- The Washington Times - Friday, August 20, 2010

Why are Americans enraged? As this moribund economy limps through the third year of doldrums, Americans are sick of having their hard-earned money swiped by Washington’s Democrat-dominated political class, which is clueless, condescending and invariably costly.

Could anything but cluelessness explain what happened when Harv’s Metro Car Wash in Sacramento, Calif., owed the federal government precisely four pennies because of a mistaken tax return? Rather than shrug at a 4-cent error, the IRS dispatched two agents to deliver a letter by hand informing the owner of his tax debt.

“They were deadly serious, very aggressive,” Harv’s proprietor, Aaron Zeff, told the Sacramento Bee. That was the first he heard his account was amiss. Indeed, Mr. Zeff received an official letter last October saying that his business had “filed all required returns and addressed any balances due.”

Even more clueless is the Obama administration’s war on Kindles. As the Washington Examiner’s Byron York reported, several universities collaborated with Amazon to offer Kindles to students in a voluntary program to see if the electronic devices were a worthy alternative to traditional, tree-killing textbooks.

“Unfair!” screamed the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division. It investigated Arizona State, Case Western and other universities for possible discrimination against the blind. As division chief Thomas E. Perez told a House hearing, “We must remain vigilant to ensure that as new devices are introduced, people with disabilities are not left behind.”

Have Mr. Perez and Justice’s other geniuses noticed that blind people cannot read regular books, either? Perhaps fairness should require universities to close their libraries, lest sighted students enjoy a serious advantage over their blind colleagues.

For that matter, is it equitable that sighted students can see their professors while blind scholars only can hear them? Perhaps Justice should sue every university until it forces teachers to lecture behind dark curtains. That way, professors could be heard, but not seen, equally by all students.

Meanwhile, blind people can activate Kindle’s newest model to hear books read aloud.

Crisis averted.

As for condescension, consider President Obama’s Aug. 5 speech at a Chicago Ford plant. Mr. Obama praised federal bailouts for the auto industry, including a new, $250 million Export-Import Bank loan guarantee for Ford.

“I refuse to walk away from this industry and American jobs,” Mr. Obama thundered. “I have put my money on the American worker.”

“My money?” Really? Does Mr. Obama think we are that stupid?

Mr. Obama’s middle initials should be O.P.M., as in “Other People’s Money.” He spends trillions relentlessly. And none of it is his money.

Washington is costly, too. Mr. Obama loves federal assistance for alternative-energy projects. Supposedly they create jobs. The Aug. 9 edition of Newsweek compared the taxpayer costs against the employment benefits of several such initiatives. U.S. Geothermal received a $102.2 million loan guarantee for a project that employed 10 people. Cost per job: $10.2 million. Brightsource Energy’s $1.37 billion guarantee funded a program that yielded 86 positions at $15.9 million apiece. Abengoa Solar’s $1.45 billion guarantee produced 85 jobs at $17 million each.

Well, at least the feds who perpetrate this nonsense work cheaply.

Yeah, right.

As the Bureau of Economic Analysis concluded recently, in 2009, average private-sector compensation (salary and benefits) was $61,051. Among federal civilians, however, such compensation was $123,049 - slightly more than double. Since 2000, inflation-adjusted private-sector pay has grown 8.8 percent. Among federal civilians, compensation is up 36.9 percent.

Watching Democrats champion tax increases amid such staggering federal greed is obscene, bordering on pornographic.

Not surprisingly, in a Rasmussen survey released Wednesday, 28 percent of likely voters surveyed said they think the U.S. is on the right track, while 67 percent said this republic is on the wrong track. Also, 65 percent are at least somewhat angry, while 40 percent are very angry.

Come November, Americans should take this justified fury and fire it like catapults at the Washington Democrats who demolish this beautiful country just a little more each day they go to work.

Deroy Murdock is a nationally syndicated columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

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