A politician recently went on national TV and said, “It [ObamaCare] is so bureaucratic and so cumbersome that a whole bunch of it doesn't work or it ends up being way over cost.”
If you said “three cheers for the Tea Party” in response to that conservative red meat you’d be wrong.
As the editorial page writers for Investor’s Business Daily observed, “No, that wasn't some hard-core Tea Party lawmaker calling for a radical downsizing of the federal government. That was Obama attempting to explain how it is that his administration could fail to build a working website despite spending 3-1/2 years and hundreds of millions of dollars on it.”
The institutionalized mendacity of Barack Obama and his administration, as represented by Hillary Clinton’s response to the Benghazi attack, Attorney General Eric Holder’s refusal to give the truth about Operation Fast and Furious, and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’s refusal to give a straight answer about anything related to ObamaCare and the rollout of the healthcare.gov website has driven Americans’ trust in government to all-time lows.
But what is really killing this country and our economic and political future is Obama’s institutionalization of incompetence.
If you work for the federal government under Obama you don’t have to actually produce competent governance – indeed if the healthcare.gov website is any indication you don’t have to produce something as simple as a working website.
Just as it is some Third World countries, an Obama administration job is a guaranteed paycheck for liberals and Obama supporters, not a responsibility to taxpayers to actually implement the laws Congress passes and administer the programs it funds.
As IBD documented, waste, fraud and abuse cost taxpayers a total of about $261 billion a year — equal to about 7% of all federal spending.
That waste, fraud and abuse exist in any large enterprise, such as the federal government, is something we all intuitively recognize, but liberal Democrats and Big Government Republicans are loathe to stop because it ends the gravy train for their special interest friends and deprives them of the opportunity to buy their re-election with our tax dollars.
However, no one really knows how much federal government incompetence costs America’s hard pressed taxpayers.
As Michael Barone documented for National Review Online, infrastructure projects, which the president continues to tout, never seem to get built. He's been talking about dredging the port of Charleston, for example, to accommodate the big container ships coming in when the Panama Canal is widened.
The canal widening, being managed by a small country not generally recognized as a model of efficiency on par with Germany or Japan, is proceeding on schedule to be completed in 2014. The target date for dredging the port of Charleston is, according to Barone, 2024.
And the NSA domestic spying that went on for years in direct contravention of the law and FISA Court ruling?
“We’re a human-run agency operating in a complex environment with a number of different regulatory regimes, so at times we find ourselves on the wrong side of the line,” explained a senior intelligence official.
How far “on the wrong side of the line?”
The Washington Post reported that over a year’s span in 2011 and 2012, NSA employees violated the rules at least 2,776 times. About a tenth of the violations involved typographical errors. Many more involved user errors, such as “failure to follow standard operating procedures.”
Unless those violations were willful, better than 2,500 of the Obama administration’s gross violations of the Fourth and Ninth Amendments were attributable to incompetence, as well.
In Michael Barone’s spot-on characterization, “Evidence of the astonishing incompetence of the Obama administration continues to roll in.”
Conservatives, certainly since the campaigns of Ronald Reagan, have made cutting the federal budget by ending waste, fraud and abuse a cornerstone of their campaigns and policy agenda – but as the Obama years have demonstrated, just reducing the budget by making programs less duplicative or pumping-up the Inspector General’s fraud investigations isn’t enough.
All the budget cutting Congress can muster won’t bring about more efficient government or more effective delivery of services and execution of missions if the people the government hires, and pays premium salaries we might add, aren’t competent to do the government’s work.
There was a time when we might have applauded a government too incompetent to do its job on the theory that such a government would be less inclined to bother us – under Obama the exact opposite has proved true. If the Obama years have proven anything it is that an incompetent government is the most dangerous kind of government there is and that it is time for conservatives to add ending federal government incompetence to their agenda, along with ending federal government waste, fraud and abuse.