Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Government "Purchased" Program

It may have slipped your notice but DeKalb County has combined forces with "Purchasing Power" to set up  their very own version of "Aaron Rents" for county employees. It is quite the sweet(heart) deal, but just when did it become a County Government responsibility to set up an internal retail operation?

Operationally it is simple. First, no interest. None. Never. Not now, not in twelve months. Not on TV's, not on computers and of course never on washers and dryers. How does that work? Simple: charge a twenty percent markup. These are prices that would make "Needless Markup" blush and were that interest, it would border on ethical if not legal usury. But this is little more than gouging, which except for plywood after a tornado, is apparently OK. So lesson learnt: if retail is for chumps, then this must be for real losers.

It gets better. The county gets ten percent. Yep. Ten percent for garnishing the wages of their employees and forking the money over to a private, for-profit business. Is that what folks really mean by "Public Private Partnership"?  They've turned the old bromide "business doesn't pay taxes, they just collect them" on its head.

But wait! There's more! None of this could happen guessed it...POLITICIANS! At both the state and county level this was pushed through by our very own North DeKalb elected officials.

One, at the state level, is paid a "fee" for "brokering" the deal. Very tidy. Sounds a bit like this scam was not let out for bids, but what the hell, isn't that what elected office is for? Making deals between government and corporations to garner those hard-earned "brokerage fees"? Of course he says he'll tithe, giving ten percent of his fee, which adds to the county "commission",  in order to cover county costs. What a mench, eh?

And the local yokel politician? Well it is the commissioner's job to establish a smoke screen.
"We can't afford to give them raises, we've raised their insurance and if you can't replace your washer and dryer, you don't know what kind of trouble that is." 
What? Can't afford raises? Not now and apparently not ever, but we sure as hell can make sure you have every opportunity to pay twenty percent over retail. Not WHOLESALE, but RETAIL, and we'll take OUR cut. And "washers and dryers"? Like it really isn't going to be big screen TVs. Are we really supposed to believe the washer and dryer always go out at the same time? And have YOU ever heard of a "laundromat"? Right. Gotcha.

Do we need any other explanation for the lack of traction on ethics legislation than shenanigans like this? Such legislation may risk a politician's real income. Or worse yet, suppose we had a legitimate fourth estate, that investigated the money flows related to friends and family of corporations, and politicians with their friends and families.

We certainly know something is being bought and paid for here in DeKalb, and it is pretty clear it isn't just major appliances.