“That’s Crazy!!!” – More Chronicles from the VA Chapter 7

Oh, how I wish and long for, and am working for, the day when the VA is cleaned up, cleaned out, and corrected completely!  The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) – Office of Inspector General (VA-OIG) has been busy reporting more on the failures of the VA to act.  Yet, where is Congressional action in scrutinizing the executive branch’s actions?  Honest question, repeated only for emphasis; we elected you to do two jobs, write fair and equal legislation for all citizens, and scrutinize the executive branch; when are you going to do your jobs?

Let’s begin with some softball issues repeated from previous VA-OIG comprehensive healthcare inspections (CHIPs), specifically how employees report feeling morally distressed while working at the VA.  Moral distress is a leadership failure and is widespread enough to reflect the problem is not limited to a single VAMC/VAHCS.  From Virginia to California, Maine to Florida, and Montana to Arizona, too many VA facilities are poorly led, poorly administered, and poorly executed.  The VA is actively abusing the veterans for political gain; some have asked why I consider the VA is actively abusing veterans; let me see if additional disclosure can explain the problem.

VHA Directive 1004.08.  VHA defines an institutional disclosure as “a formal process by which VA medical facility leader(s), together with clinicians and others as appropriate, inform the patient or personal representative that an adverse event has occurred during the patient’s care that resulted in, or is reasonably expected to result in, death or serious injury, and provide specific information about the patient’s rights and recourse.”

The above quote is from the regulations governing VA care.  The VA-OIG quotes this directive, which has been published and is openly available, yet repeatedly the VA-OIG finds directors.  Hospital administrators who are informed and able to repeat this directive.  Who repeatedly refuse to follow this directive or train their staff to follow this directive.  When sentinel events occur (death, permanent injury, non-permanent injury, disability, etc.), the families report having no idea what to do because the disclosures were never provided to the veteran or designated caregiver.  Is this not abuse of the patient?  Is this abuse not driven by ideologues who gain from the harm they cause others?  Should this abuse not be scrutinized until it is eliminated?  Please feel free to read some of these comprehensive healthcare inspection reports from the VA-OIG, see the resulting injuries and problems caused by the failures of government medical providers, and then tell me whether these atrocious actions need more or less scrutiny and qualify for the title abuse.

North Carolinian veterans, VISN 6 is all yours, and would you be shocked to learn that even with newer leadership, moral distress remains a persistent problem in the VA employees throughout VISN 6, which just happens to include Durham, Asheville, Fayetteville, Hampton, Richmond, Salem, and Salisbury North Carolina?  Probably this is not unfamiliar as the patient experience survey scores remain persistently below VA averages, reflecting that new leadership is akin to putting lipstick on a pig.  Interestingly, medical staff credentialing remains a significant concern in North Carolina.

Western New York veterans, especially those receiving patient services in the Buffalo VAHCS, do you agree with the VA-OIG report?  The Buffalo VAHCS includes Buffalo, Batavia, Jamestown, Dunkirk, Niagra Falls, Lockport, West Seneca, and Olean, and the comprehensive report is mystifying to me.  For example, the VA-OIG reports that “Patients generally appeared satisfied with their care.”   At the same time, “Employee survey data revealed opportunities for leaders to improve workplace satisfaction and reduce feelings of moral distress.”  This is a combination not generally found in these CHIP inspection reports.  Something is definitely off, and I would love to know what, especially since the leadership needs significant improvement in identifying and reporting sentinel events.  Do you agree with the VA-OIG findings?  Please let me know your firsthand experiences, for the double-talk in this CHIP report is above what I usually observe.

With almost identical findings and recommendations in the Syracuse NY VAMC’s comprehensive healthcare inspection, covering communities of Syracuse, Auburn, Freeville, Potsdam, Rome, Binghampton, Watertown, and Oswego, NY., I am concerned that the veterans in New York are in as bad or worse shape than Phoenix’s veteran community.  Hence, I have to ask the VA-OIG, has something changed in your measurement and analysis tools to report such disparate findings as “Employee survey data revealed opportunities for leaders to improve servant leadership and decrease employees’ feelings of moral distress.  Patients generally appeared satisfied with the care provided?”  The double-talk level is higher in these CHIPs from NY, which is rarely observed outside of Phoenix and VISN 22.  Two final thoughts on the CHIPs, staff training, continues to be a high-risk finding, and this continues to be a leadership failure for every VAMC/VAHCS/VISN in the VA; why has progress not occurred?  Training is a system, and leadership and organizational risk, system redesign, and improvement is a quality, safety, and value problem of the highest importance; why is action never taken by leadership or the congressional representatives who are expected to scrutinize the executive branch?

28 March 2022, the VA-OIG released their long-awaited annual “Comprehensive Healthcare Inspection Summary Report: Evaluation of Medical Staff Privileging in Veterans Health Administration Facilities, Fiscal Year 2020.”  I have been interested to see what, if anything, the VA had accomplished in improving their medical staff privileging.  If I were a congressional representative, knowing that medical staff continues to harm and kill veterans, I would have been anxiously awaiting to see if the repeated hits from past years had finally been rectified.  Unfortunately, the VA continues to live down to expectations (digging the hole ever deeper), suffers from failed leadership, and the veterans continue to die or suffer abuse.

What did the VA-OIG discover?  Understand, “The OIG conducted detailed inspections at 36 VHA medical facilities to ensure leaders implemented medical staff privileging processes in compliance with requirements.  The OIG subsequently issued six recommendations for improvement to the Under Secretary for Health, in conjunction with Veterans Integrated Service Network directors and facility senior leaders.  The intent is for VHA leaders to use these recommendations to help guide improvements in operations and clinical care at the facility level.  The recommendations address findings that may eventually interfere with the delivery of quality health care.”  The OIG identified deficiencies with focused and ongoing professional practice evaluation, provider exit review, and state licensing board reporting processes.  Specifically:

    • use of minimum criteria for selected specialty licensed independent practitioners’ focused professional practice evaluations
    • inclusion of service-specific criteria in ongoing professional practice evaluations
    • completion of ongoing professional practice evaluations by other providers with similar training and privileges
    • recommendation by executive committees to continue licensed independent practitioners’ privileges based on professional practice evaluation results
    • completion of provider exit review forms within seven business days of licensed independent practitioners’ departure from a medical facility
    • the signing of exit review forms by service chiefs, chiefs of staff, and medical facility directors if licensed healthcare professionals failed to meet generally accepted standards of care
    • initiation of state licensing board reporting within seven business days of supervisors’ signatures on exit review forms to indicate licensed healthcare professionals failed to meet generally accepted standards of care.

The OIG found ongoing issues from the fiscal year 2019 CHIP summary report that warranted repeat recommendations for improvement.  The OIG issued three repeat recommendations related to the following:

    • inclusion of minimum specialty criteria for focused professional practice
      evaluations
    • inclusion of service-specific criteria in ongoing professional practice evaluations
    • recommendation by executive committees of the medical staff in continuing licensed independent practitioners’ privileges based on professional practice evaluation results.

Boiling the findings of the VA-OIG down, essentially, the administrators and leadership are not weeding out poor and horrible practitioners, reporting these underperforming practitioners, and not acting in the best interests of the veterans seeking care at VAMCs and VAHCSs across the country.  I repeat, only for emphasis: Is this not abuse of the patient?  Is this abuse not driven by ideologues who gain from the harm they cause others?  Should this abuse not be scrutinized until it is eliminated?  Please feel free to read some of these comprehensive healthcare inspection reports from the VA-OIG, see the resulting injuries and problems caused by the failures of government medical providers, and then tell me whether these atrocious actions need more or less scrutiny and qualify for the title abuse.  The link to the full report is available; please feel free to make your conclusions and post your thoughts in the comments section.

On a final note for today, consider with me the problems of the Atlanta VAHCS with pallets of unopened mail containing patient health information, community care provider claims needing payment, and a plethora of other unopened mail.  Understand that when community care providers cannot obtain compensation from the VA, they go to the veterans, who then send in correspondence, which is unopened, thus causing more problems, concerns, and issues for an already abused veteran community!  Want your head to explode?  Look at the pictures the VA-OIG helpfully sent along with this VA-OIG report, and ask yourself if any other business or organization could get away with this type of abuse of the customer.

What did the VA-OIG find?  Well, prepare for your head to explode, again:

    • VA Leadership should have established a formal agreement explicitly detailing each office’s responsibilities.
    • VA HCS leaders did not include responsible managers in decision-making discussions and lacked a clear understanding of the volume of mail processing work they were accepting.
    • Atlanta VA HCS did not ensure mailroom staff was adequately prepared or trained to handle or sort the influx of mail. POM (Payment Operations Management) officials were later reluctant to help, citing the verbal agreement.

Buried in the report is this tidbit, “POM is implementing similar transitions at sites across the country; POM and medical facilities need to ensure adequate staff with sufficient training to handle the mail processing workload.  VA concurred with the OIG’s five recommendations.”  Meaning that in a VAMC/VAHCS near you, unopened mail due to verbal agreements will soon add more distress and disgust to the veteran experience.

I have documented in these articles how verbal agreements, verbal standards of work performance, and verbal processes and procedures are the problem and way of life in too many CHIPs and observed practices at the VA.  Yet, these verbal shenanigans are more apparent than in the dilemma Atlanta faces due to unopened mail.  Payment operations to community care providers are on a controlled and fixed timeline.  Failure to process these payments according to the required timeline leaves providers unpaid, which diminishes the community care provider pool of providers.  Talk to a community care provider, and they will discuss the risks of doing business with the VA and the real possibility of not being paid timely enough or being caught in sufficient red tape never to receive payment.

I know of a provider who called me three years after receiving care and was still trying to appeal and correct the paperwork to receive payment.  A provider recently contacted me who wanted to ruin my credit for failing to pay the balance due from care received, and they are charging interest.  Correcting this problem cost me 48 business hours, 20 calls, and frustrations galore.  By the way, the problem still has not been rectified, an appeal is in process, and we have to wait for the VA to make a decision; this incident was caused by the VA changing the process and the paperwork.  The provider told me they are not accepting any more veterans seeking care, the risk is too significant, the timeline to receive payment is too long, and the VA never pays what is charged.  For example, I recently received a declaration declaring payment to a community care provider.  The VA sent me to this provider, which means they knew the prices beforehand and agreed to the fees.  The declaration declared the VA was charged $2,000 and paid $120, not actual amounts, but close enough to communicate the problem.  With inflation, or without inflation, if you were paid less than 1/10th of what you billed (invoiced), would you continue to conduct business with that company or organization?  Now add the unopened mail problem to the mix.  Would you continue to conduct business with this entity?

America, the Department of Veterans Affairs is sick.  All of the other alphabet agencies in the Federal Government are sick.  We continue to elect people who actively refuse to care enough to act according to their mandated duties.  We cannot afford the government we currently have, which is part and parcel of the problem with inflation in America right now!  Debt is entered into to pay for this bloated feckbeast called government; from the city to the federal government, the bloat is too great to be sustained!  Why is the VA able to skirt responsibility, accountability, and improvement?  They can hide behind the size of their convoluted and twisted organizational shield.  Why can the Post Office and the IRS get away with deplorable, at best, customer service?  They are protected by the congress refusing to scrutinize and hold people accountable.  When your head is done exploding, please remember and act in the ballot box to hire better representatives!

© Copyright 2022 – M. Dave Salisbury
The author holds no claims for the art used herein, the pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the images.  Quoted materials remain the property of the original author.

Continued Inanity from the US Government – Where are the Elected Officials?

Angry Wet ChickenI made the mistake of ranking the various government agencies on how intractable, unintelligent, and irresponsible they are.  I ranked the IRS based upon previous experience more competent than the VA.  That is a mistake I will not repeat any time soon, as the VA and the IRS are in a neck and neck race to the bottom!  Consider how the IRS sends you paper mail notifications; if you have questions, you are referred to a website for answers and provided several customer service numbers.  Except, when the website fails, you call the notifications’ numbers and are told that you need to visit the website for faster service.  The website refers you back to customer service, whose phone queues are always so full you are automatically disconnected after being reminded to use the website for faster service.

As my mind experiences a total meltdown, I begin twitching, and my head eventually explodes; check out this cat picture:Funny Cat Backgrounds, Pictures, ImagesDignified Stray Cat Photos Celebrate Their Unique Beauty

Some will declare this is a one-off incident; surely, the IRS is not this dysfunctional.  Try it for yourself sometime.  I never ask anyone ever to, believe me, experience this for yourself.  Check out the IRS website https://irs.gov.  Try to get solid and reliable information, and see how fast your head wants to explode.  I have been trying to appeal a decision the IRS made arbitrarily since 21 March 2022 and gotten nowhere fast.  Best of all, I have a deadline of 20 May 2022 to register an appeal, yet the website cannot answer my questions and points me back to the phone number on my notification.  The phone number auto-answer assistant refers me back to the website shortly before disconnecting my call.

As a small business owner, I had trouble getting my Tax ID number; the website said to call customer support, the phone number referred me back to the website and then disconnected my call because the queues were too full.  Ad Nauseum Ad Infinitum, but the joke is undoubtedly on me; the IRS proclaims they respect my time and are anxious to resolve the concern.  Can’t you just feel the concern and anxiety emanating from the IRS?  Where are the elected officials who need to be scrutinizing the Executive Branch and demanding better returns on the taxpayer’s investment?

As my mind experiences another total meltdown, I begin twitching, and my head eventually explodes; check out this cat picture:Cats wallpaper - Cats Wallpaper (5194935) - FanpopJust say nope | Grumpy Cat | Know Your Meme

If you’re keeping count, this is the third recent article on the culture of corruption at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in as many weeks.  No, I am not behind; the rate of the frequency of VA – Office of Inspector General (VA-OIG) reports has legitimately been this overwhelming.  Never forget, an indictment is not a conviction, and perpetrators remain innocent until proven guilty in a court of law and the trial and sentencing have been completed.

Hunter Matthew Burroughs and Stephen Keith Andrews were indicted by a federal grand jury in Fort Smith, Arkansas, for their roles in three separate conspiracies to defraud the US government and private workers’ compensation insurers.  Their alleged crimes include a billing and kickback fraud scheme with multiple physicians and medical clinics and separate fraud schemes involving the shipment of medications from Arkansas to two Louisiana physicians, who then distributed those medications from their clinics in violation of Louisiana laws.  Additionally, Burroughs was charged with wire fraud for allegedly falsifying emails he provided in a civil lawsuit involving his sale of the company.”

Not to be outdone:

Robin Calef of Brockton, Massachusetts, was sentenced to one month in prison followed by three years of supervised release after pleading guilty to one count of theft of public funds in November 2021.  She was also ordered to pay restitution of $102,289 to the VA.  In December 2006, Calef’s sister was receiving VA monthly benefits, passed away.  She failed to inform the VA of her sister’s death, and the VA continued to deposit monthly benefits into a joint bank account held by Calef and her sister until September 2017.  Bank records revealed that Calef made monthly withdrawals of approximately the exact amount of VA benefit funds deposited into the joint account.”

And:

Derrick Brewer of Enfield, Connecticut, pleaded guilty to one count of theft of government funds.  In March 2018, Brewer submitted paperwork to the VA offices in Hartford as part of an application for service-connected disability benefits.  Specifically, he submitted form DD-214, which indicated that his discharge from his former service in the US Coast Guard was characterized as “Honorable.” However, the form had been altered before its submission.  According to official Coast Guard records, Brewer’s discharge was characterized as “Other Than Honorable Conditions” following his convictions under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.  There is no record of the discharge characterization ever being upgraded.  As a result of this submission, Brewer collected nearly $70,000 in VA benefits from March 2018 through September 2020.  Sentencing is scheduled for 27 May 2022.”

And:

Sarah Jane Cavanaugh of Warwick, Rhode Island, was arrested on charges of using forged or counterfeited military discharge certificates, wire fraud, and fraudulently holding herself out to be a medal recipient to obtain money and property or another tangible benefit, and aggravated identity theft.  It is alleged that Cavanaugh claimed to be a wounded US Marine Corps veteran and recipient of a Purple Heart and Bronze Star and schemed to collect hundreds of thousands of dollars in veteran benefits and charitable contributions from organizations that provide monetary aid; to veterans in need.”

And:

From 2002 to 2019, Terrie Lynn Christian of Newaygo, Michigan, engaged in a fraudulent scheme that targeted children’s benefits programs administered by VA and the Social Security Administration (SSA).  This scheme, which involved obtaining benefits for two fictitious children, resulted in government losses of over $660,000, including approximately $110,000 for VA.  Christian was sentenced in US District Court to 30 months in prison, three years of supervised release, and restitution of over $660,000.  The VA OIG and SSA OIG investigated this case.”

Do you notice anything odd in these stories of fraud; the documents did not stand up to scrutiny, but fraud was still perpetrated.  I have authentic documents proving service; I have had to present original documents several times and sign affidavits testifying these documents are my documents.  I am a veteran, and under the threat of severe penalties, I swore that I was not attempting to defraud the US Government.  Would someone please explain how these people, and so many others, can commit fraud so frequently?  Would someone please explain how the VHA and the VBA accepted clearly doctored documents and fraud executed?  Finally, where are the VBA and VA employees being held accountable for failing to do their jobs and allowing this fraud to be perpetrated with complicity?Mediocrity Joke

Time after time, I have been denied help, been given the bureaucratic runaround, and refused assistance until my documentation can be certified.  Then after my documents are approved, they are still rejected by bureaucrats who refuse to do their jobs.  Yet, crimes and fraud are perpetrated with the same bureaucratic inertia and complicit behavior.  Elected officials, do you understand why taxpayers are frustrated?

What reignites the explosion of my head is that these are only two of the multiplicity of government agencies.  Nobody knows how much fraud is perpetrated by employees and customers, and worse, even fewer care.  Elected officials, will you please explain why you are not more concerned and avidly involved in ending the fraud?

Let me cast your mind backward to 2005.  United States v. Alvarez, 567 US 709, is a case in which the United States Supreme Court ruled that the Stolen Valor Act of 2005 was unconstitutional.  The Stolen Valor Act of 2005 was a federal law that criminalized false statements about having a military medal.  Elected officials, when the judges legislated from the bench, overstepping their authority, why didn’t you immediately go back to work and redraft legislation to end the theft of valor and penalize people committing fraud?  Instead, you rolled over like a dead, bloated, floating body, and valor theft has worsened!Plato 3

Elected officials, why have you not drafted new legislation to curb government theft?  Why have you consistently refused to act to curb the bureaucrats from abusing taxpayers?  Why do you remain silent on the shrinking morals in America that open the doors for more abuse of the law?  We elected you to the office to take action; what are you doing?  Yes, mayors, city councilors, judges, dog catchers, school board members, county commissioners, and every other single officer elected, you are included in this plea for action!

Dont Tread On MeAgain, I implore you, the voters, to scrutinize your elected officials for their continued employment.  Yes, start today.  I know the elections are months away, but it requires time to evaluate performance, become knowledgeable, and prepare to act on election day.  You deserve a better government, and those in office deserve to be unemployed!

© Copyright 2022 – M. Dave Salisbury
The author holds no claims for the art used herein, the pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the images.  Quoted materials remain the property of the original author.

Asininity, Stupidity, and Ridiculousness – Hell from Human Resources

As a human resources professional, I know the ineptitude and despicableness from both sides of the HR desk.  It is time to think, way outside the box, and all I ask is for your consideration of the proposed idea.  I know I am not alone in desiring a better path forward; here is a suggestion.

For my entire career, military and civilian, I have stood for what is right, fair, and equitable.  I hate bullies and detest bureaucrats creating problems to protect their power and ego, especially at the expense of others.  Nothing, absolutely NOTHING, gets my blood boiling faster than to experience “This is the way we do things here” thinking!  Today, I will expose some worms to sunshine and see if we might fry them from the soils of productivity and free the captives.

Two weeks ago, I applied for an internal job posting advertised since April 2020.  Not only am I highly skilled, well qualified, and possess the academic and experiential knowledge for the role, I also have performed this role multiple times.  My supervisor’s boss told me, “Nothing stops you from applying.”  This is the subtle way of saying that you will not be considered for this role because you were hired at a lower pay grade; you are not “humbled enough.”  Today, I was told more information, “You have to pay your dues at this company before we consider you promotable.”

What does “promotable” mean; it is the personal opinion of my supervisor and his boss who have to give their blessing on my knowledge, skills, and abilities.  Essentially I need a gold star in my copybook before they will look favorably upon my promotion.  Please note, I am not trying to weasel a different position; simply be considered honestly for a position I can compete with anyone for and compete well.  Want a kicker?  There are two ways to be considered for promotion:  1. Leave the company and “boomerang” back.  2.  Win approval from your leaders for that gold star and blessing, then compete against external and internal candidates for the position.

Consider this for a moment; enough people have felt punished by HR, their bosses, and the intransigent stupidity in the promotion process and stuck in their roles that they have intentionally left the company, then applied for the job they are qualified for, and won that position.  The company calls these people “boomerangs.”  They treat them as second-class citizens, and promotions are even more challenging for a “boomerang” than they originally left.

Upon higher into my current role, I was told several stories of people who did incredible tasks for the company and were refused promotions they deserved because the leaders never set up a promotion path with HR.  Why did these leaders refuse to set up a promotion growth path; because my department was being right-sized for a technological solution until it was discovered that technology could not replace the people.  Now, everyone is stuck; they cannot promote or afford to quit and return, and the political situation is unbearably ridiculous!

When I write about leadership failures, I write from deep experience in fighting stupidity, asininity, and ridiculousness in human resources.  There is no excuse for a leader to pacify down and plead up to look better for the next promotion.  Yet, today I was told, “you have to pay your dues; working here is ‘humbling.’”  So is joining the military and having Congress halt all promotions in your field because they feel it is a “good path for the military.”  It was stupid then, and it is still stupid now!

Hell from human resources includes some new verbiage gaining traction from the politicians, and frankly, this is a conversation begging to be had.  What are the employees in your organization, valuable, worthwhile, lazy, useless, human infrastructure, or individuals?  Choose your adjective, and I can tell you what type of leader you are.  Worse, I can forecast just how bad your business will treat everyone and how fast your company will die horribly!

A customer of mine told me I was crazy and full of “baked beans.”  They are bankrupt now, their employees all left with a horrible taste in their mouth for authoritarianism, tyranny, and oppression in their employer.  The red tape bureaucracy in human resources was such that to “avoid risk” in human resources (HR), the lawyers convinced the owners to design HR in such a way as to micro-manage to the Nth degree.  Too many HR departments are making the most egregious mistake in treating independent thinking adults like pre-schoolers in pre-K classes.

Unfortunately, the IRS supports the HR departments acting in this manner, and Congress continues to fund and increase the budget of the IRS to exasperate this situation further.  The powers of the IRS have been a recurring topic, and additional insight from those articles can be found in the links provided.

Would you like a solution to the fifth ring of Dante HR insanity?  FIRE Human Resource professionals.  HR is comparable to the man who discovers solutions to problems he creates after demanding everyone adopt the solution.  The fundamental treatise upon which HR justifies their existence is flawed and presume that humans need controlled.  However, if the IRS got out of dictating how to treat employees in the employer/employee relationship, HR would not be required!

Consider the veracity of returning HR to Dante’s fifth ring; every business already possesses human capital, structural capital, and relationship capital as part of its intellectual capital.  Intellectual capital makes your business different from your competition and is central to the knowledge management process.  Please note, HR did not build this for your company; like the government, HR has never been more than a “necessary evil” at best.  Creating processes and procedures that protect officiousness while punishing productivity and talented people.

How much does an open position cost an organization?  The honest and straightforward answer, nobody can quantify this number due to a mixture of variables.  The closest one can get to an estimate is between 3 times and 15 times the annual salary of the open position.  Why is this so difficult to quantify; here are some of the variables in the equation.  Please note that the human potential element, or the individual’s talents occupying the position, can never be quantified.

        • Annual Salary
        • Training
        • Salaries for those doing the job while the position is open
        • Loss of production from the position available and those covering the open role responsibilities
        • Organizational memory loss from the person leaving
        • Onboarding costs (advertising, interviewing, hiring)

Imperative to removing the minions from Dante’s Fifth Ring (HR), the organizational dimension’s seven S’s must be understood.  Leaders must constantly balance strategy, structure, systems, staff, skills, style, and superordinate goals.  When HR is involved, balancing staff, skills, and style is crushed under the bureaucracy and inefficient thinking of bureaucrats who must have a process for everything.  Thus forming the disconnect between humans endeavoring towards an organizational goal (business) and achieving success.

Case in point, let us return to the open positions, the job market where millions of available jobs are stagnating, and people are not going back to work.  The model has failed, and the culprits are HR and the coequally corrupt government institutions on the local, county, state, and federal levels.  Thus, anyone with eyes can see that strategy, structure, and systems have been intentionally destroyed in businesses large and small by those charged with helping understand and support staff, skills, and styles while working to achieve superordinate goals.

Businesses are out of balance; the government built that!  Human resources helped.  America needs to reverse course, and it begins with freeing the employee from the employer/employee relationship.  While some will claim this answer is too simple, how many honestly remember what America was like before the Federal Government mandated how employers could compete for talent?  It is time to discover how small a government can shrink, and while shrinking, take HR with them!

© Copyright 2021 – M. Dave Salisbury
The author holds no claims for the art used herein, the pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the images.  Quoted materials remain the property of the original author.

Shifting the Employment Paradigm – I Still DO NOT want to be an Employee!

November 2012, I wrote the first in a series of articles on shifting the employee paradigms.  These articles discussed the freelance or consultant versus the employee in the structure of the organizational design.  Multiple times, the right to control has been addressed as part of the “rights” granted by the Internal Revenue Service to Employers, so the employers will continue to play the Federal Government’s game of control and heavy-handed authoritarian thuggishness.  These topics and more continue to surface on this blog in an attempt to help the employee understand the problem and issues, the loss of freedoms and rights, in becoming an employee.

Today, Joey, the blundering president, has published the 400+ page OSHA abomination that forces you to lose the rest of your privacy to your employer—ending HIPAA, foreclosing your rights to your liberty not to vaccinate, and shaming you into wearing a mask and discriminating if you do not.  While the OSHA regulation is unconstitutional and a clear governmental overreach, Congress remains silent in its scrutiny of the executive branch of the government.  Worse, the citizens of America think that the judicial branch can be trusted to “save them” from the executive branch of government, which is always a BAD IDEA!

OSHA and Joey have declared that employers with over 100 employees have to comply.  After this is accepted, then employers over 50-employees, then 10- employees, and so forth will be targeted until nobody who employees anyone can escape.  This is how the government works, and this is why we need a different structure to operate under.

Employers, employees, I have a better idea than trusting the government to act responsibly.  It is past time to revisit the structure wars and redesign the employee/employer relationship in America.  What is the answer; knowledge vending instead of the employer/employee relationship.  Please, allow me a moment of your precious time to explain.

The idea is simple.  You have employees who know your business cold, know your customers, understand your processes, procedures, workflows, products, and services.  How many of your employees would love to brand themselves to your organization as knowledge vendors?  Ask them!  Then offer them the choice to become independent contractors using the IRS publications as a guide.  The knowledge vendor provides their tools, you provide them access, and they brand themselves and contract to serve your organization, with autonomy to work for you on their terms and schedule.

Please note, this is critical; the IRS continues to change the rules on an almost fluid and whimsical basis.  The link takes you to the designation between an employee and a contractor.  Lawyers will need to help design the necessary contracts to control the relationship.  Some assistance will be required to help those transitioning to ensure they are not killed financially in the tax tsunami the IRS likes to launch.  However, taking this step forces the Federal Government hand over OSHA and allows you and your now independent contractor workforce to return to business instead of compliance. Everyone retains their liberty, plus your privacy and medical records remain your business, not your employer’s or the Federal Governments’.

It cannot be stressed enough; the IRS should never have been placed in control over the employee/employer relationship controls.  Worse, these controls should never have been assumed by the government in the first place.  Since the Federal Government has assumed these powers, everyone needs to understand the fundamental categories that differentiate an employee from a knowledge vendor/contractor.

These topics are covered in-depth on the links, and I have covered them in various articles previously.  Until Congress removes these rights from the IRS, the contracts covering those knowledge vendors must spell out succinctly these controls to avoid the IRS meddling and penalizing the vendor and the employer maliciously.  More to the point, the IRS has, in the past, gone backward and retroactively changed its rules to penalize employers and vendors through “clarifying,” which the courts upheld.

Risky path to take; potentially!  However, all life is risk, and I cannot think of anything more perilous than capitulating to Joey and his merry band of authoritarian thugs!  Plus, America needs to join the rest of the industrialized nations in offering choices to the employer/employee relationship.  Tax laws, generally, and the IRS specifically, are choking the lifeblood out of American ingenuity and increasing the cost of compliance year-over-year.  We need real solutions to these problems and freeing the American worker is the best solution.

© Copyright 2021 – M. Dave Salisbury
The author holds no claims for the art used herein, the pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the images.  Quoted materials remain the property of the original author.

What We Are Witnessing – What We Can Do!

Angry Grizzly BearThe US Senate passed the non-infrastructure bill, loaded with everything but infrastructure initiatives and a bloated price tag that is not paid for, which will increase inflation and the National Deficit.  The US Senate is on its way to passing a $3.5 Trillion spending spree, again no accountability, no restraints, not paid for, balloons the government, and robs freedoms and liberties from every American.  Did you know all legislation that spends money is supposed to originate in the US House of Representatives?

Long ago, a couple of legislators crammed down some rules that allowed for spending bills to originate in the US Senate, as long as the US House of Representatives got the legislation, eventually, and voted for that legislation.  Generally under immense pressure from the upper house and the special interest groups lobbying for the lower house to “just go along.”  All of which is legal but unconstitutional, but allowed as legislative chicanery called “doing business in Washington.”

Tired of Politikal-Gimmickry yet?  I am!

My wife brought up an interesting question regarding the now resigned Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, “Will he be prosecuted?”  I do not know, and from the headlines, I cannot tell.  Worse, it is not apparent if a deal was struck to compensate the victims from the New York taxpayers and avoid accountability if Gov. Cuomo left before electioneering could begin to hinder Democratic efforts to keep the office in New York.  Tell me, how can private industry have significant penalties for even a suspicion of sexual impropriety, but government elected officials can weasel out of accountability time after time if you are in the appropriate political party?Angry Wet Chicken

Speaking of Ex-Governor Andrew Cuomo, his anti-apology/resignation speech was the worst kind of political skullduggery since Anthony Weiner was disgraced for sexual impropriety.  If Chicago is the land of pay-for-play politics, then New York must be for sexual impropriety politicians, beginning with William Jefferson and Hillary Clinton!

Tired of Politikal-Gimmickry yet?  I am!

Can someone tell me how and why YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other Social Media companies, private companies, can block content and customers?  First, the companies take money to be news outlets and media giants, obtaining tax breaks and special benefits for being tech giants and other prime companies for the government.  Then, they squawk they have the right to silence content, isolate content providers, shame politicians, and spout political beliefs like private companies while receiving public funds.  The IRS came down hard on churches in the 2020 election cycle for having 501 C status and being mouthpieces for political speech; how is this not the same principle with social media companies?  Why aren’t social media companies forced to either maintain neutrality or stop receiving preferential treatment from the government?

Tired of Legal and Politikal-Gimmickry yet?  I am!

Exclamation MarkLet’s talk about scientific facts for a moment, and if you like, feel free to look up the corresponding research.  I am not a medical professional, epidemiologist, virologist, or chemist; however, I can read a research paper, and this is what I have found.  One of the reasons it is so difficult to vaccinate against viral infections is the ever-changing viral infection itself.  Essentially, the virus mutates a lot, and these generational mutations tend to keep a vaccine from working effectively against a virus for very long.  The only sure-fire way to protect a population against a viral infection is to allow the people to experience the viral infection and build herd immunity.

The Delta-Variant of the Sars-COV-2 (COVID-19) viral infection is essentially a fizzle.  Vaccinated people are catching this mutation, spreading it, and then complaining, “But I got vaccinated.”  However, the fizzle is that the virus has mutated into a half-life in a previous mutation, and the Delta-Variant is a half-life again of the previous half-life.  This is why the Delta-Variant will make you sick but not keep you sick, and the antibodies your body builds against Sars-COV-2 are actually beneficial in the long run.  Having said all this, do you think the media will report this information; do not bet the farm, Lucy!  Will, the government, relinquish control; hold your horses, Mack!  Totalitarianism has broken out, and reigning in these out-of-control bureaucrats and power-hungry politicians will take a lot more than the half-life deaths of Sars-COV-2.Anton Ego

I am a person of action; I do not take kindly to being told to sit down and wait or shut up and stand still!  Never have been; in fact, learning patience has been one of my biggest challenges and hardest lessons, and I still fail gloriously DAILY!  Worse, I see the danger and the emergency, and I desperately feel the need to take action immediately!  It makes me good in the trenches but not very good in the stadium.  Here are my thoughts on taking action now; agree or disagree, take action NOW!  We can talk about the problems later!

      1. Start right now, calling the US House of Representatives and DEMANDING in the strongest language possible that your elected representatives refuse the boondoggles being passed in the US Senate right now!
      2. New Yorkers, you are some of the toughest people in the world; show it! Put your backs up, put your mouths in gear, and DEMAND that Governor Cuomo be held accountable, in a court of law, for the crimes for which he is accused.  Guilty or not, these accusations need to be settled in a courtroom.  Not a pressbox, not a media-feeding frenzy, but by a jury trial!  Force the truth!
      3. America, lead the world in throwing off the totalitarianism that is killing representative government across the globe! From the mayors to the governors to the US President, it is time to end the farrago called COVID and throw the bums OUT!  Yes, this includes the MEDIA!  The politicians’ lapdog needs to be held accountable for spreading half-truths, lies, and falsehoods for personal power, and rightly so.  When discussing the media’s role in spreading and fanning the flames of COVID, we include social media and hold these tech companies responsible for their roles.  Nobody is “Too Big To Fail!”
      4. If the elected officials, including judges, refuse to listen to you, begin the recall procedures! Refuse your consent to be governed!  You own the power of and the keys to the government, and it is past time for the government to begin fearing us, the electorate!The Duty of Americans

As the politicians take the rest of August off, lets us remind them who is in charge.  Turn off your TV.  Turn off your Cable.  Turn off your social media.  Call, text, email, and visit their town halls, demand an audience with the elected officials.  Get heard!

© 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.

Political Dysfunction – The IRS Detailed in Spades!

Exclamation MarkEnlighten me, how is the taxpayer to “understand and meet” “tax obligations” when the agency who collects those tax obligations refuses to answer questions, actively hinders transparency, denies accountability and refuses scrutiny?  Through forced taxation, collected by fear of the stick, America has been abused since the IRS was created out of whole cloth, not from the U.S. Constitution, but the demented minds of a president and complicit Congress.

Under the heading of “Statutory Authority,” we find the following:

The IRS is organized to carry out the responsibilities of the secretary of the Treasury under section 7801 of the Internal Revenue Code. The secretary has full authority to administer and enforce the internal revenue laws and has the power to create an agency to enforce these laws. The IRS was created based on this legislative grant.

Section 7803 of the Internal Revenue Code provides for the appointment of a commissioner of Internal Revenue to administer and supervise the execution and application of the internal revenue laws.”

Progressive

Progressive and progressivism is a political philosophy that empowers a more extensive and more intrusive government, a government without any shred of decency, and a government as intrusive as possible into your daily life.  Progressivism has been the catchphrase for all sorts of political hooliganism and liberty theft at all levels of government.  These abuses by the government have been made possible because, as everyone knows, progress, the root of progressivism, is a good thing; it is progress, right?  Not quite, according to the politicians and the bureaucrats who think they own you and me.Lemmings 1

Progress is defined as moving forward or onward towards the desired destination.  Also, progress can be advancement or development towards a better, or more complete, “modern condition.”  Archaic definitions sometimes provide critical insight into a word, and in this instance, the archaic meaning of progress was a state journey or official tour, especially by royalty.

Progressive means something relating to or characterized by progress without the political connotations, using new ideas, findings, or opportunities.  In the classroom, progressive relates to an educational theory marked by an emphasis on the individual child, informal class procedures, and encouraging self-expression to the point of sacrificing educational opportunities.  The meaning of progressive also refers to making progress, moving forward or advancing, increasing in severity or extent, expanding the base rate of something, and a few other definitions specific to the sciences of computers and lenses for glasses.Lemmings 4

President Woodrow Wilson (D) was a progressive, and many of his political detractors were regressive.  The distinction was drawn on a political scale to aid in differentiating and scorning political opponents concerned about the spread of government.  We need to be clear that any time anyone talks about progressive taxes, they discuss expanding the base tax rate.  Making tax increases sound more pleasant is a key to twisting the meaning of words and exercising tyranny on a population.

Regressive

As you might have probably guessed, regression is the exact opposite of progression.  Regressive relates to regression production, decreasing the rate as the base increases, and is characterized by simplifying structures in an evolutionary process.  Regression is the act of regressing. Regressing relates to the act of reasoning backward, moving backward to a previous and possibly worse or more primitive state.  It is also a privilege of going or coming back to something.Plato 2

Regressive is most used in refusing to cut taxes, so the opponents to “progressive” taxes are automatically regressive.  In actuality, progressive is all about increasing government size, government taxes, and government bureaucracy; thus, the opponents of progressive taxes should own and explain why being regressive is a good thing.  Yet, they never do, and representative governments across the globe are worse for this plastic language.  The consequences of ever bigger government and taxes, fees, surcharges, fines, etc., dreamed up as “progress.”

Tax Gap

Bait & SwitchDue to proposed legislation, the media has been quick to jump onto the tax bandwagon. The media are trying to drum up a lot of hype for the proposed bill, calling it fairness, catching the tax cheaters, working to bring “fairness” to the tax system, and progressing the tax system to close the loopholes improve tax enforcement.  The “tax gap;” is $600 million in mostly tax errors because the tax system is too complicated.  How do you tell the difference between tax cheaters and honest people trying to obey the tax authorities?  Therein lies the problem, to the IRS, everyone making an error is guilty until proven innocent, and either way, you will pay something to the IRS to get out of trouble.

What is the problem?  The IRS is going to use its newfound enforcement ability from this legislation to punish and abuse.  Congress is always talking about closing loopholes, but what they mean is allow political cronies and connections to keep doing what they are doing and force the rest of America to pay for the privilege of being abused.

Tax Enforcement

QuestionLong have I been concerned that the agencies of the Federal Government have become weapons against the citizenry.  With Lois Lerner and the 501 (C) (3) debacle still ongoing at the IRS, this concern about government weaponizing has only strengthened.  Yet, what do we find from politicians on both sides of the aisle; crickets, platitudes, double-speak, and an attitude of not caring.  What do we see from state and local government officials who are in a position to protect the citizen from run-away government, even less.  With the proposed legislation being kicked around, granting money to a Federal Agency with a history of sleight of hand, deviousness, and abuse of power, seems to be the worst mistake possible.  Why are the legislatures not taking the IRS to task and scrutinizing them more closely, ending the farrago of Lois Lerner and holding real people accountable for real crimes?

© 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.

The Proper and Improper Role of Government: Chapter 4 – Tax Freedom Day – Do you know why this is important?

Working DollarIn 2019, Tax Freedom Day was 16 April 2019.  For those not in the loop, Tax Freedom Day is the day all Federal, State, County, and Local taxes are paid from your paycheck.  This date gets further into the new year every year, and with the amount of inflation seen since 16 April 2019, you can bet that Tax Freedom Day will shortly be in the middle of May or July.

What is Paper Money?

Dr. Clarence Carson wrote an article about paper money and the US Constitution, quoted heavily below.  Paper Money, “… Paper that was intended to circulate as money but was not redeemable in gold and silver was technically described as bills of credit at the time of the Continental Congress and writing of the US Constitution and US Bill of Rights. The description was (and is) apt. Such Paper is a device for expanding the credit of the issuer.”  The credit of the issuer is improved, not the benefit of those forced to use the Paper as credit.  Hence, the US Government, to improve its credit, began printing money, and the problems in American Economics took off like a rocket sled on greased rails!Plato 2

Paper Money only has value when the person holding that Paper has confidence in the government printing that money.  In every nation across the globe, the only thing keeping value in the paper currency is confidence in the government by citizens paying taxes.  Hence, the problems with depressions, the confidence in value are shaken, and the holders of Paper Money become restless and lack confidence that their money is valuable.  Bills of credit, Paper Money conveying the value of debt have been around for a long time, as discussed in a previous article on money.  Why did the USSR fall; the currency had been worthless for years, and when the citizens had finally had enough, the government fell apart.  A fitting tribute and pattern to be heeded from history if we, the government owners, cannot get the government to cease and desist forthwith!

Government and Paper Money

The US Constitution, as originally written, forbids the US Government from printing paper money why; because of how fast the government abuses this power, creating inflation.  The Continental Congress was well aware of government abuses with Paper Money, thus restricting the Federal Government to coinage and tying the value to the gold standard.  Inflation is nothing more than a hidden tax, where the government controls how much value your money is worth.  Every person using US Dollars to make a purchase pays this tax.  Thus, by the time a consumable product has been paid for in a store, that tax, inflation, has been paid multiple times, and the consumer is always worse for every point of inflation the government allows.

IronyDid you know that the Federal Government allows 2% inflation every year as a “target?”  Consider this for a moment; the government wants your money and calls this tax a “good thing” for the economy.  Thus, your prices for everything increase 2% or $.02 every year because the government wants it to.  The 2% devaluation of your money is part of the Federal Reserves’ “Dual-Mandate” to achieve 100% employment and price stability.  Do you see any logic in making money less valuable as a means to improve employment and stabilize prices?  I don’t!  Now, consider this, inflation has hit a this year (2021) and has not stopped climbing.  Worse, inflation is expected to continue to grow as the government prints more Paper Money, which will eventually end in a depression preceded by massive deflation of the value of the US Dollar.  Keep in mind; inflation has become a global problem, as the majority of governments spent money they did not have during the pandemic.  Imagine lemmings racing for a fiscal cliff.

Lemmings 5Josiah Quincy wrote George Washington “that there never was a paper pound, a paper dollar, or a paper promise of any kind, that ever yet obtained a general currency but by force or fraud, generally by both.”   Yet, Congress still refuses to learn the lessons taught during the Continental Currency.  Debts, runaway inflation, legal enforcement to demand paper money be accepted, all of these lessons were experienced by the Founding Fathers, with Rhode Island being the Continental equivalent of California for bad fiscal policy and idiotic fiscal enforcement.Tax Scheme 2

The founding fathers met during an economic period of deflation, which quickly became a severe depression caused by states issuing paper money that was useless.  The founders “hoped to erect a system that would endure, and to do that, they wished to guard against the kind of fiscal adventures that produced both unpleasant economic consequences and political turmoil. Paper Money was reckoned to be one of these.”  Paper Money, without the backing of silver and gold, has led to speculation, inflation, deflation, cycles of economic depression, and Congress essentially stole the right to print paper money and borrow from the citizens unconstitutionally!  This cannot be stressed enough; there is a direct causal relationship between Congressional action, Executive Orders, and the economic problems America is suffering, including the bondage of debts insurmountable and the abuse of tax schemes!  All of which were powers strictly limited in the US Constitution because the founders knew the government would abuse the power of Paper Money!Bait & Switch 2

History shows that when paper money was discussed, the states overwhelming voted to remove the power to print money from the US Government, seeing this as the best method for long-term economic success in America.  “The vote was overwhelmingly in favor of removing the authority of the United States to emit bills of credit. The delegates voted by state, and 9 states voted in favor of the motion while only 2 opposed it. (New York delegates were not in attendance, and Rhode Island, of course, sent none.) It is a reasonable inference from the discussion that the delegates believed that by voting to strike out the words, (from the Articles of Confederation, which made up the bulk of the US Constitution), they had removed the power from the government to emit bills of credit.”  It is important to note that allowing states to issue bills of credit, print their own money, or stamp coinage was also forbidden.  To avoid the economic crisis, the founding fathers were in the middle of when framing the US Constitution and the US Bill of Rights from the Articles of Confederation.  How many problems, and how much lower would your taxes be if the Federal and State governments had simply followed the law instead of stealing rights and powers from the governed?

Facts About Tax Freedom Day

IRSPlease note, the federal deficit, state deficits, pension crisis, student loan debt crisis, and interest are not included in the numbers quoted below.  The following information comes directly from the Tax Foundation (linked above):

      • Tax Freedom Day is a significant date for taxpayers and lawmakers because it represents how long Americans as a whole have to work to pay the nation’s tax burden.
      • This year, Tax Freedom Day falls on 16 April or 105 days into the year.
      • In 2019, Americans will pay $3.4 trillion in federal taxes and $1.8 trillion in state and local taxes for a total bill of over $5.2 trillion, or 29 percent of the nation’s income.
      • Americans will collectively spend more on taxes in 2019 than they will on food, clothing, and housing combined.
      • If you include annual federal borrowing, representing future taxes owed (interest on the debt), Tax Freedom Day would occur 22 days later, 8 May.
      • Tax Freedom Day in 2018 and 2019 was five days earlier than it was in 2017, primarily due to the recent federal tax law, the Tax Cuts, and Jobs Act.
      • From 1930 to at least 1995, Tax Freedom Day has taken 1.27 days longer per year to reach. – I do not have an updated reference for this information since 1995.
      • In 2019, on average, it took:
            • 42 days to pay the income taxes
            • 26 days to pay payroll taxes
            • 15 days to pay sales and excise taxes, not including surcharges and government fees for services
            • 11 days for property taxes – states control this, some municipalities, it took a lot longer
            • 5 days for Corporate Income Taxes
            • 6 Days for other taxes that always get passed along to the consumer.

Tax BurdenI have read economic reports from noted minds in economics that claim had the dollar not been loosed from the ties to the gold standard, America could not have produced the tools needed to win WWII.  To which I continue to claim, as Colonel Potter from M*A*S*H so aptly stated, “HORSE HOCKEY! and BULL COOKIES!”  Having Congress issuing massive letters of credit, borrowing tremendous sums of money, and the economic fallout remains a millstone about the financial neck of this country.  How much longer will Americans pay for debts created during WWII?  What about the ever-increasing debt burden and interest that is driving prices and taxes ever upwards?

Knowledge Check!The US Government has acted improperly since establishing the Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service.  Not just improperly but illegally under the US Constitution as drafted.  Illegally, immorally, and unethically towards the founders, and distorted the intent of the US Constitution to protect America from runaway government debt and inflation/deflation/depression cycles common when issuing Paper Money.  This is the utter truth, and until this problem is rectified, removing paper money is the right thing to do, even if it means some financial hardship!  America can survive financial difficulty; we cannot survive the bondage of runaway debt, interest that sucks all the GDP, and the socialism projects being paid for by tax dollars to buy votes from envious people looking for “equality and fairness.”

© 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.

Did you hear? The IRS Edition

Millstone of Designed IncompetenceFLASH:  20 May 2021, President Biden wants to spend $80 Billion on expanding the workforce of the IRS by 87,000 new employees over 10-years.  Riddle me this, $919,540.23 is the approximate amount per employee; Would someone tell me why the IRS needs to spend so much per employee?  Does this announcement seem particularly worrisome?  If not, please cease reading now, as I will never convince you to be wary of the Department of Internal Revenue Service. However, with its incredible price tag, if this announcement worries you, let’s discuss a few topics an expanded IRS means.

Where is the money to expand the IRS coming from?

Simple question.  I want clear and concise answers.  While President Biden thinks some of those funds will come from “catching tax cheats,” cheating taxes is a game for lawyers, and I want to know what the president means by “Tax Cheats.”  For example, will he further chase the rich people who are not paying their “fair share;” if so, when will Biden and Obama belly up and write a check for all the back taxes they owe?  When will the Clinton Machine be forced to become accountable for all the tax money avoided?  Are “tax cheats” regular people who missed a box, forgot to include some income, or cannot fathom how to fill out their taxes and made honest mistakes?IRS

Until Big-Tech did an excellent job of cleaning OIG reports for the IRS, I used to have an OIG report claiming that the Federal Employees owing the most in back taxes was the IRS.  Are they in the “Tax Cheat” category, or will the IRS employees continue to be exempt from audits and “fair share” taxpaying because the agency is overwhelming voting Democrat in every election?  The more I dig into the IRS; the more questions arise about “fairness,” transparency, accountability, and responsibility.

Politicized or unpoliticized, the IRS is a weapon.

Ziggy - IRS Non SequiturThere is a massive problem in the IRS; the “IRS Targeting Controversy” has never been settled at the IRS.  On 09 Feb 2018, the last non-profit targeting case was settled. The plaintiff sees no remuneration for the legal fees. The government had to admit it was wrong to target non-profits based upon political leanings.  The IRS is hoping lawmakers will see this last settlement and give them a break.  Yet, the core problems of being or not being a political weapon, the core complaint of the scandal, was never addressed!  The leadership in Congress stopped scrutinizing, and the IRS got away with browbeating people based upon political leaning.

Never forget, Lois Lerner, the IRS official at the center of the non-profit targeting scandal, who had contact with the U.S. President (Obama), pled the Fifth Amendment, and none of the elected officials did anything to get to the truth!  I will not allow the elected representatives off the hook to enable the IRS to become a weapon or remain a political animal!  America deserves better and can only obtain better through asking questions and demanding concise and truthful answers after transparent audits and investigations that conclude with punishment for wrongdoing!

Non-Sequitur - GovernmentThis leads to a simple question: Is the IRS a political weapon for Democrats and Liberals, or is it an apolitical unit of the government?  Let us test the current IRS leadership for a potential answer to this question.  17 June 2021, The Daily Signal reports that the IRS denied tax exemption to a Christian Group because the Bible the group adheres to is associated with the GOP (Republicans).  If that decision has you scratching your head, wait until you check out the rest of the story.

From The Daily Signal story, we find the following pretzel logic from the IRS.  The link is live; see the letter for yourself!

In an 18 May denial letter, IRS Exempt Organizations Director Stephen A. Martin said Christians Engaged is involved in “prohibited political campaign intervention” and “operate[s] for a substantial non-exempt private purpose and for the private interests of the [Republican Party].”

A “legend” at the top of the letter shows nine letters of the alphabet being used as shorthand to represent something. In this letter’s example, oddly, “D” represented “Republican.”

Specifically, you educate Christians on what the Bible says in areas where they can be instrumental, including the areas of sanctity of life, the definition of marriage, biblical justice, freedom of speech, defense, and borders and immigration, U.S. and Israel relations,” Martin wrote. “The Bible teachings are typically affiliated with the D party and candidates. This disqualifies you from exemption under IRS Section 50I(c)(3).”

Ziggy - IRS AuditTo me, it matters not that the letter D represents republican.  America is a Republic, and any political action taken can be connected to a Republican government.  Not necessarily the “GOP” as the Republican Political Party.  If the IRS official cannot ask questions, the voices inside his head speak louder than his abilities to make logical decisions. In that case, he does NOT deserve his position, having been promoted above his maximum level of incompetence!  In making this decision, the IRS official has declared that the democratic party does not ever use biblical teachings to reach conclusions.  Is Speaker Pelosi and President Biden aware of this fundamental change in political foundations?

Feel free to tell me in the comments section, do you feel the IRS Non-Profit Targeting Scandal of 2010 thru 2013 has been handled effectively and properly closed?  Better still, was it appropriate for Lois Lerner to plead the Fifth Amendment and not have legal actions taken? Finally, do you honestly trust the IRS to be an apolitical, unpoliticized, and neutral agency engaged in honest and forthright government business?

Details about the IRS.

Government Largess 3From irs.gov, we find the following, and it raises more questions than answers.  Under the heading, “The IRS Mission,” we find the following, poor grammar, wrong sentences, and detestable language and all:

Provide America’s taxpayers top quality service by helping them understand and meet their tax responsibilities and enforce the law with integrity and fairness to all.

This mission statement describes our role and the public’s expectation about how we should perform that role.

            • In the United States, the Congress passes tax laws and requires taxpayers to comply.
            • The taxpayer’s role is to understand and meet his or her tax obligations.
            • The IRS role is to help the large majority of compliant taxpayers with the tax law, while ensuring that the minority who are unwilling to comply pay their fair share.”

Would someone at the IRS tell me, how are you “providing top quality service” when you cannot reach the IRS by phone, the office hours are limited, and answers are forced to come from hired third parties?  I have been forced into multiple-day issues with the IRS Website, no answers, no contact information, and no assistance until I hired someone who answered my questions at $100 an hour.  If the IRS reads this article, that is not how you define “top quality service.”

QuestionWhat is “fair share?”  Using this phrase, the IRS declares it is already politicizing the payment of taxes, as the expression “fair share” has been captured for more than a decade by the Democratic Party.  Using this phrase in your mission statement demands a straight and correct answer in the rest of your marketing materials.  Yet, no explanation has ever been found.

Enlighten me, the second bullet point, how is the taxpayer to “understand and meet” “tax obligations” when the agency who collects those tax obligations refuses to answer questions, actively hinders transparency, denies accountability and refuses scrutiny?  What are “compliant taxpayers?”  Through forced taxation, collected by fear of the stick, America has been abused since the IRS was created out of whole cloth, not from the U.S. Constitution, but the demented minds of a president and complicit Congress.

Under the heading of “Statutory Authority,” we find the following:

The IRS is organized to carry out the responsibilities of the secretary of the Treasury under section 7801 of the Internal Revenue Code. The secretary has full authority to administer and enforce the internal revenue laws and has the power to create an agency to enforce these laws. The IRS was created based on this legislative grant.

Section 7803 of the Internal Revenue Code provides for the appointment of a commissioner of Internal Revenue to administer and supervise the execution and application of the internal revenue laws.”

Gravy TrainAt least the grammar and sentence structure are better. However, having read sections 7801 and 7803 of the Internal Revenue Code, I have serious reservations.  For example, how did the IRS become the sole government agency in charge of defining an employee, controlling the employee/employer relationship, and acting as the force behind employment law?  When did Congress provide you with this authority?

Dont Tread On MeI repeat, only for emphasis, the following:
“The IRS governs every action made in an employment situation, and the IRS has given great latitude to the employer, making you the property of the IRS, with control granted to your employer. As a result, the IRS remains a danger to every American and the globe.  Why is the United States the only industrialized nation to not allow options to the employee/employer relationship, squashing innovation, curtailing small business opportunities, and unequally tipping the scales for large organizations?  Look to the IRS!  Want to point fingers, thank President Woodrow Wilson (D), his complicit Congress, and his executive orders!”

© 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.

The Proper and Improper Role of Government – Part 3

Bait & SwitchThere many ideas I embraced as a child that brings me short mentally and cause some discomfort.  The biggest of these was the support of labor unions.  As a kid, I thought labor unions were the best thing since sliced bread.  I learned in K-12 how the labor unions had ended child labor, gave us weekends, Federal holidays, and the 8-hour day, among other tremendous and notable accomplishments.  Until I lost my job to a labor union guy who took four times as long to complete work, complained horribly and sent me to the unemployment line.  I never understood what he had to complain about, times were hard, and I lost a good job to a labor union member.

ApathyBecause of the hold, the Labor Unions have on government, the line between government policy and labor union influence is generally so blurred that confusion is bred as to why things work the way they work in government.  Unfortunately, every country with a representative government and labor unions has the same problem.  Labor unions are entirely Marxist in their ideology, but to keep the masses happy, instead of communism, we get rampant socialism instead.  J. T. Murphy writes specifically eloquently on the ties between socialism and the labor unions.  Frankly, I have never understood how a labor person can swear they love freedom and America while supporting tooth and nail their labor unions’ Marxist and socialist agendas.

Inflation and Socialism, plus the Captivity of Debt

Public Employment Retirement Costs Are At "Tipping Point"Public-sector labor unions are the number one reason many states in America have seen their credit ratings drop.  The debt of the retirement packages and pensions is a millstone around every state’s neck.  This is an absolute reality proven time and time again.  The pension crisis is so large that Forbes keeps coming back to this topic several times a year.  If you would like a primer on the public pension crisis, go here.  The public pension crisis is mentioned solely because it remains the number one budget item for too many states.  With that much money owed, the debt runs the state’s fiscal decisions, not people, and brings up the captivity of debt.

Look up the principle of “usury” in historical texts, and you find usury occurs when interest is charged on money borrowed, which creates captivity.  TheWalletcoach.com eloquently details how debt is captivity.  The oldest of historical texts, the Old Testament, is vehemently against charging usury of brothers and family members, but strangers being in debt captivity was okay.  Today, the confinement of debt, specifically the public pensions, leads the politicians like a goat to slaughter. But, unfortunately, none of the politicians can find the time to formulate a plan, gather their fellow politicians, and fix the problem.  Debt, to the height of the public pension crisis, creates inflation and leads to socialism, as the government runs out of other people’s money to pay for the failures of previous politicians to be fiscally literate and fiscally responsible.  Add in the labor unions’ consistent sticky hands, and the local and state governments are in deep trouble.  Add in the Federal Government’s debt obligations, and money trouble is a catastrophe!  Please note that catastrophe is not an “If” or “when;” it is a current issue right now!National Debt Graph + Bush-Reagan Voodoo Video - zFacts

16 March 2019, Tom Del Beccaro, writing an opinion piece for Fox News, produced the greatest missive I have ever seen tying the principles of debt captivity to inflation and governments becoming socialized!  Historically speaking, Mr. Del Beccaro is 100% correct that the socialization of Greece and the fall of the Roman Republic are both tied to government debts. However, the Founding Fathers in America knew history, were literate, and they feared what would happen to this Free Republic (if we can keep it) when the government is allowed to rack up debts!  Every single publication I have on the Founding Fathers, and the Founding of America, come back to the bondage of debt and the problems with government debt. However, when the population demands “free benefits” from the government and uses their voting power to elect only those who keep the “Gravy Train” coming, socialism has been achieved in all but name!Government Largess

That fact alone should scare every member of the American Experiment into correcting their government!  Yet, what do we find, the exact opposite!  Frightening does not entirely cover my feelings here!

Socialism, Taxes, and The Workplace

Gravy TrainReturning to the pattern discussed on 16 March 2019, Tom Del Beccaro, writing an opinion piece for Fox News, discussed how taxes are a knee-jerk reaction to “keep that gravy train running.”  Therein lay the root causes for how socialism has been promoted in the workplace and how high taxes will eventually go!  I have written about this relationship for a long time, but please allow me to refresh memories.

In the United States, the Government Agency tasked with employment, employment laws, and employer responsibilities is not the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB); by statute, it is the Department of Internal Revenue Service (IRS).  The NLRB is only there to handle labor unions, labor union growth, and labor union law.  The IRS defines what an employee is vs. a contractor or knowledge vendor.  Worse, the IRS rigidly protects this relationship as a key to preserving the government’s interest (tax dollars) in keeping socialism in the workplace.  Some of my earliest articles deal with these exact principles and the socialized employee structures in which each worker and business is demanded to participate.Gravy Train 2

Upset with how your employer treats you, both on and off the employer’s property, there is only one place to put the blame, the IRS.  The IRS states the employer can invade your privacy, in your home, as an extension of “Risk Control” because your employer agreed to the IRS’s demands to pay taxes.  Your rights, freedoms, and liberties are curtailed, culled, and clipped in the workplace because the IRS demands the employer play ball with them, and your liberties are the price you pay for a paycheck.  Every time I see a labor union complaining about how the employer treats them, I want to shake the stuffing out of the leaders, for it is not the employer but the IRS that should be struck down and disbanded!  Yet, the NLRB will always side against the employer, and the labor union, a Marxist organization, wins, the IRS wins, and the employer and non-union employees lose. As a result, socialism in America becomes more powerful and influential.

Socialism and Mothers in the Workplace

As a means to improve the strength of the family in society, several religious organizations would love to see mothers provided the power to stay home.  Yet, socialism, as a fundamental operating principle, that all able bodied people must support the state, K-12 educators can rear kids, and the government acquires drones who do as they are told.  High fuel prices are no longer discussed on the nightly news because the government needs every able-bodied and disabled person working and asked the media to find something else to discuss.Plato 2

Why does the current president keep ducking questions about inflation; because the higher inflation goes, the higher prices are demanded, and the more people will rely upon the “Government Gravy Train.”  Unfunded liabilities (kited checks) are acceptable to socialists as a means of controlling the populace and keeping people in the game.  Higher taxes from inflation are good when it controls those in society who would raise their heads and ask questions under the thumb of totalitarian control.  If mothers returned home, how fast would demands for improved schools become the big issue in local politics, again?Gravy Train 3

My wife, a single mother due to divorce, while raising her two kids, relates stories of gathering mothers in Seattle to fight the school board and win.  Bewitched (1964-1972), the TV show reflects several times where Samantha got involved and changed local politics.  It used to be expected in local politics for mothers to have the ultimate last word on worthy politicians for whom to vote.  Yet, by increasing prices, mothers had to go to work.  It is now standard for politicians to get elected whose only desire is to keep socialism going, stealing liberties and freedoms while pontificating that the other party is at fault for your suffering.

Knowledge Check!I repeat, only for emphasis, the IRS remains the most influential, nefarious, and deadly threat to America.  America, what I am proposing will be a culture shock. It will turn many people onto their heads. It will appear anathema, all because we, the citizens, have watched the government become stronger and us the citizens weaker for so many generations.  But, the reality remains, we own the government, the government has been abusing us, and the time of big government to solve all the problems from a broken shoelace to fixing the weather has to end!  We must believe, gather knowledge, and act as a conjoined whole to make the necessary changes.

© 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: Revisiting Designed Incompetence

Dont Tread On MePlato has a point, “The price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.”  When writing about the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Internal Revenue Service, or the United States Postal Service, one must remember, these organizations have been intentionally designed to be as bad as they are.  The government worker refuses accountability, shuns responsibility, and simply wants to exist doing as little as possible for as much as possible.

In the private sector, the employee is expected to shoulder responsibilities, share in the companies struggles, trials, and the eventual victories.  Yet, the government employee is the exact opposite.  I have heard it said that government workers are a necessary evil, a scourge, and a disgrace.  Except, often times the government employee is just a rule follower and the really pernicious and dastardly government employee are those seeking power in their government employment.  The directors, the supervisors, the managers, and the undersecretaries.  The staff that never goes anywhere.  Political appointees come and go, but the staff is a scourge for life.

Never Give Up!While Plato has a point about apathy in public affairs leading to being ruled by evil men, what is lost in the discussion are the staff members.  Tom Clancy wrote about how a jet airliner took out both houses of the Congress, SCOTUS, and Vice President Jack Ryan suddenly found himself as President Ryan, rebuilding the entire US Government.  This Tom Clancy novel takes a person into the inner workings of the US Constitutional Government like no other book I have ever seen.  Best of all, he explains the intoxicating power the staff members, the executive assistants, and undersecretaries hold over the political appointees to hinder progress, stymie change, and control their fiefdoms against all forces of influence.  This is the root of designed incompetence.

What is an excuse?

An excuse is a method to reduce blame attached to an action, defend, or justify one’s actions, an attempt to release one from accountability, or a poor or inadequate example of something.  As children, we are taught excuses are like noses; everyone has one and picking it in public is disgusting.  Yet, when something happens, two types of people emerge, those who make excuses and those who take responsibility and work to fix the problem.

What is designed incompetence?

Designed incompetence is a ready-made excuse for inadequacies created in business operations, a method to avoid responsibility and accountability. Due to the cost of designed incompetence, it is generally only found in government operations.  Designed incompetence can also be intentional actions designed into business operations, so the expected functions are designed to fail purposefully.  Designed incompetence is always harmful and destructive in nature, generally will make no logical sense, and will always be the preplanned leadership fallback position.Apathy

Example of an excuse:

    • The USPS is running slow, so the delivery of mail is taking longer to deliver than usual.
    • COVID has a lot of employees out sick, so operations are slower.
    • The person who wrote the order requesting the work to be completed did not do their jobs properly, and the original order must be rewritten.

Examples of designed incompetence:

    • The VBA communicates using terminology not universal in medicine to intentionally confuse and hinder making appropriate decisions on veterans’ claims.
    • The VHA refuses to write policies and procedures due to a fear of risk; thus, when the VA-OIG investigates, the same recommendation can be made multiple times to write down procedures.  The leadership team can escape accountability for failure.
    • The USPS has mail carriers dumping mail in dumpsters, these employees are protected by the labor union, so the employee can keep their job, move them to a non-letter carrier position.

Designed Incompetence Feeds Inert and Toxic Cultures

Knowledge Check!Designed incompetence is the root cause for the toxic government employee workplace cultures.  When responsibility is shirked, the human psyche feels moral distress, and as the moral distress grows, so to does the self-loathing, self-hate, and feelings of hopelessness.  Worse, some people, who have constantly been ethically challenged or morally bankrupt, will use these feelings of self-loathing to capture power.  Once captured, the power becomes a drug, and that drug is highly addictive.  Thus, a self-fulfilling prophecy from Plato becomes true, “Apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.”  The more the morally bankrupt and ethically challenged win power, the bigger an example to others of how to obtain power in government they become.  But the remaining people who do not receive power are left with a toxic workplace, full of inert people.  Motivating inert people in a toxic culture, who are already feeling the stress of acting morally indifferent will leave multi-generational scars on the workforce.

An important point that requires mentioning, “it is not for the lack of money or technology to pinpoint abuses and problems with employees; it is all the inertia of the leadership towards action and the toxic culture which allows and encourages pushing the boundaries that are killing veterans in the VA.”  The same is true for any of the alphabet agencies created by the Federal Government, state government, and local government.  Walk into a DMV and tell me if you cannot sense a toxic and inert culture is driving down customer service levels.  Walk into a welfare office and tell me the people working one side of the counter are not inert.  Worse, walk into any IRS field office and tell me how you feel being around the morally bankrupt and ethically challenged.Plato 2

I met some school board officials in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and was appalled at the lack of ethics and morals they displayed.  Judges and lawyers are driving drink and skating accountability because of their positions and so much more.  All because the designed incompetence in government promotes those who have the least reason and ability to be promoted.  Plato is absolutely correct, “The punishment which the wise suffer, who refuse to take part in the government, is to live under the government of worse men.”  For too long, government employees have been allowed to run the asylum while the best and brightest pursue goals in the private sector.  If America is to win back her government, the citizen must stand and boldly proclaim “NO!” and then get into government service to change the toxic and inert cultures.

Plato might have been mentioning the following about elected officials, but I find it apt and applicable to the designed incompetence by the staff members, “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up governed by your inferiors.”  The first time I met my director as a VA employee, I knew two things, she hated me, and I was doomed to suffer under her inadequacies.  Both of which came true over the following 360-days.  The intransigency of the leadership in administrative positions at the VA is frightening.  Ending these abuses of power is the preeminent position of every citizen in every democratically elected society.

Plato 3The scourge of designed incompetence must end.  If this means eating soup with a knife, then we must eat the bowl of soup to the dregs.  But, we must act if we are to save our countries from the politicians and the staff that have infested our governments!

© 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.