June 26, 2013

“Waste, Fraud, and Abuse”

By In Politics

“Waste, Fraud, and Abuse.” That is the blessed triad of targets for all politicians who, perhaps for the first time, are going to start taking “things real serious” when it comes to budgets. Forgetting of course the politicians’ own participation in leading the deficits and national debt levels to the place where they currently stand.

The State gains power by spending. They have three sources of the money that can be spent on their mischievous meddling in society and economy. The first, of course, is outright looting the taxpayer. Like a highwayman, the State gives the victim an ultimatum: pay up, or face a consequence. The second is by choosing to spend now, and loot the victim later. In this vein, the State borrows money to be paid back, plus interest, by the helpless children of the current voting base. The last is hidden. It is tax-via-inflation. That is, printing money, which will be felt later in the form of higher prices.

Amidst the trillion dollar expenditures, the State has a self-proclaimed category which it has courageously labeled “Waste, Fraud, and Abuse;” therein shallowly admitting that the great “leaders” [sic for rulers] of the country are actually not angels, despite all their claims and melodrama which are otherwise put forward to convince the hapless population of the opposite.

When the phrase “Waste, Fraud, and Abuse” is offered to the press, the ruler is making an investment. They admit they are not perfect now, so that in six months, they can point to the announcement and declare that they, not the members of the other party, are the true caring ones. The Mama bear protecting her cubs. It really is charming. If you’re into that kind of thing.

But why must they always focus on the never-defined “Waste, Fraud, and Abuse?” Why can’t they speak out against, say, the State’s most foundational institutions. You know, the ones that have the biggest effect on the people? Here we have a military industrial complex that initiates murder overseas, props up dictators, makes the United States the most hated nation, spends trillions of dollars, funds domestic drones, and spies on its constituents; and yet, the chap who makes the announcement concerning the “Waste, Fraud, and Abuse” never mentions this reality.

Billions of dollars go to welfare structures that make Americans poorer, housing programs which vastly distort markets, education subsidies which spike school costs, agricultural benefits which favor the biggest lobbyists. And yet, those programs, which hurt the masses, are never even brought to the table! In other words, the rulers have bravely offered their greatest idea: cut the programs which have the least amount of negative impact!

Boy, they must have been educated in their own school system.

All this is not to mention the fact that the “WF&A” are, more often than not, the most amusing, the most entertaining. For example, an expenditure which most surely must included in any broad definition of either “waste,” “fraud,” or “abuse,” is “Research funding for a study to determine if cocaine makes Japanese quail engage in sexually risky behavior” to the laughable tune of over $175,000. Or how about “$615,000 in federal funds to digitize photographs, T-shirts and concert tickets belonging to the Grateful Dead [band].” And don’t leave out something like the fact that “[t]he feds once gave Alaska Airlines $500,000 ‘to paint a Chinook salmon’ on the side of a Boeing 737.” Click here for more laughs!

I’d rather $500,000 be spent on quail research than that same amount be spent on usurping the education system. Of course the libertarian wants the government to not spend the $500,000. But, if forced to choose one, why not let the State “abuse” the quails rather than the innocent children?

Without all the most absurd spending, what else would we chuckle at? Must we ask life to be so miserable so as to exclude that charm that comes from watching the harebrained and wacky programs which the State, with their serious faces and tightly tied ties, feels obliged to include in their non-budgets? And must the charm be eliminated while the dark and dreary is propped up? The horror!

These are the categories where the most meaningless and harmless spending is spent! All praise the “Waste, Fraud, and Abuse.” At least that money is not being pumped into more government drones, bureaucrats, and White House staff. At least the money, while not going to a noble cause, is not spent on public indoctrination or any program which the State is proud to showcase.

At least it is going to programs which, if more widely known, would embarrass the goons in DC. At least people know that they should not be taking the State so seriously. At least, when understanding where this money is being spent, the people will be encouraged to laugh. These are all programs which are run by dolts who would not be able to fund their goals without the State stealing from others to hand over to them. It is outrageous that these folks are winning money in Washington.

And that fact delegitimizes the claim the politicians love to spout: that “they are for the people.” This is a wonderful thing.

Written by C.Jay Engel

Editor and creator of The Reformed Libertarian. Living in Northern California with his wife, he writes on everything from politics to theology and from culture to economic theory. You can send an email to reformedlibertarian@gmail.com