And So I Go: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Archive for the ‘Government Failure Series from Cato Institute’ Category

The huge Farm Bill was defeated.  80% of the Farm Bill was for Food Stamp spending and only 20% related to farms and farming.  The  Republican led House is now proposing to split the Food Stamp program or SNAPS from the Agriculture Department so that a closer watch can be kept on this outrageous spending.  Of course they were put together in the first place in order for both farm and rural congressmen and Food Stamps which are primarily urban Congressman would vote together to pass these outrageous bills.  This is a favorite  Washington ploy: buying the votes!  Just look at the Immigration Bill and how the Senators loaded it down with pork ( or pay offs) for everyone before it got passed.  Remember the Republican House refusing to pass the first version of the  Hurricane Sandy Bill to help the hurricane victims in the northeast to rebuild because on 30% of the funds allotted were to go to the hurricane victims while the 70% of pork funding in it was for things as unrelated as a new roof for a building in D.C.  Many, including Gov. Christie of New Jersey blamed the Republicans for stopping this outrage and believed that anything  the greedy big spending Democrats wanted was okay as long as something went to the right people.  It is this kind of thinking and this kind of voting that has gotten our country to the brink of bankruptcy!  This is the name of the game in the Farm Bill which the Republican House members voted down and it is the same game being played with the Democrats Senate version of an Immigration Bill.

The following newsletter from heritage has some very good information from various writers on these topics.  Also more information on Obama’s plans for raising all of our energy prices which will not only affect our  electric and gasoline bills but our food and clothi8ng bills as well because all industry requires the use of energy and if energgy costs go up the cost of all goods and services must aslo go up.  Check them out>  BB

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Items for Friday, June 28th, 2013


Immigration Bill Riddled With Pork
Breitbart.com

Jim Carafano
Derrick Morgan
Genevieve Wood
Jessica Zuckerman

Family Fact of the Week: What the Record-Low Marriage Rate Means for Americans’ Well-Being
Heritage.org

Jennifer Marshall
Ryan Anderson
John Malcolm

Gay rights clash: Obama, African host are at odds 
AP

Jennifer Marshall
Ryan Anderson 
Charlotte Florance

Abortion tables may turn in Texas on Monday
Politico

Jennifer Marshall
Ryan Anderson
Andrew Walker

House Leaders Consider Splitting Food Stamps From Farm Bill
Bloomberg

Diane Katz
Daren Bakst
Rachel Scheffield

Obama refuses to barter for Edward Snowden
BBC.com

Steven Bucci
Paul Rosenzweig
Ariel Cohen
Peter Brookes
Jim Carafano

 

Latest Heritage Research:


Issue Brief
History Suggests Social Security Insolvency Is Coming Sooner Than Projected

Issue Brief
Energy Production on Federal Lands: Handing Keys Over to the States

Issue Brief
Cost of a Climate Policy: The Economic Impact of Obama’s Climate Action Plan

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The following article is from the Heritage Foundation and is a listing of studies made by various groups on the state of our government and social programs.  I found many of them informative and felt that perhaps my Readers would also.  Just check out the listings and click on the topics that interest you.   You may also wish to subscribe and have the Insider Online newsletter delivered to your home page.  sincerely, BB

 

Updated daily, InsiderOnline (insideronline.org) is a compilation of publication abstractshow-to essaysevents, news, and analysis from around the conservative movement. The current edition of The INSIDER quarterly magazine is also on the site.


June 22, 2013

Latest Studies: 38 new items, including a Manhattan Institute report on the student debt problem, and an American Legislative Exchange Council report on environmental overcriminalization

Notes on the Week: Not even low-income workers can count on benefiting from ObamaCare, things to know about the CBO’s immigration scoring, and more

To Do: Keep an eye on Russia

Latest Studies

Budget & Taxation
• Four Tenets to Less Government Spending – e21 – Economic Policies for the 21st Century
• The Municipal Government Debt Crisis – Heartland Institute
• Proposed New Farm Programs: Costly and Risky for Taxpayers – The Heritage Foundation
• Soaring National Debt Remains a Grave Threat – The Heritage Foundation
• Taxing Online Sales: Should the Taxman’s Grasp Exceed His Reach? – The Heritage Foundation
• The Big Choice for Jobs and Growth: Lower Tax Rates Versus Expensing – The Heritage Foundation
• The Many Real Dangers of Soaring National Debt – The Heritage Foundation
• The Simple Economics of Pro-Growth Tax Reform – The Heritage Foundation
• Turn Down the Heat, Switch On the Light: A Rational Analysis of Tax Havens, Tax Policy and Tax Politics – Institute of Economic Affairs
• The Best Solution from Both Budgets: “Reverse Logrolling” Shows the Best Option for Government Spending and Tax Reform – John Locke Foundation
• Creating a Fair Property Tax System: Is it Possible? – Public Interest Institute
• Kansas 2013 Tax Reform Improves on Last Year’s Efforts – Tax Foundation
• New Zealand’s Experience with Territorial Taxation – Tax Foundation
• A Review of the 83rd Session of the Texas Legislature – Texas Public Policy Foundation
• Virginia Economic Forecast 2013-2014: State to Add Jobs Despite Sequestration – Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy

Crime, Justice & the Law
• Ignorance of the Law Is No Excuse, But It Is Reality – The Heritage Foundation
• Comeback States Report: Reducing Juvenile Incarceration in the United States – Texas Public Policy Foundation
• Scientific Evidence in State Courts: Florida Reform as a Model – Washington Legal Foundation

Education
• Beyond Retrofitting: Innovation in Higher Education – Hudson Institute
• College Credit: Repairing America’s Unhealthy Relationship with Student Debt – Manhattan Institute

Foreign Policy/International Affairs
• Beyond the Border: U.S. and Canada Expand Partnership in Trade and Security – The Heritage Foundation

Health Care
• The Right Way to Fight Obesity – Hoover Institution
• An Analysis of the Proposed Medicaid Expansion in Michigan – National Center for Policy Analysis
• Veterans Affairs Fails to Curb Suicide Epidemic – National Center for Policy Analysis

Immigration
• Advancing the Immigration Nation: Heritage’s Positive Path to Immigration and Border Security Reform – The Heritage Foundation
• Senate Immigration Bill Does Not Require Payment of All Back Taxes – The Heritage Foundation

Information Technology
• FCC Must Maintain Open Eligibility for Incentive Spectrum Auction – Free State Foundation

Monetary Policy/Financial Regulation
• Rethinking the FHA – American Enterprise Institute
• Recent Arguments against the Gold Standard – Cato Institute

National Security
• Obama’s Wish to Cut Nuclear Arsenal Undermines National Security – The Heritage Foundation
• Preventing the Next “Lone Wolf” Terrorist Attack Requires Stronger Federal–State–Local Capabilities – The Heritage Foundation

Natural Resources, Energy, Environment, & Science
• Efficiency Policy – American Action Forum
• Five Solutions for Addressing Environmental Overcriminalization – American Legislative Exchange Council
• Improving Incentives for Federal Land Managers: The Case for Recreation Fees – Cato Institute
• Denial of Supreme Court Review Leaves Ninth Circuit ESA Case Intact – Washington Legal Foundation
• Ohio Court Limits Localities’ Authority over Energy Exploration – Washington Legal Foundation

Transportation/Infrastructure
• Paint Is Cheaper Than Rails: Why Congress Should Abolish New Starts – Cato Institute
• Moving the Road Sector into the Market Economy – Institute of Economic Affairs

 

 

 

Notes on the Week

Rector on CBO on immigration: The Congressional Budget Office told us this week that letting large numbers of immigrants into the country and changing the status of those currently here illegally will be great for the economy and the federal budget. Robert Rector has a few things to say about the CBO’s scoring of the Gang of Eight immigration bill. Here are the highlights:

[T]he immigration coming in under this bill looks like previous immigration in the sense that its predominantly lower-skilled plus the fact that you’re taking 11 million illegal immigrants and giving them access to the welfare and entitlement states. They have an average education of 10th grade, so it’s very difficult to imagine that those households would somehow pay enough in taxes to equal their benefits […] .

The trick is the CBO 10-year budget window. […] For mysterious reasons, when an amnesty bill is written, the amnesty recipients become eligible for everything under the sun in about the 11th year. So that they pay taxes in the first 10 years and they don’t get additional benefits for some mysterious reason until you move outside the CBO budget window. […]

[T]he federal government, because of Social Security and Medicare, inherently transfers from the non-elderly to the elderly. State and local governments kind of do the opposite. If you just look at state and local governments you would find that they transfer from the elderly to the non-elderly to pay for education. The elderly pay a lot of property tax; they don’t get any education benefits any more. […] Of course immigrants are not elderly themselves. For a limited period of time they pay in but then they take out more than they have paid in. It’s important to put both flows together because the opposite process is happening down at the state and local level. […]

One of the interesting things that CBO does tell us is that the number of illegal immigrants who will enter the country over the next 20 years goes down by only 25 percent. There would have been, they estimate, 10 million illegal immigrants entering over the next 20 years. They estimate that that will drop to 7.5 million illegal immigrants entering the country […] . The net cost of those illegals alone would be about $400 billion over that period. […]

When you look at the Gang of Eight explain their bill they always say: Oh, we’re shifting from low-skill immigration to high-skill immigration. You can trust us. That’s what we do. But in fact the numbers from CBO show exactly the opposite. Roughly 80 … 85 to 90 percent of the individuals getting green card status are not skill-based. [The Foundry, June 21]

 

 

Turn on, tune in, pay up. Online learning may transform higher education someday, but right now it serves mainly as a prop in the familiar university system, say Andrew Kelly and Frederick Hess:

Many online programs generate large revenues because most colleges charge the same price (or more!) for students enrolled online as for those on campus. A survey of 199 universities by the educational technology arm of the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education found that 93 percent of universities charged the same or higher tuition for their online programs. This is bizarre, given that online courses are less costly to deliver than in-person courses. But instead of competing on price (meaning that cost savings get passed to the student), institutions have maintained in-person prices for online courses—even as the cost of delivery has fallen.

What do colleges do with that extra revenue? They cross-subsidize activities on the brick and mortar campus: unfunded research, student life, institutional aid programs, and so on. Put more genteelly, they “reinvest” it in their traditional campus.

Real innovation, as Kelly and Hess point out, is about unbundling the research-based university, and that’s not going to happen until the government regulations, subsidies, and accreditation policies that protect that model from competition are reformed. [“Beyond Retrofitting: Innovation in Higher Education,” by Andrew P. Kelly and Frederick Hess, Hudson Institute, June 2013.]

 

 

Not even low-income workers can count on coming out ahead under ObamaCare. Some low-income workers could end up paying a lot more for health insurance than they paid before ObamaCare became law, reports Jillian Kay Melchior. ObamaCare requires employer-provided health insurance to cover at least 60 percent of health-care costs while not costing employees more than 9.5 percent of their household incomes. Since low-income households may have multiple sources of income, it can be difficult for companies to figure out if a particular plan is sufficient to avoid penalties. The federal government has proposed “safe harbor” standards in order to provide clarity: Companies offering plans that have a $3,500 deductible, a $6,000 cap on out-of-pocket costs, and premiums of $90 or less per month would put companies in the clear of any penalties. Under those standards, says Melchior, a low-income worker not eligible Medicaid has few good options:

He could take the employer’s plan — but if it’s a safe-harbor plan, it would cost, at minimum, $1,080 a year. And that’s before the deductible is even factored in. For someone who earns $28,725 a year, falling at 250 percent of the poverty level, these costs are sizeable.

Option two: He could shop around on the health exchange for an alternative. But because his employer provides a sanctioned plan, he’s disqualified from any subsidy he might have received to help offset costs. Even a very basic plan would cost up to $2,316 a year in premiums alone.

Option three: Forgo insurance altogether and pay the steadily increasing penalty to the federal government. In 2014, for an individual, that’s $95 for the year or 1 percent of household income, whichever is greater. But by 2016, it will rise to either $695 or 2.5 percent of household income. And that’s not even factoring in whether the worker has kids. In that case, he could face an annual penalty of $2,085 or more by 2016. […]

Before, many employers who paid by the hour offered limited medical plans. These policies often got a bad rap because of their lack of catastrophic coverage. But to their credit, they were inexpensive and contributed to health-care costs immediately, without workers needing to first meet a deductible.

Now, these low-wage hourly workers would be forced to spend at least $5,300 before their coverage really begins to benefit them. [National Review, June 17]

 

 

Who elected those guys? ask teachers in Kansas. Last week, teachers in Deerfield, Kansas, did something that almost never happens, report James Sherk and Michael Cirrotti: They voted to decertify their union:

Unlike most public officials, unions do not stand for re-election, so their members cannot regularly hold them accountable. Workers can remove an unwanted union only by filing for decertification. But bureaucratic obstacles make it difficult to hold a vote on decertification. The hoops Deerfield’s teachers had to jump through illustrate this problem.

Joel McClure, the teacher who led the effort, submitted the appropriate paperwork to the Kansas Department of Labor in November 2012. But Kansas teachers can request a vote only in a two-month window every three years. KNEA officials contested the petition by claiming that the teachers missed the December 1 deadline. (The Department of Labor had misplaced the initial petition paperwork.) Then the KNEA objected that the teachers’ attorney was not certified in Kansas and that they did not have enough signatures. However, the teachers prevailed and voted out their union—in June, just eight months after the initial submission.

When asked why they went through such protracted effort, the teachers said their union ignored their concerns. They wanted instead to be actively involved in negotiations and work collaboratively with the school district. “The desire is for teachers to participate at the [bargaining] table, to have free access to information,” McClure said. “In our little school district, there’s no reason we can’t sit down at the table and work out our issues.” [The Foundry, June 18]

Did we mention that next week is National Employee Freedom Week?

 

 

The death panel is coming. Last week, a federal judge in Philadelphia blocked the enforcement of an age-limit rule on lung transplants, thus allowing a very sick 10-year-old girl to obtain a new set of lungs. Doctors had said the girl, who suffers from cystic fibrosis, would live only three to five weeks without new lungs. Earlier, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius had said she would not to intervene in the case by overturning the rule.

When the ObamaCare-created Independent Payment Advisory Board is up and running in two years, it too will make decisions on matters of life and death, but unlike Sebelius’s decision on lung rules, the decisions of the IPAB cannot be reviewed by courts. Those decisions are also protected from politics in some extraordinary ways. As David Rivkin and Elizabeth Foley explain, the IPAB set-up is certainly unconstitutional, but likely not challengeable in the short run because no one would have standing to sue:

Once the board acts, its decisions can be overruled only by Congress, and only through unprecedented and constitutionally dubious legislative procedures—featuring restricted debate, short deadlines for actions by congressional committees and other steps of the process, and supermajoritarian voting requirements. The law allows Congress to kill the otherwise inextirpable board only by a three-fifths supermajority, and only by a vote that takes place in 2017 between Jan. 1 and Aug. 15. If the board fails to implement cuts, all of its powers are to be exercised by HHS Secretary Sebelius or her successor. […]

The power given by Congress to the Independent Payment Advisory Board is breathtaking. Congress has willingly abandoned its power to make tough spending decisions (how and where to cut) to an unaccountable board that neither the legislative branch nor the president can control. The law has also entrenched the board’s decisions to an unprecedented degree.

In Mistretta v. United States (1989), the Supreme Court emphasized that, in seeking assistance to fill in details not spelled out in the law, Congress must lay down an “intelligible principle” that “confine[s] the discretion of the authorities to whom Congress has delegated power.” The “intelligible principle” test ensures accountability by demanding that Congress take responsibility for fundamental policy decisions.

The IPAB is guided by no such intelligible principle. ObamaCare mandates that the board impose deep Medicare cuts, while simultaneously forbidding it to ration care. Reducing payments to doctors, hospitals and other health-care providers may cause them to limit or stop accepting Medicare patients, or even to close shop.

These actions will limit seniors’ access to care, causing them to wait longer or forego care—the essence of rationing. ObamaCare’s commands to the board are thus inherently contradictory and, consequently, unintelligible.

Moreover, authorizing the advisory board to make rules “relating to” Medicare gives the board virtually limitless power of the kind hitherto exercised by Congress. For instance, the board could decide to make cuts beyond the statutory target. It could mandate that providers expand benefits without additional payment. It could require that insurers or gynecologists make abortion services available to all their patients as a condition of doing business with Medicare, or that drug companies set aside a certain percentage of Medicare-related revenues to fund “prescription drug affordability.” There is no limit. [Wall Street Journal, June 19]

 

 

What is candy? Depends on which state wants to tax it online. Forcing online retailers to remit sales taxes to the state where the purchaser resides, as the federal Marketplace Fairness Act (MFA) does, is not going to level the playing field between online and bricks-and-mortar retailers. Rather, as James Gattuso explains, it will tilt the playing field heavily against online retailers—especially smaller ones:

While the legislation does require states to provide retailers with free software for managing tax compliance, that software need only cover the individual state. Retailers are left on their own to get nationwide software, unless they want to integrate 46 individual software packages. No compensation is offered for recurring costs incurred by retailers, such as accounting services or online tax management services.

In addition, internal staff time would be needed for an array of tasks, including handling claims by tax-exempt customers, fielding inquiries from tax authorities, and addressing the inevitable glitches.

Even the simple act of classifying the item being sold can be problematic, with thousands of idiosyncratic distinctions and definitions through each state’s tax code. In Wisconsin, the Wisconsin flag as well as the U.S. flag is not subject to tax. All other flags are taxable. Unless they are bundled with flagpoles, in which case the rules change yet again.

Similarly, candy is defined—under the “streamlined” sales tax agreement, as “a preparation of sugar, honey, or other natural or artificial sweeteners in combination with chocolate, fruits, nuts or other ingredients in the form of bars, drops, or pieces.” But sellers beware: “‘Candy’ shall not include any preparation containing flour and shall require no refrigeration.” Thus defined, states still vary on whether the concoction is taxable or not.

The problems do not end with the sale. Each of the 46 state tax authorities with which retailers would have to deal directly require tax returns to be completed, on an annual, quarterly, or even weekly basis. To ensure that it is all done correctly, sellers would be subject to audits from each of 46 states. (If tax authorities on Indian reservations are included—as they are in the MFA as passed by the Senate—the number of tax forms and potential audits jumps to the hundreds.) [The Heritage Foundation, June 19]

 

 

Carbon taxers forget the externalities of not using cheap, abundant energy. One reason putting a tax on carbon in order to price its negative externalities is not a free-market idea:

[E]ven if SCC [social cost of carbon] estimates were not assumption-driven hocus-pocus, their use by activists, policymakers, and agencies would still be biased and misleading, because proponents of “climate action” always ignore the social costs of carbon mitigation.

As Cato Institute scholar Indur Goklany explains in a recent study, fossil fuels are the chief energy source of a “cycle of progress” responsible for the amazing improvements of the past 250 years in life expectancy, health, nutrition, safety, comfort, human capital formation, and per capita income. The cycle of progress is to no small extent a “positive externality” of fossil fuels. Thus, policies that suppress the extraction, delivery, and consumption of fossil fuels, or that make fossil energy less affordable, have social costs in addition to whatever compliance burdens and economic losses the policies entail.

For example, the more stringent the carbon mitigation scheme, the more severe the impacts on household income and job creationNumerous studies find that poverty and unemployment increase the risk of sickness and death. Carbon tax advocates never acknowledge this side of the ledger.

Given the continuing importance of fossil fuels to human flourishing and the undeniable connection between livelihoods, living standards, and life expectancy, carbon taxes can easily do more harm than good to public health—even if one accepts the IPCC’s version of the science.

That’s from Marlo Lewis’s excellent summary of the recent R Street-Heartland Institute debate on the carbon tax. [GlobalWarming.org, June 16]

 

 

Progressives make use of rights that progressives think should not exist. It’s a good thing for progressives—and everybody else—that one particular progressive idea hasn’t been adopted, observes Wendy Kaminer:

If progressives had their way, the ACLU’s latest challenge to the NSA’s domestic surveillance would easily be dismissed.ACLU v Clapper, filed in the wake of the Snowden revelations, is based on the ACLU’s First and Fourth Amendment rights, which, according to progressives, ACLU should not possess. It is, after all, a corporation, and constitutional amendments aggressively promoted by progressives would limit constitutional rights to “natural persons.”

“The words people, person, or citizen as used in this Constitution do not include corporations, limited liability companies or other corporate entities,” the popular People’s Rights Amendment declares. [The Atlantic, June 17]

Arthur Koestler’s protagonist in Darkness at Noon referred to the first-person singular as a “grammatical fiction” because it conflicted with the logic of self sacrifice demanded by the party. Today’s real progressives are now trying to subvert the plural form. By insisting that only individuals, not corporations, have rights, they elide the fact that corporations are made up of individual people. Individuals can’t fully exercise their rights if the things they choose to do cooperatively with others do not have the same protections as the things they choose to do alone. Maybe the American Civil Liberties Union can spread the word.

 

 

To Do: Keep an Eye on Russia

• Find out what Russia is up to with its efforts to construct a Eurasian Union. The Heritage Foundation will host a half-day conference on June 27 in Washington, D.C.

• Reflect on the Battle of Gettysburg and its meaning for the nation, which happened 150 years ago this July. Allen Guelzo of Gettysburg College will make remarks at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C., at 4:30 p.m. on June 26.

• If you are a young, professional, conservative woman, come meet other young, professional, conservative women at the Network of enlightened Women’s National Conference. The conference will be held June 27 – June 28 at The Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. Christina Hoff Summers will deliver a keynote address.

• Request a free copy of the movie Amazing Grace, which tells the true story of William Wilberforce’s fight to abolish slavery. The offer is part of the Foundation for Economic Education’s Blinking Lights Project, which educates about the importance of personal character as a vital element of free society. Be sure to check that out, too.

• Don’t forget that next week is National Employee Freedom Week, “a national effort to inform union employees of the freedom they have regarding opting out of union membership and making the decision about union membership that’s best for them.”

• Save the dates! These events are no longer classified, are they?
—The annual IEA Hayek Memorial Lecture, delivered this year by Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform, talking on “The Leave Us Alone Coalition vs. The Takings Coalition: The On-going Struggle” at 6:30 p.m. in London;
—The 42nd National Fourth of July Soiree, featuring barbeque, blue grass, balloon artists, and more at Bull Run Regional Park in Centreville, Va., on July 4 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.;
—The Heritage Foundation’s annual Scholars & Scribes review of the Supreme Court’s 2012-2013 term, July 11, in Washington, D.C.;
Freedom Fest, the largest gathering of free minds, July 10 – July 13 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas;
—and Cato University, July 28 – August 3 at the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C.

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Lovin’ it People!  For the first time in 40 years the Farm Bill failed to pass the House.  Republicans and Democrats got together altho for almost opposite reasons and voted the Farm Bill 2013 down.  There may be hope yet of getting this spending to at least slow if not stop.  BB

Article from Cato Institute:

JUNE 21, 2013 11:36AM

Farm Bill Fails for First Time in 40 Years (or Ever?)

It what some characterize as a triumph (and others as a sad indictment on the state of U.S. parliamentary politics), the U.S. House of Representatives failed to pass the farm bill yesterday (roll call here, 62 Republicans and 172 Democrats voting “no”). According to Charles Abbott of Reuters, it was the first time in 40 years (or possibly in history) that the House has failed to pass a farm bill.

It seems that many GOPers voted against it because the food stamp cuts were not big enough, and most Dems who voted no did so because the food stamp cuts were too big. Good luck trying to square that circle.

The Hill and Politico have more on the political fallout, none of which I particularly care about. Whoever is to “blame” (personally, I’d like to bestow Presidential Medals of Freedom on the culprits), it is clear that the old urban-rural alliance, and the idea that you can build coalitions by loading a bill with “something for everyone,” is fraying.

For too long, American taxpayers and consumers have been burdened by the scourge of special interest politics that sees farm bills passed more-or-less intact time after time. And the reason, quite frankly, is that things could be even worse if the farm bills fail to pass. One of the ag lobby’s best friends in Congress, Rep. Collin Petersen (D-MN), exposed the extortion threat behind this quinquennial circus in part of his remarks Wednesday:

Mr. PETERSON….When I was chairman and did the last farm bill, we maintained the permanent law, and we did it for a reason, which is that it is very hard to get these farm bills done, and sometimes you need some motivation to get people to move. That’s the main reason we left it there. [From the Congressional Record, pH3860. HT: Scott Lincicome, emphasis added]

That’s the key to ending the role of the federal government in agriculture once and for all: getting that “permanent” 1949 law off the books. It would be a hard legislative slog, for sure. A narrower (but still worthy) amendment by Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA), striking only the dairy price support part of the 1949 Act, failed 309-112. (On the other hand, an amendment stripping out the supply management aspect of the proposed new dairy policy passed 291-135.) But so long as this law is part of the national legislative fabric, we’ll have a dairy cliff (or some other commodity-themed cliff) every five years.

Where to go from here? Maybe the House will pass another extention of the current farm bill (itself an extension of the 2008 farm bill, which was supposed to expire in 2012), trying to buy time. Or maybe they will try to cut food stamps even more in an attempt to pass the bill with Republican support more or less alone (though that would presumably be vetoed by President Obama). Or, possibly, the House will not pass a bill at all and go straight to conference with the Senate. (The Washington Post’s Brad Plumer goes into more detail on that possibility.) I don’t know. What I do know is that Congress will more or less be tinkering at the edges unless and until that permanent law is repealed once and for all.

I have been getting wind of this for some time but never in detail so just sat on it waiting for a more official notice.  Heritage Foundation doesn’t report on rumors so here it is Dear Readers just what we tax payers have grown to expect from our government.  At this time I can only refer you to a statement by Thomas Jefferson.  (And for you purest I also included the source of Jefferson’s quote 🙂  since the last time I used a quote I  got all kinds of comments refuting the source I had given).

AUTHOR: Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826)
QUOTATION: The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it’s natural manure.
ATTRIBUTION: THOMAS JEFFERSON, letter to William Stephens Smith, November 13, 1787.—The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, ed. Julian P. Boyd, vol. 12, p. 356 (1955).

A related idea was later expressed by Bertrand Barère de Vieuzac in a speech to the French national assembly, January 16, 1793: “L’arbre de la liberté… croît lorsqu’il est arrosé du sang de toute espèce de tyrans (The tree of liberty grows only when watered by the blood of tyrants),” Archives Parliamentaires de 1787 à 1860, vol. 57, p. 368 (1900).

And much earlier Tertullian had said: “Plures efficimur quotiens metimur a vobis; semen est sanguis Christianorum (We multiply whenever we are mown down by you; the blood of Christians is seed),” Apology, trans. T. R. Glover, pp. 226–27 (1931).

NOW READ WHAT CONGRESS IS UP TO!   Sincerely, BB

 

Now Congress Wants to Exempt Itself from Obamacare

April 25, 2013 at 1:33 pm

 

Newscom

Newscom

No argument for Obamacare’s repeal can top the simple fact that Members of Congress do not want it to apply to them.

Today’s Politico reports that the House and Senate congressional leadership—both Democrats and Republicans working in cahoots with Obama Administration officials—have been secretly negotiating for months trying to find a way to exempt Members of Congress and their staffs from being forced into Obamacare’s health insurance exchanges.

Beginning on January 1, 2014, these exchanges, to be run by the federal government or the states (under federal rules) will offer federally “qualified” insurance coverage for millions of Americans. Ordinary Americans must either sign up or face a tax penalty. Senator Max Baucus (D–MT), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, has now famously described the Obama’s Administration’s implementation of this process as an oncoming “train wreck,” and Henry Chao, an Administration official involved with the implementation of the law, just hopes that Americans can avoid a “third-world experience.”

According to the Politico story, there are two major reasons why Members of Congress want to exempt themselves and their staffs from the terms and conditions of the law:

  1. They fear higher health care costs. Congressional leaders fear that being forced into the Obamacare exchanges will result in higher health care costs for themselves and their families and their aides. “The problem stems from whether members and aides set to enter the exchanges would have their health insurance premiums subsidized by their employer—in this case the federal government.” This is also true for millions of ordinary Americans. They could also lose their employer-based coverage, and they could also face higher costs. Also contrary to the President’s promises, independent analystsexpect health insurance premiums to rise sharply, particularly for younger workers and their families.
  2. They fear the impact on Capitol Hill employment. “There is concern in some quarters that the provision requiring lawmakers and staffers to join the exchanges, if it isn’t revised, could lead to a ‘brain drain’ on Capitol Hill, as several sources close to the talks put it.” Given the insane spending and record deficits, it’s hard to imagine how a Capitol Hill “brain drain” could produce even worse government. But ordinary Americans who run businesses are also faced with anxieties, particularly whether they will be able to hire or retain valued employees or reduce full-time workers to part-time employees in order to avoid Obamacare’s mandatory costs.

For veteran Capitol Hill watchers, shenanigans behind closed doors to enable Congress and its staffers to escape Obamacare come as no surprise. After all, the national health care law was fashioned through repulsive backroom dealing (the “Cornhusker Kickback,” the “Louisiana Purchase,” etc.) that set a record for arrogance and contempt of popular opinion. Favored businesses and unions got special exemptions (more than 1,200 waivers) from Obamacare’s insurance rules. So consider today’s Politico revelation just marquee for a rerun of a tiresome old movie: one set of rules for Congress and another set of rules for the rest of us.

If Congress quietly wants to exempt itself from Obamacare, that’s great—so long as it includes the rest of us in that midnight amendment.

(Remember Dear Reader that Obama has already exempted the labor unions and other cronies so why not themselves?!!~  these people are beyond repulsive IMO.  The Tea Party is revving up for the 2014 election with the theme to throw them all out and get decent people in Congress.  Unfortunately we stuck with Obama regardless of how many laws he breaks or how many impeachable offenses he commits because there is no way the first American Black President will be impeached.  But we can damned well change Congress! and put more sane conservative people in who will uphold our constitutional rights and govern as our country should be governed.  This means first repealing Obamacare, then Dodd-Frank and that is just a start of what needs done in Washington.  Things a decent and sincere  Copngressman or woman will do.  Sincerely, BB)

 

 

In case you missed these during the year I am posting Heritage top 10 2012 research papers here in one place.  They are all as relevant now as when they were published; in fact some even more so.  The United States is well on its way to total destruction as a free nation.  Our one chance at salvation was to elect Mitt Romney for President and we didn’t.  Obama won by a slim margin, but he  and the Democrats take that as a mandate to do as they please and because they still control the Senate and Harry Reid is at the helm there is nothing in the federal government to stop them.   The only forces now fighting Obama and Obamanation are the states and some very brave companies and individuals  who are trying thru the courts to hold off or hold back the onslaught of our demise.    I think you need to know what all of these reports say in order to perhaps  minimize the  personal damage the federal government will do to individuals in the coming years.  Sincerely and Happy New Year my Friends, BB

Top 10 Heritage Research Papers of 2012

Todd Thurman

December 27, 2012 at 8:02 am

federal spending 2008 – 2012As the year comes to a close, we reflect on 2012 by offering highlights of the top 10 most-read research papers by Heritage scholars.

1) The 2012 Index of Dependence on Government
By William Beach and Patrick Tyrrell
February 8, 2012
The great and calamitous fiscal trends of our time—dependence on government by an increasing portion of the American population, and soaring debt that threatens the financial integrity of the economy—worsened yet again in 2010 and 2011.

2) Taxmageddon: Massive Tax Increase Coming in 2013
By Curtis Dubay
April 4, 2012
If President Obama and Congress fail to act this year, an enormous, unprecedented tax increase will fall on American taxpayers starting on January 1, 2013.

3) High Gas Prices: Obama’s Half-Truths vs. Reality
By Nicolas Loris
February 23, 2012
Higher gas prices drive up production costs for goods reliant on transportation, and more money spent at the pump means less money spent at restaurants and movie theaters.

4) Federal Spending by the Numbers
By Alison Acosta Fraser
October 16, 2012
The federal government has closed out its fourth straight year of trillion-dollar-plus deficits, and the imperative to rein in spending has never been greater.

5) Red Tape Rising: Obama-Era Regulation at the Three-Year Mark
By James L. Gattuso and Diane Katz
March 13, 2012
During the first three years of the Obama Administration, 106 new major federal regulations added more than $46 billion per year in new costs for Americans.

6) The Ryan Budget: Confronting the Nation’s Spending Crisis
By Alison Acosta Fraser and Patrick Louis Knudsen
March 21, 2012
In the few months since Washington’s dramatic debt ceiling confrontation, America’s fiscal situation has only worsened. Federal spending is set to soar past previous record-shattering levels, endangering the economic future of the nation.

7) Auto Bailout or UAW Bailout? Taxpayer Losses Came from Subsidizing Union Compensation
By James Sherk and Todd Zywicki
June 13, 2012
The U.S. government will lose about $23 billion on the 2008-2009 bailout of General Motors and Chrysler. President Obama emphatically defends his decision to subsidize the automakers, arguing it was necessary to prevent massive job losses.

8) Government Employees Work Less than Private-Sector Employees
By Jason Richwine, Ph.D.
September 11, 2012
The stereotype of the under-worked government employee is frequently invoked in criticisms of public-sector employment. But does the average public employee really work less than the average private employee?

9) Tax Policy Center’s Skewed Analysis of Governor Romney’s Tax Plan
By Curtis Dubay
September 23, 2012
Their conclusion is the result of a series of carefully made choices. These choices, not the underlying nature of the Romney plan, cause them to arrive at their selected result. This finding is harming the debate on tax reform.

10) Welfare Reform’s Work Requirements Cannot be Waived
By Andrew M. Grossman
August 8, 2012
Under the guise of providing states greater “flexibility” in operating their welfare programs, the Obama Administration now claims the authority to weaken or waive the work requirements that are at the heart of welfare reform.

I wondered why the Federal Reserve would order banks to take a “stress test”  that would determine how well they were able  to withstand  a sudden and severe drop in the stock market unless they were anticipating such a drop.  Guess my wondering is in good company a contributor to Big Government blog had the same wonder but he put his into perspective as to what this would do to the country.  Interesting post.  I might advise you all to buckle up and hang on out there.   At least that is what I am doing! BB

Fed Warns Unemployment May Double Great Depression

by Chriss W. Street

I warned last week that a recession and higher unemployment were about to hit the U.S. economy. On Tuesday, the Bureau of Economic Analysis cut their estimate of growth in the third quarter ending September from 2.5% to 2%. Then on Wednesday, the Federal Reserve rocked financial markets by forcing America’s 31 largest U.S. banks to “stress test” balance sheets to determine their capability to withstand an 8% drop in the economy; which would cause home prices to plunge by 21%, and unemployment rate to jump to 13%.

I illuminated in my report that U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has been under-counting unemployment by at least 2%. For a nation reporting 154.4 million workers; this means the 13.9 million reportedly unemployed should actually be 17 million. Given only 12.8 million were unemployed at the 1933 peak of the Great Depression, when the undercounting and the Fed’s stress test are added the total is 23.2 million unemployed; almost double the Great Depression.

(The only reason we are not seeing bread lines and homeless people flooding the streets is that now we have the federal government handing out up to 99 weeks of unemployment benefits as well as 47+ million people on food stamps.  during the Great Depression these programs were not available..  Which certainly proves the statement I have been making for decades that the next depression would make the so-called “Great” one look like a Sunday picnic.     Of course the  unemployed as well as the employed and their great grandchildren are on the hook for all the money that is being borrowed to pay for these benefits!  Which brings me to the second difference between now and then:  big business was on the hook and were the ones going into deep debt and bankrupt rather than the people via our government, but during these intervening years Congress has undertaken to protect business  and even banking by taking on the risk of doing business in America while not enforcing the rules that business “help” pay for these protective programs.  One of the most egregious business protecting programs that Uncle Sam has taken from business is the promise to pay retirement benefits if a business is unable to do so.  Companies are suppose to pay into a trust fund for these programs but they don’t and no one is watching the store to see that they do!  Companies do not even have to go bankrupt in order for the government to step up to the plate with our wallets open!  BB)

Formerly bullish top bank analyst Dick Bove in an Bloomberg interview commented on the Fed:

“By taking these draconian views of what could happen in the market, if they in fact force the banks to defense themselves against the outlook that they’ve put up, they’ll cause a recession,”

Consistent with my prediction that the booming production of capital goods would fall hard next year after the expiration of the 100% “bonus depreciation” tax credit; the bad news parade picked up steam this week with reports that U.S. durable goods orders fell 0.7 percent last month and initial jobless claims came in higher than Wall Street analyst’s predictions.

On the always dismal European front, interest rates on German “Bund” Treasury Bonds exceeded the interest rates on U.S. Treasury bonds for the first time as traders feared the financial turmoil of Portugal, Italy, Greece, and Spain (aka the “PIGS”) is causing a financial contagion that may implode solvency of German banks. Peter Cecchini, head of investment strategy at Cantor Fitzgerald in New York reporting on effects of the European financial crisis for the rest of the world: “Evidence is slowly mounting that containment is a pipe dream,”

In the delightful Middle East, the Aircraft Carrier George H.W. Bush left its traditional theater of operations watching Iran and the Persian Gulf, and moved to the closest point to Syria in preparation for implementing a “no-fly-zone” by American, European, and Arab League forces. CBS also just reported: “The U.S. Embassy in Damascus urged its citizens in Syria to depart “immediately,” and Turkey’s foreign ministry urged Turkish citizens on pilgrimages to “return home from Saudi Arabia to avoid traveling through Syria.”

During the month of November the equity shares of the 31 banks the Fed directed to begin their stress test have now fallen 13%; with Goldman Sachs and Bank of America trading at their lowest prices since the lows of the Great Recession in March of 2009. If the economy heads for a sharp recession and unemployment leaps, there will be hell to pay for politicians in November’s election.

And of course with all this happening our Congress men and women in their appointed  Super Committee made up of the greatest brains (?????)  in Congress failed to agree to taking  3 cents out of every dollar the government spends for the next ten years!  There seems to be a movement of saner heads in Congress to bring the President’s appointed deficit Reduction Committee’s  (known as the Simpson-Bowles Committee) recommendations to a vote.  I expect this to happen in the Republican controlled House of Representatives and to pass.  but Democrat Senator Harry Reid will not allow it to come to the floor for a vote in the democratically controlled Senate.  There are i believe now a total of 48 bills  that were passed in the House that are sitting on the shelf in the Senate!  BB

This Week in Government Failure | Cato @ Liberty.

This Week in Government Failure

Posted by Tad DeHaven

Over at Downsizing the Federal Government, we focused on the following issues this past week:

  • It’s darkly comical that the same entity responsible for killing countless private sector jobs with its taxes and regulations operates job training programs.
  • Warren Buffett should put up or shut up.
  • Two polls of likely voters released by Rasmussen Reports indicate that the federal government’s corporate welfare programs should be prime targets for spending cuts.
  • (Wanted to make sure you saw the results of these polls.

    Voters Don’t Support Corporate Welfare

    Two polls of likely voters released by Rasmussen Reports today indicate that the federal government’s corporate welfare programs should be prime targets for spending cuts.

    The first poll found little support for the Small Business Administration’s lending programs:

    • A majority (58 percent) of likely voters said that the federal government shouldn’t guarantee loans issued by private lenders to small businesses. 23 percent said the government should back small business loans and 19 percent were unsure.
    • A majority (59 percent) of likely voters said that reducing government regulations and taxes would be more helpful to small businesses than the government providing loans to small businesses that can’t obtain financing on their own. 22 percent said the government loans were better and 18 percent were unsure.  ( I am definitely among the 58%!  BB)
    • Entrepreneurs particularly believed that reducing government regulations and taxes is preferable to government lending programs. 76 percent of entrepreneurs felt that way and 61 percent opposed government loans to small businesses that couldn’t obtain financing. (These are the people with the ideas People.  So listen to them carefully because they are the movers and shakers of America.  In fact, these people are almost uniquely America because America is (or at least ONCE WAS) the only place on earth where these people with ideas and dreams could make their dreams come true.  Obamanation has brought this to a halt and is working hard to kill the entire idea of anyone in America having an original thought.  BB)

    (See this new Cato essay on why the Small Business Administration should be terminated.) (AGREED!  BB)

    Similarly, the second poll found little support for various federal corporate welfare programs:

    • Only 15 percent of likely voters said the federal government should continue to provide funding for foreign countries to buy military weapons from U.S. companies. 70 percent were opposed and the rest were undecided.  (Where in Hell did they find the 15%!??!  BB)
    • Only 29 percent of likely voters said the government should continue to provide loans and loan guarantees to help finance export sales for large corporations. 46 percent were opposed and the rest were undecided. (See Sallie James’ new Cato paper on why the Export-Import Bank should be terminated.)  (I am sure this undecided vote was because the respondents could not understand the question.  ONLY large well o0rganized and connected companies export their products and these companies surely do not need any tax dollars to do so as they will continue on their own if a profit is being made.  I would like to say this practice will come to a halt after 2012 when we get a person with sense in the White House but congressmen on the company dole are not likely to stop anything that might annoy their buds.  BB)
    • Only 37 percent of likely voters said the federal government should continue providing farm subsidies. A plurality (46 percent) said farm subsidies should be abolished and 17 percent weren’t sure. (See this Cato essay for more on farm subsidies.)   (Just for information purposes:  the so-called “family farm” ain’t the family farm anymore People.  The Family Farm is now BIGGGGGGG Agribusiness and just like any other business it certainly doesn’t need our tax dollars.  But just play hell getting rid of it!  BB)
    • The Washington Post asks for budget plans. We have one.   (No comments from me here because it ALL makes a lot of sense and I hope you go to all the sites referred and read carefully.  BB)
    • Despite Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s role in driving the housing bubble and $160 billion in taxpayer losses (so far), President Obama appears to be considering just putting the same failed system in place.   (Did anyone really expect anything else??!  By the way, Fannie Mae is the outfit that gave  me the deal on my house.  but it really wasn’t a deal at all, it was where the price of the house would have been if government had not gotten into the notion of everyone deserves and has a “right” to own a home and started making sure everyone got one regardless of if they could pay for it.  the government getting in of course made the prices for houses go sky high.  Just as the government getting into anything causes the prices of that good or service to go sky high—-haven’t we learned a thing yet?  Those supplying the goods or service are not dumb and know they will get their price no matter where they set it.  Government got into medical care with Medicare and Medicaid and doctor, hospitals, medical supply companies, health insurance companies and drug companies all sent their  prices  up by double digits for 40 years.  Government got into education and colleges and universities went hog wild at the banquet of federal money via the students.  As sure as the moon follows the sun and the sun follows the moon the big money will follow the government money.  BB)

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