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Say No to Corruption and Slash the National Debt

By       Message Larry Fisher       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   4 comments

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Consider that the U.S. government has encountered major obstacles and expenses since its 1776 inception, like the American Revolution, two world wars, the 1930's Depression, and much more. Still, despite those budget-busting events, the federal government did not surpass its one-trillion-dollar national debt total until 1981. Then, in just 32 years, that total spiked by over 15 trillion dollars to its current 16.5 trillion-dollar amount. This dramatic increase in debt occurred because the government's infrastructures were covertly and intentionally weakened, top to bottom, to implement its corporate-driven deregulation, outsourcing, and war-related agendas. Those weakened infrastructures caused the 1980's collapse of the S&L companies, 2008 economic crisis, and the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The Obama administration's failure to implement his "open, transparent, and accountable government reforms" hides these weakened infrastructures and the need to restructure every facet of the government's operation to drastically cut the national debt.

While there are many and varied reasons for the government's dramatic and unsustainable increase in debt, the 1978 Civil Service Reform Act (CSRA) allowed for and even promoted these weakened government infrastructures. Pre 1978, the government already adhered to a corporate-friendly practice of maintaining a professional government (GS level) workforce that was "managed" by an ever-changing array of each new and incoming administration's technically unqualified and/or self-serving executive schedule (EX) political appointees. Untold billions and even trillions of the taxpayer's money was, and still is, wasted procuring and granting politically-inspired, valueless contracts and grants. The only saving grace in this failed practice was that the GS-level professionals were insulated from retaliation by these EX political appointees. Passage of the 1978 CSRA changed all that by introducing yet another level of department, bureau, and agency senior-executive service (SES) political appointees. Now, the success or failure of GS-level professionals depends upon implementing each administration's political agendas, as dictated by their EX and (now) SES political appointees. Two options exist for GS-level professionals. Choose an upward career path and say and do whatever the reigning EX/SES political appointees told you to do or imperil your career and job by raising legitimate questions over those weakened infrastructures, ongoing cover-ups, and the gross waste, fraud, and abuse of taxpayers' money. The following example illustrates how the 1978 CSRA has politicized and compromised the integrity of 2.5 million civil servants by the continued misinformation they provide, and will continue to provide, to the Obama and future administrations, unless the government is restructured, top to bottom.         

In October 1987, the Central Agencies' executive schedule (EX) and senior-executive service (SES) political appointees knowingly outsourced deficient financial-management contractor (FMC) software to all Department of Defense (DOD) and non-DOD department, bureau, and agency accounting offices. Those Central Agencies include the Government Accountability Office (GAO), Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and Treasury Department while the FMCs include the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), financial-software companies, and management-consulting firms. Then, DOD and non-DOD department, bureau, and agency EX/SES political appointees forced this deficient FMC software on those accounting offices, despite the ongoing resistance from the government's GS-level professional accountants and auditors. The EX/SES political appointees solved this "political" problem by covertly eliminating the minimal 4-year college accounting-degree Office of Personnel Management (OPM) requirement from OPM's accountant- and auditor-position standards. Then, over the next 25 years, the government was flooded with unqualified people and needed to hide all levels of collusion and corruption, eliminate the ever-dwindling supply of accountant and auditor whistleblowers, and ensure the continued (and perpetual) enrichment of corrupt public officials and FMCs. Today, those political decisions adversely impact both the public and private sectors and continue to place the financial and national security of this country in peril.

AT THE PUBLIC-SECTOR LEVEL, the federal government still relies on manually prepared (fudged) Excel spreadsheets to prepare all Department of Defense (DOD) and non-DOD accounting office's financial statements, despite the untold billions already paid to these FMCs. Why? Because all three levels of these politicized and technically unqualified bureaucrats work as one to cover-up three FMC conflicts-of-interest involving: (1) consulting services in designing and implementing deficient software, (2) auditing services that ignore reported deficiencies by the ever-dwindling supply of professional accountants and auditors, and (3) training these same former clerks/now accountant managers to implement this financial software. This symbiotic and illegal relationship between politicians, EX/SES political appointees, former GS-level clerks, and FMCs is a prime example of how and why the national debt continues to grow, all for producing nothing of value. At the state and local government level, it is also important to note that while their inefficiencies do not impact the national-debt total, their inability to (also) generate accurate financial statements (and manage their debt) compares on a one-for-one basis with the federal fiduciary failure (explained later). Bill Gates expressed this state and local government accounting problem the best in his March 3, 2011 Huffington Post article, "States Accounting: The Guys at Enron Never Would Have Done This" AT THE PRIVATE-SECTOR LEVEL, the Securities & Exchange Commission's (SEC) elimination of its accounting-fraud task force, due to a lack of professional government accountants and auditors, portends a return to the same deficient Enron-style corporate-financial statements that occurred in 2002. See the Forbes' October 18, 2012 article, "Is the SEC's Ponzi Crusade Enabling Companies to Cook the Books Enron-Style?" for details of the latest political and AICPA-related abuses and another upcoming unnecessary market-economy crisis.

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It is difficult to acknowledge and address each federal department's, bureau's, and agency's inability to accurately account for their respective budgets when each of these federal entities have acted as one to cover-up this government-wide federal-fiduciary failure. In 1997, Congress mandated that all DOD and non-DOD accounting-related data be summarized in a single set of the U.S. government's consolidated-financial statements (CFSs), by 2007, as required of all corporations under the Sarbanes Oxley Act (SOX). Also included in this 1997 Congressional mandate was a requirement that GAO audit these CFSs each year and provide written Congressional testimony on its findings. GAO's March 2012 Congressional testimony shows that, for 15 consecutive years, GAO was unable to render an opinion on the U.S. government's CFSs because of "certain material weaknesses in internal controls." GAO's 15 years of blatantly inaccurate testimony fails to acknowledge the covert and united roles that the Central Agencies' and DOD/non-DOD accounting and auditing office's EX/SES political appointees, and FMCs have consistently played in this federal-fiduciary sham involving untold billions in taxpayer waste.   Even more egregious, GAO's current and former Comptroller Generals of the U.S. (Gene Dodaro and David Walker) rubberstamped the use of FMC federal-accounting software that was based upon a deficient AICPA federal-accounting standard that had no ability in 1987, now, or ever of generating Congress' mandated CFSs.   If this isn't collusion and corruption at the government's highest levels, then what is?   This government-wide accounting sham is best described in a 2009 CBS News report, "The War on Waste," where DOD officials admitted that they could not account for $2.3 trillion in transactions and 25% of what it spends, in large part due to the ongoing cover-ups detailed by two DOD auditors, Jim Minnery and Franklin Spinney. In the words of Jim Minnery, "They have to cover it up," he said. That's where the corruption comes in. They have to cover up the fact that they can't do the job," as purposely intended by corrupt politicians, EX/SES political appointees, and FMCs.

The liaison among corrupt politicians, FMCs, and the Central Agencies' and DOD/non-DOD accounting office's EX/SES political appointees is best described for what it is, an outsourcing ponzi scheme. This   ponzi scheme transferred untold billions of dollars from the taxpayer to corrupt politicians, their political appointees, former accounting clerks, and the FMCs (and AICPA), all for producing nothing of value. As far back as the late 1980s, GS-level professional accountants had already begun questioning the Central Agencies' (and the AICPA's) lack of GAAP-based public-sector-accounting procedures; the procedures that federal accounting offices were forced to use were entirely subjective and could not even be explained by the Central Agencies' accountants. In an attempt to fill that Central Agency- and AICPA-information gap, I wrote a 396-page book that was titled "Principles of Accounting, Budgeting, and Cash Management for Government" that provided accounting  procedures for both entering data and generating GAAP-based public accounting and budgeting financial statements. Upon completion of this book, I took a 1-year unpaid sabbatical from my federal accountant job to lobby the Central Agencies and Congress (Senator William Roth) over the necessity to adopt a single public-sector GAAP-based accounting standard for the federal government. In October 1987, a Treasury-, OMB-, and GAO-liaison group was formed to address these issues. Instead, the Central Agencies' corrupt EX/SES political appointees outsourced that deficient non-GAAP-based FMC software (see paragraph 3). Today, taxpayers have unwittingly paid billions for this useless software and much more for an entire bureaucracy of unqualified political appointees and GS-level accountants and auditors who were needed to implement and continue this outsourcing ponzi scam.  

If there was ever an example that debunks the Republican's "government that governs least governs best" mentality, this outsourcing ponzi scheme of deficient financial software highlights the need for restoration of more rules, regulations, and real penalties for public officials and contractors who fail to do their job(s). On July 20, 1998, I sent a letter to Senator Fred Thompson , then Chairman of the Government Affairs Committee, summarizing a 2-hour presentation that I had with his staff questioning the government's overt failure to test the federal government's (FASAB) software before releasing it to an entire federal bureaucracy; I received no response. On June 1, 1999, the Washington Times published my OPED, "At EPA, Waste, Fraud, and Abuse," that again questioned the federal (FASAB) accounting standard and taxpayer waste of procuring useless financial software. This OPED precipitated an October 1999 FASAB News article documenting what should be a concern to all taxpayers. The AICPA, a private-sector entity, designated two government-accounting boards, FASAB and GASB, to be the "accounting standards-setting" bodies for the federal government and state and local governments, respectively. Because the FASAB/GASB accounting standards are not GAAP-based, the AICPA has a conflict of interest. Both the AICPA and the other FMCs get paid over and over again implementing deficient software that will never generate accurate DOD, non-DOD, and state and local government-financial statements. See paragraph 4 for a recap of how these FMCs have adversely impacted both the public and private sectors and increased the national debt. A June, 23, 2005 GOVEXEC.com article revealed that Congress is now paying contractors to review disconnects between the government's accounting and budgeting processes when GS-level professional accountants had already revealed this information to Senator Thompson. See the above letter.     

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While the above article details the adverse impact of flooding the federal bureaucracy with unqualified accountants and auditors, the LawrencePrete(DOE)Story summarizes his similar experience with replacing the Department of Energy's (DOD) professional electrical engineers with even more unqualified people.   Other whistleblower accounts of more government waste and corruption include some of the following by: scientists, Securities and Exchange Commission investigators, and contract specialists. Whistleblower groups like Whistlewatch, National Whistleblowers Center, Whistleblower Support Fund, and National Forum on Judicial Accountability articulate many other security, FBI, CIA, and NSA, and non-security abuses that also grow the national debt.

The bad news, as we already know, is that the federal government is riddled with corruption. Unless the politically-induced deficiencies that precipitated the 15-trillion-dollar spike in the debt are addressed, those increases will only continue. The optimum scenario for dramatically cutting the debt now is for President Obama to implement his promised reforms for an "open, transparent, and accountable government" and include both unions and whistleblowers as two vital entities that are needed to drastically cut the national debt. Why? Both entities have a vested interest, and the necessary knowledge, to identify and address two of the government's politically-induced deficiencies that precipitated the spike in the national debt, weakened government infrastructures and the corporate-driven valueless grants and contracts (i.e. FMC-related) that should be eliminated. For unions, the best way to protect its employees is by working with the Obama administration in overseeing and enforcing OPM-position standards that are on a par with the private sector to ensure that the government hires the highest credentialed managers possible to mentor, rather than abuse and fire, their employees. For whistleblowers, they know, first-hand, the government reforms needed to restore our forefather's checks and balances and to cut the untold billions and even trillions still wasted on the government's deficient management practices and politically-inspired valueless grants and contracts that should be abrogated.

 

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I graduated from Michigan Technological University (MTU) in June 1968 with a BSBA in accounting and have been a federal accountant for over 40 years, 25 as a whistleblower in the government, and 2 years retired. In the early 1980's, I became (more...)
 

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