And So I Go: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Archive for the ‘International News’ Category

Dear Readers,  I am sure you will find many of the articles in this month’s  Heritage   Insider-Online   of interest so for those who do not subscribe I am putting them on my blog for you use.    I have gotten emails from many asking why I am no longer blogging.  Frankly because I have said all I can say about the evil of Barack Obama and now can only sit back and cry for my country.  Even if the Senate becomes Republican this November  and a sane President is elected in 2016 there has been so much damage done that it will take decades to just claw ourselves back to the point we were at when this monster was first elected in 2008.  Being an old lady I won’t live to see our America return to the respected place in the world and a country of independent proud people  that I knew as a young woman.

I have watched the downward slide of America from the mid 1960’s  with Democrat President Lyndon Johnson and his failed “Great Society”.  Even at age 23 I knew that Medicare was wrong!  Only 40% of elderly Americans were unable to afford health care insurance but instead of helping those individuals the insurance companies insisted that ALL the elderly must be given health insurance paid for by the younger tax payers.    The same thi9ng is happening now with Obamacare—the only way the insurance companies will accept  everyone with coverage regardless of health or life style or preexisting conditions  is if every0ne  is forced into the system.    So stupid!  Give help to those few who need it and let the rest of us take care of ourselves as independent decent Americans always have.   It is a fact that has been proven over and over: Any thing the government gets into  is badly run, in efficient, full of fraud and outright thievery  and therefore very very costly to the tax payers.  Medicare, Medicaid and student loans are prime examples of this rule!

I watched the schools and universities as an educator  being “dumb down to the lowest common denominator by see and say reading and new math and  rewriting history and replacing it with social studies and social justice.

Now during these past 6 years I have watched a President of the United States again and again ignore and  violate the  laws  stated in the Constitution of the United States and  no one stopping him!   Yes, I  have live thru the down fall of a great civilization and I will not live to see the rise to greatness again, but I have faith in Americans.  We are a unique  nation form by outstanding people who were wise far beyond their times.  We today have the blood of those pioneers beating in our hearts and this is augmented daily by new blood of those who leave the old behind and come to the land of the freedom and rights of man so that they too can soar above the masses in the world in the only country on earth that allows its citizens that freedom. .I have faith that we Americans will walk proud again but after the damage done during these 50+ years it will take decades to return.

You, the readers of my blog are the people who will lead the way.  God bless you.  Sincerely, BB

 

The Heritage Foundation

To Me
Aug 9 at 8:07 AM
Updated daily, InsiderOnline (insideronline.org) is a compilation of publication abstracts, how-to essays, events, news, and analysis from around the conservative movement. The current edition of The INSIDER quarterly magazine is also on the site.

August 9, 2014

Latest Studies
34 studies, including a Pacific Research Institute handbook on tobacco taxation, and a Hudson Institute report on Iraq’s second Sunni insurgency

Notes on the Week
The environmental costs of delaying Keystone, What does the strategic trade lit really say about the Export-Import Bank? Is administrative law running off the rails?

To Do
Figure out what now for ObamaCare

Latest Studies

Budget & Taxation
The Export-Import Bank: What the Scholarship Says – The Heritage Foundation
Abolishing the Corporate Income Tax Could Be Good
for Everyone
– National Center for Policy Analysis
Handbook of Tobacco Taxation – Pacific Research Institute
Sales Tax Holidays: Politically Expedient but Poor Tax Policy – Tax Foundation

The Constitution/Civil Liberties
An Originalist  Future – Federalist  Society
Repression in China and Its Consequences in  Xinjiang – Hudson Institute
Private Property Interrupted: Protecting Texas Property Owners from  Regulatory Takings Abuse –  Texas Public Policy Foundation

Crime, Justice & the Law
Criminal Law and the Administrative State: The Problem with Criminal Regulations – The Heritage Foundation

Economic Growth
The Long-Hours Luxury – American Enterprise Institute
Misallocation, Property Rights, and Access to Finance – Cato Institute
Do Labour Shortages Exist in Canada? Reconciling the Views of Employers and Economists – Fraser Institute
“Middle-Out” Economics? – Hoover Institution
How Many Jobs Does Intellectual Property Create? – Mercatus Center
Thomas Piketty’s False Depiction of Wealth in America – Tax Foundation

Education
Philadelphia School Trends, 2002-03 to 2012-13 – Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Alternatives

Foreign Policy/International Affairs
Setting a Course for Obama’s Rudderless Africa Policy – The Heritage Foundation
The Failure of the E.U. – Hoover Institution
Iraq’s Second Sunni Insurgency – Hudson Institute
The Collective Security Treaty Organization: Past Struggles and Future Prospects – Hudson Institute

Health Care
Changing the Rules of Health Care: Mobile Health and Challenges for Regulation – American Enterprise Institute
Direct Primary Care: An Innovative Alternative to Conventional Health Insurance – The Heritage Foundation
How Obamacare Fuels Health Care Market Consolidation – The Heritage Foundation
A Time for Reform: Close and Consolidate Texas’ State Supported Living Centers – Texas Public Policy Foundation

International Trade/Finance
Sustaining the Economic Rise of Africa – Cato Institute
Market Solutions Should Be Central to U.S.’s Taiwan Policy – The Heritage Foundation

Labor
Asserting Influence and Power in the 21st Century: The NLRB Focuses on Assisting Non-Union Employees – Federalist Society

Monetary Policy/Financial Regulation
“Choking Off” Disfavored Businesses and Their Clients: How Operation Choke Point Undermines the Rule of Law and Harms the
Economy
– The Heritage Foundation

National Security
Autonomous Military Technology: Opportunities and Challenges for Policy and Law – The Heritage Foundation
Size Isn’t All that Matters – Hoover Institution

Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & Science
The Keystone Delay Is Costing us More than Jobs and Revenue – American Action Forum
Who Watches the Watchmen? Global Warming in the Media – Capital Research Center
Rethinking Energy: Supplying Competitive Electricity Rates – Center of the American Experiment

Retirement/Social Security
A Guide to the 2014 Social Security Trustees Report – e21 – Economic Policies for the 21st Century
Social Security Trustees Report: Unfunded Liability Increased $1.1 Trillion and Projected Insolvency in 2033 – The Heritage Foundation

 

 

Notes on the Week

The environmental costs of delaying Keystone: The delay in the Keystone pipeline costs more than jobs and income. There are also environmental consequences that come from shifting pipeline transport of oil to rail transport. Catrina Rorke extrapolates what the costs may be:

If the president had approved the Keystone XL pipeline, it would have prevented the release of an additional 2.7 to 7.4 million tons of CO2 to the atmosphere – the equivalent of taking 500,000 to 1.5 million passenger vehicles off the road or shutting down one coal facility. […]

From the State Department report, we know that the rail options emit 28-42 percent more during normal operations as compared to the Keystone XL pipeline. […]

Replacing the capacity of the Keystone XL pipeline with rail transport risks additional oil spills and the release of up to 23,318 additional barrels of oil – nearly a million gallons of useful fuel entering the environment instead of the economy. […]

The delay in building the Keystone XL pipeline risks up to 1,065 additional injuries and 159 additional fatalities.

By virtue of serving urbanized areas, railroads carry a certain risk to the public. A July 2013 train derailment in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec devastated the downtown and caused 47 deaths. Though this tragedy is unique in size, the paths of railways intersect frequently with population centers. The Keystone XL pipeline is designed to minimize this risk, routed to avoid sensitive, sacred, and historic sites, as well as densely populated areas. [American Action Forum, August 6]

Rewarding work: “One factor that is often overlooked in the debate over causes of income inequality is a shift in the distribution of working hours,” writes Tino Sanandaji: “The rich now work more than the poor.”

Between 1979 and 2006, the share of low-wage earners who worked long hours declined from 22 percent to 13 percent. In the same time period the share of high-wage earners who worked long hours increased from 15 to 27 percent. Results were similar when education rather than income is used to segment the labor market. Most of the change is driven by changes in hours worked per employee, not by changes in employment rates. For men lacking high-school education, one-third of the decline in hours is driven by reduced employment rates, while the rest is driven by decline in hours among the employed. Among college-educated men, the entire increase in the long hours is driven by those with employment working more hours.

And the decline of work among the poor is a tragedy, he writes:

In simple economic models, working less and having more leisure increases well-being. A common but mistaken view of this reversal in work inequality is that it has benefited the low skilled because they can consume as much as before without having to work as hard. This ignores the complexity of human psychology.

Humanist theories of happiness, starting with Aristotle, have long argued that the key to life satisfaction is living a purpose-driven life and aiming for higher goals. Modern psychology similarly emphasizes work and purpose for a full life. Abraham Maslow viewed fulfilling one’s potential or “self-actualization” as the pinnacle level of happiness. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi argued that people are happiest when they are in a state of “flow,” or a complete absorption in a challenging and intrinsically motivated activity. [The American, August 4]

What does a gas company have to do with ObamaCare? If you’ve been following the debate about whether ObamaCare creates tax credits in just the state exchanges or in both the federal and state exchanges, you may have heard the word “Chevron.” What’s that all about?

“Chevron” refers to Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council a Supreme Court decision from 1984. Randolph May, observing the 30th anniversary of the decision, describes Chevron’s central holding this way: “When a statutory provision is ambiguous, if the agency’s interpretation is ‘based on a permissible construction of the statute,’ then the agency’s interpretation is to be given ‘controlling weight.’”

When there is ambiguity, why not defer to the agencies? May explains the problem:

Chevron, by virtue of giving agency interpretations of ambiguous statutory provisions “controlling weight,” has facilitated the steady growth of the regulatory state. This certainly is a likely result because of the natural bureaucratic imperative for agencies, granted leeway to do so, to interpret delegations of authority in a way that expands, rather than contracts, their own authority. […]

To the extent that the Chevron doctrine—the counter-Marbury—in fact facilitates aggrandizement of power by government officials all too eager to expand administrative authority, there is a ready remedy. Congress can choose to legislate in a way that makes its intent unmistakably clear. Remember, absent ambiguity in the statute, a reviewing court never reaches the question of how much deference is due the agency’s own interpretation.

Congress legislating with unmistakable clarity? I understand that in the legislative sausage-making process this is an ideal infrequently realized. In many instances, Congress actually intends, whether or not it says so explicitly, to leave “gap-filling” for the agencies. That way, when an agency’s action rouses the public’s ire, Congress can blame the bureaucrats for overreaching. [The Hill, August 8

In King v. Burwell, the Fourth Circuit relied on Chevron analysis to find that tax credits were permissible in the federal exchanges; in Halbig v. Burwell, the D.C. Circuit decided that the meaning of “an Exchange established by the State,” was plain enough that there was no gap for the IRS to fill. Thus, there was no Chevron analysis needed.

The Constitution doesn’t exist for the convenience of the government. For the past century or so, the federal government has been using its spending and regulatory powers to “turn states into mere field offices of the federal government,” write Richard Epstein and Mario Loyola. Their article in The Atlantic explains not only how we got here but why we should care:

A common justification for federal overreach is that it allows for administrative convenience, but the Constitution doesn’t exist for the convenience of the government. Its purpose is to protect the people from government abuse. By leaving most government spending and regulation within the exclusive domain of states, the original Constitution created a dynamic framework of interstate regulatory competition. Citizens and businesses could choose to live in whatever state they wanted, a choice they could make with increasing ease as the nation’s communications and transportation dramatically improved, and states competed to offer an attractive package of services and taxation.

Just like cable-TV providers offer premium channels in pricy packages and basic cable at a cut rate, some states and municipalities offered lots of services and benefits—and higher taxes—while others offered smaller government and a lower tax bill. That larger menu meant more choices.

This interstate regulatory competition could accommodate a wide diversity of approaches, from the progressive safety blanket of Wisconsin to the frontier freedom of Texas. Vigorous interstate competition tended to punish excessive government, leading for example to higher growth rates in states with less restrictive labor laws. It also made it more difficult for special interests to wield government as a tool for extracting benefits from the rest of society in the form of hidden subsidies, cartels, and monopolies. Where special interests reign, market efficiency is lost, leaving everyone worse off.

Even today, states with high taxes, tough zoning laws, and restrictive labor laws tend to lose out to those with a lighter footprint—witness the tens of thousands of people—especially poor people—moving to Texas every year. The easier it is for people to choose between state options, the weaker the case for federal control of markets.

That leaves heavily regulated and highly taxed states at a disadvantage in the competition for people and businesses. Those states have cleverly solved much of their problem by using the federal government to impose higher taxes and regulation across the states. Burdened by often-costly progressive policies, states such as California, Massachusetts, and New York form coalitions in Congress to neutralize the advantage of states like Wyoming, Texas, and Florida. Protection from competition is the strongest impetus for the integration of federal and state governments under an umbrella of overall federal control.

That process undercuts one of the great advantages of a modern economy: the choice that mobility offers to families and businesses. It hastens the erosion of one of our most essential constitutional protections, the separate domains of federal and state governments, each confined to its proper sphere of authority. [The Atlantic, July 31]

The courts aren’t on board with the plan for unrestrained executive power—at least not all of them, yet. To hear liberals tell the story, the most important thing to know about Halbig v. Burwell is that the D.C. Circuit Court denied ObamaCare subsidies to millions of people in the 36 states that chose not to establish an exchange. The detail that the law says the subsidies are available “through an Exchange established by the State” gets second billing if it shows up at all. Liberals thus blame the court for striking down that which Congress failed to create. What an odd way of looking at judicial decisions. As Michael Greve notes, the acceptance of the government’s arguments as at all plausible is a signal that administrative law is coming apart at the seams. He writes:

[W]ould we actually be having this overwrought discussion over a perfectly straightforward Administrative Law and statutory interpretation question—and a perfectly conventional judicial resolution—if Halbig were about something other than Obamacare? Hardly.

By way of illustration, take a look at Sierra Club v. EPA, 536 F.3d 673 (D.C. Cir. 2008), a case over Title V permitting under the Clean Air Act. In defense of a regulation that took some liberty with the language of Title V, the EPA argued that (1) the statutory language (“each” permit) didn’t quite mean what it said, when read in connection with other provisions; (2) the statutory context warranted a more latitudinarian reading; and (3) EPA’s “programmatic” reading would better serve congressional purposes. In substance, that’s the government’s Halbig defense. Sierra Club rejected all three arguments; and you can clip entire paragraphs from the opinion and paste them into Halbig without anyone noticing. (Judge Griffith wrote both opinions.) No, it’s not a conservative cabal: in Sierra Club, the enviros won. And no, it’s not an outlier: some Administrative Law textbooks excerpt Sierra Club as an example of how Chevron(Step I) analysis works.

And:

Why isn’t the supposed error precisely a case for a “we-messed-up-and-here-is-what-we-meant” statutory override, of the sort that Congress has enacted time and again for civil rights laws, Medicaid, Medicare, and any number of other entitlement statutes? In short, why isn’t Halbig obviously right? And why isn’t that answer congenial to liberals who, from the New Deal to infinity and beyond, have extolled statutory and even constitutional litigation as a “dialogue” between the Court and the political branches, especially the Congress?

Because they no longer believe it. Obamacare was no inartful compromise; it was a brutal cramdown. There’s no kicking this back to Congress; the judges’ rulings, Obamacare supporters wail, spell the life or death of the statute. And when in doubt, the liberals say (for once), choose life. [Library of Law and Liberty, August 6]

Video of the week: Economics is everywhere, including between the goalposts. The start of football season is less than a month away. From Steve Horwitz and Learn Liberty, here’s a look at how the game’s concussion crisis reveals an important lesson about public policy:

footballconcussion.jpg

Pulling back the curtain on Healthcare.gov: Remember the fiasco that was the launch of Healthcare.gov? The Government Accountability Office has looked into the matter and the agency recently told Congress that, indeed, there was a fiasco. Peter Suderman reports some of the details of the GAO’s testimony:

One of the big problems was that federal health bureaucrats kept changing their minds during the development process. The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS), which was charged with building the exchange system, “incurred significant cost increases, schedule slips, and delayed system functionality.” These delays were largely due to “changing requirements that were exacerbated by inconsistent oversight.” The dithering cost time, and it also cost money. Between September 2011 and February 2014, development cost estimates blew up, from about $56 million to $209 million for the federal marketplace. Costs for the data hub, another key part of the exchange, went from $30 million to $85 million.

It was a classic bureaucratic circus. No one knew who actually had the authority to tell contractors what to do, so contractors got jerked around and sent on fruitless tasks, or asked to do work that they shouldn’t have been doing. The GAO report says that CMS improperly spent $30 million on bonus features that it didn’t technically have the authority to order.

Delays and costs piled up, with some held off until weeks before launch, and when it came time to flip the switch, no one knew if it would work. “CMS launched Healthcare.gov without verification that it met performance requirements.”

But don’t think all the problems are in the past:

CMS Deputy Administrator Andy Slavitt said this morning that “there will clearly be bumps” when the exchanges open for all business again in November, according to a report in Politico.

Slavitt also confirmed that the exchange still isn’t built yet, with key backend payment systems that have already been delayed multiple times still incomplete. Slavitt said that the administration doesn’t expect work to be finished on those systems until next year—after the second open enrollment period is over.
[Reason, July 31]

 

 

To Do: Figure Out What Now for ObamaCare

Assess how the legal challenges to ObamaCare’s subsidies and mandates will unfold now that two federal courts have issued contrary rulings. The Cato Institute’s Michael Cannon and Case Western Reserve University’s Jonathan Adler—the guys who noticed that ObamaCare doesn’t allow subsidies in
federal exchanges—will discuss the Halbig and King decisions. The discussion will begin at noon on August 12 in Room B-354 of the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C.

• Experience one young man’s harrowing journey to secure his life and liberty in a repressive future society. The Heritage Foundation will host a private advance screening of The Giver, starring Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep, at 7:00 p.m. on August 12. To attend, RSVP to enoren@crcpublicrelations.com.

Shoot guns, eat BBQ, and smoke cigars. The second annual Northwest Freedom Shootout is a fun afternoon event where you’ll meet other fans of the Second Amendment. The Shootout will begin at noon on August 16, at the Evergreen Sportsmen’s Club in Littlerock, Wash.

Make your own declaration for Think Freely Media’s Great Communicators Tournament. Shoot a video in which you describe a policy issue using moral arguments to support a free enterprise or limited government. Submit it by August 15. The prize for first place is $10,000!

Get an update on the right-to-work movement. The Heritage Foundation will host a panel featuring two teachers and a home healthcare provider grappling with union power in California, Michigan, and Minnesota. The event will begin at noon on August 12.

• Save the dates: Americans for Prosperity’s 8th Annual Defending the American Dream Summit will take place on August 29 at the Omni Dallas Hotel. The Mont Pelerin Society will meet August 31 at the Kowloon Shangri-La Hong Kong Hotel to discuss the future prospects for liberal reform in Asia.

In case you haven’t been watching the news this past week  this Heritage article will bring you up to date.    Obama got off the teleprompter last year and  we all know what happens when our amateur president fails to follow the written script:  he goofs!  but this time he goofed and will probably get our buns in the middle of a Middle East war.  Of course this is exactly what I believe he has been trying to do because  a war is the fastest way to totally bankrupt a country, raise the ire of the citizens to bring about riots in the streets so that (like the dictator’s script calls for)  he as President can for martial law and  call out the troops to put the riots down  and then he will have the country totally under his control.

Ours is a war weary country with a depleted and  exhausted  military.  If the Congress dares to go along and give Obama the power to go to war he will have the scapegoats he needs to blame the war that he gets us into.  He has already begun pointing the finger of blame in his speech in Sweden yesterday by blaming the rest of the world for “drawing the red line”.  No, it wasn’t his red line!  Then as is always the case the rest of his gang had their stories ready and both Kerry and Hagel echo Obamas words exactly during the hearings in the House.

Read the following article and bring yourself up to date then sit back and watch your country be dragged into a war in an area of the world that has been at war since the dawn of time!  BB

 

Obama’s Goals in Syria Remain Unclear

September 4, 2013 at 4:35 pm

Pat Benic/UPI/Newscom

Pat Benic/UPI/Newscom

Red lines work only when they are red. This is one of the foreign policy lessons President Obama has not learned.

The President has had to redefine what his “red line” on chemical weapons use constituted in Syria and has not explained a clear plan for America’s involvement in the conflict. Consulting with Congress before making such a statement would have been a better course of action. America is now faced with losing credibility if the President doesn’t follow through on his irresponsible ultimatum.    ( I BB personally do not give a damned what the rest of the world thinks of the US>  since we were stupid enough to elected this fool not once but twice we have no standing in the world anyhow.  We are laughing stocks!  Suck it up and elected  a President who will give us back our pride next time!  )

After the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted narrowly to authorize the use of force in Syria, Obama may think the red line he wavered on in recent months is vindicated. Nevertheless, neither the President nor his top officials have indicated what they intend to accomplish by attacking Syria.

While seeking congressional approval for any involvement is a step in the right direction, many strategic and security questions remain unanswered. James Carafano, Heritage’s vice president for foreign and defense policy studies, examines a number of lessons Obama has not learned leading up to this decision.

One comes from the George W. Bush Administration: “Victory has a thousand fathers, defeat is an orphan.” The decision to take military action in Iraq and Afghanistan was broadly approved by Congress, the U.N., and the public. When the U.S. began to struggle in these conflicts and casualties rose, that support meant something.

The final lesson Carafano lists is “Think before you act.” Jim Phillips, Heritage senior research fellow for Middle Eastern affairs, argues that “military force is a blunt and bloody instrument for sending signals. Those signals may not have the desired consequences. If Assad brushes them off and continues his serial mass murders, then the Administration will look ineffective and irresolute.” If Obama directs the use of force in Syria, does he have an end goal? How will he achieve the defined objectives? Without answers to these questions, he likely cannot justify military engagement.

In discussing the use of chemical weapons in Syria on Saturday, President Obama declared, “This attack is an assault on human dignity. It also presents a serious danger to our national security.” While few would argue that the use of chemical weapons is morally egregious, the President has not articulated what the attack directly means for U.S. security.  (chemical weapons have been around a long time and certainly can be used on the united States and in the future no doubt in my mind they will be as soon as a Muslim terrorist groups gets their hands on them!   But short of qan all out war with so-called boot on the ground to find and do away with these WMD’s they will still be around.  these are the same WMD’s that Saddam hussein had in Iraq and was able to get over to Syria before President Bush could get a coalition of the world to go along with his attack of Iraq.  The WMD’s were then of course not found because they had been shipped across the border.  So unless it is a sneak and swift attack and the targets are the WMD’s then count on them being used on us sooner or later. With big mouth Obama giving the enemy a written script of our intentions this surely will never happen  so the probability is that we will only  mess around and piss the Muslims off  so they will attack us with the dreaded chemicals  sooner!  BB)

In yesterday’s Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the use of force in Syria, Secretary of State John Kerry did not illustrate the specific threats to U.S. national security interests. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel did not clarify what the strategic objectives are in executing a strike. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey did not adequately answer how things had changed since his previous warnings on military force in Syria. Perhaps the President should reflect on the fact that his top defense and foreign affairs officials cannot articulate what we will be accomplishing by using military force in Syria.

In concluding his remarks, the President said, “I’m asking Congress to send a message to the world that we are ready to move forward together as one nation.” Yet congressional authorization alone does not justify the use of force in Syria or anywhere else. U.S. military force should not be used without first understanding and articulating the benefits of such actions to U.S. security interests.

 

(understand this: NOT ONE Country in the world is with the United States in this.  NOT ONE!  Even the arab countries which might be affected by this breach by the Syrian government do not want the United States to attack!  BB)

 

 

 

I have long believed and called for bringing our troops home from around the world.  Why are Americans still in Germany?  Why do we have 28,000 American troops on the border between North Korea  and South Korea?  Why are we still stationed in Japan?  Australia? Why in the world do we have troops stationed in Great Britain??   And it goes on and on.  Americans are stationed all over the world.    Our Constitution calls for our federal government to protect the American people, there is nothing about protecting the people of the world in it.  In fact, if you read the Constitution carefully I believe you will see that our forefathers actually demanded that Americans mind their own business and refrain from foreign entanglements.

If it is a matter of not knowing what to do with these soldiers then bring them home and set up bases on our own borders.  Perhaps a few soldiers on our borders will stop the flood of illegal aliens crossing into our country like they are taking a Sunday stroll.  I have myself  watched people coming across the Rio Grande River into the United States and with no one saying or doing anything about it.   I watched a whole family one day wade across the river into the United States and get into a car that was waiting for them.   And we wonder why we have an illegal alien problem.

Anyhow, I found this article of interest because of this long standing pet peeve of mine.   Full disclosure:  I was a military wife and mother.

Oh, I have to point something out here that you may not have noticed Dear Reader:  I am NOT blaming Obama for this problem!  🙂  BB

 

 

APRIL 17, 2013 2:50PM

The Costs of Our Overseas Military Presence

The AP’s Donna Cassata is reporting today on a study commissioned by the Senate Armed Services Committee, which purports to calculate the costs of the U.S. military presence overseas. This is a hot topic, but it isn’t exactly a new one. Americans have long been frustrated by inequitable burden sharing, with many of our wealthy allies spending a fraction of what we do on defense. On Monday, Cato published a new infographic on the subject to coincide with tax day (see below).

Unfortunately, the committee’s estimate that the permanent stationing of U.S. troops overseas costs us $10 billion each year is too low–in all likelihood, much too low. I have not yet had a chance to read the entire report, but the DoD’s own estimate of overseas military costs includes the costs of personnel, and is more than twice that amount, $20.9 billion (see p. 207 in the latest budget submission). Even the DoD’s figure, however, understates the true cost of our commitments to defend other countries that can and should defend themselves, because it doesn’t fully account for the additional force structure that is required to maintain a presence many thousands of miles away from the United States. If the U.S. military operated chiefly in the Western Hemisphere, with regular expeditionary operations far afield, we could safely have fewer people on active duty, and mobilize a large and well-trained reserve for genuine emergencies. This smaller military would require ships and planes to take them where they were needed, when they were needed, but not as many planes and ships as we have today. And no report can actually assess the costs and risks when and if our security commitments compel us to become embroiled in a distant war that does not engage vital U.S. interests.

Other studies have attempted to assess all of the costs of these various global commitments, and the estimates vary widely. Graham Fuller and Ian Lesser of the RAND Corporation, for example, estimated in 1997 that the U.S. military presence in the Persian Gulf cost between $30 and $60 billion per year. A more recent study by Mark Delucchi and James Murphy estimated costs between $47 and $98 billion. Several of us at Cato have been compiling these estimates, and coming up with our own, as part of a comprehensive study of the costs of our global military presence. We will publish our key findings when they become available.

In the meantime, this much is clear: our security commitments, many of them holdovers from the Cold War, induce other countries to spend less than they could on their own defense. And they compel Americans to spend more than we should.

 

Subsidizing the security of wealthy allies

 

The budgets  from the Republican House (Ryan budget),  the Democrats in the Senate and Obama won’t pass so the country will again for the fourth year continue to operate on “continuing resolutions”.  The law of the country requires that Congress pass a budget but for 4 years the Senate has refused to even offer up a budget let alone pass the one offered by either the President (NOT ONE VOTE FOR ANT OBAMA BUDGET EVEN FROM A DEMOCRAT!) or the budget offered by and passed by the Republicans in the House.

Sooooo, here we have the Senate Democrats  “continuing resolution” and if all the tears hadn’t been rung out of me in November when We the People re-elected Obama to the Presidency then I would probably find myself crying again. Surely not all of these people are evil and certainly they are not all stupid, so what in the world is happening in the Democrat Senators minds?!?

The following article from The Heritage Foundation explains  very well some of the more egregious  proposed spending.  I hope when you read this you get on the hone to your Congressman or woman be he/she Democrat or Republican and demand some sanity in Washington.  BB

Heritage Experts’ Reaction to Senate Continuing Resolution

Todd Thurman

March 12, 2013 at 5:40 pm

Newscom

The massive spending bill, or continuing resolution, released by the Senate this week continues spending on programs which are inappropriate or wasteful and fails to adopt good policies in many areas. Here’s a rundown of some of the worst offenders in the Senate bill:

Obamacare. The CR fails to stop the massive spending in Obamacare. Obamacare obligates an estimated $1.2 trillion for subsidies to individuals for purchasing coverage through the government exchanges and $638 billion for states agreeing to expand their Medicaid programs. Congress should eliminate the exchange subsidies and the enhanced federal match for the Medicaid expansion. Stopping these provisions would save the federal government more than $1.8 trillion over the next 10 years. Nor does it take steps to defund implementation of Obamacare.

 (Already the regulations governing how Obamacare is implemented is 7 feet tall and only about 1/40 of the bill is covered by these regulations.  Just the application to qualify for Obamacare is 15 pages long!  BB)

—Nina Owcharenko, Director, Center for Health Policy Studies and Preston A. Wells, Jr. Fellow

Inadequate Defense Funding Levels. The detailed defense appropriations provisions in the House-adopted appropriations bill (H.R. 933), and now its Senate companion legislation, provide inadequate overall funding levels for defense, in part because they will continue to apply the reduction in defense spending for the current fiscal year required by sequestration. Nevertheless, the defense provisions continue wasteful spending practices. These defense appropriations provisions were agreed to by House and Senate appropriators earlier, and therefore the wasteful practices were also preserved in the Senate version of the same legislation.

The Heritage Foundation has identified at least $70 billion in annual savings within the Department of Defense through a combination of military health care and retirement reform, hiring freezes, expanding performance-based logistics, and reforming the acquisition process.

Clearly, this is money that could be kept within the defense budget and put into more militarily useful programs, such as improving space technology for use in missile defense or developing new classes of nuclear weapons delivery systems. The more productive approach to funding an effective military posture for the U.S. would be for Congress to return to the regular budgetary order, set aside sequestration, adopt higher defense appropriations that are applied in a more disciplined fashion and look to restrain federal spending growth in the areas of foreign aid, domestic discretionary programs, and entitlements.

(The world has never been so dangerous as it is today.  Iran is on the verge of getting nuclear weapons and working very aggressively on their missile delivery program.  North Korea already has nuclear weapons and now may very well have a missile able to hit the West Coast.  So what does the President and the Democrats want to do?  cut our defense programs!  BB)

—Baker Spring, F.M. Kirby Research Fellow in National Security Policy

Head Start. Increasing Head Start funding is the antithesis of good early childhood education policy. The Senate CR provides $33.5 million in new funding for one of the most ineffective federal education programs in existence today: Head Start. While the new funding is earmarked for the Obama Administration’s plan to make the worst-performing Head Start centers re-compete for funds, it represents new spending on a program the federal government has deemed totally ineffective at meeting the needs of poor children.

In December, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released itslong-overdue evaluation of Head Start. The agency’s scientifically rigorous evaluation of more than 5,000 Head Start children from the time they entered the program through third grade revealed that the $8 billion per year federal program had little to no impact on cognitive, social-emotional, health, or parenting practices of participants. On a few measures, access to Head Start had negative effects on children.

In addition to the evidence presented by HHS of Head Start’s ineffectiveness, in 2010 the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported widespread fraud at Head Start centers. GAO sent undercover investigators into Head Start centers in various states, and in half they found fraudulent activity, such as Head Start employees counseling families to underreport their income in order to appear eligible for services.

Since 1965, taxpayers have expended some $180 billion on Head Start yet have not received a return on that “investment.” And now, in the wake of an objective report by HHS demonstrating that Head Start is failing the poor children it was designed to serve, the Senate CR would increase spending and eschew any suggestion of eliminating or reforming the Great Society relic.

Head Start should be eliminated. At a minimum, it should be reformed to allow states to make their Head Start dollars portable, following low-income children to a private preschool provider of choice, instead of relegating them to underperforming Head Start centers.

—Lindsey Burke, Will Skillman Fellow in Education

Energy. The Senate CR continues to fund a failed energy policy that empowers Washington bureaucrats instead of American families and businesses. Though it does cut some programs minimally, it does the equivalent of removing a used napkin from a full trash can. There’s much more waste that needs to be removed. For example, section 1203 reduces Department of Energy (DOE) funding by $44 million when more than $5.3 billion could be cut. The $44 million is equivalent to 0.8 percent of what should be cut.

Perhaps most egregious is the meager $11 million cut from the $1.8 billion request for Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. In total, the DOE budget funds applied-research programs on conventional fuels, renewable energy sources, and nuclear energy that the private sector should be undertaking. American families and business are far better equipped than government to determine what types of energy technologies work for them. Eliminating these programs alone would save $3 billion in taxpayer money and help to return energy choice back to Americans.

Though the bill cuts $10 million from nuclear energy spending, based on the 2013 request, it would still fund over $150 million for nuclear waste disposal and management programs. None of this funding would go toward Yucca Mountain, the waste repository mandated by the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, as amended. Given the complete lack of any nuclear waste disposal or management policy by the Administration and its insistence on terminating the Yucca project, there is little justification for this spending. Instead, Congress should provide $40 million for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to finish its review of the DOE’s Yucca Mountain permit application.

(The United States sits on the largest pool of   CLEAN natural gas in the world and we have the means to get to this energy source but it does not fall into the category of solar, wind or water.  natural gas is a fossil fuel!  BAD!!!  The United States also has the largest pool of oil available within our borders.  Obama likes to say that we are pumping more oil today than at any time in our history.  this is true but it is BEING PUMPED OFF OF PRIVATE PROPERTY AND NOT FROM GOVERNMENT OWNED LANDS.  AND THE GOVERNMENT IS BUYING UP PROPERTY LIKE NEVER BEFORE TO PUT MORE LAND UNDER IT’S CONTROL!   bb)

—Jack Spencer, Senior Research Fellow, Nuclear Energy, and Nick Loris, Herbert and Joyce Morgan Fellow

Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Unlike the budget passed by the House, the Senate bill seeks to restore government spending to fund the failed CPSC product safety database. CPSC decision making with respect to the database has previously been called “arbitrary and capricious” by the courts.

Since it was implemented in 2011, manufacturers have shown that the CPSC database is seriously flawed. The database allows the public to submit unproven claims of harm with the CPSC and gives manufacturers only 10 days to challenge these claims; however, the CPSC itself has final authority to publish reports of such claims, even if they are disproved by the manufacturer. The accuracy of the CPSC reports is thus seriously questionable, and is a one-stop shop for tort lawyers seeking new clients or seeking “evidence” for their current lawsuits.

Furthermore, last October, in Company Doe v. Inez Tenenbaum, a federal court in Maryland overturned a decision of the CPSC to publish a report as “arbitrary and capricious,” because the CPSC report was “misleading and fail[ed] to relate[] to the [manufacturer’s] product in any way.” Indeed, the CPSC database is a concrete example of government waste: It is a shame that the Senate bill seeks to restore government spending to publishing misleading claims that damage business growth and likely lead to additional frivolous lawsuits.

 

(What this means for you and me is that companies will refuse to put new products on the market that may save a life!  BB)

—Andrew Kloster, Legal Fellow

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): $77.2 billion. The recommendation continues record-high food stamp benefits. Food stamp spending has approximately doubled since President Obama came to office. It is one of the largest and fastest growing federal welfare programs. The federal government operates 80 federal welfare programs at a cost of nearly $1 trillion a year. Over 10 of these provide food assistance.

Food stamp spending should be rolled back to pre-recession levels. Able-bodied adults without dependents who receive food stamp benefits should be required to work or prepare for work as a condition of receiving benefits.

—Rachel Sheffield, Research Associate

Job Corps: $30 million added to the funding level already provided under sequestration. This program should be terminated, because a scientifically rigorous impact evaluation of Job Corps participants were less likely to obtain high school degrees, were no more likely to attend or complete college, and earned only $0.22 more in hourly wages than non-participants. Further, the Department of Labor Office of Inspector General estimates each Job Corps participant who is successfully placed into any job costs taxpayers $76,574.  (Why don’t we just give every one who applies for one of these job training programs $20,000.  and send them home to sit on their asses for another 6 months?  This would be a whole lot cheaper in the long run!  BB)

Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) grants: $416.5 million. VAWA grantsshould be terminated, because these services should be funded locally. Using federal agencies to fund the routine operations of domestic violence programs that state and local governments could provide is a misuse of federal resources and a distraction from concerns that are truly the province of the federal government.

(This one just makes me cringe and cry and be sick!  BB)

Office of Justice Programs (OJP) grants: $1.1 billion. OJP grants should be terminated, because these grants assign functions to the federal government that fall within the expertise, jurisdiction, and constitutional responsibilities of state and local governments. Further, the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants ($392 million) within OJP have been used to place criminals on the street without posting bail.

Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP): $279.5 million. OJJDP grants should be terminated, because these grants fund juvenile justice and prevention programs that fall under the unique responsibilities of state and local governments. Further, there is little evidence that these grants are effective at preventing delinquency.

Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS): $225.5 million. COPS grantsshould be terminated, because these grants assign functions to the federal government that fall within the expertise, jurisdiction, and constitutional responsibilities of state and local governments. Further COPS grants were used tosupplant local funds and had little to no effect on reducing crime.

FEMA Fire Grants: $675 million. Fire grants should be terminated. Fire grants, which subsidize the routine operations of local fire departments, are ineffective at reducing fire-related deaths and injuries of firefighters and civilians. Fire grants incorrectly encourage local fire departments to become increasingly dependent on federal funding.

David B. Muhlhausen, Ph.D., Research Fellow in Empirical Policy Analysis

Postal Service Saturday delivery: $2 billion. The Senate CR continues—by omission—the prior year’s ban on using the Postal Service’s small appropriation to reduce service levels, effectively mandating Saturday service. This, along with other such congressional restriction, limits the Postal Service’s ability to reduce costs and increases the risk of massive federal subsidies in the near future.  (Yes, the Post Master CAN NOT  make decisions that would make the Post Office more efficient because of Congress!  BB)

—James Gattuso, Senior Research Fellow in Regulatory Policy

NASA Manned Spacecraft: $1.2 billion. The Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle is the new manned spacecraft NASA is developing for exploration of the Moon and Mars and for other purposes. Manned space flight is vastly more expensive than robotic exploration and is largely a public relations showcase for NASA to market itself to the American people. NASA’s budget should be pared back to a tight focus on cost-effective projects to advance its core missions.

(This is one I disagree with.  The United States and Americans have  benefited much from inventions made and perfected by the space program.  I won’t go into the many, many inventions because you can google them for yourself.  The space program should not be cut.   And, another reason is the brain drain because these NASA scientists needing jobs will go to Russia, china and other countries; do we really want this?   BB )

—J. D. Foster, Norman B. Ture Senior Fellow in the Economics of Fiscal Policy

National Science Foundation (NSF): $221 million. The bill would increase funding for NSF by $221 million, compared to the fiscal year (FY) 2012 enacted level, putting the total funding amount to $7.25 billion. Yet NSF has spent large amounts on research projects that are clearly not federal priorities ($325,000 for a “Robosquirrel” study; $516,000 creating a video game simulating prom week; and $350,000 for a study on how golfers should imagine a bigger hole when playing). Basic research is important, but given that NSF funding is diverted to inappropriate projects, it becomes wasteful. Budget reductions may help encourage more prudence.

National Institutes of Health (NIH): $71 million. Some of NIH’s funding goes to projects that seem inappropriate, such as $550,000 to acquire evidence that heavy drinking in a person’s 30s can lead to feelings of immaturity, while in their 20s it would not.

Legal Services Corporation (LSC): $358 million. This program should be terminated, because these services should be funded locally. The money is oftendiverted instead of going to poor people needing legal services, and there is a long history of waste and abuse of these funds by executives at the LSC.

Transportation. The bill would increase funding for highway programs and transit formula grants to match the levels authorized in Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21), current surface transportation law. It also funds a $4 million Transit Safety office that was authorized in MAP-21. By funding this new office and the transit formula grants, the bill would continue diversions of limited Highway Trust Fund (HTF) user fees to transit, which is a demonstrated local—not a federal—priority.

Transit serves truly local needs and is predominantly concentrated in just six cities.Congress should end such diversions from the HTF, because they come at the expense of highway and bridge maintenance and expansion projects and do not demonstrably improve mobility and safety.

—Emily Goff,  Research Associate

Housing and Urban Development Public Operating Fund: $562 million. The bill restores money from an FY 2012 cut to previous levels for a total 2013 funding request of $3.962 billion. The fund pays local public housing authorities annual subsidies for such things as maintenance, management, insurance and energy costs. These should be the responsibility of local jurisdictions.

—David C. John, Senior Research Fellow

This report from the Republican Study committee on what the conservative Republicans in the House of Representatives are doing and legislation they are putting forward to try to block Obama ‘s agenda and save our country. Much important information so do go to the referred sites for additional information.  We all need to be aware of what is happening and these Congressmen are trying to get the information out there and pass legislation that will save us.  Much of what they do however will go nowhere, but we still need to be aware.  Their budgets proposals and much of their proposed legislation has passed the full House during the last 4 years but are left sitting on the shelf in Democrat Harry Reid’s Senate!    You may want to subscribe to get their reports also so I have given you all the information in this post.  BB

Tuesday, February 5, 2013 | View Online

 

RSC Update: Require a PLAN

 

From the Chairman

    American families are still struggling due to President Obama’s failed economic policies.  The President believes that Washington can tax, borrow and spend its way to a better future, yet House conservatives know that just like American families and businesses who have had to tighten their budgets, Washington must also start living within its means.  The first step in creating a responsible budget is to present a budget.  Republicans in the House have passed a budget for the past two years, and will proudly do so again this year.  The Senate has yet to submit a budget for the past four years and the President has submitted his budget late four out of the past five years, which is irresponsible. 

     Fiscal sanity will never be restored in Washington until the Democrats learn to properly budget, just like American families and businesses.  That is why the House, spearheaded by the RSC, is forcing the Democrats in the Senate to present and vote on a budget and is voting on former RSC Chairman Price’s bill, the “Require a PLAN Act.”  Rep. Price’s bill will compel the President to submit an estimate of the earliest fiscal year that his budget will balance, if ever.  American families have a right to know how their hard-earned tax dollars are being spent, and the RSC along with House Republicans are working to put an end to the President and the Democrats’ reckless tax, regulate, and spend agenda. 

Congressman Steve Scalise

Chairman, Republican Study Committee

 

RSC Media Activity– RSC members work hard to ensure that the conservative viewpoint is well-represented in all corners of the media. Visit our Media Center for more.

 

RSC Member ActivityRSC members make it a priority to introduce productive, conservative solutions for America’s future. 

  • Rep. Virginia Foxx (NC-05) is building support for the Preserve Land Freedom for Americans Act, which amends the Antiquities Act to require state approval for presidential designations of national monuments. Monument designations should be subject to state approval in order to ensure that states – not only the administration – have a say in what is best for their residents.
  • Rep. Trent Franks (AZ-08) is building support for a Ronald Reagan Resolution.  Mr. Franks is seeking original cosponsors for a resolution celebrating the life of Ronald Reagan on the anniversary of his birth.
  • Rep. Paul Gosar (AZ-04) is seeking support for his Resolution Expressing No Confidence in AG Holder and Calling for His Resignation.  As Congress investigated Operation Fast and Furious in the 112th Congress, Attorney General Holder appeared before various House and Senate committee hearings to testify on the matter.  In these testimonies, Mr. Holder evaded, obstructed, and misled the investigation. Attorney General Holder has clearly lost the confidence of Congress and the American people.
  • Rep. Tim Griffin (AR-02) seeks support for his letter to President and State Department on shipment of F-16s to Egypt.  Rep. Griffin is urging members to sign on to a letter to the President and Secretary Kerry requesting a delay in the U.S. government’s shipment of F-16s to the Egyptian military.
  • Rep. Duncan Hunter (CA-50) is building support for H.R. 342 “the Guarantee Paychecks for America’s Military Families Act,” to ensure that our troops are paid in the event the debt ceiling is reached.
  • Rep. Duncan Hunter (CA-50)is building support to Report Real Unemployment Numbers.  Rep. Hunter will soon reintroduce the Real Unemployment Calculation Act would ensure that the official national unemployment rate presents an accurate account of the true unemployment situation. 
  • Rep. Mike Kelly (PA-03) is building support fora Concurrent Resolution Opposing the UN Arms Trade Treaty.   On Christmas Eve 2012, the UN voted to hold a final round of negotiations on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) in March 2013. The ATT raises a number of serious concerns, including threats to our Second Amendment rights, our domestic defense manufacturing base, and our ability to defend our allies such as the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the State of Israel.
  • Rep. Mike Kelly (PA-03) is seeking support for “The Advice and Consent Restoration Act,” which prevents individuals unconstitutionally appointed to the NLRB from collecting their $155,500 salaries and ensures that as long as unconstitutionally appointed individuals remain in their positions, the NLRB is prohibited from performing its authorized functions.
  • Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-03) is building support for legislation to defund UN climate change initiatives.  With President Obama reigniting the climate change debate, Rep. Luetkemeyer is reintroducing his legislation with an added prohibition on federal contributions to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which works to implement IPCC initiatives.  Together, U.S. contributions to IPCC and UNFCC have nearly double under the Obama administration.
  • Rep. Jeff Miller (FL-01) is building support for H.R. 324, to grant the Congressional Gold Medal, collectively, to the First Special Service Force.The First Special Service Force (FSSF) was a covert World War II military unit born through the efforts of President Franklin Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill. The FSSF conducted ultra-high risk military missions in the Aleutian Islands, Italy, and southern France.  Once sent into action, the FSSF never failed a combat mission. 
  • Rep. Scott Perry (PA-04) seeks support for his Balanced Budget Amendment that would force the President to pass a budget that justifies each department and agency’s funding levels.
  • Rep. Marlin Stutzman (IN-03) is building support for the FFOCUS Act– Focusing the Fed on the Currency of the United States Act of 2013. This bill simply eliminates the unemployment aspect of the Fed’s dual mandate in order to focus Chairman Bernanke on price stability.

 

Outlook – A quick look at what’s on the horizon. 

  • The House Conservative member retreat is Wednesday to Friday this week in Baltimore.
  • The House will be voting on RSC member Rep. Tom Price’s (GA-06) “Require a PLAN act,” H.R. 444 on Wednesday. 

 

RSC Reports

  • RSC Updates are now online! Looking for one of our recently released charts and graphs? Click here.
  • Stay up to date on budget and spending news with reports from the RSC Budget and Spending Task Force.
  • Keep up with national security by reading the National Security Working Group’s newest report.
  • Check out the Repeal Task Force’s work to eliminate bad laws and regulations.

 

###

OFFICE LOCATIONS:
House Republican Study Committee
2338 Rayburn House Office Bldg
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 226-9717
Fax: (202) 226-1633

Now that high unemployment appears to be the new normal and will under Obama continue for at least another  four years or mere we really need to take a better look at unemployment insurance and what it is doing to our society.  It is not just the cost that is out of control but the acceptance of this hand out as being the way things should be.  ONE MORE WAY TO GET OUR PEOPLE ONTO THE GOVERNMENT DOLE PERMANENTLY AND THEREFORE TO CREATE A PERMANENT SLAVE POPULATION.

I am NOT against unemployment insurance for people who are temporarily unemployed thru no fault of their own. I am very much against unemployment insurance that goes on and on and on for two years and then some more!! Sweden found that people tended to get jobs just before their unemployment insurance ran out so they did an adjustment to their very generous unemployment system by cutting it back a few months and lo and behold the same phenomena was noticed: people got jobs right before their unemployment insurance ran out. So Sweden wisely cut their unemployment insurance back to a few months and solved their unemployment problem. Might we in the United States take a lesson from this? Actually, we already have the data to prove the lesson if we would just look at it. It is a fact that people get a job when they no longer have the “free money” to sit on their cans and do nothing! There are jobs out there to be had if people care to work. I certainly never in my lifetime had difficulty finding work. Not always a job I wanted to keep for the rest of my life and not always the pay I wanted, but a job none-the-less that paid the bills and kept me off the couch.

So now that I have pissed a few of you off but good please go on and read the following article from CATO Institute to see just what unemployment insurance is really cost you.   BE SURE TO READ THERELATED ARTICLES LISTED AT THE BOTTOM OF THE ARTICLE! BB

 

FEBRUARY 1, 2013 3:59PM

$10.3 Billion in Unemployment Insurance Improper Payments

The Washington Times noted this week that the 2012 improper payment rate for unemployment insurance benefits was 11.4 percent ($10.3 billion out of $90.2 billion), according to U.S. Department of Labor data. The good news is that the figure is down from 12 percent in 2011. The bad news is that it’s still a pathetic waste of money.

The waste, fraud, and high administrative costs associated with the program are just some of the reasons why it should be scrapped. A Cato essay on the failures of the unemployment insurance system explains:

When policymakers dream of ways to provide subsidies and safety nets to groups in society, they rarely take into account the large bureaucratic costs that are inevitably involved. The UI system is a complex and costly system for governments and businesses to administer.

State governments must raise taxes from almost 8 million businesses, with tax bills specifically calculated for each firm’s experience rating. At the same time, the states dole out individually calculated benefits to millions of workers and monitor whether each person making a claim is currently eligible. Businesses and states need to adjudicate the many disputed claims for benefits, and states need to police UI tax evasion as businesses try to manipulate the system to get a lower tax rate.

Federal and state UI administration cost taxpayers $5.9 billion in 2010. Despite this large cost, there is widespread concern among experts that the UI system is “in long-term decline” from an administrative perspective. UI computer systems are apparently far outdated in many states, and administrators say that they need more money to do their jobs competently.

One problem is that state UI tax systems are very complex. There are four different experience-rating systems, and there are three different methods of determining which businesses to charge when a worker makes a claim. States have various exclusions to the UI tax base, and new businesses have special rules because they don’t have an experience rating yet. Most states also impose a range of added charges to basic UI taxes, such as solvency taxes, taxes for socialized costs, reserve fund taxes, and various surtaxes.

Employers face substantial costs to deal with all the paperwork and tax planning needed to comply with the UI system. For example, the National Federation of Independent Business notes that regardless of eligibility, “many departing employees automatically file for unemployment compensation. They have nothing to lose; filing a claim costs nothing and it puts the ball in the employer’s court.” Businesses are then forced to spend time and money fighting unjustified claims.

There is a substantial amount of waste, fraud, and abuse in the UI system. Many people try to grab benefits improperly, including people who are ineligible, people who are not actively looking for work, and people who have taken jobs and neglect to report it. Other problems include the misreporting of earnings, the provision of false ID to gain benefits, and falsifying reasons for employment termination… If you Google the phrase “unemployment benefits fraud,” you find a huge number of news stories.

The bottom line is that government benefit programs such as UI are subject to large administrative costs and widespread abuses, which represent losses to taxpayers and the economy. The larger subsidy and benefit programs become, the larger the army of people doing paperwork and transferring wealth in society, rather than adding to wealth by producing real products.

It is my belief that Israel is now taking out Hamas in the Gaza Strip first before they take out Iran.  Sort of a clean up operation on their borders and a warning to the rest of the Arab world to stand down while  they go after Iran.   All of the Middle Eastern countries want Iran taken out and they also want Israel to be the one to do it so they can then raise Holy Hell about it and the inhumanity of killing all the innocent Iranians so brutally.  The bombs to take out Iran’s nuclear program will of necessity have to kill many thousands of Iran’s population because the Iranian government made sure to place the nuclear facilities directly under or in population centers!!   this is very common practice among the Muslims who care nothing for human beings.

The Israelis  will of course have to make a ground advance in order to get the missile sites in Gaza without killing off a lot of civilians.  Israel is concerned for killing children whereas the terrorist use the children (schools and hospitals) as  shields from which to launch their weapons.  To use missiles to take out these missile sites would kill so many, so Israel must send in its soldiers to get the weapons.

As usual the world is against Israel and it’s right to exist.  Obama did his level best to support Hamas  with his  officious statement that “Israel has a right to defend itself” then going on to warn against a ground offensive warning that that would destroy any peace negotiations.  Like these so-called “peace negotiations” have been going on since the 1880’s !!    Yes, I know Israel was not even formed until 1948,   but the talking about a homeland for the dispersed Jews started a century before that.  The homeland that was given to them by God Himself !  If you believe the Bible you must then believe that the Jews were given the land of Canaan by God Himself.  They are the only people whom God Himself gave a homeland of their own and after 5000 years of living on that land except for short periods when they were driven out, they were finally dispersed all over the Earth.    It is long past time for the Jew to return and no man or group on Earth has the right to take away what God has given.  Oddly enough the very people who are denying the Jews claim to believe in the Bible; both the Christians and the Muslims believe in the Old Testament and claim it as the oldest portion of their holy book.  How ironic is that?

Anyhow, the following article is a good summation of what is happening and just by chance happens to back up my own thoughts on the matter  :).  BB

The Escalating Conflict Between Hamas and Israel

By James Phillips

Over the last four days, militants in Gaza have fired more than 840 rockets at Israel. Hamas rockets have reached the outskirts of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv for the first time, thanks to the smuggling of Iranian rockets into Gaza. The increasing range and sophistication of Palestinian rockets has expanded the reach of terrorists, who now can threaten up to half of Israel’s population.

Israel has intercepted 302 of those rockets with its Iron Dome missile defense system, according to the Israel Defense Forces. Iron Dome, on which the U.S. has collaborated, has proven its worth and underscored the importance of missile defense in future U.S. military budgets.

Meanwhile, Iran is seeking—successfully—to keep the pot boiling at Israel’s expense to distract international attention from its nuclear program. A leaked International Atomic Energy Agency report indicates that Iran could soon double the number of centrifuges at its Fordo facility from 700 to 1,400.

President Obama spoke out on the fighting yesterday, saying Israel has the right to defend itself against Hamas’s missile attacks from Gaza. But he urged Israel not to launch a ground assault in Gaza, saying it would put Israeli soldiers, as well as Palestinian citizens, at greater risk and hamper an already vexing peace process.

“If we see a further escalation of the situation in Gaza, the likelihood of us getting back on any kind of peace track that leads to a two-state solution is going to be pushed off way into the future,” Obama said.

This public statement will only strengthen Hamas’s determination to continue its rocket terrorismand reap the propaganda benefits from Israeli retaliatory air strikes, because the President’s statement lowers the perceived risks of an Israeli ground intervention. Moreover, it is continued Palestinian terrorism that is the chief barrier to peace, not Israel’s legitimate efforts to protect its own citizens from indiscriminate Palestinian terrorist attacks.

Egypt, Turkey, and the Arab League have heavily criticized Israel and called for a halt of air strikes. Hamas is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood and hopes to pull in Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood-dominated regime to tilt the balance against Israel. Egypt’s government will seek to have its cake and eat it, too, in the sense that it will use the crisis to denounce Israel, support Hamas, and play to anti-Israeli sentiments at home while trying to mediate a ceasefire behind the scenes that enhances its influence and justifies continued U.S. and Western aid.

If they genuinely wanted to stop the bloodshed, then these leaders should pressure Hamas to stop the bombardment, which triggered the crisis.

Obama, too, should aim primarily at restraining Hamas, not Israel.

Hamas, as usual, is bent on advancing its radical Islamist agenda at the expense of Palestinian national interests. It is a revolutionary movement more interested in destroying Israel than in building a Palestinian state or protecting Palestinians from another humanitarian tragedy that it has engineered.

Israel has called up 75,000 reservists and massed armor and at least 30,000 troops along the border, underscoring that it is serious about launching a ground intervention if Hamas continues its indiscriminate bombardment of Israeli civilians.

The U.S. needs to stand with Israel against terrorism and support its right to defend itself against a ruthless enemy that hides among Palestinian civilians to launch rockets indiscriminately at Israeli civilians. Hamas routinely uses children as shields. There can be no Israeli–Palestinian peace until Hamas and other Islamists are defeated and discredited.

James Phillips is the Senior Research Fellow for Middle Eastern Affairs in the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation. He has written extensively on Middle Eastern issues and international terrorism since 1978.


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