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!

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?

 

Military Spending Shouldn’t Surpass Budget Caps – US News

Ever wonder about that “black budget”….we know that secret money used to fund all sorts of ‘secret’ programs around the world….how do they manage that when there is a budget that they must adhere to…..well somewhat….you ask….I answer….well in this case….in this case I will let US News & World Report do the answering…..

Military Spending Shouldn’t Surpass Budget Caps – US News.

CBO: Friend Or Foe?

That is my latest poem…the title that is…….

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is both, friend and foe, if your particular ideology does not agree with the CBO’s findings then it cannot be trusted because it is a government entity that as we know cannot be trusted to give the people the real facts….and then when it does agree with your particular set of priorities then it is a friend and its findings should be heeded at all costs……

There you have it….it is both friend and foe……

I bring this up because the latest report from the CBO seems to favor the GOP’s set of priorities……..read on McDuff……

CBO’s Key Findings:

  • Revenue in 2014 is on track to exceed its historical average of 17.4 percent of GDP.
  • The deficit will again top $1 trillion by 2022.
  • Interest on the national debt will quadruple over the next decade.
  • By 2021, Obamacare will cause a “reduction in full-time-equivalent employment of about 2.3 million.”
  • Obamacare “will reduce the total number of hours worked, on net, by about 1.5 percent to 2.0 percent during the period from 2017 to 2024.” The largest decline will occur among “lower-wage workers.”
  • Obamacare “will cause a reduction of roughly 1 percent in aggregate labor compensation over the 2017–2024 period.”

To read the full report: http://cbo.gov/publication/45010.

So in this case at this point in the year….the CBO has given lots of ammo for the GOP in the coming 2014 elections….I can hear the “Repeal Obamacare” chants as I write……but the question is….will the CBO still be the friend the GOP needs to win their ‘rightful’ place as the power in DC?  Or will it go back to being the propaganda wing of the President?

You choose.

Have Vets Been Screwed Enough?

Apparently the answer is a resounding NO!  I mean it is bad enough to take young men and send them off to war….and even worse sin is to bring the wounded home and then have to deal with a country that cares little for their care…..to the point that charities have to pop up to get the severely wounded the help they need…..the country is way too busy to think seriously about the vets….sorry…they are important enough to be trotted out during campaigns as some sort of prop and then lied to their faces….I hope this country is PROUD of the way it treats veterans.

Like I said they have NOT been screwed enough……Politico is reporting……

Congress and the Pentagon agree that it’s time to tighten the defense belt, including tackling spiraling personnel costs. The question is how and when to do it.

The recent small cuts in pension cost-of-living increases for working-age military retirees have laid bare the divisions on how to appropriately rein in the military’s personnel costs.

Pentagon officials, however, emphasized that reforming the military’s compensation system is unavoidable.

“Secretary [Chuck] Hagel, the Joint Chiefs and the service secretaries agree that we cannot afford to sustain the rate of growth in military compensation that we’ve experienced over the last decade,” said acting Deputy Defense Secretary Christine Fox.

And Vice Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Sandy Winnefeld told the committee the Pentagon “can and probably should gradually place compensation on a more sustainable trajectory.”

Under the recent two-year budget agreement, military retirees under the age of 62 would see their pensions increase at a slower pace, with their cost-of-living adjustments pegged to the rate of inflation minus 1 percentage point. Once they turned 62, they would go back to receiving adjustments pegged to the full rate of inflation.

The pension cuts, set to take effect Dec. 1, 2015, initially extended to all working-age military retirees. But the $1.1 trillion spending bill that cleared Congress earlier this month gave a pass to disabled veterans and surviving families, a move the Pentagon supports.

Pentagon officials, to her knowledge, were not consulted on the details of the budget agreement brokered by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), Fox said. But the department “fully supported” the provision in the omnibus spending bill that restored the cuts for disabled veterans.

Another slap to the face of vets……if the Congress wants to cut anything let these self-righteous morons start with their pay and their benefits….at least the vets did what was asked of them….the Congress is ordered by money not the people…..

The treatment of vets is shameful and as a vet …..DISGUSTING!

Why don’t Americans realize the deficit is falling? – The Week

Of course the usual talking points will be in full bloom this year…after all in is an election year….and of course the opposition will keep harping on the deficit and how out of control it is and how if they are elected all will somehow to alright….

But did you know……of course you didn’t because it is not something that they want you to know…kinda craps on their BS……

Why don’t Americans realize the deficit is falling? – The Week.