Sunday, October 9, 2011

Red Flag Warning: Consequences

The Watchman attended a meeting some time ago of governmental staff from a high Army headquarters element on the topic of sustainability and with the purpose of conducting a "Staff Assistance Visit" or SAV. I always welcome these kinds of activities as they enable me to exit the usual humdrum of life in the office where we actually prevent environmental disasters and work diligently to conduct operations in a sustainable manner.

As this 8 person team of high-level staffers proceeded to spew the standard propaganda of sustainability and spouted the goals of something they called a Campaign Plan, I tallied up the cost of their little trip to Colorado. The estimated total loaded labor rate (base salary + bells and whistles) would be approximate $525/hour. We generally allocate $2,500 per person for a weeks worth of travel. Thus the SAV to our installation cost taxpayers around $41,000. The team let slip the visit to our installation was one of many more yet planned over the next few months. One might guess the total price to taxpayers will ultimately be well over $200K if they conduct 5 more SAVs. (I suppose I should add in the cost of the 30+ installation staff being corralled for three days hosting the SAV team, but maybe we don't want to know the full cost of this boon-doggle.)

So what did we get for our $41,000. Little post-it-notes on butcher block paper with scribbles of our installation's sustainability goals posted under the several Campaign Plan goals. Yep, that was it. We were roundly thanked for our participation, have a nice life, good-bye. Prior to the post-it-note exercise, we were grouped into several small groups and played a sustainability game where we harvested fish from the ocean to maximize our profits. The room full of environmental sustainability minded individuals over-fished the ocean with in 3 rounds. The really sad part of the whole affair is it could have been done via teleconference using "Go-to-Meeting" on a wide-screen TV for about a tenth of the cost and saved the emission of a lot of green house gasses!

About now you wonder what is the connection between the title of this blog and the forgoing story? Following the meeting I engaged in a old "Foxism". Ron Fox was my boss in Kansas and he use to come up with Foxisms, pithy sayings that left you scratching your head, but knew there was a grain of truth in them. He use to say, "We need to learn to pre-think our afterthoughts." Meaning if we'd just shut up for a minute and consider how we'd feel after we took some sort of action we might not do it. So I was wondering to my self about the consequences of failure to achieve the installation's sustainability goals and those of the Campaign Plan. What if our installation failed to meet the air quality goal of a 16% reduction in green house gases by 2020? Would I get fired? Would I be demoted? Would I get put into a prison? Be shot? Be hauled before the peoples court and condemned to a gulag near Sparks, Nevada (Senator Harry Reid's hometown). Or, would we, as I suspect all good government collective central planners would do, press the "Easy Button" and reset the goals. Given the "Sovietization" of our senior command, I don't think I need to worry. Where's that "Easy button"?

Connected to goals and objectives should be accountability and consequences. Real ones. Not fake, make believe ones, but real honest to God negative outcome for those who are responsible. And this leads me to the observation: Our nation is in danger of loosing its moral compass and stepping off the cliff when we fail to hold those who govern to full accountability and the harsh real consequences of their failure.

Let me list just a few actions of late with zip consequences:

* No federal budget passed in the last 4 years by congress by 1 October. Easy Button Response: Congress just passes a continuing resolution and goes on vacation.

* Massive failure to run our government operations on current revenue. Easy Button Response: Congress just hikes the debt ceiling and tells the Treasury to print more money. $15 Trillion in debt, the presses continue to roll, one day in the near future we won't be able to collect enough revenue to even pay the interest on the debt.

* A nation with one of the highest education per/pupil funding and the lowest per/pupil achievement. Easy Button Response: We impose more taxes on an already over taxed middle class to pay higher teacher salaries for more failure.

* $500 million dollars loaned to a known failing green-energy company. Easy Button Response: The administration wants to put another $489 Billion dollars into green-job creation so the average per job created cost is in the millions. Obama's new signature phrase: Forward....More like Forward to Failure.

* A new future healthcare system that will still leave millions without health care and long waits for those that do. Easy Button Response: State and companies are given waviers to implement, yet the new system blunders onward to implementation right off the economic cliff.

* A Social Security and senior Medical system that all agree is doomed to bankruptcy. Easy Button Response: Our leaders play fear-mongering games and bury their heads in the sand.

There are dozens more of these situations. Each has the potential to bring the house of cards tumbling down. The consequences will be dreadful for the survivors. Red Flag Days for sure if we don't get our act together and put some new people in charge.

Keep the House - Take the Senate!

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