Category Archives: Government

Stuff you may or may not know about your local, state, and federal government

Toys?

I attended and open house event at a major manufacturer of Computer Numerical Controlled (CNC) machines. They were demonstrating robots to automate production and run the machines “lights out”, that is overnight without any human interaction.

I asked a sales rep how business has been going during this “age of COVID“. The rep told me that business has been BOOMING. They are selling machines as fast as they can make them. The rep said right now lead time on a new machine is 20 weeks. They are also having supply chain issues. The rep mentioned that they too are suffering from the chip shortage as they can’t get everything to build up the “computer controllers” for the machines.

I asked the rep what sectors were creating the demand for machines and the response was quite interesting. The rep said that the “TOY manufacturers” are buying up machines. The definition of “TOYS” is not Barbies and Hot Wheels, but  gun parts, automotive accessories, and other flashy accessory bits. The rep speculated that all of the COVID relief money, rent relief, loan forgiveness, and extended unemployment benefits made millennials who live with their parents, flush with cash, and they ended up spending all the “virus” money buying “TOYS”.  The rep also said the medical manufacturing sector was up as well, which makes sense.

The only sector mentioned which had a downturn on machine purchases was aerospace/aircraft manufacturing.  Speculation is that the airlines weren’t buying new planes when air travel was almost nonexistent during the virus crisis compounded by Boeings ongoing issues with the 737 Max.

I spoke at length with a vendor of fixtures which increases the productivity of the CNC machines and he also said that demand is up for “TOYS“. He too said that the “gun guys” demand for parts is higher than he’s ever seen it before. He’s been in the industry for over 40 years.

Interesting data points.

Lunch Bucket Joe need to give out more money for “TOYS“.

What Is The Money For?

I downloaded the text of the House $3.5 TRILLION “infrastructure” bill. There are at least 114 occurrences of $1,000,000,000.00 or MORE in the bill. The authors willy nilly toss about spending BILLION$ of DOLLAR$ with abandon. Okay, I have written many proposals for government contract work in the past and if I had submitted a proposal worded such as this, I would have lost my job.  This is a complete travesty.

The biggest issue is that there is almost no clear explanation of what the money will be used for. Most of the sections state some nebulous ill-defined task and then state many BILLION$ of DOLLAR$ will be needed to fund the task. There is NO justification for the numbers and NO historical backup to justify the expenditures.

Here’s a sample of a section:

SEC. 80010. FUNDING FOR GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION FEDERAL CITIZEN SERVICES FUND.
In addition to amounts otherwise available, there is
appropriated to the General Services Administration for
fiscal year 2022, out of any money in the Treasury not
otherwise appropriated, $2,000,000,000, to remain available until September 30, 2031, to be deposited in the Federal Citizen Services Fund.

That’s it. It just says that TWO BILLION DOLLAR$ must be allocated the the GSA for the FEDERAL CITIZEN SERVICES FUND (FCSF).  The FCSF spent $74 MILLION in 2020,  plans to spend $68 MILLION in 2021 and is requesting funding in 2022 to the tune of $59,200,000.00.

What does the FCSF do? From the 2022 appropriations, “The Federal Citizen Services Fund (FCSF) enables public access and engagement with the Government through an array of public and agency facing products and programs.”

Basically it’s for web based access to government information.

Now for some unknown reason, we need to allocate 34 TIMES MORE of the ANNUAL BUDGET for this one task for no apparent reason. The work statement above just says, “give TWO BILLION DOLLARS to the fund in 2022“.

What the fuck?

Most of the bill is written in a similar fashion.

I think that the HOUSE and SENATE should REQUIRE a justification with historical data for any item that costs the taxpayers over $100 MILLION. For any bill, any section that does not have proper justification for the expenses should be immediately lined out. Then they can vote on what remains in the bill.

C’mon man, do your F’ing jobs.