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Archive for the ‘Government Waste’ Category

Slip out the back, Jack

In Education, Government Waste, Students who fail on March 24, 2011 at 5:54 pm

money1I walked into my classroom this week, midway through the semester, and see 4 students. That’s all. Out of 24 who were signed up and 23 who showed up the first week, all I had in front of me were these students. These are all who I will see the rest of the semester.

No, it’s not that so many realized they failed-in fact not one student of mine left failing. Was the problem me? No, not by the appearance of every classroom I peered into and those I continue to gauge. No, not by the comments made by other professors. “It’s just what happens at this point,” stated a colleague.

Of course, I know this, having been through it for years, but for some reason it really struck me as tragic. Perhaps its the consecutive semesters that it has happened with no solution in sight.

What has happened is something I wrote about as the Indianapolis Colt’s football team approached the playoffs last season.

There were countless reasons why the students I had stopped showing up. They sometimes would tell me what happened–car problems, jail, too much on their plate. Sometimes they were just there to collect the financial-aid refund check and never come back. They didn’t play to win. Something in their management team said it wasn’t important to pass the class–to win.

While some safeguards have been put in place, I cannot say it’s enough. Many of my students brag when their financial aid refund checks are deposited that they are getting $7-8 THOUSAND dollars, mostly in Pell and other grants, and know they don’t need to show up for the rest of the semester. They get their check and they are gone. This has to be, by far, the worst semester I have ever seen.

The cost of not only college tuition and books is considered when financial aid is determined, but also the cost of living. Students are not required to show receipts for any expense. Once the money is deposited to them, they have no accountability. Students brag about the $4,000 laptop they bought and Disney vacations.

Study upon scholarly study talks about retention rates. They discuss ‘drop-outs’ but don’t want to talk about Higher Education’s dirty-little-secret. They don’t want to discuss going to school just for the money. College Boards and focus groups discuss merits of ‘opportunity for all’ and the all-time ‘high’ numbers of college degree awardees. There is a stark difference between students who don’t come back for their sophomore year, and those who show up for the first day of class to collect their check. And what college wants to release that information?

I could go into details, show you the statistics along racial and poverty lines, but (heaven forbid) I appear to be politically incorrect. I am sure union thugs would show up at my doorstep demanding a retraction.

debt

 

Yes, in the long run, it may cost students–but it is ultimately affecting us, the taxpaying citizen, who foots the bill for the ‘opportunity’. I would like to see the statistics on student loan repayment. I tend to believe it is nearly as large as the mortgage foreclosure crisis. Collecting that debt is costly and not nearly as successful as the former.

 

 

Not only is public education policy at the state and local level bankrupting America, but the higher education level as well.

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Our Gangrene Government

In #TCOT, Education, Government Waste, Healthcare, National Health Care, Obamacare, Public Schools, The Mob on March 12, 2010 at 12:11 pm

How did it get this bad?

Festering disease catches up with you. Whether it be  in a relationship, your own health, or budget deficits–if you don’t pay attention to the problem you end up with gangrene.

Governmental waste and the habit of ignoring problems have become too typical of  governmental leadership by unqualified, hyped-politicians who were elected because of momentum and not because of substance. We are now seeing the effects of allowing overspending to maturate.

In today’s New York Times article , discussing the Kansas City School system’s decision to close over 2 dozen schools, they cite the growing problem of ignoring the money issue in government:

The sudden move suggests a depth of dysfunction here that is rarely associated with Kansas City, a lively heartland town with a reputation for order. But a closer look at the school board’s recent history reveals a chaotic, almost nonfunctioning body that put off making tough choices and even routine improvements for generations. Experts said that in the board’s years of inaction is a cautionary tale for school districts everywhere.

Where is government oversight? With the people. It should have been. It should be.

“This is extraordinary,” said Jack Jennings, president of the Center on Education Policy, a research group in Washington. “The school board was dysfunctional for years. There was very poor governance for a long period of time, and it was like a revolving door with superintendents.”

In Fort Wayne, Indiana, just a couple of schools face this dilemma. Elmhurst High School in Fort Wayne facing closure due to budgetary constraints on the district.  With all of it’s failings, at least the Fort Wayne Community Schools is addressing a problem before more than a couple have to be dismantled.

Detroit’s blight can be blamed on the same disease…Gangrene Government.

How do you fix gangrene?

Urgent evaluation and treatment. In general, dead tissue should be removed to allow healing of the surrounding living tissue and prevent further infection. Depending on the area that has the gangrene, the person’s overall condition, and the cause of the gangrene, treatment may include:

  • Amputating the body part that has gangrene (get rid of the board responsible for overspending)
  • An emergency operation to find and remove dead tissue (budget cuts)
  • An operation to improve blood supply to the area (new plan of action)
  • Repeated operations to remove dead tissue (debridement) (don’t let go of the problem)
  • Treatment in the intensive care unit (for severely ill patients) (prosecute)

This is one disease Indiana State Government is not in danger of having, so long as they stay fiscally conservative and continue with attention to details of the budget constraints. The Democrats in Washington should pay attention to our scenario instead of coming up with more massive gangrene spending.

Mitch Daniels champions the individual

In #TCOT, Government Waste, Healthcare, National Health Care, Obamacare, Patients First on March 1, 2010 at 11:14 am

The free market. Self determination. Control over your own money……Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels hit the nail on the head when it comes to the future of healthcare dollars. Individual determination of healthcare dollars spent is successful.

In an Op-Ed piece for the Wall Street Journal today, Daniels illustrates how the free market is supposed to work–yes, even in healthcare. Seems like a simple idea; one which should be easy to implement, but probably won’t because it takes control of the almighty dollar away from the government.

When given the choice, a staggering 70% of Indiana State employees chose to determine their own destiny. Imagine that.

The HSA option has proven highly popular. This year, over 70% of our 30,000 Indiana state workers chose it, by far the highest in public-sector America. Due to the rejection of these plans by government unions, the average use of HSAs in the public sector across the country is just 2%.

Not only are employees determining where their dollar goes, but it is good for the state:

The state is saving, too. In a time of severe budgetary stress, Indiana will save at least $20 million in 2010 because of our high HSA enrollment. Mercer calculates the state’s total costs are being reduced by 11% solely due to the HSA option.

Daniels goes on to say how people who use their own money, cut costs and do not cause a detriment to their own health. What a concept. Free market, control of your own money, and what do you get?…. A positive outcome.

As the healthcare debate continues to drag on, with intentions of ‘bettering America’, one thing becomes clear: Self determination of individual dollars is the only thing that shows promising signs of success.

Kudos to Daniels who champions the individual.

(For more reading on HSA’s and positive healthcare reform, check this interesting article from Dr. Robert E. Moffit, Director of the Center for Healthcare Studies at the Heritage Foundation)

Too old to work?

In #TCOT, Government Waste, Healthcare, National Health Care, Obamacare, Social Security on January 16, 2010 at 12:55 pm

I sat very still in the stiff-back chairs at the Social Security Office yesterday. Near silence entombed the room. I held my machine-issued piece of paper with some number on it and waited.

Occasionally a door squeak would startle those around me and we would turn, in unison, towards the rush of cold air that came at us, as though it were a welcome sign of life.

I don’t think most of us wanted to drift into the low mumble of conversation of private-lives and complaints that were just a few feet away from us. I played some mind-numb game on my cell phone. I watched the security guard occasionally thinking he may throw a fit because many signs were posted warning to turn all cell-phones off. Fortunately, he was too busy on the phone with a bank, trying to find the best deal for debit cards. (The one conversation I couldn’t help but overhear.)

After 10 minutes, my eyes wandered to the people around me. A young couple with a toddler and baby in-tow…Two older couples…. One elderly lady with knee socks and shorts on in the dead of winter… And then a very older gentleman with a stack of paper.

A number was called, then another a few minutes later. There we sat like cows, penned and no where to go except back out to pasture.

The elderly man, sitting just a few chairs away began to fumble his papers. He started to speak a couple times to people around him, but it appeared he wasn’t sure what to say.

The man with the toddler finally asked him “Do you need help?” A collective sigh of relief fell over our herd. Finally something to do. We turned and watched.

The man still didn’t have his thoughts as to what it was he was going to say, just held his piece of paper out towards the man.

“Oh, what’s your number?” he asked. The man stared at the paper and closed his mouth.

“It looks like the machine didn’t print anything on it. Let me see if I can help.”

The younger man approached the security guard, still entranced with his banker, who simply pointed him towards the ladies behind the plexi-glass counters.

Trying to explain the situation, he was interrupted by the lady began to repeat her all-to-often-used phrase

“What’s your number?”

Within seconds, she had a startled look on her face and said

“That just doesn’t happen.” Workers began to rush to the window and the machine.

By deduction, we ‘cows’ deduced he must have come in about 6 people before me. We assured him we would get him to the line.

15 long minutes later, the younger man turned to him and said

“It’s your turn.”

We watched him make his way to the worker.

“What’s your number?” she asked.

The man put his paper thru the window.

She stared at him, beginning to speak and he cocked his head ever-s0-slightly.

“What can I help you with?”

And his story began.

“I had surgery, ya see, and my doctor said I can’t work anymore, ” he stated.

“What’s your social security number, sir?” she asked.

“Why would I tell you that?” was his simple reply.

“Sir, how old are you?”

“Ma’am, I am 84 years old.”

“Are you retired?”

“I don’t want to be, but, you see, I had surgery on my neck. The doctor said I should come tell you this so I could be on disability.”

“Do you get Social Security?”

“I get a little something. Yes.”

“Well, sir, you can’t get both. You need to make up your mind if you are going to get one or the other.”

And he stood in silence for about a minute, looking at his papers.

Without another sound, he turned and looked at the chairs–staring at each of us–we were glued to the conversation.

Then he slowly made his way back out to pasture. And we watched the cool wind escort him back out.

The room went back to it’s own silence. My number was called and I went to the plex-glass.

I suppose he may come back another day. Perhaps not. Perhaps he may go back to work. Perhaps not.

Perhaps he may just go back home and make a sandwich and wait for his next doctors appointment.

I can’t wait for Government-run healthcare.

Shake-up in race for money

In Dr. Tony Bennett, Education, Government Waste, Public Schools on January 12, 2010 at 9:54 pm

The latest news regarding a shake-up in Fort Wayne Community Schools must have the teacher’s unions scrambling for a response.

Without a press release on the website of FWCS, news leaked out that personnel in 11 schools within the city’s system would have to reapply for their jobs. All this with hopes of gaining money in a new competition labeled “Race to the Top“. Word is that no more than 50 percent of the staff can remain at the same building..coming from the State Department of Education. Of course, district officials will contest.

Years ago this was known as a shake-down. If schools didn’t improve their test-scores, the State of Indiana held over their heads that they could come in and take over a school. Â Somehow, like the threat of taking a teenager’s car keys away, this kept some schools in line.

Don’t get me wrong. I think it is a grand idea. The problem lies within the unions who have long fought for tenure-without-regard-to-performance just to keep teachers because they had stayed on the job.

I can see the unions fighting to keep the teachers in jobs. They perpetuate the entitlement atmosphere.

I teach in a college where evaluations are EVERYTHING. Â If my students are upset and I have a high incidence of students who fail, I will lose my job. This is no different than in most workplaces. If you don’t get a job done, they find someone who will.

One good thing Wendy Robinson finally said was “there is no option not to do nothing” (no credit to her English teacher, by the way).

My prediction is this will be short-lived, just to meet a January deadline. I hope I am wrong and the students will benefit by getting fresh ideas, fresh blood, and people in positions who truly care AND GET RESULTS.

Obviously, something has to change.

Jail me, I’m uninsured

In #TCOT, Government Waste, Healthcare, National Health Care, Obamacare, Patients First, The Mob, Uncategorized on November 12, 2009 at 7:38 pm

Ready for the cuffs?!

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Hitler put the unemployed ‘asocial’ in camps..the first one being Dachau. He was hailed for his economic ‘recovery’. Suddenly the unemployed couldn’t be found. His party began gaining seats in government.

Flash Forward to 2009.

The number of unemployed goes up and down, now looking at 10.2%… The House of Representatives and the President agree it’s a good idea to jail those people who don’t comply with buying into a government program.

Already the unemployed and under-employed are forced to undergo testing and mandatory classes.

‘Re-education’, they call it.

Socialism, I call it.

Cash for Cons.. The Failure of the SSA again

In Government Waste, Social Security, The Mob on August 25, 2009 at 2:10 pm

What is wrong with Government? Glad you asked…images

The Boston Herald uncovers “Cash for Con’s”…..the Social Security Administration foul-up of sending money to Bay State prisoners. The government has asked they send the money back. According to the SSA’s own website, felon’s aren’t allowed to (The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 made it illegal for fugitive felons to collect SSI payments):

This Fugitive Felon Project utilizes a multi-faceted approach that requires extensive and cooperative efforts of many law enforcement agencies throughout the United States.

This project identifies individuals who are prohibited under the law from receiving SSI benefits by conducting computer matches with available sources of warrant information, which include the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and the states.We also have signed agreements with U.S. Marshals Service and the FBI, giving us access to all federal warrants.

Their own words, Government is inadquately policing themselves. Testimony by Acting Assitant Deputy Comissioner, Fritz Steckewald in 2001:

Unfortunately only about 30 percent of all outstanding warrants are reported to the NCIC since the reporting of such information is voluntary and selective. Eleven states report all of their warrants to the NCIC. These states are Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Arkansas, New Mexico, Kansas, and Missouri. The remaining 39 states report some, but not all warrant information to the NCIC.

Wonder how well they are doing a few years later?  I am sure their programs, and funding have increased. Look at what it was then:

“Today, SSA maintains over 2,600 incentive payment agreements, which provide monthly reports from approximately 5,500 facilities.”