Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Government funding for politics

I just found the US House Oversight committee.  I saw a comment about a minority (Democratic party) report about ATF's Fast and Furious investigation which the Republicans have been complaining about.  After finding the report, I looked at the other things the oversight committee does.  The list of committee reports shows a bunch of partisan bickering, primarily House Republicans (in particular Rep. Issa of California) producing one sided reports showing the evils of the Obama Administration.

The politics goes both ways.  The Democratic report on Fast and Furious attempts to show that this is just the latest of a series of ATF investigations which allowed guns to "walk" into Mexico (search for Fast and Furious for more details, I don't feel like trying too give the details at the moment).  But the Democratic report ignores the fact that the pre-Fast and Furious investigations all attempted to confiscate the guns once they reached Mexico.  If anything, it seems to show the degree of corruption in Mexican law enforcement (I haven't finished reading the report, but the pre-Obama administration investigations are definitely presented in a biased manner).

On the other side, the Republican majority produced a report about "Government Motors" and the Chevy Volt, questioning whether the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) delayed investigating and announcing problems in the Volt's battery to protect government supported GM.  However, the report doesn't compare NHTSA's response to the Volt with NHTSA's response to other automotive safety issues.  Instead it just complains about the amount of time it took to respond.  Perhaps NHTSA was slow investigating the Volt.  On the other hand, announcing a possible safety issue before it's properly investigated can seriously damage a company's reputation.

What really bothers me about the Republican "report" on the Volt is the comparison of NHTSA's reponse to responses by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to battery problems.  They do not look at how NHTSA responds to problems with other automobiles (which would show whether the Chevy Volt got special treatment compared with other car makers), instead they compare how a different agency deals with different types of products.

So what does this show?  Through the House Oversight committee politicians of both parties get the government (in the form of Congressional staff salaries) to publish partisan attacks on the other side.

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