If you were born between 1982 and 2004 you have issues and it’s not your fault. Your Tax Dollars at Work. Try not to throw things at your screen when you read these actual examples of government waste and how one plucky governor said enough.
As you note the difference between the gross number and the net number on your pay stub. You will wince when you hear that we spent 1.2 trillion dollars on mistakes and improper payments distributed by 20 federal agencies:
- 387 billion on mistakes and improper Medicare payments
- 234 billion on mistakes and improper Medicaid payments
- 11 billion mistakes and improper student loans and grants
- 20 million on luxury Artwork purchases
- 1.4 mil on Sex Ed for prostitutes in California and
- 1 million on where it hurts most to be stung by a bee
- How about 687,989 dollars on a meditation mobile breathing app?
These are among 100 examples of federal taxpayer abuse compiled by the nonprofit watchdog group, openthebooks.com.
How does this happen? Let’s ask someone who has seen the government sausage factory from the inside. You know RT Boom Bust host Bart Chilton as the former CFTC commissioner he also served in the Agriculture Department has spent 15 years on Capitol Hill working for members of the House and Senate. Bart takes us inside the congressional money machine.
Well and as you go through my history one it makes me feel old, two as I tell people I guess I’m part of the problem. But you know in the all joking aside I tried to call out things including ways where we could and that’s probably part of the problem is that, as the government to go along you really do have to get along.
It’s changed a little bit over the years Holland. But in order for people to bring home as it were the bacon to their congressional district some project the famously called pork barrel project some project which may be a very legitimate project, certainly, the ones you talked about sound deeply suspicious.
But a project back home which whether or not it’s a road or a bridge or a program may be really important to that local community. On the national basis may not be so much. But being able to get funding and show that you can actually bring home the bacon these projects to your district will certainly help you get elected, and everybody all 435 members of the House the 100 members of the Senate they understand that going in.
So it’s one thing that they have over the years and again less so now but try to work with each other and because they’re feathering each other’s nest.
Well in the house there are 13 different Appropriations committees and these guys are so powerful Holland, they call them the Cardinals the 13 Cardinals there is actually a very powerful staffer in the AG committee he was called the 14th cardinal because he was so powerful and had been there for so long. But these Cardinals actually they’re the ones that have the final decision they usually work with the ranking minority member whether or not that’s a Republican or a Democrat. I remember one time we went in on a very needed road which would have many dangerous curves and it killed people including students on their way to my alma mater, Purdue University in Indiana. But the chairman said to my boss who was asking for a couple of million dollars when she said I would like to explain things a little more. He said well as long as you understand Congresswoman the amount of time you speak is inversely proportional to the amount of money you get
It used to be you could actually put a company into one of these appropriations bills with one of these 13 Cardinals and sometimes that’s done if there’s a legitimate reason. But nowadays it’s a little more subtle so you’ll put something in a piece of legislation that will say. This amount of money shall be available to someone who wears a dark suit has a blue tie and a mustache and hosts a show called The Big Picture.
They don’t name Holland Cooke they don’t need to
Close enough and then when the agency whatever the department is in the federal government says “well we’ve got to fund this thing, well who’s out there like this?” “Well, I guess we do give the money to this Holland Cook fellow”.
Despite tough talk from Trump on the stump. The deficit now north of a trillion dollars is approaching the point where it’s going to equal the GDP. What are the implications for the USA standing in the world economy?
Oh well we look sort of silly and all those numbers are important and the annual deficit is a key thing like you say near a trillion bucks, but mine the one that I talk about all the time is the total debt of the US, which is over 20 trillion dollars Holland.
These are numbers that people don’t even understand, they are so large and it does make us look silly. We cover on our program a lot of budget debacles going on all over the world and right now they’re talking about budget debacles in spending too much in Italy and in France with those yellow vest protestors that want more and more things. The U.S. far outspends all these nations by a longshot so we don’t have much standing nope not much credibility on telling people they should be fiscally conservative because of we sure as heck has not been through Republican and Democrat administrations alike.
President Harry Truman had a sign on his desk that said the buck stops here, and yet the President of the United States has less power than its governors to say which bucks stop. One who has been there, America’s Jesse Ventura who as Minnesota governor not only questioned expenses but revenue as well? Governor, we meet at last welcome to The Big Picture.
It’s one thing to take an ax to spend, but you ran for governor questioning the station’s budget surplus and you actually sent Minnesotans what became known as Jessie checks to refund the money the state otherwise would have found a way to spend. Did that horrify your legislature?
Well, it didn’t horrify them really I was in a unique situation.
It worked well but it couldn’t last forever so the fourth year they both got in bed together and opposed me and that’s a whole other story. But it wasn’t difficult on the Jessie checks to get the Republicans on board they wanted tax cuts but I had to curb them. They budgeted because the economy was powerful taxing is obviously too high we took in more than you budgeted for.
They had had one earlier that’s what caused me to run for governor because they spent it all and we’re talking four or five billion dollars here a lot of money. So when I got in the big fight was how to return it, now the Republicans want it to be an income tax return. I said that’s crazy then a third of the money we’ll give to the feds. I had to fight them to make it a sales tax rebate because you can’t deduct sales tax so that way they got free money they got checks in the mail they didn’t have to account for those checks they could spend them. Guess what? That helps the economy because people don’t realize the driving gasoline of the economy is spending
And when people are spending the economy is good. This gave them an opportunity a free check give you a couple of examples Hollis of what happened. I had a friend of mines buddy said tell the governor, he bought me all my beer he went down and bought a pallet of beer, if you can imagine that and had it put in his garage. Another woman needed a lawnmower she went out and used her check bought a lawnmower she was a friend of a neighbor of mine and she named her lawnmower Jessie because she bought it with the Jessie check and so what I did simply was, return the money to the people that belonged to them.
Well whether it’s in government or the private sector, chief executives can only plan based on what they knew on the outside once you get in and you start kicking over rocks things can crawl out. How surprised were you by what you discovered when you became governor?
The laws have to come from the legislature you can veto them and of course then they have the ability to override your veto.
Then you have what’s called as a line-item veto, which means you can line certain things out of a major bill. That’s the best one really that’s the one the governor really uses and I’m sure we’ll get to that. But for me, the big thing was understanding that you have to work in conjunction with the legislature. You can’t have it all your way they can’t have it all their way, there are compromises that have to happen and like I said I was fortunate because I had a Republican House and a Democratic Senate so whoever I lined up with as I said earlier generally prevailed. It went great for three years till they got in bed together to oppose me.
The governors have the line-item veto which the Supreme Court has denied the President. A two-part question should the President have it and has your position on that changed since this President took over?
Well on this President I’m not sure one way or the other because I don’t trust this guy at all.
He says one thing and does another constantly. The line-item veto is phenomenal because what that does it stops what happens in the bribery system.
They all pay the legislators money to get their stuff. Well, generally what they want gets put into a bill that has nothing to do with it. So you can line-item all those Paola things right out of the bill get it out of here and it has nothing to do with this bill. I’m a believer bill should stand on their own that’s why I support unicameral which Nebraska’s about the only state that has one house legislation.
That’s the best because then anything put on the bill has to go out to the full house to be voted on before it becomes an amendment or anything like that. So line item under general circumstances for a governor is essential to get rid get rid of unnecessary spending or the payback Paola bribery that takes place in the democratic and republican system.
He’s the host of The World According to Jesse and Governor Jesse Ventura we miss your common sense. Thanks for joining us on The Big Picture.
If you’re aged 15 to 37 you face challenges my generation didn’t.