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2016 'Spendy Award' Winner Announcement

2016 'Spendy Award' Winner Announcement

(Ivan Cholakov/Dreamstime) 

By Thursday, 29 December 2016 01:44 PM Current | Bio | Archive

It’s time to announce the 2016 "Spendy Award," bestowed upon the federal agency with the most extensive record of incompetence and contempt for the taxpayer. Bonus points are awarded to agencies performing a function completely absent from the Constitution and better left to the private sector.

Spendy winners are characterized by cabinet secretaries who condescend to attend congressional hearings; where hours are spent detailing the mismanagement, waste, theft, and general uselessness found in their kingdom.

After which the secretary looks the committee chairman straight in the eye and blames all his troubles on Russian hackers.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, last year’s winner, made a game bid to be our first consecutive champion with its development of a website to teach America how to make a grocery list. Evidently the great minds at USDA believe the fattest people on earth have trouble buying groceries.

Prior to federal intervention, shoppers wandered the aisles in Safeway looking like the walking dead — without a goal, purpose, or coupons. Now, thanks to Uncle Sam, shoppers will have the ability to buy grocery items they can use for things like recipes and meals!

Unfortunately, while the USDA is building a website with outdated advice, the Apple app store already has over 80 grocery list apps for the iPhone alone.

Last year’s runner-up, the Veteran’s Administration, came on strong, too. Sec. Robert McDonald was forced to resign after he entered the realm of public relations legend when he told reporters Disneyland doesn’t measure wait time, so why should the VA?

The Mouse also tells visitors in line what their prospects for the future are.

It’s common to see signs that read, "Wait from this point approximately 30 minutes."

The VA waiting line equivalent would be, "From this point you’ll see Jesus before you see a doctor."

McDonald’s abrupt departure didn’t derail the appointment of a new head for the suicide hotline. This stellar employee has "reform" written all over him. The previous VA call center Matthew Eitutis ran had a dropped call rate five times higher than the highest acceptable drop rate in the private sector.

CallCenterHelper.com informs us a drop rate "above five percent would be seen as problematic." While in the VA a 26 percent abandonment rate grooms you for promotion.

Then we have the perennial contenders at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. This year we learned more about its "award-winning" teleshopping program for both full and part-time patent examiners. Employees, aka personal shoppers, can browse from the comfort of their home while still claiming a 40-hour week.

Even better, the inspector general found employees with the highest number of "unsupported" working hours — can you say Amazon lightening deals? — also had the highest number of overtime hours claimed.

How’s that for a cashback bonus at taxpayer expense?

As reprehensible as the entries were from USDA, VA and USPTO the prize this year must go to the Pentagon. It has decayed from being a constitutionally-authorized protector of the nation into an NFL equivalent "contractor combine" where members of the military see how high they can jump for beltway bandits in hopes of being hired after they retire.

As The Washington Post casually explains, "52 of the biggest defense contractors employed 2,435 former generals, senior executives and acquisition officers. Of those, 422 were in a position to work on defense contracts directly related to their former agencies and at least nine may have been working on the same contracts they previously oversaw."

Naturally only "team players" may apply. Now these defectors do the same work they did previously only now in civvies and at a much higher pay rate.

Members of military whose time in the 40-yard dash with taxpayer cash is too slow to rate a job in the "private sector" are still no bargain even if they stay put.

Pentagon brass commissioned a study from a panel it thought was house broken. The goal was to find some pocket change sized waste and then show Congress how the Pentagon was all unconditional surrender when it came to fighting for taxpayers.

Only the study found 25 percent of DOD’s annual budget of $580 billion being spent on bureaucracy and overhead. That’s twice the rate spent in the real private sector.

The Pentagon’s shipping and logistics department not only boasts more employeesthan UPS has working worldwide, the average Pentagon shipping clerk is paid $200,000 in salary and benefits — over twice the maximum paid to a senior UPS operations supervisor.

The panel submitted a plan to save $125 billion over five years without layoffs and Pentagon "leadership" buried it next to Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction.

That’s why for exceptional cowardice in the face of waste, I give you the Pentagon our 2016 Spendy Award winner!

Michael R. Shannon is a commentator, researcher for the League of American Voters, and an award-winning political and advertising consultant with nationwide and international experience. He is author of "Conservative Christian’s Guidebook for Living in Secular Times (Now with added humor!)." Read more of Michael Shannon's reports — Go Here Now.

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The Pentagon’s shipping and logistics department not only boasts more employees than UPS has working worldwide, the average Pentagon shipping clerk is paid $200,000 in salary and benefits — over twice the maximum paid to a senior UPS operations supervisor.
congress, pentagon, usda, va
Thursday, 29 December 2016 01:44 PM
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