Friday, September 18, 2015

I'm Sick Of It

I try to keep politics out of this blog and, for the most part, keep my political opinions to myself. But I can't believe any American, liberal or conservative, should tolerate the financial irresponsibility practiced by the Congress of the United States year after year.

The "Continuing Resolution" is the vehicle to keep from shutting down the government while Congress fails to act. While the government does not shut down, it must perform foolish and expensive actions to continue to operate without proper spending authority.

My experience is in the Defense Department, but I'm sure it is similar in other departments. Here is a simplified example.
Based on Congressional approval, as a government contracting officer, I have signed a contract with ABC Airplane Company to develop, build, and deliver 150 F-XX fighter aircraft. The contract is laid out to run for ten years with payments to be made monthly based on invoices presented to the US Treasury Dept. Congress has approved this program and I am obligated to execute it. Now Congress decides to give me only enough money to operate for a week. When ABC Airplane Company presents invoices to the Treasury for a month's worth of work, the Treasury can only pay for one week.

Here is an even simpler hypothetical: "You are directed to operate your household on a monthly basis and to buy groceries accordingly in the most efficient manner possible." My job is to provide the funds for you to do so. Oh, by the way, I'm only going to give you enough money for one week.

This absurdity happens every year in every government department. Once during my time in the Air Force, it got so bad they moved the fiscal year start from 01 July to 01 Oct to try to recover.

Unfortunately, CRs aren’t uncommon. The last time Congress passed all of its annual appropriations bills in time was almost 20 years ago with the FY 1997 budget. CRs can last for as little as a day or as long as an entire fiscal year. Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work recently lamented, “There is no organization on this earth that would be able to remain in business, operating under these conditions.”

Read this article. If you are one who communicates with your elected official, please ask him/her to earn their pay by doing their job. That would be refreshing.