Federal budget (which doesn’t exist, but let that slide, after all, we’ve let it slide for 6 years and counting…).  Out of partisan waspishness I remind that when statesman Bob “Klansman of the Senate” Byrd added it the Democrats owned the Senate and the House, and the White House.  Damn those evil immigrant hating Republicans and their colored folk hating laws!

Before anyone starts doing three cheers and a tiger for the GOP recognize they’ve allowed it to continue,

I’m not going to bore you with the statistics on prison populations, or cost per inmate per day in private prisons versus cost per day in Federal, State, local government prisons and holding facilities.   It’s a lot of samolians, let’s just say that.   We can assume it’s profitable or private corporations wouldn’t do it (except in Moonponeia where companies don’t worry about making profits :roll: ).

Most of the articles I read say this year we’re mandated to keep 34,000 people locked up every day.  Again and again and again, (I could go many more agains) they insist we must incarcerate 34,000 people, specifically illegal immigrants to fill a bed, every day.   The Bloomberg article points out that Texas Republican Congresscritter Michael McCaudoes insists that not doing so is a violation of the statute.  Then again ICE seems to think that’s what it means also, so maybe that’s why all the various and sundry aforementioned do too.

We go out and hunt people down, illegal aliens, to fill the 34,000 beds a day?  I mean, something that, I don’t know, ridiculous Soviet factory quota Stalinesque, must be a statute of a least a couple of paragraphs full of ‘heretofores’ and ‘with respect to’s’ and ‘as governed bys’.  There must be stipulations or guideline or …you see where I’m going don’t you, you perceptive devils.

I got crazy and looked at the budget (hah, reconcilitation) for this year.

It’s not a section, or paragraph, hell, it’s barely it’s own sentence.  As tortuous as these bills are, and this is the usual, the ‘mandate’ is a ‘furthermored’ chunk of a run on sentence that even I wouldn’t write.    It’s about 20 words, if you count a date as one word.

At H. R. 3547—247

It says “That the Secretary of Homeland Security shall prioritize the identification and removal of aliens convicted of a crime by the severity of that crime: Provided further, That funding made available under this heading shall maintain a level of not less than 34,000 detention beds through September 30, 2014:…

BEDS?  Not raids and roundups?  Beds.  That must be why it’s called the bed mandate.

There must be a disconnect here. I don’t see where it says I have to have a person IN the bed or even in the room where the bed is, or even in the building where the room where the bed is.  I see budgeting for minimum capacity sheltering.  My inexpert reading says I have to have accommodations (a bed) for no less than 34,000 immigrants in detention on any given day.  It does NOT say I MUST arrest 34,000 immigrants and lock them up.  I’m not a genius or hot doggin government cool guy, so I could be wrong but this doesn’t mention being required to arrest people to fill (n) number of beds.

How ICE gets “you must arrest and detain (n) immigrants” out of that is curious.   But I personally think the senior agency people say that to try and convince us we need to cut their funding because they’re big meanies. Head of ICE won’t lose their job, right?  Someone has to do the harrumphing and phoney baloney work because I doubt this President appoints anyone to head ICE who is really extra primo keen on enforcing immigration law.  That ain’t how this administration rolls.

Yes Franz Kafka would recognize this one.  You just know they’ve striven mightily to go to the effort of rounding up the bed minimum number of immigrants a day  and locking them up, or keeping them locked up to ensure capacity usage.   The average stay turns out to be between 26 to 29 days a month.  The system has managed to keep suspiciously close to whatever number the budget specifies for whatever budgetary year after 2009.  People, admittedly illegal aliens, locked up, every day, for the last few years to meet a quota.  And when they caught more than the minimum allowed, being part of the executive branch and trying to let us know how awful it was that someone would hold the President to HIS plan they let some go to punish us for the sequester, remember?

Is it about enforcing immigration law or meeting a quota?  I’d be happier if I thought it was enforcing the law, but I don’t believe that.    I’ll let you figure out what happens if they accidentally catch more a day on a regular basis than they can hold.

Now somewhere there are rules and laws on minimum prisoner facility requirements.  Housing, feeding, medical care, security requirements.  Some government accountant can probably be made to convince us that it costs as much to have the bed as it does to keep someone IN the bed, and watch them, and feed them.  I don’t know if they give them a nice orange jumpsuit to wear for a month or so.   But those laws, rules, whatever, weren’t considered when an old coot added 20 words to a budget item without any thought to the actual cost.  I don’t know if he helped ICE misinterpret them once they were approved.

A few hopeful lights suggested that isn’t what that sentence should mean. and that including a quota like minimum number reduces ICE’s flexibility in dealing with immigrant incarceration and handling and in the end costs more than we might otherwise have to spend.   But Congress and the Executive branch, they’re still arguing over how many people they’re going to lock up, not if that’s what those 20 words actually mean or even if those words should really be there.

That the Secretary of Homeland Security shall

prioritize the identification and removal of aliens convicted of a

crime by the severity of that crime: Provided further, That funding

made available under this heading shall maintain a level of not

less than 34,000 detention beds through September 30, 2014:

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Economic Statistics for 26 Mar 14

The MBA reports Mortgage applications fell -3.5% last week. Purchases were up 3.0% but re-fis fell 08.0%.

Durable goods orders rose an ostensibly strong 2.2% in February, but were only up 0.2% less transportation orders. On a year-over-year basis, Orders are up 0.2% overall, and up 1.5% less transportation orders.

The Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) US Services Flash for March rose from 52.7 to 55.5.

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The newest oxymoron? “Government efficiency”

I’m always surprised by people that think government can run something better and more efficiently than a private entity.  Oh sure, there are things that are best left to government – like national defense – because it simply makes more sense when it comes to that.  But the fact that we charge them with that duty doesn’t mean they run it efficiently.

Governments have no incentive to be efficient.  We’ve talked about how, in private concerns, the profit motive provides incentive to be efficient.  In government there is no such motive.  So waste, fraud and abuse are rampant.

How rampant?  Take a look at this chart:

We’ve all been told by the Democrats that the government can help lower costs in health care.  But when you look at the 4 health care items on the chart (Medicare fee for svc, Medicaid, Medicare part C and D), you are looking at $63.5 billion … that’s with a “b” … dollars a year in “improper payment rates”.  Also look at the percentage of error.  In the EITC program, 22.7% or 12.6 billion of what they pay out is in error. (Don’t forget, the chart looks only at programs of $750 million or more a year – and we all know there are literally thousands of government programs below that threshold doing the same thing.)

Add all these up and government is making about $100 billion dollars a year in improper payments.  So if anyone wonders why I snort derisively when I hear Congress talk about a $10 billion savings over 10 years (not to mention that usually means not spending as much as they now spend) you can understand why. We’re not bleeding money at a federal level, we’re hemorrhaging it. What in the world is a 10 year $10 billion dollar “savings” worth when government is blowing a trillion dollars in 10 years via waste, fraud and abuse?

But do they actually address the problem?  No.  We’ve known about this level of waste, fraud and abuse for years … decades even.  And absolutely nothing of worth has been done to correct it.  In fact, given the amount of expansion the federal government has seen in the last decades, it’s gotten worse.  As the Mercatus Center says:

While people of good conscience on both sides of the political aisle can debate the merits of whether or not government should be involved in certain activities, none should tolerate the high levels of improper payments currently associated with government spending on social welfare programs. Federal spending has grown too massive to be adequately overseen. Waste, fraud, and abuse squanders public resources and undermines trust in government.

Indeed.  But there is one sure fire way to at least reduce this waste, given the apparent fact that government hasn’t a clue about how to reduce it.  Get government out of areas it has no business and cut spending.  Simplistic?  Not really.  That is a solution, or at least a partial solution.  I certainly understand there will be argument about the areas where government should be involved or not, but hey, crazy me, I’ve always found the Constitution provides some pretty good guidelines.  And, of course, then you have to elect legislators with both balls and a charter to do that (and who won’t succumb to “Potomac fever” when they arrive on the scene) and stay on them until they do what is necessary to accomplish the task.

Yeah, I know, not going to happen anytime soon.  People like their government cheese too much and most don’t mind at all that someone else is paying the freight.

Meanwhile this atrocious and unacceptable waste of your tax dollars will continue unabated (and likely get worse) – a victim of “government efficiency”.


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