When my wife and I founded WND 15 years ago, the idea was pretty simple.
We would create a news agency that focused attention on exposing fraud, waste, abuse and corruption in government and other powerful institutions.
But make no mistake about it, unlike other powerful institutions, government actually breeds fraud, waste, abuse and corruption – especially Big Government as we have come to know it in Washington.
Try as I may to interest Americans in taking on the skyrocketing debt that threatens to destabilize – perhaps even destroy – America as we know it, the problem is so big, it tends to boggle the mind and make Americans eyes glaze over, suggesting there’s just nothing we can do about a problem so big.
So let’s cut this crisis down to size for illustration purposes.
U.S. Department of Agriculture officials spent $2 million on an internship program. Do you want to guess how many interns the program had? Before I give away the answer, let me tell you the internship program was part of a $63.4 million effort to protect the USDA from hackers.
Was the overall program successful?
In fact, a report by the inspector general discovered the following about how your $63 million was spent: “Specifically, we found that some of OCIO (Office of Chief Information Officer) projects did not meet the purposes outlined in the congressional request for funding or were not targeted to improve the most critical IT security risks. Additionally, some of these projects were not completely implemented, and were not sufficiently coordinated. This occurred because OCIO did not adequately plan projects and determine how it would utilize both internal and external resources.”
So, according to the report, “[T]he Department’s information systems are still at risk, even after expending $63.4 million of funding increases received in FY 2010 and 2011.”
Keep in mind, this is $63.4 million that didn’t help grow any more crops, that didn’t improve agriculture techniques in America, that didn’t deliver more food to Americans more efficiently, that didn’t produce anything of any value.
In other words, it was squandered, wasted, thrown away. And, it’s worth pointing out, it’s money the government doesn’t even have. It was borrowed – like more than $1 trillion a year is borrowed in Washington. This is money your children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren will be forced to pay.
Now let’s get back to that $2 million intern program, which was just a small part of the $63.4 million scam.
What was your guess?
How many interns were hired?
How much were they paid?
How much was spent on housing them?
Hold on to you hats.
The inspector general report found that the USDA spent $2 million on an intern program that “only resulted in one intern being hired full-time” for the Agriculture Security Operations Center.
One intern for $2 million.
That’s criminal. That’s theft. That’s grand larceny.
By the way, housing that intern cost taxpayers $192,500.
This, by the way, represents just the tip of the iceberg in the USDA’s failure to manage 16 projects designed to protect the department from hackers.
But the broader question is what benefit taxpayers get from the USDA’s annual budget of $13 billion! It might even be worthy of asking under what constitutional provision the UDSA even exists.
What does it do?
Does it help farmers? Does it reduce the cost of food? Those might be worthy objectives, but they are not the objectives of the USDA. Neither would they be goals justifiable under any provision of the Constitution.
You could scrap tomorrow the entire $13 billion, Cabinet-level department, like so many others, and the only Americans who would feel any discomfort would be those who are employed by it – to push papers around and impose regulations on Americans who actually grow crops. That’s not quite true. Others who might feel discomfort would be those who get subsidies not to grow crops at all. And, of course, there would be that intern who would be displaced.
By the way, did anyone get fired at the USDA because of this kind of disgraceful fraud?
No, not one.
Do you get the picture?
This is one agency of too many in Washington that does nothing but pick our pockets.
Yet no candidate running for president and few running for Congress even propose killing off this monster once and for all. Some even claim we need to raise taxes to continue this kind of madness.
There is only one solution I can think of to address this insanity.
It is promoting the idea in Congress, among Republicans who claim to believe in limited government and reducing its size and scope, to stop borrowing money and forcing government to live within its means like the rest of us.
It’s time to force government, which is like a drug addict, to go cold turkey on spending.
No more $13 billion paper-pushing departments. No more waste, fraud, abuse and corruption. No more $2 million interns.