Bureaucracy, Politics and a Campaign Year
The Despondent Correspondent
Jim Gschwind, PHD
Yes, unfortunately, campaign time which means more spending by our bureaucracy with the earmarks given to it by various politicians in order to “buy votes” and bring home that bacon.
Why would we wonder why GSA of all agencies has misused its power? Why the VA is such a popular earmark victim and willing participant during campaign season. For most agencies it’s a “win, win, win” as politicians attempt to shower various government agencies, especially those whose committees they sit on with copious earmarks for building and expansion. To a politician, these government agencies are the workhorses of their campaigns. To the various agencies, it is Christmas time and they also “win” with extra funding. To us laymen it would seem like a terrible waste. Except I was also once part of this scene, not once but twice in my long varied career. I also knew many years ago how to “work it” as one of the best and recently though not intimately involved was close enough to see how advantageous government agencies are to politicians and how these same agencies treat their various political benefactors as “sugar daddies”.
Take the recent GSA scandal. This of course if not isolated. Anyone who thinks it is should stay in Alice’s Wonderland and never come out. Few outside of DC and who are not on the Federal Real Property Council (FRPC) managed by the GSA would know that all government agencies are REQUIRED to use the GSA to lease, or otherwise obtain new work “digs” and fewer of them know that the law allows, no actually REQUIRES the GSA to charge a fee to all those agencies for their services…….kind of like a real estate commission. Is it any wonder then that local lease “benchmarks” (an average rental figure) are routinely ignored when GSA becomes involved? I could go on and on, but things are not always on the “up and up” with this agency and many other agencies resent being required to use them and beg for “direct negotiations” with prospective landlords, knowing they can get a better rate as the GSA has never really done any other government agency favors except “gouge” them for rent and services when given the chance. I’ll give one example: Tell me why in one year, the same GSA (Western Region of course?) negotiator in Seattle managed to rent to three different VA sub-agencies (Cemetery, Benefits and Health) in the same landlord such diverse rates as $18, $24 and $42 per square foot lease rates in the Same year. Why were they not all within the established non-serviceable $18 per square foot? The rest was GSA profit.
Stories abound during this administration especially of the politicians and government agency “partnerships” to help each other out. We don’t have to bring up the numerous Secretary Chu and Energy Department “investments” into countless failing companies that coincidentally were part of Obama’s campaign (remember, I said I would NOT call him President….until he earns my respect). Of course during Republican administrations this happens all too often just as it does in Democratic ones…….no congressman nor Senator is “immune” and maybe that’s why so many who leave their jobs become contractor representatives (translate…..”Lobbyists”)... Remember Newts relationship with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and Dole’s lobby efforts? It does seem somehow lopsided to the Democratic favor recently as we can see from Secretary Chu’s shenanigans as well as the EPA partnership with congressional democrats. Some things are more “obvious”. It seems remarkable that congressmen who have reputations for crooked dealings in their home districts such as Harry Reid and Charlie Rangel have so much influence that for instance all they have to do is write a letter to someone for instance in the VA and bureaucrats start falling all over themselves trying to please them. Yet a republican Chairman of their own committee such as Jeff Millers staff contacts them, and their request is ignored since he is a republican (perhaps it is because the staff never “follows through” but only sends letters and forgets them?). It seems Democratic requests are honored quickly and their staffs are more “insistent”. Perhaps that’s how Harry Reid was able to get, not one, not two but FOUR new VA clinics built within a year within Las Vegas (yep…you guessed it…..that year was 2010 and it probably enabled him to carry Clark County where Vegas is located in his close re-election bid). Sure Vegas is growing but FOUR when one or two would’ve sufficed? Congratulations Harry!! Your dedication to “veterans” brought home the “bacon” and helped get you re-elected. L
Let’s not leave Senators Grassley of Iowa and Nelson of Nebraska who refuse to let the federal corn subsidy and support EPA minimum requirements for ethanol fin our gasoline despite the fact that even Al Gore has admitted recent science has found that corn ethanol not only ruins car engines but is worse for the environment/air than the supposed culprit Carbon. And the good farmers of those states should know that there will be “increased” demand for their product as emerging countries use corn as a staple crop for “human consumption” which means they’d be helping “the poor” emerging populations. Also they could present the demise of their own cattle and beef industry (Help Iowa Beef Packers, Inc.) by allowing more feed to be produced for our corn fed cattle. Cattle farmers in the west who depend upon corn feed are going out of business quickly. Which congressmen are there to help them?
The examples go on and on and can’t bore you with details of Energy Department and EPA examples which have been in the news constantly. Suffice to say, until we as the American taxpayers stop demanding our politicians “bring home the bacon”, we will be VICTIMS of this incestual marriage between congressmen and all the government agencies, no matter which party is in power. Both parties are corrupt in my mind and I’ve seen it too often in my Washington DC tours of duty. The Democrats who once falsely stood FOR slavery prior to the Civil War and now stand for “National Socialism” (translate that to Socialistic Fascism which is the TRUE definition). That’s why I’m looking at history to give me hope that only the good viable Tea party can help us with its “grassroots” support against corruption and more taxation. I firmly believe history WILL repeat itself and that the “people” of the Tea party will eventually totally replace the old corrupt “Republican Guard” that has outlived its usefulness. I think the founder of the Republican Party…..Abraham Lincoln would shudder at the corruption among its ranks today. It seems both parties consider themselves “immune” from public scrutiny and above the law and constitution and use the various government agencies to cement their RULE over us and disregard of law and ethics.
Both Parties consider themselves our RULERS vice REPRESENTATIVES and this can no longer stand. It WILL stand unless we all vote……vote to return to the American roots that made us a great nation, not the policies that will make us just another “has been” third world bankrupt country on this blue marble. I want my grandchildren and great-grandchildren to enjoy the good American life I had growing up and a fresh start is the only way to accomplish this. So Please vote intelligently and responsibly.