I can solve the federal budget

I’m serious. I can solve the federal budget problem without cutting any essential programs. This is a simplistic article espousing what we all know and feel. But writing it will make me feel better, and maybe it will prompt someone to speak up, to write a letter, or to discuss the problem with a neighbor. I/you/we can solve the federal budger. Here’s how. Continue reading “I can solve the federal budget”

Fiscal cliff looming includes personal tax hikes for everyone

The fiscal cliff includes tax hikes

The “fiscal cliff” composed of many elements is much in the news. Part of that is an increase in many taxes — not only income taxes on the “rich” — which will affect everyone in one way or another. The purpose of this writing is to attempt some plain language discussion of these matters and to assemble a variety of sources from all sides of the politics involved. (update: super set of charts – very understandable) Continue reading “Fiscal cliff looming includes personal tax hikes for everyone”

Never let a good crisis go to waste

And if you have run low on crises, then create one. Let’s see how that might happen. Summer of 2010 and into the fall, fail to pass a budget bill for the fiscal year beginning 10/1/2010. In spite of being in control of Congress and the Executive. Even after November 2010 elections, when still in control until the new Congress convenes, let the matter continue to languish. Still no budget.

Fast-forward slowly to spring 2011. Need a crisis (for a host of reasons). Continue reading “Never let a good crisis go to waste”

Can you comprehend the size of U.S. debt?

Let’s compare it to something we can visualize. First, what is the debt figure?

Click on the thumbnail and get a good look at what $14 trillion looks like written out.  A “14” with TWELVE places after that! And 15 cents. Check the clock for updates.

OK, $14 trillion. Now let’s think of something really, really huge and complicated that we might want to spend some money on. The object is to try to think of a monstrously expensive project. Continue reading “Can you comprehend the size of U.S. debt?”

Thanks … for the stim-u-lus … Oh, well, it was swell while it lasted

GAO Chart Forecast Debt % to GDP

(To the tune of Bob Hope‘s “Thanks for the Memories” and apologies to him.)  By the way, you can subscribe to this blog in the box to your right.

What are the consequences of federal policies, and what is the message of the 2010 election? Continue reading “Thanks … for the stim-u-lus … Oh, well, it was swell while it lasted”

Time for a non-partisan attack to eliminate earmarks

Regardless of how you view the Nov. 2, 2010 election results, we still have the future to worry about; and one of the most worrisome features of Congress is the concept of “earmarks” a/k/a “pork barrel projects.”  I suggest that earmarks constitute the most divisive, dishonest and dangerous of procedures threatening the republic. Why do I say that? Continue reading “Time for a non-partisan attack to eliminate earmarks”

Making Everett Dirksen proud

Sen. Everett Dirksen, in the 1950’s on the floor of the U.S. Senate during budget debates, is said to have quipped “a billion here and a billion there and pretty soon it adds up to real money.” It is now well-accepted that he did not actually make that statement so often attributed to him, but he was well capable of saying such, and likely should have. So what would he think about the current spending spree? Who is at fault? It’s Congress (led by the nose by Pres. Obama) and while the following article (which appears to have the facts) faults more the currently Democrat-led Congress, neither party can claim to have been fiscally responsible in recent decades.

A little-known fact is that federal spending rose by only 2.8% during fiscal 2007 under the final budget passed by a Republican Congress. I know, zero percent would have been preferable, and it was way too little and too late for a bunch that had let spending grow way too quickly during the previous five years.

Then came the Democrats. Spending during the fiscal year that ended in September 2008, the first full budget year under the control of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, increased by 9.1% to almost $3 trillion. That percentage increase was greater than any Republican Congress under George W. Bush.

They were just warming up. Fiscal 2009 brought the beginning of the $787 billion (before interest) “economic stimulus plan.” All but those in serious denial acknowledge that it has failed to revive the economy, which economist David Rosenberg described on August 25 as already being in a depression. Despite representations to the contrary, the stimulus plan had 9,000 earmarks, including that $2 billion Illinois energy debacle. More generally, entitlement and other spending went into overdrive. Fiscal 2009 ended with a reported deficit of $1.416 trillion.

via Pajamas Media » It’s the Spending, Stupid.  (The above links are mine)

Where does it end? When? What does it take for us (you) to get mad enough to make your voice heard? If the general idea of spending doesn’t get your dander up, focus on the following comment from the above article:

Despite representations to the contrary, the stimulus plan had 9,000 earmarks, including that $2 billion Illinois energy debacle. More generally, entitlement and other spending went into overdrive. Fiscal 2009 ended with a reported deficit of $1.416 trillion.

via Pajamas Media » It’s the Spending, Stupid.

The rest of the Shirley Sherrod (USDA) story?

If that title doesn’t catch your eye, how about a $1.25 BILLION payout by the federal government about which you’ve probably never heard? I’m not expressing any opinion about this matter but feel it deserves to be further promulgated.

I’m confused. If there are only 39,697 African-American farmers grand total in the entire country, then how can over 86,000 of them claim discrimination at the hands of the USDA? Where did the other 46,303 come from? Now, if you’re confused over what the heck I’m even talking about, let’s go back to the beginning of the story:

Pigford v. Glickman. In 1997, 400 African-American farmers sued the United States Department of Agriculture, alleging that they had been unfairly denied USDA loans due to racial discrimination during the period 1983 to 1997. The farmers won the case, known as Pigford v. Glickman, and in 1999 the government agreed to pay $50,000 each to any farmer who had been wrongly denied an agricultural loan. By then it had grown into a class action case, and any black farmer who had filed a complaint between 1983 and 1997 would be given at least $50,000 — not limited to the original 400 plaintiffs. It was estimated at that time that there might be as many as 2,000 beneficiaries granted $50,000 each.

via Pigford v. Glickman: 86,000 claims from 39,697 total farmers?.

Note, the figure of 39,697 black farmers is as of 2007.  In 1992, the relevant period, there were only 18,816 black farmers. It seems that should have been the claimant pool in the Pigford suit.  No-one is claiming that the suit and the original settlement (which was done in 1999) were not appropriate, but how does this get resurrected in 2010?  And this:

Conservative opposition to the settlement came to light last week in the aftermath of the Shirley Sherrod scandal. A farm collective founded by Sherrod and her husband that was forced out of business by the discriminatory practices received a $13 million settlement as part of Pigford last year, just before she was hired by the USDA. Some, including Rep. Steve King (R-IA), have called the settlement a fraud.

via Senate Strips Funding For Legal Settlement To Black Farmers From War Bill | TPMMuckraker.

Read it all for yourself, then ponder why these things don’t hit the so-called “mainstream” media. Is there fraud going on here and if so, at whose hands?  Is there something “untoward” about the role of Shirley Sherrod or about her being hired at the USDA? Have we yet heard all of the story?

Don’t Cry for me Argentina — America

Don’t Cry for me Argentina America … you have to watch this if you care about the fiscal disaster which America is rapidly becoming. Besides, the music alone is worth it. Argentina was once a thriving country and was driven into the economic ground by soaring debt resulting from its government’s (remember Peron? Evita?) pandering to those with their hands out for the “entitlements.” Can it happen here? After you view this you’ll be convinced … yes.  Just today, the U.S. Dept. of the Treasury estimated the national debt to be $19Trillion in five years, up from the $13Trillion it hit in May of 2010. About a 50% increase in only five years. Here’s a nice summary:

According to the Debt Clock:

• Total national debt: $13 trillion
• Debt per citizen: $42,026
• Debt per taxpayer: $117,982
• Total interest due: $1.9 trillion
• Interest per citizen: $2,211

Click here to see the Debt Clock, which is updated every second.

(Source: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2010/05/26/national-debt-clock-tracking-red/ (accessed 6/9/2010))

Click here to view the powerpoint show. (be patient, it can be slow to load)

Source: http://www.authorstream.com/Presentation/soundmanjay-344588-dont-cry-america-obamacare-socialism-argentina-ppspap-business-finance-ppt-powerpoint/ (accessed 6/9/2010).

There is a copyright notice on the website, but no name or attribution.