Sunday, June 13, 2010

Is Failure An Option?

Amid reports that the White House tampered with the Expert Report by the National Academy of Engineering, I have to ask if this administration considers failure to be an option. Placing a moratorium on offshore drilling because of the Deepwater Horizon incident was not recommended by the Panel. There is little reason to do so, based on a single incident, regardless of how bad. An investigation is warranted, a review of processes and procedures is necessary and safeguards should be put in place to prevent another such disaster. But I also have to ask this: If failure is a reason to stop doing something, shouldn't we be shutting down government social programs?

Let's look at some examples:

  • Department of Education - This disaster, if I read correctly, is costing taxpayers over $47 billion. What are we getting for it? Failing schools, bloated bureaucracy, and "Johnny Can't Read". It's a failure....dump it.
  • Department of Energy - Over $26 Billion to have no energy policy. You can claim policy is "green energy" and that may be true, but it is an abject failure. Modern economies run on cheap, abundant energy. "Green Energy" is neither cheap nor abundant. Failure...dump it.
  • Social Security - Social Security was never meant as a "pension". Old Age Supplemental Income, as I recall. Prepare for your own retirement or don't retire (I probably won't). It now costs more than ever intended and we are very nearly "upside down", that is, there is just over one person paying into the system for each person taking from the system. Add to it that Social Security has been raided for years by both parties to make the budget deficits look smaller and it is a disaster and a failure. The Social Security bureaucracy budget is about $10 billion, but the transfer payments are about $700 billion. Dump it.
I can go on to include Medicare, Medicaid and HHS, just about everything other than Defense (and that is a financial mess, but at least defense is an effective program). I continue to hear whining about "funding libraries and having a bake sale to buy a bomber", but defense is less than 20% of the budget, and considered discretionary spending while transfer payments (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Unemployment and Welfare) are nearly 50% of the budget. Defense is a constitutional obligation of the federal government. None of the others are. Dump them. The Federal Government is, by any reasonable standard, an nearly complete failure. If there is any intellectual honesty in the White House, they will stop social programs, too.

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