Will the ironies never cease? According to an article by Terence P. Jeffrey published at CNSNews.com and titled, ”Gov’t $15.6T in Debt Funds 16 Programs to Teach Citizens ‘Financial Literacy’,” the Government Accounting Office (GAO) says that the US government currently has sixteen classes that teach, of all things, financial literacy. The GAO, according to Jeffrey, says that there is duplication of effort, as well as no way to measure program effectiveness.
Alicia Puente Cackley, the GAO’s director of “financial markets and community investment” told a Senate Homeland Security Subcommittee, “At our forum last year on financial literacy, many participants said that the federal government had a unique role to play in promoting greater financial capability. They noted that the federal government has a built-in ‘bully pulpit’ that can be used to draw attention to this issue.” What is of interest, in my opinion, is the section of the GAO report titled, “Why GAO Did This Study.” The first sentence of that section isparticularly ironic, as it comes from a government over $15 trillion in debt.
Back in November, 2011, according to another article by Jeffrey, US debt exceeded $15 trillion for the first time, and the Federal Reserve is the largest debt holder, larger even than China.
This is the same federal government that, according to Michael W. Chapman, spent at least $467,585 in August, 2010, for Michelle Obama to vacation in (oops, I mean visit) Spain with her daughter Sasha and several (40) of her friends and their children. Former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said of Michelle Obama’s trip, “She is a private citizen and is the mother of a daughter on a private trip.” But (and there is always a “but”) the Secret Service personnel who guarded the First Family had to be lodged and fed, as were the Air Force personnel. Heck, taxpayers even picked up the bill for a dog (one President Barack Hussein Obama presumably didn’t eat) and its handler.
This is the same federal government that, according to Keith Koffler, spent at least $500,000 (perhaps as much as $800,000) on Michelle Obama’s “official” trip to South Africa in 2011. But (there’s that word again) US Embassy spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau said that the trip was partially personal for Michelle Obama. The good news is that she brought along only five people.
Is it fair that Michelle Obama gets to fly to Spain and South Africa (not to mention leaving four hours early for Martha’s Vineyard) and spend taxpayer money?
This is the same federal government whose agency, the GAO, according to Philip Klein, says ObamaCare is projected to cost $1.76 trillion over ten years, rather than $900 billion that Obama said it would cost.
This is the same federal government that, according to Merrill Matthews, spent the $2.6 trillion Social Security Trust Fund on “other” things, and according to Charles Krauthammer, contains nothing. As a baby-boomer, I ask you: “Is that fair?”
And here is some more irony for you. According to Michael Taylor, personal financial literacy is important because the ability to function in a literate society includes financial literacy. He discusses the consequences of not being financially literate. Is the federal government immune from being financially literate? As Taylor points out, “Inappropriate financial decisions can have long-term negative effects.” Is that ever true, as we are discovering today.
I want it clearly understood that both parties have gotten us into the current financial situation. However, the current administration has increased the national debt from over $10 trillion to over $15 trillion in the past 39 months. And this from Obama who commissioned the Simpson-Bowles committee, then disregarded its recommendations.
So the question is, “Why can’t the federal government follow the financial literacy advice that it teaches?” But wait. There is a big difference between “literacy” and “responsibility.” Until the federal government offers classes on “responsibility.” we are stuck with what we have. But consider these yet-to-be-opened cans of worms: Who gets to define what is responsible? Will that definition be fair? Who gets to decide if the definition is fair?
But that’s just my opinion.