M. Morin: The reason I am a conservative

The word “duplicate” is explained in my dictionary as “double or having two similar parts” or “replicate,” etc.

I have been a critic of waste and duplication at all levels of government, but particularly in the federal government. That had a lot to do with becoming a charter member of Citizens Against Government Waste in the early 1990s.

The most recent mailing by CAGW talks about its effort to save $400 billion by focusing on waste. They prepared a long list of outrageous deficit spending; sent it to the Government Accountability Office, which confirmed the findings.

Here are a few examples of the worst duplication, overlap and waste, confirmed by the GAO:

• 209 science, technology, engineering and math education programs in 13 agencies;

• 160 housing assistance programs in 20 agencies;

• 94 “green building” initiatives in 11 agencies;

• 55 surface freight transportation programs;

• 53 entrepreneur assistance programs in four agencies; and

• 45 early learning and children’s programs in nine agencies.

There are pages and pages full of evidence of such waste. Similar reports, sent to politicians in Washington over many years, have led to very little action.


One could almost hear candidates for office telling the voters: Vote for me and I will prepare/support legislation that will do this or that for you.

Isn't it time to ask those people, “Who is going to pay for all you promise?”

Why am I a conservative?

Marcel R. Morin, Auburn

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RONALD RIML's picture

Your proof that this is a waste???


You allege that "45 early learning and children’s programs in nine agencies" is a 'waste.'

Yet you don't provide any direct references to any evidence which supports that allegation.

I find it difficult to believe that in a country the size of the United States, with over 311 million population, fifty states, some remaining territories, foreign military bases, etc with as many cultures and divisions that we have - that only 45 programs would adequately serve the many needs among a diverse and culturally wide spectrum.

Perhaps 'One size fits All' in your limited viewpoint, but now with the toolboxes I've had to utilize.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Ronald, Where’s Dan? Any


Where’s Dan? Any clue?

RONALD RIML's picture

Am I your Brother's Keeper.....?

Am I your Brother's Keeper.....?

MARK GRAVEL's picture

I’ll take your answer as a

I’ll take your answer as a simple no.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

The parrot really misses him.

The parrot really misses him.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Well, it allows one to see

Well, it allows one to see what talking to a liberal point of view is all about.

RONALD RIML's picture

And it again shows that there is such a thing

As a stupid question.

Like I should assume you know the farking where-abouts of every 'conservative' on this forum.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Ronald, There are no stupid

There are no stupid questions, perhaps only stupid answers.

Perhaps Dan was banned from the site, which is noticeable to anyone reading the same thread and the time.

Dan could have announced his departure, and you noticed.

I clearly over estimated your powers of observation.

All that said, a simple “I don’t know” or “no clue” response would be sufficient, or even an implicit response through silence would do.

Enjoy the day - if you can.

RONALD RIML's picture

Where do you post from??

If you can....


And this is why I'm not

This is how I see the ideal radical right-wing Tea party world. Government is so small you can drown it in a bathtub. Therefore there are no more roads, or airports or train stations. It's pay as you go if you want to use them. No more sewers, or public water systems ; good ol outhouse will do just fine. No use for schools; the kids should learn the value of work early. And work is whatever the boss wants you to do for whatever pay he wants to give you. No medical care unless you are rich; you can use holy water or give birth in a field. No more libraries, parks, or public celebrations. No college unless your parents are rich. No fire and police protection unless you can pay up front. You will probably need lots of guns in your house and maybe pay for protection to some gang. No protection from abuse from your boss, your bank, your parents, children or your spouse. No divorce unless he wants one. No birth control. No protection from polluters or environmental destruction.No protection from bad food and medecines. And finally an insufficient military or ambassadorial presence in the world; get ready to learn Chinese. Yeah , government is such an evil thing it needs to be destroyed.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Claire, you might wish to

Claire, you might wish to consider hanging onto your day job; prognosticating isn't gonna do it for you.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Claire, You always resort to


You always resort to extreme examples when someone brings up legitimate opinions about government overspending. Your view exists only in your imagination, not in reality. Being an educator, I would assume you would approach these things using the scientific method; moreover, deal with what is, not what might be.

Should the tax payer ignore the fact that we cannot sustain the current federal spend rate? Draconian tax increases are not enough to solve the spending problem.

That said, what do you think will happen to all those public services you accuse the republicans are plotting to destroy if we don’t cap spending now and allow the system to collapse?

Don’t you think things will be much worse then, or are you like many people who only care about what they can extract from the present at the expense of the future?

Richard Begin's picture

why he is a Conservative

Way to go Mr Morin.

I agree Entirely with you. Get off the Couch and accomplish something

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Liberals want fewer rich

Liberals want fewer rich people; conservatives want fewer poor people.

RONALD RIML's picture

Simple Math...

Recognizing that there is but a finite supply of money.

If conservatives desire there to be fewer poor people, yet strive to enrichen their wealthy even more - this can only be accomplished by 'The Final Solution' that was soundly rejected by the Nuremberg Trials.

Otherwise you're just going to have to live with that 'Redistribution of Wealth' you despise so greatly........ Back from the last 'Redistribution' ;)

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

"To each according to needs

"To each according to needs from each according to his means" has not sported a very good track record, either.
Rather than tax the 'rich' at say, 30%, why not drop EVERYONE'S taxes down to the same rate for the rich, alleged to be at around 15%? Wouldn't that be a fair redistribution of wealth?; more for all of us and less for the government. Let them cut spending.

Jason Theriault's picture

The problem with flat taxes

The problem with flat taxes vs progressive rates is that the farther you get away from the bottom, the easier it is for you to pay your taxes. This isn’t about class warfare, it’s about reality. Diapers cost the same for reach people as for poor. Milk the same. Bread the same. There is a line in which we deem it is not acceptable for people to live below because at that point, basic needs such as food and shelter are not being met. We have defined that lower limit of survival as the poverty line.

Taxing people at or around this level is counter productive. All your going to do is drive them to other federal programs like food stamps and welfare. So it’s best to tax the poor less because really you’re really only creating busy work as those extra funds will shoot right back out in aid.

Besides, as Willie Sutton said, he robbed banks "because that's where the money is.". You tax the rich more because that's where the money is.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Yup, and the more you tax the

Yup, and the more you tax the rich, the more inclined they become to take their wealth and, often, their businesses and move them overseas, seeking tax relief. One of the co-founders of Facebook has renounced his U.S. citizenship and resides in Switzerland, (I believe but not certain) to get away from the U.S. taxaxation blood bath on the rich.
The closer you are to the bottom, the less you pay in taxes because presumably, you're earning less. The Pirate,say he's earning $200K and pays 25% in taxes is paying $50K in tax dollars, while the guy earning $35K and paying, say, 28% in taxes is dishing out only $9800 in tax dollars and qualifying for every giveaway program imaginable. And no, Jason, that he's earning $35K is not the fault of society at large or the filthy evil rich. It's just the way it works. You don't make a person less poor by taking away from a person who has more and worked hard for it and giving it to the poor guy out of 'fainess'. Instead, you provide the poor guy with an opportunity to better himself through a better or higher paying job, and if he still chooses to remain poor? Hey, sh** happens. The welfare system of today as administered by the liberals has become the equal of the slave plantations of the pre Civil War South. We'll house you, clothe you, and feed you, but you ain't ever gonna leave the plantation.
How's that go? You can check out any time you want, but you can never leave.

Jason Theriault's picture

Yeah, $35k aint it.....

Yeah, $35k aint it.....The poverty line is $10K for a single person. The guy making $35k isn't getting any help(I know, I used to be him).

You know, what it really comes down to is your first sentence:
"Yup, and the more you tax the rich, the more inclined they become to take their wealth and, often, their businesses and move them overseas, seeking tax relief"

Then they need to leave. GTFO. To some people, the bottom line is Green. To others, it's red, white and blue.
We need less of the former, and more of the later.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Being a Patriot (i.e. red,

Being a Patriot (i.e. red, white, and blue) does not mean you fork over any amount of money the Government desires.

In fact, a real Patriot will fight the government’s tendency to target a certain class of people disproportionally. A real Patriot will fight the government’s demonstrated tendency to over spend.

What will the tax and spenders do when all the wealth is driven from this country? We are free men and women. We are not contractually obligated to our State, nor are we contractually obligated to our Country.

That is reality, do you want to test its limits?

Jason Theriault's picture

One problem

"We are not contractually obligated to our State, nor are we contractually obligated to our Country."

How the heck do you define patriot if that doesn't include obligation to your country?

Here's how random house defines it:
"Patriot - a person who loves, supports, and defends his or her country and its interests with devotion."

No, I would say someone who takes off because taxes are too high is a patriot to themselves. They defined their own interests with devotion.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Jason, Ah, a Patriot to whom?

Ah, a Patriot to whom? Were the original 13 colonies Patriots to King George and his oppressive government? Did not we fight a revolution in part to taxation without representation?

Rebellion takes many forms. If our government is spending us into serfdom, should we not rebel?

In 1930’s Nazi Germany, the people were Patriots to the government, was that a good thing?

Patriotism for patriotism’s sake is not always warranted.

Ask yourself where your threshold is. How many pennies on the dollar would the government have to take from you before you rebel? How many? Oh and please spare the words, I’m looking for a simple numeric answer (i.e. $0.50).

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Pirate rule #27..."To thyne

Pirate rule #27..."To thyne own self be true"

RONALD RIML's picture

Reality as Mark Gravel imagines it....

"What will the tax and spenders do when all the wealth is driven from this country?"

You mean taken from this country. It's already happening. By you so-called 'Patriots'

Make me f...ing puke.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Ronald, I did not say that I

I did not say that I condoned this behavior. I just simply stated people are free to protest with their feet. A basic statement of what is!

I don’t like the wealth exodus from this country any more than you, but you cannot or should not ignore that as free people we have the choice to walk.

So what are we going to do?

There are two basic approaches:
1. Takeaway people’s freedom - do we really want to go here?
2. Stop behaving in a manner such that it drives people out. That is stop attacking the rich for simply being rich.

While the war against the rich may make you feel good with minor victories enforced through the tax code, many of the real wealthy do have the freedom of mobility.

Now you can say good, let them all go, but you must consider there are unintended consequences. In this case, the wealth is removed from this country.

Lastly and on a somewhat different topic, we are all complicit in the wealth exodus when we buy cheap foreign imports. Personally, I do without where I can instead of buying imported crap from Wal*mart.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

"Yeah, $35K aint it"... One

"Yeah, $35K aint it"...
One of the things that causes me to be as unsympathetic as I am towards the minimum wage of $7.50 per hour is that I worked for $1.00 an hour when the M.W. was $.97; the extra 3 cents was a shift differential for second shift. I can remember when the thought of making $35K annually was probably the most money I was ever going to make in my life. There's nothing wrong with earning $35K. The problem is that its buying power has been castrated by politicians and economic conditions. In 1960 or 1961, not too sure which, Jim Brown and John Unitas were the two highest paid players in the NFL at $30K and $29K, respectively. An offensive lineman in those days earned around $6800 and probably sold life insurance or cars in the off season. Relativity rules.

Jason Theriault's picture

Wanna know why I'm a moderate?

Wanna know why I'm a moderate? Because after seeing this, your piqued my interest, and I found the actual report. I also found the Senator who's argument your parroting(did you copy and paste?), because neither of you brought up the biggest offender in the GAO report.

Department of Defense.


PAUL ST JEAN's picture

With all due respect, if

With all due respect, if you're a moderate, George Washington was a liar. Everyone knows a moderate is but a closet liberal.

Jason Theriault's picture

Well which is it?

"Everyone knows a moderate is but a closet liberal"
Ok, so are you saying I'm not a closet liberal? I don't consider myself a liberal, so I got the closet part down(in your opinion). So are you saying I'm not a liberal?

I guess you are calling me a moderate, because I'm pretty sure Washington told a lie at some point.

Joe Morin's picture

I agree

Coming from a Libertarian Jason, I agree with you on most social issues & virtually no fiscal issues. That would make you a liberal. You don't take a " trying to kill old people & conservatives are the devil spawn approach" like Claire. You follow a more intellectual approach to things but you are consistently walking with a left lean.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Jason, Let’s set the name


Let’s set the name calling aside. When I collect and review your opinions posted herein, they are overwhelming big government.

You’re now welcome to attach any name you wish to this observation.

However, this does not overshadow your propensity to support the current dysfunctional government.

Perhaps you call that red, white, and blue; but many of us call it black and blue.

RONALD RIML's picture

Mark's Dysfunctional Logic

It's not the "Current Dysfuncational Government"

Rather the "Current Government Dysfunctions"

Government, on the whole, still operates.......

MARK GRAVEL's picture

To that I would add

To that I would add diminishingly operates. We could also say that Greece is somewhat operating, not so good though?
We should have higher standards and expectations.

In closing, I still perfer to use dysfunction as an adjective.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

I'm telling you, and with no

I'm telling you, and with no derogation intended, that if you consider yourself a moderate, you are in actuality a liberal who, a) doesn't know it, or, b) knows it, but is in denial. The b) usually aptly describes most so called moderates.
Washington, supposedly, never told a lie. If historians know it as fact, so be it. If it is the result of a Washingtonian self-assertion, then it and of itself me be a lie. Man, I got the parrot's head spinning with all that heavy stuff.

RONALD RIML's picture

And if you consider yourself a Conservative.....

You're most likely a fascist????

Not bad......

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

I'm a right leaning

I'm a right leaning moderate...0O:-)

 's picture

Thanks for the link; I downloaded the report

First, the report itself says that it can't find "$400 billion by focusing on waste" as the author of the letter states. The GAO report says "In many cases, the existence of unnecessary duplication, overlap, or fragmentation can be difficult to estimate with precision due to a lack of data on programs and activities." The GAO defines Fragmentation to mean that two agencies have programs with similiar goals and Overlap to mean that the two programs may serve silimilar types of users. Duplication means that a fragmented program may overlap another. In other words, the GAO report identifies programs that need to be looked in to to see if they are in fact examples of "unnecessary duplication" because they only have enough information to suspect that the programs might be. Waste would exist if the same individuals were using these unnecessary duplicated programs for the same purpose i.e. Joe Blow was taking the same welding course under the commerce department and labor department training progams for unemployed people. If the training courses taught different types of welding they would not be duplications. GAO only is pointing out something that should be investigated further.
So the truth is Mr. Morin points out these programs because he is a conservative who leaps to unjustified conclusions not that these programs prove to him the rightness of conservative principles.


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