Thursday, February 26, 2009

Here's a thought... let's just eliminate something for once....

...after 9/11, in response to a terrorist threat from a flexible, decentralized, tactically innovative Al Qaeda, the United State responded by creating the largest, most wasteful, lethargic bureaucracy in American history.

Must have had to be there for it to make sense.

Now, the incoming DHS chief is promising a thorough review:

WASHINGTON (AFP) – New US Homeland Security boss Janet Napolitano told lawmakers on Wednesday she had launched a sweeping review of her department, under pressure to reform amid allegations of mismanagement.

Napolitano told the House of Representatives? Homeland Security Committee she had initiated policy reviews in eight areas and would soon report to President Barack Obama about the future of the body, which some have said should be dissolved.
Napolitano said she was "kicking the tires," looking at policies afresh.

"It will not be one of those two-year study jobs," she promised lawmakers.

The Department of Homeland Security was set up six years ago in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks, but has struggled to define its role within Washington?s power structures.

Bringing together 22 government agencies, the department has a range of tasks, from preventing terror attacks to dealing with natural disasters.

But it has faced a string of allegations of mismanagement over its role in leading the response to the 2005 Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans, of duplicating the resources of other government agencies and of bureaucratic waste.

Napolitano on Wednesday stressed the civilian management role of the agency more than her two predecessors -- who had focused on terror threats from the Al-Qaeda network and other groups in their maiden remarks to Congress.

The former Arizona governor, who earned a reputation for sound management while in Phoenix, focused her remarks more on natural disaster recovery, defending infrastructure and administrative reform.

Here's a thought, given that there is absolutely no evidence that the supervisory bureaucracy has either made us safer or more efficient at disaster relief:

Let's dismantle the damn thing, and go back to allowing 22 specialized agencies to do their own jobs....

Of course, people will scream that I'm soft on terrorism (hello, Eric!), but when they do, here's my challenge:

Show me how the existence of DHS, the cumbersome and irrational mechanism for disbursing HS grants to states and localities, the Constitution-shredding Patriot Act, and the Director of National Intelligence has actually made us safer.

Facts and data, please. Spare me the jingoistic rhetoric.


Anonymous said...

Steve claims: "In short, Obama plans to have a family, for example, that makes $250,000.01 pay $11,500 more to the government per year, indefinitely, beginning in less than 2 years."

I don't think this $11,500 is correct, Steve.

First, you have assumed that the 39.6% tax rate applies to the entire $250K. That certainly is not true.

Second, the tax is figured on taxable income, after deductions, therefore a $250K income could come in at say $220K AGI for tax purposes.

Third, the 39.6% marginal only kicks in on adjusted gross income over a certain amount. I have not been able to find the tax rate schedules in order to make a calculation.

Here they are for T/Y 2008:

You will note that for Y-1, which is married filing jointly, the top bracket does not kick in until AGI exceeds $357,700.

Now undoubtedly Y-1 will be changed under the Obama plan, so none of us can calculate the impact on the over $250K AGI families, but I am certain that your $11.5K tax increase figure is incorrect, for reasons already stated. I expect it will be much, much lower than that.

Finally, as I understand it, Obama is returning the tax rate to where it was under Clinton, except that for those whose AGI is less than $250K (95% of Americans), there will be a tax cut.

Given the ride the wealthy have had under Bush-43, I don't think Obama is asking too much of them to give some back now, do you?

Need I remind you that the top bracket after WWII was about 90%, and around 75% until Reagan lowered it drastically, as I recall. Even at 90%, the economy grew. Granted, the conditions then, as you have pointed out, where quite different than now. The point is true, however, that taxing the wealthy at a high rate did not cause economic collapse, as the supply-siders would have us believe would happen. I know it is more complicated than I portray. I'll leave that to you to more thoroughly analyze, Steve.

Perry Hood

Tyler Nixon said...

Umm, wrong post Perry. And Steve didn't claim that. I did. (Steve would never be so imprecise).
I answered you in the comments of the actual post you thought you were answering.

Anonymous said...

We seem to be thinking on the same wavelength. No, my motto isn't "to see is to believe," but I'd rather have proof and facts before I start to even consider believing things. I just hope they know what they're doing, 'cause public safety isn't something to screw with.