“The Swamp” Grows: Disclosed Federal Payroll Hits New High Costing Taxpayers $225 Billion | October 4, 2021
The United States government has made history with a new record: the largest disclosed payroll in modern-day history.
Employees of 122 federal executive agencies now number 1.4 million — a 3.7 percent increase over the 1.35 million employees in 2016.
Add in civilian employees of the Department of Defense as well as U.S. Postal Service employees and those numbers jump to 2.8 million federal employees, costing $217 billion, $225 billion when adjusted for inflation.
That’s according to a new oversight report from our auditors at OpenTheBooks, “Mapping the Swamp: A Study of the Administrative State (FY2020).”
The taxpayer cost of price of the federal government increases when you add 30 percent for benefits: $292 billion.
It costs $2.3 million per minute, $140 million per hour and $1.1 billion per workday. (And this is just the disclosed payroll… there’s a lot missing that isn’t disclosed.)
And it’s getting more expensive: in the executive agencies, there were 532,784 highly-compensated employees who earned $100,000 or more in 2020, a 31-percent increase over the 406,960 in 2016. Those that earned $200,000 or more increased by 52-percent and staffers making $300,000 or more increased by 144%!
Then, there were the 26,853 federal employees who out-earned all 50 governors, including the highest paid in New York, at $225,000.
The swamp wasn’t drained. It’s winning and larger than ever before.
Chicago Mayor Lightfoot to Dole Out $500/Month Cash Assistance | October 5, 2021
All federal pandemic unemployment benefits ended in September but certain low-income Chicagoans may soon be able to collect $500 monthly for a year.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot called for the $30 million payment plan to create a “first-of-its-kind pilot in Chicago of a monthly cash assistance program for hard-hit, low-income households in need of additional economic stability,” the Chicago Tribune reported.
The $500 per month payments would go to 5,000 households for 12 months, according to the city’s Budget Department, and will “be focused on very low-income residents who have been economically hard-hit by the Covid-19 pandemic,” the Tribune said.
This as the country is going through a nationwide labor shortage — restaurants, hotels, and other in-person service industry employers continue to be unable to find enough willing workers to fill their open positions.
The country added 962,000 jobs in June and another 1.1 million in July, Business Insider reported.
And the ratio of workers-to-openings fell to 0.8 in July, as there were more job listings than available workers to fill them, the news outlet said.
The job openings may indicate that workers are looking for jobs with better pay, benefits and other perks or moving to different areas of work.
But incentives like this Chicago one only further delay the country’s economy getting back to full strength by lowering the incentive to work — all on the taxpayers’ dime.
Veterans Affairs Has 421,542 Employees – Is It an Employment Farm or a Medical System? | October 6, 2021
The Department of Veterans Affairs is one of the federal government’s largest agencies, with 421,542 employees. Since 2016, the staff has grown by 48,928.
The VA serves our veterans – the men and women who risked life and limb to protect our country.
But even with the addition of staff, the VA is backed up with delays in treatment, a problem that started before the Covid-19 pandemic and has been exacerbated because of it.
While adding 106,000 employees to the payroll since 2012, only 6,700 were medical officers, i.e. doctors, according to a new oversight report from OpenTheBooks, “Mapping the Swamp: A Study of the Administrative State (FY2020).”
The average VA doctor made $262,770, while the highest paid took in $420,402 last year.
The 95,699 nurses earned an average of $90,484, with the highest paid earning $270,000 in 2020.
The already-strained VA has had an even harder time treating people during the pandemic, with at least 5,443 patients and 77 employees dying from virus complications in the last nine months, according to a December 2020 article in Military Times.
The VA is only doing about 86 percent of the surgeries they did before the pandemic, creating a months-long backlog.
There’s also been a delay in screening tests like endoscopies and mammograms, which could harm people relying on the VA for preventive care and treatment.
Our veterans deserve the basic healthcare and a department as large as the VA should be able to provide it.
Groundbreaking 1976 Study Finds Male Drivers Distracted By Women | October 7, 2021
All it takes to distract a male driver in Chicago is a woman walking by. That’ll be $46,100, please — $221,185 in 2021 dollars.
In 1976, the National Science Foundation gave $46,100 to Dr. Robert A. Baron when he was at Purdue University to study whether women distracted Chicago's male drivers from honking their horns at a stopped car.
Sen. William Proxmire, a Democrat from Wisconsin, described the study:
“Dr. Baron’s assistant would pull his car to a stop at a red light at a Chicago intersection. When the light turned green, the assistant would refuse to move the car for about 15 seconds. The purpose was to determine when and how often the driver immediately behind would become impatient and aggressive enough to honk his horn at the assistant to get moving.”
The study looked to see if sexual arousal, humor and empathy reduced the aggression of horn honking, so Dr. Baron had a young woman walk past the stopped driver.
The women were dressed in a variety of ways — to consider whether sexual arousal played a role, the woman was dressed in a revealing outfit.
To look at whether humor played a role in the driver’s response to the stopped car, the woman wore a clown mask.
To test empathy’s role, the women wore a bandage on her left leg and walked on crutches.
Dr. Baron found that all three reduced the amount of honking.
He found that the drivers smiled at the scantily clad women and in some cases, “whistled and made sexually-oriented comments.”
Proxmire called this “contrived research” and gave the NSF a Golden Fleece award to signify its wasteful use of taxpayer dollars.
The Met Gets Funding from Rich Patrons, So Why $4 Million In Covid “Bailouts”?
| October 8, 2021
Recently, the tickets to the 2021 Metropolitan Museum of Art Gala in New York City cost between $30,000 and $35,000, and whole tables bought by big brands and fashion houses went for between $200,000 and $300,000.
Yet the iconic New York arts institution collects millions from federal, state, and local taxpayers every year.
The star-studded event benefits the museum’s Costume Institute, and this year raised a record-breaking $16.75 million.
News coverage of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s “Tax the Rich” dress and whether she was wrong to accept a gift of a $35,000 ticket was everywhere following the event.
Why should taxpayers foot the bill for an institution that can raise its own money from the 1 percent — Hollywood elite, politicians, design, and fashion mavens?
The Met has a $3.6 billion endowment, yet last year campaigned for $4 billion in federal Covid “bailout” for America’s museums and cultural non-profits, itself among them.
Such a largess is more than 14 state governments receive in federal aid during a typical year.
Sure, there are plenty of smaller, community museums that cater to the less wealthy — and don’t charge $25 for admission — that could use the funds.
The Met isn’t one of them.
However, the museum gets lots of taxpayer money, including $4 million from the CARES Act Employee Retention Credit.
It then went on to cut more than 400 positions — about 20% of its staff.
Since the Met can clearly raise millions from its wealthy patrons, it should stick to doing that and keep its hands out of taxpayers’ pockets.
The #WasteOfTheDay is presented by the forensic auditors at OpenTheBooks.com.