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Obama wastes $11 million on his failed "suit" prog





jmi256
Another example of Obama and the Democrats’ mismanagement and waste of hardworking taxpayers’ money, this time in the Democrat utopia of Detroit. Surprise, surprise. At a cost of $11 million, through his failed “stimulus” Obama was able to provide suits to exactly two people. I wonder if they got the jobs in the suits that cost taxpayers $5.5 million.

Quote:
Audit: Part of $11M grant for Detroit job seekers only aided 2

Detroit — Part of an $11 million grant intended to provide business attire to 400 low-income job-seekers instead helped only two people, an audit of the city's Department of Human Services has found.
The audit, conducted by the city's auditor general for the period from July 2009 to September 2011, found the department failed to control the operations and finances of a boutique that was to provide the clothes.
The department did not safeguard grant funds or create an inventory for the clothing, the audit found.
Among the most telling findings, which will be discussed today during a City Council committee meeting, is that a third-party contractor advanced $148,000 to a downtown Detroit clothing store and opened an account, but did not include the city as the boutique's owner.
"It's just another example that money is not as much of an issue than managing the money, whether it's grant or general fund dollars that we have," said Council President Pro Tem Gary Brown. "We have to find a better way to manage the resources and give Detroiters the value for the tax dollars they deserve."
The audit is the latest finding against the city's Department of Human Services, which has been under scrutiny for chronic mismanagement of federal funds. Many of the department's leaders have departed since an internal investigation was launched last year, including an inquiry into the purchase of $182,000 worth of high-end furniture for a department office. In 2009, the department received more than $11 million in stimulus funding and created a service center.
The center, at 1970 Larned, included the Customer Choice Pantry, the New Beginnings Clothing Boutique and a call center that had the capacity to service 60,000 families in need. The boutique was to provide business attire for low-income residents for job interviews.
To receive clothing, residents were required to have a job interview scheduled. According to the audit, the DHS was supposed to help 400 people between October 2010 and September 2011 but instead served only two.
"The DHS was only able to provide the auditors with two referral forms signed by two clients documenting that they received clothing from the boutique," the audit said. "Eligible Detroiters are not being served with available clothing being stocked in the boutique."
The department did not give a reason for not reaching the goal of providing 400 people with clothes.
The audit found the Department of Human Services hired a contractor to run the boutique. The contractor negotiated the purchase of clothing without involving city officials and did not give them keys to the center.
The contractor also did not provide proof of the receipt of the clothing to auditors.
"The potential loss of thousands of dollars exists because controls have not been established for the boutique," the audit said. "…failure to maintain an adequate inventory system results in the inability to efficiently monitor and safeguard inventory and to identify inventory losses from theft and damages."

Source = http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20120307/METRO01/203070333/Audit-Part-11M-grant-Detroit-job-seekers-only-aided-2?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE
menino
I don't think Obama should be blamed for this entirely.
The intentions seemed good, but the implementation was terrible.

But Obama and his administration have a lot of work cut out for them and on the table.
$ 11 million is a lot of money to waste, but nothing compared to $16 trillion that are in debt.
Still, its an eye opener for them to do a better job in the remote corners with the audit find.
deanhills
menino wrote:
I don't think Obama should be blamed for this entirely.
The intentions seemed good, but the implementation was terrible.

But Obama and his administration have a lot of work cut out for them and on the table.
$ 11 million is a lot of money to waste, but nothing compared to $16 trillion that are in debt.
Still, its an eye opener for them to do a better job in the remote corners with the audit find.
Looks as though the $16 trillion debt is coming in handy at last. Millions have become very trivial in comparison and probably much less in value as well. Twisted Evil
Ankhanu
deanhills wrote:
menino wrote:
I don't think Obama should be blamed for this entirely.
The intentions seemed good, but the implementation was terrible.

But Obama and his administration have a lot of work cut out for them and on the table.
$ 11 million is a lot of money to waste, but nothing compared to $16 trillion that are in debt.
Still, its an eye opener for them to do a better job in the remote corners with the audit find.
Looks as though the $16 trillion debt is coming in handy at last. Millions have become very trivial in comparison and probably much less in value as well. Twisted Evil


Another way to look at it is that it's a little less than half of the cost of an outdated f-18 fighter, or less than 1/10 the cost of a modern f-22 fighter.
$11million in state level spending IS a drop in the hat. In terms of municipal or personal level spending, yeah, it's still huge.
jmi256
Ankhanu wrote:
deanhills wrote:
menino wrote:
I don't think Obama should be blamed for this entirely.
The intentions seemed good, but the implementation was terrible.

But Obama and his administration have a lot of work cut out for them and on the table.
$ 11 million is a lot of money to waste, but nothing compared to $16 trillion that are in debt.
Still, its an eye opener for them to do a better job in the remote corners with the audit find.
Looks as though the $16 trillion debt is coming in handy at last. Millions have become very trivial in comparison and probably much less in value as well. Twisted Evil


Another way to look at it is that it's a little less than half of the cost of an outdated f-18 fighter, or less than 1/10 the cost of a modern f-22 fighter.
$11 million in state level spending IS a drop in the hat. In terms of municipal or personal level spending, yeah, it's still huge.

I’m not sure I follow the intent of your comparison. Are you saying that Obama and the Democrats wasting $11 million of taxpayer money is somehow ok because the federal government spends money providing a military force to protect its citizens? Obama wasted that money that taxpayers, who are already stretched too thin thanks to Obama and the Democrats “recovery”, now have to pay for. And since Obama has been bankrolling his corrupt and wasteful “stimulus” bill by borrowing, the interest will balloon that price tag. And all he has to show for the wasted $11 million are two suits, which if I had guess, probably aren’t even of any good quality. Last year I donated three of my old suits (which were actually pretty nice) to the Bowery Mission, which then offers them to its residents for the same purpose. Using Obama’s cost structure, I should be able to write off $16.5 million on my taxes when I file them this year. I’m even willing to make it an even $15 million.
Ankhanu
The intent of my comparison was the same as Dean's: putting the magnitude of $11million in the context of Federal budgets. Nothing more.
... it equates to about $0.035/person. If you ask nicely, maybe the IRS will credit it to you.

Was it wasteful? Damn straight, it should have been handled properly.


You're country is stretched thin due to a legacy of shitty political decisions from several presidents of both parties. Yes, Obama's choices have contributed, but to blindly blame the one man is asinine... but you'll never recognize this for, I imagine, similar reasons.
deanhills
Wish Ocalhoun were around. At least he has the knack for evening things out. For me Obama is not innocent as he's been spending more money than he should, particularly since the US is basically bankrupt. Yet all of the previous Presidents have been big spenders as well. Spending is what they use to make themselves look good in the public eye. Obama looks a little less guilty perhaps as this guy is more expert at marketing his proposed expenditure schemes than his predecessors have been.
Ankhanu
deanhills wrote:
For me Obama is not innocent as he's been spending more money than he should, particularly since the US is basically bankrupt. Yet all of the previous Presidents have been big spenders as well.

I don't say this to you often enough, Dean, but: Bang on, mate.

To further that: Each future president will likely do the same.
ocalhoun
deanhills wrote:
Wish Ocalhoun were around.

Your wish is granted!


1: As for the magnitude of waste compared to the magnitude of debt... sure, $16 trillion makes $11 million look tiny... And it really is just a drop in the bucket.
...but as the saying goes, 'no individual raindrop believes it is responsible for the flood'.
Little, insignificant things like this can add up to major problems.

2: Trying to blame this on any particular party or politician is asinine. Waste like this is characteristic of all government spending from top to bottom, from left to right.

3: Such waste IS characteristic of it because those in charge of the money often have no personal stake in preventing (as the military calls it) fraud, waste, and abuse. They also often have too little accountability.
To try to provide that accountability and oversight often just invites increased bureaucracy, increased size, increased spending, and ultimately, increased waste.

4: As far as I'm concerned, government involvement in the economy should be strictly legislative. Make and enforce the rules, but never be in the business of putting money in to or taking money out of the economy.
deanhills
ocalhoun wrote:
4: As far as I'm concerned, government involvement in the economy should be strictly legislative. Make and enforce the rules, but never be in the business of putting money in to or taking money out of the economy.
Well said in overall, and I particularly liked this paragraph. I thought the Government involvement in the bail-outs at end of 2008/2009 (both Bush and Obama had been involved as it had been at the end of Bush's presidency and start of Obama's) had been completely over the top. Again Government and the Mega Banking Corporations in cahoots along the lines of I pat your back, you pat my back.
Bikerman
You may find this vid interesting Ocalhoun.....

PS - watch out for the sound volume (high and slightly distorted by flat-line overamplification) - I overcompensated for the original low volume and haven't got around to redoing the soundtrack yet....
ocalhoun
Bikerman wrote:
You may find this vid interesting Ocalhoun.....

...Watched a little of it... but got bored with the melodramatic music and slow pace...

But, watched enough that I take it they blame the crisis on deregulation?

Pretty accurate, I suppose.
An unregulated capitalist 'free market' is a dangerous and destructive thing.
Bikerman
Yes, there are a few things about it that I don't like.
The Gist of it is that the people who were responsible for both deregulation and blocking subsequent attempts at regulation were exactly those people who made multi-million dollar fortunes (in a couple of cases multi BILLION dollar fortunes). Meryl Lynch (the president of which was appointed by Regan to head up deregulation), Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs KNEW that many of the derivatives they were selling were junk and, unbelievably, first sold them, then made fortunes betting on the markets that they would fail. There are records of the brokers laughing about the 'piles of crap' they had just sold to other banks as triple A......

The guilty parties include none other than Alan Greenspan and Larry Summers (Treasury Secretary)... Greenspan blocked regulation repeatedly over more than a decade, despite the fact that he KNEW the derivatives were not understood and represented a major risk. He was absolutely wedded to the notion of 'non intervention'. Larry Summers did likewise in his position in Government. When Clinton appointed someone to look at the derivatives market, she (Brooksley Bourn) was immediately blocked by Summers.

The amount of brazen criminality that the major finance houses were guilty of is quite staggering - this is stuff they were actually found guilty of, not including the accusations that are not proven.

I'm wondering how this fits with your view that Government should stay out of finance? To me the lesson is the exact opposite......

It is worth putting up with the annoyances and watching the whole thing if you can face it - some of the allegations are quite breathtaking and I have to assume (given that Sony have distributed this and that there have been no legal moves to block it) that it has the facts at least mostly correct....
deanhills
I'd say the political system in the United States is such that the Government is being manipulated/coerced into staying in Finance. Their very survival depends on it. For example, how can they get elected if they can't find sponsors, and your mega financial corporations I'm sure always have strings attached to their sponsorships.

I am totally on your wavelength though with the degree of complete power and control by a small number of very wealthy people in the United States. That in its own right would make a free market impossible to exist. For me it is financial corruption. I seem to recall you've posted a link about this before as well and I'd enjoyed that show as well.
menino
[quote="jmi256][/quote]

I'm not saying it is ok to write off $11 million.
What I'm saying is that the present goverment has a lot on its plate, and a few things will fall off.
In MY OPINION, I think that Obama has done some good, though not all good, especially as he had promised. But given the tasks at hand, I think Obama did ok, with what he had and the time he had and the tasks at hand.
On Deanhills note that Obama has been spending too much... If you want to make money, you have to spend money, and economy thrives on businesses (and the people as well), so juggling all of these aspects together, I just think that he should be held accountable for it; make sure that it doesn't happen again, and move on from that, rather than stick it to him with the $11 mil, and have everybody in an uproar on a few mistakes.
deanhills
menino wrote:
On Deanhills note that Obama has been spending too much... If you want to make money, you have to spend money, and economy thrives on businesses (and the people as well), so juggling all of these aspects together, I just think that he should be held accountable for it; make sure that it doesn't happen again, and move on from that, rather than stick it to him with the $11 mil, and have everybody in an uproar on a few mistakes.
Agreed. One should spend money to make money. But cutting costs has to feature prominently in order to have money that has some value attached to it. If it gets to the stage where the dollar is losing its value and the creditors are losing faith in the dollar as a viable currency, then maybe cutting costs is no longer a luxury, but a necessity. Starting with pruning "too much Government".
Bikerman
Glad you found it useful/interesting.

The US Government is no worse than any other - and actually better than many - when it comes to this stuff. I'm always amazed when people are surprised that governments behave like this. That is what Governments are for. It is the job of the executive to stop the proles from getting too far above themselves and endangering the people who own them (or at least own their work, their home, their places of leisure and ultimately the shirt on their back.
Government is there to stop the majority, not to represent it - and I sometimes forget that not eryone actually sees it like that and that some people really and truly believe that they live in a democracy and that they really do elect who they like to lead them Smile

It's quite amusing watching the US political scene at the moment, for that reason. America is divided, we are told by the pundits, like never before. The contrast between the 'socialist' Obama and the previous 'right-wing' GW is pointed to as the two extremes of politics - the ultimate black of the right wing and the ultimate white of the left (reverse the colours to suit politics of person). It cracks me up. When you look at the actual policies, the actual way the money flows through government, the actual laws, services and other things which government supposedly control, and the people who control the wealth, and thefore the power - the difference between Obama and Bush is the difference between navy-blue and purple - they are different, for sure, but still pretty close and easy to mistake at a glance...
deanhills
Bikerman wrote:
Glad you found it useful/interesting.

The US Government is no worse than any other - and actually better than many - when it comes to this stuff.
Totally agreed. And I'm almost certain there must be cross links too between those mega rich groups of the different countries.

Bikerman wrote:
the difference between Obama and Bush is the difference between navy-blue and purple - they are different, for sure, but still pretty close and easy to mistake at a glance...
For me it does not matter which President gets elected or which Party is in control. In the end all of it is exactly the same with slight differences of circumstances and style, such as a war on terrorists during Bush's Presidency, and a financial crisis during Obama's. Bush had a very solid appearance of arrogance, contempt and quick to take decisions, whereas Obama cannot bow and curtsey enough to please as many people as he can, so we get to thoroughly dislike the one and don't find the other one too bad, nor too good either. In the end it all stays the same. GITMO is still standing. The debt is still increasing. The mega corporations are still in control.
menino
Bikerman wrote:
Glad you found it useful/interesting.
I'm always amazed when people are surprised that governments behave like this. That is what Governments are for. It is the job of the executive to stop the proles from getting too far above themselves and endangering the people who own them (or at least own their work, their home, their places of leisure and ultimately the shirt on their back.


I think more than surprised at the exposure of the goverments is the fact that they have been caught, and one would expect corrective action to be put in place as well as a recovery from that fiasco.
The law and verdicts, I would guess are usually slow, and the goverment has placed itself in such a deep root of the system, to be uprooted without affecting a lot of other systems that depend on them.

You are right Bikerman - all the goverment does is seek points on the things that have been done under their administration, which was not part of their initial promise; and also most goverments are more or less the same.
Mr_Howl
Bikerman wrote:
the difference between Obama and Bush is the difference between navy-blue and purple - they are different, for sure, but still pretty close and easy to mistake at a glance...


That's the problem right there. We basically have only one party.

I think we need to move away from the First Past the Post voting system as soon as possible. Instead of the faux two parties, we could actually have 8 or so. The people of the country, instead of the corporations, might actually get a say.

Of course, those in power don't want that to happen. "Corporations are People" and "Money is Speech" aren't helping us, either.

As for what this thread is originally about, I don't think Obama can really be blamed. It sounds like the money was wasted dozens of levels of bureaucracy lower than where Obama sits. Do you seriously expect him to watch every dollar? We set things up in a hierarchy for a reason, and the president can typically expect competency from his underlings. Of course, now that this has happened, someone should be fired or reprimanded, but it should be someone who was directly involved. In this case, I doubt Obama has even met these people!
Bikerman
I think we need to be careful about personalising - as in 'corporations are people'. That type of thinking leads to conspiracies involving a small group of men deciding the fate of the world, and you end up with nonsense like the 'elders of Zion' or the demented ramblings of Alex Jones and his childish conspiracy theories.
There isn't a cabal of ultra-rich people organising things. There is causation and process. The sum of actions results in what we observe with no 'controlling entity' in charge. Simply put: the system is conservative - it tends to maintenance of the status quo. If that system involves elite groups which control resource sufficiently, then that generates powerful 'defences' against change. It doesn't matter whether the elites are individuals, families/mobs or corporations.
handfleisch
Bikerman wrote:
I think we need to be careful about personalising - as in 'corporations are people'. That type of thinking leads to conspiracies involving a small group of men deciding the fate of the world, and you end up with nonsense like the 'elders of Zion' or the demented ramblings of Alex Jones and his childish conspiracy theories.
There isn't a cabal of ultra-rich people organising things. There is causation and process. The sum of actions results in what we observe with no 'controlling entity' in charge. Simply put: the system is conservative - it tends to maintenance of the status quo. If that system involves elite groups which control resource sufficiently, then that generates powerful 'defences' against change. It doesn't matter whether the elites are individuals, families/mobs or corporations.


I think Mr Howl is referring to a recent (disastrous) Supreme Court decision (re Citizens United) that US corporations are equal to people in terms of their donations being the equivalent to freedom of speech. Both of these conclusions seems nonsensical to the layman but they are the law of the land in the USA right now. It has led to the "SuperPACs" influencing the next election right now. I don't think he was referring to a conspiracy theory but to this SCOTUS decision.
ocalhoun
Bikerman wrote:

I'm wondering how this fits with your view that Government should stay out of finance? To me the lesson is the exact opposite......

For a capitalist economy, you do need rules to be set and enforced -- note though, I would still strongly disagree with direct involvement, ie, trying to inject or extract money into and out of the economy directly.*
...A capitalist market simply doesn't work without rules against fraud and abuse, and some entity to enforce those rules.
(Though there are, perhaps, ways to create and enforce the rules without 'government' being involved.)

*ie, bailing out a failing corporation: bad... creating and enforcing rules about what should happen when a corporation fails, good.
...Basically, the government should set the rules that this 'economy' game is played by... but it shouldn't be a player itself.


...To abolish all government control while still retaining a capitalist economy... that just leads to the wealthy gaining absolute power over the less wealthy.
(Which is why capitalist anarchism is one of the few anarchist systems I completely disagree with. (The other two being anarcho-primitivism and anarcho-tribalism.))
Bikerman
OK....that seems to be consistent - I obviously misread your manifesto Smile

I prefer anarcho-syndicalism Smile
Bikerman
handfleisch wrote:
I think Mr Howl is referring to a recent (disastrous) Supreme Court decision (re Citizens United) that US corporations are equal to people in terms of their donations being the equivalent to freedom of speech. Both of these conclusions seems nonsensical to the layman but they are the law of the land in the USA right now. It has led to the "SuperPACs" influencing the next election right now. I don't think he was referring to a conspiracy theory but to this SCOTUS decision.


Actually I didn't mean it to be directed at anyone in particular, I just sensed that it needed saying to pre-empt conspiracy theorists jumping in.. Smile
handfleisch
Bikerman wrote:
Actually I didn't mean it to be directed at anyone in particular, I just sensed that it needed saying to pre-empt conspiracy theorists jumping in..

Well the Citizens United (CU) SCOTUS decision is worth discussing, very interesting in a tragic way. The CU decision destroyed the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002. Funny that almost everyone (Repub and Dem and independent) says we need campaign reform, but here is the right wing/corporate/wealthy interests coming in and destroying the only campaign reform we got in the last decade. It also overturned the 1976 court decision that said unlimited donation/spending on campaigns = invitation to corruption. The CU decision basically opened the door to unlimited spending to influence elections by mega-corporations or by billionaires. "Interesting", also, that it comes after Obama ran the first campaign in modern history to make tons of campaign money from small donations from millions of regular (non-wealthy) people (90% of Obama's donor gave $100 or less).

So this next presidential election will be different than the last one. Basically the Democrats will have to contend with, for example, Big Oil or Big Pharma or weapons manufacturers deluging the electoral process with lobbyist money to fund Tea Party candidates or any candidate that mouths their tax-breaks-for-the-rich and more-power-to-corporations, more-money-for-arms agenda. The corporations and ultra-rich power brokers that sponsor the Tea Party are free to pour millions into advertising, smear campaigns or whatever, for their handpicked candidates.
http://www.scotusblog.com/case-files/cases/citizens-united-v-federal-election-commission/
Bikerman
Don't let my cynicism dampened the flame Smile I'm not saying republicans and democrats are the same choice completely - whatever difference there is must surely be worth encouraging. There are only 2 ways that great socio-economic change comes incrementally and revolutionary. Increments are better than no increments, but I think that we are actually seeing about 30 years of decrements. The US has had a massive global financial/military superiority for at least that long so if any country on earth should be a demonstration of what capitalism can do, it has to be the US.
So, what do we see? Since 1975 just about every gain in household income has been to the top 20%.
The CIA Factbook even talks about the problems of 'stagnation of family income in the lower economic groups' - by which it actually means 75% of the population.
Take a look at mediam earnings vs GDP - always a useful indicator of where the money is going:
jmi256
Ankhanu wrote:
You're country is stretched thin due to a legacy of shitty political decisions from several presidents of both parties. Yes, Obama's choices have contributed, but to blindly blame the one man is asinine... but you'll never recognize this for, I imagine, similar reasons.


If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging. Yes, government overreach, mismanagement and waste have led to huge debt, but the answer is not to go out and add trillions more to that debt with more asinine policies and programs. I am not “blindly blaming” anyone, but pointing out the waste and mismanagement we see we these type of government programs that have no accountability. If Obama and the Democrats can’t manage something like this, it is no wonder they fall on their faces with larger programs, including their failed “stimulus” that was supposed to keep the unemployment rate down, or Obamacare that was supposed to do everything from reduce the deficit to reduce healthcare costs to be paid for by “waste” found in other programs (whatever happened to all those cuts of waste that Obama said would fund Obamacare, anyways?). It is no wonder we’re in the state we are in.
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