“Just the Facts Ma’am” – Part 3

Sergeant Joe Friday - Part 3

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Dummmmmmmmmb da dumb dumb

Dummmmmmmmmb da dumb dumb

Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuummmmmmmmmmb!

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It was Tuesday, March 08, 2011.  I had returned from my assignment in Washington DC, where I had been attached to the DCPD to interview the DUI CPA CI with the MD in STDs, often at the OTB on K Street.

I had submitted my report.

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In the intervening months, Congress, with the cooperation of the President, had passed a series of ongoing budget resolutions to keep the federal government functioning.  In February of 2011, the President had proposed an FY12 budget, which  looked like a clone of what had happened in FY10 and what was happening in FY11.

However, no budget had been adopted.  It was as the CI had predicted.

Before the mid-term elections, the old guard had not had the courage to act on the budget.  It had left the problems to the new guard coming in after the elections had made the country’s dissatisfaction clear.

Consequently, America was printing and borrowing money as if there were no tomorrow.  This was avoidance in the first degree.

The country was about to reach its self-imposed limit on such borrowing; and the debate on raising the debt ceiling had produced speeches referring to government shut downs and debt defaults.  This was threatening in the second degree.

The American public didn’t seem to care much for the issues surrounding these crimes.  It didn’t seem well informed on the topics surrounding the federal budget, the annual deficit, or the national debt.  Therefore, not much media attention or citizen concern was directed to discussions on these matters.

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Finally, the chief had called and ordered me down to headquarters to review my report on the OMB version of the FY10 budget.

“Friday, We are glad to see you back.  This report is huge.”

“How so, sir?”

“It’s over 1,000 pages, Sergeant.”

“Ohhhhhhhhhhh, I get it . . . ‘huge’ like in ‘big’ – not ‘huge’ as in ‘significant’.”

“Well, that’s why I had you come down.  They’re thinking of ‘burying’ it.”

“Chief, I am not even going to ask who “they” are.  You asked for the facts; and I did my best to get them.”

“I know, Joe; but, you understand as well as I do that the truth can hurt so much that people just don’t want to hear it.  They want to bury their heads in the sand so they don’t have to face the bad news.”

“Chief, I sensed that Congress must be expert at that when I was in our nation’s capital.  This alone might be the crime of the century were it not for the fact that most Americans have been ignoring the same evidence for years as well.”

“Joe, I have no doubt that you might be correct on those two points. However, even I can’t believe what you claim to have discovered.  Give me the executive summary, so that I can confirm what I have been reading here.”

“Chief, the FY10 federal year ended at the end of September last year.  We are now in the FY11 budget year; and last month the President proposed a budget for the FY12 budget year, which will begin this coming October.”

“OK, I understand that part.  I don’t know why the federal budget year ends 30 September and begins on 1 October; but that doesn’t seem to be a major point of your report.  Correct?”

“Correct, sir.  The main point is that all three budget years now appear to be about the same.  The federal government will collect, in total, about $2.3 trillion annually.  Each year, it will spend almost exactly that same amount on mandated expenditures under entitlement programs, the biggest three of which are Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.  Then it will have to borrow, in each of those years, another $1.5 trillion to cover all discretionary expenditures.  Thing like. . . .”

“I know what the discretionary expenses are.” the chief interrupted.  “Things like our military, highway funding, federal prison system, the expenses of government (salaries of government workers, congressmen, judges, the President and their staffs, supplies, materials, building rent and maintenance, as well as utility costs, the expenses of the various executive departments, etc. . . ), shit like that.”

“Yes, sir.” I said

“Is the bottom line that our federal government is annually collecting $2.3 trillion, spending $3.8 trillion, and leaving us another $1.5 trillion in the hole for each of these budget years?” the Chief asked.

“Approximately correct, sir.”

“What set of dickheads dreamed up THIS cluster fuck?”

I didn’t respond.  It has never been my job to render opinions.  Crimes, especially big crimes like my report had uncovered, are best addressed and prosecuted with facts and without emotion.

“You include any good news in this report?” the chief asked after his moment of reflection.

“No sir.  The report documents how Social Security is headed to bankruptcy, how Medicare and Medicaid are already bankrupt, and what two extreme points define the range of options to balance the federal budget by cutting spending alone.”

“What two points are those?”

“The federal government can either cut all discretionary spending to balance the federal budget. . . . ”

“. . . or?. . . .”

“. . . or. . . cut about 65% of all non-discretionary spending to balance the federal budget.”

“. . . or. . . anything in between those two points?”

“Correct.”

“Jaysus!  I guess the feds could raise taxes. . . .”

I didn’t respond, recalling what the CI had said when I had proffered that same alternative.

“Friday. . .”

“Yes, sir?”

“I don’t believe that we can put this report out to the public. . .”

“I am not surprised, sir.”

The Chief looked up and scowled.  “Don’t get an attitude with me, Sergeant. News like this could wreck the morale of this country, especially given all that it implies.”

“Sir?”

“How the hell do you believe that we are financing these deficits?”

“That wasn’t part of my job, Chief.”

“We are borrowing the money. . from our own citizens, from the Chinese, from the oil-rich nations of the Middle East, from the Canadians, from the Mexicans. . . . . Shit, we sell our Treasury notes to anyone who will buy them, in the hopes that they will believe that we will not default on them.”

“I understand, sir.”

“Of course, the way we are going, there may be no option other than a default at some point.”

“I got it, sir.  The only way to avoid the situation where we can’t pay our bills is to increase revenues and reduce spending at the federal level to balance the budget for the next 30 years or so.  In that way, we can redeem all of our notes, warrants, and bonds.”

“Yep . . . and . . . that’s too depressing for most to contemplate.  That’s why we can’t publish your report.”

“What are you going to do, sir?”

“We are going to classify your report as ‘Top Secret’ and keep this case open. That way we can’t comment on an ongoing criminal investigation; and we can’t even confirm that this report was commissioned, much less written.”

“Ahhhhhhhhhh, I see . . . .  just like the federal government would do it.”

“Where do you think we learned these techniques, Friday?”

“But sir. . . .”

The chief was standing.  The meeting was over.  I stood up  . . . .

“Chief, didn’t Harry Truman say: ‘I never give them Hell.  I just tell them the truth; and they think it’s Hell.’?”

The chief didn’t say anything.  He just stood there with a wan smile and the blood drained from his face.  I turned to go, resolving that my time to ‘pull the pin’ had come.

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Dummmmmmmmmb da dumb dumb

Dummmmmmmmmb da dumb dumb

Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuummmmmmmmmmb!

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“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.  The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie.  It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”
Joseph Goebbels (Propoganda Minister)

“I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts.”
Abraham Lincoln

“Truth is the glue that holds government together.”
Gerald R. Ford – from a speech succeeding Richard Nixon as president, August 1974

“It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself.”
Thomas Jefferson

“Man will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time he will pick himself up and continue on.”
Winston Churchill

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