Nancy Pelosi has been just such a fertile ground of political class insanity over the past four years she was Speaker Of The House. Consider some of her finer moments:
– When Congress was trying to decide whether or not to extend unemployment benefits further, she made the not quite so sound economic proclamation that sending out unemployment checks is one of the absolute best ways to stimulate the economy and create jobs. Taken to its logical conclusion, her assertion implies that the more people that are unemployed, the more jobs will be created.
– When promoting some legislation to help the unemployed, she reacted angrily at the slow pace of the negotiations, claiming that “500 million Americans are losing their jobs every week.” Since there are only about 300 million Americans in the country, not all of whom are old enough to work, it appears that she counts in a different way than most of us.
– As the opposition to the passage of Obama Care grew, she proclaimed that we had to pass the massive, 2,000+ page bill in order to find out what is in it and hold our disagreements until then. Why we could not know what was in the bill beforehand is still a mystery to me. Is it possible that she did not even know what was in it at the time? Was Congress that much out of control under her reign that they were passing stuff that they did not know what it was? Given that Attorney General Eric Holder initiated legal action against the state of Arizona over its illegal immigration law even though he had not read the twelve page document, it is not beyond the realm of possibility.
Funny stuff, in a sad, pathetic way. Fortunately, she is no longer the Speaker of the House, having lost her seat when the Republicans took control of the House Of Representatives in November. However, she is still a source of perplexing statements and views of reality, making one wonder the same thing that Frasier Crane was thinking in an old “Cheers” episode when he asked Cliff Clavin: “What color is the sky in your world, Cliff?”
Her latest strange remark was in response to the a set of proposed budget cuts that the House Republicans are proposing as a first set of steps to getting Federal deficit spending under control. Before seeing her quote, recall that during the four years she was Speaker Of the House, the Federal government incurred some of its highest annual spending deficits by any measure:
– In absolute terms, during her tenure as Speaker, the Federal government spent over $4 TRILLION more than it collected in revenues. This imposed about an additional $40,000 debt burden on every American household.
– In relative terms, Federal spending as a percentage of our GDP was in the 10% range for some of those, more than three times what most sane economists would say is a safe percentage.
– In order to keep up with this 10% rate, the economy would theoretically have to grow 10% a year to keep up. We are happy when the economy grow 3%, never mind 10%.
The really sad part of this economic disaster that she presided over is that when she became Speaker, she declared that she would run the House Of representatives budgeting process as a “pay as you go system.” In other words, no additional spending would be approved by Congress unless cuts were made elsewhere in the budget. This seems at odds with the actual results, unprecedented TRILLION deficits every year.
So what does she say when the Republicans want to start the long process towards fiscal control and discipline:
“Democrats are committed to fiscal discipline, starting with an aggressive attack on waste, fraud, and abuse in our Federal budget. But we will not do so at the expense of good jobs, a strong middle class, and a growing economy.”
As usual, she provided no details on what this “fiscal discipline” would look like. We have no experience with Pelosi’s version of fiscal discipline since we never saw it during her four years as Speaker. We never saw how the Democrats attacked waste and fraud since they never did it during her tenure as speaker. Obama’s own administration last year admitted that almost $100 billion a year is lost to fraud and criminal acts through the leaking government health insurance programs.
Consider how CBS News reported on February 9, 2011 that Federal government job training programs are redundant and filled with fraud. It reviewed a Federal job training program in Iowa whose director misused taxpayer money, to the tune of $1.5 million, for illegal bonuses for herself and others, all of whom took hundreds of trips to casinos on work hours and on the taxpayers dollars. Another program in West Virginia found that its director illegally funneled $100,000 of taxpayer money to her son.
CBS went on to explain that the Federal government spends $18 billion annually on government job training programs but that is spread out over 47 different Federal agencies, most of whom serve the same people. Of the 47, only five of the agencies have ever been studied to see if their trainees got more jobs than those that did not go through the training. The report concluded that “finding examples of waste wasn’t hard. It’s not so easy to find evidence the programs work well.”
How so very well said. Pelosi and the Democrats were in charge for four years. They cannot blame Bush for any of this, it all happened on their watch. And now they have “fiscal discipline” and they want “an aggressive attack on waste, fraud, and abuse.” Please spare us the drama. She had her chance and she proved that she could not or would not (the end result is the same) run a sane, efficient and effective government budget and operations.
Hopefully, she will never get a chance again to be in any kind of power position, the country would not be able to stand her bungling and lack of focus. Over four TRILLION dollars in deficit spending in just four years. That comes out to over $115 million an HOUR that the government spent that it did not have on her watch. Unbelievable. She does not deserve any kind of second chance. Let’s hope she stays as irrelevant as her public rantings make her out to be.
If she really wanted to see what fiscal discipline and responsibility looks like she would have considered the following steps:
– Step 1 – reduce Federal spending 10% a year for five years by doing a ground up view of every government function and department, eliminating waste, redundancy, and programs that do not serve American citizens.
– Step 2 – aggressively pursue and prosecute fraud in all government programs.
– Step 3- reign in runaway costs in the Social Security System by increasing the retirement age for those that can afford to wait and reducing or eliminating benefits for those that exceed wealth guidelines.
– Step 4 – bring back almost all foreign deployed U.S. troops as soon as possible, we can no longer afford to garrison the world.
As Pelosi makes herself irrelevant, the President needs to be very careful. A lot of the excessive deficit spending and waste and fraud in government programs happened on his watch also. That $115 million of deficit spending an hour is his number also. Unless he is careful, he may become as irrelevant as Ms. Pelosi if he fails to step up and display the courage to make the difficult cuts that the government needs to make. If he does not, his White House tenure might be half over already.