Tag Archives: stimulus

Sending Us Over the Cliff

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With every news outlet parroting the term, “Fiscal Cliff”, we see amazingly divergent opinions on what put us at this impasse. Conservatives and liberals are actively counting on fixing the blame on each other. But our trouble is nothing new. To understand it, simply look to African countries that have suffered leftist revolutions. The pattern is simple: once in power, take everything you can steal, and give it to your biggest supporters (e.g., take productive farms from their hard working owners, and give them to your gang of thugs, who will squander everything they touch, leaving the ground fallow and ruined).

A case in point is Wynton Hall’s article in Brietbart.com:

TESLA CEO BUYS $17 MILLION MANSION; GOT $465 MILLION GOVT. LOAN

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2012/12/28/Tesla-CEO-Buys-17-Million-Mansion-Got-465-Million-Govt-Loan

I Nominate Chuck Woolery

A sanctuary for albino squirrels!

A study on how African men can keep their weewees clean!

Air flight upgrades to 1st class for federal government workers!

Farm subsidies to millionaires Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen!

Yup, our tax dollars have gone into all the above and more.

Watch this and laugh ’cause if we don’t laugh, we’d cry.

~Videos by LTG

~Editorial comments by Eowyn

 

Feds Using Schools to Track Kids & Families

Back in 1992 under George H.W. Bush and Lamar Alexander’s AMERICA 2000 restructuring of public education, a national system to track individual students, including their infant vaccine records, grades, teacher evaluations, test scores, etc. was specified, probably based on the Florida model that was initiated in 1988.   It was called the Speede Express.  It has continued to grow over the years.  This new story clarifies just how much information the Feds now require schools  to provide.

Buried within the enormous 2009 stimulus bill were provisions encouraging states to develop data systems for collecting copious information on public-school kids. To qualify for stimulus money, states had to agree to build such systems according to federally dictated standards. So all 50 states either now maintain or are capable of maintaining extensive databases on public-school students.

The administration wants this data to include much more than name, address and test scores. According to the National Data Collection Model, the government should collect information on health-care history, family income and family voting status. In its view, public schools offer a golden opportunity to mine reams of data from a captive audience.

The department’s eagerness to get control of all this information is almost palpable. But current federal law prohibits a nationwide student database and strictly limits disclosure of a student’s personal information. So the department has determined that it can overcome the legal obstacles by simply bypassing Congress and essentially rewriting the federal privacy statute.

Read more:

LTG

Biden Asked Corzine, “What should we do?”

~LTG

The Other Bankruptcy Showdown: State Medicaid Programs

While all eyes are on the Treasury and its challenge to handle the federal government’s debt, we cannot afford to lose sight of equally disastrous bankruptcies looming on the state level.

Here are three reasons why you should care about state budgets:

1)      Many states are already worse off than the federal government, delaying payments, jacking up taxes, etc. News outlets leaked in January that Congress is quietly coming to terms with state bankruptcies. Pundits might say otherwise, and they will drag it out into a slow-motion ending, but at this point it is really “when” instead of “if.”

2)      Even without a federal default, state defaults will spell disaster on the economy. Health care, construction, education and farming are all married to state governments to some extent.

3)      Part of the federal government’s deficit spending has been pumping money into states. Wonder why the economic stimulus bill in 2009 did not actually create those shovel-ready jobs? Because a lot of that money was given to states specifically to catch up Medicaid bills.

Those stimulus funds run out in July, and states are preparing to simply force providers to do without the money. State programs are already notorious for paying doctors, pharmacies and nursing homes at rates that are nothing but a smidge over cost.

In Massachusetts, for example, more than half of primary physicians refuse to add new patients who rely on state funding. Many have stopped seeing state-dependent patients altogether.

Across the country in Washington, pharmacy chain Walgreens accused the state of paying less than cost for prescriptions – meaning pharmacists actually lose money on every transaction. Walgreens was forced to start refusing new orders from Medicaid patients.

And that was in the good old days when stimulus money was there to help.

States like Illinois and California stall for several months before making payments. While on the waiting list, doctors are presumably expected to pay their bills with pixie dust. Shockingly, doctors don’t seem to enjoy this, and with each passing month more and more of them start turning away future patients.

South Carolina’s solution was to authorize deficit spending for its Medicaid program. No word on where the state will find a handy $100 million laying around to take care of that.

In New Jersey, Republican Governor Chris Christie is looking to save some $300 million by using “managed care” tricks on Medicaid patients.

Managed care is a fancy term for rationing. It means state auditors will impose stricter standards for what counts as “necessary” treatment, encourage doctors to prescribe “cheaper” drugs, shorten the number of days you can stay in a hospital, and slap more copays on top.

Folks, we are watching the slow-motion decline of our government on all levels. Desperate state governments cannot afford to keep doctors and pharmacies in business. And this is but one place where states are failing. We haven’t even started talking about pensions, public schools, highway maintenance, or cities that can’t afford their police departments.

If you have not begun making contingency plans for your family’s future, I recommend now as a good time to start.

-Candance

Green Jobs Outsourced to China

Two years ago, Obama signed the $787 billion stimulus porculus bill into law. He boasted that the bill would create beaucoup green jobs for Americans. It would “transform the way we use energy. It’s an investment that will double the amount of renewable energy produced over the next three years!”

Now comes news that the third largest solar panel maker in the United States, which has received some $43 million in taxpayer assistance, is moving its production to China.

As reported by Keith Bradsher of the New York Times, January 14, 2011:

BEIJING — Aided by at least $43 million in assistance from the government of Massachusetts and an innovative solar energy technology, Evergreen Solar emerged in the last three years as the third-largest maker of solar panels in the United States.

But now the company is closing its main American factory, laying off the 800 workers by the end of March and shifting production to a joint venture with a Chinese company in central China. Evergreen cited the much higher government support available in China….

The Obama administration has been investigating whether China has violated the free trade rules of the World Trade Organization with its extensive subsidies to the manufacturers of solar panels and other clean energy products. While a few types of government subsidies are permitted under international trade agreements, they are not supposed to give special advantages to exports — something that China’s critics accuse it of doing. The Chinese government has strongly denied that any of its clean energy policies have violated W.T.O. rules.

Although solar energy still accounts for only a tiny fraction of American power production, declining prices and concerns about global warming give solar power a prominent place in United States plans for a clean energy future…. Beyond the issues of trade and jobs, solar power experts see broader implications. They say that after many years of relying on unstable governments in the Middle East for oil, the United States now looks likely to rely on China to tap energy from the sun.

Evergreen, in announcing its move to China, was unusually candid about its motives. Michael El-Hillow, the chief executive, said…“While the United States and other Western industrial economies are beneficiaries of rapidly declining installation costs of solar energy, we expect the United States will continue to be at a disadvantage from a manufacturing standpoint,” he said.

Even though Evergreen opened its Devens plant, with all new equipment, only in 2008, it began talks with Chinese companies in early 2009. In September 2010, the company opened its factory in Wuhan, China, and will now rely on that operation….

Other solar panel manufacturers are also struggling in the United States. Solyndra, a Silicon Valley business, received a visit from President Obama in May and a $535 million federal loan guarantee, only to say in November that it was shutting oneof its two American plants and would delay expansion of the other. First Solar, an American company, is one of the world’s largest solar power vendors. But most of its products are made overseas.

Chinese solar panel manufacturers accounted for slightly over half the world’s production last year. Their share of the American market has grown nearly sixfold in the last two years, to 23 percent in 2010 and is still rising fast, according to GTM Research, a renewable energy market analysis firm in Cambridge, Mass. In addition to solar energy, China just passed the United States as the world’s largest builder and installer of wind turbines.

…Evergreen was selling solar panels made in Devens for $3.39 a watt at the end of 2008 and planned to cut its costs to $2 a watt by the end of last year — a target it met. But Evergreen found that by the end of the fourth quarter, it could fetch only $1.90 a watt for its Devens-made solar panels. Chinese manufacturers were selling them for as little as $1.60 a watt after reducing their costs to as little as $1.35 or less per watt….

Chinese state-owned banks and municipal governments were offering unbeatable assistance to Chinese solar panel companies. Factory labor is cheap in China, where monthly wages average less than $300. That compares to a statewide average of more than $5,400 a month for Massachusetts factory workers. But labor is a tiny share of the cost of running a high-tech solar panel factory…. China’s real advantage lies in the ability of solar panel companies to form partnerships with local governments and then obtain loans at very low interest rates from state-owned banks.

Evergreen, with help from its partners — the Wuhan municipal government and the Hubei provincial government — borrowed two-thirds of the cost of its Wuhan factory from two Chinese banks, at an interest rate that under certain conditions could go as low as 4.8 percent, Mr. El-Hillow said in August. Best of all, no principal payments or interest payments will be due until the end of the loan in 2015. By contrast, a $21 million grant from Massachusetts covered 5 percent of the cost of the Devens factory, and the company had to borrow the rest from banks, Mr. El-Hillow said. Banks in the United States were reluctant to provide the rest of the money even at double-digit interest rates, partly because of the financial crisis. “Therein lies the hidden advantage of being in China,” Mr. El-Hillow said….

Another cheerful thought for the new year. Under the deft leadership of our rulers, Americans will lurch from a dependence on the Middle East for oil to a dependence on China for solar and wind “green” energy!

~Eowyn

3 Charts to Infuriate You to Vote

The following 3 charts and their descriptions are excerpted from Deroy Murdock, “Three Charts That Will Infuriate Taxpayers,” National Review, October 21, 2010.

H/t May!

~Eowyn

Every small-government voter should see these graphs — and vote on Election Day.

Chart No. 1

This chart appeared in the New York Post on September 6 and is based on a Heritage Foundation analysis of figures from the U.S. Labor Department, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and Haver Analytics. Between December 2007, when the Great Recession began, and last July, the private sector lost 7,837,000 jobs (down 6.8%). Local-government employment dropped 128,000 positions (-0.9%), while state governments shed 6,000 positions (less 0.1%). Meanwhile, Washington, D.C., boomed. Federal employment zoomed by 198,100 slots as Uncle Sam’s workforce expanded by 10%.

While the American people live increasingly ascetic lives, and even city halls and statehouses have displayed some restraint, Washington, D.C., increasingly resembles Versailles — an out-of-touch, extravagant, and callous place that fuels little beyond the nation’s disgust, fury, and organized rebellion. As the party rages within the Beltway, federal revelers scream, “Let them pay taxes!”

Chart No. 2

USA Today on August 10 published this front-page chart based on Bureau of Economic Analysis data. It shows that in 2009, the average private-sector employee saw compensation of $61,051 ($50,462 in wages and $10,589 in benefits). Among state- and local-government workers, the relevant figure was $69,913 ($53,056 in wages and $16,857 in benefits). For federal-civilian employees, the picture was far prettier: Compensation stood at $123,049 ($81,258 in wages and $41,791 in benefits).

These nauseating numbers show federal employees earning 201% of the average private worker’s compensation. Federal benefits equal 395% of private-sector benefits.

This bloat is bipartisan. While Obama’s spending spree has exacerbated the inequality of federal vs. private compensation, this problem reaches into the irresponsible Bush-Rove years. Between 2000 and 2009, private salaries and benefits grew by 8.8% after inflation. Among federal civilians, however, salaries and benefits exploded by 36.9%.

Chart No. 3

The last chart looks as intricate as an integrated circuit. Titled “Your New Health Care System,” this schematic shows how Obamacare’s hundreds of moving parts will fit together and whirl — or not, as rising health costs at Boeing, McDonald’s, and the United Federation of Teachers (to name a few affected organizations) already reveal.

Staff members at the Congressional Joint Economic Committee (CJEC) spent four months, night and day, and weekends assembling this amazing graphic….

Literally scores of icons and symbols show how the president, the secretary of health and human services, the IRS, and other existing federal actors and agencies interact with Obamacare’s new entities including, among many others, the Elder Justice Coordinating Council, the Medicare Prescription Drug and MA-PD Complaint System, and the National Oral Health Public Education Campaign.

Even worse, the JEC’s diligent personnel could not fit all of this new law’s boards, commissions, mandates, and other elements onto this chart. So, by way of shorthand, they created “bundles of bureaucracy.” Beyond those functions delineated in the chart, these seven collective symbols respectively represent clusters of four loan repayment and forgiveness programs, four other new regulatory programs, 17 insurance mandates, 19 special-interest provisions, 22 other new bureaucracies, 26 other new demonstration and pilot programs, and 59 other new grant programs. These 151 additional items within Obamacare do not appear individually on this diagram. As Representative Brady explains, “If we included all of these units, this chart would be three times larger.”

Anyone who believes the JEC concocted this out of thin air should think again. Beneath each new program or agency, policy analysts cited the section in the Obamacare law that empowers that particular intervention in the American people’s medical decisions. The lines that connect programs to mandates indicate the pertinent passages of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that bind them together.

The JEC’s 25-megabyte creation is difficult to transmit via e-mail. However, a convenient link opens a PDF that allows readers to zoom in and explore this chart in amazing and shocking detail.

Even those who believe that government actively should heal the American people must wonder if that goal really required something this staggeringly convoluted.

As it is, the JEC’s chart is both an incredibly impressive piece of graphic design and a jaw-dropping glimpse of the health-care Hell that awaits the American people, unless they elect a new Congress to shutter this entire fiasco before it renders this republic irretrievably ill.

If these charts infuriate you, please forward them to your friends. Copy and hand them to your co-workers. Distribute them on street corners.

And ask everyone who sees them to do one thing on November 2: VOTE!

58 Reasons to Vote on November 2

Here's the Number One reason to vote on Nov. 2!

OBAMA ADMINISTRATION’S RECORD FROM THE OUTRAGEOUS TO THE ABSURD

  1. $26.2 Trillion: Projected Federal Debt in 2020 due to Obama’s binge spending. (OMB, 7/23/10)
  2. $13.6 Trillion: Current National Debt. (U.S. Treasury Department, Accessed 10/19/10)
  3. $8.5 Trillion: Cumulative Deficits caused by Obama’s proposed budget, FY 2011-2020. (OMB, 7/23/10)
  4. $3.9 Trillion: Total cost of the Democrats’ Tax Hike to taxpayers. (Joint Committee On Taxation, 8/6/10)
  5. $3.0 Trillion: Amount added to the National Debt since Obama took office. (U.S. Treasury Department, Accessed 10/19/10)
  6. $2.5 Trillion:  True cost of ObamaCare once fully implemented. (Sen. Max Baucus, Floor Remarks, 12/2/09)
  7. $1.42 Trillion: Federal Budget Deficit for FY2009 – highest in U.S. history. (Congressional Budget Office, 10/7/10)
  8. $1.29 Trillion: Federal Budget Deficit for FY2010 – second highest in U.S. history. (Congressional Budget Office, 10/7/10)
  9. $868.4 Billion: American Debt held by China. (U.S. Treasury Department, Accessed 10/19/10)
  10. $831 Billion:  Net interest payment on our National Debt in 2020 due to Obama’s budget. (OMB, 7/23/10)
  11. $814 Billion: Price tag of Obama’s failed Stimulus. (Bloomberg, 8/20/10)
  12. $575 Billion: Amount of Medicare cuts in ObamaCare. (CMS Chief Actuary Richard S. Foster, Memo, 4/22/10)
  13. $569.2 Billion:  Amount of taxes in ObamaCare. (Letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, 3/18/10)
  14. $10 Billion: The cost of the Teachers Union bailout. (The Washington Post, 10/8/10)
  15. $54 Million: Amount of Stimulus funds spent on a Napa Valley wine train. (ABC News’ “Good Morning America,” 2/2/10)
  16. 41.8 Million: Number of Americans receiving Food Stamps. (Bloomberg, 10/5/10)
  17. 40 Million: Number of businesses that will be burdened by the onerous IRS 1099 requirement. (The Washington Post, 8/29/10)
  18. $18 Million: Cost of the Stimulus website Recovery.org. (ABC News’ The Note“ Blog, 7/8/09)
  19. 14.8 Million: Unemployed Americans. (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 10/8/10)
  20. 9.5 Million: Americans working part-time for economic reasons. (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 10/8/10)
  21. 6.1 Million: Americans unemployed for longer than 27 weeks. (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 10/8/10)
  22. 5.4 Million: Number of properties receiving foreclosure filings since Obama took office. (RealtyTrac, Accessed 10/19/10)
  23. 3.8 Million: Increase in the number of people who were in poverty in 2009 over 2008. (NPR, 9/16/10)
  24. 2.6 Million: Jobs lost since Stimulus was passed. (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 10/8/10)
  25. 2.3 Million: Private sector jobs lost since Stimulus was passed. (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 10/8/10)
  26. 1.2 Million: Americans who have given up looking for work. (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 10/8/10)
  27. 964,900: Number of jobs that could be lost per year under Cap Crap ‘n Trade. (Tax Foundation, 3/09)
  28. 89,000: Number of Stimulus checks sent to dead and incarcerated people. (The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire” Blog, 10/7/10)
  29. $43,000: Your share of the National Debt. (“The Daily History Of The Debt Results,” TreasuryDirect, Accessed 10/19/10; U.S. Census Bureau, www.census.gov, Accessed 10/19/10)
  30. 23,000: Number of jobs Obama knew his drilling moratorium could kill. (The Wall Street Journal, 8/21/10)
  31. 22,000: Number of seniors In MA, NH And ME who will lose their Medicare Advantage Plans as a result of ObamaCare. (The Boston Globe, 9/28/10)
  32. $1,761: Cost To American families per year as a result of Cap ‘n Trade. (CBS News’ “Taking Liberties” Blog, 9/16/09)
  33. $1,540: The amount of the tax hike the average Middle Class family will see as a result of the Dems’ tax hike. (Tax Foundation, 8/1/10)
  34. 1099: The IRS Form every business will have to file after doing $600 worth of business with a vendor. (CNNMoney.com, 5/5/10)
  35. 100: Percent Of GDP that our National Debt will rise to in 2012. (Office Of Management And Budget, 7/23/10)
  36. 83: Number of fundraisers Obama has attended as pf 10/12/10. (CBS News’ Mark Knoller’s Twitter Feed, Accessed 10/19/10; CBS News, 8/16/10)
  37. 80: Percent of small businesses that could be forced to change health care plans as a result of ObamaCare. (The Washington Post, 6/15/10)
  38. 79: Percent of Stimulus funds for wind, solar and geothermal energy projects that went to Foreign firms. (Investigating Reporting Workshop/ABC’s World News Tonight/Watchdog Institute, 2/8/10)
  39. 68: Percent of Americans who think the Stimulus was a waste. (The Hill’s “Briefing Room” Blog, 10/5/10)
  40. 60: Percent of young voters who are “more cynical about politics” now than when Obama was elected. (The Huffington Post, 9/15/10)
  41. 58: Percent of Ohioans who say Obama’s frequent visits to the state make no difference in how they’ll vote. (The Hill, 10/19/10)
  42. 53: Rounds of golf played by Obama since taking office. (CBS News’ Mark Knoller’s Twitter Feed, Accessed 10/19/10; CBS News’ Mark Knoller’s Twitter Feed, Accessed 10/19/10 )
  43. 49: Visits to the White House by Andy Stern, former president of SEIU. (WhiteHouse.gov, Accessed 10/19/10)
  44. 37: Number of town halls Obama has done since taking office. (CBS News’ Mark Knoller’s Twitter Feed, Accessed 10/19/10)
  45. 33.3: Average number of weeks it takes an unemployed worker to find a job. (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 10/8/10)
  46. 30: Number of waivers granted to businesses so that the White House could avoid admitting ObamaCare was making people lose their health care plans. (USA Today, 10/7/10)
  47. 27: Percent increase in premiums by some insurers in Colorado as a result of ObamaCare. (The Denver Post, 9/20/10)
  48. 25: DVDs given to the UK’s Prime Minister Gordon Brown on his first visit. (The Daily Mail (UK), 3/9/10)
  49. 20: Straight months that food stamp participation has hit a record. (Bloomberg, 10/5/10)
  50. 17.1: Percent Of Americans either unemployed or working part-time for economic reasons. (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 10/8/1)
  51. 14: Straight months with unemployment above 9.5%. (Bureau Of Labor Statistics, 10/8/10)
  52. 9: Number of vacations taken by Obama. (CBS News, 8/19/10)
  53. 4: Out of 10 Likely Voters who once backed Obama but are less supportive or no longer support Obama.  (Bloomberg, 10/12/10)
  54. 2: Place in the line of succession that Joe Biden believes he is in (Hint: he’s #1). (CBS News’ Mark Knoller’s Twitter Feed, Accessed 10/19/10)
  55. 2: Visits to the White House by actor George Clooney. (E! Online, 10/12/10)
  56. 1: Number of White House investigations. (CBS News, 10/6/10)
  57. 1: Teacher Union bailout to motivate Teacher Unions for midterm elections. (The Washington Post, 10/8/10)
  58. 0: Other people Obama will have left to blame for his failures in 2012. (The American People, 11/6/12)

[Source]

H/t my friend Bob W.!

~Eowyn

$22 Million Stimulus Paid to Dead & Convicts

In a report issued yesterday, the Social Security Administration’s inspector general says 89,000 stimulus taxpayers payments of $250 each went to people who were either dead or in prison. 89,000 times $250 equals $22.25 million.

Stephen Ohlemacher of the Associated Press reports that $18 million had gone to 72,000 people who were dead, a little more than half of which were returned. Another $4.3 million went to some 17,000 prison inmates.

The payments were part of the government’s massive economic recovery package enacted in February 2009. Under the law, the $250 payments were sent to about 52 million Social Security recipients and federal retirees.

And this is the same government that Obama and the Democrats have put in charge of America’s health care, amounting to 1/7 of the U.S. economy? Can you spell I-N-S-A-N-E?

H/t beloved fellow Tina.

~Eowyn

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