The Pork Sleighs Me

Political Cartoons by Jerry Holbert

Some Christmas Pork over the Crony Barrel:

WASHINGTON — President Obama’s $60.4 billion request for Hurricane Sandy relief has morphed into a huge Christmas stocking of goodies for federal agencies and even the state of Alaska, The Post has learned.

The pork-barrel feast includes more than $8 million to buy cars and equipment for the Homeland Security and Justice departments. It also includes a whopping $150 million for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to dole out to fisheries in Alaska and $2 million for the Smithsonian Institution to repair museum roofs in DC.

An eye-popping $13 billion would go to “mitigation” projects to prepare for future storms.

Other big-ticket items in the bill include $207 million for the VA Manhattan Medical Center; $41 million to fix up eight military bases along the storm’s path, including Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; $4 million for repairs at Kennedy Space Center in Florida; $3.3 million for the Plum Island Animal Disease Center and $1.1 million to repair national cemeteries.

Budget watchdogs have dubbed the 94-page emergency-spending bill “Sandy Scam.”

Matt Mayer of the conservative Heritage Foundation slammed the request as an “enormous Christmas gift worth of stuff.”

“The funding here should be focused on helping the community and the people, not replacing federal assets or federal items,” he said.

Never Let a Crisis Go to Waste! 🙂

Mark Steyn:

A few years ago, my small local hospital asked a Senate staffer if she could assist them in obtaining federal money for a new building. So she did, expediting the process by which that particular corner of northern New Hampshire was deemed to be “under-served” and thus eligible for the fed gravy. At the ribbon-cutting, she was an honored guest, and they were abundant in their praise. Alas, in the fullness of time, the political pendulum swung, her senator departed the scene, and she was obliged to take a job out of state.

Last summer, she returned to the old neighborhood and thought she’d look for a doctor. The sweet old guy with the tweed jacket in the neatly painted cape on Main Street had taken down his shingle and retired. Most towns in the North Country now have fewer doctors than they did in the 19th century, and the smaller towns have none. The Yellow Pages lists more health insurers than physicians, which would not seem to be an obvious business model. So she wound up going to the health center she’d endowed so lavishly with your tax dollars just a few years earlier.

They gave her the usual form to fill in, full of perceptive inquiries on her medical condition: Do you wear a seat belt? Do you own a gun? How many bisexual men are you now having sex with? These would be interesting questions if one were signing up for eHarmony.com and looking to date gun-owning bisexuals who don’t wear seat belts, but they were not immediately relevant to her medical needs. Nevertheless, she complied with the diktats of the Bureau of Compliance, and had her medical records transferred, and waited . . . and waited. That was August. She has now been informed that she has an appointment with a nurse-practitioner at the end of January. My friend pays $15,000 a year for health insurance. In northern New Hampshire, that and meeting the minimum-entry requirement of bisexual sex partners will get you an appointment with a nurse-practitioner in six months’ time.

Why is it taking so long? Well, because everything in America now takes long, and longer still. But beyond that malign trend are more specific innovations, such as the “Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology,” which slipped through all but unnoticed in Subtitle A Part One Section 3001 of the 2009 Obama stimulus bill. Under the Supreme National Coordinator, the United States government is setting up a national database for everybody’s medical records, so that if a Texan hiker falls off Mount Katahdin after walking the Appalachian Trail, Maine’s first responders will be able to know exactly how many bisexual gun-owners she’s slept with, and afford her the necessary care.

This great medical advance is supposed to be fully implemented by 2014, so the federal government is providing incentives for doctors to comply. Under the EHR Incentive Program, if a physician makes “meaningful use” of electronic health records, he’s eligible for “bonuses” from the feds — a mere $44,000 from Medicare, for example, but up to $63,750 from Medicaid. If you have a practice at 27 Elm Street and you’re treating the elderly widow from 22 Elm Street, she’s unlikely to meet the federally mandated bi-guy requirement, but you can still qualify for bonuses by filing her smoking status with Washington. For medical facilities in upscale suburbs, EHR is costly and time-consuming, and, along with a multitude of other Obamacare regulatory burdens, helping drive doctors to opt out entirely: My comrade Michelle Malkin noted the other day that her own general practitioner has now switched over to “concierge care,” under which all third parties (whether private insurers or government) are dumped and a patient contracts with his doctor solely through his checkbook. Some concierge docs will even make house calls: Everything old is new again! (For as long as the new federal commissars permit it.)

But in the broken-down rural hinterlands, EHR and other novelties make it more lucrative for surviving medical centers to prioritize federal paperwork over patient care. For example, there’s a lot of prescription-drug abuse in this country, and so the feds award “meaningful use” bonuses for providing records that will assist them in determining whether a guy with a prescription for painkillers in New Hampshire also has a prescription for painkillers with another doctor over the Connecticut River in Vermont. So in practice every new patient in this part of the world now undergoes a background check before getting anywhere near a doctor. It doesn’t do much for your health, but it does wonders for an ever more sclerotic bureaucracy.

Hence the decay of so many “medical” appointments into robot-voiced box-checking. At the doctor’s a couple of months back, the nurse was out to lunch, and so the receptionist-practitioner rattled through the form. In the waiting room. “Are you sexually active?” she asked. “You first,” I replied. I hope I didn’t cost her the federal bonus.

But don’t worry, it’s totally secure. Carl Smith Jr. was the first physician in Harlan County, Kentucky to introduce EHR. “Because of this technology,” Dr. Smith says, “we can send the patient’s prescription electronically by secure e-mail to pharmacies.” Wow! “Secure e-mail”: What a concept! It’s a good thing the e-mail is secure at American pharmacies because nothing else is. Last Christmas, while guest-hosting at Fox News in New York, I had a spot of ill health and went to pick up a prescription at Duane Reade on Sixth Avenue. The woman ahead of me was having some difficulties. She was a stylish lady d’un certain age, and she caught my wandering eye. After prolonged consultation with the computer, the “pharmacist” informed her (and the rest of us within earshot) that her insurer had approved her Ortho but denied her Valtrex. I was thinking of asking her for cocktails at the Plaza, when I noticed the other women in line tittering. It seems that Ortho is a birth-control pill, and Valtrex is a herpes medication.

So good luck retaining any meaningful doctor-patient confidentiality in a system in which more people — insurers, employers, government commissars, TSA Obergropinführers, federal incentive-program auditors — will be able to access your medical records than in any other nation on earth.

No foreigner can even understand the American “health care” debate, which seems to any tourist casually surfing the news channels to involve everything but health care. Since the Second World War, government medical systems have taken hold in almost every developed nation, but only in America does the introduction of governmentalized health care impact small-business hiring practices and religious liberty, and require 16,500 new IRS agents and federal bonuses for contributing to a national database of seat-belt wearers. Thus, Big Government American-style: Byzantine, legalistic, whimsical, coercive, heavy on the paperwork, and lacking the one consolation of statism — the great clarifying simplicity of universal mediocrity.

As I wrote a couple weeks ago, Obamacare governmentalizes one-sixth of the U.S. economy — or the equivalent of the entire French economy. No one has ever attempted that before, not even the French. In parts of rural America it will quickly achieve a Platonic perfection: There will be untold legions of regulators, administrators, and IRS collection agents, but not a doctor or nurse in sight.

Michelle Malkin: Department of Health and Human Services Inspector General acknowledged that the incentive system is “vulnerable to paying incentives to professionals and hospitals that do not fully meet” the program’s quality assurance requirements. The federal health bureaucracy “has not implemented strong prepayment safeguards, and its ability to safeguard incentive payments postpayment is also limited,” the IG concluded.

Translation: No one is actually verifying whether the transition from paper to electronic is improving patient outcomes and health services. No one is actually guarding against GIGO (garbage in, garbage out). No one is checking whether recipients of the EMR incentives are receiving money redundantly (e.g., raking in payments when they’ve already converted to electronic records). No one is actually protecting private data from fraud, abuse or exploitation.

But not doing it, or doing it more rationally of course, is, you guessed it “racist” “sexist” “bigotry” and “trying to kill grandma.”

America in the 21st Century, what a Kingdom of Bureaucracy. The Bureaucrat is King and you’re just a smelly, nasty, demanding little serf who just wants to annoy them.

Congrats. It’s what you voted for Amerika. 🙂

 

 

 

 

The Secret Pork

Then Speaker of The House Pelosi: “[W]e have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of the controversy.”

Now that someone is opening this can of compressed worms, the stink bugs are escaping too.

Investigators for the House Energy and Commerce Committee have discovered that a little-known provision in the national health care law has allowed the federal government to pay nearly $2 billion to unions, state public employee systems, and big corporations to subsidize health coverage costs for early retirees.  At the current rate of payment, the $5 billion appropriated for the program could be exhausted well before it is set to expire.

It’s a waiver slush fund BUILT INTO the Law. Gee, now that’s confidence in your legislation.

Unless, of course, the ultimate goal was not “to insure everyone”. 🙂

The discovery came on the eve of an oversight hearing focused on the workings of an obscure agency known as CCIO — the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight.  CCIO, which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services, oversees the implementation of Section 1102 of the Affordable Care Act, which created something called the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program.  The legislation called for the program to spend a total of $5 billion, beginning in June 2010 — shortly after Obamacare was passed — and ending on January 1, 2014, as the system of national health care exchanges was scheduled to go into effect.

The idea was to subsidize unions, states, and companies that had made commitments to provide health insurance for workers who retired early —  between the ages of 55 and 64, before they were eligible for Medicare. According to a new report prepared by the Department of Health and Human Services, “People in the early retiree age group…often face difficulties obtaining insurance in the individual market because of age or chronic conditions that make coverage unaffordable or inaccessible.”  As a result, fewer and fewer organizations have been offering coverage to early retirees; the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program was designed to subsidize such coverage until the creation of Obamacare’s health-care exchanges.

The program began making payouts on June 1, 2010.  Between that date and the end of 2010, it paid out about $535 million dollars.  But according to the new report, the rate of spending has since increased dramatically, to about $1.3 billion just for the first two and a half months of this year. At that rate, it could burn through the entire $5 billion appropriation as early as 2012.

Where is the money going?  According to the new report, the biggest single recipient of an early-retiree bailout is the United Auto Workers, which has so far received $206,798,086.  Other big recipients include AT&T, which received $140,022,949, and Verizon, which received $91,702,538.  General Electric, in the news recently for not paying any U.S. taxes last year, received $36,607,818.  General Motors, recipient of a massive government bailout, received $19,002,669.

The program also paid large sums of money to state governments.  The Public Employees Retirement System of Ohio received $70,557,764; the Teacher Retirement System of Texas received $68,074,118; the California Public Employees Retirement System, or CalPERS, received $57,834,267; the Georgia Department of Community Health received $57,936,127; and the state of New York received $47,869,044.  Other states received lesser but still substantial sums.

But payments to individual states were dwarfed by the payout to the auto workers union, which received more than the states of New York, California, and Texas combined.  Other unions also received government funds, including the United Food and Commercial Workers, the United Mine Workers, and the Teamsters.

And Unions make the the majority of people getting the over 1,000 waivers from ObamaCare.

The UAW, which ended up with a majority share of Chrysler (and much of GM) stock after it went bankrupt – they were paid before bond and shareholders – made out like bandits but The Democrats felt the need to pork them anyhow.

But don’t worry, there’s nothing corrupt going on, that dead fish smell is just your imagination. 😦

Republican investigators count the early-retiree program among those that would never have become law had Democrats allowed more scrutiny of Obamacare at the time it was pushed through the House and Senate.  Since then, Republicans have kept an eye on the program but were not able to pry any information out of the administration until after the GOP won control of the House last November.  Now, finally, they are learning what’s going on.

It comes back to the question: If this law was so fantastic, why all the waivers, cons,pork, and Machiavellian maneuvers to avoid it for your political apparatchiks??

Hmm…. Maybe they they knew that Obamacare, the epitome of socialism, and the redistribution of wealth, does not and cannot work.  It never has and it never will.  This is why they cheat the system.

But since they already have a sense of “entitlement” to everyone else’s money and craving for power that is insatiable I suppose we should expect nothing less.

Now that’s “Winning the Future”. 🙂

“If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever.”–George Orwell

All I Want For Christmas is My 6,488 Earmarks!


The Democrats have decided what they want for Christmas. Your front teeth and everything else you and the next several generations own.

They have stuffed their own stockings full of joy (for them).

They want to go out on a drug induced high.

They don’t care if Santa thinks they’ve been naughty.

THE LAST FEAST: 6,488 EARMARKS

$575.13 million per page

Political Cartoon

Senate Democrats have filed a $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill that would fund the government through fiscal year 2011, according to Senate GOP sources.

Then there’s the DREAM ACT, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, etc. They are vastly more important than the debt or deficit!

And if we don’t get them, we’ll stay here until January 5th and hold our breath and turn blue until you kiss our buts!

The package drew a swift rebuke from Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee.

“The attempt by Democrat leadership to rush through a nearly 2,000-page spending bill in the final days of the lame-duck session ignores the clear will expressed by the voters this past election,” Thune said in a statement. “This bill is loaded up with pork projects and should not get a vote. Congress should listen to the American people and stop this reckless spending.

The Senate bill, though, boosts spending by $16 billion.

“We’re not through. Congress ends on Jan. 4,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat.

So we’ll keep you HOSTAGE until the very last second to pass our Agenda or else!

We are going to squeeze you and everyone else to the last possible second to get our Ideological Obsessions done whether you like it or not.

Screw the Elections! F*ck the Voters! Sh*t on going quietly into the night! Up Yours! 🙂

We want what we want and when we want it and we don’t give a crap about anything else!

Up Yours!

We love earmarked-to-your-death 2,000 page bills!

“Mr. President, at 12:15 p.m. this afternoon, my office received a copy of the omnibus appropriations bill. It is 1,924 pages long and contains the funding for all 12 of the annual appropriations bills for a grand total of over $1.1 Trillion. It is important to note that the 1,924 pages is only the legislative language and does not include the thousands of pages of report language which contain the details of the billions of dollars in earmarks and, I’m sure, countless policy riders.

“While we continue to uncover which earmarks the appropriators decided to fund – thanks to a new online database – we at least know what earmarks were requested by Members and how much those projects would cost the American people if they were all funded. Taxpayers against Earmarks, http://www.washingtonwatch.com and Taxpayers for Common Sense joined forces to create this database. According to the data they compiled – for fiscal year 2011 Members requested over 39,000 earmarks totaling over $130 billion. Absolutely disgraceful. I encourage every American to go to the website http://www.endingspending.com study it, and make yourselves aware of how your elected officials seek to spend your money.

“In the short time I’ve had to review this massive piece of legislation – I’ve identified approximately 6,488 earmarks totaling nearly $8.3 billion. Here is a small sample:

$277,000 for potato pest management in Wisconsin
$246,000 for bovine tuberculosis in Michigan and Minnesota
$522,000 for cranberry and blueberry disease and breeding in New Jersey
$500,000 for oyster safety in Florida
$349,000 for swine waste management in North Carolina
$413,000 for peanut research in Alabama
$247,000 for virus free wine grapes in Washington
$208,000 beaver management in North Carolina
$94,000 for blackbird management in Louisiana
$165,000 for maple syrup research in Vermont
$235,000 for noxious weed management in Nevada
$100,000 for the Edgar Allen Poe Cottage Visitor’s Center in New York
$300,000 for the Polynesian Voyaging Society in Hawaii
$400,000 for solar parking canopies and plug-in electric stations in Kansas

“Additionally, the bill earmarks $727,000 to compensate ranchers in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan whenever endangered wolves eat their cattle. As my colleagues know, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Gray Wolf program is under intense scrutiny for wasting millions of taxpayer dollars every year to ‘recover’ endangered wolves that are now overpopulating the West and Midwest. My State of Arizona has a similar wolf program but ranchers in my state aren’t getting $727,000 in this bill.

“Mr. President, I will have much more to say about this bill later this week. I assure my colleagues – we will spend a great deal of time talking about this bill and the outrageous number of earmarks it contains. But for now let me just say this: it is December 14th – we are 22 days away from the beginning of a new Congress and nearly three full months into fiscal year 2011 – and yet we have not debated a single spending bill or considered any amendments to cut costs or get our debt under control. Furthermore, the majority decided that they just didn’t feel like doing a budget this year. How is that responsible leadership?

“This is the ninth omnibus appropriations bill we have considered in this body since 2000. That is shameful and we should be embarrassed by the fact that we care so little about doing the people’s business that we continuously put off fulfilling our constitutional responsibilities until the very last minute.

“One thing is abundantly clear to me – that the majority has not learned the lessons of last month’s election. The American people could not have been more clear. They are tired of wasteful spending. They are tired of big government. They are tired of sweetheart deals for special interests. They are tired of business as usual in Washington. And they are tired of massive bills – just like this one – put together behind closed doors, and rammed through the Congress at the last moment so that no one has the opportunity to read them and no one really knows what kind of waste is in them.

“Let me be clear about one thing – if the Majority Leader insists on proceeding to this monstrosity – the American people will know what’s in it. I will be joined by many of my colleagues on this side of the aisle to ensure that every single word of this bill is read aloud here on the Senate floor.

“I encourage my friends on the other side of the aisle to rethink their strategy and move forward with a short-term continuing resolution to fund the government into next year when a new Congress takes over – a Congress that was elected by the American people on November 2nd. “The majority may be able to strong arm enough members into voting for this omnibus – but they will not win in the end. The American people will remember – and I predict that we will see a repeat of November 2nd in the very near future.” (Sen. John McCain)

OBAMACARE UPDATE

The newest defense of the Health Care Mandate: Auto Insurance!

They are not even remotely the same thing.

I wrote a blog about this 15 months ago when they trotted this crap out the last time: https://indyfromaz.wordpress.com/2009/10/01/the-bad-analogy/

But let me just hit you with Point#1 that blows the whole argument to pieces in seconds:

If you don’t have a car, you don’t need or are required by law to have auto insurance!

Just try that under Obama’s Health Care. You’ll be hearing the jackboots of the IRS stomping on your face very soon…

Q.E.D. 🙂

And these are supposed to be bright people?

They are, but their Ideology is so far up their arse that it has throttled their brainpower.

And they don’t care, because they are vastly superior to you!

Political Cartoon

Political Cartoon

Pig Out!

Michael Ramirez Cartoon

The so-called “Tax Deal” framework worked out by the President and the Republicans has been the victim this week of Rapid Onset  DC Porkulus Disease.

The lard of political pork has weighed this bill down so it can’t move anymore. And is no longer healthy to digest.

Things like pork for Ethanol Subsidies, laden in their by the corn producing States Congressional “representatives” of course!

Sen. Tom Harkin (D., Iowa) and Sen. Ben Nelson (D., Neb.) said later that a one-year extension of the 45-cent-a-gallon credit for blending ethanol into gasoline would be added to the Senate tax package.
Even Al “The Savior of Mankind” Gore is not HOT on Ethanol anymore. But, hey, it’s necessary pork. 🙂
And it raises food prices because that corn doesn’t go to feed humans or animals.
That’s worth $6 Billion in pork, right?
And that’s only the tip of this pig’s snout.

It needs to go down. To defeat that is.

And the Republicans need to vote it down, but explain that it is being voted down because of the pork overload being piled on it by Democrats.

And another thing, when former President Clinton can speak about it more articulately about it than our current President ,who always complains about poor communication, you know there’s a problem.

Obama bailed on Clinton in The White House Briefing with a lame excuse and Clinton carried on for an Hour!

So now it’s Bill’s job to save even this meager thing from his own party’s hounds?

No wonder this current White House has communication problems!

But mostly, they have comprehension problems in spades!

Over the last few days I have come to believe Charles Krauthammer was ahead of the curve on this one.

Charles Krauthammer: Barack Obama won the great tax-cut showdown of 2010 – and House Democrats don’t have a clue that he did. In the deal struck this week, the president negotiated the biggest stimulus in American history, larger than his $814 billion 2009 stimulus package. It will pump a trillion borrowed Chinese dollars into the U.S. economy over the next two years – which just happen to be the two years of the run-up to the next presidential election. This is a defeat?

If Obama had asked for a second stimulus directly, he would have been laughed out of town. Stimulus I was so reviled that the Democrats banished the word from their lexicon throughout the 2010 campaign. And yet, despite a very weak post-election hand, Obama got the Republicans to offer to increase spending and cut taxes by $990 billion over two years. Two-thirds of that is above and beyond extension of the Bush tax cuts but includes such urgent national necessities as windmill subsidies.

No mean achievement. After all, these are the same Republicans who spent 2010 running on limited government and reducing debt. And this budget busting occurs less than a week after the president’s deficit commission had supposedly signaled a new national consensus of austerity and frugality.

Some Republicans are crowing that Stimulus II is the Republican way – mostly tax cuts – rather than the Democrats’ spending orgy of Stimulus I. That’s consolation? This just means that Republicans are two years too late. Stimulus II will still blow another near-$1 trillion hole in the budget.

At great cost that will have to be paid after this newest free lunch, the package will add as much as 1 percent to GDP and lower the unemployment rate by about 1.5 percentage points. That could easily be the difference between victory and defeat in 2012.

Obama is no fool. While getting Republicans to boost his own reelection chances, he gets them to make a mockery of their newfound, second-chance, post-Bush, Tea-Party, this-time-we’re-serious persona of debt-averse fiscal responsibility.

And he gets all this in return for what? For a mere two-year postponement of a mere 4.6-point increase in marginal tax rates for upper incomes. And an estate tax rate of 35 percent – it jumps insanely from zero to 55 percent on Jan. 1 – that is somewhat lower than what the Democrats wanted.

No, cries the left: Obama violated a sacred principle. A 39.6 percent tax rate versus 35 percent is a principle? “This is the public option debate all over again,” said Obama at his Tuesday news conference. He is right. The left never understood that to nationalize health care there is no need for a public option because Obamacare turns the private insurers into public utilities, thus setting us inexorably on the road to the left’s Promised Land: a Canadian-style single-payer system. The left is similarly clueless on the tax-cut deal: In exchange for temporarily forgoing a small rise in upper-income rates, Obama pulled out of a hat a massive new stimulus – what the left has been begging for since the failure of Stimulus I but was heretofore politically unattainable.

Obama’s public exasperation with this infantile leftism is both perfectly understandable and politically adept. It is his way back to at least the appearance of centrist moderation. The only way he will get a second look from the independents who elected him in 2008 – and abandoned the Democrats in 2010 – is by changing the prevailing (and correct) perception that he is a man of the left.

Hence that news-conference attack on what the administration calls the “professional left” for its combination of sanctimony and myopia. It was Obama’s Sister Souljah moment. It had a prickly, irritated sincerity – their ideological stupidity and inability to see the “long game” really do get under Obama’s skin – but a decidedly calculated quality, too. Where, after all, does the left go? Stay home on Election Day 2012? Vote Republican?

No, says the current buzz, the left will instead challenge Obama for the Democratic nomination. Really now? For decades, African Americans have been this party’s most loyal constituency. They vote 9 to 1 Democratic through hell and high water, through impeachment and recession, through everything. After four centuries of enduring much, African Americans finally see one of their own achieve the presidency. And their own party is going to deny him a shot at his own reelection?

Not even Democrats are that stupid. The remaining question is whether they are just stupid enough to not understand – and therefore vote down – the swindle of the year just pulled off by their own president.

And whether the Republicans are smart enough to not only run from this deal, but to point out who killed it, thus making the Democrats ultimately responsible for your taxes going up on Jan 1. But are they THAT smart?

And the even bigger question is, can the Spending Drug addicts on both sides go into rehab (More Discovery Channel Intervention-style not Lindsey Lohan-Hollywood)  and actually change their ways.

And will their drug-dependents (the people) let them.

The jury is still out on that one.

I’m not hopeful.

But that’s why I’m a pessimist. I like being surprised when I’m wrong. 🙂

Political Cartoon by Steve Breen

The Safety Net

“It’s very sad. I think it’s just illustrating what dire straits our federal government budget is in,” said Sheila Zedlewski, director of the Urban Institute’s Income and Benefits Center. “It’s unprecedented to raid one safety net program to feed another.”

Democrats who reluctantly slashed a food stamp program to fund a state aid bill may have to do so again to pay for a top priority of first lady Michelle Obama.

The House will soon consider an $8 billion child nutrition bill that’s at the center of the first lady’s “Let’s Move” initiative. Before leaving for the summer recess, the Senate passed a smaller version of the legislation that is paid for by trimming the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as food stamps.

The proposed cuts would come on top of a 13.6 percent food stamp reduction in the $26 billion Medicaid and education state funding bill that President Obama signed this week.

Food stamps have made multiple appearances on the fiscal chopping block because Democrats have few other places to turn to offset the cost of legislation.

Party leaders raided the budget to find off-setting tax increases and spending cuts to pay for their top legislative priorities, including the roughly $900 billion health care law.

Democrats have turned to the food stamp program because funding increases enacted in the stimulus package last year were already scheduled to phase out over time. The changes proposed in the state aid and nutrition bills would simply cut off that increase early, in March 2014. Because the cuts would not take effect for more than three years, Democratic leaders have voiced the hope that they will be able to stop them in future legislation.

But House liberals are balking now, saying that while they swallowed the food stamp cuts to pay for urgent funding for Medicaid and teachers, they will not vote for more cuts in the child nutrition bill.

A House leadership aide noted that the food stamp decrease approved in the state aid bill will not take effect right away and will leave the program at the same funding level it was at before the stimulus law was signed. “That doesn’t mean many Democrats are not concerned about the issue, but this is a process which gives us time to deal with immediate issues (like jobs) and helping the economy grow, while giving you time to deal with the food stamp issue,” the aide said. (The Hill)

In other words, the card shuffling rob Peter-to-Pay-Paul-Wimpy-I’ll Pay you tomorrow for a hamburger (or food stamp)-today economics may be running a bit thin.

The idea that you can pay for massive spending with cuts 3 years from now in the hope that everything will be fine and and you won’t have to cut them in 3 years is some how saving money now is just wrong.

And these were eliminating increases that that they’d already passed!

Sounds like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic after it’s hit the iceberg! 😦

But when you have The Agenda, and the Agenda must be passed and the end justifies the means, you’ll do and say anything to make it happen.

The deeper food stamp reductions in the Senate version would set an earlier date — in November 2013 — for eliminating the increased benefits passed last year.  A family of four would see their benefit reduced by $59 a month, or about 9 percent. The bill would also cut funding for nutrition education programs aimed at low-income neighborhoods and households.

But don’t worry, It will still be George W Bush’s fault if the cuts actually happen. Or evil rich people. Or Class warfare. It certainly won’t be there fault. And it’s just cutting an increase anyhow so no big deal (unless you’re the Bush Tax cuts where not increasing taxes is bad).

The truth is certainly not endangered. 🙂

I like this comment made on the article, it was suitably sarcastic:

No big deal. Just put a “cancel” on any payments from the treasury to cover charges for the Obama family’s entertainment amd travel budget. It would onlly take a few months of austerity in the White House to jumpstart the economy, balance the budget, and slash the deficit. If that doesn’t do it, garnish Obama’s salary, eliminate his empire of czars, and fire “Bozo” Gibbs. The first two measures would be sacrifices, and the third would be a sign of at least some intelligent life in the White House.

Now why would they want to interrupt their latest lavish vacation to do that? Gee, they are the elites and they are the ruling family why would they want to show any restraint?

They deserve it. They are better than you.

I guess we could always Eat their words… 🙂

Congress’ rationale for eliminating the 2003 Bush tax cuts is deficit reduction. This position would be more credible were congress not teeing-up additional discretionary spending programs in the form of various stimuli packages for union members and favored political allies whom Democrats need to please in order to ensure their re-election in November. The deficit can never be reduced if Congress doesn’t stop non-essential spending. (or this kind of Wimpy-I’ll-pay-tomorrow-for-what-I-spend-today economics).

Currently, it is not clear if the confiscatory tax policies proposed by Democrats are designed to reduce the deficit by increasing the government’s revenue or if they are designed to punish political opponents and those whose don’t share the flawed, Democrat, wealth-redistribution ideology. Increasingly, it’s looking as if the goal is to punish.

Low tax rates incentivize economic growth and investment. This has been proven time after time. But, Democrats prefer to focus, instead, on taxes on the “rich”, using inflammatory rhetoric that plays on our deepest fears and ego, fear that someone might be better than we are, have more than we do, rhetoric that encourages schadenfreude, a smug pleasure that those who have more than we, might be brought low by confiscatory tax policies.

The Democrat leaders in congress advocating against the Bush tax cuts are looking for a bogeyman—the rich—to be blamed for the failed Democrat fiscal and job creation policies. Punishing the “rich” is a campaign strategy that they hope will play well with voters this fall. (Townhall.com)

Let them EAT the “rich”. Meanwhile, the apparatchiks are being porked out of their minds.

And you, get to pay for it either way. 🙂

Oh, and just in case you didn’t know, their was another stimulus (aka bribe) recently also:

WASHINGTON (AP) — A check from Uncle Sam gets your attention, even if the money doesn’t help that much with the bills.

More than 750,000 Medicare recipients with high prescription costs each got a $250 government check this summer, and 3 million-plus more checks are going out to people who land in the program’s anxiety-inducing coverage gap.

Democrats, running scared in an election year, are trying to overcome older people’s mistrust of the new health care law, which expands coverage for younger generations by cutting Medicare payments to hospitals and insurers.

Will the ploy work?

“It’s like a teaser,” says Virginia Brant, 65, of Glendale, Ariz. “You go to Vegas and they give you the free spin on the wheel. We have had our teaser — the $250 — for us to say, ‘Gee, look at what we have coming.’”

Brant spent hers to help pay down a credit card she keeps for medications.

The checks arrive with a letter addressed directly to each beneficiary and signed by Kathleen Sebelius, President Barack Obama’s health secretary.

The money is “to bring you some needed relief on your prescription drug costs … the first step toward closing your coverage gap,” Sebelius says. Then comes the pitch: “Stay tuned for more information … on how this new law will help make Medicare more financially secure and provide you with higher quality and more affordable health care.”

Ooh, $250 bucks! Wow! that makes The Health Care Mandate  and the cuts in Medicare Advantage  (which is used for prescriptions mostly :)) so much more palatable and makes me want to vote for a Democrat so they can continue to pork people without regard to the consequences!

I guess they could always cut food stamps again to pay for it…. 🙂

So The democrats want to demagogue the rich, pay off their apparatchiks with your money and bribe people to vote for them in November.

Well at least some things haven’t changed in the swamp. 🙂

Boo-Hoo Economics

Michael Ramirez Cartoon

Michelle “Antionette” Obama’s husband signed a Union Apparatchiks Bailout bill on Tuesday. It gave $26 Billion to state employees, primarily teachers (4 states of which that don’t even need it because there is no shortage!) and being the political animals in an election year what did they do to “offset” that spending?

They cut Food Stamps. 🙂

Or so the bill signed says (wait for the punchline, it’s coming).

Which prompts the liberal Boston Globe to complain:

ON TUESDAY, President Obama signed a $26 billion bill to help state and local governments cover Medicaid payments and avoid having to lay off teachers and other public employees. In what passes for high drama in Washington, the House of Representatives was called back from its summer recess to vote on the package, and the successful outcome was hailed as a major Democratic victory. “We can’t stand by and do nothing while pink slips are given to the men and women who educate our children or keep our communities safe,’’ Obama said. “That doesn’t make sense.’’
No, it doesn’t. But only by the occluded standards of contemporary Washington could this aid package be considered a victory. What began three months ago as a $50 billion emergency spending bill limped to the president’s desk at half that size and was largely paid for — “offset’’ in the clinical terminology of the budget — by cutting $12 billion from the food stamp program. In other words, a measure designed to help one group struggling in the recession came at the expense of another that is even worse off — and growing rapidly.

The number of people receiving food stamps stands at a record 41 million, or one out of every eight Americans. Driven by the downturn, that number has risen every month for the past 18 months. Last year alone, it grew by 20 percent. It’s grown by 50 percent since the recession began.

Then they say : The “good news’’ from an economic standpoint is that food stamps are a terrific vehicle for stimulus, because recipients spend them quickly.

Is that related to Nancy Pelosi’s unemployment comment that benefits are actually “Job creating” and that unemployment benefits “Create jobs faster than almost any other initiative you can name.” 🙂

Bad news is Good News and Good News is Good News. Orwell would be proud of them.

But I find this “offset” target very curious. And makes me wonder just how politically motivated it was, as in, they picked something that made it look like they were being “responsible” knowing they’d never really do it.

And it was less than they wanted to begin with, so they were being more “responsible”.

But the truth is, it was in part a Campaign Slush Fund transfer anyhow. 🙂

Along with a bailout of his apparatchiks.

It goes like this, they give these Billions to teachers unions and then the teachers unions turn some of that money right back around as PAC contributions to Democrats running for re-elections. So it’s free campaign money.

They have effectively porked their own candidates without actually looking like it.

Now isn’t that just peachy. 🙂

According to the Washington, D.C.-based Labor Union Report, the National Education Association in 2009 “raked in a whopping $355,334,165 in ‘dues and agency fees’ from (mostly) teachers around the country.” It spent close to $11 million more than it took in — $50 million of which union leaders poured into “political activities and lobbying” for exclusively left-wing and Democratic partisan causes and candidates.

Its primary mission? No, not educational excellence. Not “the children.” Political self-preservation.

Last July, the National Education Association’s retiring top lawyer, Bob Chanin, speaking at the NEA’s annual meeting in July, made the union’s true interests transparent: “Despite what some among us would like to believe it is not because of our creative ideas. It is not because of the merit of our positions. It is not because we care about children, and it is not because we have a vision of a great public school for every child. NEA and its affiliates are effective advocates because we have power.

“And we have power because there are more than 3.2 million people who are willing to pay us hundreds of millions of dollars in dues each year, because they believe that we are the unions that can most effectively represent them, the unions that can protect their rights and advance their interests as education employees . . .

“This is not to say that the concern of NEA and its affiliates with closing achievement gaps, reducing dropout rates, improving teacher quality and the like are unimportant or inappropriate. To the contrary.

“These are the goals that guide the work we do. But they need not and must not be achieved at the expense of due process, employee rights and collective bargaining. That simply is too high a price to pay.”

Left-wing radical Saul Alinsky taught his education acolytes well. Teacher organizers, he counseled, must commit to a “singleness of purpose.” No, not serving children’s needs, but serving the “ability to build a power base.” If that isn’t the dictionary definition of “special interest,” what is? (Michelle Malkin)

Back to the Boo-Hoo Globe: The justification offered by proponents was that food prices haven’t risen as much as Congress expected them to, and therefore cutting benefits to hungry kids isn’t really so bad, especially since the cuts won’t take effect until 2014.

Ta Da!  there’s the magic bullet!!

So they are cutting food stamps 4 years from now to pay for a Union Stimulus now!

Kinda sounds like Wimpy from The Popeye cartoons, “I will pay you tomorrow for a hamburger today”.

That’s Liberal economics for ya.

Which leads to….

The U.S. government spent itself deeper into the red last month, paying nearly $20 billion in interest on debt and an additional $9.8 billion to help unemployed Americans.
Federal spending eclipsed revenue for the 22nd straight time, the Treasury Department said Wednesday. The $165.04 billion deficit, while a bit smaller than the $169.5 billion shortfall expected by economists polled by Dow Jones Newswires, was the second highest for the month on record. The highest was $180.68 billion in July 2009.
The government usually runs a deficit during July, which is the 10th month of the fiscal year. So far in fiscal 2010, the government spent $1.169 trillion more than it made. That figure is about $98 billion lower than during the comparable period a year earlier.
For all of fiscal 2009, the U.S. ran a record $1.42 trillion deficit. Fiscal 2010 might run a little higher—the Obama administration sees $1.47 trillion.
Wednesday’s monthly Treasury statement said U.S. government revenues in July totaled $155.55 billion, compared with $151.48 billion in July 2009.
Spending was higher, totaling $320.59 billion. July 2009 spending amounted to $332.16 billion.
Year-to-date revenues were $1.75 trillion, compared with $1.74 trillion in the first 10 months of fiscal 2009. Spending so far in this fiscal year is $2.92 trillion, versus $3.01 trillion in the prior period.
Spending for benefits for the unemployed year to date totaled $121.4 billion; for July, the tab was $9.8 billion, the Treasury statement said.
Years of deficit spending by Washington have led to a mounting national debt. Interest payments so far in fiscal 2010 amount to $185.25 billion; by contrast, corporate taxes collected by the government during the same 10 months were $139.71 billion. Interest payments in July alone were $19.9 billion. (WSJ)

But don’t worry, this was all George W. Bush’s Fault! He made them do it!! 😦

Then Boston Globe ends with this sobbing whine: But the idea that they’ve won anything overall is hard to sustain. They sacrificed the most effective form of stimulus and capitulated to the Republican idea that deficits matter above all else. Their decision about who should bear the brunt of the offsets, and the silence that greeted it, suggests a moral capitulation as well. It may be a victory. But it’s nothing to brag about.

They have to be dishonest even to themselves in their Insufferable Perceived Moral Superiority and Outrage.

The cuts aren’t until 2014 ya dirtbags! You know, the same year the Health Care Mandate kicks in!  🙂 So they are sobbing about cutting something 4 years from now to pay for pork spending now and they are boo-hooing “it’s so unfair” about it.

Meanwhile the Deficit is climbing towards 15 Billion dollars and they just can’t stop the addiction to spending, especially on their own apparatchiks.

But that’s all George W. Bush’s Fault!

Where’s that Industrial Strength Barf Bag…

Poisoning The Well, With Lame Duck

The Democrats are expected to lose big, especially in the House, in November.

Their hierarchy is made  up of very petty partisans who will do anything for their agenda.

They are the ones who have total disrespect for everyone who disagrees with them.

So faced with nearly inevitable annihilation that even they think is coming.

What can they do in the less than 4 months left before their power is diminished before the rampaging hoardes of barbarian Tea Partiers and Satan’s army incarnate, The Republicans,  storm the gates of their rightful power.

What any villager or Military in olden times did.

POISON THE WELL.

Do as much damage in a short amount of time as to make the incoming Congress’s job as tough as possible.

Likely, so in 2012’s Presidential Campaign Obama can claim that “well we tried it their way but it hasn’t gotten any better” because you know that if the House goes Republican (and possibly the Senate) that the Democrats who have been yelling about Republican “Obstructionism” for the last 18 months will now pivot and become the champion of  “No”.

And “NO!” will become a virtue again. And you know the Mainstream Media will be on the “Hell No!” bandwagon.

Meanwhile, their Health care provisions and taxes and the 2011 taxes will, of course, be “republican’s fault” after all they were in power when they hit. So it has to be their fault, doesn’t it. 🙂

The Democrats aren’t petty. 🙂

And the Mainstream Media isn’t in bed with them and won’t go from kiss-ass to a pack of veracious 24/7  raptors overnight.

No, that would never happen. 🙂

Democratic House members are so worried about the fall elections they’re leaving Washington on July 30, a full week earlier than normal—and they won’t return until mid-September. Members gulped when National Journal’s Charlie Cook, the Beltway’s leading political handicapper, predicted last month “the House is gone,” meaning a GOP takeover. He thinks Democrats will hold the Senate, but with a significantly reduced majority.

The rush to recess gives Democrats little time to pass any major laws. That’s why there have been signs in recent weeks that party leaders are planning an ambitious, lame-duck session to muscle through bills in December they don’t want to defend before November. Retiring or defeated members of Congress would then be able to vote for sweeping legislation without any fear of voter retaliation.\

“I’ve got lots of things I want to do” in a lame duck, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D., W. Va.) told reporters in mid June. North Dakota’s Kent Conrad, chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, wants a lame-duck session to act on the recommendations of President Obama’s deficit commission, which is due to report on Dec. 1. “It could be a huge deal,” he told Roll Call last month. “We could get the country on a sound long-term fiscal path.” By which he undoubtedly means new taxes in exchange for extending some, but not all, of the Bush-era tax reductions that will expire at the end of the year.

Mind you, the commission recommendation is a forgone conclusion. Higher Taxes,  even the VAT tax is not unlikely.

After all, it’s job is to deflect blame away from Obama and Congress to begin with.

Why not, they have nothing to lose. 😦

And Democrats, especially Progressive Socialist Democrats, aren’t petty and vindictive now are they…:)
In the House, Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva, co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, told reporters last month that for bills like “card check”—the measure to curb secret-ballot union elections—”the lame duck would be the last chance, quite honestly, for the foreseeable future.”

Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin, chair of the Senate committee overseeing labor issues, told the Bill Press radio show in June that “to those who think [card check] is dead, I say think again.” He told Mr. Press “we’re still trying to maneuver” a way to pass some parts of the bill before the next Congress is sworn in.

Other lame-duck possibilities? Senate ratification of the New Start nuclear treaty, a federally mandated universal voter registration system to override state laws (got to have even more potential for Democrats to foster voter fraud in 2012), and a budget resolution to lock in increased agency spending. (poison the well) Deficits, we’ll show you deficits! 🙂

Then there is pork. A Senate aide told me that “some of the biggest porkers on both sides of the aisle are leaving office this year, and a lame-duck session would be their last hurrah for spending.” Likely suspects include key members of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Congress’s “favor factory,” such as Pennsylvania Democrat Arlen Specter and Utah Republican Bob Bennett.

Conservative groups such as FreedomWorks are alarmed at the potential damage, and they are demanding that everyone in Congress pledge not to take up substantive legislation in a post-election session. “Members of Congress are supposed to represent their constituents, not override them like sore losers in a lame-duck session,” Rep. Tom Price, head of the Republican Study Committee, told me.

But these are they guys who rammed Health Care down your throat even if to this day a majority are against it.

They are suing the State of Arizona for their own Open Borders mentality even though a majority of Americans are against it.

They continue to spend like drugged-out addicts.

Why wouldn’t they take one final shot of that pork heroin.

The Democrats have the chance to push as much of their Agenda without consequence to them personally as possible. Why wouldn’t they do it?

I wouldn’t even put Amnesty off the table.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (Calif.), one of the GOP’s staunchest opponents of illegal immigration, warned that President Barack Obama might seek immigration reform after this fall’s elections, and urged lawmakers running for reelection to pledge not to move such legislation during a lame-duck Congress.

“If you listen to the debate, since the president’s speech, and now you look at this action by his Justice Department, what we can expect is that after the next elections, in between before the next Congress is sworn in, they will move and try to do something dramatic in the area of illegal immigration,” Rohrabacher said during an interview with a conservative radio syndicate.

So we have initiatives to create even more voter fraud, we have Amnesty for new Democrat voters.

They wouldn’t be trying to steal 2012 and future elections now would they?

Nah, they aren’t that cynical and power mad now are they. 🙂

Got a Global Warming PR problem, no problem a Lame Duck can’t fix.

“Last night President Obama reiterated his call for comprehensive energy and climate legislation to break our dependence on oil and fossil fuels. Next week he will be reaching out to senators on both sides of the aisle to chart a path forward.”

There’s that word “comprehensive” again….

“The tragedy in the gulf underscores the need to move quickly, and the president is committed to finding the votes for comprehensive energy legislation this year.”

Never Let a crisis go to waste, or a Lame Duck for that matter. 🙂

Under this scenario, the final product of any House-Senate conference could come up for a final vote in a lame-duck session after lawmakers have faced voters in November, thereby cushioning the vote’s political impact. (WP)

It’s been almost 30 years since anything remotely contentious was handled in a lame-duck session, but that doesn’t faze Democrats who have jammed through ObamaCare and are determined to bring the financial system under greater federal control.

Mike Allen of Politico.com reports one reason President Obama failed to mention climate change legislation during his recent, Oval Office speech on the Gulf oil spill was that he wants to pass a modest energy bill this summer, then add carbon taxes or regulations in a conference committee with the House, most likely during a lame-duck session. The result would be a climate bill vastly more ambitious, and costly for American consumers and taxpayers, than moderate “Blue Dogs” in the House would support on the campaign trail. “We have a lot of wiggle room in conference,” a House Democratic aide told the trade publication Environment & Energy Daily last month.

Many Democrats insist there will be no dramatic lame-duck agenda. But a few months ago they also insisted the extraordinary maneuvers used to pass health care wouldn’t be used. Desperate times may be seen as calling for desperate measures, and this November the election results may well make Democrats desperate. (John Fund, WSJ)

DAMN THE TORPEDOES! FULL STEAM AHEAD!

And of course, it’s all George W Bush and The Republican’s Fault. 🙂

What we really need is to have Lame Duck declared a  Major Health Hazard, because it’s potentially very, very TOXIC and  potentially lethal to us all.