"The most significant threat to our national security is our debt," Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, August 27,2010


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Seduction

Please click on and read this article entitled “Feds outline plan to nurse Great Lakes to health” http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_14442676?source=searchles

Is this “plan” good government? When you read it did you think, “Boy, good idea; let’s get going.” Or did you think, “Is it just another spending plan? Is it designed to seduce a variety of audiences to rally around it and support it? Is it something the national government should embrace? Is it a power the people and states designated to the national government?”

What does government seduction look like? Let’s look at the above example. TheFundamentals thinks this "Great Lakes" example is representative of the process of seduction and greed that lead to promiscuity that leads to deficits = debt = destruction. So, we offer this “Great Lakes” example as a case study.

What are the characteristics of a government seduction plan?

1. Noble idea: rescue the Great Lakes. Great plan objective: save 20% of the “world’s” fresh water supply. Ideal concept: leave the Lakes better for the next generation. Backed up by apparent facts and statistics: protection of 100,000 acres of wetlands and a 40% reduction in the rate at which invasive species are discovered. We’ll come back to this obvious word parsing – think Clinton and his famous “it depends on the definition of “is” comment. Quotes from important people: well, the head of EPA is important to some people. If you read the article you will recognize that this seduction example contains all the necessary characteristics of a really good government seduction plan. There’s more.

2. Inclusion. A great seduction plan will always be inclusive. It does not appeal to one or two audiences. It appeals to ten, twenty, maybe even fifty audiences. In the article there is a key sentence – “The 41-page plan sets out ecological targets and specific actions to be taken by 16 federal agencies working with state, local and tribal governments and private groups.”

Sixteen federal agencies. State, local, tribal and private governments and groups. So, now the hook is set. Noble plan. Terrific objectives. Everybody is going to be included. Let’s get going.

3. Wait, there is still more to the seduction process. What is that you say? MONEY. Lots of money. We’re not talking a million or two. We’re talking a billion or two. A million or two won’t catch the eye of most bureaucrats, politicians and special interest groups so go for the big numbers. Billions always catch their attention.

4. Special interests. Keep them in the background. Don’t mention them. Stay on message. Stick with the ideals, the noble aspects. No need to mention the people who will really benefit. Who are they? You name it. Contractors. Consultants. Lawyers. Unions. See #2 above. SIXTEEN Federal Agencies will benefit. Note the subtle use of “private groups.” That list will be legion. They are the ones who have already planted their seed in the government agency receptacles. They are already figuring out how to get their piece of the programs billions. And they know that the spending estimate of $2.2 billion is just the beginning. They know that history tells them that this project will end up consuming 6 or 8 billion when it is done if it’s ever done. And they know that no one will be measuring results. No one will be saying stop. Eight or ten years from now someone will suggest a new program to deal with “rescuing the Great Lakes.”

5. Avoid any measurement or detail objectives. Government seduction plans are not measurable; they are way too important to be subject to examination. Avoid any form of public accounting. Avoid any employment of outside auditors to follow expenditures and measure results. Avoid accountability. Seduction and promiscuity are not exactly consistent with accountability. Parse the words. Don’t say there will be no Asian carp in the Great Lakes by 2014. Say that there will be a 40% reduction in the discovery rate of invasive species. Who knows what the heck that means? It means nothing. It can’t be measured. Remember creating and saving four million jobs? You can’t measure jobs saved. Make it vague. We’ll make up something later if anyone even cares.

So there you have it. When you read the article were you seduced? Or were you skeptical?

Couple of closing comments. Is financial seduction legal? Probably not but no one who can stop it is either interested in stopping it or is held accountable for not stopping it. The government machine of politicians, bureaucrats and special interests live for these seduction plans. Judges, who should make the aforementioned live within the constitution just don’t have the cojones to do their job and face down the legislators who can cut off funding for the judiciary. The constitution is quite clear in enumerating 18 activities for the national government. Distributing money to the states, tribes, local government and private parties is not one of the enumerated powers. The members of congress and the president all take an oath to defend and uphold the constitution. Vagueness in the wording of the constitution has been used by thousands of elected officials and judges to disregard their limited powers and expand their activities into massive wasteful spending that now threaten the very republic they are sworn to support.

The size and power and armaments now held by the government seduction machine may no longer be controllable by “We the People.”  There is going to be an inevitable clash over the deficits and the debt.  But complaining will do naught to deal with this mess.  There are so many beneficiaries of government seduction plans and greed fulfillment that it may be too late to enact corrective measures.  Remember, these activities do not exist without public funds.  Public funds come via taxes and debt.  If you want to put an end to wasteful spending, the funds must be cut off.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thefundamentals is a great site. Topics appear to be well researched and written. Also they generally reflect my views. Who sponsors the site, any history? Keep them coming.

However, I was not in total agreement with the seduction article. In my opinion, monies would be well spent to address Great Lake environmental issues - assuming that there are quantifiable goals associated with the spending. I live close to Lake Michigan and am very sympathetic to ecology issues concerning the Great Lakes. Maybe this is part of the seduction. If you want a good read on this topic get a copy of Pandora Locks by Jeff Alexander. It is quite informative and one of his conclusions is that the Coast Guard is to a large extent responsible for the invasive species in the Great Lakes.

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