Why We're Screwed

J likes to have the TV on in the morning for background noise and a little information. She keeps it tuned to Fox News, because after all, she is a republican. One story they've run a few times is the sad tale of a little company in Kentucky who makes jackets for Air Force One. The Federal Bureau of Prisons was going to compete for the work, and the loss of the contract would put the poor firm out of business. However, the brave business owner complained to the media and his Congressional delegation, and lo! The Federal Bureau of Prisons decided to withdraw from the bid, and the company is saved!

There are so many things wrong with this story it's hard to know where to start. Let's go with an immediate Business 101 level observation: if you are dependent on one customer for your continued existence, you have a problem. Diversify. Find other markets for your product. Find other business avenues to explore. Do something, anything, so if the big customer quits buying from you, you can survive. Frankly, piss-poor business practices alone should ensure Ashland Sales & Service goes bankrupt.

Moving right along, let's discuss the contracting issue. You have no right to have the taxpayer buy your product, okay? If, as it appears was the case, the Federal Bureau of Prisons can provide the item at a lower cost, guess what? I want the Federal Bureau of Prison to provide it. The federal government is not a jobs program. The fed should be trying to be wise stewards of the taxpayers' dime, which means going with lowest-cost bidding. If you ain't the lowest cost, screw you. Compete. Lower your costs. Improve your productivity. Don't whine about how the mean Federal Bureau of Prisons has lower labor costs and it's impossible to do anything. In other words, do your job and don't run to the government to get protection. This is the epitome of special interest: AS&S wants the government to screw over the taxpayer so they can benefit from the decision.

Next up, why in the hell are we buying special jackets for Air Force One, anyway? Unless things have changed, the zoomies get uniforms just like us groundlings did. All the personnel on Air Force have jackets, thoughtfully provided at taxpayer expense. What, they need another just because they fly on the same plane as their boss? Last time I checked, we don't have a palace guard in this country. The President is not the God-Emperor of America, and those blessed with his presence shouldn't get special uniforms. And the man himself? The President does not need a nice pretty flight jacket, and even if he wants one, he makes 400 large a year and should be able to afford one all by his own self.

Strangely, none of this was discussed in the coverage I've seen. These are basic considerations that maybe, just maybe, we should be considering when we decide to spend the government's our money. Instead, everybody's tear-jerking about how the business will go under and people will be unemployed and boo-fucking-hoo. Quit trying to tug on my heartstrings and think for a minute. We are $15 trillion and change in debt, and we have to be a jobs program for jacket manufacturers. We can't get anyone to ask "Why are we buying these jackets? And if we have to buy them, why can't we get them cheaper?" Nobody in the government is empowered to ask these questions but our elected officials, and they don't have the fortitude and willpower to do what's necessary.

And that, boys and girls, is why we're screwed: We have given ourselves the government we deserve.

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New Year's Devolutions

I had a goal to start posting more with the new year. I also had a goal to start working out again. Then I spent the first full week of the year with a 102 degree fever which turned out to be a result of pneumonia. So my goals got derailed in favor of antibiotics and sleep. I should, pending the result of a doctor visit, be cured. So maybe I can cut back on the sleep and get some stuff done without feeling like I'm gonna fall over.

On the plus side, for old worn out reprobates who don't indulge much in recreational drugs anymore, hydrocodone cough syrup and fever produce some spectacular hallucinatory dreams. The dreams also serve as a reminder of what a dark, strange place the recesses of my subconscious are.