Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Bureaucrooks, Terror, and Trash

If you're going to sin, sin against God, not the bureaucracy; God will forgive you but the bureaucracy won't.
--Hyman Rickover

Today, the poster child for "terror" is ISIS. But here's a fact: Assad killed and terrorized in excess of ISIS. So did Pol Pot, one of the most vile pieces of crap in history, but we didn't care to give the latter any attention at all, and Assad is alive and well, with nary a mention these days in the msm.

Next year marks a watershed: the richest 1% will own 50% of the wealth. (1) In my mind, it doesn't take much to see what's going on, but Graeme Wood, in a multi-thousand word screed in The Atlantic, has upped the ante: the real terror lies out there, and its face is brown, strapped and alien. To misunderstand ISIS as fundamentally Muslim is to miss the mark.

While talking with an old college buddy about the Wood article, we came to a conclusion, irrespective of Wood's take: while we'd want to kill ISIS if they moved into our hood, it isn't privileged kids beheading and pillaging. By and large, these kids of ISIS -- and Boko Haram, Al Shabob, Al Qaeda... -- are poor. The brothers, cousins or cronies of Bin Laden -- let's not forget, he was a billionaire -- don't pick up AKs or strap on C4 and blow themselves up. But then, neither do the sons of Congress.

And it's not a simple matter -- as a recent cartoon illustrated -- of providing jobs. Social order is a complex thing. This is why "revolution" is far more than just chopping off -- beheading -- Mussolini's dome and dragging it around. Take a look at one element of modern society, trash, the non-human kind, in a de-stabilized environment, whether seized or undergoing the ousting of a despot:

1. Who's going to pick up your trash, and who's going to manage that?
2. Where's the money come from?
3. How's that money raised?
4. Who's responsible for doling it out?
5. Who does the accounting?
6. Where's the infrastructure; trucks, fuel, repairs, truck parts, supplies, let alone human resources like drivers, mechanics....
7. And, the rub perhaps lies in, how are you going to feel when the trash has piled up after a couple of weeks? A couple of months? What if it starts to smell like a barn, 24/7?

Multiply this by many times to account for the myriad things cities have, and of course, this social organization opens the door for death by bureaucracy. It's a tough slog, but the reality.

To put this in perspective, the Dodd-Frank Bill is 2,300 pages. The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission's report is 500 pages with 80 pages of notes. We're talking paper, TONS of it. The reality is that you and I know no one in their right mind is going to read either of those. And yet, both are related to the most monumental event of our time.

One more thing the bureaucrooks are great at: hoovering up your money. So much so that Cali now has more bureaucrooks than those in manufacturing.

This is where we are. This is what they do.

Why Does Maryland Have The Most Millionaires Per Capita? The Answer Might Make You Angry

The fat cats in Washington D.C. are living the high life, and they are doing it at your expense.  Over the past decade, there has been one area of the country which has experienced a massive economic boom.  Thanks to wildly out of control government spending, the Washington D.C. region is absolutely swimming in cash.  In fact, at this point the state of Maryland has the most millionaires per capita in the entire nation and it isn’t even close.  If you have never lived there, it is hard to describe what the D.C. area is like.  Every weekday morning, hordes of lawyers, lobbyists and government bureaucrats descend upon D.C. from the surrounding suburbs.  And at the end of the day, the process goes in reverse.  Everyone is just trying to get their piece of the pie, and it is a pie that just keeps on growing as government salaries, government contracts and government giveaways just get larger and larger.  Of course our founders never intended for this to happen.  They wanted a very small and simple federal government.  Sadly, today we have the most bloated central government in the history of the planet and it gets worse with each passing year.
If you were to ask most Americans, they would tell you that the wealthiest Americans probably live in cities such as New York or San Francisco.  But thanks to the Obama administration (and before that the Bush and Clinton administrations), the state of Maryland is packed with millionaires.  In particular, the Maryland suburbs immediately surrounding D.C. are absolutely overflowing with government fat cats that make a living at our expense.  Every weekday morning, huge numbers of them leave their mini-mansions in places such as Potomac and Rockville and drive their luxury vehicles to work in the city.  As the Washington Post has detailed, at this point approximately 8 percent of all households in the entire state of Maryland contain millionaires, and the rest of the area is not doing too shabby either…
In Maryland, nearly 8 out of every 100 households in 2014 had assets topping $1 million, giving the state more millionaires per capita than any other in the country, according to a new report from Phoenix Marketing International.
The rest of the Beltway isn’t lacking in millionaires either: The District and Virginia ranked in the top 10 among those with the highest number of millionaire households per capita in 2014. In Virginia, which was No. 6 on the list, 6.76 percent of the state’s 3.17 million households are millionaires. And in the District, which rounds out the top 10, 6.25 percent of its more than 292,000 households are millionaires.
And while not too many of them are millionaires, your average federal workers that toil in D.C. are doing quite well too.
Once upon a time, it was considered to be a “sacrifice” to go into “government service”.
Not anymore.
If you can believe it, approximately 17,000 federal employees made more than $200,000 last year.
Overall, compensation for federal employees comes to a grand total of close to half a trillion dollars every 12 months.
In fact, there are tens of thousands of federal employees that make more than the governors of their own states do.
Does that seem right to you?
If you want to live “the American Dream” these days, the Washington area is the place to go.  Just check out the following description of the region from the Washington Post
Washingtonians now enjoy the highest median household income of any metropolitan area in the country, and five of the top 10 jurisdictions in America — Loudoun, Howard and Fairfax counties, and Falls Church and Fairfax City — are here, census data shows.
The signs of that wealth are on display all over, from the string of luxury boutiques such as Gucci and Tory Burch opening at Tysons Galleria to the $15 cocktails served over artisanal ice at the W Hotel in the District to the ever-larger houses rising off River Road in Potomac.
And of course let us not forget the fat cats in Congress.
According to CNN, our Congress critters are now wealthier than every before…
The typical American family is still struggling to recover from the Great Recession, but Congress is getting wealthier every year.
The median net worth of lawmakers was just over $1 million in 2013, or 18 times the wealth of the typical American household, according to new research released Monday by the Center for Responsive Politics.
And while Americans’ median wealth is down 43% since 2007, Congress members’ net worth has jumped 28%.
Not only that, there are nearly 200 members of Congress that are actually multimillionaires
Nearly 200 are multimillionaires. One hundred are worth more than $5 million; the top-10 deal in nine digits. The annual congressional salary alone—$174,000 a year—qualifies every member as the top 6 percent of earners. None of them are close to experiencing the poverty-reduction programs—affordable housing, food assistance, Medicaid—that they help control. Though some came from poverty, a recent analysis by Nicholas Carnes, in his book White Collar Government: The Hidden Role of Class in Economic Policymaking, found that only 13 out of 783 members of Congress from 1999 to 2008 came from a “blue-collar” upbringing.
But even though almost all of them are quite wealthy, they don’t hesitate to spend massive amounts of taxpayer money on their own personal needs.
For example, according to the Weekly Standard, more than five million dollars was spent on the hair care needs of U.S. Senators alone over one recent 15 year period…
Senate Hair Care Services has cost taxpayers about $5.25 million over 15 years. They foot the bill of more than $40,000 for the shoeshine attendant last fiscal year. Six barbers took in more than $40,000 each, including nearly $80,000 for the head barber.
And in one recent year, an average of $4,005,900 was spent on “personal” and “office” expenses per U.S. Senator.
So the grand total would have been over 400 million dollars for a single year.
That seems excessive, doesn’t it?
And even when they end up leaving Washington, our Congress critters have ensured that they will continue to collect money from U.S. taxpayers for the rest of their lives
In 2011, 280 former lawmakers who retired under a former government pension system received average annual pensions of $70,620, according to a Congressional Research Service report. They averaged around 20 years of service. At the same time, another 215 retirees (elected in 1984 or later with an average of 15 years of service) received average annual checks of roughly $40,000 a year.
If you can believe it, there are quite a few former lawmakers that are collecting federal pensions for life worth at least $100,000 annually.  The list includes Newt Gingrich, Bob Dole, Trent Lott, Dick Gephardt and Dick Cheney.
Of course the biggest windfalls of all are for our ex-presidents.  Most Americans would be shocked to learn that the U.S. government is spending approximately 3.6 million dollars a year to support the lavish lifestyles of former presidents such as George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
1. Richest 1 Percent To Own More Than Half Of The World's Wealth By 2016, Oxfam Finds