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Two Words Missing From The Sequester Conversation

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Former Illinois Senator Everett McKinley Dirksen never actually said, A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon, you’re talking real money,” but the quote still makes good common sense. When you are talking about a $3 trillion dollar+ US budget billions do count and we are talking about real money. Taxpayer money.

For the past month, leading up to the passage of the sequester bill, all we’ve heard from the president is how painful the cuts that will have to be made are going to damage the already fragile economy.

There is no doubt that the estimated cuts published in newspapers and emanating from the talking heads on cable news will have a negative economic impact but is that the only option open to congress and the president? No one seems to want to talk about the big gorilla in the room. Cutting Waste.

Government Waste is Off The Charts

Food stamp fraud, welfare fraud, Medicare and Medicaid fraud, are weekly stories in almost any media you select. Yet none of these programs was set up with any funds for policing. There are 126 individual poverty programs being administered by eight different government agencies. Have you seen a reduction in poverty over the past 40 years? It’s almost exactly where it was when these programs were started.

Has all the hard work of the Energy Department lowered your power bill? Certainly not in Montana. Has the Department of Education moved our test scores to the highest on the planet? Not hardly. I wish I could report that requirements in schools have become harder but sadly the opposite is quickly becoming the norm. Many of our high school graduates can barely read or write at an eight-grade level.

The Waste Book

The Waste Book is a 202-page publication put out by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla. It details a host of ridiculous spending programs given the seal of approval by congress and the president. Robotic squirrels and rattlesnake studies,  $70 million lost each year producing pennies, and menus for meals on Mars are just a small sample of congressional incompetency when it comes to handling your hard earned tax money.

How about a stripper making $80,000 a year getting a much needed $1,000 a month in food stamps that you and I pay for? But don’t think about that when you are signing your tax return next month. I’m sure she needs it. Boob jobs are costly.

Some Final Thoughts

In my opinion we’ve simply elected lazy people to congress. It’s our own fault. Politics are boring, American Idol is much more interesting. What do we care about a billion here or a billion there? We’ve become jaded by the enormity of the numbers. We can’t even fathom those amounts while we are just trying to keep our heads above water. Yet your congressman is sitting on some congressional committee who thinks it’s their primary job to make sure that if there is a robotic squirrel it will be developed in your state.

So therein lies the problem. Waste is bad unless it’s wasted in my state. When the 2014 election rolls around I can point to all the good I’ve done and you’ll send me back to wisely manage more of your money. But if I cut your pay, which is easier, or reduce your benefits, then I can always blame the other guy because as Bill O’Reilly so eloquently says each night, “I’m looking out for you.” Get a clue congress. If you look out for me much longer — I’ll be broke. Perhaps I’m already there.

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