A shave and a haircut will cost you more than two bits just about anywhere, but it’ll run you over two Hamiltons at the U.S. Senate barbershop — more than double what barbers in some parts of the country charge. Yet despite these high prices, the shop, which is supposed to be self-sustaining, ended up $300,000 in the hole last year and got its own taxpayer bailout, proving once again that government is incapable of performing even the smallest tasks cheaply and competently.
In a recent editorial entitled “Regulation without Representation,” Investors Business Daily pointed out that a new federal rule or regulation is published every two hours, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. But most of them escape the notice of Congress. Congress itself passes fewer than 200 in each session, the rest are promulgated by agencies in the Executive Branch in contravention of explicit instructions in the Constitution.
Congress is investigating a series of questionable “green” loans made by the Obama administration to a variety of dubious companies, more than a few of which later went bankrupt costing taxpayers billions of dollars. But despite repeated requests, Energy Secretary Steven Chu has so far failed to testify on the matter, forcing Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif., left) to warn him of a potential subpoena if cooperation is not forthcoming.
For nearly four decades Congress has ensured that federal spending rises inexorably by guaranteeing that every budget item increases automatically each year. And woe to anyone who seeks merely to reduce these automatic increases, for he shall be labeled a heartless, slash-and-burn budget cutter!
As the Obama administration prepares to present a budget to Congress that includes $487 billion in military cuts over the next 10 years, some experts are warning that the downsized defense that is planned could severely jeopardize the nation’s security posture. As reported by the Associated Press, the projected military cuts announced by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta (left) January 26 would include slashing combat brigades from 45 to as low as 32, and shrinking Army ground forces by at least 80,000 soldiers and the Marines by about 20,000 over the next five years.