An Open Letter To OMB Director Mick Mulvaney

Dear Mr. Mulvaney,

I have been reading and listening to your remarks whenever reporters asks why you are pressing for unprecedented budget cuts in selected agencies and departments that serve people and their children who are impoverished or vulnerable to health/safety hazards, or with disabilities. Your two responses are that the programs aren’t working (with no evidence for such sweeping dismissals by one who is so privileged) and then you emphasize that you are looking out for the taxpayers who fund these programs (the taxpayers are taking good care of you!) Have you no empathy or compassion whatsoever?

But there is a more measurable inconsistency to your kneejerk ideology of corporate market fundamentalism. If you are really standing up for taxpayers, where are you on the bloated defense budget, whose military contractors and other waste have been exposed by regular internal, case-specific Pentagon audits, many GAO reports, solid investigative reporting and numerous high ranking military retirees? Don’t the taxpayers deserve your watchdog advocacy, especially since you support adding tens of billions more dollars to that runaway budget which, being unauditable, according to the GAO, is violating a federal statute enacted in 1990?

Second, what about the massive corporate welfare subsidies, handouts, giveaways and bailouts that keep much of government busy shelling our taxpayer money and tax expenditures? Why are you silent about this raid on the taxpayers, often associated with this waste, fraud and abuse, that amounts to hundreds of billions of dollars annually?

Then there is the well documented (GAO, Harvard Professor Malcolm Sparrow) commercial fraud on Medicare, Medicaid and other disbursing programs. Why are you silent, instead of standing up for taxpayers?

The answers could not be your lack of knowledge. The answers are that you will not speak truth to power, that you are a corporatist enmeshed in a hypocrisy that could be redeemable. This lack of modest courage distances yourself from realities on the ground such as your astonishing failure to accept the basis for the Meals on Wheels program serving older people living alone.

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We suggest your visiting some of these realities around the country so that you can accrete a measure of empathy, intellectual honesty and empirical nourishment. These people will receive you with courtesy and kindness as you survey their plight, their pain, their grit in the midst of conditions you cannot imagine back in your spacious Washington offices. Some of your cuts will affect veterans and their traumatized families coping with the results back home of illegal wars of aggression such as Bush/Cheney’s invasion and continuing quagmire in Iraq.

Let’s see if you at least have the willingness to press for the expedited auditing of the gigantic Pentagon budget and its large ‘defense’ contractors with their runaway cost overruns. The Department’s past Secretaries of Defense always keep promising that compliance with federal law – as do other departments and agencies – is coming in a few years. It is always in a few years. You are, after all, Director of the Office of Management and Budget. You cannot do your job with an unaudited Department of Defense budget. Recall, for example, the Department admitted some years ago to Congress that they could not account for $9 billion spent in Iraq in the year following that invasion.

You can choose not to respond to this letter, in which case you would be true to the characterizations described above. Perhaps you will respond to similar inquiries from members of Congress not enthralled by your high-velocity glibness that does not get down to facts on the ground.

Sincerely yours,

Ralph Nader