Cockroaches and Twinkies

So the Republicans passed a Debt Bill the Democrats would never pass in a Trillion Years. Yeah!😦

So let the Demagoguery and Liberal Media Mockery begin!

After all, the Democrats will “compromise”… <<wink wink>>

So now comes the “compromise” where we all get royally screwed.

But at least they got the symbolism down!

So bend over! That symbolism is about to be tattooed on your but and your children and grand-children’s butts!

Oh, and just in case you want to know who’d be left after the holocaust beside the cockroaches and the twinkies…Federal Government Employees!

Not only Does the Congress have a lower turnover than the British House of Lords (which is for life!) but their apparatchiks (which have had an unemployment rate less than 3%) who multiply like cockroaches never go away, no matter how incompetent they are!

And 30-40% of them, on average, make more than their Private Sector counterparts and have vastly better and less expensive (to them) benefits.

“Since the recession began, federal employment has risen by 240,000 – 12 percent. The unemployment rate for federal employees has only slightly risen from 2.0 percent to 2.9 percent between 2007 and 2009.” (and that was from a report in 2010!)

Federal employees’ job security is so great that workers in many agencies are more likely to die of natural causes than get laid off or fired, a USA TODAY analysis finds.

By Alex Brandon, AP

Job security for U.S. government workers tops those in the private sector.

Death — rather than poor performance, misconduct or layoffs — is the primary threat to job security at the Environmental Protection Agency, the Small Business Administration, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Office of Management and Budget and a dozen other federal operations.

The federal government fired 0.55% of its workers in the budget year that ended Sept. 30 — 11,668 employees in its 2.1 million workforce. Research shows that the private sector fires about 3% of workers annually for poor performance, says John Palguta, former research chief at the federal Merit Systems Protection Board, which handles federal firing disputes.

Federal departments or agencies employing 1,000 or more that had the lowest rates of firing or laying off employees in the year ending Sept. 30, 2010:

      Employees                                                      Laid off or fired
Federal Communications Commission     1,832     0
Federal Trade Commission     1,189     0
Nuclear Regulatory Commission     4,211     2
National Labor Relations Board     1,714     1
National Aeronautics and Space Administration     18,671     13
Environmental Protection Agency     18,742     19
U.S. Agency for International Development     3,376     4
Securities and Exchange Commission     3,917     5
Small Business Administration     4,019     6
Department of Housing and Urban Development     10,041     15

Source: Office of Personnel Management

The 1,800-employee Federal Communications Commission and the 1,200-employee Federal Trade Commission didn’t lay off or fire a single employee last year. The SBA had no layoffs, six firings and 17 deaths in its 4,000-employee workforce.

When job security is at a premium, the federal government remains the place to work for those who want to avoid losing a job. The job security rate for all federal workers was 99.43% last year and nearly 100% for those on the job more than a few years.

HUD spokesman Jerry Brown says his department’s low dismissal rate — providing a 99.85% job security rate for employees — shows a skilled and committed workforce. “We’ve never focused on firing people, and we don’t intend to start now. We’re more focused on hiring the right people,” he says.

San Francisco State University management professor John Sullivan, an expert on employee turnover, says the low departure rates show a failure to release poor performers and those with obsolete skills. “Rather than indicating something positive, rates below 1% in the firing and layoff components would indicate a serious management problem,” he says.

The government laid off 385 people in reorganizations last year — a 0.02% rate, or one in every 6,000 employees. No comparable private sector layoff rate is available.

USA TODAY analyzed the Office of Personnel Management’s database to examine job security in the federal workforce. Firings are for all reasons, including poor performance, stealing and sexual harassment. The Postal Service and uniformed military personnel are not included in the data. Departures from seasonal jobs, such as Census taker, are not counted.

“The notion that you can’t fire federal workers is a myth because we do it. But it doesn’t happen frequently,” says Palguta, vice president of the Partnership for Public Service, which advocates for a high-quality government workforce.

Palguta says some federal workers quit before they are fired, so the data underestimate how many poor performers are weeded out. Efforts to streamline the government cause few layoffs because federal law gives preference to certain workers, such as military veterans, making it hard to match protected workers with the skills needed, he says.

USA TODAY found that nearly 60% of firings occur in the first two years of employment, mostly workers on probation and outside the federal job protection system. Blue-collar workers are twice as likely to be fired as white-collar employees. The federal government’s 12,700 food preparation workers had the highest rate of getting fired last year — 2.5%.

White-collar federal workers have almost total job security after a few years on the job. Last year, the government fired none of its 3,000 meteorologists, 2,500 health insurance administrators, 1,000 optometrists, 800 historians or 500 industrial property managers.

The nearly half-million federal employees earning $100,000 or more enjoyed a 99.82% job security rate in 2010. Only 27 of 35,000 federal attorneys were fired last year. None was laid off. Death claimed 33.

Other findings:

•Secure location. The 168,000 federal workers in Washington had the safest jobs — 99.74% job security in 2010. Least secure: Indiana — 98.35%.

•Salary. Two-thirds of those fired or laid off earned less than $50,000 a year.

•Total turnover. NASA, the space agency, had the government’s lowest total turnover rate in 2010 — just 4% of its 18,700 employees quit, died, retired or were dismissed.

The federal government fired 0.55% of its workers in the budget year that ended Sept. 30 — 11,668 employees in its 2.1 million workforce. Research shows that the private sector fires about 3% of workers annually for poor performance, says John Palguta, former research chief at the federal Merit Systems Protection Board, which handles federal firing disputes.

So your chances of getting fired in the Private Sector (those evil greedy capitalists) is around 600 times more likely.

And most of the government workers are Public Sector Unions members.

88% of Americans are no in a Union.

But don’t worry, if you pass anything other than a Trillion $ tax increase you’re just a greedy rich-loving asshole!🙂

But that would be a “compromise”.🙂

Twinkie and Cockroach T-Shirt

 

Disappointment

After 2 continuing resolutions a lot of no real action to head of massive bankruptcy I’m with talk show host and columnist Mark Steyn.

On Thursday’s “The Hugh Hewitt Show,” Steyn likened Boehner to failed 1996 presidential candidate and former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole and said they still don’t understand why what happened in November 2010 happened.

“No, I don’t. I don’t, to be honest,” Steyn replied. “I think John Boehner has been an incredible disappointment. I think John Boehner has basically climbed into the Bob Dole suit, and I think they misunderstand the lessons of the 2010 election, which is that the tea party chose to work within the diseased husk of the Republican Party it loathes. And it still hasn’t forgiven for 2006 and 2008. So for the Republicans to demonstrate that ‘hey, we’re back to 2006 again,’ except on Obama-level spending, is not a good idea.”

Steyn explained the recent small cuts the Republican majority in the House had been able to achieve through continuing resolutions were inadequate.

“We need Republicans to at least take the lead in broadening public discourse,” he continued. “This country is broke. It’s the brokest country in the history of the planet. And the idea of arguing over itsy-bitsy, half a billion here and half a billion there, and continuing resolutions staggering forward every ten days, is preposterous. It’s inadequate to the task. It’s inadequate for the challenge facing America”

Based on the reluctance of the GOP to take charge, Steyn wasn’t optimistic about the country’s ability to change course fiscally.

“Yes, and in fact, I think it’s teaching a lesson that’s actually more dangerous than that, which is that the political institutions of the United States are simply impervious to course correction,” Steyn said. “And there are no good conclusions to be drawn from that, because basically what we’re being offered it one party that wants to floor it and put its foot on the pedal as we go over the cliff, and another party that says, ‘Oh, no, no, no, it’s OK – vote for us. We’re only going to go over the cliff in third gear.’ That’s not enough of a choice for a functioning two-party system.”

It seems more likely that what we have is a two-tiered system.

There’s Washington and there’s everyone else. You are either for one or the other.

The two don’t seem to mix.

And the one has the power to destroy the other by it’s actions.

Despite the looming possibility of a government shutdown, federal layoffs and furloughs, there’s at least one thing members of Congress from both political parties can readily agree on these days: partying.

Morning, noon and night, more than 150 fundraising parties are scheduled all over Washington this week for Democratic and Republican politicians…(WT)

That is not balanced either.

And Washington can’t even be honest about the debt.

The CBO, the liberal gold standard for partisan figures:

A new assessment of President Barack Obama’s budget released Friday says the White House underestimates future budget deficits by more than $2 trillion over the upcoming decade.

The estimate from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says that if Obama’s February budget submission is enacted into law it would produce deficits totaling $9.5 trillion over 10 years — an average of almost $1 trillion a year.

Obama’s budget saw deficits totaling $7.2 trillion over the same period.

But don’t worry, we aren’t “broke”, everything is getting better. Hey, look we can even start another war!

The difference is chiefly because CBO has a less optimistic estimate of how much the government will collect in tax revenues, partly because the administration has rosier economic projections.

Like I said.

But Liberals hate it when you use the CBO (used to justify ObamaCare) against them.

Then there’s Social Security.

Democrats never miss an opportunity to pander to older voters by demagoguing on Social Security — and Brooklyn Rep. Anthony Weiner seems only too glad to lead the way.

Weiner, who dreams of becoming mayor, has introduced a bill to require a two-thirds majority in Congress to enact any changes in Social Security — a near-impossible hurdle.

His goal: to “defend” an entitlement system he insists is “fiscally responsible” and fundamentally sound.
“We shouldn’t assume the program is on the brink of collapse just because Republicans say it is,” Weiner wrote last year — even as Social Security reached the so-called “tipping point,” when it paid out more in benefits than it received in tax revenue.
President Obama’s bipartisan deficit-reduction commission seems to differ, having recommended cuts in Social Security benefits and a hike in the retirement age.
Weiner and other like-minded Democrats cite the claim by Obama’s budget chief, Jack Lew, that the Social Security trust fund is solvent through 2037.
But, as Fox News analyst Charles Krauthammer notes, the same Jack Lew — in his days as Bill Clinton’s budget director — conceded that the trust-fund balances are merely a “bookkeeping” device. (See Below)
Weiner & Co. don’t want to accept what’s apparent to anyone who has actually studied the issue: Social Security needs changes to remain solvent.
You’d think someone aspiring to a position of responsibility, as Weiner likely is, would act a bit more, well . . . responsibly.
In his case, we guess not. (NY Post)

This is the same guy who has a mad on for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and wants him recused from the eventual case on ObamaCare (so that the liberals can win) or removed from the bench entirely (which is unconstitutional-but what do liberals care about that? Nothing!! if it advances their political power).

It’s all Politics. It’s all Washington.

It’s all very disappointing.

But don’t worry, the American people are smarter than this.

I beg to differ.

When NEWSWEEK recently asked 1,000 U.S. citizens to take America’s official citizenship test, 29 percent couldn’t name the vice president. Seventy-three percent couldn’t correctly say why we fought the Cold War. Forty-four percent were unable to define the Bill of Rights. And 6 percent couldn’t even circle Independence Day on a calendar.

The current conflict over government spending illustrates the new dangers of ignorance. Every economist knows how to deal with the debt: cost-saving reforms to big-ticket entitlement programs; cuts to our bloated defense budget; and (if growth remains slow) tax reforms designed to refill our depleted revenue coffers. But poll after poll shows that voters have no clue what the budget actually looks like. A 2010 World Public Opinion survey found that Americans want to tackle deficits by cutting foreign aid from what they believe is the current level (27 percent of the budget) to a more prudent 13 percent. The real number is under 1 percent. A Jan. 25 CNN poll, meanwhile, discovered that even though 71 percent of voters want smaller government, vast majorities oppose cuts to Medicare (81 percent), Social Security (78 percent), and Medicaid (70 percent). Instead, they prefer to slash waste—a category that, in their fantasy world, seems to include 50 percent of spending, according to a 2009 Gallup poll.

But I bet they can name all the winners of American Idol, Survivor, and The Housewives of (whatever) or Jersey Shore!

So with that backdrop….

Charles Krauthammer: The week before last, President Obama’s budget chief, Jack Lew, took to his White House blog to repeat his claim that the Social Security trust fund is solvent through 2037. And to chide me for suggesting otherwise. I had argued in my last column that the trust fund is empty, indeed fictional.

If Lew’s claim were just wrong, that would be one thing. But it provides the intellectual justification for precisely the kind of debt denial and entitlement complacency that his boss is now engaged in. Therefore, once more unto the breach.

Lew acknowledges that the Social Security surpluses of the last decades were siphoned off to the Treasury Department and spent. He also agrees that Treasury then deposited corresponding IOUs — called “special issue” bonds — in the Social Security trust fund.

These have real value, claims Lew. After all, “these Treasury bonds are backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government in the same way that all other U.S. Treasury bonds are.” Really? If these trust fund bonds represent anything real, why is it that in calculating national indebtedness they are not even included?

We measure national solvency by debt/GDP ratio. As calculated by everyone from the OMB to the CIA, from the Simpson-Bowles to the Domenici-Rivlin commissions, the debt/GDP ratio counts only publicly held debt. This means bonds held by China, Saudi Arabia, you and me. The debt ratio completely ignores the kind of intragovernmental bonds that Lew insists are the equivalent of publicly held bonds.

Why? Because the intragovernmental bond is nothing more than a bookkeeping device that records how much one part of the U.S. government (Treasury) owes another part of the same government (the Social Security Administration). In judging the creditworthiness of the United States, the world doesn’t care what the left hand owes the right. It’s all one entity. It cares only what that one entity owes the world.

That’s why publicly held bonds are so radically different from intragovernmental bonds. If we default on Chinese-held debt, decades of AAA creditworthiness is destroyed, the world stops lending to us, the dollar collapses, the economy goes into a spiral and we become Argentina. That’s why such a default is inconceivable.

On the other hand, what would happen to financial markets if the Treasury stopped honoring the “special issue” bonds in the Social Security trust fund? A lot of angry grumbling at home for sure. But externally? Nothing.

This “default” would simply be the Treasury telling the Social Security Administration that henceforth it would have to fend for itself in covering its annual shortfall. How? By means-testing (cutting the benefits to the rich), changing the inflation formula, raising the retirement age and, if necessary, hiking the cap on income subject to the payroll tax.

You can plug in whatever combination of numbers you prefer for the definition of “rich,” for the slope of the sliding scale of benefit-reduction, for the rate of the retirement-age increase or for any other variable.

Whatever the formula, we will ironically have been forced to adopt the very reforms needed to keep Social Security in balance for years to come — the kind President Obama’s own deficit commission recommended. Arguably, that would add to U.S. creditworthiness by finally demonstrating to the world our seriousness about bringing our unsustainable pension liabilities under control.

Invoking the “full faith and credit” mantra for those IOUs in the trust fund is empty bluster. It does not change the fact that, as the OMB itself acknowledged, those IOUs “do not consist of real economic assets that can be drawn down in the future to fund benefits.”

Yet Lew continues to insist that these “special issue” trinkets will pay off seniors for the next 26 years. Nonsense. That money is gone with the wind. Those trust fund trinkets are nothing more than a record of past borrowings. They say nothing about the future.

Consider: If Treasury had borrowed twice as much from Social Security in the past — producing twice as many IOUs sitting in the lockbox — would this mean the trust fund is today twice as strong? Solvent for 50-some years instead of just 26? Of course not.

The trust fund “balances” are mere historical record-keeping. As the OMB itself admitted, future payouts will have to be met by future taxes and future borrowings — or by Social Security reform that, by reducing benefits, makes such taxing and borrowing unnecessary.

There is no third alternative. There is no free lunch. And there is nothing in the lockbox.

And 10,000 people a day for the next generation are coming to see what’s in the box of goodies for them…

Political Cartoons by Ken Catalino

Your New Friend, Big Brother!

Education Department officials are threatening school principals with lawsuits if they fail to monitor and curb students’ lunchtime chat and evening Facebook time for expressing ideas and words that are deemed by Washington special-interest groups to be harassment of some students.

There has only been muted opposition to this far-reaching policy among the professionals and advocates in the education sector, most of whom are heavily reliant on funding and support from top-level education officials. The normally government-averse tech-sector is also playing along, and on Mar. 11, Facebook declared that it was “thrilled” to work with White House officials to foster government oversight of teens’ online activities.

The only formal opposition has come from the National School Board Association, which declined to be interviewed by The DC.

The agency’s threats, which are delivered in a so-called “Dear Colleague” letter,” have the support of White House officials, including President Barack Obama, who held a Mar. 10 White House meeting to promote the initiative as a federal “anti-bullying” policy.

The letter says federal officials have reinterpreted the civil-rights laws that require school principals to curb physical bullying, as well as racist and sexist speech, that take place within school boundaries. Under the new interpretation, principals and their schools are legally liable if they fail to curb “harassment” of students, even if it takes place outside the school, on Facebook or in private conversation among a few youths.

“Harassing conduct may take many forms, including verbal acts and name-calling; graphic and written statements, which may include use of cell phones or the Internet… it does not have to include intent to harm, be directed at a specific target, or involve repeated incidents [but] creates a hostile environment … [which can] limit a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or opportunities offered by a school,” according to the far-reaching letter, which was completed Oct. 26 by Russlynn Ali, who heads the agency’s civil rights office.

School officials will face lawsuits even when they are ignorant about students’ statements, if a court later decides they “reasonably should have known” about their students’ conduct, said the statement.

Following the discovery of “harassment,” officials may have to require mandatory training of students and their families, according to the Ali letter. “The school may need to provide training or other interventions not only for the perpetrators, but also for the larger school community, to ensure that all students, their families, and school staff can recognize harassment if it recurs and know how to respond… [and] provide additional services to the student who was harassed in order to address the effects of the harassment,” said the letter.

Facebook is developing new features that will make it harder for principals to miss episodes of online “harassment,” and so will increase the likelihood of government action against the teenage users of Facebook and other social-media. “We’re adding a unique feature, developed with safety experts, that lets people also report content to someone in their support system (like a parent or teacher) who may be able to address the issue more directly,’ Facebook declared Mar. 11. “It is our hope that features like this will help not only remove the offensive content but also help people get to the root of the problem,” the company statement declared.

Rep. Jackie Speier, California Democrat, will introduce a bill that would require schools to report incidents of bullying against children diagnosed with conditions like Down syndrome and Aspergers to the federal government. It would also mandate that any federal dollars that promote anti-bullying programs focus partially on that group.

“There is [currently] no requirement that as part of the anti-bullying curriculum, that there be made specific reference to children with special needs. That’s particularly dumb,” Speier said during a briefing on school bullying on Capitol Hill Wednesday. “What I want to do is create an environment where there is zero tolerance. I think that starts first with education and awareness. Then, when behavior is egregious, then people have to be called out on that.”

We are from the Government and we are here to save you!😦

Who cares if little Johnny can read. He will be safe from bullies, competition, low-esteem,guns, pregnancy and sex!

We’ll teach him the history of Unions so he can stand and protest his teacher’s need for his parent’s taxpayer money and how “Greed is Good” if you’re in a Union!

Isn’t Education today wonderful!😦

The Deficit Perspective

The White House Office of Management and Budget projects that in the current fiscal year (2011), mandatory spending alone will exceed all federal receipts. So even if we didn’t spend a single cent on discretionary programs, we still wouldn’t be able to balance our budget this year — let alone pay off any of the $14 trillion in debt that we have already accumulated.

TSA

“This technology is safe,” said Robin Kane, a TSA assistant administrator for technology. Kane emphasized that the machines are necessary to protect the public from terrorists and that they have been thoroughly tested by independent experts.

Well, if the Government says it’s “safe” it must be…🙂

It appears Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is on board with the idea of using military-grade radar along the northern border.

But on the southern border you get to fire bean bags at Mexican Drug Cartel members!

Oh and it was the agents fault, by the way.

Border Patrol agents decided on their own to fire beanbags at a group of armed illegal immigrants in a confrontation late last year near Nogales in which an agent was killed, the agency’s commissioner said Friday.

Alan Bersin, Customs and Border Protection commissioner, said the agents’ initial use of the beanbags was not mandated by agency policy, which allows agents to determine whether to use deadly or non-deadly force based on the threat.

Agent Brian Terry died after being shot in the back in a shootout between agents and suspected border bandits Dec. 14 near Peck Canyon, outside Nogales.

Why did they have bean-bag guns to begin with?😦

But don’t worry, the Border is more secure than ever according to Big Sis!

700 Trillion Dollars!

New calculations applied to a U.S. Senate report reveal the Environmental Protection Agency’s plan to combat global warming through regulation of greenhouse gases would theoretically take over $700 trillion, seven times the world’s gross production, to drop the earth’s temperature only 1 degree Celsius.

The report released last year by Sen. James Ihnofe, R-Okla., then-ranking minority member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, quotes the EPA’s own stats and experts to break down the numbers, including one researcher who called the Obama administration’s plan “absurd.”

Numbers-crunchers estimate that would amount to roughly 700 warehouses filled with $100 bills, or a stack of the bills nearly 70 miles high.

The EPA’s new regulations, which began earlier this year, are part of a “tailoring” plan that begins with requiring some of the largest emitters of carbon dioxide – such as power plants, refineries and large industrial plants – to obtain operating permits based on their greenhouse gas emissions.

Later this year, and continuing through 2016, the emissions standards will be scaled down, requiring more and more emissions sources to obtain operating permits. (WND)

Streaming Big Brother

The White House today proposed sweeping revisions to U.S. copyright law, including making “illegal streaming” of audio or video a federal felony and allowing FBI agents to wiretap suspected infringers.

After all, the oh-so outraged Democrats re-passed the Patriot Act.

Victoria Espinel, the first Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator

Is she a “Czar”??

No less than 78 percent of political contributions from Hollywood went to Democrats in 2008, which is broadly consistent with the trend for the last two decades, according to OpenSecrets.org.

And Unions give 98% of their money to Democrats.

Gee, I wonder whose in whose pocket!!

But don’t worry, the government will save little junior from those evil bullies and all other liberal identified “social problems”  by spying on them and everyone else.

Gee, now don’t you feel better!

Political Cartoons by Gary Varvel

Political Cartoons by Chip Bok

Political Cartoons by Chip Bok

Social Insecurity

Political Cartoons by Gary Varvel

Charles Krauthammer: Everyone knows that the U.S. budget is being devoured by entitlements. Everyone also knows that of the Big Three — Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security — Social Security is the most solvable.

Back-of-an-envelope solvable: Raise the retirement age, tweak the indexing formula (from wage inflation to price inflation) and means-test so that Warren Buffett’s check gets redirected to a senior in need.

The relative ease of the fix is what makes the Obama administration’s Social Security strategy so shocking. The new line from the White House is: no need to fix it because there is no problem.

As Office of Management and Budget Director Jack Lew wrote in USA Today just a few weeks ago, the trust fund is solvent until 2037. Therefore, Social Security is now off the table in debt-reduction talks.

This claim is a breathtaking fraud.

The pretense is that a flush trust fund will pay retirees for the next 26 years. Lovely, except for one thing: The Social Security trust fund is a fiction.

If you don’t believe me, listen to the OMB’s own explanation (in the Clinton administration budget for fiscal year 2000 under then-Director Jack Lew, the very same). The OMB explained that these trust fund “balances” are nothing more than a “bookkeeping” device. “They do not consist of real economic assets that can be drawn down in the future to fund benefits.”

Money’s Gone

In other words, the Social Security trust fund contains — nothing.

Here’s why. When your FICA tax is taken out of your paycheck, it does not get squirreled away in some lockbox in West Virginia where it’s kept until you and your contemporaries retire. Most goes out immediately to pay current retirees, and the rest (say, $100) goes to the U.S. Treasury — and is spent. On roads, bridges, national defense, public television, whatever — spent, gone.

In return for that $100, the Treasury sends the Social Security Administration a piece of paper that says: IOU $100. There are countless such pieces of paper in the lockbox. They are called “special issue” bonds.

Special they are: They are worthless. As the OMB explained, they are nothing more than “claims on the Treasury (i.e., promises) that, when redeemed (when you retire and are awaiting your check), will have to be financed by raising taxes, borrowing from the public or reducing benefits or other expenditures.”

That’s what it means to have a so-called trust fund with no “real economic assets.” When you retire, the “trust fund” will have to go to the Treasury for the money for your Social Security check.

Bottom line? The OMB again: “The existence of large trust fund balances, therefore, does not, by itself, have any impact on the government’s ability to pay benefits.” No impact: The lockbox, the balances, the little pieces of paper, amount to nothing.

Tossing Granny

So that when Jack Lew tells you that there are trillions in this lockbox that keep the system solvent until 2037, he is perpetrating a fiction certified as such by his own OMB. What happens when you retire? Your Social Security will come out of the taxes and borrowing of that fiscal year.

Why is this a problem? Because as of 2010, the pay-as-you-go Social Security system is in the red. For decades it had been in the black, taking in more in FICA taxes than it sent out in Social Security benefits. The surplus, scooped up by the Treasury, reduced the federal debt by tens of billions.

But demography is destiny. The ratio of workers to retirees is shrinking year by year. Instead of Social Security producing annual surpluses that reduce the federal deficit, it is now producing shortfalls that increase the federal deficit — $37 billion in 2010. It will only get worse as the baby boomers retire.

That’s what makes this administration’s claim that Social Security is solvent so cynical. The Republicans have said that their April budget will contain real entitlement reform. President Obama is preparing the ground to demagogue Social Security right through the 2012 elections.

The ad writes itself: Those heartless Republicans don’t just want to throw granny in the snow, they want to throw granny in the snow to solve a problem that doesn’t even exist! Vote Obama.

On Tuesday, Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia denounced Obama for lack of leadership on the debt. It’s worse than that. Obama is showing leadership. With Lew’s preposterous claim that Social Security is solvent for 26 years, Obama is preparing to lead the charge against entitlement reform as his ticket to re-election.

Enjoy.🙂

Political Cartoons by Steve Kelley

Mom, Can I Grow up to be Bureaucrat?

The following chart makes that case. Since the beginning of the recession (roughly January 2008), some 7.9 million jobs were lost in the private sector while 590,000 jobs were gained in the public one.  And since the passage of the stimulus bill (February 2009), over 2.6 million private jobs were lost, but the government workforce grew by 400,000.

image002

Plus, as you know, according to the latest numbers from Bureau of Economic Analysis, the average federal civilian worker now earns double what private-sector workers earn when factoring in wages and benefits ($119,982 vs. $59,909). And the gap is increasing.  According to Chris Edwards of the Cato Institute, in 2000, the average federal worker earned 66 percent more in total compensation than the average private-sector worker. By 2008, that ratio had risen to 100 percent. That’s serious money.

Peter Orszag, the soon to be leaving OMB director, has  explained the differences in pay by saying that public employees have more diplomas (probably implying that they are smarter) than private employees:

But the truth is that a comparison of federal and private-sector pay, even by occupation, is misleading because the employees hired by the federal government often have higher levels of education than their counterparts in the private sector — even within the same occupations.  When you factor in the education and experience of the federal workforce, there is no statistically significant difference in average pay levels.

Translation: We are better than you.

Edwards, however, shows this is nonsense. He writes:

Some people argue that the federal government has a unique high-end workforce, which deserves to be paid handsomely. But let’s consider some ordinary and mundane offices in the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In 2010, the USDA’s Office of Communications employed 77 people and paid $9 million in wages and benefits. That works out to $117,000 each for these public relations workers, which is close to the overall federal compensation average. Or consider that the 62 employees of the USDA’s Office of Chief Economist earned an average $177,000 each in wages and benefits in 2010. It isn’t just rocket scientists that are earning high federal compensation, it is also workers in many run-of-the-mill bureaucratic jobs.

More importantly, the federal workforce has always had a heavy contingent of skilled professionals such as lawyers. So that is not new, and thus it cannot explain the dramatically faster growth in federal compensation compared to private compensation […].

Besides, if these diplomas are what gave is the health care reform, the financial bill making its way to Congress and the stimulus, then I would argue that we would be better off if  high-school dropouts to run Congress.

That being said, if bureaucrats have job security, their workforce grows during recession, and they make increasingly more money, being a proud public sector employee should become your little ones’ dream. In this context, wanting to be a fireman or a princess is so yesterday. (Big Government)

So, government apparatchiks (“agent of the apparatus”) are prospering.

Unions get bail outs, exemptions from taxes you’ll be paying, and special deals. Because they are part of the base of the party.

Union Pensions are bankrupting companies and states everywhere. So what. Big Deal.

The Hispanics are being pandered because they are also the base of the party. So Obama’s campaign speech last week on Illegal Immigration was for them, not you.

So if you’re a party appartchik or a wanna-be apparatchik, you’re In like Flint.

But government gets it’s money from taxes.

Only 50% of people even pay taxes.

But hey, if you’re unemployed, the government will pay you to be unemployed and dependent on them.

Persistent unemployment nationwide is threatening to inhibit consumer spending. The latest figures from the government on Friday underscored the depth of the problem, with the economy adding only 83,000 private sector jobs.

There was no relief in sight from Washington, either. Congress left on recess Friday having failed to pass legislation that would have extended unemployment benefits for hundreds of thousands of Americans.

On the small-business side, credit concerns are keeping some companies from spending. And on the consumer side, while spending and confidence numbers continue to be weak, personal income has risen for three months straight and savings rates are relatively high. That suggests people now have cash but are just sitting on it.

So they’ll just print more money. Who cares.

It’s not like they want the private sector to create jobs, not really.

Obama has been “focused on jobs” for 18 months now. And you can smell the rotting corpse of neglect and contempt from here.

But “he cares”…🙂

When Obama could have passed comprehensive immigration reform – when he still had 60 Senate Democrats – he didn’t lift a finger to push it. Now that he can’t pass it – it is too late in the year, he doesn’t have 60 votes, and many Democrats will defect – he aggressively pushes it in a national speech.

The opportunism and hypocrisy of his attempt to manipulate America’s Latinos into forgetting his previous inaction is transparent and obvious. Polls show him losing Hispanics due to high and continuing unemployment and losing Congressional seats in the bargain, so Obama has dug up the immigration proposals of former President George W. Bush, dusted them off, and made them his own. He knows it won’t pass. But he hopes that it will reignite Latino enthusiasm for his failing presidency and anger at Republicans for frustrating immigration reform.(Dick Morris)

It was just the latest in cynical political ploys.

Pure Politics. No actual conviction.

So the bottom line is, guess what is likely to be one of  the next great “bubble” to burst.

You got it, Government Apparatchiks and their dependents.

And guess who’s going to bail them out!🙂

Now that’s “Hope and Change” for ya…

Drowning in a VAT of Debt

President Obama’s fiscal 2011 budget will generate nearly $10 trillion in cumulative budget deficits over the next 10 years, $1.2 trillion more than the administration projected, and raise the federal debt to 90 percent of the nation’s economic output by 2020, the Congressional Budget Office reported Thursday.

In its 2011 budget, which the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released Feb. 1, the administration projected a 10-year deficit total of $8.53 trillion. After looking it over, CBO said in its final analysis, released Thursday, that the president’s budget would generate a combined $9.75 trillion in deficits over the next decade.

“An additional $1.2 trillion in debt dumped on [GDP] to our children makes a huge difference,” said Brian Riedl, a budget analyst at the conservative Heritage Foundation. “That represents an additional debt of $10,000 per household above and beyond the federal debt they are already carrying.”

The federal public debt, which was $6.3 trillion ($56,000 per household) when Mr. Obama entered office amid an economic crisis, totals $8.2 trillion ($72,000 per household) today, and it’s headed toward $20.3 trillion (more than $170,000 per household) in 2020, according to CBO’s deficit estimates.

But ask a Liberal or the Fifth Column/MSM/Ministry of Truth and they’ll say it was George W. Bush’s fault and they are “fixing it”.

This like the plumber that comes over to fix your toilet and ends up flooding your house.

It’s not his fault.

God helps us all.

If the president opts to continue with the biggest ideologically based spending spree in history — risk to the economy be damned — federal spending for 2009-2020 will as a percent of GDP increase by an enormous 23% (or more) compared to the Bush/Clinton years, the government’s gross debt (public plus internal) will as a percent of GDP equal or exceed Greece’s, and catastrophe will follow.

Some analysts say that America’s AAA bond rating is already in jeopardy and may be lost by 2014 at the latest.

If one uses the Congressional Budget Office’s more realistic forecasts of interest rates, revenues and GDP growth, adding the president’s extra spending and debt is even more risky: The public debt in 2020 will be 91% of GDP. The gross debt will be 123% of GDP (compared with 115% to 125% in Greece today) and greatly in excess of the “tipping point” identified by Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff in their recent landmark study of worldwide data.

On the other hand, the president could decide not to put America at such great risk and, therefore, to forgo adding the additional spending and debt. In that case, the public debt would be 56% of GDP and the gross debt would be 85% (or, according to CBO data, 68% and 100%).

As the night follows the day, the VAT cometh. With the passage of ObamaCare, creating a vast new middle-class entitlement, a national sales tax of the kind near-universal in Europe is inevitable.

We are now $8 trillion in debt. The Congressional Budget Office projects that another $12 trillion will be added over the next decade.

ObamaCare, when stripped of its budgetary gimmicks — the unfunded $200-billion-plus doctor fix, the double counting of Medicare cuts, the 10-6 sleight-of-hand (counting 10 years of revenue and only 6 years of outflows) — is at minimum a $2 trillion new entitlement.

It will vastly increase the debt. But even if it were revenue-neutral, ObamaCare pre-empts and appropriates for itself the best and easiest means of reducing the existing deficit. ObamaCare’s $500 billion of cuts in Medicare and $600 billion in tax hikes are no longer available for deficit reduction. They are siphoned off for the new entitlement of insuring the uninsured.

This is fiscally disastrous because, as President Obama himself explained last year in unveiling his grand transformational policies, our unsustainable fiscal path requires control of entitlement spending, the most ruinous of which is out-of-control health care costs.

ObamaCare was sold on the premise that, as Nancy Pelosi put it, “health care reform is entitlement reform. Our budget cannot take this upward spiral of cost.” But the bill enacted last Tuesday accelerates the spiral: It radically expands Medicaid (adding 15 million new recipients/dependents) and shamelessly raids Medicare by spending on a new entitlement the $500 billion in cuts and the yield from the Medicare tax hikes.

Obama knows that the debt bomb is looming, that Moody’s is warning that the Treasury’s AAA rating is in jeopardy, that we are headed for a run on the dollar and/or hyperinflation if nothing is done.

Hence his deficit reduction commission. It will report (surprise!) after the November elections. What will it recommend? What can it recommend?

Sure, Social Security can be trimmed by raising the retirement age, introducing means testing and changing the indexing formula from wage growth to price inflation. But this won’t be nearly enough. As Obama has repeatedly insisted, the real money is in health care costs — which are now locked in place by the new ObamaCare mandates.

That’s where the value-added tax comes in. For the politician, it has the virtue of expediency: People are used to sales taxes, and this one produces a river of revenue. Every 1% of VAT would yield up to $1 trillion a decade (depending on what you exclude — if you exempt food, for example, the yield would be more like $900 billion).

It’s the ultimate cash cow. Obama will need it. By introducing universal health care, he has pulled off the largest expansion of the welfare state in four decades. And the most expensive. Which is why all of the European Union has the VAT. Huge VATs. Germany: 19%. France and Italy: 20%. Most of Scandinavia: 25%.

American liberals have long complained that ours is the only advanced industrial country without universal health care. Well, now we shall have it. And as we approach European levels of entitlements, we will need European levels of taxation.

Obama set out to be a consequential president, on the order of Ronald Reagan. With the VAT, Obama’s triumph will be complete. He will have succeeded in reversing Reaganism. Liberals have long complained that Reagan’s strategy was to starve the (governmental) beast in order to shrink it: First, cut taxes — then ultimately you have to reduce government spending.

Obama’s strategy is exactly the opposite: Expand the beast, and then feed it. Spend first — which then forces taxation. Now that, with the institution of universal health care, we are becoming the full entitlement state, the beast will have to be fed.

And the VAT is the only trough in creation large enough.

As a substitute for the income tax, the VAT would be a splendid idea. Taxing consumption makes infinitely more sense than taxing work. But to feed the liberal social-democratic project, the VAT must be added on top of the income tax.

Ultimately, even that won’t be enough. As the population ages and health care becomes increasingly expensive, the only way to avoid fiscal ruin (as Britain, for example, has discovered) is health care rationing.

It will take a while to break the American populace to that idea. In the meantime, get ready for the VAT. Or start fighting it.(IBD)

So add to that the “Universal Retirement” where you are forced to fund the National Debt through Treasury bonds and all the Taxes for the Health Care Bill that will not drive you into the hands of the government but your employer as well.

Doom is coming over the horizon.

And the only thing we can do is REMEMBER IN NOVEMBER!