EDITORIAL: TSA grabs union contract – Washington Times

EDITORIAL: TSA grabs union contract – Washington Times.

Pushy airport screeners to become even less accountable to the flying public

When Congress decided to take over airport security, it was never about safety. That became clear on Friday when Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screeners formally agreed to a contract that will add 45,000 dues-paying members to the ranks of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE).

This public-sector union forces members to hand over between $14 and $16 out of each paycheck, meaning the organization stands to collect as much as $16 million each year. This money will help turn out the vote for Democratic candidates and subsidize a number of liberal causes. This year alone, AFGE members directed about $1 million toward electing Democrats like Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan and Tim Kaine of Virginia — only 3 percent of the funds went to GOP candidates. The union spent $2 million on lobbying government mostly to ensure federal workers get paid more to do less.

Under the new TSA contract, employees will win annual leave based not on their performance, but how long they’ve held on to the job. They’ll also be able to wear shorts when it’s hot, with the tab for the new wardrobe picked up by the taxpayers. House Transportation Committee Chairman John L. Mica, Florida Republican, blasted the deal for focusing on “tie tacks and tattoos” instead of issues that actually matter. Those tie tacks can’t exceed 1/2-inch in diameter and must be gold or silver in color. Tattoos must be covered by a sports sleeve or band that does not detract from the uniform. TSA must also provide office space for designated TSA union officials to work on union business at taxpayer expense.

Over the past decade, the public has been forced to shell out $57 billion for an agency that has made flying an ordeal. All of the groping and indignities passengers have been subjected to has been for naught. TSA has never caught a single terrorist, yet it continues to insist on spending billions on pornographic scanning machines. The European Union, by contrast, refuses to adopt the technology.

In an April report, the EU’s Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks found, “at the population level the possible effect cannot be ignored in the assessment of acceptability of the introduction of the security scanners using X-rays for passenger screening. Due to the substantial uncertainty regarding the potential occurrence of any health effects, risks for special groups within the population could not be evaluated meaningfully, although a higher risk related to exposure in childhood was noted.” X-rated X-ray machines were put in place here after a major lobbying campaign from the companies that eventually landed the lucrative scanning contract.

This is how Washington works. Instead of focusing on what needs to be done to improve safety, we have a jobs program designed to re-elect Democrats and enrich lobbyists.

The Washington Times

 

EDITORIAL: Monumental waste – Washington Times

EDITORIAL: Monumental waste – Washington Times.

Time to derail Amtrak’s $7.5 billion Union Station face-lift

By THE WASHINGTON TIMES – The Washington Times

Government waste is so prevalent that it rarely comes as a surprise. Bureaucrats partying at public expense, inefficient labor-union contracts and massive cost overruns are the natural consequence of giving civil servants the ability to spend money earned by others. Amtrak wants to take waste to new heights. On July 25, the government railroad service proposed to give Washington’s historic Union Station a $7.5 billion face-lift. And that’s before the budget goes off the rails.

Apparently, no expense is to be spared if it furthers the Obama administration’s high-speed-rail scheme. “Today’s plan ensures that Union Station will continue to serve as the gateway to our nation’s capital, providing growing numbers of passengers with even greater transportation options,” Deputy Secretary of Transportation John D. Porcari said upon the proposal’s announcement. “The Department of Transportation is committed to Union Station’s future, both as an important part of the local economy and of the president’s vision for a revitalized Northeast Corridor.”

This $7.5 billion won’t build a wholly new station; it merely will add a bit of additional capacity to the existing location. There will be new passenger concourses, wider platforms for stepping off the train, a few new street entrances and a shopping area that will be built over the tracks. It’s a “visionary and practical approach to revitalize the terminal” that will take from 15 to 20 years to complete.

To the delight of Washington’s car-hating liberal establishment, the plan includes bulldozing the existing Union Station parking structure — one of the cheapest and most reliable places to park for an hour or two in the city. The liberals have been itching to replace it with an expanse of modernist glass architecture, destroying the beauty of the existing station’s classic lines, which were drawn by architect Daniel Burnham in 1903.

Amtrak claims the renovation will stimulate $15 billion in gross regional product over the next couple of decades. Given government rail’s profitless track record, such predictions are wishful thinking. As House Transportation Committee Chairman John L. Mica, Florida Republican, artfully pointed out Thursday, Amtrak can’t even sell a hamburger without taking a loss. In 10 years of selling food and beverages on its choo-choos, Amtrak has racked up a staggering $833 million loss.

As Mr. Mica explained, McDonald’s can sell a hamburger for $1, but Amtrak needs to sell it for $9.50. Yet even that inflated amount can’t cover the staggering $16.15 per-burger cost to taxpayers.

This is all to say it’s not a surprise that Amtrak and the Obama administration could conceive of a train-station rehabilitation with double the price tag of the Freedom Tower in New York City. It will cost $3.8 billion to construct that hub of commerce standing 1,776 feet tall out of the rubble of the World Trade Center. The contrast is poignant. One project is a symbol of America’s determination to succeed; the other is a symbol of the audacity of waste.

Outrage upon outrage – Tea Party Nation

Vector image of the Las Vegas sign. Português:...

Vector image of the Las Vegas sign. Português: Imagems vectorial da placa de Las Vegas. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Outrage upon outrage – Tea Party Nation.

Posted by Judson Phillips

Just when you thought the GSA scandal could not get any worse, it does.  Not only did GSA employees blow a million dollars on a conference where they bragged about wasting government money, some employees got bonuses for planning the conference. 

 You cannot make this stuff up!

 From Fox News:

 Awarding bonuses for wasting taxpayer dollars?

 That appears to be incentive offered by the federal agency under fire for spending lavishly on a 2010 conference held near Las Vegas. The latest details from an inspector general report on the conference reveal 50 employees were given cash awards of $500 and $1,000 for their work arranging the now-infamous conference.

 “It would also appear that a number of GSA bureaucrats who helped arrange the Las Vegas junket were handed cash bonuses for their work in wasting the better part of a million dollars,” Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., said Tuesday.

 Rep. Mica also revealed Tuesday that one high-ranking official spent an extra night in Vegas at taxpayer expense, even though the conference was already over.

 Calling the new revelation the “icing on the cake,” Mica said the official paid only $93 for a fourth night at the Vegas suite, which costs more than $1,000 a night.

 The rest of the cost of the room “was apparently charged to the taxpayer” he said in a statement.

 Everyone seems outraged about this scandal but are Obama, the Party of Treason and the Republicans really outraged about the scandal or are they outraged it is now the news story of the week in all of the media?

 My money is on the latter.

 Why?

 This outrage not only demands that people be fired and possibly prosecuted, but if the government has this much money to waste, it has too much money.

 If the Congress were serious about this scandal, they would gut the GSA’s budget.   If the Republicans were serious about this, the budget cleaver would be falling on the GSA and other departments.  If the Party of Treason was serious about this, they would be proposing massive cuts in this department.  If Obama were serious, he would be proposing massive budget cuts in this department. 

 We the people are not a blank check for Congress.  We do not work hard just so some non-working government employees can go party in Vegas on our dollars.

 The real tragedy here is that the American people are absolutely outraged about this scandal.  Our politicians will pontificate.  A couple of sacrificial lambs will be thrown under the bus and nothing will change in DC.

 How much longer must we tolerate this?

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