After 2-1/2 years of budget battles, this is what the federal government looks like now:
It is on pace, this year, to spend $3.455 trillion.
That figure is down from 2010 — the year that worries about government spending helped bring on a tea party uprising, a Republican takeover in the House and then a series of ulcer-causing showdowns in Congress.
Farenthold looks into what the actual achievements -- if any -- amount to and sets out to "measure the government in four different dimensions: federal expenditures, federal workers, federal rules and federal real estate."
The first two were down, slightly. The third was way up. And in the fourth case, the government itself wasn’t sure what happened. ...DavidFarenthold,WaPo
But the same bad habits tended to steer Congress away from any serious trimming of the budget.
They allowed duplication to live. They let “temporary” giveaways turn permanent. And they yielded to inertia, declining to revisit expensive old decisions. ...DavidFarenthold,WaPo
We get into the weeds. Same old weeds. Like the duplication, triplication and more when it comes to actual jobs and the office space needed to house those make-work jobs.
One reason the government stakes out so much office space is the common federal government practice of duplication. That’s when two arms of government — sitting in two different places — do the same job at the same time. Or three arms. ...DavidFarenthold,WaPo
Or four. Or 226.
The administration now counts 226 separate programs that aim to promote education in the “STEM” fields: science, technology, engineering and math. Many overlap, according to outside audits. Some overlap substantially. This year, the administration proposed to consolidate them in the name of efficiency. ...DavidFarenthold,WaPo
But how about the apparently "obvious" need to make heavy cuts in Social Security and Medicare. Of course, the costs of those two programs seem to fade into insignificance when compared with the costs duplication and reduplication of jobs within government agencies.
Most of all, we have to face the huge, unjustificable size of "defense." Of course, it's not defense when you choose to make war. That's called "offense" -- and it's very, very costly.
Today, the government workforce includes 2.7 million civilian employees, including postal workers — a number that is roughly equal to the population of Nevada. It also includes 1.4 million active-duty members of the military. That’s roughly the population of Hawaii. ...DavidFarenthold,WaPo
Or one third of the total government workforce! There's gubment spendin' for ya. Let's trim our total defense budget to the level maintained by other democratic nations and quit griping about returning citizens' investments in social programs when they are needed.
And then force Congress to pass laws curtailing the defense industry's ability to "invest" in Congressional campaigns in order to maintain a permanent state of costly war.