Archive for Stimulus

Hilarious

FYI, the media thinks this is in poor taste. Your intrepid reporter thinks it’s funny. Go figure.

- Aggie

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The Business of Government is Income Redistribution

You thought it was national defense and security, but you would be wrong. In so many small and not so small ways, government programs are meant to take from the undeserving rich and give to virtuous poor.

Care to dispute that? Half the populace pays no federal income tax; top earners pay way beyond their “fair share”—the higher the earners, the greater burden they bear. How about health insurance? Half the populace doesn’t use it in a given year, and if you don’t use it in one year, you’re not likely to use it the next (this trend eventually ends, obviously). Yet we’re about to require everyone to carry health insurance, and we’re about to tell them how much.

Unemployment insurance! It goes forever now, right? Think it’s just paid for by the goose that lays the golden egg? Nope, businesses do, via their taxes, and small businesses bear the biggest burden.

Now, how about that payroll tax cut we have been blessed with? Where does that money come from?

The new fee is a minimum of one-tenth of 1 percent on Fannie Mae- and Freddie Mac-backed loans, and is likely to go much higher.

It will be imposed for the next 10 years on most mortgages and refinancings and it lasts for the life of the loan.

For every $200,000, it amounts to an extra $15 dollars a month.

It’s bad news for Patty Anderson, who’s buying a home in Virginia.

Anderson will save a couple hundred dollars from having her payroll tax cut extended but her mortgage broker told her the new fee would cost her almost $9,500.

“I was absolutely startled that it would add up to that much,” she said.

Hey, thanks Patty! What a swell broad! And she’s not even rich (from the sound of it).

When Bill Clinton gave Juanita Broderick a fat lip, he at least suggested she get an ice pack. What’s Patty Anderson get?

The $35.7 billion collected in fees won’t go into the Social Security fund to replace the lost payroll tax. It goes to the general treasury where Congress can spend it however they please.

When Patty retires (if Patty retires), she won’t be burdened by any bothersome Social Security checks. (Who can keep track of those worthless things?) There won’t be any Social Security!

Thanks for playing “Who Wants to be an American in the 21st Century?”, Patty! Better luck next time.

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Just Say No.

thomas.jpg
Tim Thomas did

Opposed to what he called the “out of control” growth of the federal government, Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas declined an invitation to join his teammates at the White House on Monday.

The award-winning Thomas, who last year led the Bruins to the Stanley Cup championship emblematic of National Hockey League supremacy, was one of three players missing when President Barack Obama met with the team to offer congratulations.

According to a story on the team’s website, www.bostonbruins.com, Thomas “opted out” of the White House visit. One of the other missing players was injured, and the third now plays for another team, according to the website story.

A statement by the 37-year-old Thomas posted Monday on the team website said he opposed the “out of control” growth of the federal government that threatened “the rights, liberties, and property of the people.”

“This is being done at the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial level. This is in direct opposition to the Constitution and the Founding Fathers vision for the federal government,” the statement said. “Because I believe this, today I exercised my right as a Free Citizen, and did not visit the White House. This was not about politics or party, as in my opinion both parties are responsible for the situation we are in as a country. This was about a choice I had to make as an INDIVIDUAL.”

Good for him. (Or are we supposed to assume that he’s a raaacist?)

- Aggie

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Qaddafi Was a Bargain!

Best point from James Taranto’s column today:

One difference between Obama’s foreign and domestic policies is that the former are conducted in a relatively economical fashion. National Journal reports that “according to the Pentagon, [this] was the cost to U.S. taxpayers for Muammar el-Qaddafi’s head: $1.1 billion through September, the latest figure just out of the Defense Department.”

At that rate, you could knock off 400 dictators for $440 billion–still less than Obama wants to waste on Stimulus Jr. That’s the best illustration yet of just how skewed this administration’s priorities are.

And not one cop was raped while a fire fighter was laid off while saving a teacher’s burning house during the kinetic military action.

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Jobs Yes, Rape No!

As an experienced retail politician, Joe Bite-Me knows a good slogan when he hears it:

Vice President Joe Biden now says he didn’t make a reference to rape, and got testy with HUMAN EVENTS when we asked if he would like to retract his comments that the number of sexual assaults would increase if Republicans don’t sign on to Barack Obama’s latest “jobs” proposal.

“I didn’t use, no no no…Let’s get it straight, guy. Don’t screw around with me,” Biden lashed out at HUMAN EVENTS. Then Biden confirmed that he indeed did talk about rape in terms of the President’s spending measure. “Murder will continue to rise, rape will continue to rise, all crimes will continue to rise,” if the Democrats agenda isn’t passed, he added.

It was on Tuesday during a speech at the University of Pennsylvania where Biden initially argued that another round of government spending was needed to prevent sexual assaults. “It’s not temporary [administration’s proposed stimulus] when that 911 call comes in and a woman’s being raped, if a cop shows up in time to prevent the rape. It’s not temporary to that woman.”

Then in the same speech he wished Republicans were themselves rape victims. “I wish they had some notion of what it was like to be on the other side of a gun, or [to have] a 200-pound man standing over you, telling you to submit.”

Who says they haven’t, Joe? It’s a free country.

But you’ve got your work cut out for you, GOP. The Party of Rape just isn’t going to cut it.

PS: One small point. Aren’t cops and teachers state and local concerns? Why are the president and vice president so concerned with issues only one level above dog catcher and meter reader? And how many rapes could be prevented if Obama stopped flying his buses all over the country on campaign trips billed to the taxpayer? How many if Michelle turned over the 10 Gs she charges for photo ops to rape crisis centers instead of the Obama Victory Fund (see below)?

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So Much For Austerity [UPDATED]

Our government is addicted to spending. Addicted.

When Republicans took control of the House in January, they pledged to make deep cuts in federal spending, and in April they succeeded in passing a bill advertised as cutting $38 billion from fiscal 2011′s budget. Then in August, they pushed for a deal to cut an additional $2.4 trillion over the next decade.

Some analysts have blamed these spending cuts for this year’s economic slowdown.

But data released by the Treasury Department on Friday show that, so far, there haven’t been any spending cuts at all.

In fact, in the first nine months of this year, federal spending was $120 billion higher than in the same period in 2010, the data show. That’s an increase of almost 5%. And deficits during this time were $23.5 billion higher.

These spending hikes haven’t stopped many analysts from claiming that the country is in an age of budget austerity, one that’s hurting economic growth.

No. People couldn’t be that dishonest, that low-down to mischaracterize a 5% spending hike as “austerity”, could they?

Do you really have to ask?

Jared Bernstein, former chief economic adviser to Vice President Biden, wrote over the summer that “government spending cutbacks have been a large drag on growth in recent quarters and have led to sharp losses in state and local employment.”

Economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman argued in September that “the turn toward austerity (is) a major factor in our growth slowdown.”

If government spending is related to growth, as these and others claim, then the economy presumably should be growing faster, not slower, given the current higher rates of federal outlays.

These are the same geniuses who told us how unemployment checks were a stimulus (meaning, presumably, we needed more unemployed, not fewer).

But it gets better (or worse):

Overall state spending continued to climb right through the recession, when all money from state general funds and other funds, federal grants and state bonds is combined.

Total state outlays in 2010 were almost 10% higher than in 2008, according to the National Association of State Budget Officers’ annual State Expenditure Report.

And general fund spending — which makes up about 40% of total state spending — is expected to climb 5.2% in 2011 and 2.6% next year, according to the association’s latest survey.

NASBO says that states were able to sustain spending growth through 2010 only because the federal government was pumping more money in via the $830 billion stimulus, and that these funds are now all but exhausted.

Exactly. What “sharp losses in state and local employment”? The stimulus was openly and proudly intended to save municipal union jobs, with the overt understanding that the Democrat politicians pushing it would be repaid with votes. It was a slush fund, and by that measure it was a success.

UPDATE
I’m sorry, was I not supposed to mention this?

Maybe it’s a sign of the tumultuous times, but the federal government recently wrapped up its biggest spending year, and its second biggest annual budget deficit, and almost nobody noticed. Is it rude to mention this?

This is said to be a new age of fiscal austerity, yet the government had its best year ever, spending a cool $3.6 trillion. That beat the $3.52 trillion posted in 2009, when the feds famously began their attempt to spend America back to prosperity.

America has yet to admit it has a problem. Until it does, the bingeing will continue unabated.

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It’s Unprecedented!™

The structure of the Solyndra loan was a brand new way to rip-off taxpayers

Two senior Treasury officials said Friday that they had never seen a loan restructuring similar to an Energy Department loan to a failed solar panel maker.
In this Sept. 23, 2011 file photo, CEO Brian Harrison of the bankrupt solar energy company Solyndra invokes his Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination as he appears before the the House Energy Commitee’s Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee which is examining Solyndra’s government loan, on Capitol Hill in Washington.

The half-billion dollar loan to Solyndra Inc. was restructured earlier this year so that private investors moved ahead of taxpayers for repayment on part of the loan in case of a default.

Treasury officials Gary Grippo and Gary Burner told a House committee they had never seen that occur in a federal loan. Grippo is a deputy assistant treasury secretary and Burner is chief financial officer at the Federal Financing Bank, which made a $528 million loan to Solyndra in 2009.

The two Treasury officials stopped short of declaring the loan restructuring illegal, as some Republicans allege.

“I can’t give you a legal interpretation on that, sir,” Burner told Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla.

Grippo, who oversees the financing bank, said it was not Treasury’s job to make legal interpretations. Instead, he said Treasury officials correctly raised questions about the deal in a series of emails and memos.

“Our role is to be as helpful as we can,” Grippo told the House Energy and Commerce Committee Friday.

Hours later, the panel’s Republican majority released an email showing that a White House budget official also questioned the loan restructuring.

I was torn about the title of this post. Should I have called it The Most Transparent Administration Evah Makes A Very Large Loan, And Taxpayers Lose? Or is that too long? What do you think?

- Aggie

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Stimulus Follies

Not exactly news, but always refreshing to review:

The gap is wider than it’s ever been.

Now, I suppose a detective or a scientist, looking at the result, might suggest that the underlying assumptions were wrong—that the economy was worse than feared or that the stimulus was too small. But what didn’t Obama know then? He was quite adamant that the stimulus was like baby bear’s porridge: just right.

Bogus.

That same scientist or detective would have to consider (or should) that the chalk outline around our country is due as much to the “stimulus” as in spite of it. The scientific method (remember that?) would require such consideration. And my money (such as is left) says that’s what happened.

Look at the real-world line again. It’s gone down, several times in fact, only to spike upward later. How is that not proof of the failure of Obamanomics? Unemployment will eventually solve itself, if only through the depletion of inventories (or whatever). Why does it keep spiking, after two and a half years of intervention, if not because of the intervention?

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How’d They Get the Time Off?

Whatever Obama believes the symbolism of this is, he’s got it ass-backwards:

A White House official says President Barack Obama will send Congress his new $447 billion jobs bill Monday and speak in the Rose Garden to call for swift passage. …

Teachers, police officers, firefighters and others will join the president in the Rose Garden to call for passage, according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of the president’s remarks.

I was going to ask where the businessmen were, but, of course, they’re working. Obama’s liberal worldview doesn’t see private sector jobs (in part because there aren’t any), only teachers, cops, firefighters—and their accompanying unions.

So this useless stimulus plan is like the other one in still another respect: it’s just a slush fund from the tax payer to organized labor for the benefit (and by way of) the Democratic Party.

And if you’re wondering why the extras from Grey’s Anatomy and ER won’t be at this photo op:

Health care providers are warning that President Barack Obama’s new jobs plan could actually siphon jobs from one of the few industries still hiring — because the only way to pay for it would be to make deeper cuts in the health care entitlement programs.

Still, snarkiness aside, Obama has seen a popularity bump after his Pass-this-bill (now that I actually have a bill) speech:

He was -22 on Thursday, the day of the speech. He’s the Comeback Kid II!

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Who Lost AP?

When the stenographers at Associated Press call BS on you, Mr. President, that’s gotta be some pretty ripe manure you’re slinging.

Peee-youuu!

Obama did not spell out exactly how he would pay for the measures contained in his nearly $450 billion American Jobs Act but said he would send his proposed specifics in a week to the new congressional supercommittee charged with finding budget savings. White House aides suggested that new deficit spending in the near term to try to promote job creation would be paid for in the future – the “out years,” in legislative jargon – but they did not specify what would be cut or what revenues they would use.

Essentially, the jobs plan is an IOU from a president and lawmakers who may not even be in office down the road when the bills come due.

Wait, he doesn’t have the numbers yet? He’s been promising this Big Speech for weeks, I saw staged pictures of him meeting officials daily on Martha’s Vineyard, he tried that cheesy stunt of preempting the debate, he’s calling on Congress to pass it yesterday—and he’s got nothing but his schwantz in his hands (hand)? (Godfather reference, anyone?)

Unbelievable.

Obama’s proposed cut in the Social Security payroll tax does seem likely to garner significant GOP support. But Obama proposes paying for the plan in part with tax increases that have already generated stiff Republican opposition.

For instance, Obama makes a pitch anew to end Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, which he has defined as couples earning over $250,000 a year or individuals over $200,000 a year.

These are the same Bush tax rates that he just agreed to renew, right? Of, for the solidity of John Kerry!

It’s hard to see how the program would not raise the deficit over the next year or two because most of the envisioned spending cuts and tax increases are designed to come later rather than now, when they could jeopardize the fragile recovery.

I’m running out of things to say. But then, so was he:

One is to set up a national infrastructure bank to raise private capital for roads, rail, bridges, airports and waterways. Even supporters of such a bank doubt it could have much impact on jobs in the next two years because it takes time to set up.

To paraphrase the Boston Gob, more mush from the simp.

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