“Mission Accomplished” on the deficit

President Obama has declared victory in the economic sphere, pointing to decreased budget deficits and slowed growth in the cost of health care.  We may now, he said, dispense with “mindless austerity” when it comes to government spending.  But, as Fred Hiatt points out, such optimism is fine “if your horizon is Jan. 20, 2017.”  However, if you look beyond that, we are in deep trouble. [Read more...]

Destroying our own military equipment

My brother-in-law (Seabees, retired) told me that when we withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan, we are going to be leaving behind or destroying much of the military equipment our troops had been using, since it is too expensive to bring back and there won’t be that much use for it anymore.

Well, now it’s happening.  We are putting billions of dollars worth of equipment–including trucks and armored vehicles–into giant metal shredders.  Other stuff we are selling to the Afghanis at pennies on the dollar or giving it away free to foreign governments willing to haul it away. [Read more...]

What happened to Detroit

Detroit has filed for bankruptcy.  Charles Krauthammer explains why, going on to show why the “reactionary liberalism” that keeps adding entitlements without being able to pay for them cannot work for long, whether for a city or for a country. [Read more...]

Sequester update

Due to a stalemate between Congress and the Obama administration, automatic spending cuts went into effect to the tune of $85 billion.  This so-called “sequester” of funds was predicted to have dire effects, curbing important government services such as air traffic control and devastating our military.  Actually, hardly any of those dire predictions came to pass.  The Washington Post has an interesting story about how agencies moved money around and cut nonessential spending to keep the worst from happening.  The story includes a specific list of the 46 predictions and what happened with them. [Read more...]

Camouflage

As an example of how government spending mushrooms due to unnecessary duplication, bureaucratic turf protection, and lack of assessment, consider the varieties of camouflage the military has been using for uniforms over the past decade.  (For the ten patterns, go here.)  The story about this in the Washington Post is quite instructive and might make you indignant at the waste of money it chronicles, but it also has its hilarious moments, which I have put in bold print for your convenience after the jump. [Read more...]

Leaks in the federal budget

Feds spend at least $890,000 on fees for empty accounts – The Washington Post.  (Every time the federal government sets up a grant, it opens an account.  When the grant money is spent, the account can’t be closed, according to government rules, until a full accounting of the program has been made.  That takes time and money.  So some 13,712 accounts with no money in them still exist, at the cost of $65 per year.)

The IRS paid $11 billion in faulty Earned Income Tax Credits last year.  (Not because taxpayers did anything wrong but because the rules for the EITC are so complicated that IRS officials calculated them incorrectly.)

In $75 billion program to prevent mortgage defaults, 46% of participants are defaulting.


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