As America celebrates this week’s 237th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, the federal government deserves a Declaration of Incompetence. Agree or disagree with Washington’s policies, it seems to get almost nothing right. Money flies in every direction as programs flop daily. Subjected by monarchic tyranny in 1776, America now suffers the abuses and usurpations of bureaucratic ineptitude.
Obama’s signature achievement has become a scrawl. Obamacare premieres in six months. But after three years of rehearsal, this morbidly obese program is not ready for prime time. On Tuesday, Team Obama postponed the employer mandate one year — to January 1, 2015, conveniently past the 2014 midterm elections.
Obamacare’s health-insurance exchanges are due October 1. Good luck! The Government Accountability Office reported in June that, among the federally facilitated exchanges in 34 states, “on average, about 85 percent of their total key activities” required by October “were not completed.”
“Rate shock” is erupting, as the hilariously named “Affordable Care Act” proves a masterpiece of false advertising.
Manhattan Institute scholar Avik Roy compared existing health insurance with coverage planned for California. “Obamacare has actually doubled individual-market premiums in the Golden State,” he explained in Forbes. “For the typical 25-year-old non-smoking Californian, Obamacare will drive premiums up by between 100 and 123 percent.” For a male non-smoker in California, “Obamacare will increase individual-market premiums by an average of 116 percent.”
The Wall Street Journal’s Louise Radnofsky explored Virginia’s exchange. It “offers a fairly typical picture,” she wrote on June 30. A male non-smoker in Richmond, age 40, can buy a modest health plan today for $63 a month. Under Obamacare, his cheapest option will triple — to $193.
In February, the Congressional Budget Office concluded that “in 2019, an estimated 12 million people who would have had an offer of employment-based coverage under prior law will lose their offer under current law.”
Accused spy Edward Snowden is America’s most wanted fugitive. So, surely, federal prosecutors filled their extradition papers with extra care.
Hong Kong’s records listed Edward Joseph Snowden. However, Justice Department documents demanded Edward James Snowden and Edward J. Snowden.
“These three names are not exactly the same,” Hong Kong justice secretary Rimsky Yuen told the Associated Press. “Therefore, we believed that there was a need to clarify.”
Washington also failed to include Snowden’s passport number or, for days, invalidate his passport.
“Up until the moment of Snowden’s departure, the very minute, the U.S. Department of Justice did not reply to our request for further information,” Yuen said. “Therefore, in our legal system, there is no legal basis for the requested provisional arrest warrant.” In its absence, the “Hong Kong government has no legal basis for restricting or prohibiting Snowden leaving Hong Kong.”
So, off Snowden flew to Moscow, in whose Sheremetyevo Airport he now languishes.
How did Snowden get his top-secret security clearance anyway? He may have slipped past a federal contractor called USIS. After completing initial background checks on job applicants, USIS was required to re-scrutinize such candidates. However, as the Washington Postreported, from 2008 through 2011, USIS allegedly skipped up to 50 percent of these secondary checks while claiming to federal authorities that they had completed them.
Federal officials exquisitely have drone-killed Islamofascist terrorists overseas. They also quickly identified and neutralized the Muslim Tsarnaev brothers, who allegedly bombed the Boston Marathon. However, Washington’s handling of terrorists in the federal witness-protection program is . . . terrifying.
According to a House Judiciary Committee statement, the Justice Department’s inspector general “found that the number of known or suspected terrorists admitted to the Witness Security Program is unknown, that DOJ has lost track of two suspected terrorists in the program, and that critical national security information is not being shared with other agencies,” including the FBI. Such confirmed or assumed terrorists previously on the federal No Fly List did not have their new names added to the list. Thus, “several known or suspected terrorists have been able to board commercial airplanes in the United States.”
A Judiciary Committee statement added, “This is especially problematic since . . . terrorists admitted to the program include persons who have been trained in aviation and explosives and individuals who have been involved in bombing attacks.”
The U.S. Park Police were supposed to destroy some 1,400 guns. Instead, they are intact. Another 198 guns that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives donated to the USPP are stored in Washington but appear on no official documents. Similar problems identified in 2008 and ’09 have gone unfixed. The Interior Department’s inspector general denounced the USPP’s “decade-long theme of inaction and indifference.”
Such casual disregard for weapons safety defined the Fast and Furious scandal. Justice flooded the southern frontier with some 2,000 high-powered rifles (such as AK-47s) and hoped to track them back to Mexican drug lords. Then federal officials lost those firearms. Drug traffickers eventually turned those guns on three U.S. law-enforcement agents, two fatally, and used those weapons to kill some 300 Mexicans.