Tag Archives: stimulus

Myth: “Republicans also support Big Government – in defense spending”

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There is currently a myth being spread across America that Republicans also support Big Government, in the form of generous defense spending, and that this is Republicans’ sacred cow. Anti-defense liberals and libertarians falsely claim that Republicans cannot credibly call for federal spending cuts and for limited government unless they’re willing to significantly slash defense spending.

But they are dead wrong. Read on, Dear Reader, and I’ll show you why.

Limited-government conservatism is an ideology that aims to reduce and limit the size of the federal government to the bounds authorized by the Constitution. Conservatives and libertarians alike agree that the federal establishment has expanded way beyond these authorized constitutional boundaries.

But generous defense spending is completely in line with the Constitution and the Founding Fathers’ intent. It is not a Big Government program, nor anyone’s sacred cow. It is, in fact, the #1 Constitutional DUTY of the federal government. The #1 reason for having a federal government at all is to have it defend the country and its citizens.

What does the Constitution say about defense? The Preamble to the Supreme Law of the Land explains why the federal government was established in the first place:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Art. I, Sec. 8 of the Constitution lists 18 prerogatives of the Congress, nine (i.e., 50%) of which are related to military affairs, including “to raise Armies,” “to provide and maintain a Navy,” to regulate captures on land and water, to declare war, and to make regulations for the military. They authorize the full spectrum of the defense needed, from “providing for the common defense”, raising and supporting Armies, and providing and maintaining a Navy, to building arsenals, dockyards, and forts. As Ernest Istook of the Heritage Foundation has observed, “National defense receives unique and elevated emphasis under the Constitution. It is not ‘just’ another duty of the federal government.”

The Constitution not only authorizes a strong national defense (and consequently, robust funding for it), it REQUIRES it. Art. IV, Sec. 4 of the Constitution says as follows:

The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion…

As you can see, the Constitution not merely authorizes, it REQUIRES a strong defense and therefore any measures necessary to build it – including any amount of funding required to build it. Any amount of defense spending is Constitutionally authorized and perfectly in line with the Constitution and therefore with the Limited Government Principle.

A key tenet – indeed, the overriding principle – of conservative philosophy is that we must obey the Constitution as it is written. We may not cherry-pick which parts of the Constitution we’re going to obey and which ones we won’t abide by. But that’s what liberals and libertarians like Raul Castro Labrador are doing. They cherry-pick the Constitution and abide only by those party they like, while ignoring the ones they don’t like and pretending they don’t exist.

Most of the Founding Fathers also supported a strong national defense as a top imperative. George Washington, told the Congress in 1790 in his first State of the Union address:

“Among the many interesting objects which will engage your attention, that of providing for the common defence will merit particular regard. (…) To be prepared for war is one of the effective means of preserving the peace.”

James Madison, for a long time an opponent of standing armies, ultimately changed his opinion and said in 1788:

“How could a readiness for war in times of peace be safely prohibited, unless we could prohibit, in like manner, the preparations and establishments of every hostile nation?”

So according to the Constitution and the Founding Fathers, defense is not a big government program, but rather a Constitutionally legitimate government function and indeed the highest Constitutional DUTY of the federal government. And if that is the case, a strong military (and generous funding for it) does NOT violate the Constitution and therefore also does not violate the Limited Government Principle.

In other words, Ronald Reagan did not invent the “peace through strength” philosophy – George Washington did, although he did not call it that way.

Consequently, the Limited Government Principle does NOT require any defense cuts, nor does any other tenet of conservative philosophy. Therefore, consistent application of conservatism, including the Limited Government Principle, does NOT require any defense cuts.

In fact, conservative ideology REQUIRES that a strong defense be built and generously funded, as stated by numerous conservative leaders from Barry Goldwater to Ronald Reagan.

No, the Pentagon is not a Big Government program, nor is it anyone’s pet project. Defense is the #1 Constitutional obligation of the federal government and, as John Adams rightly said, “one of the cardinal duties of a statesman.”

So generous defense spending is fully consistent with the Constitution, the wishes of the Founding Fathers, and the Limited Government principle of conservatism.

So how much does the US spend today? Can deep defense cuts balance the federal budget?

The answer is overwhelmingly no. Washington’s trillion dollar annual deficits are so huge that, as the Heritage Foundation graph below shows, even eliminating military spending entirely would not even halve the budget deficit.

defense-spending-entitlement-spending-problem-600

The FY2013 military budget, under the FY2013 authorization bill was – prior to sequestration – $613 bn (for all military spending: the base defense budget, the Afghan war, and the DOE’s national security programs). That is 17% of the total federal budget and 4.01% of America’s GDP.

But under sequestration, the base defense budget faces a cut to $469 bn (3.07% of GDP) and by FY2014 will still be at a pathetically low $475 bn (3.11% of GDP).

sequestrationisapermanentcut

The House has recently passed a defense authorization bill authorizing $552 bn for FY2014 – for the base defense budget, the Afghan war, and DOE nat-sec programs combined. But even that sum is only 3.62% of GDP and just 15.33% of the entire federal budget.

So defense, the program that is supposed (under the Constitution) to be the federal government’s highest priority, is being shortchanged and will, even under the most optimistic scenario, receive only 15.33% of the entire federal budget! 84.67% of the federal budget will be spent on something else!

There is a big difference between being frugal and cheap.

Since the 1950s, defense spending has declined dramatically as a percentage of GDP and of the federal budget, from 50% of the total budget in FY1962 to just 15.33% today, and from 10% of GDP in FY1961 to 4.01% of GDP today – on track to slip to below 3% of GDP under sequestration.

 

national-defense-spending-560

Meanwhile, domestic spending – discretionary and mandatory – has splurged.

 

Non-Defense-Spending_130204

Do you see what is wrong here, Dear Reader? Washington has its priorities exactly backwards.

For a further comprehensive examination of the “the Pentagon is just another big government project” and “you can’t be a limited government conservative if you don’t support defense cuts” claims, please also read my article, “Defense and the Principle of Limited Government”.

Employment situation still dicey as more jobs lost than expected

Initial jobless claims come in than economists had forecast showing a still weak jobs climate.

The Labor Department said Thursday that initial jobless claims for the week ending April 13th came in at a seasonally adjusted 352,000 which was slightly higher than expectations of 350,000 and an increase of 4,000 over last week’s numbers.

The employment market has not yet rebounded even four years into the President’s economic recovery plan that included multiple rounds of stimulus, cash-for-clunkers, the auto bailout and more.

The latest reports will likely feed into Federal Reserve considerations of whether to continue massive liquidity dumps including an $85 billion per month bond-buying program intended to keep interest rates low. The Fed has indicated that it will continue stimulus activities until the labor market recovers to acceptable levels.

With labor participation rates at 40 year lows, a recovery is likely far off.

Another Obama Energy Dud

A123-Systems

A123 Systems, a Massachusetts-based battery manufacturer, received $249 million from Barack Obama’s failed stimulus program.  At the time they received the money, A123 pledged that the nearly quarter-billion-dollar stimulus money would lead to the creation of thousands of new jobs.

Said company President David Vieau when the company opened a factory in Livonia, Mich., in 2010:

“Over the next several years, we expect to create thousands of jobs in Greater Detroit and plan to continue our expansion in the area as we do our part in helping the U.S. emerge as a global leader in the production of advanced lithium ion batteries.”

Like all stimulus recipients, reporting job creation statistics to Recovery.gov was required of A123 Systems.

Recent disclosures reveal only a few hundred positions were actually created before A123 Systems joined with $500 billion failure Solyndra to become part of the growing list of green energy companies which ended in bankruptcy after receiving federal stimulus funds.

The stimulus tracking database’ latest jobs report shows a mere seven positions were created by grant money from April 2012 to June 2012.  When all the reports are combined, since 2009, a grand total of 408 new positions have been created with the stimulus dollars.

That works out to more than $300,000 per job.

How many families suffering the effects of the $50 billion dollar blow delivered by “super storm” Sandy could use some of that money?

Solyndra alone wasted ten times the amount of the estimated repair costs.

Four million people are still without power.

Speaking of power, all the people who have been living without heat or lighting for the past few days have been given a preview of how everyone in the United States will live if Obama is reelected and continues his disastrous energy policies.

The choice could not be simpler.

Sentence America to a new dark age (literally) or elect a new President Romney, who will develop domestic energy.  Not only will the U.S. be freed from the hostile grip of OPEC, the jobs created by development of domestic American energy cannot possibly be shipped overseas.

http://mjfellright.wordpress.com/2012/10/31/another-obama-energy-dud/

$9 Billion, 910 Jobs




The President Barack Hussein Obama administration, between 2009 and 2011, gave out $9 billion in stimulus money for solar and wind projects. As a result, 910 long-term “direct” jobs, those that are operation and maintenance oriented, were created. At the same time, 4,600 “indirect” jobs, those indirectly supported by the operation and maintenance jobs, were created. So if you combine the two types of jobs, you get 5,510 jobs created, or about $1.63 million for each job created.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (the stimulus) of 2009 included Section 1603, a grant program run through the Treasury Department. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (EREL), part of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), provided approximately $9.0 billion to 197 large wind projects and 23,692 photovoltaic (PV) projects.

In its report, “Preliminary Analysis of the Jobs and Economic Impacts of Renewable Energy Projects Supported by the 1603 Treasury Grant Program,” the EREL said that the 910 “direct jobs” were “significantly less than the number of [indirect] jobs supporting manufacturing and associated supply chains.”

The EREL relied upon Jobs and Economic Development Impact (JEDI) computer models to calculate the number of jobs created. Ultimately the grant program spent $9 billion to create 910 jobs that are designed to last about 30 years. If you look only at these jobs, each one cost about $9.8 million to create. Private sector businesses spend thousands of dollars creating jobs and training new employees. But the government spends $9.8 million per job.

Could the “doing fine” private sector have done a better job with $9 billion. Probably, but we’ll never know because:

  • the government has no profit incentive
  • the $9 billion has already been spent
  • the $9 billion was spent on projects with dubious (at best) economic justification
  • the jobs were created not to be economically viable, but because the DOE had to grant the money
  • the primary purpose of the money being granting was to “stimulate” the economy
  • the secondary purpose of the money being granting was to promote green energy

But that’s just my opinion.

Please visit RWNO, my personal web site.

WTF – High Speed Rail to Nowhere

Construction nears completion on Phase I of the Dulles rail project

Winning The Future, anyone remember that one? That was President Obama’s scheme to rebuild the American economy on among other things, high speed rail.

In his 2011 State of the Union address he said, “This is our generation’s Sputnik moment. … The third step in winning the future is rebuilding America. To attract new businesses to our shores, we need the fastest, most reliable ways to move people, goods, and information — from high-speed rail to high-speed Internet.”

President Obama assured us that we would connect 80 percent of Americans to high-speed rail within 25 years.

Governors like Rick Scott of Florida and Scott Walker of Wisconsin saw this for the boondoggle it was and refused the government money for high speed rail.

California, however, never a state to pass up an opportunity to waste taxpayer dollars, signed on to the project right away, receiving 3.5 billion dollars from the federal government, and borrowing another 10 billion dollars in a bond issue. The money is to build a high speed rail line from Los Angeles to San Francisco. The estimated cost for the project is 68 billion dollars. Since Congress cut off 2012 funds for such projects, California is the only U.S. state working to lay tracks for 220 mph trains. The project remains about $54 billion short of what is required for completion

Public support among Californians is waning, however. A recent USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll found that 59 percent would now oppose the rail project given another chance to vote even though it was previously approved by a 53% majority.

Even with a budget deficit of 15.7 billion dollars, Governor Jerry Brown seems undeterred. He has allocated some of the 9.95 billion dollars in bond issues for the rail project in fiscal year 2012, while he asks voters to increase sales and income taxes and cut the school year by three weeks.

California’s High Speed Folly

Your Tax Dollars!

More news of the stimulus’s failure emerged this week with CBO’s report citing how it may have cost $4.1 million per job, but the story that should be on everyone’s minds concerning the Obama’s agenda is California’s high speed rail project.  Calls for a high speed rail system by the Obama administration have been enhanced given China’s successful completion of their system last summer.  However, if you look at the current California project, the scale of failure is epical and our tax dollars are being poured into it.

In a rare instance, CNN gave a rather insightful report on how this proposed high speed rail is actually three times more than its estimated cost. The railroad project itself seemed sound.  A line from Los Angeles to San Francisco spanning 2oo miles was a palatable initiative for Californians, which is why they voted for a $10 billion dollar bond measure back in 2008.  However, the original estimate was in the ball park of about $34 billion dollars. It is now  projected to cost a monstrous $198 billion dollars.  Additionally, Drew Griffin, CNN Investigative Correspondent, reported that not a single rail has been laid in the four years since the initiative was passed.

This marks another stinging failure of the domestic agenda of the Obama administration.  First clean energy, now high speed rail networks.  It fits nicely into the description George Will aptly made about American liberalism on Charlie Rose last August as”an amalgamation of appetites of parochial interests.”   The project is now revised under the new Chairman of California’s Railway Authority, Dan Richard, but it’s very different original high speed blueprint. Griffin stated:

It turns out, the latest plan could be for a much slower train, not actually the high- speed futuristic cartoon California voters approved four years ago. More of a hybrid that goes slower, makes a few more stops and doesn’t quite deliver the L.A. to San Francisco promise of just a few hours.

And that’s not the half of it. This is about to become really political. California’s high-speed rail has one huge backer — President Barack Obama — and that is where you come in. The administration has pledged $3.5 billion in stimulus money, also known as federal tax dollars, and that’s just so far. Now, California admits it will need even more, tens of billions of dollars more from federal taxpayers to finish it.

But first, you have to start. And that’s where it really gets dicey. The foundational segment, the first stretch of track, will cost at least $6 billion alone and, under the new plan, will connect Fresno to Burbank. It won’t go anywhere near San Francisco. And in the process, will dissect generations-old dairy farms, nut orchards and towns that don’t want it.

That’s not the worst of it.  Apparently, Barack Obama, who continues to be a staunch proponent of this project:

 has pledged $3.5 billion in stimulus money, also known as federal tax dollars, and that’s just so far. Now, California admits it will need even more, tens of billions of dollars more from federal taxpayers to finish it.

But first, you have to start. And that’s where it really gets dicey. The foundational segment, the first stretch of track, will cost at least $6 billion alone and, under the new plan, will connect Fresno to Burbank. It won’t go anywhere near San Francisco. And in the process, will dissect generations-old dairy farms, nut orchards and towns that don’t want it.

However, even with the inflated costs and objections by local farmers, Dan Richard and the rest at the Railroad Authority aren’t giving up.  After all, as Griffin reported, “they’ve already got the promised $3 billion of your tax dollars in federal stimulus. California may not get another dime from President Obama, but it has no intention of giving back the $3 billion already promised or the billions more from California voters.”  This Rube Goldberg project is expected to take ten years to finish.  Who’s lining up to get their first ticket?

Government Stimulus Causes Kitchen Warming

Do you believe you can cool your kitchen by opening the refrigerator door?   Please tell me you know better.

Sure, you’ll get a cool spot just in front of the fridge, but overall you’ll be heating the kitchen with all the heat being pumped out the back.  Come on, everyone knows that.  Then why on earth are there those who believe that you can stimulate an economy by using tax money to create jobs?

When a government taxes to create jobs, it reduces the output of the nation by much more than any industry it could possibly create with that same capital, (even if they were efficient).

Government can be wonderful and is certainly necessary to coordinate our interstate infrastructure and protect our nation globally.  However when it comes to the economy, it can only do harm.  The government is not the brains of our nation.  God help us all if it becomes that.  It does not need to regulate the economy any more than you would want to consciously control your heartbeat.  Good grief!

So why would any right minded American want to put our economy in the hands of the most inefficient bureaucracy possible?  The design of our government is remarkable, however there is no design that can eliminate the “mission creep” that has grown our Federal Government so out of proportion.

The larger the government the larger the tax burden on industry.  Therefore the goal of government should be to remain as small as practical.   From the point of view of being responsible for the economy, our government has decided to take more and more control of our economy and look what it has created.

We hear so often that the housing bubble crisis was a result of government deregulation, when in actuality it was directly due to government regulations requiring banks to lend to low income, “subprime” customers.  The last thing banks want to do is lend to those who may likely default.  However the government included incentives and guarantees that make it lucrative for those banks.  Naturally compliance became universal.  It seemed like a nice thing to do, so the less fortunate can live the American dream of home ownership.  The reality is that the government was not running the risk, it was the tax payer and all the home owners (same folks) via the cost of those incentives, the risk of payment for defaults, the risk of home devaluation, and a big bailout cost; not to mention the inflation that was caused by the creation of capital by the Fed to do so.

Another supposedly unintended consequence was the rapid inflation of home prices that made it more difficult for the less fortunate to purchase a decent home even before the bubble burst.  Now, lending is so regulated and banks are so paranoid that borrowing for either home purchase or industrial investment has become unreasonably difficult.  This causes nothing more than more depression and unemployment, thus more defaults and tighter lending.  Jobs move overseas, and so on.  The answer has been more government help and regulation by the very people who got us into this mess by doing the same things they are doing to try to get us out, (see Frank – Dodd).  Holy crap!

When your risks are managed by those who are not held accountable, suffer no consequences, have no responsibility, and even reward themselves for their folly; there should be no surprise at the outcome.  It is your property, your taxes, and your risks all in the hands of those who need money to become reelected.

They make money when there are problems and loose when the problems go away.  That just might be why they are so much better at building problems than solutions.  They’ll build you electric cars to keep from polluting without mentioning where all that electricity is going to come from to charge them.  They’ll make you use “efficient” lightbulbs that are themselves a hazard to dispose of, and such a hazard to produce that they’re made in China.  Next, they’ll build you new refrigerators without doors to counter global warming.

Obama’s Class Mate Speaks Out!

An email that went viral back in June of 2010 is now making a comeback as we head into the 2012 Presidential elections. In that email we see Mr. Wayne Allyn Root, a college classmate of Obama’s, stating some very strong opinions about just who Barack Hussein Obama really is, his religious beliefs, and his overall ideological agenda. The only changes made to the entire email are formatting and sentence structure, while word for word it is kept  intact. – D.J. Redman

OBAMA’S COLLEGE CLASSMATE SPEAKS     OUT By Wayne Allyn Root , June 6th,     2010

 

 

 

 

 

Barack Hussien Obama is no fool.  He is not incompetent. To the contrary, he is brilliant.  He knows exactly what he’s doing. He is purposely overwhelming the U.S. Economy to create systemic     failure. Economic crisis and social chaos — thereby destroying capitalism and Our country from within. Barack Hussien Obama was my college classmate.  ( Columbia University , class of ’83). He is a devout Muslim do not be fooled. Look at his Czars…anti-business..anti- American. As Glenn Beck correctly predicted from day one!  Barack Hussien Obama is     following the plan of Cloward &Piven, two professors at Columbia University .. They outlined a plan to socialize America by overwhelming the system. With government spending and entitlement demands. Add up the clues below. Taken individually they’re alarming. Taken as a whole, it is a brilliant, Machiavellian game plan to turn the United States into a socialist/Marxist state with a permanent majority, That desperately needs government for survival … and can be counted on to always vote for bigger government. Why not? They have no responsibility to pay for it.
Universal Health Care .  The health care bill had very little to do with health care. It had everything  to do with unionizing millions of hospital and health care workers, as well as adding 15,000 to 20,000 new IRS agents (who will join government employee unions). Obama doesn’t care  that giving free health care to 30 million Americans will add  trillions to the national debt.  What he does care about is     that it cements the dependence of those 30 million voters to Democrats and big government. Who, but a socialist revolutionary would pass this reckless spending bill in the middle of a depression?

Cap &Trade.  Like health care legislation having nothing to do with health care, Cap &Trade has nothing to do with global warming. It has everything to do with redistribution of income,  with government in control of the economy and a criminal payoff to Obama’s biggest     contributors. Those powerful and wealthy unions and contributors (like GE, which owns NBC, MSNBC and CNBC) can then be counted on to support everything Obama wants. They will kick-back hundreds of millions of dollars in contributions to Obama and the Democratic Party to keep them in power.  The bonus is that all the new taxes on Americans with bigger cars, bigger homes and businesses helps Obama “spread the wealth around.”

Make Puerto Rico a state. Why?  Who’s asking for a 51st state? Who’s asking for  millions of new welfare recipients and government entitlement addicts in the middle of a depression? Certainly not American taxpayers. But this has been Barack Hussien Obama’s plan all along. His goal is to add two new Democrat senators, five Democrat congressman and a million loyal Democratic voters who are dependent on big government.
Legalize 12 million illegal Mexican immigrants. Just giving these 12 million potential new citizens free health care alone could overwhelm the system and bankrupt     America . But it adds 12 million reliable new Democrat voters who can be counted on to support big government.  Add another few trillion dollars in welfare, aid to dependent children, food stamps, free medical, education, tax credits for the poor, and eventually Social Security.    

Stimulus and bailouts. Where did all that money go? It went to Democrat contributors, organizations (ACORN), and unions — including billions of dollars to save or create jobs of government employees across the country.  It went to save GM and Chrysler so that their employees could keep paying union dues. It went to AIG so that Goldman Sachs could be bailed out (after giving Obama almost $1 million in contributions). A staggering $125 billion went to teachers (thereby protecting their union dues). All those public employees  (unions) will vote loyally Democrat to protect their bloated salaries and pensions that are bankrupting America.

The country goes broke, future generations face a bleak future, but Obama, the Democrat Party, government, and the unions grow more powerful. The ends justify the  means. 

Raise taxes on small business owners, high-income earners, and job creators. Put the entire burden on only the top 20 percent of taxpayers, redistribute the income, punish success, and reward those who did nothing to deserve it (except vote for Obama).

Reagan wanted to dramatically cut taxes in order to starve the government.  Barack Obama wants to dramatically raise taxes to starve his political opposition. With the acts outlined above, Barack Hussien Obama and his regime have created a vast and rapidly expanding constituency of voters dependent on big government; a vast privileged class of public employees (unions ) who work for big government; and a government dedicated to destroying capitalism and installing themselves as socialist rulers by overwhelming the system.  Add it up and you’ve got the perfect Marxist scheme — all devised by my Columbia University college classmate Barack Hussien Obama using the Cloward and Piven Plan.  Note:  This letter was “Correctly attributed” says snopes! http://www.snopes.com/politics/soapbox/overwhelm.asp .

America can choose to bury her head in the sand and stand by doing nothing to stop the Socio-Marxist plan to finish her off as we know her… or she can stand up and fight against the reelection of Barack Obama in 2012. The time is now. Get active, spread information like this to everyone you know. America’s future propserity and freedom depends upon it!

More Obama "We Can't Wait" Chicanery – TIGER III




Have you ever heard of Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER)? Well, it’s into its third round of grants, hence TIGER III. As Part of the Obama Administration’s “We Can’t Wait” Initiative (a ruse he uses to bypass Congress), the Department of Transportation (DOT) announced the awarding of “Job-Creating Grants.” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced that 46 transportation projects will receive a total of $511 million from DOT’s TIGER program. In the previous two rounds, the TIGER program awarded grants to 126 freight, highway, transit, port and bicycle/pedestrian projects in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. TIGER provides an opportunity for DOT to invest in road, rail, transit and port projects that promise to achieve critical national objectives.  [emphasis mine]  So let’s see just what DOT (and the Obama administration) view as “critical national objectives.”

There is the Chicago “Blue Line and Bikeshare” project that serves critical national objectives. TIGER funds will help complete an overall project to repair 3.6 miles of track on Chicago Transit Authority’s (CTA) Blue Line between Damen Avenue and Belmont Avenue, finishing all track improvements between Chicago’s Downtown Loop and O’Hare International Airport. The “point to point” bikeshare program will allow transit riders, locals, and visitors to take a bike from one location and return it to another at any of the other stations throughout the city, expanding the “first mile” and “last mile” of transit trips. In addition, the bikeshare program supports a sustainable, zero-energy transportation mode. (had to get that green energy plug in!) That one cost us taxpayers $16 million for CTA track repair and $4 million for more bicycles and pick-up/drop-off stations.

Another TIGER project awarded $20 million taxpayer dollars for improvements to I-70 that will “better connect” people in St. Louis with the parkland around the base of the St. Louis Gateway Arch. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, and Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) made the announcement in St. Louis. The money will build a pedestrian land bridge over I-70 connecting the Old Courthouse, Luther Ely Smith Square and the Gateway Arch grounds, providing improved vehicle and pedestrian traffic patterns while facilitating safer access for people. McCaskill opposes earmarks and recently co-sponsored a bill that would permanently ban these kinds of pork-barrel projects from the legislative process, but she favored this grant. Can anyone say “hypocrite?”

The Buffalo (NY) Mainstreet Revitalization program cost “only” $14 million. This project will help safely reintroduce vehicle traffic to Main Street in downtown Buffalo and improve transit stations along the corridor by:

  • Restoring two-way traffic on Main Street by allowing vehicles to share lanes with the light rail trains
  • Enhancing existing light rail stations with real time audio and visual transit information displays (you never know when a blind person that has a “critical national objective” may have to get around in Buffalo – sorry, I just couldn’t resist commenting)
  • Providing visibly distinct pedestrian crosswalks at all intersections, reconnects streets, and improves paving, landscaping, and street furnishings

It will also fund major streetscape improvements to revitalize and reorient economic growth downtown.

BTW, a complete list of TIGER III projects, including dollar amounts, can be found here. Thank God the DOT had only $527 million to spend on TIGER. Otherwise we would have been “critical national objectives” to death. But now we know what DOT means when it uses the phrase “critical national objectives.” I feel a lot safer now, and I’m sure you do as well.

But that’s just my opinion.

Access to other articles like this one can be found at RWNO, my personal web site.

EU Plutocracy on Verge of Collapse

Top Judge Puts the Brakes on Merkel’s EU Bailout Scheme/EFSF Expansion

The EU plutocracy started coming apart at the seems back in September of this year, as Germany’s top Judge, Andreas Vosskuhle, head of the constitutional court, said politicians do not have the legal authority to sign away the birthright of the German people without their explicit consent. It is quite refreshing to finally see a top judge demand that politicians decease in creating unconstitutional laws without the express approval of the citizenry. The Judge went on to further explain that if Merkel and company in the EU plutocracy want to continue to grant powers over the German people to the EU, they must do so by calling a referendum and change the constitution. This certainly derails the mini New World European Order plans of taking from the citizenry to continue to support the EU plutocracy.

The main problem seems to be the fact that Merkel and company want to constantly transfer funds and manipulate bailouts in secrecy, as Carsten Schneider the finance spokesman for the Social Democrats of Germany demanded that Chancellor Angela Merkel and finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble clarify their “true intentions ” before the (bailout) vote on Thursday. [We have no wonder how Schneider would feel about Nancy Pelosi’s statement of “We have to pass the bill to see what’s in it,” which she made when she was the third highest politician in America, the Speaker of the House of Representatives.]  As we can see from this article from Reuters, the EU debt crisis pain will undoubtedly be felt in America, as well as around the globe. The EU debt crisis has already claimed  the heads of the Greek and Italian governments with more to come in the following weeks, as the truth about the implications of just what the EU plutocracy has done in the past few years comes to light.

 

 

It would also appear as if the Germans are well aware of Barack Obama’s part in all of this, as we see this little snippet, also from Carsten Schneider, of the German Social Democrats: “A new multi-trillion programme is being cooked up in Washington and Brussels, while the wool is being pulled over the eyes of Bundestag and German public. This is unacceptable,” he said. The New World Order that billionaire manipulator, George Soros so fondly speaks about could very well be on it’s way to being blown into oblivion if the EU collapses as many are predicting today. As Mike Shedlock so aptly put it,”the German court has already killed eurobonds. Now, if the top judge’s call stands, leveraged EFSF just bit the dust as well. Clearly the German court has had enough of Chancellor Angela Merkel, her cronies, and all the politicians who want to rob German taxpayers for their own agenda.” It then comes as no mere coincidence that when the EU bailouts started they always coincided with the unscheduled meetings between Merkel and Obama.

Germany and America both have explicit constitutional mandates limiting the power of those elected into government for the sole purpose of protecting the citizenry from being ruled by a tyrannical plutocracy. Barack Obama and Angela Merkel have trampled both of their country’s constitutions at very dangerous levels, while taking advantage of the ever-increasing world financial crisis where we see the widening gap between the middle class citizens and the elitists running the plutocracy become a source of massive civil unrest. Germany’s top Judge took a stand against Merkel and the EU’s unconstitutional usurpation of power from the people’s Democracy of Germany. Does America have such a courageous judge, one that will stand up for our constitutional laws and protect the citizenry from the tyrannical rule of the Liberal Plutocracy Barack Obama and company have been building for three straight years now? If so, what will it take for you to make a stand, civil unrest, chaos and blood in the streets? By then it will simply be too late. The plutocracy will simply declare marshal law, and the citizenry will be left with the choice between fighting for their freedom from a dictatorship or flight from their beloved America.
2012 can’t get here fast enough!

DOE Loan Recipients Submitted False Information

DOE Inspector General Testifies

Department of Energy (DOE) Inspector General Gregory Friedman’s testimony on Wednesday, November 2, 2011, before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee reinforces Republicans’ claim that Solyndra‘s bankruptcy is proof of how wasteful the Obama administration’s stimulus plan has been.

Friedman testified that investigations involved “various schemes, including the submission of false information, claims for unallowable or unauthorized expenses and other improper uses of Recovery Act funds.” The majority of grants and loan guarantees were given to “green” technology programs or research, including those that focused on high risk “energy efficiency and renewable energy” and “environmental management.” Friedman also said that the end of stimulus funding would lead to “significant downsizing of the contractor workforce.” He continued, “The department estimates that with the end of Recovery Act funding, over 4,000 workers at Environmental Management sites … will be displaced by the end of 2011.” Inspector Generals with the Departments of Energy and Labor told the House panel that reports show that billions of dollars in stimulus funding given to the agencies to create green jobs have failed to achieve that goal.

More than a hundred criminal investigations were launched into DOE’s handling of its 4% of the Obama stimulus. Friedman testified, “these involve various schemes, including the submission of false information, claims for unallowable or unauthorized expenses, and other improper uses of Recovery Act funds.” Five criminal prosecutions have resulted, and over $2.3 million in stolen “stimulus” money has been recovered. Even when it wasn’t beset by scam artists, the “stimulus” people found themselves so paralyzed by bureaucracy and paperwork that they couldn’t effectively give money away.

Green Job Training

Elliott Lewis, assistant inspector general for the audit office of the Department of Labor, said the agency received $500 million in stimulus funds for its Employment and Training Administration (ETA) for “competitive grants for research, labor exchange and job training projects to prepare workers for careers in the energy efficiency and renewable energy industries, the DOE Green Jobs program.”

Weatherization Program

Friedman testified, “Weatherization work was often of poor quality. In a recent audit performed at the state level, 9 of 17 weatherized homes we visited failed inspections because of substandard workmanship.” From this source we learn that in an August, 2011, report, the DOE’s inspector general had found quality to be a common problem in Missouri’s retrofits. And since 2009, when the Recovery Act was passed, the IG had released nearly a dozen audits of the Weatherization Assistance Program. “The IG reports haven’t been pretty,” said Michael Sciortino, a senior analyst with the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). “The quality of these jobs has been — it needs improvement.”

The weatherization program grew out of the 1970s oil crisis. It sought eligible, low-income Americans and outfitted their homes with the most cost-effective improvements. The program normally received $300 million or $400 million, but under the Recovery Act, it got $5 billion and a goal of retrofitting 600,000 homes. Sciortino said the haste to spend stimulus dollars and create jobs contributed to the quality problems in some states. Loans were not documented properly, money was wasted left and right, and one weatherization recipient “gave preferential treatment to its employees and their relatives for weatherization services over other applicants, thus disadvantaging eligible elderly and handicapped residents.”

Evaluation

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), chairman of the House subcommittee, commented on Freidman’s and Lewis’ testimony. Jordan said, “Mr. Friedman and Mr. Lewis, based on your testimony, it looks like both the weatherization program and the green jobs training program are, I guess, by anyone’s conclusion, just a complete failure.”

But that’s just my opinion.

Obama's 'Underwater' Homeowner Rescue Already Sinking

President Obama is travelling several Western states to talk up a re-vamp of his failed “Home Affordable Refinance Program” (HARP) in another big-government attempt to rescue homeowners who owe more on their houses than the real estate is worth.

Beginning in Nevada, the “We Can’t Wait” campaign is intended to show-up Congress while side-stepping them completely. Congress had passed HARP in an effort to help homeowners with troubled mortgages. The program promised to help about 5 million Americans, but in truth just  822,000 have been assisted – not even 10% of those upside-down on their home loans.

The new rules in “HARP Phase II” will loosen the rules on who can take advantage of the government program and reduce the fees the borrower must pay.

 Eliminating certain risk-based fees for borrowers who refinance into shorter-term mortgages and lowering fees for other borrowers;
 Removing the current 125 percent LTV ceiling for fixed-rate mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac;
 Waiving certain representations and warranties that lenders commit to in making loans owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac;
 Eliminating the need for a new property appraisal where there is a reliable AVM (automated valuation model) estimate provided by the Enterprises; and
 Extending the end date for HARP until Dec. 31, 2013 for loans originally sold to the Enterprises on or before May 31, 2009.

In the original program, only those that owed up to 125% more than the property was worth could be accepted into the program. Now, there will be no limit to the amount the borrower may owe in relation to the value of the property.

If Jim, as an example, owed $250,000 on his house and the home was only worth $175,000, he previously would have  been denied a re-finance under the HARP program. Now, as long as Jim’s loan is backed by Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac, he can be approved. This will put the taxpayers on the hook for a quarter million dollars with only 175k in collateral. Who runs a business this way?

The program is also expected to only provide minimal relief. Due to the 20 year maximum term for the refinanced mortgage, monthly payments may only be 20-30 dollars less per month according to an example provided by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA).

If the borrower chose a 20-year loan term at a rate of 4.25 percent (mortgage rates tend to be less for shorter term mortgages), the monthly payment would be $1238 ($26 less than the borrower currently pays) and the borrower’s loan balance would reach $160,000 in five-and-one-half years

The real purpose of the new program may be even more deserving of investigation. This program doesn’t appear to modify existing loans. Instead, it replaces one loan for another. It’s  a traditional re-finance with one major difference – Fannie and Freddie are letting the banks off the hook for any illegitimate loans they originated as long as they re-fi through this program. David Dayen at FDL puts it succinctly:

So, earlier, I said “what’s not to like.” Here’s what’s not to like. The “reps and warranties” part of this. When you refinance a loan, you’re essentially creating a new mortgage, unlike a loan modification, where you modify the old mortgage. Under the plan, the FHFA will eliminate their ability to force repurchases on these old loans, and they would lower their ability to force repurchases on the new loans created. There will be a “modest fee” associated with relieving these reps and warranties, according to Donovan, which won’t be set until November 15. They will be lower than the current risk-based fees that Fannie and Freddie charge.

What does this mean? A “reps and warranties” case is a case where the loan was originated improperly. When Fannie and Freddie get sold a bad loan like this, they have the right to force it back on the originator. New lenders are reluctant to refinance such loans, because they become liable for the put-back.

What this means is that FHFA will essentially settle on all the loans that get refinanced for a “modest fee,” which we can safely assume will be next to nothing. And we know that a substantial amount of loans, perhaps a majority, were illegally originated during the bubble years. You’re letting the lenders who originated the loans off the hook for that, in exchange for allowing more refis.

FHFA estimates that this program may double the current number of re-finances by the end of 2013. An additional $447 Billion to help perhaps another 882,000 home owners over the next two years?  That’s more than half-a-million dollars per re-finance. Remember, they aren’t giving them half-a-million bucks, that’s just what Obama’s program costs to service 882,000 loans by the FHFA estimate.

“We Can’t Wait” may be yet another attempt to do anything quickly, no matter how ill-conceived it may be. Of some concern is where did the money to fund this come from if Congress didn’t approve it?

At a cost of $447 Billion this is a bank rescue and a move to prop up inflated real-estate prices all under the disguise of helping home owners. This ought to push the Occupy Wall Street crowd right over the edge .. but it won’t – because it came from Democrats.

 

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