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Monthly Archives: January 2009

Stimulus Pork – Amtrak, NEA, TV, and Subsidies

The WSJ examined the stimulus bill and what did they find? Mostly pork spending, with very little of what could optimistically called “stimulus”. We’re shocked — it’s no wonder Obama wants Congress to pass this quick so nobody can read it. The more you read, the more pork you find crammed in.

“Never let a serious crisis go to waste. What I mean by that is it’s an opportunity to do things you couldn’t do before.”

So said White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel in November, and Democrats in Congress are certainly taking his advice to heart. The 647-page, $825 billion House legislation is being sold as an economic “stimulus,” but now that Democrats have finally released the details we understand Rahm’s point much better. This is a political wonder that manages to spend money on just about every pent-up Democratic proposal of the last 40 years.

We’ve looked it over, and even we can’t quite believe it. There’s $1 billion for Amtrak, the federal railroad that hasn’t turned a profit in 40 years; $2 billion for child-care subsidies; $50 million for that great engine of job creation, the National Endowment for the Arts; $400 million for global-warming research and another $2.4 billion for carbon-capture demonstration projects. There’s even $650 million on top of the billions already doled out to pay for digital TV conversion coupons.

In selling the plan, President Obama has said this bill will make “dramatic investments to revive our flagging economy.” Well, you be the judge. Some $30 billion, or less than 5% of the spending in the bill, is for fixing bridges or other highway projects. There’s another $40 billion for broadband and electric grid development, airports and clean water projects that are arguably worthwhile priorities.

The National Endowment for the arts qualifies as stimulus? Digital TV? Is that what you had in mind? Oink Oink as everyone in Washington either rushes in to feed at the trough, or uses the bill to payoff political favors. Either way, the little guy gets stuck with a bill while the “stimulus” accomplishes nothing — except saddle the country with yet more debt (and payback political favors).

Of course, that’s one promise Obama will keep — running trillion dollar deficits for his entire term — and he’s off on a good start on that one.

Keeping in mind what the CBO has already stated —- most of the “stimulus” comes after two years — why the rush to pass this pork-fest? Even if it’s needed for economic relief, since the benefits come after two years no rush exists to pass it. Why not send the time and do it right? Perhaps could it be Team RePO (Reid/Pelosi/Obama) know what’s in the bill, and know if the citizens find out it’s not really stimulus but pork and returned political favors, the phones in Washington will melt down?

Nah, hope-n-change promised transparent accountability, so nobody’s trying to pull a fast one, right?

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Obama launches recovery.gov

In an attempt to get people to support the biggest pork giveaway ever, Obama launched recovery.org, which will show where (some) of the money disappears to. If enough people support parts of the pork, the rest of the pork slides through and all the political favors incurred during the campaign can begin to be repaid in one massive spending bill.

But with a name like recovery.gov, we thought of the following (but don’t expect to see it):

  1. We admitted we were powerless over government spending pork – that the federal budget has become unmanageable pork-fests.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity (the Free Market).
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of free enterprise.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to the country the exact nature of our pork spending.
  6. Were entirely ready to have free enterprise remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked to remove our budget pork.
  8. Became willing to make amends to the entire country for our excessive and wanton spending.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with the free market, praying only for knowledge of economics and the power to carry responsible budgeting without pork spending.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, to carry this message to Congress, the Presidency, and the states, and to practice these principles in all budgets.

Notice the bill is now called “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act” — since the “Community Reinvestment Act” caused the meltdown, why not do it again? Deficit spending and credit expansion caused the problem, surely more deficit spending and credit expansion will solve it.

Yeah, right.

Stimulus Arrives too late According to the CBO

The trillion dollar pork-fest is being sold to citizens as important to get the economy going, but according to the CBO, the pork spending comes too late to do any good.

Less than half the money dedicated to highways, school construction and other infrastructure projects in a massive economic stimulus package unveiled by House Democrats is likely to be spent within the next two years, according to congressional budget analysts, meaning most of the spending would come too late to lift the nation out of recession.

A report by the Congressional Budget Office found that only about $136 billion of the $355 billion that House leaders want to allocate to infrastructure and other so-called discretionary programs would be spent by Oct. 1, 2010. The rest would come in future years, long after the CBO and other economists predict the recession will have ended.

The “stimulus” will be the greatest pork-fest of all time, as each member of Congress (and the President) attempts to return political favors (Acorn, Planned Parenthood, etc), and little of it will actually help. And it’s not to go to “high-skilled people who are already professionals or to white male construction workers”.

The trillion dollar stimulus arrives too late if the goal is the economy. Since the people pushing trillion dollar stimulus packages must surely already know this, what alternative reasons do they have to push the pork-fest, while publicly telling citizens it’s to stimulate the economy? Why are they hiding their real motives for this pork-fest?

The Stimulus will be the greatest pork-fest since TARP — and we all know how well that worked out, as the Rebublicrats fumbled the ball.

Where is presidential leadership on this? Where is change? The new boss is the same as the old boss — different people may sit in different chairs in Washington, but nothing changed — perhaps the greatest hoax of all time (after Piltdown Man) has been the “change” theme.

Sarah Palin Launches SarahPAC

Just as detractors hoped she’d go away, Sarah Pac is online.

Because 2012 is closer than you think.

More Stimulus Pork – Abortion Clinics Count as Stimulus

The Stimulus will be a pork-fest — only Washington Elites believe otherwise. As more proof, consider Pelosi on “This Week” as she said abortion counts as “stimulus”:

STEPHANOPOULOS: Hundreds of millions of dollars to expand family planning services. How is that stimulus?

PELOSI: Well, the family planning services reduce cost. They reduce cost. The states are in terrible fiscal budget crises now and part of what we do for children’s health, education and some of those elements are to help the states meet their financial needs. One of those – one of the initiatives you mentioned, the contraception, will reduce costs to the states and to the federal government.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So no apologies for that?

PELOSI: No apologies …

Remember, “family planning” is code for planned parenthood, whose business is abortion. In Pelosi’s alternate universe, abortion is good for the economy.

In Pelosi’s world, less mouths to feed equals less money states will have to spend. Show me one economist that says that we are in an economic crisis because of a birth control shortage, or one that says more contraception (aka: population control) will get us out of it faster. What’s next? Federally funded euthanasia?

Republicans aren’t the only ones shaking their heads in disbelief at Pelosi’s latest perplexing policy push. She will likely make many Democrats horribly uncomfortable. It’s one thing to be pro-Choice; it’s another to spend tax payer money on abortions at home — and abroad — in the middle of a financial crisis.

Even Pro-Choice Feminists understand this has nothing to do with economic recovery.

As a pro-choice feminist I am sickened by this obscene argument explaining why there are hundreds of millions of dollars for “family planning” services in the so-called stimulus bill. What does Nancy say? “It” (the reduction of children as opposed to the reduction of politicians and bureaucrats) will reduce costs the states have for children’s education, health care, etc. Instead of arguing that families should start paying for their children instead of the state and federal governments, Obama (via Pelosi) argues the number of children are the problem, not the fact that government has simply gotten so massive it is now advocating eliminating those who are a ‘drain’ on “costs.” This argument is a hallmark in socialist-fascist states, and now it’s here.

Don’t forget, Obama already talked of being “punished with a baby” in supporting his stance on abortion, so the attitude of the President and Speaker of the House think children are a burden and a problem.

The Stimulus will be 95% pork, and 5% for working people, and Madam Speaker defends it. When you’re thinking of helping the economy, be honest, did funding abortion (oops, “family planning”) clinics ever enter into your mind? We thought not. Instead, Pelosi and her cohorts on Team RePO (Reid/Pelosi/Obama) will attempt to use the “Stimulus” as the greatest far-left social program in the country’s history.

How can funding contraception and abortion be considered in any way funding economic recovery? Pelosi can’t be serious, so what’s her real motive?

Pork in Washington? We’re shocked — no change there, and all the flowery rhetoric can’t change reality.

TARP Pork for Barney Frank

Everyone (well, everyone not in Washington) knew TARP I would turn out to be a pork-fest. And Congress just gave $350 billion more in pork for TARP II. But for those who thought Bush was the problem, and hope-n-change will be completely accountable and transparent, consider what the Wall Street Journal just discovered about the criteria for TARP funds — lobbying Congress and the Democratic majority.

Troubled OneUnited Bank in Boston didn’t look much like a candidate for aid from the Treasury Department’s bank bailout fund last fall.

The Treasury had said it would give money only to healthy banks, to jump-start lending. But OneUnited had seen most of its capital evaporate. Moreover, it was under attack from its regulators for allegations of poor lending practices and executive-pay abuses, including owning a Porsche for its executives’ use.

Nonetheless, in December OneUnited got a $12 million injection from the Treasury’s Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP. One apparent factor: the intercession of Rep. Barney Frank, the powerful head of the House Financial Services Committee.

Mr. Frank, by his own account, wrote into the TARP bill a provision specifically aimed at helping this particular home-state bank. And later, he acknowledges, he spoke to regulators urging that OneUnited be considered for a cash injection.

Barney Frank … you know, the same one who was supposed to regulate Fannie and Freddie, took their lobbying money, told you how safe and sound they were …. right up until they collapsed.

THAT Barney Frank.

So how will hope-n-change monitor those of his own party? He won’t (and can’t even if he tried). TARP II (and the soon-to-come stimulus, also known as the Generational Theft Act of 2009) is and will be pork-fests for Congress as they seek to return favors and institute social policy. If you’re connected, you can get bailout/TARP/Stimulus money so you can keep driving your Porsche — courtesy of Barney Frank and majority members of Congress — while everyone else (well, the 50% left of the country paying income taxes) pays for it.

Thanks guys — this is yet another demonstration of why gridlock in Congress is good — the less these guys do the better it’s for everyone.

The country has a hangover from the drunken spending spree of Congress. And like any hangover, it won’t go away with any magic cures — you’ve just got to suffer through it and come out the other side (and hopefully learn your previous binges don’t produce good results). The country got into this mess by Congress deficit spending and expansion of easy credit (sub-prime mortgages given to people who everyone knew couldn’t pay via NINJA loans [no income, no job] and the Community Reinvestment Act).

And how do the Washington elites plan to get the country out of this mess? Deficit spending and credit expansion.

Huh?

Abortion Rights

As Roe v. Wade is celebrated again, one part of the issue doesn’t seem to be discussed — what about the rights of the father? Simple answer — he has none.

But why? If the issue is “reproductive rights”, why can’t the father control his? If the woman wants an abortion, he can’t stop it. If she wants to keep the baby and force him to pay, he can do nothing but pay. Why deny men reproductive rights? Is there not an equal protection argument here? Attorney Tommy De Seno notes the problem.

A father can’t stop an abortion if he wants his child, nor can he insist upon an abortion if he doesn’t want his child.

This situation should trouble everyone, not from a religious point of view, not from a personal choice point of view, but rather from an Equal Rights point of view.

Two weeks ago I tried an experiment in anticipation of writing this column. I wrote a column about gun control and posited that only men should vote on the issue of guns. The logic (rather illogic) used by me was that men buy guns the most, men are called upon to use them most (when a burglar enters our home) and we get shot the most. Why shouldn’t men have the only voice on the issue?

I wanted to gauge people’s reactions to the thought that in America we would ever give more weight to one person’s view than another’s because that person can show the issue affects him more.

As I walked around my city during these past two weeks, I was accosted by people who wanted to take me to task for suggesting that women lose their right to vote on an issue just because they may be affected by it less than men. Some pointed out, quite rightly, that even if there was an issue that didn’t affect women at all, as equal members of society, they should still have a voice in all decisions America makes.

An interesting perspective, and demonstrates just how bizarre the abortion issue has become. So extreme Obama voted to deny care to babies surviving a botched abortion, and a recent Texas court ruled a woman can’t be charged with murder if she wants to kill her baby. And now, an attorney notes current abortion case law creates an equal protection contradiction.

Where are the rational arguments? Abortion is (and will always remain) a major controversy for two reasons:

  1. The courts “found” a right in the Constitution which never existed, creating law instead of Congress. If Congress legislated instead of the courts, perhaps some of the nastiness would go away. As it stands, every time a judge needs to be confirmed, the question pops up “how will they judge on abortion” as a litmus test for or against otherwise qualified candidates. If Congress actually legislated, the problem disappears
  2. No compromise can be found. One side wants to terminate babies, the other doesn’t. What compromise can be found? Only half-terminate? Abortion simply can’t have a compromise — it’s a binary operation — either a baby lives or doesn’t.

Thus the abortion issue will forever remain unsolved, but for the time being, what about a father’s rights? Here’s a novel proposal.

I propose a “father’s abortion.” Let a father petition the Court to terminate his own parental rights to his child before or after the child’s birth. He would be rid of his obligations to that child in favor of his mental health and finances, the same as a woman does when she aborts.

As Justice Ginsburg said in the quote that appears at the top of this FOX Forum post, the emphasis is not abortion, rather an individual’s right to control his own reproduction. If we protect such a right for women, can we constitutionally deny it to men?

I propose this not because it would be in any way good. I propose it because constitutional Equal Protection demands it, and to show the danger created when judges destroy democracy by making up laws that don’t exist.

This of course has no chance of actually happening, because abortion has nothing to do with “reproductive rights” (and may or may not actually be a good idea, but that’s beside the point — what about equal protection?). But the equal protection problem adds more bizarre legal contradictions created by abortion, where by it’s nature abortion attempts to justify something society generally frowns upon — terminating a life.

Should men have reproductive rights? Or just women? We’re sure the idea generates strong feelings on both sides, but since the abortion question itself fails to have a compromise, perhaps other areas of abortion law could at least be discussed.