The holiday season means being beaten over the head with reminders to offer up thanks for how good we’ve got it. That gets old before the Thanksgiving leftovers spoil, but it doesn’t mean there aren’t some things we should be grateful for. For example, Washington deserves our thanks for all the things the government does in exchange for the piles of money and boundless trust we hand over.
Here are six things for which Washington deserves our thanks. Without our government to reliably do each of these things Americans would be a lot worse off, wouldn’t we?
1. Washington deserves thanks for being a snitch
One of the best things Washington does is tell on itself. We pay for inspector general reports, audits, watchdog agencies like the GAO, and publicly available information about some of the reprehensibly foolish things our government does, like paying out billions of dollars of our money to the wrong people. Not only does Washington rat itself out, it gives us estimates of how much it will waste in the future on our own taxpayer-supported payment accuracy website (see: Use Federal Government Waste to Pay Unemployed Americans?). Yes, Washington is a reliable rat. We pay taxes and in return get lots of inside information.
2. Washington is transparent. Too transparent?
No, not transparent in a shifty, duplicitous, Barack Obama sort of way. This kind of transparent means we know what our representatives sneaking around Capitol Hill are going to do before they know themselves. Even recent Democratic votes for the Keystone Pipeline were not much of a surprise. The bigger surprise was that more Senate Democrats didn’t defect. Votes trump tree huggers most days of the week.
When it comes to transparency, President Obama is the most transparent politician of all. The Republican Party still needs to get this straight. Obama doesn’t talk in code. When he talks about doing something he is going to follow through. Just ask five million illegal immigrants who got a little pre-Thanksgiving surprise. They figured out his order was coming and many of them don’t even speak English, so why didn’t the GOP know enough to stop him before he even got started?
3. Give thanks for reliably mediocre, very expensive government services
Washington expects too much of itself. How does Arne Duncan get off babbling about America’s public school system not providing a world-class education when local, state, and federal governments have thrown up so many roadblocks and made education so costly that the best parents should expect is that their kids can get out of high school learning to spell (see: Schools Matter More Than Your Kids: Here’s Proof). Duncan teamed up with Eric Holder to clamp down on school discipline, has come out against teacher assessment, backs Common Core, and makes sure we pack American kids as tight as possible into the classroom to make room for illegals. That’s not the foundation for world-class schools, but it does speak to government services being reliably expensive.
Washington does more than deliver education. It also delivers health care, a lot more of it under the Medicaid moniker than before Barack Obama took office and transferred millions to its rolls. We also deliver VA health care for Americans who risk their lives for their country. Washington doesn’t deserve any thanks for how it has managed that.
4. Washington helps us learn about bad things from other cultures
If we hadn’t spent the last six years convincing the world how sorry, weak, and ineffectual we are, how could we have known who would rather visit nuclear Armageddon on the U.S. than look at us? There are a lot of bad guys in the world who despise everything about us and with Obama in charge they are coming out of the woodwork. They’re not so hot on our longtime friend Israel, either, but Washington is dealing with that problem by casting doubt on our promises to watch Israel’s back.
5. Washington adds value to bad situations by making them worse
When you bow your head at the Thanksgiving or Christmas table, remember that Washington deserves our thanks for inflaming Ferguson, for bringing Ebola to the U.S., for solving the illegal immigrant crisis by making illegals legal, and by dealing with debt by figuring out ways to spend more on things that make our problems worse, like Obamacare.
Do you need more to be grateful for?
6. Thank Washington for giving jobs to worthless people with no skills
No, not those people. We haven’t even given them work permits or real Social Security numbers yet, not that it makes much difference. These people wear suits, have nice haircuts, often have law degrees, talk incessantly without saying anything, and bring little or no value to anything they become involved in. We call them politicians.