Dollars and Sense – Inflationary Spending and Fiscal Insanity

Bobblehead DollThese articles have discussed money, monetary policy, fiscal sanity, and government spending several times this year.  Some have called me alarmist for raising fiscal sanity during a “Global Health Crisis.”  While COVID-19 (Sars-COV-2) is undoubtedly a viral disease with a 98%+ survival rate, I cannot in good conscience call this a “Global Health Crisis.”  The pandemic declaration was a political move, the mask mandating, business closures, and every other hysterical move have been carefully formulated to present a problem where none exists.  Has Sars-COV-2 mutated; absolutely, but the emotional hysteria has mutated far faster.

Dollars and SenseApathy

When you pass paper to a store clerk, are you spending money; no, you are spending confidence.  Your confidence in the dollar’s strength, as represented by a check, cash, money order, credit card, etc., is what is being spent.  Why was the Great Depression so lasting and detrimental; a lack of confidence in the US Dollar.  People who saved their money formed sane fiscal policies personally and acted logically lost their confidence in the US Dollar, and the dollar went into a great depression.

Since President Clinton, the US Government has been on a drunken spending spree and does not appear to be stopping unless the citizens demand they cease and desist!  What does this mean for you and me; everything costs more for two reasons inflation and interest.  When the government prints money, too much money increases prices, and too few goods chase too much money, resulting in people suffering.  When the government borrows money, the interest must be serviced; the interest will increase prices and usually absorb some of the extra capital on the market to bring down inflation.Lemmings 2

Except, Quantitative Easing (QE) is hindering the absorption of money on the market.  Hence America is witnessing something truly remarkable for the first time in financial history, the debt (principal), the interest, and the extra capital, all of these storms are combining into a major conflagration economically speaking.  Usually, at this point, a country begins to look for a place to go to war, which explains China and its expansionist policies in Southeast Asia and the Pacific Ocean.  Too much debt, too much interest, a military needing worked, and assets need to be stolen from other countries.  Typical historical thinking, war truly is grand larceny on a massive scale!

Where are America and China headed; let’s ask Czarist Russia, USSR, Nazi Germany, East Germany, China, North Korea, Italy, Venezuela, Greece, France, and who knows how many other economically unstable countries historically and presently.  Going to war will not solve this economic crisis, though some may try that solution.  The only solution worth advancing at this critical juncture economically is reducing the size of government, placing a firm halt on all government spending, and refusing the politicians to get into debt for at least two decades!  Yes, this means changing Social Security, Welfare, Medicaid and Medicare, and every other government benefit program to fit a reduced budget and smaller government model.  Failure to tighten belts for the next two decades will bankrupt America, and most of the world, making the Great Depression look like a summer picnic.Lemmings 4

Gold and Oil, real estate, Gross Domestic Products (the goods manufactured in America for sale), trade, all of these wealth tools and more cannot support the debt incurred, the money printed, nor the size of the government from the city and county to the White House.  As this trend continues, Wall Street will continue to be tumultuous, at best, and the confidence in the US Dollar will continue to slide.  But, as the dollar slides, which global currency will begin to take up the slack?

The Euro has discredited itself and is not worth the paper it is printed on.  China thinks they will step into the void and take up the slack with the Yuan, except their financial situation is almost as bad as Venezuela’s and Cuba’s, but their size and government type keep this hidden from the public.  Even though the Yuan is in junk status, the Communist government hides these facts; the truth is leaking out in higher trade tariffs and other global trade and finance costs.  Russia’s economic situation still has not stabilized with the fall of the USSR and will probably need another two to three decades until it can compete on the global economy again.Gravy Train 2

I heard a postulation that the Arabian Oil Rich nations of the Middle East would produce an OPEC-backed currency if the US Dollar fails.  I highly doubt this as a solution, but the potential is there.  Another person claimed the lack of confidence in the US Dollar would lead to the World Bank/International Monetary Fund (IMF) issuing currency for the world; boy, would that be a significant problem!  Yet, the American Dollar is being purposefully destroyed by the current crop of politicians, and nobody is standing up and declaring ENOUGH!

Inflation

The US Government, and many others globally, have increased their drunken spending since Jan/Feb 2020 to incredibly extensive levels and used a “Global Health Crisis” as the excuse.  Except when Ebola was sweeping the world, we did not have this level of insane spending and government intrusion.  Ebola is far deadlier, easier to spread, and yet the Ebola disaster is barely remembered.  Bird Flu, Swine Flu, SARS, MERS, all these viruses have had their time in the media hysterical spotlight, every single one of them is deadlier than Sars-COV-2, easier to spread, and they were never a cause for a global pandemic.Gravy Train

Inflation is caused by poor economic policy, where the government grants itself the ability to print money.  Inflation is not just money and monetary policy; inflation is also confidence, faith, and trust.  Inflation is how the government acts, thinks, and behaves.  Inflation is as real as COVID-19 and just as deadly as Ebola while being more problematic for everyone.  From Dec 2020 to the end of July 2021, inflation has increased the price of goods and services by 3.8%, seasonally adjusted, or 5.4% non-seasonally adjusted, which means that prices go up as a seasonal adjustment in the summer.

Fiscal Insanity

Consider with me an analogy; you live in a community of houses and pay a Homeowners Association (HOA) Fee.  Your neighbor has decided they can write checks on your checking account, and the HOA has granted them legal protection to write checks on your bank accounts.  Because your neighbor has legal protection, you sell off assets to provide the funds for your neighbor.  You sell to other neighbors letters of credit that you promise to pay interest on, provided your other neighbors hold those letters of credit for specific amounts of time.  Except, your neighbors stop buying those letters of credit over time because they do not like how your neighbor keeps writing checks and spending your money.  How do you keep this house of cards from blowing over and losing everything?

Tax BurdenAmerica is in this position right now!  Trend lines show a steady downward trend in the value of the US Dollar.  Inflation will keep increasing prices as too much money is chasing too few products on the market.  Debt needs to be serviced and interest paid.  But, when the interest payment is the only thing being paid, and the principal will also need to be serviced, where and how does the principal get serviced when the interest is absorbing all the monthly payments?  Simple economics, money once created and put into the money market, cannot just be absorbed or disappeared.  Just like food doesn’t disappear once consumed, the offal must come out and be handled responsibly.  Well, the dollar is in an offal position and needs responsibly handled!

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

Division vs. Unity, Labels, and Big Tech

Angry Wet ChickenLast week, while scrubbing my SPAM folder on Gmail, I discovered that Google had arbitrarily been sending several emails containing news of a more conservative slant straight to SPAM.  Why would Google arbitrarily act in a manner to thwart the delivery of email?  A topic for discussion later in this article.

America faces a huge test right now; division is costing us opportunity, liberty, freedom, and potential.  Worse, it will eventually destroy the United States of America, a free Republic (if we can keep it).  What is this nefarious foe; a lack of unity.  The political parties have become so divisive that families are being torn asunder over something as petty as which political party to embrace.  Religion, lifestyle choices, employment opportunities, and so much more are being used to erode America at the family foundation.quote-mans-inhumanity

Socialsolutions.com reports some disturbing statistics from 2018.  However, the COVID-Farrago has seen these numbers only increase, and the numbers for 2020 are still not compiled and updated.  ACLEDdata.com provides some of the statistics from 2020, and the political violence inflicted on families is stunning!  Where does the blame lay for all this violence, property damage, public property destruction, and the host of terrorism committed in George Floyd’s name; the US President, Vice President, Speakers of the House and Senate, the governors, the mayors, and state legislators.

Bait & SwitchI am not excusing individual accountability for specific acts, but every silent politician in America has condoned the divisive behavior.  The corporate media have fed the violence and division, and the press has even been videoed participating in the violence.  My wife stated something, “The problems have become too great for any single individual to make a difference.”  I vociferously disagreed then and state unequivocally now that good is still in the majority of America and Americans and that one individual who declares enough is enough can make a world of difference!

Charmaine Yoest, Jack Spencer, John G. Malcolm, and James Carafano, writing for The Daily Signal, published an article on 11 June 2021 worthy of reading.  The twelve points they outlined are listed below, and additional commentary is mine.

      1. Protect Our Vote – I cannot stress this enough. The November 2020 elections, like all elections since we allowed computers into the mix, were fraught with illegal and illicit behaviors and reflects malfeasance towards the voter. However, that problem is specifically targeted at the local political leaders and judges who refused to allow time for transparent investigations.  President Biden and his administration are definitely not helping the situation.  Getting the Federal Government out of elections is the pre-eminent step we need to return State Rights to State Governments.President Adams
      2. Secure Our Border – America was built on defensible borders, and neglecting those borders is the height of Treason! Webster defines Treason as “The betrayal of allegiance toward one’s own country, especially by committing hostile acts against it or aiding its enemies in committing such acts.”  Hostile acts can be refusing to act when problems arise if the failure to act benefits you personally.  The continued flaunting of National Security on America’s borders (North and South) is treasonous, and those committing these actions of inaction need to be held accountable before the bar of law!photo_slideshow_max
      3. Stop Adding Debt – Of all the points raised in this Daily Signal article, this point is second most important, only behind defensible borders! Inflation must be fought with smarter monetary policies.  Want a good reference for smarter economic policies; Mark Skidmore is a leading economist in the field of government economics and is almost entirely unknown unless you have a hobby in following government monetary policies.  Dr. Skidmore has worked with a highly intelligent team of economists to try and find more than $94 Trillion in lost money in the Federal Government.  Before America spends another dime, a full and transparent audit must be completed, all the books opened, and criminal charges brought!Plato 2
      4. Stand Up To China – One of the things I particularly loved about President Trump, and honestly, there weren’t very many, was his hard stance against China! I applaud President Trump’s efforts at leading America while surrounded by enemies foreign and predominantly domestic!  But to take a hardline stance against China is still desperately needed; yet, what do we see in the capitols of America, kowtowing to China by America’s elected leaders.  ENOUGH!  Stop committing Treason with a dedicated foreign enemy!Apathy
      5. Do NOT Raise Taxes – [Emphasis Mine] You cannot spend yourself out of debt, and you cannot tax your populace for personal benefits to remain elected by buying votes through forced taxation and government largess! America has never had an income problem; we have always had a spending problem!  Debt is captivity, captivity to our enemies is Treason, and those committing Treason need to be held accountable before the law.  From the bureaucrat to the politician, every single one needs to be held responsible for what they have and have not done in properly honoring the funds delivered to the Government through forced taxation!Life Valued
      6. Stop the woke! – From Critical Race Theory to wave upon wave of identity politics, America is being divided so as to be more easily conquered. If you cannot see how dangerous these lines of division are, we need to talk about waking up mentally and recognizing the 800# Gorilla in the room!  You do not need to have special identity laws for every single invented identity, and going down that slippery slope produces nothing but harm, chaos, and destruction.  Ask Caesar from Ancient Rome how identity politics worked in Ancient Rome.  History relates what happens at the end of the identity politics games, and the results are never beneficial!Courage
      7. Cut Red Tape – Another one of those things I applaud President Trump for doing was cutting the Federal Government Red Tape to free the American worker, businesses, and manufacturing. Want a startling statistic; besides inflation, the only other driver of higher costs is government red tape.  I learned this as a kid when I saw the taxes included in a gallon of gas.  I asked if the same was true of all prices and my parents had no idea.  Thus began my hobby of understanding and tracking economics!  But, do not take my word for it; look up the cost of bread from 1940 to today, and look at how much government red tape has influenced just a loaf of bread.  We, the proper owners of the Government in America, must regain the reigns from the asylum patients and cut government red tape!The Duty of Americans
      8. Help Us Sleep Safe at Night – Talk about a conjoined issue with defensible borders! Tell me, why are portions of America’s National Parks just as deadly as Northern Mexico?  I have read first-hand accounts of scouts stumbling upon drug manufacturing facilities, landmines and guerilla war tactics employed to dissuade investigation, and the armed terrorists living in America’s National Parks to produce drugs for the American markets.  Before Big-Tech thought this would blacken certain political parties’ chances at re-election or election, many of those stories were scrubbed from the Internet.  Tell me, do you sleep safer at night right now than you did three years ago?  My home security costs have skyrocketed, 24/7 surveillance makes me feel like a prisoner in my own home.  Yet, the elected officials have blocked all attempts at using the military to root out the terrorists and gangs from America’s National parks and defend the US Borders.Plato 3
      9. Stop Big-Tech! – Have you noticed the censorship occurring across the Internet? How one day you can find stories on a specific topic and the next you cannot locate those same sources?  Perfect example, in February 2020, I could find Dr. Fauci’s research on Coronaviruses and many other research topics.  Now, I can find nothing of those early research projects that proved Dr. Fauci is either lying in his research then or lying to the public now.  I have emails being sent arbitrarily to SPAM if it is content Google opposes politically.  I have witnessed LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media restrict access, shut down accounts, and destroy people’s livelihoods, all because of content the Big-Tech does not find politically palatable.  I am done being censored, censured, and prohibited, all because some tech company does not like the truth!PACT_model
      10. Deliver School Choice – Long have I written that K-12 education is sexually grooming and abusing America’s children instead of teaching them how to read, write, and think logically through arithmetics. K-12 education in America, since the 1860s, has been purposefully designed not to teach students how to read because a literate society knows freedoms and liberties, and an illiterate society can be controlled.  Hence, I disagree with these authors; even school choice cannot save America’s youth from abuse at the hands of teachers and bureaucrats embedded in the education system.  The individual states need to be freed from the Federal Department of Education.  Then, the states need to revamp what education means and begin to throw out the bureaucrats and increase the abilities of teachers to lead and instruct in their classrooms!Patriotism
      11. Empower Patients, NOT Government – [Emphasis Mine] Being a disabled veteran, having my medical care through the VA, I could not agree more that the Government needs to be ripped out of healthcare and the doctor-patient relationship. However, we also need the litigious nature of society to be corrected.  The cost of malpractice insurance is so exceedingly prohibitive that doctors cannot practice independently, and the corporatization of medicine has been growing twice the government intrusion rate!  Thus, the red tape needs to be removed, government intrusion needs to be clipped, and people looking at the judicial branch as a gold mine need to be shunted and stopped!Social Justice Warrior 2
      12. Make Our Streets Safe! – Again, we find an issue with root causes behind defensible borders, military action to fight the drug trade, and the overhaul of the criminal justice system. When the criminal has more rights and protections than the victims, justice is not served!  When sentences do not include community service to repair damage to a society, justice for the community is not served.  When jail has more privileges than not being incarcerated, the criminal justice system is everything but bringing justice to criminals!  We have enough trash, graffiti, weeds, and other community service work needing to be performed for three armies of criminals.  Get them on this service instead of sitting all day.  Worse, all those “peaceful protestors,” a.k.a domestic terrorists, need to be out repairing the damage to the communities they wrought!

Knowledge Check!Unity is a precious resource America has always enjoyed in abundance, and the political enemies of America despise America for the unity that has always been here.  We might fight like brothers amongst ourselves, we might have ancient grudges and family disputes that spill over state lines, but we are inherently a unified people.  Stop allowing the media to preach division, hate, and identity politics.  Stop allowing those elected as representatives to divide you and your family.  America, we have a choice before us, unite and live, or divide and fall.  All of the changes discussed stem from a simple point, will we choose to unite and live or allow division to separate us to be conquered as unpitied sacrifices in a contemptible struggle?

Image - Eagle & FlagJoin me!  Join with your neighbors and family members!  Let us for a community of responsible and intelligent citizens, who are informed, and active in halting the government abuses at every turn!  As a united front, we can win!  Believe that, and we are halfway to restoring America to the ”Shining city on a hill!”

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

NO MORE BS: Come, Let Us Reason Together – Chapter 5

Bait & SwitchIn Chapters 2 and 3 of this series, the discussion regarding money and the $350 Billion dollars COVID relief monies were discussed.  As this is a continuing discussion, I would encourage you to read those missives as well for a fuller understanding of the principles being discussed.  Regardless, several facts remain pertinent:

      1. The states accepting this money will be bound to spend it in a manner the Federal Government specifies.
      2. The money being given to the states as a “stimulus for COVID economic growth,” will not spur anything but inflation and poor fiscal policies.
      3. The strings attached to this money are a noose on individual state economic growth long after the deadline to spend the money (31 December 2026) comes and goes.

Doherty (2021) writing for the NCSL (National Conference of State Legislatures) provides some clarity on the Treasury Department’s rules and regulations regarding this $350 Billion albatross being forced down the state’s throats.  The funds being discussed originate in the $1.9 Trillion American Rescue Plan Act, and the Treasury Department has released operational guidance to the states and cities receiving the funds.  Never forget, while the Treasury Department claims there is an algorithm for sharing the money, politics and political connections will be the final determinant in who receives how much of the funds being doled out.

The Duty of AmericansPensions are the first point of discussion as to where these funds can go; never forget, pensions remain the largest single expense for states in the United States.  Those bloated governmental salaries, negotiated by unions, and put in place by legislative fiat, keep the taxpayer on the hook for poor financial planning long after the initial beneficiaries of the union retirement pyramid scheme and dead and buried.  Read carefully the pension data provided by USAToday for a full and detailed discussion on just how big the pension problem is for the states of the United States.

Millstone of Designed IncompetenceJust as important, look at the total number of government workers as a share of the total workforce, and you will discover just how big your state and local governments have become.  For example, two states selected at random from the 50-state list, New Jersey, and New Mexico are displayed below, and sourced from the article:

New Jersey

  • Funded ratio: 38.4%
  • Total pension shortfall: $130.7 billion shortfall (3rd largest)
  • Gov’t workers as share of total workforce: 13.3% (20th lowest)
  • Avg. annual payout per public retiree: $32,148 (9th highest)

New Mexico

  • Funded ratio: 61%
  • Total pension shortfall: $18.2 billion shortfall (18th largest)
  • Gov’t workers as share of total workforce: 18.6% (4th highest)
  • Avg. annual payout per public retiree: $20,907 (15th lowest)

ApathyConsider New Jersey for a moment, if you met 100 new people in one day, more than 1/10th of those met will work for the state or local government in some capacity, and those 11 people are earning $32,148 taxpayer paid dollars a year for being retired.  Worse, New Jersey is kiting checks on your children’s future to the tune of $130.7 Billion dollars every year.  Raising taxes cannot help closing the funding gap in the pension.  Want more news, the majority of those retired are not living in New Jersey, so all those taxpayer monies are not being recouped in sales taxes, property taxes, and other taxes.

Yet, the Federal Government just borrowed $1.9 Trillion to give the states $350 Billion, and the monies provided will not even pay a years’ worth of pension payments in most cases.  Let alone pay for all the other accounts that have been stripped to pay for the pension gap.  For example, infrastructure (Roads, Bridges, Highways, Broadband Internet, the Electrical Grid, etc.), Teachers, Community Colleges, Unemployment Insurance, Water and Wastewater Treatment facilities, and Health and Human Services, just to name a few cash strapped state programs.

Plato 2A few days ago, I was discussing broadband Internet grids, and there susceptibility to failure with people who work for a major Internet Service Provider.  In Umatilla County, as an example, the Internet either currently, or previously, went down nightly for 5-6 hours at a time.  Read the outage reports and you will find regular large geographic areas of the country suffering with Internet latency and connectivity issues.  Yet, your state legislators must focus not upon the potholes damaging your car, not upon shaky bridges and overpasses prone to failure, but upon pensions for retirees.  All due to labor unions and promises that should never have been made in the first place!

Pensions are the number one reason I, personally, think that government workers should not be able to unionize, and that the government pensions should be as rigidly controlled as the private sectors pensions.  Yet, the inverse is true, unions growing in the public sector, shrinking in the private sector, and the taxpayer is left with the bill.  Since the government can continue to kite checks, our children’s great grandchildren are already up to their necks in debt that is unsustainable.

Plato 3Come, let us reason together for solutions that actually work.  I offer below the following suggestions, feel free to agree, disagree, add more, and discuss openly in the comments.  We, the owners of government, must re-take control of the government, and to do so, we must communicate and act.

      1. Reduce the size of government immediately to the size posted on 31 December 1999. This is an immediate and interim step.  To be followed by a position by position, value discussion, where technological solutions to replace workers is decided.  Eventually culling government size back to a Pre-1930’s level.
      2. Automate as many functions as possible. The processes of how government function are necessarily complicated to justify a jobs program.  This culture of complication must cease forthwith, the processes cleared of unnecessary complications, and streamlined to allow for automation of the processes.
      3. Take the pensions and eradicate the unions. Privatize pensions should be the letter of the law for all, public and private sector employees.  Thus, creating a new market and investment industry.
      4. Privatize public maintenance of roads, the fuel taxes are sufficient to pay for this and improve road maintenance immediately.
      5. Privatize wastewater and water generation and distribution.
      6. Privatize and deregulate all utilities, allowing for maximum competition, and ending the private geographic monopolies the tech companies and Internet providers have established.
      7. Privatize K-12 and Community Colleges changing the pay structures for teachers and reducing the “staff” positions. Get focused on delivering a product, the product is an educated student who can read, write, and do math, thinking logically, and critically.  This means ending the surplus of standardized tests and putting the teacher in charge of the classroom.

PatriotismNever Give Up!Not every child should be forced into college.  Not every job requires a college degree.  Opening the community colleges produces certified, trained, and non-debt laden students that are workforce ready.  Workforce ready means able, willing, and skilled in working, be that in academia for a degree, or in the workforce as a tradesman the requirement is the same and the distinction needs removed from the leaders of K-12 educational leadership.

The aim and the intent of all government programs is to get out of the way and let people act as they think best for themselves and their families.  Not pushing children to college for a degree and a life of debt payments.  Not forcing them into the military because you are too lazy to teach them how to read, write, think, and speak.  Not forcing them into poverty to support a government jobs program.  The government will not go “quietly into that dark night.”  But, with enough insistence the government we currently know can be cut, reduced, and forced to retreat.  We, the citizens, need to take back our government through the ballot box, through the judicial branch, and through demanding change in the legislative and executive branches at all levels of the government.

Knowledge Check!First step, believe it is possible; live like it has already occurred.  Second step, join others to raise the cry and demand the changes.  Third, support only candidates who already live fiscally proper, morally upright, and ethically dedicated.  Fourth, never give up!  Never lose focus, and never relinquish the moral high ground for a bowl of pottage or 30 pieces of silver.

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

NO MORE BS: Come, Let Us Reason Together – Chapter 2

Bird of PreyAs American state, city, and county governments, begin to become greedy little children over the $350 Billion the Federal Government is “handing out for COVID relief” to “spur a national recovery from the economic toll of COVID-19.”  I wanted to take a minute and speak some reality to the situation.  Let us logically review what has happened since November 2019 in the light of a non-partisan, apolitical review.  I urge you to take what is said, conduct your own research, and come to your own conclusions.  As Dumbledore said, “I could be as wrong as Humphrey Belcher, who believed  the time was ripe for a cheese cauldron.”

    1. COVID-19 started in Wuhan Province, China. It was delivered around the world by the Chinese Government’s intentional decision to allow travel while infectious.  The virus was further enhanced by the political nature of Government, the intrusion of Government, and the mass hysteria whipped up by the global media.  Power-hungry people looked upon a virus with a 99.02% survivability rate and saw a golden opportunity to seize power from those who elected them to office.Apathy

These are basic COVID-19 facts that have never been refuted, and the adults in the room have recognized the power-mad politicians and the media usurpers from the beginning of the “pandemic.”  While politics continues to play an over-sized role in COVID, while people are still suffering, and while some “normality” is breaking out, the money spent to date will eventually need to be repaid, and no one is discussing this problem.  Worse, more money is being printed and pumped into the economies of the world to “spur growth,” and this is never good fiscal policy!

    1. Printing money causes inflation. Too much money, not enough goods, raises prices beyond sustainable limits to rebalance the economy; hence inflationary prices will continue until excess money is absorbed.  This is a fundamental economic fact everyone should know.  Money is created through several processes, but printing it to throw at a problem, does not resolve the issue; it only prolongs the misery of the original problem.   The original problem was not COVID-19 but a runaway government from the Obama reign, where the economy stalled, the money pumped in did nothing, and a recession dragged on artificially due to the political hands in the economy.  The same problem from Obama’s reign will lead to the same economic issues under the fraudulent president.Plato 3
    2. Fiscal insanity is not fixed by Federal impropriety and investment. Too many states, California, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Maine, and so many others, are in dire financial straits.  However, their fiscal health was already failing before COVID-19.  Investment by the Federal Government will not change the underlying issues and make a fiscally insane state fiscally sane.  In fact, the opposite will occur; the funds being handed to the states under the auspices of “spurring growth” will exacerbate fiscal problems.  More to the point, the excess money in the markets will mean more financial problems for the rest of the United States, which will bleed into the global economy!Plato 2

You cannot buy your way out of fiscal problems!  The only answer to spur growth is to reduce Government!  Reduce regulations!  Reduce the intrusion of Government!  Eliminate taxes!  Instead, the same tired act is being performed, print money, give it to the states, complain about inflationary prices, blame the rich, and increase taxes!  The only thing the Trump Presidency proved, without a shadow of a doubt, if America can get the millstone of Government off her neck, her economy BOOMS!  Yet, what has Washington and too many state capitals done, doubled down on policies that do not work and try to call this “progress.”

Knowledge Check!Agree or disagree, your choice and your consequences.  I have made my case; the money being pumped into the states will lead to inflationary prices, above and beyond a sustainable level.  The states all have sticky fingers and wet lips looking for these funds.  Sure, there are many promises regarding how these funds will be spent. Still, I guarantee most of the promises are empty. The politicians will have their special interests fed first—leaving the citizens to pay exorbitant fees for food, clothing, housing, services, and products until the extra money is consumed, which might occur sometime in the next 5-years at a minimum.  Who benefits, nobody!  Who loses, everyone!

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

Fiscal Insanity is not Fiscal Responsibility – Reports From the VA

I-CareConsider your home finances, you and your significant other are working hard for the paycheck.  Your significant other comes in and reports they have improperly paid the mortgage company, the electric company, the car loan, the gas company, and the credit cards over the last year to the tune of $100,000.  These funds are not recoverable, did not reduce your balances, did not pay ahead, did not apply to your account, and your significant other expects to be praised for improperly paying the bills.  What is your response?

The Department of Veterans Affairs – Office of Inspector General (VA-OIG) released a report on how the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) remains out of compliance with the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act (2010) for fiscal year (FY) 2019.  The report is replete with the obvious, the VA refuses to be fiscally responsible for American Taxpayer dollars.  Consider the following from the VA-OIG report:

In FY 2019, VA reported improper payment estimates totaling $11.99 billion for 14 programs and activities, $2.74 billion less than the total reported in FY 2018 for 12 programs and activities.

The quote is supposed to be good news, and a major gain, and deserving of applause.  Except, two programs were added between FY 2018 and 2019, thus reducing the overall performance.  The VA-OIG report states something that should be obvious to every household in America, “Improper payments are any payments that should not have been made or were made in an incorrect amount.”  Please keep in mind, the VA is not being tasked with eliminating improper payments, simply following the legislation, and reducing those payments.  The VA has legislatively mandated targets they are “strongly suggested” to meet.

VA did not meet annual reduction targets for a program considered at risk for improper payments and did not report a gross improper payment rate of less than 10 percent for six programs and activities as required. VA satisfied the other four IPERA requirements.”

The VA-OIG inspection for improper payments was not an audit, does not demand full and open books to be reviewed by third-party auditors for accountability of taxpayer dollars, reading the VA-OIG report is simply looks like the VA, including the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA), and the National Cemeteries, self-report compliance estimates for meeting the targets.

Wrapped up in the VA-OIG report is the following gem of bureaucrat complicity.

“… Identified that four programs and activities have been noncompliant for five consecutive fiscal years, and two activities were noncompliant for three years.”

Thus, further reducing the overall adherence to Congressional oversight and fiscal sanity in properly handling the American Taxpayer money.  The VA-OIG reported that the VA is required to submit to Congress plans to come into compliance, and it was considered good news that the VA was able to do this for two high-priority programs with a monetary annual loss of $100 Million; but overall, I have to rate the VA’s ability to self-identify and self-correct fiscal problems at a very low F-.  The audacity of the VA Bureaucrats to not even follow all the VA-OIG recommendations, on such a softball legislative requirement mystifies.  From FY 2018 to FY 2019, the VA refused to comply with a VA-OIG recommendation, and this same recommendation has been carried over into FY 2020 in the hopes that the VA will come into compliance.

Blue Money BurningReturning the original analogy, if your significant other was reporting these failures to comply, how long would that person remain a significant other?  Yet, somehow, we, the American Taxpayer, accepts this type of poor performance from government bureaucrats.  The legislation is not working to improve performance after 10 consecutive fiscal years of trying.  Leading to the following recommendations for immediate Congressional action.

  1. Order a full, open, and transparent audit of the VA.  I don’t care what is found in FY 2019, just perform a complete audit and bring all the books and budgets of the VA into a single source.
  2. Set mandates for compliance with hard deadlines to meet. Without accountability built into a system for improvement, you cannot expect improvement.  Deadlines insist upon compliance.
  3. Start holding actual people accountable for not acting fiscally responsible. The charade has to end, the suggestions for improvement should never have started, and you, the elected Congressional Representatives, are responsible for correcting the fiscal ship of state!
  4. Insist upon adherence through personal liability. If a bureaucrat cannot handle the position they have been hired to hold, they need to be removed.  Not coddled, not protected, not another paycheck!

Congress demands every business in America be held accountable to basic accounting practices; why then does the VA get a pass?

© Copyright 2020 – M. Dave Salisbury

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