By Tera Ertz
There has been much talk in recent months about the need to increase our investments. From recent Presidential speeches the great one and his media apologists seem to think we need investment in education, health care, crumbling roads and bridges and jobs, jobs, jobs. In light of how well some of the recent “investments” have paid off for taxpayers, I decided to take a look at the words and once again determine if there was something I was missing in the meaning. Now, the first definition that comes up, and the one that comes to mind for most people when they hear the word investment follows:
1. the investing of money or capital in order to gain profitable returns, as interest, income, or appreciation in value.
Under this definition, it would seem that the tax payers have been nominated to fund market speculation with the expectation of profit or appreciation in value. Let’s take a look at some of the more outstanding investments since this word came to replace the word spending in the DC vocabulary.
First, in 2009, we needed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (see, they even put it in the title) to invest in our schools, our health care, our crumbling roads and bridges, broadband, the new green economy and a myriad of other things. Around that same time, we needed to invest in General Motors and Chrysler to keep them from going bankrupt and eliminating thousands of jobs, not to mention saving the iconic domestic automotive industry. We needed to pass the Cash for Clunkers bill to help boost the auto industry as well. We passed the Affordable Housing Act to invest in underwater mortgages and stop people from losing their homes to the evil banks. In 2010, the health care bill had to be passed, including new spending to increase jobs, make insurance affordable and allow consumers to keep their doctors if they like them. Since then, there have been many other speeches, many other causes, and many more investments recommended by this administration.
Since then, we’ve seen both GM and Chrysler file for and receive restructuring bankruptcy programs, paying off unions at a fairly high rate, and all other investors, including the US taxpayer, at pennies on the dollar. Cash for Clunkers temporarily boosted car sales over the couple of months it was in effect, only to see them fall once again because all the people that would have bought cars in subsequent months bought them early to take advantage of the program. Worse, those who were looking for affordable used vehicles could no longer find them because used stock was drained by the government mandate that all cars traded in under the program be scrapped. Net result? The car companies still failed, and the consumers (who also happen to be the tax payers) wound up paying more for the products.
We’ve seen Solyndra and several other “green” energy companies that received tax payer dollars as an investment go bankrupt with the understanding that the other investors would get paid off first, likely leaving the tax payer not only with no profit on their investment, but also no value and the loss of the money already paid.
The Kansas City School District just lost its accreditation this week. The students in the US are still falling behind their counterparts in math and science scores. Companies are still struggling to find qualified workers for many jobs due to lack of decent language and math skills. School districts around the country are still facing budget shortfalls due to bloating from the mandates attached to the federal investments they have been receiving. Again, not much of a return on investment.
Doctors are beginning to refuse new Medicare and Medicaid patients at a higher rate, as well as refusing Tricare, the current military insurance program. Employers are dropping their coverage, or individuals are dropping their coverage due to skyrocketing premium costs. Wait time for appointments is increasing, and hospitals are either not being built or having to shut down programs due to new government regulation and mandates in the health care bill. And rationing in some cases is already beginning because there just isn’t enough money to go around. So much for that investment.
In the mortgage industry, Bank of America and Citigroup have just had their credit rating downgraded, in part due to the number of bad mortgages still on the books that they have been unable to liquidate due to the restrictions placed on foreclosure proceedings under the Affordable Housing Act and the Dodd-Frank bill. The rate of foreclosure is still higher than normal, and the housing market is still glutted with foreclosed properties. Those mortgages that were “invested” in with the AHA had 25% relapse rates in the first year of the programs. But, considering the size of some of these other programs, the tax payer may have gotten a break with only 75 Billion squandered, oops, I mean invested in this program.
And the road and bridges that were crumbling to dust when the President took office? The ones that were supposed to marry the needs of America for rebuilding our infrastructure and the needs of the unemployed construction workers? Well, here in 2011, the President has hit the road over the last two months to tout his latest jobs bill, to rebuild our roads and crumbling bridges and put construction workers back to work. Most folks that make an investment in something and haven’t seen any result don’t sink more money into the project two years and a half years on.
With all of that on our record of investment over the last three years or so, the question must be asked, are they just really lousy at picking investments, or do they perhaps mean something different than what my fellow citizens and I do when we say investment. The folks over at dictionary.com had a surprising and enlightening answer.
5. a less common word for investiture
7. rare the act of besieging with military forces, works, etc
And just for clarity and giggles:
2. (in feudal society) the formal bestowal of the possessory right to a fief or other beneficence
Now perhaps the trail of what we see as failed investments, but the administration insists on calling successes, becomes clearer. In the case of companies like Solyndra, GM, Chrysler, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and groups like the UAW and the NEA, bestowal of possessory rights to the labor of the peasants makes a great deal of sense. After all, they have worked and slaved to elect, support, and now re-elect the President, they deserve their fiefdoms as reward.
New armed IRS agents authorized in the Affordable Care Act, the use of tax payer dollars to support drug running and gun running operations, and did I mention LightSquared, the company whose newest satellite system is set to disrupt GPS systems and military communications nationally? These all sound a great deal like many of the people and industries in this nation are also being put under siege with the “investments” of Washington DC. Government has no money of its own, if you’d like to stop the siege of the tax payer, and end the feudal system of unions and politically connected corporations, then Learn the Lingo and be wary the wielders of words.