As a result, next month, Congress will begin a huge political battle over raising the $14.3 trillion debt limit, set just last year.
The 2010 election was largely about government spending, budget deficits, taxes, and that dangerous debt total, which could be the financial train wreck that ultimately destroys the US.
The problem with the deficit debate is that one person's example of government waste is another person's example of critical government spending.
Politicians and voters alike cling to certain programs and expenditures they see as vital to the nation, their state, or even a community.
However, there are examples of waste that are so outrageous they may make everyone want to stand up and scream.
Like this one, for instance, as reported by MSNBC.com:
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration on Friday ended a high-tech southern border fence plan that cost taxpayers nearly $1 billion but did little to improve security. Congress ordered the high-tech fence in 2006 amid a clamor over the porous border, but the project yielded only 53 miles of protection.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano informed key members of Congress Friday that an “independent, quantitative, science-based review made clear” the fence, known as SBInet, “cannot meet its original objective of providing a single, integrated border security technology solution.”
The fence, initiated in 2005, was to be a network of cameras, ground sensors and radars that would be used to spot incursions or problems and decide where to deploy Border Patrol agents. It was supposed to be keeping watch over most of the southern border with Mexico by this year.
Instead, taxpayers ended up with about 53 miles of operational “virtual fence” in Arizona for a cost of at least $15 million a mile, according to testimony in previous congressional hearings.
The Bush administration awarded Boeing [the contractor] a three-year, $67 million contract. But the fence had a long list of glitches and delays. Its radar system had trouble distinguishing between vegetation and people in windy weather, cameras moved too slowly and satellite communications also were slow. Although some of the concept is in use in two sections of Arizona, the security came at too high a cost.
So, based on this, one might expect that not only would the project be scrapped, but that the contractor would be summarily dismissed and even sued to recover the taxpayer money wasted on this utterly failed system. But that kind of rationale would be wrong.
Boeing was the contractor for SBInet. Despite the problems, the Homeland Security Department granted Boeing a second one-year option on a three-year contract to work with the department for maintenance and upkeep of the two Arizona sections that are operational.
In a statement, Boeing said it is proud of the accomplishments of its team and the “unprecedented capabilities” delivered in the last year to assist Border Patrol. The company said it appreciates that Homeland Security Department recognizes the value of the fixed towers Boeing built as part of SBInet.
Got that? Failure is rewarded, and Boeing is proud of its failure.
As a result of Boeing's "unprecedented capabilities", this albatross of a project had to be scrapped due to its abject failure.
This is an egregious example of our government at work, wasting our tax dollars in a time of fiscal crisis. It is the definition of government gone mad. And it defines the cronyism that is endemic in our government.
Entire industries, such as the Military-Industrial Complex, hold sway over our government. The government is the servant and industry is its master.
What's clear is that the bigger government becomes, the more wasteful, the more corrupt and the more entitled it also becomes.
Even as conservatives and Tea Party members in Congress — and across the country — scream about the size, reach and irresponsibility of government, outrages such as this continue unabated.
Like the Titanic, the US is sailing — full-speed ahead — into a fiscal and financial ice berg.
Sadly, this story will fly under the radar of the average, highly distracted American.
Meanwhile, our government continues to rot and our fiscal position continues to decay.
As the saying goes, we get the government we deserve.