Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Oxymoron: Government Accountability

A troubling story this morning from the Government Accountability Office (which is not an oxymoron): The owner of a sports team, some residents of Hong Kong and Saudi Arabia, and a financial firm executive are among over 2,700 millionaires receiving Farm Subsidies benefits over a three year period.

Two questions immediately pop up: How and Who?

The problem arose because the Agriculture Dept. was unable to verify income from the IRS… Hmmm…never heard of that problem before—one part of the Government not speaking with another part of the Government.

That gaffe cost you and I, as taxpayers, $49-million.
There’s an easy solution to this—and it goes hand-in-hand with what’s happening right now with the disbursement of part of the $700-billion bailout fund: Who’s getting the government cheese?
The story written by the Associated Press didn't disclose who were the recipients of the Farm Subsidies.
Why not?

The government has been reluctant to let on which of the nation’s banks are tapping into the funds…which would address two problems: Accountability and transparency. If it were your money going somewhere, wouldn’t you want to know where?

Same thing with those playing fast and loose with Farm Subsidies.
Let’s name names.
Let us know who is benefitting—rightly or wrongly—from the loop holes in the law. I would like to know which banks are getting in on the federal fund feeding frenzy. I’d like to know who’s getting a break in their taxes, too, because one man’s tax break is another taxpayer’s increased burden.

That’s a key to turning around the crisis of confidence in this country: remove the veils, and make things as transparent as possible. We’re all in this mess together; makes no sense to have secrets about it at this point.

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