The Nature Of Our Beast Is Greed – Oversight Crisis
Inspectors general appointed to uncover waste, fraud and misconduct in federal agencies often lead underfunded and poorly staffed units and are not as independent as the public has been led to believe, according to a study released yesterday by the Project on Government Oversight (POGO).
… “The inescapable conclusion is that an IG who lacks independence is an impostor — even calling such an office ‘Inspector General’ confuses the press and public and can create pitfalls for potential whistleblowers,” the nonprofit advocacy group concluded.
Paul Brachfeld, inspector general for the National Archives said, Inspectors general “are independent in intent, but there are pressures that fall upon you that make it difficult. I still receive an evaluation from the head of the agency. Sometimes at risk to yourself, you have to reach out for support outside the agency,”
The Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction just put out their semi-annual report on reconstruction. The report is on the web here, and it ain’t pretty. The Washington Post has some lurid examples of the fraud and waste that the report exposes. And to think that just a few months ago the special inspector general’s office was on the chopping block…
The federal contracting system is broken. Unless it’s fixed, and unless Congress fulfills its constitutional duty to conduct oversight, things like this are going to keep happening.
Not all problems solved But some sorely understaffed and underfunded agencies are planning only modest hiring efforts this year.
And while government regulators are trying to safeguard the food supply, the task is made more difficult by the number of agencies involved, according to the watchdog group Consumers Union.
“There’s an inherent problem with the oversight of the industry and that’s why we’re seeing a stream of problems,” said Urvashi Rangan, senior scientist and policy analyst at Consumers Union. “There is no regulatory agency that can mandate a recall. Recalls are voluntary.
“Oversight of our food supply is very fragmented,” Rangan said. “You’ve got up to 15 agencies that oversee our food supply. As a result, it makes it very difficult to implement a comprehensive and holistic system that enables an agency to take quick and consistent action to protect consumers.”
For example, while the USDA regulates the chicken, the Food and Drug Administration regulates the egg and the Environmental Protection Agency regulates the water that the chicken drinks, Rangan said.
Add in that food products that come from all corners of the world and you have a system ripe for potential failure, said Jerry Gillespie.
… definitions, and descriptions for the origins, nature, extent and morality of this destructive force and how it threatens justice, equality and democracy in free market societies. Does my wealth cause your poverty? Can corporate business coexist with virtue? Is greed really an economic rational force? Whatever happened to the “common good”? Paradoxes and environmental rhetoric are exposed.
The nature of the beast is human. The bottom line is to profit by cutting corners. This behavior is fiscally common for small units like families and does little harm to the whole community … but, spread over an entire economy, cutting corners is a giant leap toward disaster. Quality is not just the search for a ZEN experience. Quality is the search for a reliable and stable system for a whole society. Quality of product and quality of service is the victim of today’s economic philosophy. This is a corner that must not be cut. The results of skimping on everything is seen in today’s headlines … greed, personal, corporate and governmental, is the end of civilization as perceived by each of us. The environment and social structure are victims of short sighted gratification. This is a worldwide issue that must be addressed … first in personal realization and behavior modification … and second, in they way voters allow their representatives and leaders to implement policy. Oversight and watchdogs are the police for quality.
This post premiers a WATCHDOG tab on TruthHugger that will attempt to say on top of the effort to keep corporations and government honest.