Spending Insanely While the Economy Collapses
America this year celebrates the 235th anniversary of its Declaration of Independence and the 223rd anniversary of its Constitution. By most indications, it is a nation in decline. Its original values and virtues are being jettisoned, a sign of internal rot. The passage of a law legalizing same-sex marriage in New York is just one example. New York becomes the sixth state to do so.
Families are regarded as the keystone to a healthy society. When they begin to disintegrate or are redefined, a range of social problems can be expected to ensue.
The Census Bureau recently announced that married couples no longer head a majority of families in the United States. They now represent only 48% of households, based on data from the 2010 census. It is the first time this has ever occurred.
The 2008-2009 financial crisis was a wake-up call. The nation has been through such crises in the past including the Great Depression from 1929 until the start of World War Two in 1941. The present administration, Congress, and Federal Reserve have responded in much the same way they did in the past and, not surprisingly, the economy has not responded to a flood of “quantitative easing”, governmental make-work programs, and similar efforts.
As Ronald Reagan told us, government is not the answer, government is the problem.
Let me share just a few examples of what is so terribly wrong.
The U.S. Department of Transportation cancelled a $1.2 million federal highway program that would have sent employees on a 17-day globe-trotting journey “to photograph different billboards” after ABC News told the Department it planned to air a report on it. The program has been around for a decade, allegedly to study how other countries handle their major highway networks, motorcycle safety, managing pavement, and “adapting to climate change.”
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development recently announced the awarding of $26.7 million in “sweat equity” grants to produce at least 1,500 affordable homes for low-income individuals and families. Grants were made at a time when there is an abundance of homes in the marketplace that have been emptied by foreclosure or the decision to walk away from them because the mortgage costs more than the decreased value of the home. A total of four cities received these grants. This same department handed out more than $31 million in grants to public housing authorities, resident associations, and non-profit organizations. It appears to be a lame effort to keep people on payrolls at a time of growing unemployment.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is giving $60 million in the form of $20 million each to three public universities in Florida, Iowa, and Idaho (the first two States have political importance in the forthcoming election) as a “major scientific investment in studying the effects of climate change on agriculture and forest production.”
Climate change is the new way of describing “global warming.” At a time when an estimated 14 million Americans are out of work, the USDA is enriching professors of tree physiology and claiming that climate change will increase levels of food contamination “from chemicals,” such as the ones used to actually grow crops and protect them against weeds and insect depredation.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, through its Forest Service Awards, has given away nearly $3 million for “renewable energy projects” at the same time the administration has tapped the Strategic Oil Reserve -- intended for use only for emergencies such as Hurricane Katrina -- in a lame effort to lower prices at the gas pump. Secretary Tom Vilsack claimed that “biomass is a vital part of America’s clean energy future,” while Congress was voting to discontinue subsidies to ethanol producers that were costing Americans billions.
These are just three government departments that are giving away millions for useless, politically-motivated, grants and programs that drain the public treasury. The news, however, gets worse.
Wayne Crews, a vice president of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, is an expert on the impact of federal government regulation of business and industry. He recently noted that the federal government “is on track to spend more than $3.5 trillion this year. What most people don’t know is that government costs about fifty percent more than what it spends. That’s because complying with federal regulations costs an addition $1.75 trillion—nearly an eighth of GDP. And almost none of that cost appears on the budget.”
At the end of 2009, the Code of Federal Regulations was 157,974 pages long, Crews said. "In 2010, 3,752 new rules hit the books—equivalent to a new regulation coming into effect every 2 hours and 20 minutes, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.”
While Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke was telling reporters he had no idea why the economy was stalled, growing at an appalling rate of just over 1 percent annually, the government was continuing to throw money away in the name of climate change, a green economy, and countless other giveaway programs labeled “discretionary spending.”
The author, Ayn Rand, warned that, “When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion—when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing -- when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors -- when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you -- when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice -- you may know that your society is doomed.”