BY WILLIAM C. HENRY This one’s for all the folks who are going to be adversely affected by the “sequester.”There are many examples of why there should never have been any such thing, but verbiage constraints limit me to highlighting only the top four which I’ll present in the order of the magnitude of their egregiousness. But before I get into the meaty implications of the matter, allow me to digress for just a moment. For once (there may have been others but I’ll be damned if I can remember even one) I’m going to give Republicans credit for almost getting something right. They have long said that in terms of America’s budget and deficit, “We don’t have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem.” Conceptually speaking, they are 100% correct. Definitively speaking, however, what we actually have is an incompetence-graft-corruption-bribery-extortion-thievery-
1). According to a recent Institute of Medicine in-depth study, the American healthcare system’s place at the waste, fraud and abuse trough represents about $750 billion annually. That’s BILLION with a capital “B.” In other words, every year we piss more of your hard-earned tax money down the drain on duplication, over-prescribing, unnecessary testing and surgical procedures, fraudulent reimbursements (private insurance, Medicare, Medicaid), neolithic and criminally duplicitous bookkeeping and over-billing procedures, a government mandated inability of the government to negotiate drug prices, etc., etc., than the entire “known” Defense Department budget! Head spinning stuff, huh? How did we get to this point? Well, if you ask me, it’s nothing more than our illustrious politicos not bothering to do anything about it. It’s simply another glaring example of inadequate (actually, it would probably be better to think of it as nonexistent) government oversight. It’s always been easier for the government to cover up or ignore the result(s) of its incompetence, heedlessness or indolence rather than face the embarrassment of having to own up to the truth of its failings. In any case, even with my hazy math skills I can calculate that this “botched operation” amounts to about eight and a half “sequesters” — a year! Can you smell the bullshit, America?!
2). The Defense Department’s share of the shaving will amount to about $40 billion (unless Congressional war mongers hold sway and decide to lessen it which is all too bloody likely). That’s roughly 6% of their actual annual outlays (excluding retirement costs, Homeland Security, and veterans affairs). Heavens to murgatroid! How will the nation ever survive?! The idea of sequestration emasculating America’s military is a goddamn joke. Hell, our incompetent Pentagon and its thieving contractors squander and steal $100 billion a year! Yes sir, that sequestration is going to be a real military castrater. Folks, we’re talking about a nation that spends more on “defense” than all other nations COMBINED! For Christ’s sake, we’re talking about an unconstrained overkiller that maintains between 800 and 1000 (or more) — literally NO ONE knows for sure — military bases worldwide (and those numbers don’t include bases on American soil)! Incidentally, the rest of the world put together operates about half a dozen! Kick me again, please. We’re talking about a single government department that’s so “squeezed” it can afford to piss away some $1.45 TRILLION (and counting) on a single weapons system! Poor me, pour me another one. Can you smell the bullshit, America?!
3). Then, of course, there’s the $100 billion a year (that’s just the federal contribution; state and local governments chip in another $70 billion annually) elephants-in-the-Capitol-Hill-cloak-rooms ripoff called “corporate welfare.” God forbid we should stop government hand-outs to so-called entrepreneurial/let’s-get-
4). And let us not forget that unconscionably wasteful and, from the beginning, hopelessly unwinnable fiscal and human debacle euphemistically referred to as the War on Drugs. We still excrete some $25 billion annually into that bottomless pit, and that figure doesn’t include the enormous attendant costs of arrest, prosecution and incarceration, or any consideration of the horrendous human carnage of ruined and snuffed out lives both foreign and domestic. It is the undisputed leader among depraved and criminally heinous government programs. It ranks right up there with the Vietnam war (far surpassing Prohibition) in the pantheon of Washington’s abject failures. Its overall dollar toll is approaching the second trillion; its sweeping human toll is incalculable. Imagine the good that could accrue to the American people if only we had some semblance of decent, enlightened representation at the highest levels. Can you smell the bullshit, America?!
The entire United States budget is drowning in waste, fraud and abuse. Why haven’t our elected representatives — and that includes the executive branch — undertaken a thorough examination and justification of every nickel expended?! Why hasn’t that been done before a single job is lost, or a single low income family has their heat turned off? Why? Why wasn’t that their first approach?! Why aren’t Congress and the President willing to do their goddamn JOBS?! Their failure to do so isn’t simply an act of omission, it’s a conscious act of deceit and cowardice. It is an absolute outrage that a single woman, infant or child could be asked to forgo food, clothing, shelter or healthcare while freeloading corporate thieves sip cocktails beside their pools, and lazy, lying, criminally irresponsible politicians and bureaucrats escape accountability. All told, there are well over a TRILLION dollars in annual savings available to the President and Congress. We don’t need to cut social welfare programs, and we don’t need across-the-board cuts either. We just need to cut the crap coming out of Washington. Wake up and smell the bullshit, America!
Let me conclude by saying that the President and Congress aren’t the only ones who bear blame for this travesty. The national media and especially TV/radio broadcast news, discussion and commentary are indictable as well. All you see and hear lately is a parroting/rehash of the partisan shout-out over where the guillotine should fall and how much should be lopped off. Why isn’t the media holding the REAL culprits accountable? Why aren’t they as vociferous and constant about the REAL problem as I am? Are they afraid of the ramifications? Are they worried about their “access” to the power brokers? I can understand it of Fox, Limbaugh and the rest of the right wing pawns, but not MSNBC, Current, PBS, NPR, Huffington, the Post, and the Times. Where has all the courage gone? What the hell has happened to espousing truth regardless of the consequences? Who are they afraid of? To Whom It May Concern: This isn’t a story that’s going to require an expensive, risk-intensive, in-depth investigation on your part. The leg work has been done. The facts have been confirmed. All that’s left is for you to do YOUR part and see to it that America pays attention. Bullshit isn’t something I should have to explain to people in your line of work.
P.S. This just in: The administration has discontinued tours of the White House because of a $1 million hit it took as the result of sequestration. That’s right, American kids are being denied access to the most revered public residence in the country because the current Administration and Congress can’t muster the guts or honesty to carry out the financial husbanding duties they were elected to perform! Hopefully this comes as somewhat of a shock to you.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Fed up early stage septuagenarian who has actually been most of there and done most of that. Born and raised in the picturesque Pocono Mountains. Quite well educated. Very lucky to have been born into a well-schooled and somewhat prosperous family. Long divorced. One beautiful, brilliant daughter. Two far above average grandsons. Semi-retired (how does anyone manage to do it completely these days?) and fully-tired of bullshit. Uncle of the Editor-In-Chief.