Ed Driscoll

The Keynes to the Highway

As Mark Steyn writes, for the “supercomittee” formed to jumpstart deficit “reduction” in Washington,  it was necessary to spend the country to death in order save it:

Meanwhile, back at the Oval Office, the president is asking for your votes for the 2011 SAVE Award. To demonstrate his commitment to fiscal discipline, he set up a competition whereby federal employees can propose ways to cut government waste. A panel of experts (John Kerry, Paula Abdul, etc.) then weigh the merits, and the four finalists go up on the White House website to be voted on by members of the public: It’s like “Dancing With the Czars.”

Last year, Marjorie Cook of Michigan, a food inspector with the Department of Agriculture, noted that every year USDA inspectors ship 125,000 food samples to its analysis labs by “next day” express delivery, and that a day or two later the labs ship the empty containers back to the inspectors using the very same “next day” service.

Marjorie suggested that, as the containers are empty, they can’t be all that urgent, and should be mailed back at regular old ground delivery rates.

But this reform was way too radical, so it didn’t win. And happily, even as we speak, mail couriers are rushing empty containers back and forth across the USDA-inspected fruited plain at your expense.

This year’s SAVE Award nominees include Faith Stanfield of Toledo, Ohio, a “general technical expert” with the Social Security Administration. As someone who’s technically expert in a very general sense, she sees the big picture. It’s on the front of the SSA’s glossy magazine.

Did you know Social Security has its own glossy magazine? It’s called Oasis and it’s sent out to 88,000 SSA employees plus about a thousand government retirees. It’s like Vogue or Vanity Fair, but without the perfume and fashion ads, because who needs Givenchy and Yves St. Laurent to fund your mag when you’ve got the U.S. taxpayer?

It’s the magazine that says you’re cool, you’re now, you’re living the SSA bureaucrat lifestyle. But Stanfield thinks they should scrap the glossy pages and only publish it online.

Ooh, I dunno. Sounds a bit extreme to me. Could result in hundreds of Social Security lifestyle editors being laid off and reduced to living on Social Security.

But wouldn’t cutting back on printing the Orwellian-named Oasis magazine reduce the number of trees needed to be cut to print them, which could then be used in December as Christmas Trees, and thereby reducing the need for the Christmas Tree Tax?

(From promising to bankrupt the coal industry to threatening to tax Christmas tress, Obama has all of the winter solsticial holiday bases covered, eh?)