In news from Washington, President Obama evidently has plans to sell off Federal property to help consolidate and streamline government. The President's State of the Union address made mention of streamlining, but now it appears Obama has set to task recommendations on just which properties to sell. But just what "unwanted" properties, and just "whom" the buyers might be seem key to this initiative.
Trimming the waistline of the Fed is one thing, but selling off the people's trust, this could be another. This Summer Obama signed a memo, ordering department heads to identify and eliminate said unneeded properties, the goal being to save some $3 billion for fiscal year 2012. While this seems like a good idea on the face of it, it's clear also that the Federal government does not know which hand is washing the other, about half the time.
A Federal Real Property Council inventory has shown that the government actually acquired a great many buildings back in 2009. Just what a broke government is doing buying buildings still is anyone's guess.
Yesterday, the White House proposed yet another new commission (sorely needed) tasked with finding billions in potential savings figuring out what to do with our bloated real estate inventory. I have an idea, instead of creating a worthless commission, how about a commission tasked with transforming all those properties into homes for homeless people, working factories and warehouses and offices with real people working in them - after all Americans did buy em in the first place. But on to the rest of the news.
The Federal Government has thousands of surplus or underused properties that no President has seemed to be able to unload? Bush and others have pledged to rid the people of the fat, but we keep buying unneeded real estate? Now Obama is engaging the private sector (uh oh, not Halliburton I hope) to come up with a plan. (hey what about mine up there?) Jeffrey Zients (Below), a Deputy Director in the Office of Management and Budget suggested Obama's plan is to cut through the bureaucratic red tape and solve the problem via the private sector.
The United States government owns more properties than any entity, and get this - already over 14,000 properties have been targeted as excess. Great news huh? Obama may sell real estate to cut the deficit, American may get out of debt to the Chinese in one fell swoop. But hold on.
This master plan by Obama comes on the same day the Government Accountability Office released a report showing a staggering, almost unbelievable amount of waste across literally hundreds of programs. Okay, my friends that jabbed at me when I even suggested Obama might not be able to walk on water, before he was elected chided; "But Phil, haven't your heard Obama's speeches? He is so charismatic!" Charisma out of this one Mr. President.
Who is responsible for seeing that programs such as these work properly, without over taxing the American people? Which is worse, for Wall Street hedge fund crooks to steal trillions, or for the government to waste trillions? Does the buck stop at the Chief Executive's chair? You damn skippy it does.
Here the world is, broke, jobless, BP oil soaked, Madoff scammed, still searching for WOMD's, dead in Afghanistan - Iraq and at Arlington, still globally warming, and forced to kiss the behind of China for loaning America's money back to it, and the best Barack Obama can come up with is a real estate sale? I guess it's better than nothing.
But hold on again. Why all of a sudden? Who picked those properties and why? Does someone already have their eye on them? Oh God no! Is China bidding? You see the point. I hope you see the point. Do you get the point? Or don't you wonder?