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Straight Up

Bob Richardson

On the heels of April 15, it seems an appropriate time to consider what we get (or don’t get) for our federal taxes.

Surprise, though. I’m going to talk about what we do get, not what we don’t. But hold on – what we do get is arrogant incompetence at all levels of the federal government. Were I to spend the rest of my days in a daily column, I couldn’t even catalogue the deficiencies and deceptions of the feds, so this will be a topical laundry list, so to speak.

Understand that arrogant incompetence is merely the subject du jour, not my statement of our biggest problem with the federal government. That is reserved to Congress, the wellspring of every single thing that ails this country. And about which I probably will write for the rest of my days, because no one else is. And because Congress so richly deserves it.

Reduced to simplest terms, the genesis of the arrogant incompetence is that federal employment (29 million federal employees and growing even faster than taxes) has always been a gargantuan jobs program existing for politicians’ purposes – control, power, patronage and votes – rather than the efficient and effective accomplishment of the peoples’ business. I am not saying, dearest liberals, that the federal work force does nothing, but rather that the peoples’ business is not, and hasn’t been during the life of anyone now living, the focus.

And let us all hope that I am correct, because the following would be all the more outrageous if the true objective actually was the efficient and effective administration of our business. It is bad enough that we suffer these bureaucratic insults to our intelligence and the degradation of our quality of life without being expected to believe they are “serving” us.

So, just a laundry list, folks. No supporting argument necessary, even for liberals, one would hope.

INS – Not just the overwhelming and harmful inundation of illegal Mexican nationals. How about terrorists? Middle-Eastern types. 9/11 “flight crews.” Over 300,000 once-legal aliens whose visas have expired and the courts have ordered deported but the INS can’t even find! Or how about the INS having issued over 51,000 visas to Middle-Eastern types since 9/11?

See what I mean, no argument necessary?

FBI, CIA – Laughing stock of the international intelligence community since at least the World Trade Center basement bombing in 1993, and not exactly improved, to be polite, by Oklahoma City and 9/11. Directly responsible for allowing 9/11. Riddled with spies internally for decades now. Cover-ups abound. Reportedly as many as 7,000 al-Qaida members in our country. If that number is even remotely close, how does that incompetence grab you? It might grab you, alright.

FAA – Responsible for “airport security,” which is a misnomer of epic proportions. And as bad a joke as ever, multi-billions spent post 9/11 notwithstanding. It’s about to become a much bigger joke now that the “security” “guards” are federal employees. This is considerably worse than those former independent contractors with nonexistent FAA “oversight,” because these guys are overpaid, and we can’t ever fire them. After the next, inevitable air disaster, the responsible parties will be “re-trained” or “re-assigned.” Hide and watch. Did you see that the boys intend to hire 72,000 of `em? The Democrats should love that, and the Republicans deserve it. Congress had had about 30,000 in mind. And watch the 72,000 grow like topsy.

Have I been taking unfair advantage of 9/11 emotions? Oh, OK.

SEC – Enron, Global Crossings, IBM, GE, Qwest, Arthur Anderson. Has actually institutionalized and blessed conflict of interest in accounting/auditing. Good ole boying at the highest levels and we ain’t seen nothin’ yet. Is there some revelation smaller than the “tip of the iceberg?” What have these jokers been doing?

FEDERAL RESERVE – Nice job Greenspan. Those interest rate cuts have really saved the day. After 11 of them, the Dow should be at 30,000, shouldn’t it, Alan? This guy ought to be in jail for knowingly creating the stock market bubble with staggering monetary expansion and for then hawking a fraudulent solution to the ongoing stock market melt down – and it ain’t even close to over, folks. Keep listening to “Mr. Chairman” at your peril.

IRS – Barely disguised gestapo. The last reference I made to these jackboots was about two years ago when I reviewed a GAO report to Congress that $8 billion (that’s with a “B”) disappeared in its hallowed halls. A GAO investigation was a watershed event in and of itself as the jackboots have always scared away, via threatened personal audits, any congressmen who wanted one.

And Congress did the predictable media “dog and pony show” designed for chest-pounding about “reeling in the IRS,” but we all know we are back to square one except for one thing. The IRS now has more firepower than ever, and for one reason. Congress wants it that way and we know why. And did any IRS heads roll out the door after the $8 billion rolled out the door? Nah.

I’m so sorry, the $8 billion was fraud and theft, not incompetence. So how about the $30 million in refunds they sent recently for nonexistent “slavery reparations?” Does that qualify?

Hey, I’m out of space, but not federal agencies. I’ll continue this fun next time. Just remember there is a big difference between fun and funny. “Funny,” this is not.

Thanks for listening.

Bob Richardson’s column runs every other Friday in the Post Independent.


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