This is a snapshot of the influence and impact government at all levels has on one citizen in this country on one day.
In the president’s State of the Union Address this week, he outlined his vision for America. He called it an “America Built to Last”. This also happens to be his campaign slogan.
His vision included more taxes on American companies. He said “every multinational company should have to pay a basic minimum tax” (http://on9news.tv/y0AgR7). It also included a vision for a bigger government with more power and more control. President Obama wants “the creation of a Trade Enforcement Unit that will be charged with investigating unfair trading practices” (http://on9news.tv/y0AgR7).
The president ignored the 10th Amendment of the Constitution, dictating to the states how they will run their schools and implying further control by the Feds “I am proposing that every state — every state — requires that all students stay in high school until they graduate or turn 18” (http://on9news.tv/y0AgR7). He also wants to continue to concentrate power in the executive branch, by passing our law making body, Congress. In his vision he has the power to “I intend to fight obstruction with action” (http://on9news.tv/y0AgR7), such as he did with his recent recess appointments he conducted when the Senate was not in recess.
So, under his vision, government continues to grow. Government assumes responsibility for more agencies and assumes control over more aspects of our daily lives. How is government, at all levels, managing the programs and control they have now?
In one day, I took notice of the interactions that I had with government at the local, state and Federal level and also took notice of their performance. Here is what happened.
I live in a small town. In order for me to have my garbage picked up on Monday mornings, I have to purchase stickers to put onto my bags of garbage before I put them on the street. Easy, right? Not so fast. I have to physically go to, pay for and pick up my garbage stickers from the town offices. The office is only open for 4 hours a week: Wednesday 10am – 12pm, and Friday 2-4pm. Given that I have to work to pay for the stickers, I am at work durning the 4 hours the offices are open. I don’t have garbage stickers.
First, I went to the DMV to inquire as to what would be required to transfer my out of state registration to a NY registration. The friendly clerk gave me three government forms to fill out and I was told it was going to cost me around $200.00. Included in this was a $50.00 charge from the state to provide me with a NY title. I am no longer making payments on my truck. I’ve owned it outright for years. I entered into a financial agreement with a lender to buy my truck. The agreement was that the bank would lend me the money to buy my truck and they would hold the title of ownership until I paid off the loan. That makes sense. Nowhere in that contract was the state involved. They were not the lien holder, they didn’t lend me the money, they didn’t make any of the payments. Why, now, years later, does the state government has the power to issue me a title to a vehicle that I worked for and paid for? But they do.
Next, in my mail I foud a statement for child support. I haven’t been liable for child support in about 5 years. Despite numerous contacts with the state involved (not my native NY), they will not turn it off. I’ve had custody of my child for years and now he is grown and out of the house. But, I can not get this turned off. I’ve called them, provided them with court documents, sent letters all to no avail. Every month, like clockwork I receive a child support statement. The bureaucracy of that state government can not grasp that circumstances change, kids grow up and they should be reactive to this.
Our Federal government is a shining example of inefficiency and disorganization. Granted, as a retired military member, I may have more contact with our Federal government than most. But, in one day:
I submitted a travel voucher to the finance office. The clerk at the desk walked me through the process step-by-step and was very helpful. She took the time to describe each document and receipt that I needed to give her. I complied. She then told me it would take, on average 5-7 business days to process. “Ok”.
Eleven business days later, when I handn’t either received payment or heard anything, I went back to the office. There was a different person behind the desk. Regardless, she again was very friendly and helpful while informing me that there was no record of the paperwork I submitted, nor was there any record of my having been there at all. Gone. My claim just disappeared. I was also told that office was the wrong office to go to anyway and they shouldn’t have taken my claim. I was given a phone number to call their regional office and sent on my way. I called their regional office and was informed that I needed the receipts and papers that I submitted to the first office. Of course, I didn’t have those papers because I had followed instructions and turned them into the first Federal finance office. I am still spinning in circles on this one.
As a veteran, I submitted a medical claim to the Veteran’s Administration on 28 February 2011. Today, I made my fouth visit to my local VA office to determine the status of my claim. After starting from scratch as if I had never been there and once again describing my issue for the fourth time, the very friendly and helpful clerk made a phone call. After a couple redirects and some time on hold, the clerk finally had an answer. She related to me that the VA representative on the other end of the phone told her that my claim is still sitting on their desk. It has been sitting on his desk for nine months as they weren’t sure they had all the required records. He would look into it and call my local VA rep on Monday. Note that at no time during those nine months had I received an iquiry or letter from the VA asking if me if they had all my records. Our bureaucratic Federal Government hard at work.
Next, I went to my local Federal Post Office. I moved here about four months ago and submitted an official change of address form to have my mail forwarded. Not long afterward, I started to receive my father’s mail. When I asked how to fix that, I was told that I had to submit another change of address card “just to make sure it goes through”. I did so. That was two months ago. I am still receiving my father’s mail. Again, I asked how to fix this. Now I was told to submit another change of address card but this time I changed my father’s address from my house back to his house. Another example of the complete inefficiency of our government to manage the simplest and most mundane of tasks. Although it hasn’t happened yet, I am completely confident that my father very soon will be receiving my mail at his house.
I am sure that I’m not unique. This is the run-down of the interactions between one person and their local, state and Federal governments in just one day.
On a larger scale, the governments at every level are facing fiscal problems as their expenditures exceed their revenues. We do not have a tax problem, we have a spending problem. The Federal government is $15+ in debt. AMTRAK, the Post Office, Social Security are all broke and running routine deficits. New York is projected to have a $350 million shortfall for fiscal year 2012 and a $2 billion projected shortfall for 2013(http://bit.ly/WDa0M) and is Governor Cuomo is forced to make spending cuts. Local governments are also facing budget shortfalls and are making tough choices on funding and taxes.
Given their complete inefficiency in running anything, why would anyone even consider voting for any candidate that is proposing greater control of any government over anything? And, the worst part of it all is how much they charge us for it.