Getting Beyond the “Waste, Fraud & Abuse” Gambit

Virginia’s two gubernatorial candidates, Creigh Deeds and Bob McDonnell, vow to get more bang for the taxpayers’ buck. Deeds touts his plan to promote “government efficiency and budget reform” while the McDonnell platform promises to root out “waste, fraud and abuse.”

Dig into the specifics and you’ll see some decent ideas. Both Deeds and McDonnell would institute regular performance audits of Virginia state agencies. (Deeds’ audits would cut across government functions, a nice touch.) Deeds also backs zero-based budgeting, energy efficiency in government buildings, steering more education dollars into the classroom and reforming VITA. McDonnell serves up an interesting idea on setting up a pay-for-performance pilot program for state managers.

There’s nothing to dislike here, and I hope the new governor, whomever he is, carries through. But we’ve been down this road before. Does anybody remember the “Warner commission”? Does anyone recall that Virginia, for all the flaws so manifest to us who live here, has been consistently rated either No. 1 or No. 2 as the best managed state in the country for years? By the (admittedly low) standards of state governments around the country, Virginia does not have a lot of waste, fraud and abuse. By the time Gov. Tim Kaine and the General Assembly finish whacking an estimated $1.3 billion out of next year’s budget, they’ll be scrounging nickels out of soft drink change dispensers.

It’s always a good idea to keep a close eye on payroll and process improvements, but let’s not deceived. We won’t find big money in cutting government administration. We need to dig a lot deeper. Here are the real drivers of the state budget (FY 2009 numbers):

Medicaid – $ 2,7 billion (General Fund only)
Corrections – $1.0 billion (General Fund)
Transportation – $4.6 billion (non-General Fund)
K-12 schools – $5.6 billion (General Fund, direct aid to localities)

We can’t bring these numbers under control by tinkering on the margins of expenses. We have to think through the programs from the ground up. In future posts, we’ll see how Deeds and McDonnell are doing in that regard.

Share this article


(comments below)


(comments below)


44 responses to “Getting Beyond the “Waste, Fraud & Abuse” Gambit”

  1. Darrell.. here's the status quo if you do nothing:

    with regard to the "gamibt", I agree.. this is a bogus deal.

    we do not have performance standards and we don't measure.

    How much is "too much" waste,fraud and abuse?

    How much is a "very good number".

    Where's the list of State Agencies and their respective ratings?

    Contrary to popular notions.. this can be done…

    try this link also:

    If Deeds or McDonnell wanted to impress me they'd advocate setting up a state system that measures "cost effectiveness" of all agencies … then focus on the ones that don't have such a good number…

    because.. you could have an agency that has zero waste, fraud and abuse but the way they do business in institutionally wasteful or perhaps the function they are doing itself is not a useful function.

    I actually think this discussion of waste, fraud and abuse is .. a crutch that elected officials use when they are flat out of better ideas for real reforms.

    How many times has one after another politician talked about "straightening out" VDOT but nary a word about our prison system which is has more employees than VDOT and is funded from the general fund and not the gas tax?

  2. I was wrong – Virginia does measure performance:

    I'm surprised that Jim Bacon as well as the "other" Bacons Rebellion have been mute on this site.

    this makes not only myself look uninformed but also Deeds/McDonnell who instead of promising "tracking down" really only need to use this existing tool to determine budget actions.

  3. Anonymous Avatar

    Question: Does Virginia's failure to have an adequate public facilities law constitute "waste, fraud, and abuse"?

    How much of the budget problems are caused by out-of-control development? We are building a $5 billion plus, plus, extension of Dulles Rail through Tysons Corner that will not likely attract 20% of the inbound and outbound trips to Tysons. Fairfax County has indicated that we will need to build five more lanes and three more interchanges on the Dulles Toll Road to accommodate an additional 40 million square feet at Tysons. It is expected that the non-rail infrastructure costs will be in the range of $1.5 to $2 billion.

    Waste, fraud and abuse? What do people think? Peter, how about you?


  4. Darrell -- Chesapeake Avatar
    Darrell — Chesapeake

    Speaking of fraud and waste.

    What's really going on here is a serious bailout. This story is not much different than so many that have been written about homeowners. When they find they can't make the payments, they rent the place out to reduce the red ink. And just like the Fed and Wall Street, our boys in Richmond are working a deal at taxpayer expense. Maersk gets cash flow, the state gets a fancy facility to park dead ships.

  5. Gooze Views Avatar
    Gooze Views

    I agree with much of what Jim Bacon says here. Is there relly all that much waste to slice away?The bigger problem is not having enough revenue to fund roads, schools and the like.
    You are right that bad land use planning decisions at the local level (with little or no regional planning) badly strain Virginia's ability to catch up with highway and other infrastructure needs. A lot of this stuff was deicded decades ago and the turkeys are coming home to roost.
    Two examples in the Richmond area:
    (1) Route 288. This megaroad planned years ago essentially by-passes downtown and connects the once fast-growing office areas of Innsbrook and West Creek with fast-growing bedroom areas of Woodlake and Brandermillin Chesterfield. It sounded groovy at the time, but lots of commuters were shocked a summer or two ago when their gas prices doubled and now the growth engines for both communities at either end of the road have slowed and may never revup again.
    (2) The Pocahontas Parkway. This was supposed to bypass downtiwn once again and helpo Williamsburg-bound travelers and develop eastern Henrico It has been a bummer ever since it opened. Travel was down so much a few years ago that Mark Warner alomost lost the state's pristine bond rating. An Austrralian public private outfit bailed the project out and has raised tolls. But guess what. The ugly recession has killed Qimonda, the giant chip making plant in tyhat neck of the woods and the housing crisis has killed off expansion o E. Henrico. So, ridership is down again.

    It is these types of extremely expensive and questionable projects that any govenor should be looking at — and not at whether some state worker in Roanoke is using his state credit card for the topless buffet lunch at a strip club.

    Peter Galuszka

  6. James A. Bacon Avatar
    James A. Bacon

    Larry, I plugged Virginia Performs in the Rebellion a couple of years ago in a post entitled "Wonks in Paradise."

    Peter, It's a rare and beautiful thing: We agree! Watch out world, when Bacon and Galuszka agree on something, they gotta be right.

  7. Gooze Views Avatar
    Gooze Views

    It's only because Saturn and Uranus are in rare conflict that this has happened.
    Peter Galuszka

  8. Having been involved in all of the so-called fraud, waste, abuse, efficiency, performance, etc. studies, audits, etc. in state gov't since 1980 (remember the Wilder-era SCRAP?), I can tell you none ever ask the hard questions, like should the state be doing this or is it a mandate from on high.
    As pointed out in the original post & comments, trying to find savings from such audits, etc. is like trying to find enough change in the sofa cushions to buy a house.
    Like ANY entity, the big $$ are in personnel, so until you layoff/fire lots of people, you ain't gonna save much.

  9. just an addendum on the Pocahontas Parkway.

    It was more VDOT's baby than Warners…

    VDOT screwed up on the toll projections and had to bail…

    not sure what Mr. Warner had to do with it..but if someone knows more.. I'd listen.

    By the Way.. folks ask all the time why VDOT did not do the HOT Lanes…

    I think it is the Pocahontas Parkway…. deja vu HOT Lanes were not in the cards…because a potential bailout scenario on that scope and scale would clearly had potential to damage the entire State's credit rating.

    so.. I'm sure it would be correct to call the Pocahontas Parkway an example of WF&A but instead more of a "aha" moment for VDOT that modern toll road operations are not your daddy's Oldsmobile (or Powhite Parkway).

    Still.. I suspect quite a bit of money was lost… but more to a lack of experience and expertise.

    Unfortunately, you can have an organization of the highest ethics and integrity with zero WF&A and still screw up big time if you don't know what you are doing.

    I guess you could call it "waste" but not in the since that it's wanton … more of "a waste".

    And you can have this go on in private industry also but if there is real competition going on the poorly run operations get weeded out.

    We don't have that function in government. If VDOT screws up.. they don't get replaced by a competitor… they just get to keep on screwing up…

    I think this is the part about government that we all hate.

  10. Not sure where this goes but thought that some readers here might find this sorta relevant:

    Is the World Flat or Not?

    …" Contrary to popular impression, the world is not getting dramatically smaller”."

    what does that to do with WF&A and Virginia elections?

    Well.. plenty.. if you believe McDonnell who says that his number one priority is jobs… and we continue to have a decade-long knock-down, drag-out down Hampton Roads way as to what Virginia's role in ports should be or not.

    I wonder what Deeds and McDonnell's views are with respect to Va ports and the intermodal transportation network to/from them… and what any of that might have to do (or not do) with more/better jobs in the Old Dominion?

    any of the above make any sense to anyone?

  11. "just an addendum on the Pocahontas Parkway.

    It was more VDOT's baby than Warners…

    VDOT screwed up on the toll projections and had to bail…

    not sure what Mr. Warner had to do with it..but if someone knows more.. I'd listen."

    Do you think it was a different governor or are you pretending that the governor doesn't run the state agencies?

    The accountants who work for me make projections too. Then I have to sign off on those projections. If they turn out to be wrong I get the blame. I guess in the wonderful world of government run operations the guy in charge is not responsible so long as there is a bookkeeping intern somewhere to blame? Oh, sorry! I probably shouldn't write about government and interns in the same sentence.

    By the way, did you catch the Nancy Pelosi Show today? It's a laugh a minute. Today, Nan-O tried a little drama. For the first time in a decade I agreed with something Rush Limbaugh said – The Tears of a Clown. The Democrats are really on a roll lately. They've taken over right where the Republicans left off. Jimmy "Stagflation" Carter says that opposition to Obama's health care plan is racist. I wonder what Thomas Sowell thinks about that.

  12. Anonymous Avatar

    As a VDOT employee, I am glad to hear others acknowledge that WH&A is a diversionary tactic of epic proportion.

    If a lawyer has a good case, he puts it on. If not, he confuses, obfuscates, and diverts attention as best he can. Most politicians are lawyers…

    That said, there are surely things about how we do business that absolutely can change and create significant cost savings. These emanate from the legislature and our executive management that do their bidding, despite the constant pleadings from state employees that are also TAXPAYERS and recognize them as WF&A.

    Privitization of roadwork is lowering service levels at much higher costs (no – the salary and retirement benefits savings DO NOT offset the difference. We still pay much more – I manage the contracts, I know the figures)

    Small, Woman, & Minority (SWAM) owned business set-asides are costing BIG bucks while slowing the pace of business to a snail's pace while admin and operational folks are required to follow pain-staking procedures to meet the quotas.

    Cut a few of the influences of politicis on business practices and you could, indeed, realize savings that would be meaningful. You would still need to raise revenues – but not as much.

  13. Anonymous Avatar

    A big improvement would be to tie the hands of the CTB, which is just a tool for the lobbyists. Make transportation decisions based on engineering and economic studies and then watch WF&A go down and VDOT's performance go up.

    Speaking of performance, does anyone know where the WaPo got this new clown columnist Robert McCartney? He's yet one more shill for the special interests that believe in making other people pay their way. McCartney has been complaining about the need to raise the gas tax for road maintenance. But most road and bridge damage comes from heavy trucks. How about imposing higher fees on the cost-causers first?


  14. re: Warner and VDOT and privatization..

    Warner is the Gov and the buck stops with him but what is driving VDOT towards privatization is that their source of funding is drying up and it started long before Warner.

    Blaming Warner for the VDOT problems is like blaming a 9month President for economic problems that were years in the making.

    It's not a very honest approach to truly understanding issue IMHO.

    Groveton, you know as well as I that if your accountants screw up that you have two choices – either fire them all and then hire someone else and it would take some time for them to piece things together and inevitably balls dropped as a result of the loss of institutional memory.

    VDOT proposed a new toll road in the same city where they operated a tollroad – the PoWhite Parkway – what was Warner supposed to do since until that point VDOT had successfully operated a toll road?

    I'm no defender of VDOT (or others) either. As far as I am concerned the VDOT way of spending tax money and prioritizing projects is part and parcel of some of the problems.

    Until recent reforms, they did not use simple business practices of using inflation escalators in the project estimates that they put into the 6 year plans.

    As a result.. the 6 year plan was not a 6 year plan but but a bloated list that kept projects for years on it.

    Projects that started out with one estimate… ended up costing twice as much – because of delays where multiple projects in theory had money allocated each year to them – but not enough to build and by the next year – inflation had eaten up the allotment.

    JLARC identified this problem years ago and several govs had the opportunity to fix it and only when Phillip Schucet came on board did it get addressed.

    Our localities are at fault also because they make land-use decisions with significant transportation consequences then blame the aftermath on VDOT and the State instead of bearing such responsibility and accountability for the decisions that caused the transportation issues.

    That did not change until Mr. Kaine succeeded in requiring VDOT to do actual traffic studies instead of the shams that the localities were letting the developers get away with.

    Blaming this – decades-long institutional rot on one Gov is laughable… and partisan…

    Now.. if you REALLY think your assertion is true – I would ask why reforms do you think should take place and what Gov candidate is proposing them.

    What exactly should the Govs do about privitazation?

    Is privitazation the problem or is it in response to other issues?

    go fish Groveton – don't come back until you get your mind straight…

  15. I agree with TMT. Raising the gas tax without real reforms is just going to re-start the corrupt way we decide road needs in Va.

    This is why I favor toll roads and local funding of roads (like they do in 46 other states).

    Our system is deeply flawed and most Virginians no longer trust it. Less than 20% of Virginians are in favor of a state level gas tax – and for good reason.

    We had a referendum in 2002 to essentially raise the gas tax for the NoVa region with VDOT deciding what to do with the money and it got slammed.

    Since that time, many local referenda that named the roads have been approved.

    We need to get VDOT out of the local road-building business. It's a corrupt approach; that approach actually defines WF&A.

    We got all these folks up in arms about "unelected" folks making money decisions and by far the largest group of "unelected" folks in Va are the folks at VDOT and the CTB deciding how to spend taxpayer money.

    It's a bad system and trying to reform it without changing the basic "send money to Richmond for CTB to allocate" is support of the status quo.

    Why doesn't Deeds or McDonnell pledge to disband the CTB?

    That would be a start in the right direction.

  16. TMT/Groveton – do you know what this is about:

    " McDonnell says his initiative would generate about $1.4 billion a year. Key provisions include:

    Rerouting nearly one-third of the sales taxes collected in Northern Virginia, roughly $105 million a year, to highway projects exclusive to that region."

    this sounds like diverting existing sales taxes from whatever they currently fund right now to mandatory transportation spending.

    is this a "solution" in your opinion or a dodge?

  17. LarryG:

    You are funny (or, at least, your arguments are funny). You are quite happy to blame all of the problems at the national level on 8 years of George W Bush. Yet, you can't find a way to blame any of Virginia's problems on the 8 years of Democratic "governorship". You theory is pretty straightforward:

    During periods of difficulty the buck stops with the leader as long as the leader was a Republican. However, if the leader was a Democrat then the buck stops in a hazy cloud of "decades long" this and structural that.

    Please, LarryG. If you are going to constantly take a partisan position then you should declare yourself a partisan. Then, we can all view your arguments in the same way that we'd the same arguments if they were put forth by … say … Nancy Pelosi.

  18. well I don't blame it all on Bush no more than I'd blame it all on Clinton and certainly not blame it on a Prez who has 8 months on duty.

    Bush had 8 years worth and took specific actions that the 80% of people who approved him at the beginning had shrunk to 20% at the end.

    There's a reason for that. he did not drop that far because he was playing twiddly winks and yucking it up with Cheney.

    He got there because he lied; he carried on two wars "off budget" and he did a Medicare give-away to the drug companies without paying for it in the budget.

    He was an undisicplined President as there every has been in our history and the Republicans did nothing about it short of kissing his fanny.

    He sent the budget spiraling to a significant deficit and then – through things that were not his specific fault the housing scam collapsed.

    I don't blame him for the meltdown although in 8 years he certainly should have seen it coming… there were lots of warnings.

    but for folks like yourself to not blame Bush and then turn around and blame this guy is just as ludicrous as blaming Warner for the VDOT Pocahontas mess-up when neither of them had anything to do with it and basically had those things fall into their lap and had to deal with it.

    that's the double standard here.

    and IMHO.. it's what's wrong with the dialog these days..

    we won't blame Bush even for the things he deserves to be blamed for

    but we have no trouble at all blaming Obama for stuff that he had nothing to do with either except he showed up when things were going to hell in a handbasket and his primary sin seems to be that he implemented what his advisors were recommending which is exactly what Bush's advisors were recommending.

    so now we have folks saying that Bush did wrong also.

    Okay.. so what the Heck was Obama supposed to do instead?

    Was he supposed to do what the same Republicans who backed Bush's budget busting behavior ?

    what standard are we judging him by?

    Don't you think it is REALLY dumb to say that the same Republicans who stood behind Bush – knew what needed to be done about the meltdown and Obama should have listened to them?

    Now THAT's funny.

    and that's what I mean about judging Warner for something he had little to do with…

    go Fish Groveton.. don't come back until you get your mind straight.

    As cool hand Luke said – "yes.. there IS a failure to communicate here"

  19. LarryG:

    I am typing s-l-o-w-l-y. It's like talking s-l-o-w-l-y.

    I like President Obama. I think he's doing a better job than John McCain would be doing in the same situation. I don't think he's doing as well as a President Romney would be doing but Ole Mitt wasn't on the ballot.

    I think George Bush generally did a lousy job as president. His 8 years left a lot of problems for the new president. Hopefully, President Obama can solve sonme of these problems.

    I think Warner and Kaine did lousy jobs as governor. Their 8 years left a lot of problems for the next governor. Hopefully, the next governor can solve some of these problems.

    Do you see the parallel? I hold the top dog accountable regardless of the dog's political party.

    I think Bob McDonnell is a better candidate for governor than Creigh Deeds. McDonnell has more specific plans to address Virginia's problems. He'll do more to fix the mess left by Warner and Kaine than Deeds will do.

    McDonnell has a better plan for transportation than Deeds.

    McDonnell has a firm stand on taxes, Deeds does not.

    McDonnell has a firm position on energy, Deeds waffles.

    I don't care about a college thesis, I don't care about personal opinions on abortion, I don't care about personal opinions on gun rights. None of these are issues the next governor can do much about. Yet these are the issues on which Deeds is fixated.

    Jobs, taxes, the role of state government, the efficiency of state government, transportation – these are the issues, Mr. Deeds. I'd ask his supporters to send Deeds an e-mail reminding him of the real issues but he couldn't even get the URL to his own web site right in today's debate. So, maybe a telegram? Or, a carrier pidgeon?

  20. " Do you see the parallel? "

    no…not at all…

    Bush took specific actions that were at the root of some of our problems.

    it's not like he stood back and things went to crap all by themselves.

    I do not see what Warner and Kaine SPECIFICALLY did that caused harm to Va – UNLIKE Mr. Gilmore who did something specific that had direct consequences that Warner had to deal with and is still causing structural problems in the budget IMHO.

    " McDonnell has a better plan for transportation than Deeds."

    he has a plan whereas Deeds plan is "trust me" but McDonnels plan is totally bogus because you're not going to solve the transportation problem in Va without an increase in funding.

    them's the facts. anything else is more smoke & mirrors stuff like Gilmore was doing.

    "McDonnell has a firm stand on taxes, Deeds does not."

    Yes.. McDonnell is saying he can fix the VDOT problem without raising taxes. It's the standard "no mo tax" shtick and it's totally bogus.

    If McDonnell had integrity – he would tell everyone that we have a choice and the choice is we can either cut services or we can raise taxes.

    but telling everyone that we won't have to pay higher taxes and won't have to cut services is dishonest.

    It's just as dishonest as Warner saying he would not raise taxes in my view.

    He's going to FUND transportation by selling the liquor stores (that the state leases)?

    He's going to FUND NoVa transportation needs by shifting existing sales taxes from whatever they're spent on now to transportation?

    I admit.. Deeds has no plan but claiming that McDonnell has one is laughable..also..

    and hey.. I don't care about that thesis either.. but his "plan" not to raise taxes is the same old same old that we're heard for years from the Republicans…

    there is no waste, fraud and abuse cuts that are going to fill VDOT's budget gap.

    telling folks you're going to "fix" VDOT by cutting waste, fraud and abuse is ..on it's face.. laughable.. as Jim Bacon correctly called it…

    I WILL say this.

    If we get a Gov that is the same party as the GA – then they do have an opportunity to agree on a path (even if it might be one I don't agree with)

    but we had 6 stinking years of a prez and both houses of Congress and all they did was make swiss cheese out of budget and constitution…

    Gawd forbid that we repeat that experience in Va.

    do I need to repeat the above more S L O W L Y ?


  21. James A. Bacon Avatar
    James A. Bacon

    Larry, I've got news for you. Many, many fiscal conservatives were appalled and demoralized by Bush and the GOP Congress' fiscal irresponsibility at the time. I don't know of any conservatives true to their values that hold Bush blameless. There may have been a few hard-core Bush partisans who tried to deflect all blame from him. But I'm sure not one of them. I'm darn sure that Groveton wasn't one of them. I doubt TMT was one of them.

    You need to get off your blame Bush/defend Obama jag. The breakdown of fiscal responsibility in this country is a bipartisan accomplishment. It represents a colossal failure of governance philosophy shared by both parties. Apportioning the blame between the two parties is a total waste of time. BOTH are to blame. The only difference between the two is which constituencies they favor with their deficit spending.

  22. Anonymous Avatar

    A quick semi-off topic comment, a way for Virginia to generate some GF dollars, ENFORCE the damn laws, Sep 17 commute home on 66 West, I would reckon users of HOV lanes at: 1/3 Hybrids, 1/3 2+Occupancy, and 1/3 VIOLATORS

    1 state cop on far right shoulder observing nothing and on his cell phone, ENFORCE the laws, bring in some much needed cash to state coffers


  23. Jim – BOTH parties did not spend the last 8 years running amok.

    I expect the party of tax & spend to do just that but I always counted on the R's to be a principled force of fiscal responsibility and they completely bailed…

    and THEN when they WERE given the OPPORTUNITY to run an honest to pete Fiscal Conservative – what did they do?

    they bolted because they essentially did not like his "social" credentials…

    so the R's have failed us – plain and simple.

    it's their job to be the paragon of fiscal responsibility and to keep the tax & spenders under control.

    they failed and they've lost their soul… now they are led by foaming-at-the-mouth ideologues…

    Seriously.. my only problem here is after 8 years of dumbassed shenanigans.. to blame an 8 month President is the height of hypocrisy.

    and one more time… the current Prez could EASILY turn out to be the biggest disaster since Jimmy Carter but he's got 3 more years to to give it a shot unless the gun-toting crazies get him… (which those of us who remember – know that these things do happen).

    addendum –

    I totally agree with Groveton about Romney. I would have voted for him because I knew he was serious about finances and rejected the ideologues foolishness but this just goes to show you just how much the "real" R party is being held hostage these days.

    You would think that one or more fiscal conservative leaders would emerge from the Republican Party.

    Heaven knows..we need it.. but where the blue blazes are they?

  24. Here's the money question.

    If Romney had become President and he ended up doing exactly what Obama is doing -would we judge him exactly the same way?

    Would we have tea parties and gun-toting protesters and people hopping up and saying "You Lie"?

    Remember, Romney did in Massachusetts with health care something not that dissimilar than what Obama is advocating.

    so can all of you truly say that if Romney told us we had no choice but to bail out the banks/auto and do a stimulus that the reaction would have been the same?

    do ya'll think we'd have people in the streets with signs saying " Say No to Romneycare"
    or " Romney wants death panels" or the like?

    I don't think so but I'd be interested in hearing other views.

  25. If Romney had become president things would be just as bad for him as they are for Obama. A lot of people got (rightly) frustrated when some people complained about Obama wanting to address school children. Racist? I think not. Look back when GW Bush did the same thing. Congress opened an inquiry into that episode. Everybody thought the picture of Obama as The Joker was terrible. Same thing was done to Bush. Impeach Clinton for his episode with Monica? C'mon. The high tech lynching of Clarence Thomas? This kind of crap goes way back.

    The political rhetoric in this country has reached excessive levels. But it didn't start with Obama. Remember the "Ed Meese is a pig" tee shirts? They weren't being worn by conservative Republicans.

  26. I don't think it was liberals that took out Martin Luther or Bobby Kennedy….

    and I don't see liberals showing up at these public venues with the President near by – packing "heat" because "it's legal"

    that's a step up from insulting T-shirts… right?

    Mitt Romney proves my point.

    He was clearly the best Republican Candidate and clearly the one who could demonstrate skill and experience as a CEO and what happened to him?

    The same crazies that are ranting and raving right now would not have it.

    They tossed him out – as what ?

    a "closet liberal", a RINO…

    these are the same folks that are running wild right now Groveton..

    admit it… fess up…

    these folks on the right are just flat running amok and have ruined the Republican Party as a valid alternative to tax & spend liberals.

    You know it Groveton.

    In your heart of heart – you know this.

  27. Anonymous Avatar

    Groveton – I agree completely that the political rhetoric is out of control; both sides are guilty; and we are playing one-ups-manship. We need one set of rules for everyone.


  28. TMT – there are no "rules" here.

    who would be the umpire?

    When I see the left showing up at these events also toting guns on their hips..and also carrying signs that say "it's time to water the tree of liberty", I'll agree that is really is "both sides".

    until then.. I don't hold you view.

  29. Anonymous Avatar

    " When they find they can't make the payments, they rent the place out to reduce the red ink. "

    What is wrong with that?

    I do the same thing with my trucks sawmill and tractors.


  30. Anonymous Avatar

    "I think it is the Pocahontas Parkway…. deja vu HOT Lanes were not in the cards…because a potential bailout scenario on that scope and scale would clearly had potential to damage the entire State's credit rating."

    You agree there is risk,but you think the HOT lanes area good idea?


  31. Anonymous Avatar

    Isn't the non-general revenue transportation money dedicated funds?

    How is that a budget driver?


  32. Anonymous Avatar

    Larry – what about the Black Panthers outside voting places in Philadelphia? But they only had night sticks.

    All of this needs to stop.


  33. Anonymous Avatar

    When you consider that Glenn Beck makes $23 million a year, it is no wonder that our discourse has become so crude.

    If we are going to be outraged over banker's bonuses, where is the outrage over what he and Limbaugh get paid, along with Sean Hannity, (and their counterparts on the liberal side)?

    Geez, throw in Dr Phil, Oprah, The View, and a few others and you see that one of Americas major growth businesses is TALK.


  34. well… if the Liberals start showing up with their guns and night sticks.. we'll certainly have to figure out just how much "free speech" we can stand.

    We can be held accountable for shouting "fire" in a crowd.

    I wonder if you have a couple hundred people show up – from both sides – all carrying weapons, how things will work?

    Of course this could be an exceptionally diabolical strategy for the liberals who would actually usually favor more restrictions….

    so maybe we'll see that….

  35. Anonymous Avatar

    "We can be held accountable for shouting "fire" in a crowd."

    Unless, of course, there is a fire.


  36. yes but your definition of a fire differs from reality – then you still get to explain your thinking to others plus they were will thinking long and hard about the rest of your thinking relatively to realities.

    then the lucky ones get closer supervision.

  37. Anonymous Avatar

    "The buildings seemed like perfect candidates for a federal conservation retrofit program that relies on private contractors that receive a percentage of the money they save. A deal was struck in 2001. The contractors reworked lighting and heating systems, among other things, and began collecting payments.

    The project was counted among the department's "green" successes — until auditors discovered that the buildings had been torn down several years ago, and the government had paid $850,000 for energy savings at facilities that no longer existed. "



  38. Anonymous Avatar

    It was only a little fire, just the fuse was burning….


  39. " a federal conservation retrofit program that relies on private contractors that receive a percentage of the money they save."

    you just described the kind of govt-endorsed scams that arise when you subsidize "good" things.

    the same exact thing happens with mortgage interest deductions for 2nd and 3rd homes used to generate profits.

    ditto the flood insurance program – a subsidy to people who are not "in need" but people who are using that program for individual profit.

    This is not the job of government nor the taxpayers who foot the bill.

  40. Anonymous Avatar

    "you just described the kind of govt-endorsed scams that arise when you subsidize "good" things."

    You are too sceptical. the subcontractors did the work, and savngs resulted, although the savings may have been overstated ns ome cases.

    Problem was the government later decided to tear the buildings down, to get even more savings.

    Left hand didn't know what the right hand was doing, so the contractors kept getting paid. Also, the correct analysis would hae recommended tearing down the buildings in the first place, but there was no "program" for that.

    There was no scam involved here, just government incompetence. waste doesn't have to mean fraud, it could be just stupidity.

    Anyway, it is completely different from mortgage interest deductions. Except for the stupidity part.


  41. I'm going to back up and agree because this does happen.

    But it also happens with private industry where they'll go through and make upgrades to a store – then make a decision to close it.

    these things do happen – but the solution to them is what?

    they make nice news copy and they do illustrate that left hand and right hand sometimes don't work together but what they don't tell is how many times the left/right did work together nor whether it was a govt or a private entity.

    The problem is that the bigger an enterprise gets – the harder it is for that enterprise to be nimble and cost-effective.

    GM is a good example as are the long string of big companies that went under after their competitors exploited their inefficiency.

    Unfortunately, and perhaps your point, that I would agree with – we don't have competitors to the government. it's a monopoly.

  42. Anonymous Avatar

    Larry will love this one.

    Hear the story about the happily married woman who got a divorce — so she would be eligible to collect the social security payments to her deceased ex-spouse?


  43. there is no end to the numbers of folks who are looking for something for nothing…

    the prevailing opinion is that everyone is entitled to whatever legal scams they can find and exploit – until that loophole is closed.

    it's a lot like rats in the granary as opposed to a virtue.

Leave a Reply