Total recall…. Wisconsin style.

At least $63 million wasted. That’s good money that could have been used to create jobs, open businesses, invest, but instead it was flushed down the proverbial toilet.

I’ll go ahead and skip to the end today.  I’m talking about the effort to recall Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. Not only did he defeat the recall vote, he actually increased his percentage of winning from the 2010 gubernatorial election. On November 5, 2010, Scott Walker defeated Milwaukee Mayor Tom Burnett by 52% to 47%.  Yesterday, Walker won by a margin of 53% to 46%. While that seems insignificant, it is actually a really big deal.  More on that later.

Real quick…  The intrepid reporters here at CentsToChange do believe in the freedom to recall an elected official.  That is the ultimate check and balance within a representative Republic. It is also the belief of this organization that regular elections occur often enough for a bad politician (I know, redundant) to be booted from office.  Therefore, a recall should be held in case of criminal activity or complete, outright mismanagement. Disagreement with a platform or legislation is not just cause for a recall.

But I digress…..

On January 3, 2011, Scott Walker was inaugurated as the Governor of Wisconsin. A month later, February for those keeping score at home, Gov. Walker outlined his plan to get Wisconsin finances in the black and out from at $3.6 billion shortfall.

It’s at this point that I share a little history with you.  In 1959, Wisconsin became the first state to unionize public employees. The typical union mantra is that it takes a union to speak for the individuals.  That’s really at the core of unionization.  Individuals will never be able to get a fair deal and only through the collective will the worker be compensated properly.  Now, we could argue the need for unions in today’s society all day long.  I believe that in the early 20th century, unions gave workers the confidence to stand up for themselves. Once the individual believed they had a choice in their own future, the economy of the USA skyrocketed. As did personal wealth and standard of living.

Unions are no longer necessary.  Period. Everywhere unions have a strong presence, you will find higher costs, lower standards of living, and less ingenuity. You see, from a social aspect, modern unions have completely undone all the good they did initially. Unions of today have made the “members” believe that they are worthless without the union; that outside of the union umbrella of protection, they cannot achieve a fair deal.

I put “membership” in quotes because, generally speaking, when someone is a member of something, it’s voluntary.  I am a member of several organizations because I choose to be a member.  In a lot of states, union membership is required by law.  In Wisconsin, union membership was required to the tune of $1,100 a year.

Back to Gov. Walker….

He recognizes that unions are crippling the government of Wisconsin. He also recognized that the benefits package for public employees was way out of line compared to private industry. Additionally, Walker saw that collective bargaining was stifling local districts from making decisions that were in the district’s best interest. Lastly, he found it wrong that a teacher was required to join the union through the force of law and have union dues taken out of their paycheck even before taxes..

You got to wake up really early to beat the taxman to a paycheck withholding…  Really early….

So what doe Gov. Walker do?

He outlines a plan where government union (redundant) employees will actually contribute to their own pension.  Up until now, a pension was simply a benefit given based on years of service.  He asked that the employee put some skin in the game to the tune of 3%.  Keep in mind that very few, if any, private companies provide pensions anymore. In the “real world” people are required to plan their own long term investment strategy.  So the mere fact that they get a pension at all is a benefit way beyond private industry.

If you get a wild hair, do some searching on pension fraud and double dipping.  You’ll see that it is not uncommon for people to work to a certain point, retire for a day, get full state pension, and start working in a new position racking up a new pension.  Seriously…

Gov. Walker also saw health care as a possible way to save money.  State employees only had to pay 3% of their insurance premiums.  Not 3% of their health care bills, 3 points on the insurance premium.  That’s a sweet deal… Gov. Walker proposed making that 6%.


Actually making people pay for things….  Remember to cue the “teachers are never paid enough” song in the background…  I’d say full pension and pretty much free health care adds quite a bit to what is already a decent salary.  The average salary for a teacher n Wisconsin is between $45,000 and $50,000.  Add in the pension and free health care and that turns into a pretty generous compensation package.

Just for grins, let’s do some simple math…  A general rule of thumb for saving is 10% of your gross.  If you do that, you will have a comfortable self financed pension. So let’s say the pension benefit is $4,500 per year.  A typical family health care insurance policy can run $1,000 a month.  I know. So that’s another $12,000 per year.  Add it all together and your salary is now $61,500 to $67,000.  Add in the fact that you only work 9 months out of the year and that prorates to $82,000 to $90,000.  Not to shabby for a profession that has the easiest major in college.

As far as the collective bargain goes, Gov. Walker saw that individual districts should be able to make decisions for themselves; that the local school boards know what’s best for their schools, not the union goons in Madison.  Think about like this…  You have a school, K-12, all under one roof.  The principal make a decision for the curriculum for the entire school, every grade.  These classes and material are taught irrespective to the age and knowledge level of the individual grades.

That’s how things were in Wisconsin under the goon based collective bargaining agreement.  Now each grade is allowed to make their own decisions when it comes to class material, schedules, and how to interact with the students.  Put the decision power in the hands of the people involved on a daily basis.  Makes too much sense….

Now…  I saved the best and most important reform for last.  Voluntary vs. compulsory union membership. This got the least attention, but is by far the most important reform when it comes to union membership…  By far…

Here’s how it works.  Every single teacher in the Wisconsin school system is a forced member. It costs $1,100 per year to be a member of this exclusive organization.  According to there are 59,552 teachers in Wisconsin.  That means that every January 1st, the union goons count on $65,507,200.00 in their bank account.  They turn right around and donate huge percentages of that money to liberal and democrat causes because it’s the left that always gives unions more power.

Follow the money….

If teachers are allowed to opt out of the union, that’s $1,100 per member the union loses.  Read this op ed piece from a teacher in Wisconsin.  Pretty revealing.

Why this teacher chose the non-union option

So those are the reforms Gov. Walker proposed. As expected, Armageddon was predicted by the left. Union goons organized protests.  Teachers walked out of classrooms. And the Democrats ran away to Illinois to hide. Classy.

Remember all the while that Wisconsin voters elected a Tea Party candidate that ran on a platform of fiscal reform. And won.  Handily.

So, Gov. Walker simply does what he said he would do and the left goes nuts.  I mean, hide in Illinois?  Really?  To avoid a vote?  And how old are you?

My elementary school age son acts more adult than that…  Really.

The left predicts a financial implosion and that all learning will cease and children will die in the streets begging for knowledge.  Well, maybe not that far.  But pretty close….

So the left does what the left does best; organize….  In June of 2011, a federal lawsuit is filed against Gov. Walker for his collective bargaining reform.

The left continues to whine and formally announces a recall effort in November 2011. Now, let’s put this in historical perspective…  Since the formation of our good ole United Sates of America there have only been two gubernatorial recall elections. Two. In 1921, Lynn Frazier was booted out of the governor’s office in North Dakota, just like Gray Davis of California in 2003.  Think about how many governors there have been and only two were so bad that they deemed a recall attempt.

So the left organized and this is where union goons showed what makes them union goons…..  The petition effort was enormous.  By January 2012, enough signatures had been collected.  Democrat leaders claim that one million signatures had been collected. I have no idea of the actual amount.  You are welcome to count them yourself here: Wisconsin GAO. My gut says that the same accounting firm was hired for the recall petition signature count as was hired to count the participants in the Million Man March.

Regardless, there were enough for a recall vote.

The entire Wisconsin world was put on hold and the media descended like a flock of vultures (not seagulls, Dennis) for the recall election on June 5. Actually, that would be a venue of vultures. Sorry. So the state of Wisconsin was really a state of limbo as is the case in an election year.

Enter in usual politics…  Mud is slung, truths and half-truths told…  Dire predictions and empty promises…  Oh, and Gov. Scott Walker campaigned as well as the Democrats.

Tuesday was the big day.  National political pundits went on record as claiming victory before the first ballot had been cast.  The same pundits also said that this election will be a foreshadow of the general election in November.  Other pundits said it has no bearing on November. Everybody picked a winner.  Now it’s time for the voters to choose their elected officials.  Again…

The recall efforts for the Governor and Lt. Governor failed, along with three of the four State Senate seats.  The fourth is still being counted and may result in a runoff.

In other words, nada.  Nothing.  Zero change.  And yet $63 million (at least) spent.  And that, my friend, is the true definition of the word waste.  To expend effort and energy with zero change.

The Democrats thought this was a slam dunk based on the number of signatures they collected. Yet they lost.  Here’s a little explanation…  You see, the petitions were collected in person.  Someone with a clipboard told you that you needed to sign this petition to recall a herd of politicians.  Or is that a gaggle? Never can remember. Regardless, you are making a declaration at the direction and under the eye of someone else.  If you are a teacher or other public employee, you sign just to prevent the backlash of not signing.

Then…..  In the privacy of a voting both, with no one watching, you share your true feelings.  You vote your conscience.  This is why we must keep union formation elections secret ballot.  If it were up to petitions alone, then strong arm tactics would win.  If unions are really good for a group of people, then it will pass in a secret ballot.  If not, it will fail.

Back to a comment I alluded to in my opening paragraphs.  The margin of victory.  This is a big deal.  When Walker first ran against Burnett, it was a general election.  Your run of the mill, every four years deciding on a obstinancy of politicians.  Or is that a battery?  I still can’t remember.  I guess you’ll have to look here and decide for yourself.

But anyway… The recall, was a mandate from the irate masses.  Voter turnout is what wins elections. You have three kinds of voters:

  • Always vote regardless
  • Vote when they are passionate
  • Never vote regardless

It’s the middle that change the course of elections.  If one side is very passionate about a cause, they will turnout in much higher numbers than those that see it as a typical vote.  No big deal.  It’s all about voter turnout.

In a case such as this, with as many signatures as was collected, you would think the passionate side would win handily.  Yet they lost.  And by a wider margin than when they lost in the general election. The left, so rabid about removing this awful man from office, lost ground to the side that put him there in the first place.

Very interesting.

In Other News of the Ironic, if a teacher opts out of the union, and spends the union dues on the added pension and health insurance premiums, they still have a net gain and more disposable income.

Interestingly enough, the reforms put in place by Gov. Walker are already working.  The Milwaukee School District is already forecasting an $11 million surplus thanks to the reforms. Of course, Walker was challenged by Burnett, a former Mayor of Milwaukee.

Lastly, the city of Madison, a very heavy left-leaning district, is reporting (unsubstantiated at this time) a voter turnout of 119%.  That’s odd because if every eligible voter voted, it would have been 100% turnout; which has never happened. I bet if they checked for identification the numbers would be a lot more believable.  Except there is no such thing as voter fraud, so there’s no need to check ID.  I forgot.

Anyway….  $63,000,000.00 wasted on a recall attempt that failed.  A state deadlocked into inaction.  Tens of thousands of man-hours wasted because the union goons got their panties in a bunch.

Here is my biggest fear and my biggest hope resulting from this recall attempt.  My fear is that we will have a never ending stream of elections.  When one side loses an election, they will promptly begin petitions for recall.  That will completely cripple the government.  Which, really isn’t a bad thing.  hmmmm. My hope is that when a group talks of recall, they think twice.  They really remember, or recall if I may, this attempt and base the effort on a real, substantiated just cause. And not simply on the grounds of disagreement.

What would you do with $63 million?


And the winner is…..

About this time of year, I start getting a little antsy.  You see, college football is approaching, and I love college football.  Always have.  There is something about Saturdays in the fall that just seems right.  The brisk weather, the smell of a grill working a delicious meal, the pre-game excitement, the environment of the stadium, and the joy in victory or the agony of defeat. All of these things go into a perfect Saturday in the fall.

*nothing like The Flats in the fall

I opine that American football is the perfect sport. I can safely say this because I have played, in a competitive arena, just about all the major sports.  So I have firsthand experience.  Baseball is long durations of boredom interrupted by a few seconds of excitement. Basketball is a game of thugs and soccer a game of whiners. Hockey is at least entertaining, but the season goes on way too long and no one cares until the playoffs start.  NASCAR, well don’t get me started on NASCAR…  Just don’t.

Football is a chess game.  In chess you have a lot of different, unique pieces and each has an integral role on the board.  There is only one king, but many pawns.  A couple of knights, rooks, and bishops, all with varying capabilities.  A good chess player thinks several moves ahead, all the while dealing with the moves from his opponent. .

If you look at a team photo of a soccer, baseball, or basketball team, they all look alike.  Nothing is different on a soccer team photo from the goalie to the striker.  They look the same.  As it is in baseball.  Look at a team photo of a football team and you see 350 lb men towering 6’-8” standing right next to the 5’-6” 150 lb player.

*nothing but clones

And each one is just as important to the success of the team.  Just ask Morten Andersen.  Andersen played 24 years in the NFL and is the all time leader in points scored and games played.  And he’s a kicker. Every player on a football team brings a unique talent that fills a crucial role.   If you think that quarterbacks are more important than kickers, go find a Buffalo Bills fan and watch as they implode in self rage at the mention of the name Scott Norwood.  It’s actually pretty funny.

*in his defense, it was a 47 yard field goal… attempt…

As I said, college football is almost upon us.  Summers mean an endless supply of experts ranking and re-ranking teams.  Choosing the pre-season favorite for this and favorite to win this game is a national pastime in and of itself. Which team will have the best defense, while which team will win it all.

Every college football fan is an expert, by the way. Myself included.  I love talking to anyone who has a passion for college football. I love talking about how I think my team will fare in the upcoming year.  I love talking about past games and past plays that changed a season.  I love the buildup until toe finally meets leather and the season starts.

*the original “toe meets leather”

This is similar to how the government works.  There is nothing but talk until a bill, plan, or initiative is passed. Everybody has his/her own ideas, thoughts, and pontifications.  Everybody makes his best guess as to how things will turn out.  Often times the rules are tweaked based on the previous season’s results.  Herein lies the difference.

In college football, the teams actually play the games and the season goes on until there is an end result.  Eventually one team is number one and deemed the best team in college football. More often than not, the team that wins it all is not the team picked by the pre-season polls.  In fact, that almost never happens.

This is where government is different.  Once they pick a favorite based on the pre-season polling and endless talking, the season is suspended and the winner proclaimed without a single snap of the ball.  You see, the government picks a winner and that’s final.  End of game.

When the government picks the winner, tons of money flow their way in the form of subsidies, tax breaks, and secured government loans. Just like in college football, the predicted winner seldom turns out to be successful.  Eventually the selected winner fails and every penny spent is gone. Never to be seen again. A giant waste.

In this specific case, I want to spotlight two government winners that ended up costing the American taxpayers a lot of money. Solyndra and Fisker Automotive.

The game in question is energy.  The players, both “green” companies.

*yes, it’s green, just not the green I mean

Both were declared winners and the government floodgates opened wide. For Solyndra it was a flood of money equaling $535,000,000.00.  Fisker Automotive was only given $529,000,000.00.

For Solyndra the money flow started in September, 2009, and ended when the company declared bankruptcy in August, 2011.  They blew through over half a billion dollars in less than two years.  And that’s just the government money. I don’t know how much private money was lost on the gamble.

*this image has absolutely nothing to do with the surrounding context

Every excuse in the book, except for one, was given.  China was killing them price wise, raw materials have gotten too expensive, labor was too hard to find and expensive when it was found, global supply was too great and demand too low, blah blah blah.  Only thing missing from the excuse list is the truth.  Truth being Solyndra developed an inferior product that cost too much and built a business model based more on hope and pipedreams.

$529 million gone.  Never to be seen again. Just the Buffalo Bills in the Super Bowl…  But I digress….

In Other News of the Ironic, Solyndra lobbied really hard for this money during the Bush administration.  The Bush Department of Energy deemed the Solyndra product inferior and business model faulty and rejected the application for loan guarantees.  Interestingly enough, George Kaiser, the top investor in Solyndra, visited the Obama White House 16 times between March 2009, and July 2011, including three times in one day when it appeared that the Obama Department of Energy was arriving at the same conclusion as the Bush administration. Solyndra got the money.

In Other News of the Not So Ironic, George Kaiser donated at least $50,000 to the Obama campaign.

Next up is Fisker Automotive.

*wrong Fiskars

In April 2010, they were given an open line of credit from the US Department of Energy much like Solyndra.  The loan guarantee amount was a paltry $529 million.  The goal?  To design and manufacture two lines of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. I guess it is impossible to develop a hybrid vehicle without a huge influx of government money.  Oh, except for Toyota and Honda…

Fisker used $169 million to bring the $100,000 hybrid vehicle, Karma, to market. Of course it is manufactured in Finland and only 1,000 have been sold.  Oh, and when Consumer Reports did a study of the Karma, it crapped out. The car died during testing and Fisker Automotive blamed it on a faulty battery.  You know, the core of the car.  The thing that makes it go.  That part…. Insert joke about having bad Karma.

*quite possibly the worst karma of all time

And shouldn’t that be Carma?

And if Karma was lost without their friend Diego, would you say, “Where in the world is Karma sans Diego?”

Just curious.  And no, I’m not buying.

*not on boat


So where is Fisker Automotive and the 2,000 promised jobs at the Maryland manufacturing plant? Gone.  Somewhere else.  Not building a manufacturing plant in Maryland. At least the Imperial Government did one thing right and halted any more withdrawals on the $529 million.  Of course, over $200 million had been spent and the American taxpayer has nothing to show for the investment other that the privilege to purchase a $100,000 Karma hybrid electric vehicle.  But I thought people bought hybrids to save money?

But anyway.

So….. The IG picks winners.  They spend $735 million.  Almost a full billion on two projected winners.  Both lose.  And in reality, the biggest loser is the American taxpayer.

What would you do with $735 million?

It seemed like a good idea…

The law of unintended consequences. And I don’t mean the leading cause of death among redneck males ages 18-24.

*trained actors, do not try this at home

In case you are curious, the leading cause of death is the phrase, “Hey…  Y’all watch this.”

The law of unintended consequences is a simple social construct stating that while something may start out as a good idea with good intentions, something entirely different can be the result.  This is neither good nor bad, just a truism. More often than not, it ends up badly.

Adam Smith, one of the greatest economic philosophers, wrote about the law of unintended consequences in his opus,  An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth Of Nations in 1776.  He describes an “invisible hand” that can move society.

“…each individual, seeking only his own gain, is led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention. … It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, or the baker, that we expect our dinner,but from regard to their own self interest.”

*not a redneck

The unintended consequence is that the general public benefits from individuals working towards their own means.  It’s like this…..  A few years ago I was in a discussion with a social liberal (there are many kinds) that accused me of “…being selfish and only looking out for your own self.” I replied that I was, in fact, looking out for myself and my family.  She quickly retorted that “what would the world be like if everyone was selfish like you?”

To which I replied…  ”If everyone was selfish like me, and took care of themselves like me, then no one would need to be taken care of.”


Let that resonate for a minute.  If people took personal responsibility for themselves, their actions, and their future, wouldn’t the world be a much better place?  That was the unintended consequence Adam Smith foresaw.

Unintended consequences often have more disastrous results. Social Security was originally intended to be a cost of living supplement to ensure that the elderly had enough to survive.  Since then, many have come to expect Social Security as their primary long-term investment strategy.  The lack of personal investment and personally funded retirements was a bad consequence.

In the wake of the Exxon Valdez disaster, laws were passed that put an unlimited liability on oil shipping companies.  All that did was get the big, safe shipping companies to hire out to smaller, less stable, shippers.  So the intent was to make it safer to ship oil, it actually had the inverse because more oil is shipped with small, less insured, and less stable companies.  If a big spill were to happen again, there would not be a big company to clean up the mess.

*musty old claptrap

In 1936, the American sociologist Robert K. Merton wrote an article titled, “The Unanticipated Consequences of Purposive Social Action.” In it, Merton identified five sources of unanticipated consequences. The first two—and the most pervasive—were “ignorance” and “error.” Merton labeled the third source the “imperious immediacy of interest.” This is the one that we see most often in today’s government.

What Merton described was what happens when someone wants a change so much that they completely ignore any warning signs of negative unintended consequences. Like wanting hope and change so much that a populous is willing to elect a Socialist as President.  They wanted hope and they wanted change, unfortunately the hope and change we all got was bad on both fronts.

The government wants so badly to push the green energy movement, they they are completely blinded by the negative consequences.  They fail to even notice when Spain completely disbands any and all government spending on green energy because it has single handedly bankrupt the country.  In Spain, official unemployment is at 25%. How many more Solyndra’s do we need to realize green energy is a bad investment?

Now, I understand that talking about the law of unintended consequences in broad, general terms in regards to government makes it impossible to put a price tag on waste.  So what we have to do is look at smaller individual cases and see how money is wasted.

Enter in the Buffalo Public School System (BUPSS).  One thing to remember throughout this discussion, is that they are self insured.  That means when a member of the Buffalo Public Schools Insurance Policy goes to the doctor, it is paid directly by the taxpayers within that district.  Directly.

*notice their mission has nothing to do with teaching or learning

In the 1970′s, BUPSS union goons wedged into their contract plastic, cosmetic, and reconstruction surgery.  The good idea and thoughtful intent was to cover the cost of major reconstruction surgery to burn victims and disfigurement from accidents.  A noble cause.

And until recently, that was where the majority of spending went.  It wasn’t until that provision was threatened to be removed that it became a major benefit of working at BUPSS.  In 2004, spending on cosmetic surgery was at $1 million annually.  In 2009, that price tag went to $9 million.  That was spent on 500 employees receiving an average of $18,000 worth of work. Records show that by a wide majority, the work done was elective surgery.  A little botox here, a little nip/tuck there, some skin rejuvenation elsewhere.

*let’s do half now, and half later

Of the BUPSS employees, only 2% of the employees took advantage of the Hot for Teacher clause, yet these costs consumed 9% of the total medical expenditures.

The intent was to provide coverage for people who have suffered disfiguring accidents and it turns out that 2% of the employees are burning through 9% of the spending so they can feel better about themselves….

In Other News of the Ironic, one doctor, Dr. Kulwant Bhangoo (real name) billed the district $4.3 million in 2009, for cosmetic surgery and even advertises in local educational journals reminding the employees of BUPSS that the benefit is available.

*I don’t feel tardy…

The money spent on cosmetic surgery in Buffalo could hire at least 115 new employees, thus reducing the teacher to student ratio, put more people back to work, and help the economy in a real way.  Instead, Dr. Bhangoo gets to keep $4.3 million himself.  Sure he employees people, but not 115. And they sure as heck aren’t helping our most prized treasure, our children.

So…  You can have a tummy tuck or 115 more teachers. Which is more important?

One other tidbit of info…  The BUPSS union contract has expired. Yet in the language of the previous contract, every employee is guaranteed an annual wage increase and all of the benefits from the expired contract until a new contract has been signed. I can see that the union goons have a lot of reasons to get that new contract signed post haste….

What would you do with $9 million?


Those who can, can…

Those who can’t, teach.  Those who can’t teach go into politics, and those who know where the bodies are buried, become lobbyists.

Education is often the sign of a higher form of civilization. Those who control the education, control the masses.  Look at North Korea.  While they have one of the lowest standards of living outside of sub-Saharan Africa they have a fanatical loyalty to those who keep them enslave.

*talk about being in the dark…

Speaking of North Korea, I highly recommend the National Geographic special on North Korea. As a matter of fact, my wife made our children watch this expose on North Korea.

But that’s not what we are here to talk about…  We are here to talk about education and job training.  The idea being, the more highly skilled the workforce, the more valuable and productive they will be.  That generally makes sense.  Until the Imperial Government gets involved. Then all logic goes out the window.

Here’s the situation.  The recession led to extremely high unemployment rates.  At over 10% of the work force categorized as “unemployed,” this country was in deep doo-doo. Technically speaking.

Check out current unemployment rates here.

In Other News of the Ironic, Nancy Pelosi is happy that unemployment is at 9%. Here’s the irony… On November 3, 2006, Pelosi said this:

“the worst jobs record since the Great Depression,”

when the unemployment rate was 4.4%.

*Person in photo is apparently not a mathlete. Even redneck puppy knuckledraggers know that 9 is more than 4.4

So what does our amazing IG do to help slow/decrease unemployment.  Why, train the unemployed, I tell you.  The reason they don’t have a job is obviously because they don’t have the right skills.  If they had the skills, they would have a job.  That makes perfect sense.

I opine that the reason they weren’t employed is because THERE WEREN’T ANY JOBS….. I don’t care how trained up, educated, and or productive a person is, if there isn’t a job for that highly skilled person, they are still unemployed. Besides, if I am an employer and I have my choice of a person who has experience in the industry and a person who just completed a government sponsored and paid for training class who do you think I will select.  The person who chose to enter into a field and took their own initiative to learn a trade or the person who selected that particular government sponsored class because it was free and didn’t conflict with Jersey Shores and American Idol.

Back to the story.

So the IG, in it’s infinite wisdom, realizes that the problem is not a lack of jobs, but skilled workers. Now, the IG has always has job training programs.  I believe that the only federally sponsored training program should be the military. But that is a different rant for a different time. As the spending on IG training programs increased, so did the ire of Sen. Tom Coburn.

And for the record, Sen. Coburn is a hero among the CentsToChange newsroom in the bowels of the International Worldwide Headquarters (IWH).  We don’t care about his party affiliation, we love his annual Wastebook which casts a spotlight on stupid government waste and spending.

Here is where the many facets of this complex story intertwine. By that I mean IG spending on training and Sen. Coburn’s never ending crusade against government waste.

Sen. Coburn teamed up with Sen. Enzi and requested that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) investigate possible redundancies, waste, and failed programs regarding IG jobs training. In January of 2011, the GAO issued a report titled:


Providing Information on Colocating Services and Consolidating Administrative Structures Could Promote Efficiencies”

Not even the GAO understands the concept of brevity.  But I digress…..

Just in case you feel like reading all 108 pages, I have secured a copy and stored it here on the super secure datacenter here in the IWH.

*simulated screen

Feel free to read the report in it’s entirety here. In case you don’t believe us, here is a link to the GAO page.

Since I doubt you have a lot of better things to do than read an IG report with 17 words in the title alone, I will be happy to extract some interesting tidbits.

In 2003, the GAO did a similar study and found 44 programs that spent $13,000,000,000.00.  In 2009, thanks to the Stimulus Package the GAO reported that 9 different agencies had 47 programs that spent $18,000,000,000.00.  An increase of 3 programs and $5 billion.

Two other interesting factoids…

“Almost all federal employment and training programs, including those with broader missions such as multipurpose block grants, overlap with at least one other program in that they provide similar services to similar populations.”

And neither one doing it with any level of success.  Remember, unemployment is still above 8%, even though we were promised that it would never be as HIGH as 8%.

Here’s the other thing that stunned me, then it didn’t when I remembered this was an IG series of programs.

“Nearly all programs track multiple outcome measures, but only five programs have had an impact study completed since 2004 to assess whether outcomes resulted from the program and not some other cause.”

So…  We spend $18 billion (which is more than the cost to construct an aircraft carrier) and there is no attempt to measure if that money is actually helping anyone find a job.  None whatsoever.  Here is the success or failure as decided by the idiots in office:

Harry Reid: “We would be a lot worse trouble if we weren’t around.

Really?  That’s all? So the plans and programs and government waste and over taxation is working because things would be worse if they weren’t there to do all these things?

And people vote for this guy.

So we have $18 billion spent in 2009, on 47 training programs that all intertwine with another IG training programs without any way to measure the true success and, here’s the best part, the majority of the money was spent on administering the programs, not teaching people new trades.

So if you want to work for an IG training program in any of the 9 agencies, where do you go to get trained?  Hmmm…

$18 billion on ineffective training that does very little good, if any and we are paying interest on the loans to fund these programs that spend more money hiring people to run the program than to tech workers useful skills.  Sounds good to me.

What would you do with $18 billion?  I’d buy an aircraft carrier. Then sail it to the French coast.  Just to watch them surrender.  It’s their national pastime.