Detroit is so close to insolvency that there is talk in the city of selling off some of the Detroit Institute of the Arts' treasures, including works by Henri Matisse and Vincent van Gogh.
Still, the old, ingrained habits of the public sector are hard to break as Malia Mattoch McManus of Reuters reports:
The city of Detroit may be facing a deepening financial crisis but that hasn't stopped four trustees of its public pension funds from spending $22,000 of retirement system funds to attend a conference in Hawaii this week.
Detroit is $15 billion in debt. But that doesn't seem so troubling when you are serving the public interest at a "four-star resort on the world-famous Waikiki Beach in Honolulu."
The news of the Internal Revenue Service targeting Tea Party groups has Americans spooked. We’re supposed to be a republic, in which everyone is treated equally. So how is it that the federal government has abused so egregiously its taxing power, one of the most potent tools at its disposal?
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration "predicts active 2013 Atlantic hurricane season," according to a press release on the government agency's website. The other alternative being offered by NOAA is that this year's hurricane season will be "extremely active."
The state of the union today is uneasy, at best. Washington is crippled by gridlock while Americans across the country feel alienated from their government, so much so that the president feels compelled to remind them that the government is “us.” But is it really so, in a meaningful sense? Sure, the people choose their lawmakers through elections, but does the government actually represent their interests? If it does, why does it fail to solve their problems?
Late last week, we learned that the Department of Health and Human Services was running a little short of the scratch it needed to sell the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) to the people who will reap its many benefits. Sarah Kliff at the Washington Post reported:
First Lady Michelle Obama praised federal workers in remarks today, calling them an "invisible face." Her remarks were delivered at the Department of Interior.
"I ... know that the work that you do isn’t easy, especially right now during these times. I know that budget cuts mean that you all are juggling even more responsibilities with fewer resources. And I know that many of you are stretched thinner than ever before," said the first lady.
In what may be just an eerie coincidence, the Defense Department posted a contract award notice today to Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts for research into "Methods for Explosive Detection at Standoff." Of particular concern are Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) that have become a favorite among terrorists and gained widespread attention during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.