Conlibe: Political Blog for TRUTH in Politics.

Liberal Opinion Blog. Boston, Massachusetts. Political Democrat, Independent. Debunk Republican Lies, Misinformation

Archive for government

Like that OTHER “Mission Accomplished” NEVER!

Today, the Romney/Ryan version of Former President George Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” that never was!!! Set against the back-drop of another flag-draped US. Battleship, this time the U.S.S. Wisconsin! I wonder if they thought of the symbolism of FAILURE!!! WHO chose it? Well, duhhh!

Romney, Ryan have their own version of: “Mission Accomplished!”

Paul Ryan, the U.S. Representative from Wisconsin that Mitt Romney chose as his running mate is conservative dahling and hero! OF COURSE HE IS – HE WANTS TO CUT FOOD-STAMPS!

Yes, that’s Tea party darling Paul Ryan…and am I glad that Romney chose him, because:

If you are unemployed
If you are on welfare
If you get food stamps
If you depend on affordable childcare
If you depend on affordable housing
If your Health Coverage comes from Medicare
If you are a senior depending on Medicaid
If you are POOR
Then Paul Ryan is NOT for you!!!

Ryan Budget: “The Path to Prosperity.”

Paul Ryan wants to balance the budget AND THAT IS EXCELLENT! No argument there. We should ALL want to balance the budget. The point is: HOW DO WE DO THAT?

Let’s look at the U.S. government’s $3.8 Trillion FEDERAL budget for 2011. That budget, submitted to the 111th Congress by President Obama, was passed on April 15, 2011.

Remember that whole nail-biting process when Republicans refused to approve the budget and we were heading to a government shutdown…until the two parties reached a deal just hours before the deadline?

Let’s look at some areas of the 2011 Budget and see which black hole is sucking the MOST of YOUR tax dollars. According to the Center of Budget and Policy Priorities:

BLACK HOLE #1 THAT’S SUCKING OUR TAX DOLLARS: Defense and international security assistance:

In 2011, 20 percent of the budget, or $718 billion, paid for defense and security-related international activities. The bulk of the spending in this category reflects the underlying costs of the Department of Defense and other security-related activities. The total also includes the cost of supporting operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, funding for which totaled $159 billion in 2011.

F-22 Raptors. Unused fighter jets are 143-million-dollar White Elephants…

  • Do you feel safer now with ALL that money spent on defense?
  •  Do you feel safer now after the $159 billion spent in 2011 supporting operations in Iraq and Afghanistan?
  • Do you feel safer now with ALL that money spent on a defense that is based on missiles and bombs that were effective during the cold war, BUT AS WE SEE IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN – are no longer effective against suicide bombers?
  • Do you feel safer now with ALL that money spent on those NEW F-15 bombers that cost 143-million-dollars but are sitting on the tarmac while air force pilots refuse to fly them?

(See my May 03/2012 Post -> Pentagon’s 143-million-dollar White Elephants: https://conlibe.wordpress.com/2012/05/03/pentagons-143-million-dollar-white-elephants/)

Ryan tax plan will embrace Bush-era Tax Cuts for very rich…while cutting food-stamps and unemployment benefits for poor, middle-class.

DOES PAUL RYAN want to at all CUT some of the notorious waste at the Pentagon? OF COURSE NOT. Paul Ryan wants to cut Food-stamps for poor people.

BLACK HOLE #2 THAT’S SUCKING OUR TAX DOLLARS: Social Security. Another 20 percent of the budget, or $731 billion, paid for Social Security, which provided retirement benefits averaging $1,229 per month to 35.6 million retired workers in December 2011.

Social Security also provided benefits to 2.9 million spouses and children of retired workers, 6.3 million surviving children and spouses of deceased workers, and 10.6 million disabled workers and their eligible dependents in December 2011.

Should Social Security be overhauled? YES, yes! yes!!! Does the Paul Ryan Budget propose a plan to overhaul Social Security WHEN BOTH PARTIES KNOW IT MUST BE DONE? Nobody wants to touch Social Security!

Ryan budget cuts medicaid/medicare

BLACK HOLE #3 THAT’S SUCKING OUR TAX DOLLARS: Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP: Three health insurance programs – Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) – together accounted for 21 percent of the budget in 2011, or $769 billion. Nearly two-thirds of this amount, or $486 billion, went to Medicare, which provides health coverage to around 48 million people who are over the age of 65 or have disabilities.

The remainder of this category funds Medicaid and CHIP, which in a typical month in 2011 provided health care or long-term care to about 60 million low-income children, parents, elderly people, and people with disabilities. Both Medicaid and CHIP require matching payments from the states.

The Congressional Budget Office, says PAUL RYAN’s “Path to Prosperity” will convert the current Medicare program to a system under which beneficiaries would be entitled to premium support payments to help them purchase private health insurance. Those payments would grow over time with overall consumer prices. The change would apply to people turning 65 beginning in 2022; beneficiaries who turn 65 before then would remain in the traditional Medicare program, with the option of converting to the new system.

2011 Budget Pie

Convert the matching payments that the federal government makes to states for Medicaid costs under current law into block grants of fixed dollar amounts beginning in 2013. Those amounts would grow over time with overall consumer prices and the population.

Repeal the key provisions of the major 2010 health care legislation that deal with insurance coverage and certain other provisions..

BLACK HOLE #4 THAT’S SUCKING OUR TAX DOLLARS: Safety net programs: About 13 percent of the federal budget in 2011, or $466 billion, went to support programs that provide aid (other than health insurance or Social Security benefits) to individuals and families facing hardship. Spending on safety programs declined in both nominal and real terms between 2010 and 2011 as the economy continued to improve and initiatives funded by the 2009 Recovery Act began to expire.

These programs include: the refundable portion of the earned-income and child tax credits, which assist low- and moderate-income working families through the tax code; programs that provide cash payments to eligible individuals or households, including Supplemental Security Income for the elderly or disabled poor and unemployment insurance; various forms of in-kind assistance for low-income families and individuals, including food stamps, school meals, low-income housing assistance, child-care assistance, and assistance in meeting home energy bills; and various other programs such as those that aid abused and neglected children.

Ryan budget: Cut children’s health care, repeal Obamacare, LURE kids to land of NO Healthcare…

Such programs keep millions of people out of poverty each year. A Center analysis shows that government safety net programs kept some 25 million people out of poverty in 2010. Without any government income assistance, either from safety net programs or other income supports like Social Security, the poverty rate would have been nearly double in 2010 (28.6 rather than 15.5 percent).

◊◊◊

HERE’S WHAT THE CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE (CBO) HAS TO SAY ABOUT PAUL RYAN’S BUDGET: THE PATH TO PROSPERITY.” 

In response to a request from House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, CBO has conducted a long-term analysis of a proposal to substantially change federal payments under the Medicare and Medicaid programs, eliminate the subsidies to be provided through new insurance exchanges under last years major health care legislation, leave Social Security as it would be under current law, and set paths for all other federal spending (excluding interest) and federal tax revenues at specified growth rates or percentages of gross domestic product (GDP).

Ryan budget DOUBLES spending on health care…for Seniors!

Long-Term Effects of the Proposal

Under the proposal, most elderly people who would be entitled to premium support payments would pay more for their health care than they would pay under the current Medicare system. For a typical 65-year-old with average health spending enrolled in a plan with benefits similar to those currently provided by Medicare, CBO estimated the beneficiarys spending on premiums and out-of-pocket expenditures as a share of a benchmark amount: what total health care spending would be if a private insurer covered the beneficiary. By 2030, the beneficiarys share would be 68 percent of that benchmark under the proposal, 25 percent under the extended-baseline scenario, and 30 percent under the alternative fiscal scenario.

Federal payments for Medicaid under the proposal would be substantially smaller than currently projected amounts. States would have additional flexibility to design and manage their Medicaid programs, and they might achieve greater efficiencies in the delivery of care than under current law. Even with additional flexibility, however, the large projected reduction in payments would probably require states to decrease payments to Medicaid providers, reduce eligibility for Medicaid, provide less extensive coverage to beneficiaries, or pay more themselves than would be the case under current law.

Path to Prosperity for WHOM?

Key Considerations

Under the proposal CBO analyzed, debt would eventually shrink relative to the size of the economy but the gradually increasing number of Medicare beneficiaries participating in the new premium support program would bear a much larger share of their health care costs than they would under the current program; payments to physicians and other providers for services provided under the traditional Medicare program would be restrained (as under the two scenarios); states would have to pay substantially more for their Medicaid programs or tightly constrain spending for those programs; and spending as a share of GDP for federal programs other than Social Security and the major health care programs would be reduced far below historical levels. It is unclear whether and how future lawmakers would address the pressures resulting from the long-term scenarios or the proposal.

When Mitt Romney introduced Paul Ryan as his running mate, he called Paul Ryan the: “intellectual leader of the Republican party”

Ryan said: “Our rights come from nature and God, not from government” and said this was what made America great…

According to Ryan: He and Romney are not planning to: “replace our founding principles – we will reapply them” That is CODE for what? Gay Rights roll backs, Abortion Rights roll backs, Affirmative Action roll-backs?

Be careful what you vote for – you’ll have to live with it for a long. long time!

The Declaration of Independence: USA

The Liberty Bell: Philadelphia/PA. Iconic symbol of American independence. Used to summon lawmakers to legislative sessions, alert citizens to public events.

Action of Second Continental Congress,
July 4, 1776. 
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

WHEN in the Course of human Events, it becomes necessary for one People to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the Separation.

WE hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness—That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient Causes; and accordingly all Experience hath shewn, that Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while Evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a Design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future Security.

Such has been the patient Sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the Necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The History of the present King of Great-Britain is a History of repeated Injuries and Usurpations, all having in direct Object the Establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid World.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public Good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing Importance, unless suspended in their Operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

Thomas Jefferson: Principal author of the Declaration of Independence, 3rd U.S. President

He has refused to pass other Laws for the Accommodation of large Districts of People, unless those People would relinquish the Right of Representation in the Legislature, a Right inestimable to them, and formidable to Tyrants only.

He has called together Legislative Bodies at Places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the Depository of their public Records, for the sole Purpose of fatiguing them into Compliance with his Measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly Firmness his Invasions on the Rights of the People.

He has refused for a long Time, after such Dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the Dangers of Invasion from without, and Convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the Population of these States; for that Purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their Migrations hither, and raising the Conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the Tenure of their Offices, and the Amount and Payment of their Salaries.

He has erected a Multitude of new Offices, and sent hither Swarms of Officers to harrass our People, and eat out their Substance.

He has kept among us, in Times of Peace, Standing Armies, without the consent of our Legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a Jurisdiction foreign to our Constitution, and unacknowledged by our Laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

George Washington: Founding Father, First U.S President, Commander-in-chief of the Continental Army

For quartering large Bodies of Armed Troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from Punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all Parts of the World:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us, in many Cases, of the Benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pre-tended Offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an arbitrary Government and enlarging its Boundaries, so as to render it at once an Example and fit Instrument for introducing the same absolute Rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with Power to legislate for us in all Cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our Seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our Towns, and destroyed the Lives of our People.

Benjamin Franklin: Founding Father, leading author, inventor

He is, at this Time, transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the Works of Death, Desolation, and Tyranny already begun with circumstances of Cruelty and Perfidy, scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous Ages, and totally unworthy of the Head of a civilized Nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the Executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic Insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the Inhabitants of our Frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known Rule of Warfare, is an undistinguished Destruction, of all Ages, Sexes and Conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions we have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble Terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated Injury. A Prince, whose Character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the Ruler of a free People.

Nor have we been wanting in Attentions to our British Brethren. We have warned them from Time to Time of Attempts by their Legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the Circumstances of our Emigration and Settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and Magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the Ties of our common Kindred to disavow these Usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our Connections and Correspondence. They too have been deaf to the Voice of Justice and of Consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the Necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of Mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace, Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the World for the Rectitude of our Intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly Publish and Declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be, FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES, that they are absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political Connection between them and the State of Great-Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which INDEPENDENT STATES may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm Reliance on the Protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

Key Founding Fathers: John AdamsBenjamin Franklin,Alexander HamiltonJohn JayThomas JeffersonJames Madison, and George Washington.

More Republican Hypocrisy: Solindra and Schilling…

Does the name Solyndra – mean anything to you?

Solar panels

It’s the California Solar Company that got huge government subsidies (a 535 million-dollar loan guarantee) from Stimulus Funds in 2009. Solyndra went bankrupt in 2011 and laid off about 11-hundred employees.

President Obama praised the solar panel maker as a model of Green Energy and when it failed, “The Party of NO” started thumping their chests!

Republicans roared:

Florida Representative Cliff Stearns, head of the subcommittee on oversight and investigations for the Energy and Commerce committee said: “In an apparent rush to push stimulus dollars out the door, the Obama Administration wasted $535 million in taxpayer funds in guaranteeing a loan to a firm that has proven to be unviable in the global market.”*

Republican members of the committee churned out a subpoena to get documents from the Office of Management and Budget over the Department of Energy loan.

According to a Forbes article, only this week, Republicans tried to create another Solyndra-type furor over two other solar companies: Bright source Energy (apparently used insiders to get its loan guarantees) and First Solar (whose CEO cashed nearly half-a-million-dollars of his shares while taking public money).

Ohio Republican, Jim Jordan. OUTRAGED over solar companies mismanagement…

Republicans scheduled a hearing of a subcommittee of the Committee on Government Oversight and Reform that oversees the stimulus program. Subcommittee chair, Republican Jim Jordan of Ohio opened the hearing with a withering attack on clean tech companies that seek government assistance.

Republicans DON’T like Clean Energy. The very same subsidies they decry for Solar companies they champion and embrace for big oil, gas and coal companies! Maybe solar companies don’t have deep enough pockets – or lobbyists – or PAC’s – who can fund GOP campaigns and travel?

Fast Forward to this week…

To Curt Schilling.

Name mean anything to you?

He’s a former ace pitcher for the Boston Red Sox who helped the team break its cursed losing streak…in 2004.

Schilling, whom many consider to be a jerk, developed near cult status in Boston. Until he moved from sports icon to political champion – and started campaigning for John McCain! Before you know it, people are speculating about “Curt Schilling for Senate” to fill Ted Kennedy’s vacant seat…

We escaped a Senator Schilling, thank goodness!

Curt Schilling: Pitcher, politician, entrepreneur….

Mr. Schilling started a Video Game company: 38 Studios in 2006. Being a Republican, and seeing that they’re ALL born holding a copy of NAFTA rules and regulations (they being natural businessmen) His 38-ness declared: I understand one thing, that’s big business, and big business is what we’ve allowed to take over in far too many places and in far too many areas that the people need to take back” and he proceeded to do that by establishing a small business.

Mr. Schilling then decided that he needed government subsidies – taxpayer subsidies (like those the department of Energy gave to Solyndra) for his company and decided to play a game of  “my ego or yours” with lawmakers.

President Obama…with best buddy, MA Governor Deval Patrick (Democrat)

In 2010, he threatened to move his 4-year-old company to neighboring Rhode Island. The Ocean State was offering Schilling’s company $75 million in loan guarantees. Schilling pledged to bring 450 new jobs to Rhode Island over the next three years. He of course preferred to STAY in liberal Massachusetts but would Massachusetts play ball?

Schilling loaded the bases, confident in his ability to throw a strike. Massachusetts lawmakers told him to: walk!

Have I mentioned that our governor Deval Patrick is a loyal Obama friend and colleague, who, like the president, is also from Chicago?

  • Did I say that Curt Schilling supported Republican Charlie Baker (against Deval Patrick) for governor in 2010?
  • And that Schilling contributed to Republicans John McCain and Sarah Palin in their 2008 presidential bid against Obama?

Naturally none of that factored into any decisions…of course.

Greg Bialecki, Massachusetts secretary of housing and economic development, said: Schilling apparently hoped his discussions with Rhode Island officials would goad Massachusetts into making him a better offer. Although Bialecki said he had discussed possible tax breaks with Schilling earlier this year, in the end Massachusetts was unwilling to offer such a big incentive package to one company.

Schilling took off, went to Rhode Island…with the following conditions:

  • 38 Studios must pay $8 million in annual fees to the economic development agency over the 10-year life of the loan.
  • The company must create 450 new jobs in stages over three years
  • 38 Studios pays a penalty of $7,500 per year for each job it fails to create on schedule.
  • The company must pay Rhode Island an annual ‘guaranty fee’ each May.

In addition:

  • Loan comes from lending institutions, not the state, BUT Rhode Island taxpayers are stuck with the unpaid balance of the loan if 38 Studios fails.
  • The state gets first rights to all of the company’s collateral, including intellectual property rights to any 38 Studios games. (The company unveiled its much-anticipated first game: Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning in February.)
  • Rhode Island can use that to recover money if the company can’t repay the loans.

Rick Gorka, a spokesman for the campaign of Massachusetts Republican Charles D. Baker, said Schilling’s departure was an example of a “toxic business climate’’ created by Democratic incumbent Governor Deval Patrick. (No wonder Baker lost, with advice like that!)

Free from the weight of Mr. Schilling’s ego, Massachusetts bounced back. The latest unemployment figures (May 17) put the Bay State’s unemployment rate at 6.3 percent last month (April 2012).

And Schilling? Well, this week his company was unable to pay workers Thursday (May 17/2012) and the check for this year’s 1.25 million-dollar guaranty payment to Rhode Island, due this month, bounced.

Bureau of labor Statistics figures put Rhode Island’s unemployment rate in March 2012 at: 11.1 percent. Massachusetts was: 6.5 percent.

  • In 2009: Rhode Island’s unemployment rate (civilian non-institutional population) was at: 10.8 percent. In 2010 it was: 11.6 percent. Massachusetts was: 8.2 and 8.5 percent.

Rhode Island governor Lincoln Chafee. (Republican turned Independent in 2007)

Back then when Schilling decided to move his company to Rhode Island, Lincoln Chafee – running for governor of Rhode Island as an independent – described Curt Schilling as: “I just remember his own teammates didn’t like him…they thought he was a bit of a salesman…”

Chafee said more, but I am first and foremost a Red Sox fan. Yes. Still!

So where are the Republicans?

Any calls for an investigation?

Any subpoena here to examine the agreement with a “firm that has proven to be unviable in the global market”?*

Solyndra’s loan is much bigger and worthy of investigation…

But Schilling?

Like he said back then: Any responsible entrepreneur exhausts every avenue of potential funding when running a start-up company; we’re no different.’’ He had a responsibility to his 180 employees to explore every option to make 38 Studios a success.

Listen up, Solyndra – when the Department of Energy dangled those millions in front of you, you did what? Exhausted an avenue of potential funding! Exhaust indeed…

In February 2011, Mr. Schilling said: “There can be no question our country is in the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes. I also think there can be no question that it falls on us, the individuals, to find a way out of our own personal crisis.”

Well now – find your way, Mr. Schilling – or maybe it’s easier to TALK, huh, especially when we have NO idea what the heck we’re talking about – as in the usual Republican style!

Background Boston Globe.

Democrats- Bring Out Your Shears!

IT IS TIME TO TRIM THE FAT AND send it out to be recycled as bio-diesel. Don’t have a choice — can’t keep raising taxes…

Politicians and voters have been lamenting Government Waste which comes in various forms: Pork projects, overlapping, mismanagement…since before they were born!

But do you KNOW what your Senator or Representative has done about it – especially the ones who’ve been at the Capitol since T-Rex walked in downtown D.C.? Yeah, those dinosaurs…

Go ahead and ASK them. Politicians would much rather you talk about Mitt Romney’s dog. They don’t want you to ask the hard questions that will put them on the spot…like: What have YOU done to trim waste in government? Have you pushed to consolidate overlapping departments under one banner?

Quote from a Government Accountability Office article: We identified a total of 51 areas, including 32 areas of potential duplication, overlap or fragmentation, as well as 19 opportunities for agencies or Congress to consider taking action that could either reduce the cost of government operations or enhance revenue collections for the Treasury.

These areas involve a wide range of government missions including agriculture, defense, economic development, education, energy, general government, health, homeland security, international affairs, science and the environment, and social services.

Cartoon poking fun at Mitt Romney over dog-on-the-car-roof trip…

Have YOU heard any politician talking about that?

  • You’ve heard of Mitt Romney’s dog!
  • You’ve heard about President Obama’s old girlfriend, haven’t you?

Have you heard anybody telling YOU what he/she plans to do about government waste? Of course NOT. That’s a real issue – too hot to handle!

I trolled the internet and found countless examples where people wrote about government Waste. I can only post a few here…you may have already heard about some of them:

  • A $3-million grant to researchers at the University of California at Irvine so that they can play video games such as World of Warcraft.  The goal of this “video game research”? To study how “emerging forms of communication, including multiplayer computer games and online virtual worlds such as World of Warcraft and Second Life can help organizations collaborate and compete more effectively in the global marketplace.”

Pink Monkey House. Dayton, Ohio

Well we ARE preparing our kids to compete! Schools without textbooks? Who needs those?

  • The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs spent $175 million during 2010 to maintain hundreds of buildings that it does not even use.  This includes a pink, octagonal monkey house in the city of Dayton, Ohio. Pink? Now ladies, let’s protest. It SHOULD have been BLUE!
  • $1.8 million taxpayer dollars for a “museum of neon signs” in Las Vegas, Nevada. Plan on visiting…?
  • $35-million reportedly paid out by Medicare to 118 “phantom” medical clinics that never even existed.  Criminal gangs used them to defraud the U.S. government. Illegal immigrants…again!
  • An enterprising group of farmers got $30-thousand from the Department of Agriculture to develop a tourist-friendly database of farms that host guests for overnight “haycations”. Move over Hilton…

(I like this one! Some smart farmer collected the check, went home, called the other farmers, showed them his Microsoft Office Suite, clicked on ACCESS (a database Program) – and they fell around laughing!)

  • The U.S. Department of Defense spent about $100-million over six years for airline tickets that were not used. The tickets were refundable but nobody sought refunds. Why bother? Newspaper reports say 36-thousand Defense Department employees defaulted on some $600 million in official travel expenses charged to government credit cards. Bad debts, written off by banks were reportedly growing by about a-million-dollars a month.
  • The federal government cannot account for $24.5 billion spent in 2003.
  • The federal government made $20 billion in overpayments in 2001.
  • The Department of Housing and Urban Development racked up $3.3 billion in overpayments in 2001, more than 10-percent of the department’s total budget.
  • Over one 18-month period, Air Force and Navy personnel used government-funded credit cards to charge at least $102-thouand for admission to entertainment events, $48-thousand for gambling, $69-thousand for cruises, and $74-thousand for exotic dance clubs and prostitutes.

See why the Secret Service did NOT want to be left out!?

  • The IRS could not verify $3 billion in expenses as the agency had not kept its own books and records with the same degree of accuracy it expects from taxpayers. YOU tell them YOU can’t verify $50 in travel!
  • Medicare fraud alone accounts for an estimated $60 billion annually, according to the Wall Street Journal.

A 2011 GAO report “identified 34 areas either where agencies, offices, or initiatives have similar or overlapping objectives or provide similar services to the same populations, or where government missions are fragmented across multiple agencies or programs.

At least 31 entities within the Department Of Defence provide items urgently needed to U.S. war-fighters — at a cost of over $76 billion since 2005.

Here’s the sobering truth…

According to the GAO, there is no question that both U.S. government spending and tax cuts are spiraling out of control. Recent increases in federal budget deficits have far out-paced the cost of the global war on terrorism and incremental homeland  security costs.

Although the $319 billion fiscal 2005 deficit was considerably lower than the previous year’s, it is still imprudently high—especially given that federal spending is expected to increase dramatically when the baby boomers begin to retire later this decade.

Less well-known, the federal government’s long-term liabilities and net commitments, such as those relating to Social Security and Medicare, have risen from just over $20 trillion in fiscal 2000 to more than $43 trillion in fiscal 2004, in large part because of the passage of the Medicare prescription drug bill in December, 2003.

This translates into a burden of more than $150,000 per American and $350,000 per fulltime worker, up from $72,000 and $165,000 in 2000, respectively. Those amounts are growing fast because of continuing deficits, our aging society, slower work force growth, and compounding interest costs.

And HOW way back was that…?

Yeah – we REALLY care about fixing the country!

Hey, about Mitt Romney’s dog … 

Information from various online sites.
Photos: Google

Single Payer Silence

What is Single Payer?

As the Health Care debate rages on, why have we heard so much about “Public Options” and fictitious “Death Panels” but little about Single Payer?

Many health care professionals, like the group: Physicians for a National Health Program, (PNHP) support Single Payer.

The group bills itself as a single issue organization advocating a universal, comprehensive single-payer national health program. It says it has more than 17 thousand members and chapters across America.

So when I wanted to understand what Single-payer was, I turned to their website and found this:

Single Payer is a term used to describe a type of financing system. It refers to one entity acting as administrator, or “payer.” In the case of health care, a single-payer system would be setup such that one entity, a government-run organization, would collect all health care fees, and pay out all health care costs.

In the current US system, there are literally tens of thousands of different health care organizations—HMOs, billing agencies, etc. By having so many different payers of health care fees, there is an enormous amount of administrative waste generated in the system.

(Just imagine how complex billing must be in a doctor’s office, when each insurance company requires a different form to be completed, has a different billing system, different billing contacts and phone numbers—it’s very confusing.)

In a single-payer system, all hospitals, doctors, and other health care providers would bill one entity for their services. This alone reduces administrative waste greatly, and saves money, which can be used to provide care and insurance to those who currently don’t have it.

Access and Benefits
All Americans would receive comprehensive medical benefits under single payer.

Coverage would include all medically necessary services, including rehabilitative, long-term, and home care; mental health care, prescription drugs, and medical supplies; and preventive and public health measures.

Care would be based on need, not on ability to pay.

Payment
Hospital billing would be virtually eliminated. Instead, hospitals would receive an annual lump-sum payment from the government to cover operating expenses—a “global budget.” A separate budget would cover such expenses as hospital expansion, the purchase of technology, marketing, etc.

Doctors would have three options for payment: fee-for-service, salaried positions in hospitals, and salaried positions within group practices or HMOs.

Fees would be negotiated between a representative of the fee-for-service practitioners (such as the state medical society) and a state payment board. In most cases, government would serve as administrator, not employer.

Financing
The program would be federally financed and administered by a single public insurer at the state or regional level. Premiums, copayments, and deductibles would be eliminated.

Employers would pay a 7-percent payroll tax…employees would pay 2-percent. 90 to 95 percent of people would pay less overall for health care. Financing includes a cigarette tax of 2-dollars per pack.

Single Payer was discussed on PBS show – Bill Moyers Journal (May 22, 2009). (http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/index-flash.html or just pbs.org).

Moyers calls Single Payer one of the most controversial but popular options relating to health care reform.

And many health care professionals (who may have a much better handle than most of us on health care and insurance as it relates to the patient and health care delivery) seem to be throwing their weight behind it.

But they were not being invited to the table, so they took their protest to the Capitol…where some were arrested for it.

As Dr. Margaret Flowers told Moyers: Health care professionals like her want to take care of patients…not have insurance companies and administrators who know nothing about medicine tell then what they can and can’t do!

Another protester, Dr. Pat Salomon: There were all these arbitrary decisions, which were not about people’s health care. They were about profits. How can I get away with the least amount of care offered to this person, so that their premium is going to give me the most profit? That’s not the way health care decisions should be made.

Donna Smith, a community organizer appeared on the Bill Moyers Journal. She’s the legislative advocate for the California Nurses Association, whose 85 thousand members across the country were early champions for a single-payer program.

She told Moyers: Congress is not listening to advocates of a single-payer system. They seem to be bent on one direction and one direction only…expanding the broken system that we have now.

She says there are so many insurance companies involved in making health care decisions in this country, and so many Americans suffering at the hands of those insurance companies, whether it’s through higher premiums and higher co-pays and deductibles…

According to Smith, The California Nurses Association asked Congress and the Obama administration to allow them to contribute to the Health Care Reform debate. She says doctors and nurses were invited to attend the White House forums on health care reform (but didn’t speak) only after protesting and getting quite active.

Smith thinks it’s because lawmakers have already made a choice…to stay with the moneyed interest, the people who fund the campaigns and the people who fuel the government system…

She points to democrat Max Baucus, Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee which was holding hearings on health care reform.

Smith says Baucus, is the third highest recipient of donations from the health insurance and health care industry in general. He’s the highest Democratic recipient. She thinks he should have to disclose that at the beginning of every single hearing that he chairs.

Smith argues that doctors have had to spend several hours per day on the phone hassling with insurance companies, trying to negotiate to get a patient a treatment.

In terms of cost, she says the argument about socializing things and making things government-run seems a little bit yesterday to her…because in three days, we were able to come up with three quarters of a trillion dollars to throw into Wall Street.

Check the PNHP website (pnhp.org). It says Single Payer activists have set up a memorial on the National Mall for the more than 44-thousand Americans who die every year from lack of health insurance.

Cash for Clapboards & Kennedy’s Replacement

Wouldn’t it be nice if the government decided to buy foreclosed homes – invite people to turn in homes they no longer want or can afford – like homes that are not energy efficient? The government could then buy these houses, rehabilitate them and sell them to people who can afford them! 

I suggest we call that program: “<strong>Cash for Clapboards” (CACLAP)</strong>. 

Its forerunner, “Cash for Clunkers” seems to have: 

•          Ignited under new car sales.

•          Thrilled General Motors (GM) so much, the auto maker decided to lend dealers money to run the program…while those dealers wait for the government to reimburse them!

•          Increased vehicle production. GM is adding 60-thousand vehicles in the third and fourth quarters and re-hiring about 1400 laid-off workers. 

Under The Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS program), owners traded in their gas guzzlers. That made them eligible to get from 35-hundred to 45-hundred-dollars towards buying a newer model that meets or exceeds higher mile-per-gallon standards. Dealers fronted the money and the government reimbursed them. 

According to the Associated Press, the government’s “Cash for Clunkers” program has: <em>revived business at car dealerships, taken gas-guzzlers off the road and given a badly needed boost to struggling auto factories. By many measures, the government’s Cash for Clunkers program has been a success</em>”. 

Well then! My “Cash for Clapboards” (CACLAP) program could similarly inject a substantial infusion of cash into the struggling housing market/industry. 

Under CACLAP, homeowners could trade in that draughty old colonial for that new, energy-efficient detached with the big yard that you’ve been drooling over! Water saving, energy efficient appliances, solar panels on the roof – just think of it! 

Cash for Clunkers ends Monday, August 24, 2009. I say we start “Cash for Clapboards” immediately! 

*****  

I don’t support changing the Massachusetts Succession Law because a situation has developed that could benefit Democrats. 

The Boston Globe says Senator Ted Kennedy (who’s been battling brain cancer since May 2008) has written to Governor Deval Patrick asking the governor and legislative leaders to change the succession law. Kennedy apparently wants to ensure that Massachusetts will have a Senate vote when his seat becomes vacant. 

Massachusetts governors used to have the power to fill Senate vacancies. 

But in 2004, democratic lawmakers didn’t want republican Governor Mitt Romney to fill Kerry’s seat with a Republican if Kerry became president. So Democrats (who also held the majority back then) changed the law and created a five-month vacancy. 

Now that little self-serving trick could come back to bite democrats. President Obama and Democrats may face a close vote to pass health care legislation…and if Kennedy is out of the running, that’s one crucial vote short…unless that seat can be filled quickly! 

I tend to be pro-Democrat, but that doesn’t mean I support everything they do…or want to do. 

Why don’t I support it? <strong>Because it was Democrats who changed the law when it didn’t suit them – and if they changed it solely to tie Romney’s hands – what makes them think they can just as opportunistically change it now</strong>? 

Sometimes just having the required votes and the ability to do something…<em>doesn’t mean you should do it! </em>I like it when people fall into holes that they’ve dug for others! 

At one time Rome was the superpower. At one point it was Egypt. The Huns ruled, the Aztecs ruled…and more recently, Europe ruled. Empires come…empires go. Civilizations come and civilizations go! 

Learn from this. Politicians come and politicians go. Parties come and parties go! 

<strong>Whichever party has a majority should understand that this state of affairs will never last! What use is history is we never learn from it?</strong>

%d bloggers like this: