Posted in Big Government, Bush, Corruption, Obama, Polling Data, Public Opinion, tagged Big Government, Bush, Corruption, Obama, Polling Data, Public Opinion on October 21, 2010|
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Gallup just released a poll showing that 46 percent of Americans view the federal government as an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary Americans. My first reaction was to wonder why the number was so low. After all, we have a political elite that wants to do everything from control our health care to monitor our financial transactions.
But a secondary set of numbers is even more remarkable. As seen in this chart, both Republicans and Democrats tend to view the federal government as a threat mostly when the White House is controlled by the other party.
This complacency is very unfortunate. Republicans presumably want to limit government control over the economy, yet it was the Bush Administration that put in place policies such as Sarbanes-Oxley, the banana-republic TARP bailout, the corrupt farm bills, and the pork-filled transportation bills. Democrats, meanwhile, presumably want to protect our civil liberties, yet the Obama Administration has left in place virtually all of the Bush policies that the left was upset about just two years ago. There has been no effort to undo the more troublesome provisions of the PATRIOT Act. And shouldn’t honest liberals be upset that the Obama Administration is going to such lengths to defend the military’s don’t-ask-don’t-tell policy?
The lesson to be learned is that there is an unfortunate tendency for politicians to misbehave when they get control of the machinery of government. Lord Acton warned that “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” It’s almost as if Republicans and Democrats do their best every day to confirm this statement.
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This definitely belongs in the OMG category. Bureaucrats at the New Jersey Turnpike Authority are ripping off taxpayer is a spectacular fashion. Here are some stunning details.
Auditors say the New Jersey Turnpike Authority wasted $43 million on unneeded perks and bonuses. In one case, an employee with a base salary of $73,469 earned $321,985 when all payouts and bonuses were included. The audit says that toll dollars From the New Jersey Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway were spent on items ranging from an employee bowling league to employee bonuses for working on birthdays and holidays. It took place as tolls were being increased. The biggest expense uncovered in the audit was $30 million in unjustified bonuses to employees and management in 2008 and 2009 without consideration of performance. One example was paying employees overtime for removing snow and working holidays and then giving additional “snow removal bonuses” and “holiday bonuses.” …Among the questionable legal expenses was a billing for $111,840 for a law firm’s weekly internal status meetings that were generally attended by 10 to 15 of the firm’s attorneys and two to three of its paralegals.
P.S. I’m getting rid of the “Part XLIII” part of the “Taxpayers vs Bureaucrats” series. In the beginning, I figured it was a good way of emphasizing the scope of the problem, but now it’s become a bit of a pain (especially since I started having to go online to figure out how to translate numbers into roman numerals).
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