October 22, 2013

The Government is the problem

Prohibition was instituted with ratification of the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution on January 16, 1919, which prohibited the "...manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States..." Congress passed the "Volstead Act" on October 28, 1919, to enforce the law, but most large cities simply ignored the law and bootlegged alcohol to meet demand, creating a huge black market rife with crime and corruption. Prohibition was repealed by the Twenty-First Amendment in 1933, essentially acknowledging the exercise had been pointless and counter-productive.

No Child left behind:
Under George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind education plan, federal education spending doubled in eight years. Despite spending among the most per student in the world on education, the U.S. remains far behind most economically developed nations in terms of math, science and other core competencies. As Joel Klein of The Atlantic put it: "On America’s latest exams (the National Assessment of Educational Progress), one-third or fewer of eighth-grade students were proficient in math, science, or reading. Our high-school graduation rate continues to hover just shy of 70 percent, according to a 2010 report by the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center, and many of those students who do graduate aren't prepared for college."

According to the Cato Institute, "When Medicare’s Part A was launched in 1965, it was projected to cost $9 billion by 1990, but ended up costing $67 billion. When Medicare’s home-care benefit was added in 1988, it was projected to cost $4 billion in 1993, but ended up costing $10 billion." The Washington Times adds: "The State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), which was created in 1997 and projected to cost $5 billion per year, has had to be supplemented with hundreds of millions of dollars annually by Congress." President George W. Bush heaped another $720 billion cost on top over 2009-2018 with Medicare Part D, which subsidizes prescription drug costs for senior citizens.

As Cato pointed out: "When the Medicaid program’s special hospitals subsidy was added in 1987, it was supposed to cost $100 million annually, but wound up costing $11 billion annually within five years." According to CNN Money, "Medicaid spending is set to double over the next 10 years -- from $253 billion today to $593 billion in 2022 -- and, according to the Congressional Budget Office, Medicare spending will do the same."

Immigration Reform:
Immigration reform has become a hot topic, but not everyone knows that Ronald Reagan once signed onto the initiative in 1986, an act he later regretted. Senator Marco Rubio criticized The Gipper in a 2009 speech: “In 1986 Ronald Reagan granted amnesty to 3 million people. You know what happened, in addition to becoming 11 million a decade later? There were people trying to enter the country legally, who had done the paperwork, who were here legally, who were going through the process, who claimed, all of a sudden, ‘No, no no no , I’m illegal.’ Because it was easier to do the amnesty program than it was to do the legal process.” Rubio added: “If you grant amnesty, the message that you’re sending is that if you come in this country and stay here long enough, we will let you stay. And no one will ever come through the legal process if you do that.”

War on Drugs.
The war on drugs is one of the most glaring failures of government. Since Republican President Nixon launched the anti-drug crusade in 1971, the program has cost over a trillion dollars. The result? Less personal freedom, more criminals locked up for consuming illicit substances, and a global conflict that immerses us in the business of numerous other countries. The lesson of the failed drug war is clear: criminalization leads to a black market, fueling more crime and more victims. The U.S. is currently the number one country in the world in terms of illegal drug use, according to CNN.

Farmer Subsidy:
One of the more perversely amusing failures of government has been the subsidies given to farmers NOT to grow food. The charade has been going on since the eventually constitutionally authorized Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938. Because of the way prices react to supply and demand, "successful" farmers find themselves "punished" by the market with lower prices for their produce. Instead of people switching out of growing certain crops or into other productive activities, as the market signals them to do, the government underwrites excessive grain production and consumption, partly explaining America's obesity "epidemic."

Ethanol Subsidy:
According to Daily Finance (AOL), "Over the past 30 years, the federal government has given an estimated $45 billion to the corn industry to help support ethanol production. In 2011 alone, those subsidies totaled about $6 billion, or about 45 cents for every gallon of ethanol." Ethanol subsidies came to an end in 2012, but several states still mandate certain levels of ethanol be used in automobile fuels. Excessive ethanol production (as signaled by the market) has been plausibly connected to pushing prices up on numerous foodstuffs on the U.S. and global markets, leading to the spread of world hunger, and even to particular Arab Spring uprisings.

Green Jobs:
As The Examiner explains about the president missing his green jobs targets since 2009: "As part of the Obama green energy program, the goal was to train 124,893 people, and place 79,854 (64%) in new green jobs. After 17 months, the results of the green jobs program indicate that only 52,762 were trained, and only 8,035 got green jobs – each job costs tax payers about $62,000." (U.S. Dept. of Labor Inspector General, Jan. 2012) The article points out: "President Obama’s first re-election campaign ad boasts of 2.7 million green energy jobs. But, nothing in the Departments of Energy, Labor or Commerce justifies such job claims."
War on Poverty:

DDT Ban:
The ban on the malaria-fighting chemical DDT since Rachel Carson published "Silent Spring" (1962) has been connected to the horrific death of tens of millions of Africans, including millions of children. Michael Arnold Glueck and Robert J. Cihak, both M.D.s, sum up the health policy disaster such: "That DDT prevented 500 million deaths by 1970 and that the banning of its use in poor countries has resulted in millions of unnecessary deaths holds no sway with true believers in this doctrine. This current 'beggar thy neighbor' approach reflects a kind of Western imperial arrogance - and ignorance - that would rather let people suffer and die than face the fact that some secular pieties may be wrong."

War on Terror:
The ‘war on terror’ has led to over a trillion dollars expended on nation-building overseas. The cost in terms of human life, spending, and civil liberties has been extremely high. Billions are being spent on a police organ under the control of the executive branch known as “The Department of Homeland Security,” whose practices have been questioned by many civil rights groups. Not only has the TSA, a branch of the DHS, been engaged in random screening and inappropriate, documented harassment of ordinary, law-abiding citizens, it has been proven to be extremely wasteful, even going so far as to shelf over $184 million in security equipment that sits in a Texas warehouse.

Social Security:
When Social Security was passed in 1935, it was a safety net program that taxed only 1% of income. Now it is over 6.2% and growing. People understandably feel like it is an entitlement program, since they pay into it their working lives. But the program is not liquid. The Social Security program is financed like a Ponzi scheme, where younger generations pay for the retirement of older generations, who are ironically wealthier in terms of net worth. Because of baby boomers retiring and a much smaller workforce to finance the system, the program (along with us) is slated to go broke over the next 75 years, racking up an estimated $45 trillion in unfunded liabilities. (Peter G. Petersen Foundation)

Cash for Clunkers:
According to a recent TriCities op-ed from Mike Smith of Ralph Smith Motors in Virginia, CARS created a dearth of used cars, artificially driving up prices. For those who needed an affordable car, but didn’t qualify for the program, this increase in price meant affordable transportation was well out of reach. It also meant used-car dealers, most of whom are independently owned, small-business owners, had little to no stock. According to Smith, 122 Virginia dealers chose not to renew their licenses after that year.

Not what it was promised, not costing what was stated. Screwed up at every possible instance.

1 comment:

Bob Keller said...

Exceptional article. And 100% correct. If only we could somehow learn from our past mistakes, But we don't, we just keep doing it over and over again. You'll find a similar article on my blog focusing only on the roll-out of ObamaCare and the computer failures. I'm posting a link to your blog article in the comments there.