Today, the nonpartisan Center for Public Integrity released their new project, "Broken Government." It's... well, like most things from the Center (a great group I'm a big fan of) it's depressing but enlightning. What I like about them is that they're a well respected journalist group, so it adds weight to what we've been saying here for years.
That said... there are things that scare the hell out of me here.
It's 125 failures, some old, some new, some with agencies I've never even heard of. The best place to start is probably with their handy "By the Numbers" page, which is almost overwhelming. But the stuff I really like is about things I had somehow missed. Jump below for some of my favorites, won't you?
The obvious question here- yes, we know the Bush admin is failed. But what's it actually cost us? Well, for the party of fiscal responsability, they aren't as advertised. Some quick hits!
-$60 billion stolen in Medicare fraud each year
-$12.5 billion for defective National Polar-Orbiting Environmental Satellite System
-$1 billion, six-year "Reading First" program called ineffective by Department of Education Inspector General
-$100 million for failed FBI computer network - $212.3 million in overcharges by Halliburton for Iraq oil reconstruction work - $100 billion in federal tax revenues lost annually to corporations using off-shore tax shelters
(All of those have individual pieces with more details, by the way.)
But really, it's not about the money as much as it is about what shape the federal workforce has been left in by the Bush administration. Some more numbers:
-60 percent of EPA scientists report political interference with their work- 1,273 whistleblower complaints filed from 2002-2008; 1,256 were dismissed - 12.8 percent job turnover at Department of Homeland Security in 2006 — double that of any other cabinet-level agency - 730,000 backlogged patent applications - 760,800 disability claims backlogged, awaiting hearings at Social Security Administration as of October 2008 - 806,000 Veterans Affairs disability claims in 2006, up 39 percent since 2000; backlog reached 400,000 claims by February 2007
A friend of mine asked a good question when I showed him this. Why bother with it all? I mean, yeah sure, we're all sick of Bush. But at this point, why do we need to be more depressed about his work?
The reality is this, guys. President Obama is going to have to clean all this up. Its not just the Wars or bad contracting or an economy in shambles he has to deal with; he also has to fix, from the ground up, a public service system that is absolutly feschnukered right now. What this project has done is put together a great resource for those of us who think government is supposed to help the people, instead of hinder them.
I hope this gets passed around- it really feels like a great resource. I've only gotten through about 20 of the entires so far, but I can tell you this... I'm not flying Southwest again...