Tags: Obamacare | website | spent | tax

Take Away the Government's Checkbook

Thursday, 31 Oct 2013 07:59 AM

By Neal Asbury

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I run a successful manufacturing and export business. My success depends on our ability to accurately cost the materials and services we consume. If my estimates are wrong, I won't stay in business very long.

Our government has no such apparent obligation. Our tax dollars are being wasted on projects that are so out of sync with accepted norms that one wonders who is involved in these decisions.

I think we have to look at President Obama's advisers, who have almost no business acumen or hands-on business experience. If they did, would they approve the $648 million website for Obamacare when its original budget was $93 million?

The start-up costs for this website are greater than are the combined start-up costs for every major social media site, as well as sites like Amazon and eBay, which handle millions of transactions without crashing.

If I told my bank that I overspent my budget by $600 million, I would be out of business that very day. But if the government spends too much of our tax money, there are no repercussions.

Now the Obama team is going to bring in private sector IT specialists to see if the Obamacare site can be salvaged. I'm not a "techie," but wouldn't it have made sense to bring in these experts during the planning stages before the site was launched?

From all reports, the software code used in the Obamacare site is so archaic that nobody uses it anymore. Almost any college computer science major would have recognized that. And when they heard that the site was not going to be tested before going live, they would have rolled their eyes, picked up their Red Bull and fled.

I have built a few websites to support my business, but I had them built by experts, and I had people internally who guided me through the process. If I were presented with a bill for $648 million, I would boot these people out of my office so fast my shoeprint would be embedded in their posterior.

Lest you think that this administration is overwhelmed by new technology, we have learned that it's also overwhelmed by old technology.

A Los Angeles Times story related the fact that the Pentagon spent $297 million to develop a blimp. That's right, a seven-story, blimp-like aircraft as long as a football field, which fell behind schedule and became 12,000 pounds overweight. The project was ultimately canceled after just one test flight. The Pentagon reportedly quietly sold the blimp back to its manufacturer for $301,000.

At least they tested this disaster, unlike the Obamacare website.

And no discussion about wasted taxpayer money is complete without revisiting the Solyndra debacle.

Once again, we find an administration over its head. The warning signs were there that solar panels were a bust, but it did not prevent the Department of Energy from bestowing Solyndra with a $535 million taxpayer loan.

Perhaps if someone on the Obama staff had any private sector experience in solar panel manufacturing, they might have recognized a red flag.

The system has broken down, and the average American is taking notice. A 2010 Gallup Poll found that most Americans think the federal government wastes more than half of the tax dollars it collects — the highest level going back at least the 32 years that Gallup has been asking the question.

The solution has been proposed for years. Cut our taxes so that the government has fewer dollars to waste. And then hold them accountable for the money they spend.

There is a pattern here of excessive spending with no oversight. But a quick perusal of U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 9, Clause 7, one would find the following:

"No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time."

Perhaps it is time for us to take away the government's checkbook until they conduct the due diligence required of any organization before spending trillions of dollars without any promise of a return on our nation's taxpayers' investment.

As the great American humorist Will Rodgers once said: "The budget is like a mythical bean bag. Congress votes mythical beans into it, then reaches in and tries to pull real ones out."

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