If our media worked to inform the people – instead of electing Democrats,
the Stimulus Plan of 2009 would go down in history with the $500
jet-fighter toilet seat. It would be remembered as our modern Teapot Dome
Scandal. It would go down in history as one of the most pathetically
wasteful and corrupt government programs ever spawned. Sixteen Billion
dollars of initial spending have been analyzed for effect. Thirty-thousand and eighty-three new workers have joined the workforce as
a result of these efforts.
Vice President Joe Biden shows surprising humility when he describes this
as better than expected. If I were Joe Biden, my personal expectations
would remain pretty low as well, but this is patently ridiculous. By any
fair and objective means of evaluation, this program has careened past
Failure-Land; afar into the darkling plain of Clusterkfuc Morder!
Measuring the effects of stimulus against the same efficiency standards
used to rate major defense contractors gives us a snapshot view of just
how rapidly our stimulus dollars are going up in smoke. When the Defense
Contract management Agency evaluates the cost effectiveness of a defense
contractor, they look closely at how much the contract costs per hour of
After subtracting off material costs, they look at the actual salary being
paid to the worker, and then they look at the costs that have nothing to
do with that salary. The percent of costs that have nothing to do with
paying for labor performed are termed overhead. The total cost of labor
per hour is called the fully-burdened labor rate. The percent of that
cost that is for stuff other than salaries is termed in shorthand the wrap
Assuming the stimulus plan isn’t buying wholesale lots of raw materials
for industrial plants, the material costs are negligible. They’ve spent
the $16Bn in question on hiring people and on other stuff that goes into
the wrap rate. To put 30K to work at $16Bn implies approximately $500,000
in spending per individual hired. (I’m being nice this morning, the
unrounded figure is less flattering.)
In 2007, the median US income tallied approximately $50,000. If the typical stimulus job is about at this salary, we get a wrap rate of 900%! Defense contractors will feel the wrath of Uncle Sam for rates over 300%. Our stimulus plan is performing three times worse than the level of contract performance that helps get weapon systems terminated.
Realistically, the programs in question probably gold-plate these salaries
a wee-bit. A case where the average stimulus job pays $100,000 a year to
people for not showing up in unemployment stats and making Congress look
bad, would imply a wrap rate of only 400%. A contractor who knew
Jim Moran or Jack Murtha would indubitably be allowed to continue
“working” at that scale of waste, fraud and abuse.
Typically, the truth lands somewhere between the extremes. Nationwide,
the median adjusted base pay for a federal government worker equals
$60,000 in rough order of magnitude terms. Fedsmith.com gets more specific.
So, according to OPM, here is the median adjusted base pay for
Executive branch (non-postal) employees as of March 2006:$60,636.
So we take the $500,000 figure apart and assume stimulus workers have my
rough approximation of the median government salary. This gives us $60K
in actual stimulus and $440K in overhead. Our overhead percent comes in
at 733.33%. Keep in mind once Boeing or Martin-Marietta get over 300%;
these guys are profiteering scumbags! Only in the magical kingdom of Joe
Biden’s head could a 733.33% wrap-rate equal anything other than “what was
my attorney’s phone number again?”
This vastly ineluctable kfuctitude befuddles your humble blogging
correspondent’s pedestrian mind. It probably fries circuits on smarter
models than Little, Old Moi. I’ve been a loyal Washington Redskins fan
for decades and still can’t figure out how Biden’s Boyoes managed to
perform this poorly.
Yet, to read Thomas Friedman, to read Paul Krugman, and to read Robert
Reich, we need more stimulus. We’d do better subsidizing Tony Montana
from Scarface. That guy put people to work on every street corner.
The turnover rate was high, the working conditions left much to be
desired. However, the .45 Caliber Lean Six Sigma initiatives insured that
his employees were good stewards of the company product.
What this stimulus program does is enshrine inefficiency as the officially
approved American business model. Massive government largess is now how
things don’t get done in business today. Absent a major electoral
turnover, there will never be any penalty for doing twice as poorly at
stewardship as a major defense contractor libel to be judged fraudulent or
indolent by officially published standard.
Former Democratic Presidential Candidate Michael Dukakis once proposed
voting in an upcoming election based on competence; not ideology. I
personally don’t have to go that route. I hate Barack Obama’s ideology as
well as Joe Biden’s professional standards of negligence.
But if you straddle the fence on Lib Vs Con type stuff, ask yourself a
very important question. How long can an organization of any type, on any
scale, under any conditions expect to survive if it spends $25 to obtain
$3 of useful value on a daily basis? People will argue contra that Rahm
Emanuel and others of his ilk, are among the most competent sharks
swimming in a vicious, primordial political ocean.
I remind these people that the authors of our government’s liability for
negligence rules lumped waste, fraud and abuse in the same category for
intelligent reasons. At the end of the day, they all have the same
effect. It doesn’t matter how the Kansas City Chiefs got to 0-5. It
doesn’t matter how people got roped into investing with Bernie Madoff.
Regardless of the causal vectors, the Obama Administration still spends
$25 of stimulus money to get $3 of useful result. You don’t have really
care whether Rush Limbaugh ever owns an NFL team to understand that this
pathway leads to darkness. You don’t have to think Michael Steele is
making the GOP all down wit’ it and fly to understand that the Democrats
will never perform any better than $25 of stimulus spending to generate $3
of useful performance until reality kicks their rectums good and hard.
If this election isn’t about anything else. If we truly don’t care
whether Iran gets the capability to burn Jerusalem off the face of the
planet, this election is about what management model pervades American
society. We cannot be as wasteful as General Motors and avert tragedy.
The Federal Government cannot continue to spend $25 and get back $3 in
return. There is no Mommy around to make this all better when it blows up
in our faces. DCMA has no authority to audit this terrible stimulus
program or to reprimand the cretins who executed it with almost
intentional lack of precision. We, the voters, have that power. In 2012
we must use it.
A wrap-rate of 733.33% is not just some abstruse statistic. It is a
symptom of a nation dying in a state of ill-grace. A nation worthy of a
one-way ticket to Hell. Redemption comes from firing these idiots.
Redemption can come in 2012.