Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Kyle can spot a trend: or why voters will care about fiscal mismanagement and fraud on June 6th & November 7th.

A quick update on the Iowa Workforce Development scandal – Ramona and Archie skipped the Legislative Oversight Committee meeting, Vilsack fired Running & Barto, whistleblowers are Republican politicians’ new best friends, and the blogoshpere is posting some great stuff on the topic.

Krusty pulls a grizzly, literally, on this one; Chris at political forecast provided a public service by publishing the Fallon press release; Bacon slapped up the RPI press release before workin' a TouchPlay meltdown; and Kyle, that Political Madman, hit the sweet spot with his recent post.

Kyle's wistful post speaks to the essential reason why the CIETC/Iowa Workforce Development scandal is so disturbing on so many levels. I do quibble with Kyle's mean ol' Republican talk. But it's a stereotype that rings true; Republicans, given the choice between spending lots of money or just saying no, often opt for the no.

His post flies, particularly the second half. Kyle captures the disconnect between Vilsack's political agenda and the reality of failing and failed implementation.

...I attended Gov. Vilsack’s Condition of the State in January as a curious observer. Being someone who grew up far away from their state capitol, a lot of the access people in Des Moines take for granted is entirely new to me. I lived in Wisconsin for 18 years and went to the Capitol one time. For the last 4 months I’ve been to the Capitol in Des Moines at least once weekly. But I digress.

I took pages of notes during the Condition of the State, but it’s my last line that I think bears repeating. As it turns out, I wrote it largely and boldly enough that the person behind me read it over my shoulder and laughed too loudly for the room we were in:

Condition of the State Diagnosed: Spendicitis, with Chronic Fiscal Irresponsibility.

Take the current CIETC scandal, for example. Federal, state and local money get pooled together to create a program that’s supposed to get people back to work who would otherwise be forced to remain on welfare and other government assistance. Iowa Workforce Development, another bureaucratic government entity, does a shoddy, if not entirely negligent, job of watching over it, and the results are almost entirely predictable. With no oversight, those involved get as much as possible for themselves, and allow others to twist in the wind.

Now, consider the Iowa Department of Economic Development. Here we’ve got a $50 million dollar annual program, giving grants to corporations who promise to provide the desired behavior, creating jobs. Governor Vilsack and former IDED Director Mike Blouin claim over 25,000 jobs have been created already. Blouin’s even got it on the front page of his gubernatorial campaign’s website. The problem: No proof whatsoever.

An open records request sent to IDED was returned with a tracking spreadsheet over 9 months old. It showed that many companies had refused to report their job creation, and from the companies that did, 1282 actual jobs were created. Wells Fargo built cubicles to hold 846 of them, and 91 other companies combined to create 436 jobs.

There is no evidence to show that any action was taken against companies that refused to report or failed to create jobs.

In short, a massive government program was create to instill a desired result with no oversight and it appears much of that money ended up getting pissed away.

Sensing a trend?

I think Kyle’s right on the money (bad pun intended); it is a trend. It began in D.C. with the Abramoff scandal and is trickling down to state and local governments; voters are tired of fraud dressed up for political show & tell. People want to know that their hard-earned tax dollars are not going to pad the pockets of bureaucrats, lobbyists or 'friends'. It's that simple.

Good post. You got me. I still get pissed about TouchPlay and want some heads to roll. Alas, won't happen.
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