Fat, Drunk, And Stupid… It’s No Way To Run A Country, Son

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I acknowledge this, up front: that bastion of unbiased impartiality that we reverently call the “Media” has made the debate in this country over the state of affairs in the People’s Fiscal House ALL about party bickering, and the extent to which our illustrious leader…Barack Hussein Obama… is a victim who is only trying to do what is in our collective ‘national best interests’. I “get” that. I also get that the media means to facilitate the dialog between electors and electees… and they have far more pressing concerns (advertisers and market share) than whether we plebes and dolts out here in the hinterland are given the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help them [fill in the blank non-Christian deity].

I’ll even cut them a little slack; most of their audience doesn’t have the cranial bandwidth to grok any real “technical” information regarding how these idiots in Politics manage our affairs, so they feed their drivel-consuming sheep sufficient bites of information to pass along this critically important message: ‘We have a lot of problems with our National checkbook right now, and it’s the fault of whomever is NOT in control of Government. Please make sure you vote for whomever is NOT at fault…and now for this important message from our sponsors.”

Purely unrelated to this piece, I was minding my own business this morning…just trying to earn an honest day’s wage… when, in researching a little background information on Government procurement practices, and anticipated Defense budget requests for 2012 on a peripheral yet (for this article) unrelated category of DoD spending, I fell into a bottomless ravine of data I wasn’t looking for (and wish I’d never seen).

I’ve made it no secret that I hate politicians in general, and the ruling class political parties (under whose thumb we are routinely pinned) in particular. It is very clear that both the Republicans and the Democrats, together (while for wholly and diametrically opposing ideological reasons), are equally to blame for what has happened to this country…especially in the matter of economics.

Consider: you sit down at the beginning of the month, write out your checks, stuff them (and the bills they go with) into a windowed envelope, lick & seal & stamp, and throw them in the blue metal box with the goofy looking eagle on it. You consider your work half done now, and settle down with your checkbook register, figure what’s left and spend/plan to spend accordingly until the next batch of cash comes in…they call that living paycheck to paycheck…or if you’re as poor as me… living hand to mouth. It’s become, thanks to the last 6 or more Congresses & the last 2 Presidents, the new and improved American dream.

Simple enough, and fairly straight forward; live within your means, don’t write checks your bank can’t cash, and pay very close attention to your money-what comes in, what goes out, and what’s left over for liabilities (taxes)…Lord knows that if you don’t you’ll be on the receiving end of some serious jail-worthy un-pleasantries from the Federal goons over at the IRS. Worse, you might wake up to your car being repossessed…or the Constable at your door with a foreclosure/eviction notice… or that kid you FINALLY got rid of (by sending to college on your grandmother’s last dime) that shows up on your doorstep after being bounced from campus for non-payment (especially troubling, that…you JUST got rid of the little [redacted]).

The lead graph to this piece indicates the distribution of Federal spending in 2010 and it should be noted that, as a nation, we spent $3.5 TRILLION in ’10…40% of which went to two specific entitlements; Medicare and Social Security. Twenty percent more went to keeping us safe against our enemies (foreign and domestic), while 6% went to interest on our ridiculous and obscene debt…with the remaining monies going to that dreaded “other” category; “other mandatory” and “other discretionary” both of which are next to impossible to sift through in order to find which items were worth our investment and which were a waste… just throwing good money after bad as they say.

Pay attention: that 34% isn’t just a throwaway number, folks, that equals $1.19 TRILLION. Repeat it…say it out loud…1.19 TRILLION dollars…1.19 TRILLION dollars for “other” spending. Have any of you out there ever heard of the Government Accountability Office? You need to go there, and start being pissed off…YOU pay for that site…mine here is free… but you really need to go see what they know, and ask yourself what the bloody hell is going on around here; you won’t like it. And you certainly won’t like this:

Management of the federal government is responsible for (1) preparing annual consolidated financial statements in conformity with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP); (2) establishing, maintaining, and evaluating internal control to provide reasonable assurance that the control objectives of the Federal Managers’ Financial Integrity Act (FMFIA) 3 are met; and (3) complying with laws and regulations. Also, the 24 Chief Financial Officers (CFO) Act agencies are responsible for implementing and maintaining financial management systems that substantially comply with the requirements of the Federal Financial Management Improvement Act of 1996 (FFMIA). 4 Appendix I discusses the objective, scope, and methodology of our work.

In summary, we found the following:

– Certain material weaknesses in internal control over financial reporting and other limitations on the scope of our work resulted in conditions that continued to prevent us from expressing an opinion on the accompanying accrual-based consolidated financial statements for the fiscal years ended September 30, 2010 and 2009.

– Significant uncertainties (discussed in Note 26 to the consolidated financial statements), primarily related to the achievement of projected reductions in Medicare cost growth reflected in the 2010 Statement of Social Insurance, prevented us from expressing an opinion on that statement. The Statements of Social Insurance for 2009, 2008, and 2007 are presented fairly, in all material respects, in conformity with GAAP; and we disclaim an opinion on the 2006 Statement of Social Insurance.

– Material weaknesses resulted in ineffective internal control over financial reporting (including safeguarding of assets).

– Our work to test compliance with selected provisions of laws and regulations in fiscal year 2010 was limited by the material weaknesses and other scope limitations discussed in this report.

Full.Stop.

Material weaknesses prevented our auditors from developing and delivering audit information and real results? The Federal Government can not comply with laws already on the books regarding how to manage our finances? No one is really sure how good (OR bad) things are because… well, no one really knows where the data might be, whether it was properly tracked and recorded, or whether there might be information that never WAS recorded? Why? Is this the US Federal Government, or is this [redacted] Enron? And these people still have jobs? How?

According to Wikipedia [I know, I know…their data can’t be trusted…stick with me here…], “The total deficit for fiscal year 2010 was $1.17 trillion” and, interestingly, this number is scarily close to that magical 1.19 TRILLION number we just read about. Now I realize it’s not as simple as yanking “other” and calling the budget balanced, but I can’t help but ask the geniuses who are running our grandchildrens’ prosperity into the ground a simple question:

How can you clowns, with a straight face, refuse to cut spending when you don’t even know what you’re spending…where it’s going… or whether it’s even HELPING us?

Five years ago, Government Executive.Com reported that the Federal Government had failed, for the 10th consecutive time, its annual audit. You’ll be shocked…SHOCKED I SAY…to learn why:

As anticipated, the federal government flunked its audit for fiscal 2006, with $797 billion, or 53 percent, of its reported assets and an additional $790 billion, or 27 percent, of net costs, on the balance sheets of five agencies that could not be fully audited.

This marks the 10th year in a row in which the government’s consolidated audit statement received a judgment of “no comment” from auditors. The Defense, State and Homeland Security departments, as well as NASA, received disclaimers on their 2006 audits. The Energy Department, which was only partially auditable due to a disclaimer in 2005, earned a qualified opinion — a step up from no opinion but still short of a clean bill of health.

The difficulty of valuing complex, one-of-a-kind systems contributed to the problems at those agencies. After new accounting rules for property went into effect in 2003, about $325.1 billion in military equipment appeared on the books for the first time, according to a Treasury Department analysis.

As it did last year, the Government Accountability Office cited three major shortcomings: financial management problems at the Defense Department, an inability to account for and to reconcile balances that cross agency lines and an ineffective process for preparing financial statements.

The consolidated report also showed that the Transportation Department and Smithsonian earned qualified opinions on their audits, indicating significant problems.
In a letter reporting the audit results, Comptroller General David M. Walker called for the adoption of another report in the annual arsenal — a new statement that would provide “a long-term look at the sustainability of current social insurance and other federal programs.”

So… even for folks like me who suck at math, by my calculation… 5 years ago we failed for a 10th consecutive year (for ALL of the same reasons) to be audited neither thoroughly, completely, NOR successfully. That means, as of right now, we’re looking down the loaded barrel of a 15 year streak that stretches all the way back to… wait for it… Billy “Bubba Big Boy” Clinton. And I’ll say only this…it’s not his fault; we had the infamous “Kontract with America” kids” running our checkbooks and writing the laws back then. This just goes to show we have a fundamental failure in Government, in general, and it has nothing to do with who is in power and who is fighting over the scraps from the Master’s table to someday BE in power. This is a fundamental flaw in the system; the bigger the Government, the more likely it is to fail the very people it was assigned the task of taking care of.

And, there’s the rub…ain’t it?

Can these clowns PLEASE, PRETTY PLEASE, stop trying to take care of us? I promise you that if the Private sector was doing the bulk of the work around here, there’d be balanced budgets and profits and retirement pensions galore… and the Feds could just go into session for 30 days every two years to make sure we (the Private sector) didn’t miss anything at the State level.

Now…wouldn’t THAT be nirvana?

[CrossPosted…]

[Featured image via College Republican National Committee]

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bobmontgomery
August 27, 2011 6:38 pm

Excellent expose and rant, ‘stack. As to the whys, well, number one would be the gov’t is just too big…. it is an impossible task. We have fifty states for more than one reason. The other reason why would be – economists, financial types, budgeters and planners, auditors – they’re people, too, and educators went to something called The New Math back in the 70’s. They do not have a clue.

redneck hippie
Editor
August 27, 2011 6:56 pm

Shocked I am, too, ‘stack. Here we all were, thinking that Uncle Sugar had a city block full of genius experts making sure our money was spent wisely and efficiently.

Why oh why can we not just enjoy our TV and electronic gizmos in peace?

JadedByPolitics
Admin
August 27, 2011 7:21 pm

The government is just too damn big and it is incumbent upon We The People to continue to throw out the bums who will not bring it back down to a manageable size!

Pamela
August 27, 2011 8:22 pm

I’ve been in accounting since 1976. Every month without fail, I was required to balance my accounts and explain any variances. 99.9% of the time I balanced to the penny. That .1% was either a transposition error or due to rounding. Now, I remember reading somewhere that when the “new accounting system” was set to come online several years ago, there were several departments and programs that were so out of balance and unable to be audited, that the information was not transferred. The “books” were started afresh with a clean slate. The interesting bit of data was that the… Read more »

nessa
Editor
August 27, 2011 9:13 pm

Dear Bank, I received your notice of my bounced check this morning. In summary, I found the following: – Certain material weaknesses in internal control over financial reporting and other limitations on the scope of my work resulted in conditions that continued to prevent me from expressing an opinion on the accompanying accrual-based consolidated financial statements (commonly referred to as “balancing my checkbook) for the month ending August 31st 2011. – Significant uncertainties (discussed in Note 26 to the consolidated financial statements), primarily related to the achievement of projected reductions in cost growth reflected in the 2010 Statement of Income,… Read more »

texasgalt
Editor
August 27, 2011 11:28 pm

Government by Flounder. Now it all makes a little more sense.

mriggio
August 28, 2011 11:13 am

Hilarious were it not a crying shame. And to watch my dear, sweet wife dial up Menard’s on the Ameche over a three centavo error on the monthly credit card statement..

(She’s a CPA with a Master’s degree, years of practice and teaching experience as well.)