Bailout & stimulus

What Would You Spend the Stimulus Money On?

During last night's Hannity's America, FOX News exposed just over 100 of the most outrageous Recovery Act expenditures.We've all seen the big green signs across Colorado, crediting the passing of the Stimulus Bill and our governor for the road work being done.  The signs themselves are costing taxpayers about $3000 each, with some states spending a million dollars or more just on the signs.  Jobs creation? As Hannity and his team of reporters went across the country revealing some of the incredible wastes of our money, a few examples stand out.  One community received enough stimulus funds to build a new fire station but the town won't be able to hire firefighters to work in it.  Stretches of pavement completed in 2007 were ripped up and re-paved with stimulus dollars, even while residents claimed the road was not even in need of repair.  Many of our institutions of higher learning cashed in and picked the pockets of taxpayers for pet research projects, meanwhile, leaving their huge endowment investment funds untouched.  Even the sport of football got a boost from Mr. and Mrs. Federal Taxpayer.  Research money was handed out to develop the next generation of gloves worn by players in games.  Most of us will rest easy knowing THAT issue is finally getting much-needed funding and attention.  Back in the old days, private sector companies such as NIKE and Under Armor developed the latest trends in sports equipment and created jobs.

Colorado made the list, as well.  The folks in Boulder will get skylights installed in a climbing wall facility so it will seem like climbers are actually outside.  As Hannity pointed out, we kinda already have God-given climbing walls with sky views---they are called the Rocky Mountains.

A reporter visited the community of Crested Butte to talk to locals about their receipt of stimulus money to study wildflowers.  One man talked about the correlation between Colorado wildflowers and tomatoes freezing in Florida.  I had some problems following as he tried to connect those dots, but another man on the street interview was as clear as our skies overhead this fine morning.

The FOX reporter asked this man if he agreed with stimulus money being spent in his area to study wildflowers.  Without hesitation, the man responded back with his own question:  "What would YOU spend it on?"  The reporter explained that he wouldn't spend it at all, and the gentleman from Crested Butte acknowledged that the two of them disagreed.  End of interview.

To the man that wondered what better reason to spend stimulus money than in a mountain town famous in part for its beautiful wildflowers, I also disagree with him.  How can it be that so many people in our towns and cities, our states and our nation as a whole still don't understand that whether it's stimulus money, Cash for Clunkers, extending unemployment benefits, health care for everyone and all the other pie in the sky spending initiatives, we don't have the money.  That man in Crested Butte most likely pays his taxes on time, obeys the laws and stimulates the local economy with his personal treasure.  He may be well educated and a good citizen overall, but he's failing future generations by maintaining his view of the role of government and how much money that government should be allowed to borrow and print.   Too bad some of our neighbors in the high country don't yet understand that the government has no money until they first confiscate it from the folks in Crested Butte and across the country. 

If my family had enough extra money available these days, we'd take a cross country tour and visit some of the community projects we are funding through the Stimulus Bill, such as bike paths in towns where almost no one rides a bike and new paint jobs for bridges that are no longer used.  We'd stop by the university and check on the progress of studying whether monkeys respond to cocaine in similar ways as humans, and we'd definitely see if the deer are using their new underpass rather than walking out of the woods and onto the road.  Hopefully, "deer crossing" signs were also purchased with tax dollars so the deer can read the directions to walk under the road rather than across it.

“Nothing in politics happens by accident”

This observation by Franklin D. Roosevelt comes to mind as various agencies of the federal government move in force against reported design defects in automobiles made by Toyota Motor Company. Focusing on problems of sudden acceleration, the proceedings of the Securities and Exchange Commission, a grand jury and today the House Energy and Commerce Committee have begun to exhibit something resembling a cross between swarming and piling on. Is it possible that last year’s federal intervention to "save" the Chrysler and General Motors corporations has as its follow up an attack on the chief foreign rival of these American companies? Just wondering. For years, the primary criticism of government efforts by liberals to encourage commerce has been that picking winners and losers is neither productive nor fair, these matters being best determined by competition in the marketplace. Are we now seeing that such "picking" involves not only giving political and financial advantages to favored firms but actually making attacks on unfavored ones? One is reminded of the purportedly non-xenophic President Obama's denunciation of foreign corporations in his State of the Union Address last month. I guess foreigners coming over the borders illegally is one thing but playing by the rules in the American market is something else. Kimberly Strassel wondered out loud about these possibilities last week in her weekly column at the Wall Street Journal. I think she might be on to something.

Do they even want a recovery?

The four reasons we're facing a jobless recovery, outlined the other day by Martin Hutchinson of Money Morning, are on target in my opinion. Here's the link. Developing his analysis further, I think what's really going on is this... ** When they “put America to work” with government jobs, they are paying them by extracting wealth from the more productive private sector and diverting it to a quarter of a million morons raking leaves in National Parks (basically an assumption of and the redirecting of State welfare payments, no more or less).

** Or the money is borrowed, which will “crowd out” private investment.

** The trouble is, once the spending peters out, the economy starts going south. (government jobs have no multiplier effect). Then they will say “we need another stimulus”! But by that time, they will have to pay 11% to sell treasuries.

** And as this interest rate works its way through the economy, the economic contraction accelerates as does inflation! They will get into a vicious spiral downward.

** Another aspect: should there be even a hint of a recovery, taxes will be slapped on, The present administration is salivating to raise taxes to finance more government programs and bureaucracy, which is paving the way to turning the US into an Argentina, complete with capital flight to Asia.

** The real way out is to give tax breaks and subsidies to entrepreneurs to start businesses and decrease the size of government. This generates demand for goods and services and employment, which is self-sustaining, actually increasing the size of the economy. But that would be “giving tax breaks to the rich”, something the Marxist-Socialist-Progressives CANNOT DO IDEOLOGICALLY! They would rather send every welfare-freeloader a couple of hundred bucks to piss away at the liquor store, and think that will revive the economy!

** Therefore, the country’s economy will NEVER recover until the Marxist-Socialist-Progressive Obamaites are removed. But judging from the ACORN voting irregularities and the coming census and gerrymandering that’s coming, they may NEVER be removed. This could very well be the end of the prosperous and free America we have known over our lifetimes.

Illusionist in Chief

I've long argued that the basic premise behind liberalism is that you, as an individual, aren't capable of taking care of yourself properly. You need help. You need to be protected from your own mistakes, and further inured from being hurt by the countless others out there who are equally inept at life. Its a confederacy of dunces out there -- a mass population of the victimized, vanquished and violated. You need help, you poor thing. You can see this now at work in every aspect of the Obama presidency. Government has stepped in to remake industry and finance with your tax dollars to ensure that the UAW keeps their jobs and that banks don't have to suffer the penalty of making bad decisions. On the horizon are massive new rules on what you can eat, what cars you can drive, how much heat you can have in the winter and how much air conditioning you can use in the summer. And don't forget the impending health care entitlement, which is going to force you into a massive government-run insurance program. You need the government to provide -- and ration -- health care, because you just aren't capable of getting the coverage you need on your own. You are helpless, after all -- so in the great spirit of paternalism, the government is going to treat you like the child you are give it to you. For your own good, of course.

Remember, people! You are s-t-u-p-i-d!

And further proof is how Obama is saying one thing and doing another -- talking about "balanced budgets" and "being fiscally responsible", and yet embarking on the runaway spending that will result in crippling deficits for years to come. He has packages his health care reform as a "public option" -- that will preserve private insurance. But that's also a lie -- everyone knows that this is just a feint to a single payer system that ultimately forces out private insurance. Once there is a government (read "tax-payer" funded) option on the table, employers who are now footing the bill for their employee's insurance will quickly dump it. Why not have tax payers foot the bill? It's clear that Obama believes that the most important thing about universal health care is the "universal" part. The "health care" aspect -- meaning the quality of care -- is really secondary. Again, this is in line with the left's cornerstone belief that equality of access is more important than the outcomes it produces.

Today's Wall Street Journal has more on the Obama deception machine and its worth reading: Some things in politics you can't make up, such as President Obama's re-re-endorsement Tuesday of "pay-as-you-go" budgeting. Coming after $787 billion in nonstimulating stimulus, a $410 billion omnibus to wrap up fiscal 2009, a $3.5 trillion 2010 budget proposal, sundry bailouts and a 13-figure health-care spending expansion still to come, this latest vow of fiscal chastity is like Donald Trump denouncing self-promotion.

Check that. Even The Donald would find this one too much to sell.

But Mr. Obama must think the press and public are dumb enough to buy it, because there he was Tuesday re-selling the same "paygo" promises that Democrats roll out every election. Paygo is "very simple," the President claimed. "Congress can only spend a dollar if it saves a dollar elsewhere."

That's what Democrats also promised in 2006, with Nancy Pelosi vowing that "the first thing" House Democrats would do if they took Congress was reimpose paygo rules that "Republicans had let lapse." By 2008, Speaker Pelosi had let those rules lapse no fewer than 12 times, to make way for $400 billion in deficit spending. Mr. Obama repeated the paygo pledge during his 2008 campaign, and instead we have witnessed the greatest peacetime spending binge in U.S. history. As a share of GDP, spending will hit an astonishing 28.5% in fiscal 2009, with the deficit hitting 13% and projected to stay at 4% to 5% for years to come.

The truth is that paygo is the kind of budget gimmick that gives gimmickry a bad name. As Mr. Obama knows but won't tell voters, paygo only applies to new or expanded entitlement programs, not to existing programs such as Medicare, this year growing at a 9.2% annual rate. Nor does paygo apply to discretionary spending, set to hit $1.4 trillion in fiscal 2010, or 40% of the budget...

The real game here is that the President is trying to give Democrats in Congress political cover for the health-care blowout and tax-increase votes that he knows are coming. The polls are showing that Mr. Obama's spending plans are far less popular than the President himself, and Democrats in swing districts are getting nervous. The paygo ruse gives Blue Dog Democrats cover to say they voted for "fiscal discipline," even as they vote to pass the greatest entitlement expansion in modern history. The Blue Dogs always play this double game.

The other goal of this new paygo campaign is to make it easier to raise taxes in 2011, and impossible to cut taxes for years after that. In the near term, paygo gives Mr. Obama another excuse to let the Bush tax cuts he dislikes expire after 2010, while exempting those (for lower-income voters) that he likes. In the longer term, if a GOP Congress or President ever want to cut taxes, paygo applies a straitjacket that pits those tax cuts against, say, spending cuts in Medicare. The Reagan tax reductions would never have happened under paygo.

The main political question now is when Americans will start to figure out Mr. Obama's pattern of spend, repent and repeat. The President is still sailing along on his charm and the fact that Americans are cheering for an economic recovery. But eventually they'll see that he isn't telling them the truth, and when they do, the very Blue Dogs he's trying to protect will pay the price. And they'll deserve what they get.

Obama is betting, of course, that we are all too dumb to see past the charm offensive, and that he can keep peddling his programs with a wink and a nod, talking about fiscal discipline all the while enacting the biggest expansion of government largess since...well...since forever.

Watch the shiny thing...see how it moves back and forth...isn't it pretty?

Govt. car ads & other flagrant fouls

Watching the NBA finals, you couldn’t help but notice the new GM commercial. What has American business come to? We have a company that owes people and companies billions of dollars and is now in bankruptcy. The majority of this company is now owned by us the taxpayers. Does anyone find it ironic that of the billions of dollars owed to their creditors over 160 million is owed to ad agencies? I wonder what ad agency is now doing these commercials and getting paid while the other ones are likely never going to get paid. That’s right; it’s the White House doing these commercials with their own camera crew. My frustration does not lie in the fact that GM is in bankruptcy but the fact that this answer could have been arrived at much sooner. The government should not be in the business of running companies. When the government decides to run a business they always have constituencies to look after, which is the antithesis to capitalism. Remember the definition of capitalism according to Webster is, “an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market.”

In this case, the union workers and retirees were taken care of at the expense of the bondholders (some of whom were other retirees). All though the government says that it does not want to have their hands in the day to day operations of GM, we all know that will not happen. The US government is going to have a seat on the board. This tells me that the government will definitely be giving direction to what cars will be made. If this is the case, we will soon have cars that none of us want.

My impression of this administration was that it was going to seek to be “fair”. Their actions with GM leave no impression of fairness. At the end of the day, the administration will seek to keep their constituents happy regardless of the business sense that these policies make. Just as sports reveal character, so does the current policy of the White House. I might add that this policy is lacking in character.