Without Measured Benefits We Fail

September 25th, 2011
in Op Ed

by Guest Author Dan Flemming

Measurement-Tape As a nation we need a new paradigm of government.  We demand transparency and regulation so that we can guard against social damage due to human nature and greed.  We demand audits and inspection both in government and in corporate finance and accounting to guard against corruption.  We demand that pensions not only be protected, but also have integrity that prevents taxpayer liability.  We live in a mixed economy in the USA with a limited democracy.  Right now there is a big lens looking at US banking, the Federal Reserve system, corporate corruption, and the federal government's ineffective spending of tax payer money.

Follow up:

Perhaps it is time to end US hegemony in the form of US armed conflict in faraway lands. This would mean an end to the Wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan, etc.  It also would mean an end to the war on drugs and specifically marijuana.  We cannot afford the cost of being the nation with the highest incarceration rate using both public and private federal prisons.  We should invest in our young men and women rather than investing in incarceration for using marijuana, which ruins their lives and educations.

Where is Benefit Measured?

There are no metrics to justify US Budget outlays for most of what it does.  After setting aside emergency services and social programs, the federal budget is murky.  That’s true even after we set aside budget outlays for agencies that provide protection, border defense, US House, US Senate, Executive Office, Federal Circuit Court, Federal Police Officers, Library of Congress, fire, police, ambulances, hospitals, etc.

We are spending money on things for which results cannot be measured.  There is a reason for that because no success is defined in a war against guerrilla for three reasons: 1) They are stateless 2) They have no logistics tail 3) They have no Logistics Hubs.  Therefore you cannot send a diplomatic mission to them, you can't bomb them out of existence, and you can't secure any country and be successful.

The same three reasons generally apply to the war against drug gangs. There can be no success.  The US has captured tons of drugs and locked up hundreds of thousands of people.  The result is we are at square one.  Actually we are at minus square one since civil society has broken down in Mexico.  If you drive a new SUV in Mexico you may get killed or car jacked, according to one Mexican father.  Most people of the world are poor, looking for money, and illegal drugs provide opportunity.

It is also true that the US forces stationed in South Korea and Germany are no longer successful or cost effective since the end of the cold war.  All the millions of dollars spent stationing troops in Asia and Germany can't provide security in a world of guerrillas, terrorists, drug gangs, organized crime, and chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.

No Taxation with Representation

The last reported data from the IRS shows a record number of wealthy Americans don't pay any tax and some of the biggest corporations didn't pay tax last year.  If they avoid taxes because they were concerned about inefficient federal spending, then why haven't we heard about lobbying to House and Senate members to cut spending?  Perhaps because that is not the way the system works.  You can lobby for congressional spending, tax loop holes, and changes to legislation, but no one lobbies for spending cuts.  And this might be the best example of why lobbying is corruption and improper influence peddling.

The view that all corporations are good is now gone.  Many Americans have seen their jobs go offshore, and don't enjoy rising wages any more.  We wonder if the integrity of the US tax and banking systems will ever come back.  How is it that mortgage fraud and ABS (Asset Backed Securities) fraud are still overhanging the economy?  Corporate jobs were never secure, but rather were dependent on maximizing profits.  It is natural for corporations to try to get subsidies and for congressmen to grant subsidies, but how come there is no mechanism to end subsidies and tax breaks?  The paradigm of corporations providing security to the world and the USA is gone.


What are some steps that need to be taken?  Let’s start with these:

1.  End conventional military action against guerrillas/terrorists overseas;

2.  End the drug war overseas in favor of diplomatic efforts by the State Department;

3.  Empty US prisons of drug users and adopt liberal policies of tolerance for drug users;

4.  End stationing of US military in South Korea and Germany;

5.  Adopt clear reasonable minimum tax metrics and policies;

6.  Adopt IRS requirement, collection, and reporting of tax payer deferred wages in the year those wages were earned;

7.  Disseminate reasonable metrics policies across government and banking systems.

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About the  Author

Dan Flemming is, a retired Systems Analyst and Logistician. He has utilized dozens of defense systems to identify bottlenecks, problems, systemic issues, and solutions across agencies within the Department of Defense.

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