From Bob Livingston at Personal Liberty:
Recent news-making events demonstrate that the rot infesting the cesspool that is Washington, D.C., can no longer be contained. The rot is noxious, pervasive, knows no political party and infests all it touches.
The recent events include the scandalous excesses of the General Services Administration junkets — on which even the bureaucrats’ spouses traveled, partied, wined and dined on the taxpayers’ dimes — and the Secret Service’s drunken whoring with Colombian prostitutes.
These events contain a common thread: Federal government employees who understand that in the United States, money does indeed grow on trees (or at least in Federal Reserve computers). They view the American taxpayer as a bottomless pit. They have come to think of themselves as a privileged class and believe rules of decorum and normal conduct do not apply to them.
This is not a new thing; it has been occurring — at the GSA at least — for about 40 years. As lawmakers grilled GSA officials last week, they learned that GSA employees have repeatedly taken financial kickbacks, engaged in insider dealing and suffered from general incompetence. It’s a pattern that dates back to the 1970s.
It’s also increasingly apparent that the rot is not confined to the Federal government. More than 100 workers in the city government of Washington, D.C., received jobless benefits totaling at least $800,000 while still working for the city. Ninety-two workers implicated in the scheme were suspended (61 of those were subsequently fired), and 40 more workers who left the city’s employment before the scandal broke have been identified. Another 100 workers are being investigated.
Federal bureaucrats and elected elites owe $1 billion in back taxes for 2010. Some of them are people who set or enforce tax policy on the rest of us. Remember that Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner did not pay taxes for the years 2001-2004 until the issue came up as he was being vetted for Senate confirmation. Obviously, Senators did not care.
Nor did Congress care that former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) flew home and back on weekends at a cost of $120,000 per trip. That’s almost four times as much as Defense Secretary Leon Panetta spends to go home to Carmel Valley nearly every weekend. They are not the only ones who have done this or are doing it. At least Panetta says he regrets the cost (not that he’s stopping the practice).
Neither the criminal political class in Congress (criminalongress?) nor President Barack Obama, the Redistributionist-In-Chief (RIC), speak of making any meaningful cuts in government spending. Under Obama’s recently introduced budget, Federal spending would increase by 55 percent from 2012 to 2021, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Under Congressman Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) budget, Federal spending will increase 34 percent.
In other words, when members of the political class speak of “cuts” what they’re talking about is reducing the amount of year-to-year increases. They never cut anything.
Yet bearing down on America like a Category 5 hurricane is taxmageddon. It will make landfall on Dec. 31 unless a lame duck Congress and President (whether Obama is re-elected or defeated will not matter) can reach some kind of agreement.
What is taxmageddon? It’s a combination of expiring George W. Bush-era tax cuts and the implementation of new Obamacare taxes. The marriage penalty for joint filers will return, the child credit will drop in half and the rate everyone pays on the first $8,700 of wages jumps from 10 percent to 15 percent. The Social Security payroll tax will go from 4.2 percent to 6.2 percent. Obamacare-mandated Medicare taxes will also rise.
There is little comfort to be found in the knowledge that the criminalongress and RIC will tackle the tax issue in a lame duck session following the November election. They will be unfettered by political considerations: Obama because regardless of November’s outcome he will never again be seeking election, and members of criminalongress because elections will be more than two years away for those who won. They will count on voters’ short memories. Those who lost will be attempting to win favor with the corporatocracy: those large fascist corporations that snatch up former lawmakers and pay them exorbitant salaries to lobby their former peers for special favors, tax breaks and government contracts.
Meanwhile, criminalongress will engage in political theater sleight of hand in an attempt to distract you from their own corruption. Criminalongress engages in insider trading, earmarks bills to benefit favored constituencies, take kickbacks in the form of campaign contributions from companies it supposedly oversees and regulates, cedes its authority to faceless and unelected bureaucrats at dozens of unConstitutional alphabet soup agencies, and dishonors the oath to “support and defend” the Constitution by allowing the Imperial President to wage unConstitutional war and set spending policy without Congressional approval.
Other than that, we are in great shape.