A persistent election cycle joke is the candidate who swears the deficit can be brought into line without cutting any sacred cow programs or entitlements, or raising taxes. All that has to be done, the candidate explains, is to eliminate the billions of dollars lost to “waste, fraud, and abuse.”
The theory is either dishonest or proof of disqualifying naiveté. Massive systems create massive inefficiencies, and massive systems that confer power and influence attract the inept, the foolish and the corrupt like the Clintons attract cynics. Not only is it impossible to significantly eliminate waste, fraud and abuse from the government, as long as the government keeps growing, their incidence will only increase.
Every time I see evidence of flagrant waste of taxpayer money, or absurd programs that encourage irresponsible behavior and public assistance dependence on a crack-brained theory based on misplaced compassion, I wonder if it’s even worth flagging any more for the unethical betrayal of public trust that it is. Nothing changes, or is likely to change. The waste and unconscionable lack of responsible government has persisted my whole life, though administrations of both parties.
It is true that this administration seems to be the first that doesn’t even try to be competent or responsible, or perhaps that places such negligible value on those qualities that their absence isn’t even viewed by its supporters as a flaw. Good intentions are all that matter. To me, this is insanity, as well as deadly arrogance and obvious incompetence, but it is the theme of the Obama Administration. The attitude appears to be reaching its apotheosis in the rhetoric surrounding the Iran nuclear deal, with the President’s recent comments suggesting that it is a good deal because the alternative is facing a reality we don’t want to face. Even though John Kerry claimed that the operating negotiation philosophy would be that no deal was preferable to a bad deal, he was clearly either lying or off mentally wind-surfing somewhere, because that is not the way his own administration reasons. A bad health care law is better than no health care law, so bad is really good. A bad illegal immigration policy is better than no illegal immigration policy, so the bad policy is good. A terrible recovery from the recession is better than no recovery at all, so the administration is crowing about depressing job numbers and more citizens on public assistance than ever before. This entire administration and its political culture is based on the rationalization I have termed the worst of them all, #22, Comparative Virtue, or “It’s not the worst thing.”
Nearly seven years of this have turned the brains of many Americans and especially Democrats to Swiss cheese, and that may have terrible consequences down the road. For example, a recent poll showed that 59% of Americans favor the pending deal with Iran, and 59% also don’t think it will work. Hmmmm. Now, I’m going to be kind and assume that the 41% of my countrymen who don’t like the deal are in that second 59%, but even then, this leaves a significant 18% who like a deal they don’t think will work. Why? Because it’s well-meaning. Because the President is doing “the best he can.” Because they really think that hoping and wanting and avoiding unpleasant truths is a good way to live. Anyone who is in both 59% groups is brain-washed or brain dead, and a victim of this President’s acceptance of incompetence without accountability as a management model.
My most recent thoughts on this topic were prompted by this incredible item:
A federal audit has found that some Puerto Ricans living in the U.S. territory have received disability benefits in part because they could not speak English. The Office of the Inspector General for the Social Security Administration said in a report issued this month that there were 218 cases from 2011 to 2013 in which benefits were granted under those circumstances.
The report said Social Security determined it was difficult for those people to find a job because they did not speak English, but the inspector general said they could have found work given their Spanish-speaking skills in a largely Spanish-speaking island. English and Spanish are Puerto Rico’s official languages, but some 84 percent of people in Puerto Rico say they do not speak English very well.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) found that the SSA was misapplying a rule that is intended to provide financial assistance to individuals who are illiterate or cannot speak English in the United States.
Wait, what? Not being able to speak English is a disability worthy of recieving public assistance in the U.S.? Haven’t Democratic administrations done everything possible to discourage immigrants from learning English, under Carter, for example, mandating that public school must teach in students in their native tongues? Haven’t Democrats and Hispanic activists fought efforts to make English the national language? If you pay people for not learning English, more people will refuse to learn English. Ah, but the policy is so well-meaning, though! Kind! Compassionate! Yes, it is jaw-droppingly idiotic, and apparently administered by graduated of Madam Louisa’s Home For The Bewildered, because millions have been sent to help poor, suffering citizens of a territory where Spanish is the primary language for the crippling handicap of speaking it. But it is well-intentioned, and that’s what matters.
In the end, I, we, sane people, responsibility people, have to keep condemning these outrages to ethics and logic, even though they will keep on coming until leaders with the remarkable and rare combination of integrity, intelligence, courage and charisma author a cultural tipping point, and a majority of the public suddenly snaps out of their trances, like Indiana Jones in the Temple of Doom. It can happen; it’s happened before: such leaders have appeared throughout our history.
Even if it doesn’t, imagine how bad things will get if we just accept this incompetence. Actually, don’t. Thinking about the non-English speakers assistance program is bad enough.
Pointer: Jonathan Turley
Facts: ABC News