The Obama Care legislation has been under attack over the past few months because of how bad it was written and the disasters it is causing as it unfolds. It has failed in so many ways, financially, operationally, logically, etc. It deserves the mantle of worst piece of legislation ever enacted by the Federal government. |
But a recent article in the Independent Journal Review reminded us that while Obama Care is the worst piece of legislation ever, the Federal government also has a quite impressive (in a negative way) history of 13 failed other major pieces of legislation. All of these failures cost American taxpayers trillions of dollars without ever coming close to resolving the problems that led to the enacting of new laws. In many cases, the enacting of legislation to remedy a problem actually made the problem worse.
The first 14 failed pieces of legislation are from the original Independent Journal Review’s analysis and research. We have added a few of our own to this ignoble list that they did not cover or got to depressed to go on after doing the first 14.
1) Prohibition: For 14 years, the United States was officially “dry.” Problem was, it wasn’t. The black market flourished, as did crime, the Mafia and rampant violence. Enacted in 1919, it was finally repealed in 1933. But not before many people needlessly died, much taxpayer wealth was wasted, a permanent organized crime underworld was established, and many government entities and police departments were corrupted by bootlegger wealth. And we ended up right back where we started in 1919.
2) No Child Left Behind: Under President George W. Bush’s education program, Federal spending for schools more than doubled …and student test scores didn’t budge. We still lag behind much of the industrialized world. In most standardized international student tests, we usually rank some where between 20th and 30th in education effectiveness despite spending far more per student than any other country in the world.
It didn’t used to be that way though, before the Feds poured all the money, regulations, and rules into local schools, we were at the top of the list as far as educating our kids. For this miserable performance, we still pay out tens of billions of dollars every year to a useless Federal Department of Education.
3) Medicare: When Medicare began in 1965, it was estimated that it would cost $9 billion per year by 1990. However, by 1990 the annual cost was $67 billion. Missed that forecast by just a bit, say being off by more than a factor of seven!
In 2013 the annual cost of Medicare is $390 billion. And are we that much healthier than we were 50 years ago despite paying more than 40 times what we paid as a nation in 1965? On an inflation adjusted basis, the GDP of the country in 2012 was less than four times the size of the GDP in 1965. 40 fold rise in Medicare costs vs. a less than four fold rise in the size of the economy. Something has gone terribly wrong.
Needless to say, this program is quickly approaching financial insolvency with no remedial plans in sight from the dysfunctional Washington political class.
4) Medicaid: Same deal and disgrace as Medicare. It was estimated to cost $100 million, now it costs $211 billion or more than two thousands times as much. Needless to say, this program is quickly approaching financial insolvency with no remedial plans in sight from the dysfunctional Washington political class.
5) Immigration reform: The number of illegal aliens entering this country has more than tripled since Reagan was President. Whether we should increase or decrease the flow of immigration, it’s clear the Federal government has no idea what its doing when it comes to securing our borders. Israel has secured its borders, making frequent terrorists attacks within their borders a thing of the past. It can be done, it just cannot be done by the Washington political class.
6) The War on Drugs: Since Nixon, we have spent over $1 trillion and incarcerated millions of Americans over relatively minor drug charges. This is one of the most spectacular failures of our government.
And just like the establishment of a permanent domestic organized crime underworld during Prohibition, our failed war on drugs has created massive, violent, well financed, and efficient drug cartels in Mexico and beyond, cartels that threaten legitimate governments and corrupt police, judges, and government officials worldwide.
7) Farm subsidies: Paying farmers not to grow crops? And many times we are not even paying real farmers. The August 16, 2013 issue of The Week magazine pointed out that in the past, millionaires like Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi, Ted Turner, Jimmy Carter, a number of Rockefellers, and other millionaire non-farmers were able to collect taxpayer wealth because of how farm subsidies work in this country. Insanity.
8) Ethanol: Over the last 30 years, the Federal government has given out almost $45 billion in taxpayer wealth to support the ethanol industry. The original purpose was to save the environment by having cars and trucks use ethanol in their vehicle gas tanks as a surrogate for oil. Problem? It’s inefficient, more polluting in several other ways, and raises the price of corn and makes food more inaccessible for the world’s hungry. Genius.
9) “Green Jobs:” When he was elected, President Obama launched an all-out campaign to kick start the Green Economy. I think at last count the administration had handed out nearly $40 billion to dozens of “green companies,” many of which were owned by people who had made substantial financial donations to Obama’s election campaigns.
End result of this cronyism? $40 billion or so given out with virtually no societal benefit in return and a sorry trail of bankrupt or near bankrupt companies such as Solyndra, Spectra, Evergreen, A123, and probably dozens of others.
10) Banning DDT: The malaria-killing chemical (which saved 500 million lives in Africa) was banned in 1970 because it was believed to kill birds. Since then, subsequent research has shown that DDT, when used properly and prudently, can be a very effective, environment friendly pesticide that could have saved millions of lives. However, the United states and other Western nations refuse to admit they were wrong and the carnage goes on unabated.
11) The War on Terror: Started under President Bush, we have spent uncountable trillions of dollars attempting to secure our borders and defeat terrorism. We have invaded and disrupted other countries, resulting in a massive loss of wealth, deaths and maiming injuries to our armed forces, and hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths.
We have shredded the Fourth Amendment with a Presidential administration and Federal security apparatus that collects and stores just about every bit of electronic communications we make. In addition to spying on ourselves, we have been shown to do extensive spying on other countries, both friend and foe, damaging our international reputation and relations.
The Federal government’s budget for anti-terror activities has skyrocketed but we are not much safer from terrorist attacks than we were years ago, e.g. the successful Boston Marathon bombing, the successful Fort Hood mass shooting, the unsuccessful underwear bomber (only because of a faulty detonator), the unsuccessful Times Square bomber (again, only because of a faulty detonator), and the successful terror attack at Benghazi.
12) The Assault Weapons Ban: Since the ban expired in 2006, the number of deaths from guns (assault weapons or not) has declined precipitously. Enough said.
13) Social Security: When it was started in 1935, Social Security was a tax of only one percent of income. Now it is over six percent and climbing. In the next 75 years, as America ages, Social Security will go broke. This is another government program that is quickly approaching financial insolvency with no remedial plans in sight from the dysfunctional Washington political class.
14) Obama Care: When he proposed the Affordable Care Act, President Obama assured Americans the plan would cost less than $1 trillion. The latest projection is the program will cost three times that amount.
Besides these dismal financial projections, check out the other myriad of problems with Obama Care as referenced to the two links above.
Pretty pathetic track record over the decades of failed Federal government programs. Programs that create permanent organized crime cartels and gangs. Programs that do not come close to hitting their original budget projections. Programs that make existing problems worse.
But I think that the Independent Journal Review research, while excellent, left out a few other major disasters:
15) Head Start: Two extensive, major research studies that have been developed and published by the Obama administration have found that nearly fifty years after the Head Start program was started, kids that go through the program are no smarter, wiser, or better off than kids that do not go through the program. In fact, one of the studies found that some kids in some areas are worse off because of Heat Start.
It appears that for almost fifty years we were not helping our kids get a “head start,” we were just using Federal taxpayer dollars to run a massive, nation wide baby sitting service.
16) National Energy Strategy: About forty years after the oil shocks of the 1970s, we are no closer to having a coherent, doable, and intelligent national energy strategy that minimizes the cost of energy while maximizing the protection of the environment.
Gasoline prices are about double what they were just four years ago or so. We still import a lot of our oil for out energy needs, making us vulnerable to international political events. The Department of Energy costs us tens of billions of dollars every year without any noticeable societal benefit in return or any noteworthy breakthroughs in energy research.
17) Budget Management: The Federal government debt is fast approaching a mind boggling $17 TRILLION. This puts a debt burden on every American, adult and child, of about $54,000 per person. Thus, a family of four would have to pay out over $200,000 just to cover their share of the national debt. Pathetic financial management skills.
18) Foreign Affairs: Ramsey Clark once said, “The biggest crime since World War II has been U.S. foreign policy.” He was quite possibly right. We have helped overthrow legitimate governments (e.g. Iran in the early 1950s), we have probably been involved in more wars and military actions than any other government on earth (e,g,, Korean War, Vietnam, Bosnia, Somalia, Iraq/twice, Afghanistan), we use drones to launch missiles into many countries (e.g. Yemen, Pakistan) to kill terrorists but often end up killing civilians, we have supported oppressive tyrants because they pretend to be friendly to our needs and our wealth (e.g. the Shah in Iran, Mubarak in Egypt), we failed to anticipate the “Arab Spring” until it was well underway, and we have and continue to station armed forces all over the globe.
All to get us to the dangerous and volatile position we find ourselves in today relative to the rest of the world.
These disasters have happened regardless of what branch of the political class sat in the White House or controlled Congress. These are eighteen failures of the Washington political class, not just one or two Presidents or a handful of Senators. This is systemic risk and failure throughout the entire system.
We proposed many solutions to these problems in our book, “Love My Country, Loathe Our Government.” From campaign finance reform to Congressional district gerrymandering reform to a brand new, fresh look at many of our major problems (lost war on drugs, high health care costs, failing public education etc.). However, the most important step of all, if we are to breakthrough to real solutions to real problems, is to install term limits on all Washington politicians.
While many of these failures and failed programs have happened over decades, a large number of people currently in Congress were in office over that timeframe and were responsible for all 18 failures. They need to be removed from office via term limits so that we can get the old, ineffective ways of doing things replaced with new people with new ideas.
Given the 18 major failures/disasters listed above, how much worse could it get if we started over with new people in Washington?
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