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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

"The best laid schemes o' mice an' men..."

Monday, April 16, 2012

Old age comes at a bad time. There is nothing left to learn the hard way, and speed limits are no longer a challenge. And, age is too high a price to pay for maturity. Just as I was getting my head together, my body fell apart. But, I sure don't need to do drugs - at my age I get the same effect just standing up fast.

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President Obama was right when he told bailed-out companies, "You can't go take that trip to Las Vegas or go down to the Super Bowl on the taxpayers' dime." He was right when a year later, he repeated the idea, saying a Vegas vacation was a bad idea if you're paying for it with college savings. However, he neglected to tell his General Services Administration not to waste taxpayer's money.

The GSA, with five administrators in the past eight years, employs about 12,000 workers. Among other duties, it is the real estate and acquisitions manager for the federal government and they award contracts to vendors for goods and services. In many respects they are a 'watchdog.'

Nobody, though, was watching when they held an "over the top" Conference at a Nevada Resort and Casino in October 2010 which cost $823,000.

This reinforces my (negative) opinion of the federal bureaucracy, regardless of who is president. You can cut off a chicken's head but it still dances, and some worms (Schmidtea mediterranea) can regenerate not just their body, but also its head and brain. No, I am not calling fed bureaucrats worms. Worms are industrious. No, I am not saying that fedi-crats are not industrious. Many are.

Obama didn't fire GSA Administrator Martha Johnson, she resigned, and seven other members of the GSA staff have been fired, placed on leave or otherwise removed from their job because of the controversy.

I have often said that winter conferences (these are not supposed to be paid vacations) involving taxpayer dollars should be held in Bismarck or Duluth. Tampa and Phoenix have bargain summer rates. I also believe in teleconferences -- and reading the manual, followed by an examination. No pass- no pay.

Opponents say that if private enterprise can spend, government should be able to. OK, but only when federal government employee perks fall more in line with that of the average American worker in the private sector! Those perks include excessive sick leave, salaries often above comparable private sector jobs, the difficulty of getting rid of deadwood, not to mention the often lower standard of work ethic. Don't block the exit at four thirty! These are generalizations, of course.

So, what did the GSA spend? Just a few of the perks for those hard working federal government employees included $75,000 spent on a 'team building' exercise to build 24 bikes. $8,130 was spent on "yearbooks," $2,782 on canteens and carabineers, and $3,749 wasted on shirts (the last for the "team-building" exercise), all in violation of their own policy against spending on "mementos." They spent more than $100 per attendee on food and non-alcoholic beverages at a reception, and more than six thousand dollars on commemorative 'stimulus' coins in velvet boxes.

In addition, congressional investigators are accusing the GSA of violating its employee gift limit with rewards of iPods, digital cameras and other electronics.

A GSA spokesperson welcomes "responsible oversight" and "remains committed to eliminating excessive federal spending and promoting government efficiency." Uh -- since when?

More wasteful spending by the GSA; Last year they bought 116 electric cars for $4.5 million, at an average cost of $38,793 each, including some from a Norway company, 'Think Electric.' The tiny two-seat electric coupe was to be built in Elkhart, Indiana, and hire 400 people. Those jobs never materialized, even after Obama visited Elkhart twice, promising stimulus funds.

On March 6, 2012, National Public Radio reported the factory is virtually closed, with only two employees. The parent company, Think Global of Norway, filed for bankruptcy last summer. Remind you of DOE favorite, bankrupt Solyndra, the solar panel manufacturer and its half billion dollar scandal?

I believe in alternative energy but there hasn't been much good news for backers of electric vehicles lately. GM idled production of its Chevy Volt, and has a large backlog. Bright Automotive shut down production of a lightweight electric truck. The EPA's recent proposal to reduce emissions from coal-fueled power plants, "Will limit sources for electricity by making coal prohibitively expensive," say opponents of the plan.

With the similar opposition to nuclear power, and the aversion Obama expresses for domestic oil/gas, where will the electricity come from years? Is the cart ahead of the horse?

Don Paulin, 2carpenterdon@gmail.com, 7557 30th Av, Norwalk, IA 50211 - 515-201-7236

By Don Paulin
Been There, Done That


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