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.

Best commentary on the sequester issue

From Peter Wehner:

In the Great Sequestration Debate, here’s what we know: (a) The president has paternity of an idea he now characterizes as a brutal and senseless assault on America. (b) The president and his then-chief of staff, Jack Lew, misled the public about their role in giving birth to the sequester idea. (c) House Republicans have twice passed legislation to avoid the sequester cuts with carefully targeted ones, but Senate Democrats refused to act. (d) Mr. Obama has brushed off a Republican plan to give him flexibility to allocate the $85 billion in spending cuts, which makes no sense if the president wants to replace reckless cuts with responsible ones. [Read more...]

Federal money for airports without planes

As the federal government howls over the impending spending cuts that go into effect tomorrow, we learn about some of the appropriations that the sequester will not touch.  That right-wing rag The Washington Post tells about an airport in my native Oklahoma that gets $150,000 of federal money a year even though it has no planes.  There are actually 88 airports like that throughout the country.  (This one is over by where my brother lives.  I wonder if he has been there to see his federal tax dollars at work.) [Read more...]


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