After nearly five years in office, President Obama is still playing the role of campaigner, outsider, and critic-from-a-distance – trying to avoid accountability for the disastrous consequences of his own actions as the nation’s Chief Executive. The latest target of his crazy criticism? “Income inequality”…resulting largely from HIS POLICIES.
More than two months after the rollout of its largely unusable enrollment website, ObamaCare is proving to be an unmitigated disaster. This administration, however, is not content with merely providing a terrible service very few Americans actually want – it is also dedicated to wasting hundreds of millions of dollars in the process.
According to reports from two industry experts, HealthCare.gov could have been produced for as little as $5 million. Instead, even CNN’s conservative estimate puts the site’s cost at more than $300 million.
“It’s not rocket science,” said technology professional David Kennedy. As CEO of security firm TrustedSec, Kennedy has been a vocal critic of the HealthCare.gov in the past. He recently reported that the site’s security risks are greater than ever before.
Continuing in his interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity, Kennedy said that “you are looking at maybe $5 million to $10 million at the very maximum rate” to establish the “infrastructure” and “architecture” required for the site. For that amount, he confirmed, the resulting site would be able to handle customer traffic.
Another tech expert, FMS CEO Luke Chung, agreed with Kennedy’s assessment, complaining that those responsible are not held to task for “delivering such crap.”
Considering the administration overpaid for the product by at least 6,000 percent, one might assume the exorbitant cost would at least result in a completed website. Instead, recent testimony by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Deputy Chief Information Officer Henry Chao confirmed that almost half of the site remains missing.
The aspects of the site that had not been built at that time included “our accounting system and payment system and reconciliation system,” Chao explained.
While the Obama regime is touting recent site improvements as a vindication of the unpopular healthcare law, online enrollments are still far short of White House projections.
Unsatisfied with merely ruining the nation’s economy by destroying private insurance and almost universally raising policy rates, the leftists in charge of our nation decided to jumpstart the misery by massively overpaying for a largely worthless website.
–B. Christopher Agee
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Confirming what has been assumed for years, Detroit, Mich. this week became the largest American city to declare bankruptcy. Following a string of smaller municipalities across the U.S., Judge Steven Rhodes ruled Tuesday that the desolated, crime-ridden city qualified for a Chapter 9 filing.
With more than $18 billion in liabilities and a desperate employment market, Rhodes described bankruptcy as the best possible move for the once prosperous Motor City.
Calling it a “momentous day,” he confirmed the “city cannot pay its debts” while celebrating “an opportunity for a fresh start.”
Despite bailouts and a state-appointed emergency city manager, crippling debt and unfunded pensions have ensured that Detroit remains encumbered. To the chagrin of the city’s strong union influence, Rhodes said he would consider pension cuts as part of the bankruptcy process.
Moving forward, Detroit officials and lawyers will prepare a plan to deal with its mountainous debt. An initial proposal is expected within the month.
As with almost any bankruptcy filing, the decision has not pleased everyone. In addition to opponents from various unions, a number of the city’s creditors are also against the filing. Still, Rhodes seems convinced this is the best move for everyone involved.
The city will now begin selling assets, possibly including art and municipal utility service providers.
Though one of the criteria used in determining Chapter 9 qualification is a good faith negotiation with creditors, Rhodes ruled that such talks would be “impracticable.”
Since the city has more than 100,000 creditors, he said the process would have been far too time-consuming in response to increased pressure for decisive action.
Time will only tell if Motown will ever achieve a national stature on par with its heyday during the mid-1900s, but it has long been obvious that today’s Detroit could no longer survive under the weight of generational leftist leadership. It was obvious, that is, to everyone except Barack Obama.
Just over a year ago, a campaigning Obama declared his superiority over challenger Mitt Romney by asserting he “refused to let Detroit go bankrupt.” Apparently, Romney – a successful businessman who has saved countless companies in Detroit’s position – was right all along.
–B. Christopher Agee
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Winter is coming. The phrase was made popular with the success of the Game of Thrones series, but its resonance is elemental. Even in the height of summer, when a couple inches of snow sound like a refreshing break from the heat, contemplating the approach of winter triggers the impulse to prepare, to stock up. As any Midwesterner can attest, the thought of being caught, unprepared and lacking, in the dead of winter is enough to turn just about anyone into a prepper.
Just like the ants in the popular fable, it’s understood that work done in the spring, summer, and fall is to provide for the time when winter impedes the acquisition of resources necessary for life. As is often the case, this lesson, beautifully portrayed in a tale told to children, contains a truth vital to their development and functional participation in society. The ants work while the weather is nice; the grasshopper enjoys the nice weather while mocking the ants. The ants warn the grasshopper that he needs to prepare for bleaker times ahead; the grasshopper laughs and continues the party. Winter comes; grasshopper dies. Sorry Walt Disney–in the original version, the ants didn’t extend a grasshopper entitlement program to the shiftless-ne’er-do-well. They kept the door locked and turned up the Jimmy Buffet, content to bask in the fruits of their hard work and self-discipline.
The connection between the characters in the fable and the general character of our nation is unmistakable. As the Left’s punitive war on achievement continues apace, the number of ants in America continues to shrink. Much like the producers in Atlas Shrugged, the achievers in America have grown weary serving in their dual-role of culprit and scapegoat. We are told that the successful among us are to blame for the problems we have, and at the same time, they be coerced to involuntarily serve as the salvation from these problems through their sacrifice. So like John Galt, they are disappearing; but instead of retreating to form an objectivist paradise, as Rand’s characters did, many of our ants are joining the ranks of the grasshoppers.
Business after business is realizing that the most important number in the CEO’s rolodex is their corporate lobbyist in Washington. Our bureaucratic regulators have engendered such a culture of corporate cronyism that businesses are forced to fall into line if they want a good spot at the taxpayer trough. So it follows that many of our newest grasshoppers are not lazy bums, but productive bums who are willing to play ball with Uncle Sam in order to avoid onerous regulation and financial deprivation. If Aesop were writing his tales today, no doubt he would include the unionization of the grasshoppers, leading to a very productive “protection racket” offered to the ants by the Grasshopper Fiddlers Local #1.
The ants’ warning about the arrival of winter does not carry the same weight that it once did, when our civilization was more dependent on the agrarian economy. Thanks to globalization, we can still get fresh produce and grain throughout the dead of winter. But the deeper meaning behind the ants’ warning is timeless. Winter is coming for Western Civilization, and the work we do (or don’t do) today will be our provision in the days and years ahead. Our Grasshopper Government has done their best to make sure that we will be economically damned if we do and damned if we don’t. The fiscal realities facing most states and counties, to say nothing of the federal debt tsunami that hangs over us all, virtually guarantee that mere belt-tightening is not going to be enough. At some point over the next decade or so, our debt bubble will collapse, and winter will truly arrive.
But taking one step further, we have a more significant reckoning ahead, if we refuse to make the most of these days we have left in the autumn of Western civilization. Yes, the fiscal realities are frightening and far-reaching; but the spiritual and moral reckoning is more dire still. The character of our country is quickly changing from a nation of individuals who would wordlessly shoulder the task long-thought impossible, to a nation of demographic tribes that vie to see who can lodge the most grievous complaint with their bureaucratic administrator in the hopes of financial mollification.
Winter is coming. The time to prepare for physical, economic, and spiritual deprivation is now. Our government seems to be too-big-to-fail, but we know it is not. There is no nation under God immune from failure. Now is the time to help each other become as self-sufficient and well-provisioned as possible. The answer is not joining the grasshoppers (as so many ants have done over the past few years), but to raise up stronger and smarter ants, and to remain prepared to slam shut the door to the ant-hill when our feckless leaders come knocking at the onset of winter’s chill embrace.
Photo credit: diverevan (Creative Commons)
Spending more is not the answer to creating more successful schools in America. Empirical evidence shows school districts that spend the most taxpayer money per student, especially Washington, D.C., schools, are in fact among the worst performing in the country.
Still, the left prefers to deny such stubborn facts, and their mission remains even more of a burden on a struggling economy to prop up troubled schools.
One may wonder what it is school staff does with their constant inflow of taxpayer money. This was exactly what the Baltimore Sun sought to expose when it requested the city’s school district’s spending reports for the previous 18 months.
The results show rampant waste of funds following a program implemented in 2011, which allowed a select number of employees access to credit cards with very little oversight.
School administrators somehow defended the program and expenditures therein. The Baltimore school system’s CEO, whose own card included a Valentine’s Day purchase at Victoria’s Secret, said staff used the program “in exactly the way we thought they were going to.”
Apparently, that includes nearly $14,000 in catering charges, lavish accommodations in $300 per night hotels during conference trips, and business dinners costing up to $100 a head.
Travel expenses are not allowed to be charged, according to program regulations, though a lack of accountability resulted in $67,000 in travel charges. Likewise, the purchase of gifts on school credit cards is prohibited, though that did not stop administrators from spending at least $600 on fruit baskets and other gifts.
Among the ludicrous restaurant charges is a lunch trip to Hooters – for students! When I was in school, I guess I would have been thrilled to take an expenses-paid trip to Hooters (or pretty much anywhere, for that matter), but as a taxpaying adult forced to slash my own entertainment budget, I view such flagrant disregard for how funds are spent as a slap in the face.
In all, the Sun’s report found about $500,000 in mismanaged funds over a year and a half, with two-thirds of that waste originating from the offices of 16 school administrators.
Though an ongoing investigation required certain staff members to repay some of the fraudulent charges, the majority of this money is likely gone forever, just more drops in a leaky bucket of wasted taxpayer money.
Please remember that this is just one city’s school district, and the mismanagement was found only because a media outlet forced its hand. How many more millions, or billions, are wasted every year by unscrupulous school administrators demanding more funding with one hand and spending like a drunken sailor with the other? Considering how uninterested most of the nation’s media are in exposing fraud, we’ll probably never know.
Photo Credit: nikki.jane (Creative Commons)
(CNSNews.com) – Subsidies to businesses in the federal budget in Fiscal Year 2012 cost taxpayers almost $100 billion, according to a new report from the Cato Institute.
“That includes direct and indirect subsidies to small businesses, large corporations, and industry organizations,” the libertarian think-tank said in its latest policy analysis.
The subsidies are handed out from programs in many federal departments, including the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Energy, and Housing and Urban Development, the report noted.
At the same time, the federal government will run its fourth consecutive deficit in excess of $1 trillion this year.
Read more at CNSNews.com. By Sabrina Gladstone.