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Fiscal Cliff And Transparency

The fiscal cliff has been another crisis event that has brought a lot of focus and also revealed a lack of leadership and dysfunction in Washington DC that many Americans are all too familiar with. On the upside it is also bringing to light some of the spending and investment decisions by Washington DC that would likely not pass muster at most dinner tables.

The Wall Street Journal ran an article on November 21st called Most Households Face 'Fiscal Cliff.' You can find it here and it is worth a read.

In the body of the article are people who were claiming to be negatively impacted by the fiscal cliff. The list includes a retired pediatrician who lives in a gated community and went back to work and makes $200,000 a year but feels he will have to cut back on spending. A 20 year old college student who is afraid her mother will have to help her out more get through college and therefore have to delay retirement. A 42 year old single mother going for a Master's degree, which indicates she has a Bachelor's Degree, while she is making $30,000 per year working part time and a 54 year old woman who has had the state of California pay her mortgage for 9 months while unemployed but believes she will lose the home because of the fiscal cliff. A local contractor is also profiled as perhaps cutting back on expansion because of the fiscal cliff.

It is amazing that government support and thereby taxpayer support is being extended to life decisions that people are making that are not desperate but rather are more like inconveniences. The woman who could lose her house is probably the closest to desperate but in this case it looks like taxpayer support is only delaying the inevitable if she does not get a job soon and she appear to be in over her head in any case. The taxpayer is not supporting desperately poor people but people who are living reasonably well if not very well and just want the extra spending money and no inconvenience or sacrifice on their life journey.

CNBC also reported on the 21st that the CDC would lose around $480 million of funding that screened 33,000 women for cervical and breast cancer. My initial glance makes me challenge the numbers as this means each screen cost around $14,500. And secondly why only 33,000 women? Where are the other millions of women? And why is this run by CDC?

There are a lot of arguments that taxes need to go up just based on high level numbers and people should pay more but putting aside those arguments and taking a look below the surface seems to reveal that people are extracting support from the government with no clear foundation that they really need help. And government programs directed at unknown subsets of people that could be millionaires for all anyone knows.