Free Markets, Free People

accountability

Accountability–an unknown word in DC

Or so it seems.

Tell me, if a senior executive of any corporation had rolled out a product that was as bad as the ObamaCare website and had caused as much embarrassment and grief for the corporation as this roll out has produced for this administration, would they likely still be employed by the corporation?

Oh, I’m sure you can think of some “lifeboat” instance where it might happen, but for the most part, they’d have been sent packing immediately after the depth of their non-performance was ascertained. 

But not in this government.  I’m of the opinion that Kathleen Sebelius must have Obama’s college transcripts or something to still be employed.  That said, pressure for her ouster continues to build:

It’s Kathleen Sebelius’s turn now. On the Hill, they’re calling for her resignation and tossing around words like “subpoena.” Pundits are merrily debating her future. (She’s toast! Or is Obama too loyal to fire her so soon?) Her interviews, more closely parsed than usual, seem wobbly. Though never a colorful presence on the political scene, she’s suddenly a late-night TV punch line.

And on Wednesday morning, the embattled secretary of health and human services will submit to a quintessential station of the Washington deathwatch — testifying before a congressional committee — to discuss her agency’s failings in the botched rollout of the federal health-insurance Web site.

Granted, this is only part of the on-going debacle that is the Affordable Care Act, aka “ObamaCare”.  And while it will, in years to come, be cited as the perfect example of ineptitude coupled with incompetence, it isn’t the big problem right now.  The big problem, as pointed out yesterday, is the country was purposely lied too in order to garner enough support to push this monstrosity through Congress and make it law.

Lied too.  Point blank and with a smile.  Jonah Goldberg shares my opinion of Obama’s lie and goes a century or two more:

And that lie looks like the biggest lie about domestic policy ever uttered by a U.S. president.

Ever.  For those of you who want to cite Clinton, Nixon or some other president, Goldberg points out:

The most famous presidential lies have to do with misconduct (Richard Nixon’s “I am not a crook” or Bill Clinton’s “I did not have sexual relations”) or war. Woodrow Wilson campaigned on the slogan “He kept us out of war” and then plunged us into a calamitous war. Franklin D. Roosevelt made a similar vow: “I have said this before, but I shall say it again and again: Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars.”

Roosevelt knew he was making false promises. He explained to an aide: “If someone attacks us, it isn’t a foreign war, is it?” When his own son questioned his honesty, FDR replied: “If I don’t say I hate war, then people are going to think I don’t hate war. . . . If I don’t say I won’t send our sons to fight on foreign battlefields, then people will think I want to send them. . . . So you play the game the way it has been played over the years, and you play to win.”

Is that the case with Obama? Lying in order to pass some cherished legislation which won’t at all do what you promise it will do is “the game” and in politics, justifies “playing to win”?

Or is it, much more simply, damn the truth, the ends justify the means?

Yeah, that’s how I see it too.

As for accountability for the Obama lie, don’t hold your breath.  Sebelius may end up biting the bullet.  But the buck won’t even slow down at Obama’s desk.

~McQ

Accountability? Not requiring it or enforcing it leads to corruption

It really is that simple. And you don’t need a PhD to figure that out. It is a “Human Nature 101″ course. If there’s no incentive for you to behave correctly and every incentive not to (i.e. no punishment), then why behave correctly?

Now, consider the government we have today and all the various scandals. Who is the last person who blatantly violated the public trust that you’ve seen frog-marched to jail? Hmmm. But it takes a bunch of academics to again remind us that human nature still rules:

In a new study, Stern School of Business assistant professor of economics Vasiliki Skreta and co-authors, Karthik Reddy of Harvard Law School and Moritz Schularick of the University of Bonn, examine statutory immunity provisions that obstruct or limit the criminal liability of politicians, and which exist throughout much of the modern democratic world.

…The researchers quantified the strength of immunity protection in 74 democracies and verified that immunity is strongly associated with corruption on an aggregate level. They also developed a theoretical model that demonstrated how stronger immunity protection can lead to higher corruption. The model suggested that unaccountable politicians under immunity protection can enhance their chance of re-election by using illegal means, namely supporting interest groups through lax law enforcement, non-collection of taxes, and other forms of favoritism that will go unpunished.

Where’s Charley Rangel? Chris Dodd? Barney Frank? Oh, enjoying retirement. Turbo Tax Tim Geithner? Well, not in jail.

And how about Lois Lerner? From what does she want immunity? Well in reality, she wants immunity from accountability.  There’s no other reason to seek immunity otherwise.

Unfortunately, she’ll probably get it and we’ll watch the level of corruption within government continue to grow, and grow and grow.

You want to know why people don’t trust government?

That’s why.

~McQ

Politicians: Let’s hold someone accountable

Here’s where I get to laugh at the usual circus.  Politicians deciding they need to hold some other industry “accountable”:

U.S. and state officials are intensifying efforts to hold colleges accountable for what happens after graduation, a sign of frustration with sky-high tuition costs and student-loan debt.

Sens. Ron Wyden (D., Ore.) and Marco Rubio> (R., Fla.) are expected to reintroduce this week legislation that would require states to make more accessible the average salaries of colleges’ graduates. The figures could help prospective students compare salaries by college and major to assess the best return on their investment.

While I agree that colleges do not offer a good return on investment at the moment, since when is it up to politicians to hold them “accountable”.

And how would the politicians fare if the same standards were applied to them?

~McQ

Why are we in the mess we’re in? [update]

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist, brain surgeon, or even particularly smart to figure out that this trend means entitlements, as structured, will fail:

Last week, the Commerce Department announced that the gross domestic product shrank by 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012. And the Census Bureau reported that the U.S. birthrate in 2011 was 63.2 per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44, the lowest ever recorded.

Slow economic growth and low population growth threaten to undermine entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare. Despite contrary rhetoric, they are programs in which working-age people pay for pensions and medical care for the elderly.

When Medicare was established in 1965 and when Social Security was vastly expanded in 1972, America was accustomed to the high birthrates of the post-World War II baby boom. It was widely assumed that the baby boom generation would soon produce a baby boom of its own.

Oops. The birthrate fell from the peak of 122.7 in 1957 to 68.8 in 1973 and hovered around that level until 2007. The baby boom, it turns out, was an exception to a general rule that people tend to have fewer babies as their societies become more affluent and urbanized.

So, when will our so-called “leaders” finally  figure this out? My guess, in fact it really isn’t a guess, is they know but haven’t intestinal fortitude, politically speaking, to do what is necessary.  That is cut them, privatize them or any of a host of other options they won’t even consider.

What they will consider, of course, is raising taxes and borrowing.

The fact of the matter is that both Social Security and Medicare are based in flawed models. The original models saw the base of the those paying into the system remaining constant, despite the “general rule that people tend to have fewer babies as their societies become more affluent and urbanized.”

The numbers don’t lie. Fewer and fewer workers are available to pay into these systems and continue to pay out at the rate at which they’re paying out now. This is no mystery. This is plain old everyday economics.  It’s as plain as the nose on your face. Yet our so-called “leaders” seem unwilling and unable to face the facts.  The facts are not going to change. We’re not going to suddenly have a baby boom again.

These are the sorts of problems elected leaders are supposed to face head-on. That’s why they’re elected, supposedly. Yet we continue to let our elected officials get away with malfeasance. So while it is easy to point at them and say they’ve failed, in fact we’ve failed. We have failed to gin up the courage to do what is necessary to fix these problems. To force our “leaders” to do the right thing. We continue to claim in poll after poll that entitlements must be fixed. Yet we continue to put in office, time after time, the same people who haven’t yet mustered the courage to do that (nor fund themselves held accountable for not doing it).

Whose fault is that?

UPDATE: Here’s a perfect and timely example of part of the point:

John Kasich, the fiercely conservative governor of Ohio, announced Monday that he’s going to expand Medicaid dramatically using federal money — a 180-degree turn from what conservative groups swore their allies in governors’ mansions would do when the Supreme Court gave them an out last year.

This makes John Kasich a big, fat liar.

Republicans should be the ones circulating recall petitions. He should be drummed out of office, out of politics and never again hold any office higher than dog catcher. But they won’t, because despite this, he’s “one of ours”.

~McQ

Accountability? Not with this administration

After a scathing after action report we the public were told that four individuals at the State Department were being held responsible for security the debacle in Benghazi. Supposedly all four were being forced to resign.

However, it now appears, that is untrue.

The four officials supposedly out of jobs because of their blunders in the run-up to the deadly Benghazi terror attack remain on the State Department payroll — and will all be back to work soon, The Post has learned.

The highest-ranking official caught up in the scandal, Assistant Secretary of State Eric Boswell, has not “resigned” from government service, as officials said last week. He is just switching desks. And the other three are simply on administrative leave and are expected back.

The four were made out to be sacrificial lambs in the wake of a scathing report issued last week that found that the US compound in Benghazi, Libya, was left vulnerable to attack because of “grossly inadequate” security.

State Department leaders “didn’t come clean about Benghazi and now they’re not coming clean about these staff changes,” a source close to the situation told The Post., adding, the “public would be outraged over this.”

This is typical of our government today. Few if any top government officials are held accountable for their actions or the result of their actions. In this case we were simply lied to. Straight up, in-your-face lies. There apparently was never any intention of actually firing anyone. The deaths that resulted from these peoples gross incompetence are to be ignored.

Until we began to demand that heads roll when this sort of incompetence is encountered, there is no penalty for being incompetent. There is also no lesson learned, or applied. Consequently, you can expect pretty much the same result in other areas.

All of this is a result of the politics of today. The unwillingness to admit a mistake and take proper corrective action because such an admission would reflect poorly on the party in power. No thought or concern about the country. Those responsible for security lapses that led to the death four good men in Libya -men who were depending on their higher ups to do their job – deserve to at a minimum lose their jobs and be forced out of civil service. That’s obviously not going to happen.

If I were a member of the family of one of those men, I be considering a civil lawsuit against those responsible for the failed security that ultimately led to their deaths. It may be a poor alternative to these people being sacked (and likely an alternative that would be a long and expensive process), but I’d be damned if I’d let them get away scott free with being responsible for the murder of my loved one.

Back to the main point, however – this is an example of a government that is both imperious and out-of-touch – more concerned with the health of the bureaucracy than justice and certainly more concerned with party vs. country.

~McQ