But We Have A Spending Bill

Yes we do! The prez has signed it into law.  It is a 6000 page piece of toilet paper…..yes our government will be funded until September of 2015….that is good news, right?  Yes but what will it cost the country and its people for all this bi-partisanship?

I am so glad you asked!

The NT Times spent some time to pull out the BS that we are suppose to be thankful for…….since the bill was a 6000 page yawn they saved my a bunch of time….thank you….thank you……

DODD-FRANK Relaxes restrictions on big banks’ trading of certain risky financial instruments known as swaps. Restrictions were imposed by the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial law.

CAMPAIGN FINANCE Greatly increases federal limits on individual contributions to national political parties and their congressional campaign committees.

PENSIONS Allows trustees of certain multi-employer pension plans to cut retirees’ benefits, keeping the plans solvent without a government bailout.

E.P.A. Cuts funds for the Environmental Protection Agency; prohibits the agency from regulating the lead content of ammunition or fishing tackle.

HEALTH Provides $5.4 billion to fight Ebola in the United States and abroad. Leaves the Affordable Care Act largely intact; limits certain subsidy payments to health insurance companies.

Those are the parts that will do the most damage…..and it will pass……because Obama is in bed with the GOP……

Hey Big Spender

Last week the new spending bill was offered up….and it would fund the government through September 2015…..that means that we would not have all the theatrics over this spending for at least 10 months….or that the hint of a government shut down would be just a thought………good news, right?

The bill is huge, as all bills are, and I bet that few of us will take the time to see what is in the bill……instead we will listen to those that make a living being a liar…..the media.

In the MSM reporting they were pushing the bi-partisanship or the fact that it is a lengthy bill, something we have not had in a coon’s age……..but I ask did you spend the time to see what is in the bill?  Of course you didn’t…….the Cosby scandal is far more important or the Taylor swift has made another cover…….

I try to be helpful so here is the main issues in the bill…..as reported by the AP……….

SPENDING

?Overall spending. $1.013 trillion for core agency budgets for day-to-day operations, with $521 billion for defense and $492 billion for non-defense. That represents about one-third of the federal budget and is essentially a freeze at current levels. Another $64 billion is provided for overseas military operations.

?Defense. Provides a base budget of $490 billion to the Pentagon, a $3.3 billion increase. Maintaining 1.3 million active-duty troops and 820,800 reserves would cost $128 billion. Another $162 billion is provided for operations and maintenance; procurement of new weapons systems, including 38 new F-35 fighters, totals $92 billion.

?Overseas military operations. Provides $73.7 billion for overseas military operations and diplomatic efforts by the State Department to combat terrorism, including $3.4 billion to continue the air campaign against Islamic State militants and $1.6 billion to train the Iraqi military. Provides $4.1 billion to train and equip Afghanistan’s military.

?Homeland Security. Keeps the Department of Homeland Security funded at current levels through Feb. 27. Its budget will be revisited next year when Republicans are hoping to roll back President Barack Obama’s recent moves on immigration.

?Ebola. Provides $5.4 billion of President Barack Obama’s $6.2 billion request to fight Ebola at home and abroad; $2.5 billion of the total would help African countries fight the disease, while $2.7 billion would go to the Department of Health and Human Services, including $1.2 billion for Center for Disease Control and Prevention efforts to stop Ebola in West Africa and strengthen public health systems in at-risk countries.

?Foreign aid. Provides $49 billion for foreign aid programs, an almost $3 billion increase. Some $6 billion would help fight HIV/AIDS overseas, while $7.2 billion would be for economic and development programs. Israel would receive $3.1 billion in military aid; Egypt would receive $1.3 billion in military aid and $150 million in economic assistance. The Millenium Challenge Corporation, which directs aid to countries demonstrating economic and social progress, would receive $900 million.

?Environmental Protection Agency. Cuts the EPA budget by $60 million to $8.1 billion, or 21 percent below peak levels in 2010.

?Internal Revenue Service. Cuts the IRS by $346 million to $10.9 billion. Blocks the agency from targeting tea party organizations and other advocacy groups seeking tax-exempt status based on their ideology.

?Transportation. Provides $71 billion for transportation programs, including $40 billion in highway funding for states. Aid to Amtrak would be maintained at $1.4 billion.

?Housing. Provides $26 billion for Section 8 and other public housing programs for the poor. Add $10 billion for other housing programs, including help for the elderly and disabled.

?Crime-fighting. Provides $8.4 billion for the FBI, a slight increase; $2.4 billion for the Drug Enforcement Administration; $1.2 billion for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; and $2.3 billion for various grants to state and local law enforcement.

?NASA. The space program would receive $18 billion, a $364 million increase. Of that, $4.4 billion is provided for the new Orion space-launch system, which last week had its first test launch.

?Food Aid. Provides $82 billion for food stamps as required by law; allots another $6.6 billion for a program that provides food aid to pregnant and nursing mothers and their young children. Another $21 billion goes to mandatory funding for the school lunch program and child nutrition programs.

?Capitol Dome. Provides $21 million to continue a project restoring the iconic cast-iron Capitol Dome, which is beset by crack and leaks.

POLICY ‘RIDERS':

?Likely to be amended to include legislation aimed at shoring up underfunded multiemployer pension plans, including a controversial provision that permits them to cut the benefits of current and future retirees to shore up severely distressed plans.

?Eases regulations under the 2010 Dodd-Frank overhaul of financial regulations that require banks to set up separately capitalized affiliates ? ineligible for federal benefits such as deposit insurance ? to deal in more exotic and riskier forms of complex financial instruments called swaps. Regulators could still “push-out” risky swaps based on asset-backed securities.

?Blocks new Transportation Department regulations that require truckers to get two nights of sleep before re-starting the clock on their workweek. One effect of the rule was to shorten the maximum length a trucker’s workweek from 82 hours to 70 hours.

?Relaxes rules slated to go into effect in 2017 that require more whole grains in school foods. Put off rules to lower sodium in school meals that were supposed to go into effect in 2017.

? Prohibits the use of federal or local funds from implementing a referendum legalizing recreational marijuana use in Washington, D.C

?Blocks the Fish and Wildlife Service from placing the Sage Grouse on the Endangered Species list, which Republicans claim will have economic benefits for Western states.

?Blocks the Justice Department from raiding medical marijuana dispensaries in states where they are permitted.

? Prohibits the use of funds for a “National Roadside Survey” by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.

? Bars funding for renovation of the United Nations Headquarters in New York, a new London embassy and debt relief for foreign countries.

? Withholds money from the UN population fund, dollar for dollar, if it operates a program in China.

? Prohibits the transfer or release of detainees held at the prison at Guantanamo, also bans construction of facilities to hold detainees within the U.S.

? Prohibits funding for the administration “light bulb standard,” which prevents the manufacture or sale of incandescent bulbs.

? Bars funding for the White House to order the IRS to determine the tax-exempt status of an organization.

? Prohibits the use of funds for painting portraits.

? Prohibits the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating lead in ammunition or fishing tackle.

The AP did an excellent job in this summary………

The MSM will focus on the provision that emphasizes their ideology…….this may be the only place that will give you ALL the major provisions for you to make a rational decision on this bill……Hopefully it will be of some small degree of help………

Please read it over and let me know what parts YOU think are important and what parts are a waste of time and even which of the provisions is a typical DC waste of time……

I will give you my thoughts on the parts that I find offensive in the next post…….

Turn The Page!

Money Well Spent (Yet Again And Again)

Yep!  More disgusting waste of the American taxpayer dollar……most Americans have their programs that they want to see cut for whatever misguided reason….but most never think about the waste of money through our so called foreign aid…..

The US and its allies are winding down their mission in Afghanistan and there will be a continuation (of course there will be) of massive foreign aid to help the country come to grips with situations on its own…….

In a piece written by Jason Ditz for Antiwar.com…………

A new Senate Foreign Relations Committee report lays out their “roadmap” for continuing to pour billions of dollars in aid into Afghanistan annually

The plan, which Senate Dems say was timed for release after President Karzai’s term in office ended and the troop deal extended, and will keep the $5-$8 billion average outflow of US “aid” into Afghanistan more or less intact.

With the vast majority of that aid being flat out squandered on things Afghans didn’t need or want, the committee’s plan seeks to make the future aid “condition-based” with some vague sustainability requirements.

Details of all the conditions are not yet clear, but indications are that they will mostly been centered on the administration signing off on the Afghan government dubious human rights record, something they’ve been only too willing to do in the past, and will undoubtedly do in the future to keep the gravy train flowing.

I understand the “need” to help Afghanistan….but my bigger question is how many American defense contractors will be feeding at the teat?

I mean we gave the country a TV station for live sports coverage without an audience……we are scrapping equipment worth billions for 60 cents a ton……just who will benefit the most from the foreign aid….Afghanistan or the Military-Industrial Complex?

If you have the answers then by all means…share with the rest of us.

Always Money Well Spent

There is a constant supply of news on just how badly the US spends its cash……there was the story of all those Nazis that are still drawing Social Security…..and then we had the story of many many government employees that were paid to stay at home for years in some cases…..and there is always a story about a $160 hammer and a $200 toilet seat…..but the Us spends money on programs that are designed to control oir stop some practices….like the opium production in Afghanistan……..

The latest report on the policy of controlling the production of poppies is not all that great…….

Opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan is at record levels, according to a new report from the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction. That’s despite more than a decade of American efforts to knock out the Afghan drug trade—at a cost of roughly $7.6 billion.

SIGAR’s data, which comes from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), shows that Afghan opium cultivation nearly tripled between 1994 and 2013. More than 780 tons of heroin or morphine could be produced with the current crop, whose total value is estimated at nearly $3 billion, up from $2 billion in 2012.

In his report, John F. Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, informs Secretary of State John Kerry, Attorney General Eric Holder, and USAID administrator Rajiv Shah that the levels of opium poppy production don’t exactly square with all the time, money, and effort that have gone into eradicating crop. “The recent record-high level of poppy cultivation calls into question the long-term effectiveness and sustainability of [prior US government and coalition] efforts,” Sopko writes. “Given the severity of the opium problem and its potential to undermine U.S. objectives in Afghanistan, I strongly suggest that your departments consider the trends in opium cultivation and the effectiveness of past counternarcotics efforts when planning future initiatives.”

It is just amazing how our Congress has NO problem asking for cuts that would effect the poor but they seems to not care that more money is being pissed away in this worthless effort

Does anyone else think that our priorities should be making this country strong and a good place to live?  Somebody needs to walk into Congress and start shaking trees…..and shake hard enough to dislodge all the rotten fruit.

Thoughts?

 

GOP Needs New Material

The GOP has been pushing the whole tax cuts thing for decades…….kinda in the same vain as the whole trickle down theory, which as we all know is a worthless lie that has never been proven to be accurate….election after election GOP candidates premise tax cuts and the world will be a better place…..if they are allowed to cut taxes then all problems will be solved and the peasants can dance…..

The problem with their solution is that it does nothing but make states broke and poor people in more debt……but they continue to push the dream and we Americans buy it every time……

Let the truth be known…….take Kansas for instance…..the gov promised with more tax cuts the state would prosper…….it was total GOP bullshit!

In 2012, Kansas governor Sam Brownback signed a massive tax cut into law, arguing that it would boost the state’s economy. Eventually, he hoped to eliminate individual income taxes entirely. “Our place, Kansas, will show the path, the difficult path, for America to go in these troubled times,” he said.

Brownback’s tax cut proposal came as Kansas’s revenues were on an upswing. Spending cuts and a one-cent sales tax passed by Brownback’s Democratic predecessor had combined with economic growth to give Kansas a surplus. Now, Brownback argued, his tax cuts would lead to even more success. “I firmly believe these reforms will set the stage for strong economic growth in Kansas,” he said.

The governor proposed to cut income taxes on the state’s highest earners from 6.45 percent to 4.9 percent, to simplify tax brackets, and to eliminate state income taxes on most small business income entirely. In a nod to fiscal responsibility, though, he proposed to end several tax deductions and exemptions, including the well-liked home mortgage interest deduction. This would help pay for the cuts.

Yet it’s now clear that the revenue shortfalls are much worse than expected. “State general fund revenue is down over $700 million from last year,” Duane Goossen, a former state budget director, told me. “That’s a bigger drop than the state had in the whole three years of the recession,” he said — and it’s a huge chunk of the state’s $6 billion budget. Goossen added that the Kansas’s surplus, which had been replenished since the recession, “is now being spent at an alarming, amazing rate.”

In other words the tax cuts did not create jobs or new business or new residents….what they did was bankrupt the state….in case you are interested it is the same with every state that has cut taxes to the bone……and it will get worse.

A noted economist, David Cay Johnston, has tracked the numbers since 2000……..

I calculated that enormous figure by comparing the average income Americans reported on their 2000 tax returns with what they reported each year for 2001 through 2012, adjusting for inflation and the growing population. Add up the income for 12 years and it turns out to be $6.6 trillion less than if we had maintained the prosperity of 2000 for a growing population.

Why use 2000 as a benchmark? Well, first off, it marks the end of one era and the start of another. More important, that very good year economically was when George W. Bush, running for president, said American prosperity would get even better if he was elected and his tax cuts — key aspects of which he kept secret until after the election — would ensure American prosperity.

The results: The prosperity of the prior decade was lost. Job growth fell far behind population growth. The median wage (half make more, half less) has been mired since 1998 at a bit more than $500 per week.

In 10 of the 12 years when the Bush tax cuts were in effect, the average income shown on tax returns was lower than in 2000. In the two upside years, average income rose modestly, up $504 for 2006 and $1,744 for 2007.

Total those 12 years and the net shortfall per taxpayer comes to $48,010.

Consider what $48,000 of additional income over those 12 years would have meant to you. It is the equivalent of $11 appearing in your wallet every morning from the start of 2001 through the end of 2012.

How much better off you would be if your income had been $48,000 higher over those 12 years? To be sure, you would have owed taxes on that money. If you were not in the top 1 percent, federal income tax would have taken on average about 10 percent of that, leaving you with $43,200. (The top 1 percent would have paid 23.5 percent in tax.) In addition, if the extra income was all in wages, then Social Security and Medicare taxes also would have taken a bite, leaving you with about $39,500.

So how much better off would you be right now if you had another $39,050? And remember that is just the extra after-tax income you would have enjoyed had the prosperity of 2000 been maintained, while then-Gov. Bush promised greater and more widespread prosperity.

I know economics can make your brain melt but the truth is that Americans are worse off because of all the tax cuts…..that is the average working stiff….the wealthy made out lioke bandits which in some sense is exactly what they are….BANDITS!

The GOP needs new material…..their bullshit about tax cuts is nothing but LIES on top of LIES!