Monday, June 30, 2014

New Survey Commissiond by Democrats : 86% Say Yes on Major Issue

This is a little old but still turns a bad day into smiles.

In a recent survey commissioned by President Obama, his supportershave proven to be the most likely to have had sex in the shower.  Thesurvey was carried out for Democrats by a leading soap and toiletriesfirm. The results revealed that 86% of Obama supporters said that theyhave had sex in the shower.  The remaining 14% said they haven't beento prison yet.Sort of brings tears to your eyes, doesn't it?

Tax Revenues Set Record : Deficit This Goes Up?

One has to wonder why we can't seem to live within a budget where we spend no more then what we take in even when that money taken in is more then ever before? The only conclusion one can come to is no matter how much money we take in, there is always someone willing to spend more, there truly is no limit to gather influence through providing funding for special interests projects.

Congress believes there is no limit to how much they can tax and spend. I wonder if there is really anyone that is in charge in Washington as it seems no one is willing to do something about the waste of tax dollars and increased taxes.

Federal Tax Revenue Sets Record
Source: Terence P. Jeffrey, "Federal Tax Revenues Set Record Through May; Feds Still Running $436B Deficit," CNS News, June 12, 2014.

June 18, 2014

Federal tax revenue for Fiscal Year 2014 is growing at a record pace, with government receipts at $1,934,919,000,000 in May, reports CNS News.
But despite the record high revenue, the government has run a deficit of $436.382 billion for the first eight months of the fiscal year. Fiscal 2014 began in October and will end on September 30, 2014.
  • In May 2014 alone, the government brought in nearly $200 billion but spent almost $330 billion.
  • According to estimates from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the federal government will collect more than $3 trillion in taxes for Fiscal Year 2014 but will spend more than $3.6 trillion, resulting in a nearly $649 billion deficit.
  • Prior to this year, the largest federal tax revenue through May took place in Fiscal Year 2007 when the federal government took in $1.908 trillion.
Most of the government's tax revenue came from the individual income tax, followed by social insurance taxes such as the payroll tax and the unemployment insurance tax.

Government Waste Catastrophic : Congress Turns Blind Eye

Who knew there is waste in government? Everyone knows there is catastrophic waste in government but those that are responsible for this waste know it is a waste of tax dollars but they are not concerned, this is all about getting votes for reelection or other gratification.

The taxpayer is just a tool for gathering money and power.

Wasted Tax Dollars
Source: Michael Sargent, "9 Government Programs Your Tax Dollars are Being Wasted on," The Daily Signal," June 12, 2014.

June 17, 2014

A close look at the federal budget reveals a number of ridiculous spending projects, reports Michael Sargent, staff member at the Heritage Foundation. Too many taxpayer dollars are being wasted on unnecessary projects. Sargent identifies nine of them, including:
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Market Access Program has used $173 million to promote American businesses' sales overseas. Through this program, taxpayer funds have been used to promote the mohair industry and create an animated squirrel for walnut advertisements.
  • The International Trade Administration's Featured U.S. Exporters (FUSE) program is aimed at helping U.S. businesses export their products. Beneficiaries of the program include a lip balm business and a wooden sunglasses manufacturer called iWood.
  • The Department of Energy's Advanced Manufacturing Office Grant Program has given millions in federal grants to "green" technology companies, including a $2.5 million grant to reduce the amount of energy expended when roasting coffee beans.
  • The National Technical Information Service (NTIS) catalogues scientific and research papers that can be ordered by taxpayers for a fee. But the program loses money annually, as the majority of the papers in the NTIS catalogue are already available online, for free.
  • The Small Business Association's Startup America Partnership promises to invest $2 billion in start-ups over five years. Who exactly are the beneficiaries? They include a weight-sensing skateboard company and a lollipop dispensary.
Every year, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports on ways that the government can eliminate wasteful spending. Unfortunately, the report is often ignored. Sargent urges the creation of an independent Waste Commission to eliminate duplicative programs and identify wasteful and frivolous federal expenses. The commission could present its recommendations to Congress for an up-or-down vote.

Medicaid - $14.4 Billion Wasted : Government Lost Control

The best way to fix this problem is hire more government workers? Why in the last 6 years the government has grown by 10's of thousands of new government employees, shouldn't this make things better, more efficient?

What's gone wrong with the system? Easy to understand, too many progressive socialist liberal democrats. But not to worry, this can be fixed in November by voting out the problem.

Medicaid Wasted $14.4 Billion in Improper Payments
Source: Brianna Ehley, "Medicaid Money Wasted in 2013: $14.4 Billion," Fiscal Times, June 23, 2014

June 27, 2014

At least $14.4 billion in improper payments were made last year through Medicaid's managed care program, reports the Fiscal Times.

According to a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the government failed to "closely examine" Medicaid payments that went to managed care organizations (MCOs - organizations which contract with states to provide services to Medicaid beneficiaries). As such, billions of dollars in payments were made for treatments that were never provided or services that were not covered by the Medicaid program.
According to the report:
  • Of the $430 billion in federal Medicaid spending each year, 27 percent goes to MCO spending.
  • MCO-provided care is growing at an incredibly fast rate, and the expansion of Medicaid in 25 states under the Affordable Care Act is likely to increase the use of MCO services.
  • According to auditors, the more the system is used, the more vulnerable it is to fraud, as the government is not in a position to identify improper payments due to the size of the program.
Medicaid is not the only program costing billions in improper payments every year -- Medicare's private fee-for-service plans overpaid $34.6 billion in 2013. According to a 2012 report from the Office of Management and Budget, the federal government pays $100 billion annually in improper payments.

American Earners Taxed @ 31% : Income & Payroll Taxes

Want another reason to vote out the progressive socialist democrats?

Average U.S. Workers Pay 30 Percent of Earnings in Taxes
Source: Kyle Pomerleau, "A Comparison of the Tax Burden on Labor in the OECD," Tax Foundation, June 19, 2014

June 27, 2014

Kyle Pomerleau of the Tax Foundation has compiled a report detailing the differences in tax burdens on labor among OECD countries. Indeed, much of a country's tax revenue stems from taxation on wage income, through individual income taxes and payroll taxes.

In the United States, the federal income tax imposes marginal rates ranging from 10 percent to 39.6 percent of income. Payroll taxes, on the other hand, are technically levied on both the employer and the employee, to fund programs such as Medicare, Social Security and Unemployment Insurance. In practice, however, it is the employee that pays the full cost of the tax, as employers simply dock employee pay to cover the cost of the tax.

While most countries, including the United States, tax higher income earners more than lower income earners, the average earner still experiences a substantial tax burden. According to Pomerleau:
  • The average American earner faces an individual income tax and a payroll tax equal to 31.3 percent of his pre-tax income, or $16,658 in 2013.
  • The total tax burden faced by the average U.S. worker ranks twenty-fifth among OECD countries. The OECD average tax rate is 35.8 percent, as many countries have higher payroll taxes than the United States.
  • Even though the employer pays part of the payroll tax burden, the worker ultimately pays this through lower take-home pay: facing higher labor costs because of payroll taxes, employers can either reduce wages or employment, and they tend to choose the former.
Without the income or payroll tax, the average worker would have taken home $53,223 in 2013, almost $5,000 in additional income.

Autralians Set Standards for Muslims : Be Happy Here or Leave

I haven't taken the time to check if this is actually a statement from the Prime Minister of Australia  on how Muslims are trying to over-throw Western civilization, and this isn't the first time this has been around the net, but who ever is responsible for this comment on the rights, responsibilities and privileges associated with a free society, and that everyone that lives under these rules must conform or go someplace that is better fitted to the demands for "fundamental" change, is entirely in line with how a organized society must react to individuals that wish to change the society in which they reside through intimidation and threats of violence.

The biggest question on most peoples minds, even if the don't verbalize it, why move into a free society and then demand that it be changed into a society that you are fleeing? Why not just go back to where you came from if you are not happy the way things are where you presently reside?

How can one accept a demand from a immigrant into a foreign society that comes to you and says, 'change with way you live or death and destruction will be on your door step'? Is this how people that are rational behave?

Prime  Minister Julia Gillard -  Australia
  Muslims  who want to live under Islamic Sharia law were  told on
  Wednesday to get out of Australia, as  the government targeted radicals
  in a bid to  head off potential terror attacks.
  Separately,  Gillard angered some Australian Muslims on  Wednesday by
  saying she supported spy agencies  monitoring the nation's mosques.
  tired of this nation  worrying about whether we are offending some
  individual or their  culture. Since  the terrorist attacks on Bali, we
  have  experienced a surge in patriotism by the  majority of
  'This  culture has been developed over two centuries of  struggles,
  trials and victories by millions of  men and women who have sought
   'We  speak mainly ENGLISH, not Spanish, Lebanese,  Arabic, Chinese,
  Japanese, Russian, or any other  language. Therefore, if you wish to
  become part  of our society, learn the language!'
   'Most  Australians believe in  God. This  is not some Christian, right
  wing, political  push, but a fact, because Christian men and  women, on
  Christian principles, founded this  nation, and this is clearly
  documented. It  is certainly appropriate to display it on the  walls of
  our schools. If God offends you, then I  suggest you consider another
  part of the world  as your new home, because God is part of our
  'We  will accept your beliefs, and will not question  why. All we ask is
  that you accept ours, and  live in harmony and peaceful enjoyment with
   'This  is OUR COUNTRY, OUR LAND, and OUR LIFESTYLE, and  we will allow
  you every opportunity to enjoy all  this. But once you are done
  complaining,  whining, and griping about Our Flag, Our Pledge,  Our
  Christian  beliefs, or  Our Way of Life, I highly encourage you take
  advantage of one other great Australian freedom,  'THE RIGHT TO
  'If  you aren't happy here then  LEAVE. We  didn't force you to come
  here. You asked to be  here. So accept the country that accepted you.'

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Send In the Clowns : Humor Lost to Compliance (Video)

Here is a short video that you might not have seen but points out a fact that many among us seem to have lost or never had in the first place, a sense of humor.

Tale a few minutes to watch Frank Sinatra sign 'Send in the Clowns' while a litany of decades past comedians scrolls by revealing how our past entertainment brought smiles to our faces, even when the situations around the world were grim.

Now there doesn't seem to have a place for humor where just a laugh out loud was good therapy that brought some relief from the stress of our everyday troubles. No, 'situation comedies' are not enough as we have become so scenical regarding our new lives and how we fit into the new norm of
compliance for everything that's demanded of us from our supposed betters.

Take a break for a minute to try and understand what went on in past decades and how we have lost that inner ability to allow ourselves relief from the modern way of life where everything is gauged in how what happens to us will effect me in some negative way and how I can hurt them for making me feel disadvantaged.

Goodness, what is going on these days to make us all feel so stressed and marginalized?

Friday, June 27, 2014

Unwed First Child Births Increasing : 57% Aged 26 to 31

This is incredible - It seems to be the new norm and with good reason, the government provides so many different programs that supports the attitude of 'not to worry, there is always someone that will take the responsibility for me and mine'.

That the fall out is critical to the success of the offspring doesn't seem to change the minds of the politicians and 'do-gooders' leaves a bad taste in everyone mouths. It also seems the call to do something positive for the next generation to succeed will be a good idea seeing how past legislation has been a failure to stem the problem.

The real failure will become all to obvious when the next generation finds itself on the welfare roles as their parents were or in jail. Just kicking the can down the road is not an option.

57 Percent of Young Mothers Unmarried
Source: Rachel Sheffield, "A Majority of Young Adults Are Having Kids Outside Marriage. Why That Hurts Kids' Futures," Daily Signal, June 21, 2014

June 26, 2014

An increasing number of young women are unmarried when they have their first child, explains Rachel Sheffield, policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation. Indeed, a recent study from Johns Hopkins University found that 57 percent of mothers between 26 and 31 years old are unmarried at the time of the birth of their first child.

In particular, whether the mother has received a college education seems to be a main factor in separating unmarried from married mothers:
  • Sixty-three percent of births to women without a high school degree occur outside of marriage.
  • But for college-educated women, less than 30 percent of births occur outside of marriage.
This trend is especially troubling for children:
  • Children are five times more likely to experience poverty when born into single-parent homes.
  • The likelihood of falling into poverty is not one that can be chalked up to the parents' lower education levels, writes Sheffield, as parents with low levels of education are far less likely to experience poverty if they are married.
  • Additionally, children of married parents are more likely to graduate from high school and college, less likely to engage in delinquency and less likely to become single parents.
According to research, young mothers today are not opposed to marriage but do not see it as a necessary step prior to childbirth. Sheffield suggests that community marriage initiatives and relationship education programs could do much to strengthen families and spread the message of the importance of marriage.

Sugar Subsidies Outrageous Misuse : Success Purchased by Contributions

More outrageous intervention by government in the free market. The sugar industry in this country is actually buying success at the expense of the taxpayers. T

his isn't anything new as many other industries that have good lobbyist are rewarded with government help, but this doesn't excuse the abuse that we all suffer because of the politics of money for favorable legislation.

Sugar Subsidies: Not So Sweet
Source: Jared Meyer and Preston Cooper, "Sugar Subsidies Are A Bitter Deal For American Customers," Economics21, June 23, 2014

June 26, 2014

The U.S. sugar subsidy program should be abolished, contend Jared Meyer and Preston Cooper of Economics21.

The American sugar industry has received broad, bipartisan support from the government and, in turn, the American Crystal Sugar Company has given more than $1.3 million to 221 Congressmen this election cycle. In 2013, the company spent $1.4 million lobbying on Capitol Hill.
The U.S. sugar program is most known for its subsidy program, which gives Department of Agriculture (USDA) loans to sugar farmers:
  • If sugar prices fall below 20.9 cents, the farmers can repay the federal loans with raw sugar. That massive federal sugar purchase drives up consumer prices, serving as an additional industry subsidy.
  • Afterwards, the USDA sells the sugar at a discount to ethanol producers.
  • In 2013, the USDA spent $53.3 million on the sugar program, not including the loans that could not be repaid. Including those loans, the federal government spent $171.5 million.
Additionally, the federal government sets sugar tariffs and quotas, which limit the amount of cheap sugar that can be brought into the U.S. from abroad, meaning that American sugar prices are much higher than the rest of the world.

According to a recent Iowa State University study, abolishing the program would lead to various benefits:
  • Sugar consumers would be able to purchase sugar from abroad at lower prices, dropping the domestic price of sugar by one-third and saving consumers $2.9 to $3.5 billion.
  • Businesses dependent on sugar, such as confectioners, would be able to add up to 20,000 new jobs if the sugar program were ended. Currently, American confectioners are moving abroad to take advantage of lower sugar prices.
  • Employment would actually increase in the sugar industry itself, because without federal intervention, refineries could use cheap sugar from abroad, expanding output by 24 percent.
Why, Meyer and Cooper ask, is the program still in place if it costs money, hurts the economy and decreases employment? They point to the fact that sugar farmers have a strong incentive to keep the program going, as 20,000 American sugar farmers received $1.7 billion in government transfers in 2013 alone, equivalent to $85,000 per farmer.

Welfare EBT Abuse Attacked : Indiana's System Works

I wonder why this successful program that works to save millions of tax dollar isn't all the rage in every state in the union? It has been proven to work, so why not copy it?   hmmmmmm 

Cutting Down on Welfare Abuse in Indiana
Source: Jillian Kay Melchior, "Welfare Abuse Almost Quelled," National Review, June 24, 2014.

June 26, 2014

What has kept welfare recipients from spending taxpayer dollars on alcohol, slot machines and strip clubs? Very little, writes Jillian Kay Melchior for National Review, until Congress passed a bill in 2012 outlawing the use of benefits at such places and encouraging state governments to institute similar controls.

Indiana has been especially successful in its crackdown on unlawful use of welfare funds:
  • The state passed a law requiring ATM vendors to block withdrawals of cash benefits at certain restricted locations.
  • The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration spent $45,000 to develop technology that can match electronic-benefits-transfer (or EBT) transactions and track EBT users who have received warnings from the state's Alcohol and Tobacco Commission about unlawful withdrawals. Now, the technology costs less than $400 per month in monitoring, including staff time.
  • Welfare recipients who withdraw cash at an unlawful location receive a strongly worded letter, followed by a letter and investigation after their second offense and action by the local prosecutor after their third offense. Beneficiaries found guilty of unlawful withdrawals face a $500 fine and up to 60 days in prison.
The state began a major media mail campaign to inform residents of the new rules affecting Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients. The new rules have been effective:
  • In 2012, Indiana TANF users withdrew more than $120,000 from ATMs with their EBT cards in liquor stores, strip clubs, tobacco shops, casinos, resorts, golf clubs and amusement parks.
  • In 2014, fewer than 15 first-time EBT violations have taken place each month, according to Indiana officials. Additionally, there have been less than 5 second-time offenses each month and only two third-time violations in all of 2014.
Of the $250 million in the state's TANF program, officials have identified less than $6,000 in unlawful fund use.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Internet Censorship Coming? : British Government Makes Their Move

Again, this is the tyranny of the few that believe they know what is best for everyone, and if you don't believe and comply, they will prove to you just how much freedom of speech and individual freedom you actually have.

The Risks of Allowing Internet Censorship
Source: Zach Graves, "The Dangerous Proliferation of the 'Right to be Forgotten'," R Street, June 18, 2014.

June 25, 2014

The Supreme Court of British Columbia has ordered Google to remove information from the internet, reports Zach Graves for R Street.

The Canadian case involves the sale of counterfeit products, but it is similar to a ruling by the European Court of Justice last month, which ruled that search engines could be required to remove links that infringe upon a person's privacy rights.

The decisions are distinct, but both have a wide reach:
  • The European decision applies even to factual information in the public record.
  • Unlike the European decision, the Canadian decision applies beyond Canadian sites, requiring Google to remove information that can be assessed from anywhere in the world.
The ruling, writes Graves, leads to some important questions. What if a ruling in one country conflicts with another? He notes that China, Korea and Russia are already pursuing ways to possibly censor the Internet.

People depend on search engines for information, and allowing a country to set restrictions on the type of information available on the internet is concerning.  

Colorado Towns Ban Fracking : Citizens Lack Common Sense?

One has to wonder if the people of Colorado have lost their ability to use common sense when the vote to ban fossil energy recovery. Fracking has been around for more then 60 years and if even the EPA of all agencies that have not found any ill effects after intensives investigation, also the Corp of Engineers, why would the people believe the environmentalists that have no legitimate claim to say fracking is bad for the environment?

Are the people lazy? Are they misinformed? Are the people shortsighted? Please tell me they aren't just stupid enough to believe anything from people with a track record of deception like that of the environmentalists?

Colorado Towns Try to Limit Fracking
Source: Jillian Kay Melchior, "Fracking and Property," National Review, June 23, 2014.

June 25, 2014

Towns across Colorado are enjoying an economic boom from energy production, but environmentalists are trying to limit fracking, reports Jillian Kay Melchior for National Review.

The towns of Longmont and Lafayette, Colorado, have already banned the practice entirely, while Boulder, Fort Collins and Broomfield have instituted fracking moratoriums. Today, residents in Loveland, Colorado, will also vote on a proposed moratorium.

Across the state, a number of voters in different towns will see proposed fracking restrictions on their ballots this election season.

The movement against fracking is a serious problem for property owners and mineral-rights owners, who own the resources under their land and have been paying property taxes.
A number of legal challenges have emerged in Colorado courts, with some landowners seeking compensation for the restrictions on their ability to use their property.
  • According to a study from petroleum-engineering firm Netherland, Sewell & Associates, taxpayers in Boulder County, Colorado, could be on the hook for $1 billion if mineral-rights owners in the county prevail.
  • Legal experts estimate that the lawsuits could take up to a decade to resolve.
Robi Bell Sylvester, a Colorado landowner who owns the mineral-rights underneath her land, suffered massive property and vehicle damage in September 2013 when a severe flood hit her farm. Without the energy royalties she receives from the companies leasing her minerals, she says, her family could not have restored their farm.

Wages Have Incrased Aong With Productivity : Minimum Wage Increasers Say No

What is needed in the debate on the minimum wages demands is clarity and transparency on what is actually happening in the market. Apparently, according to Heritage Foundation, which is mostly right in their calculations, finds proponents of wages increases have left their thumb on the scale to make their point.

This isn't anything new when progressive's find a proposal that will increase their power to control outcomes all the while enrich themselves on the backs of others, the minimum wage earners, it will be the workers that will suffer the consequences.

Is There Really a Gap Between Wages and Productivity? 
Source:  James Sherk, "Has Worker Compensation Tracked Productivity?" in Income Inequality in America: Fact and Fiction, Economics 21, May 2014.

June 5, 2014

Figures suggesting that worker compensation has not kept up with productivity are flawed, explains James Sherk, senior policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation.

Many people encouraging an increase in the minimum wage will cite Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) figures showing that productivity since 1973 has gone up 100 percent. Adjusting payroll wages for inflation using the Consumer Price Index, it appears that average wages have simultaneously dropped 7 percent. In short, the argument goes, workers have become more productive, yet they have not been rewarded for their work with higher wages.

But that is not exactly what has happened, and the two figures (productivity increase and the wage decrease) use different sets of data that each use different methodologies. Sherk explains what has actually happened to workers' wages since 1973:
  • The 7 percent decrease in wages only measures hourly earners, meaning that it only includes 60 percent of the American workforce. Moreover, benefits are not included in the wage calculations. But by including the average hourly compensation of all workers, worker compensation has actually risen 30 percent since 1973.
  • Additionally, that figure uses the Consumer Price Index (CPI) to adjust for inflation, which economists agree is not an accurate way to measure inflation. By using the Personal Consumption Expenditures Price Index instead, average hourly compensation has risen 57 percent.
  • The BLS calculated productivity using a different measure of inflation which looks at changes in the cost of goods sold by a company, because the price of their goods determine their ability to pay wages and benefits. Using that figure -- the Implicit Price Deflator for Non-Farm Business -- total compensation has actually increased 77 percent since 1973.
  • The 23 percent gap between the 77 percent rise in wages and the 100 percent rise in productivity is still not entirely correct, because the BLS overstates productivity increases that come from trade. For example, a factory that begins using cheaper inputs from China will see an increase in productivity because it can produce goods at lower cost, but that gain does not come from worker productivity. Half of that 23 percentage point gap, Sherk writes, could be explained by trade.
  • Lastly, the productivity measure does not take into account changes in depreciation rates, which have increased. The depreciation factor is responsible for an additional 5 points of the gap between productivity and wages.
Contrary to popular belief, workers are enjoying the fruits of their labor, Sherk says.

Climate Chager's Ideology : Decades of Misinformation, Intimidation and Fear

The people that are sitting in the front pew of the church of progressive socialism are sitting side by side with the environmentalists that claim we are all going to die if we don't make radical changes to how we live our lives. To these people this isn't taken lightly, they are extremely serious in their demands for the population to conform.

But as with any religion that demands conformity to their particular ideology and agenda for curing a certain ill that goes beyond and self doubt or logic, let alone common sense, it become clear the church goers of this particular religion are not open to debate, you have to do what we say and do it now or they will attacked you as impure and seek your demise.

If you know the definition of insanity, it fits perfectly the changers and warmers for the attending church members. Doing the same thing over and over again but expecting differently results.

For decades now, the church members have told us the same story over and over again but the world has not burned up or flooded over. There haven't been any disastrous consequences for not conforming. But now they are trotting out it's the same story and the warnings are for the same forth coming calamity. What's changed?

The biggest change is the progressive socialist liberal democrats that are in power and believe they have a mandate to save us all from our selves, and that they have a dynamic church leader in Mr Obama. They also believe they have the population against the ropes, the people are confused, which means they have to attack while the can. Once the power in Washington changes, all will be lost.

You have to understand, this is the politics of fear and intimidation to gain power, this is the tyranny of the few, nothing else.

Climate Change is Risky Business
By Chris Orr, Editor of Weather Trader

I have a newspaper article from 1984 headlined, “Predicted cooling trend would have major impact on agriculture.” The peak of the cold cycle was predicted to be 2010.

How did that work out? Well, not quite how it was expected.

Today, we have “Risky Business,” which is billed as a new bi-partisan report that follows the same theme but assumes a hotter planet. The authors say we can expect billions of dollars in property damage from extreme storms, that farmers will lose billions of dollars in unrealized harvests and that we’re all going to suffer through hotter summers, colder winters, floods and droughts.

Unless … we scrub more carbon emissions from the atmosphere. But it is a long stretch to go from environmentalism to battling the forces of climate.
There’s no doubt that pollution is irresponsible and we need to be good stewards of the land. Developing renewable energy is also a noble effort and much more needs to be done to promote it. However, the premise that we can actually fight the earth’s ever-changing, often violent weather and climate is a fool’s errand.

I have solutions to offer you, but first a little backstory.

Anthropological global warming (AGW) proponents quickly became such a strong force in the late 1990s that any scientist who questioned it was muzzled. For several years a scientist whose work did not support AGW couldn’t get a research paper published. Some peer-reviewed research from scientists who are not AGW-biased is now being published because scientists, notably the Certified Consulting Meteorologist community, pushed back against AGW.

Still, I know I am setting myself up for potential career suicide by even writing this middle-of-the-road commentary.

“Risky Business,” released by NextGen Climate on Tuesday, says that annual property losses from coastal storms will reach $35 billion, crop yields will decline 14% and heat waves will cost consumers $12 billion a year over the next 25 years.

But NextGen Climate is hardly as bipartisan as they claim, “exposing those who deny reality” — which is presumably global warming.

Don’t get me wrong. A future filled with tornadoes, hurricanes and living on a sizzling drought-stricken planet is scary.

However, a logical thinker has to wonder how the current slow rise in global temperatures meshes with the prediction of a rapidly-warming planet. A logical thinker has to raise an eyebrow at President Obama saying we should expect more severe and cold winters because of global warming.

AGW is now called climate change because the planet is not warming as fast as climate models predict. The term “climate change” works because it feeds on our fears of an unknown future – and lets Obama get away with asinine comments like the one above.

Unfortunately, people are confused about the difference between weather and climate. Climate is weather averaged over decades or centuries and is also referred to as the statistical probability of weather events – like how often floods occur. Hurricane Sandy was a weather event that struck an area with the most climatic conclusion possible. Had Sandy stayed offshore, nobody would have cared. But because it hit land it has become the poster child of climate change.

Yet, even government researchers say there hasn’t been an increase in the number or strength of tornadoes attributable to global warming. Nor is there a connection between AGW, hurricane strength and the number of hurricanes striking land.

Coinciding with the release of Tuesday’s report, President Barack Obama is meeting with leaders of the insurance industry and with conservationists. White House adviser John Podesta says there is a “zero-percent” chance of Congress blocking the President’s agenda, which will include sweeping EPA rules on industry.

Solutions You Can Handle

There’s nothing wrong with saving the environment, but the Administration wants to go much further than that.

But while saving the masses from climate change appears to be a noble endeavor, it is in fact quite quixotic.

AGW is falling apart at the seams. Global temperatures have nearly flat-lined since 1998. Global sea-ice is at its highest level since before 2006. Antarctic ice in the modern day is near record levels. And, the government has resorted to modifying weather records for the Dust Bowl era so it does not appear to be as hot as it was so current temperatures will appear warmer in relation.

Climate change is a reality. There’s no need to manipulate the data. Climate is always in a state of flux.

I promised solutions, so here they are. If hurricanes are too risky for your taste, don’t live near the coast. Don’t build a home or business in a flood plain. If you’re a farmer, don’t grow crops in semi-arid climates. And if you don’t like cold weather, move to a warmer climate.

These solutions are a lot less expensive than whatever the government is trying to come up with.
There’s a silver lining in every cloud,

Success IS Courage : Moving Beyond Self Doubt and Fear

For those of us that have even the slightest creative ability, or for that matter, in any occupation that demands daily decisions to build a business or product, and similarly in sports where you never seem to understand what your real capabilities are because of self doubt and fear of failure, are a constant nagging block to real achievement and success.

You are always on the edge of doing great things but even though you have the talent and courage to move forward, you always leave something on the table because you don't trust your instincts to go all out, exposing yourself to possible failure and criticism.

When it's time to go all out, pushing beyond that familiar blocking wall of doubt, some of us can not make the final effort to crush the doubt, while others hurdle the wall to excellence and success.

The positive aspect of all this is we are aware of the wall and strive to move beyond and over this crippling self doubt of we are and what we are capable of accomplishing.

The fight never ends, we always believe we will make that leap tomorrow. But don't holding back, tomorrow might be too late, do it now.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Shale Gas Brings Prosperity : Reserves Huge - Future Bright (Maybe)

Shale Gas reserves in America guarantee a bight future, domestically and in foreign policy. All good reasons the progressive socialist liberal democrats must  stop this before prosperity becomes a way of life in our country.

As I've ranted before, prosperity to the progressive democrats is like the Christian cross and sun light to a vampire.

Shale Gas and American Foreign Policy
Source: Joseph S Nye, "Shale Gas is America's Geopolitical Trump Card," Wall Street Journal, June 8, 2014.

June 24, 2014

America's shale revolution has significant foreign policy implications, writes the Wall Street Journal.
While just a decade ago, many energy experts were suggesting that oil reserves had peaked and that the U.S. would grow increasingly reliant on foreign imports, new shale production in the U.S. has America building terminals to export, not import, low-cost liquefied natural gas (LNG). The newfound energy source is significant:
  • According to the Energy Department, the U.S. has 25 trillion cubic meters of recoverable shale gas.
  • The shale gas, combined with the United States' other energy resources, could provide 200 years' worth of energy.
This increased shale production has caused a geopolitical shift:
  • The cheaper energy makes the U.S. more competitive on the global stage, especially in energy-intensive industries.
  • Shale helps reduce American dependence on foreign energy from the Middle East.
  • Countries such as Venezuela will have diminished ability to purchase votes in the U.N. based on oil shipments.
  • Similarly, Russia's ability to coerce its European neighbors by threatening to cut off its energy supplies will eventually be reduced if the government approves more LNG export terminals.
The positive impact of shale energy is felt domestically as well, as it boosts the economy, creates jobs and generates tax revenue.

CBO : Impossible to Figure Cost of ObamaCare

Do you actually need another reason to vote out all democrats even after all of the other good reasons? Well here is another one to add to the pile that has already accumulated.

When even the CBO can't find a way to figure out what this nightmare will cost, it should be a sign we have reached the tipping point to say enough of this insanity of the democrats. Remember it was the democrats and only the democrats that voted for ObamaCare.

In November, it will be in your best interest to vote out the progressive democrats. Not just some of them, but all of them. It's like having a cancer, it is paramount that all of the cancer must be removed for survival.

CBO: It's Not Possible to Analyze Obamacare Costs
Source: Editorial, "CBO Gives Up on Projecting Long-Term Costs of Obamacare," Washington Examiner, June 8, 2014.

June 24, 2014

Americans may never get an accurate projection of Obamacare's impact on the deficit, reports the Washington Examiner.

Before it become law, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected that Obamacare would cost $938 billion and reduce the deficit by $143 billion over the first decade, from 2010 through 2019. At that time, the figures were already questionable:
  • Because the major spending provisions of the Affordable Care Act (the Medicaid expansion and the exchanges subsidies) did not become effective until 2014, the CBO's estimate really included just six years of real spending within that 10-year period.
  • The estimate of $143 billion in deficit reduction was a function of the law's tax increases and Medicare spending cuts.
Since that original estimate, the CBO's financial projections have continued to change:
  • In July 2012, the CBO reduced its estimate of the law's impact on the budget deficit to $109 billion.
  • In April 2014, the CBO said that the cost of the ACA from 2015 to 2024 would be more than $1.8 trillion -- twice as much as its first ten-year projection.
In that same April report, the CBO include a significant footnote: "CBO and (the Joint Committee on Taxation) can no longer determine exactly how the provisions of the (Affordable Care Act) that are not related to the expansion of health insurance coverage have affected their projections of direct spending and revenues... Isolating the incremental effects of those provisions on previously existing programs and revenues four years after enactment of the ACA is not possible."

The Washington Examiner notes that Obamacare's deficit reduction claims were already questionable, as it is not clear that the law's proposed Medicare cuts will remain in place. Additionally, unions, insurers, drug makers and medical device companies each would like relief from the law's new tax provisions.

Social Securtiy Disability Program Broke in 2016 : Progressive Agenda a Success

Like all of the other government programs of the Obama administration, it has been organized to accept any kind of fraud that will allow people to become entrapped in dependency. There are no jobs that will support a family especially with the cost of everything skyrocketing.

Food stamps recipients are now over 50 million and at least that many are considered in poverty. The welfare rolls are staggering.

The progressive socialists believe this is a good way to increase their voter base as millions leave the work force permanently. This way their options are few except to vote for more of the same.

Explaining the Social Security Disability Insurance Program
Source: Gordon Gray, "Primer: The Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) Program," American Action

June 24, 2014

A new primer from Gordon Gray, Director of Fiscal Policy at the American Action Forum, explains the ins-and-outs of the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program.

SSDI provides non-elderly, disabled adults (those who have worked in the past but are no longer able to work because of a serious medical condition) with monthly income. Currently, almost 11 million Americans receive an average of $995.38 in SSDI each month.
  • To qualify for SSDI, a worker 31 years of age and older must have worked for at least 5 years within the 10-year period prior to his disability.
  • The work requirements increase with age. For workers 62 and older, they must have worked for at least 10 years, with 5 of those years occurring within the 10-year period leading up to the disability.
  • SSDI only covers "total disability," which requires three things: an inability to perform previous work, an inability to adjust to other work due to a medical condition and a determination that disability has lasted, or should last, at least one year.
  • Some conditions automatically qualify a person for SSDI (such as ALS), whereas others depend upon severity (such as epilepsy). The disability test simply asks whether a medical condition prevents an individual from working.
How are benefits calculated?
  • Benefits are determined by a person's past earnings, which are indexed for wage growth.
  • Higher earners will receive higher monthly benefits, yet the benefits are smaller as a percentage of past income than are the monthly benefits for lower earners.
  • Spouses and dependents can also qualify for benefits.
The SSDI program is currently running a deficit, and, according to recent estimates, the program will be insolvent in 2016. The program has rapidly expanded in recent years, increasing from 2.7 million beneficiaries to more than 10.9 million.

The struggling economy has not helped the situation. In 2010, applications for SSDI reached an all-time high of more than 2.9 million.

Americans Moving Toward Prosperity : Millions Leaving Progressive Failures

People are voting with their feet and wallets - but the only problem is Mr Obama knows where you live and he is coming for you and yours. If you have any money at all, he wants it. After all he has millions of loyal voters that need help to keep them on the right path.

The good news is more states are taking up the fight and with all the citizens make the move for prosperity, maybe we still have a chance for our country to survive the progressive socialist liberal democrats.

Just make sure you understand that just moving toward a better life isn't enough, you have to understand that your movement on the voting lever to stop the progressive democrats where ever you may be.

More Americans Moving to the South and West
Source: Tim Henderson, "South and West Draw Highest Share of Newcomers," Stateline, June 3, 2014.

June 24, 2014

Between 2010 and 2013, nearly a million people migrated to Texas, Florida, the Carolinas and Colorado, reports Stateline.
  • 1.2 million Americans left the Northeast and the Midwest for the South and West in just three years, from 2010 to 2013.
  • New York, Illinois, California, New Jersey and Michigan have lost almost a million residents to interstate moves.
  • North Carolina and Texas are popular destinations for interstate movers. Additionally, they each have a high percentage of residents who are born and remain in the states.
  • Over the last 10 years, the number of people moving to Texas has quadrupled. Texas' top-gaining cities include Austin, San Antonio, Houston, Fort Worth and Dallas.
  • Other states with booming economies based on oil and gas, such as Montana and North Dakota, have also become popular destinations. In one decade, North Dakota turned a net loss of residents into a gain.
Movers cite employment as the most common reason for their moves.

The NCPA's State Tax Calculator allows users to plug in their information and see how much moving to another state could save them in taxes over a lifetime.

Post Office Humor : Job Appicant Starts @ 10 am?

Okay - lighten up and laugh - it so easy to poke fun at the Post Office - they have a lot of problems these days, and the biggest one is they are beholden to the government. This means they are screwed.
Guy goes to the Post Office to apply for a job. The interviewer asks him,
"Are you allergic to anything?" He replies, "Yes, caffeine. I can't drink coffee."
"Ok, have you ever been in the military service?"  "Yes," he says,
"I was in  Iraq for one tour."

The interviewer says, "That  will give you 5 extra points toward
employment."  Then he asks, "Are you disabled in any way?"
The guy says, "Yes. A  bomb exploded near me and I lost both my testicles."
The interviewer grimaces and then says, "Okay. You've got enough points for me to hire you right now.
Our normal hours are from 8 a.m. To 4:00 p.m. You can start tomorrow at 10 a.m.,
so plan on starting at 10 a.m. Every day."

The guy is puzzled and asks, "If the work hours are from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., why don't you want me here
until  10 a.m.?"
"This is a government job",  the interviewer says. "For the first two hours, we just stand around drinking coffee and
scratching our balls. No point in your coming in for that."


Progressivism's Ideology Pictured : Many Come but Few Served

Here is the perfect description of the ideology of progressives socialism that  Mr Obama has in mind for all Americans. As the saying goes a picture is worth a thousand words.

There are all kinds of customers that sit at the table set by the progressives, but only one has the control of the rewards.

One has to believe at some point those sitting at the table, waiting for their share, will lose patients waiting and decide they don't have to or want to wait any longer.

I wonder what that's called?  hmmmmmm

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Medicaid Signups Found Fraudulent : ACA Encourages Criminal Activity

More fall out from government forced health care law, ObamaCare. Why would anyone think this would work? Why would so many among us vote for something we know is not workable and yet willingly walk to the edge and jump over the side?

I wonder to how many good people have become criminals just to escape the crush of ObamaCare or just to take advantage of bad policy? One has to marvel at how efficient the progressive socialist liberal democrats are at bring pain and anguish to so many people. 

Obamacare Verification Muddling Medicaid
Source: Josh Archambault and Nic Horton, "Federal Bungling of Obamacare Verification Creating Nationwide Chaos in Medicaid Departments," Forbes, June 12, 2014.

June 23, 2014

The Obama administration has hailed increased Medicaid enrollment as one of Obamacare's successes, but many state officials say the numbers are faulty, write Josh Archambault, Director of Health Care Policy at the Pioneer Institute, and Nic Horton, research analyst at the Foundation for Government Accountability.

Of the 6 million new enrollees in Medicaid, it is not clear that all are actually eligible for the program. Some states have begun removing ineligible individuals from the Medicaid rolls who were able to enroll due to problems with the federal government's exchange website.

Last July, the Obama administration announced that it was delaying the ACA's income verification requirements. Instead of being required to provide proof of income which would indicate a person's eligibility for Medicaid, applicants could self-report their income on the honor system.  The federal government subsequently provided this eligibility information to the states.
  • In Texas, Jason Hawkins, who earns $50,000 per year and has a family of three, is ineligible for Medicaid under the law. However, allowed him to sign up. Texas state officials have said that the federal government gave them a list of individuals allegedly eligible for Medicaid which even included people who did not live in the state.
  • The federal government gave Florida information on thousands of Florida residents that the government determined was eligible for the Medicaid program, based on applications. Florida officials discovered that the data included many individuals who were not, in fact, eligible, as well as duplicate applications.
  • Arkansas has had to remove almost 5,000 new enrollees from its Medicaid program due to errors in the federal government's list of eligible applicants.
Medicaid is supposed to be a safety net for the most vulnerable, and the program does not have unlimited funds. Without income verification, the federal government is allowing ineligible Americans to enroll in the program, taking tax dollars with them and hurting those whom the program is actually intended to help.

Minimum Wage Increase Challenged : Law Applied Unevenly

I wonder how this will all work out to the bottom line of business with such a huge increase in the minimum wage. That business seem to accept the increase is puzzling but maybe they are taking a different tact to try and stop this insanity.

What I wonder is how long it will take before the increase will not be enough to sustain the workers new life style? As we all know, life is about having more, always more and giving less.

Legal Challenge to Seattle Minimum Wage
Source: Dan Springer, "Businesses Launch Legal Challenge to Seattle's $15 Minimum Wage," Fox News, June 18, 2014.

June 23, 2014

Fox News reports that plaintiffs are suing the city of Seattle for raising its minimum wage to $15 per hour. Just this month, the Seattle city council passed a $15 minimum wage, but leading the charge against the wage mandate is the International Franchise Association (IFA).
  • The law requires big businesses as well as small franchises to pay the $15 wage four years before mom-and-pop competitors are required to pay the higher wage.
  • There are 600 franchise businesses in Seattle that employ 19,000 workers.
The IFA argues that the law is discriminatory in its treatment of businesses of the same size, lumping small franchises into the same category as large businesses while giving non-franchises more time to comply with the law.
  • Chuck Stempler, whose graphics shop employs 69 workers, is one of the affected franchises. "We just want to be treated equally relative to our size. I'm not a 500-person company," Stempler said.
  • Similarly, franchisee Kathy Lyons took out a $235,000 loan to launch her franchise and invested her $200,000 life savings into the company. Now, she is afraid that the business cannot survive the wage mandate.
The IFA is not trying to block the $15 wage, but challenging the way that the law phases in the wage increase. By forcing franchisees to pay higher wages before other, similarly sized businesses are required to do so, franchisees will be at a severe disadvantage, the IFA says.

Oil Production Steady : 'Fracking' Brings Sustainable fuel Prices

As this article points out the increases in oil and gas production have had a stunning effect on the price of fuel. Little wonder the attacks on 'fracking' for fossil energy is ramping up as it is beginning to show how effective it is for securing a sustainable energy supply.  The progressive socialist environmentalists know this is bad news for their agenda for control.

What is means is that prosperity will continue to grow in this country, and that is bad news for the progressive socialists that believe it is necessary to obtain control of the population, fossil energy resources must be curtailed to slow the advancement of society, that is for the people to have less prosperity. With less prosperity, the progressive socialists believe the population will have to seek subsistence from the government forcing the population to become dependent and controllable.

Too simplistic, not really, the progressives socialist are all about control and through control they gain power. And with total power to control out comes for everyone, the agenda declared by Mr Obama in 2008 for "fundamental" change will be complete.

U.S. Oil Production Keeps Prices Steady
Source: Jared Meyer, "Putting Out Market Fires With North American Oil," Economics21, June 14, 2014

June 23, 2014

While the recent surge of violence in Iraq has yet to affect the country's oil production, fears of possible supply chain disruptions have caused futures prices to rise, explains Jared Meyer, policy analyst at Economics21.

Gas prices have been high for more than three years. However, price volatility has been low, thanks to increased U.S. oil production, which has risen 50 percent since 2008.
  • Advances in drilling technology, including fracking, are responsible for the increased U.S. production.
  • Despite Iranian sanctions, civil war in Libya and general Middle East unrest, prices have remained stable.
  • According to Ben Montalbano, director of research for the Energy Policy Research Foundation, "Without the increase in U.S. oil production over the past few years, OPEC's excess capacity would be at or near zero. We lost 1 million barrels from Libya, and another 1 to 1.5 million barrel due to Iranian sanctions. Oil prices would likely be $20 to $40 dollars per barrel higher than they are now."
The small impact of these events on oil prices illustrates how important American oil production is to the world market. The U.S. could reduce volatility even further by approving Keystone XL and speeding up the oil and gas permitting process.

Obama Officals DECLARE Justice : Redskins Lose - Tyranny Wins

This just another case of over reach by government officials that believe they are the last word in deciding the law, the fact that they don't have the authority is little concern. This is the tyranny of the few. This is the face of the progressive socialist liberal democrats declaring justice. The politics of intimidation and fear.

Why would anyone actually vote for more tyranny?

Patent Office Cancels Football Team's Trademark
Source: Jacob Gershman, Ashby Jones, and Kevin Clark, "U.S. Patent Office Cancels Washington Redskins Trademarks," Wall Street Journal, June 18, 2014; "Redskins Ruling a Blow to Free Speech, Property Rights," Economics21, June 18, 2014.

June 23, 2014

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office withdrew the Washington Redskins' trademark protection, contending that its name was insulting to Native Americans. Without their trademark, the National Football League team could lose millions of dollars, says Economics21.

A 1946 law gives the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) the ability to refuse trademark protection if the trademark "[c]onsists of or comprises immoral, deceptive, or scandalous matter; or matter which may disparage or falsely suggest a connection with persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols, or bring them into contempt, or disrepute."

However, that standard is being selectively enforced.
  • Other sports teams -- including the Chicago Blackhawks, Florida State Seminoles and Cleveland Indians -- have similar names, yet their trademarks are intact.
  • According to Time Magazine, 450 companies have trademark protection for their Native American mascots.
Trademarks are intellectual property, yet the PTO has now ruled that such a property right can be waived if the government decides that it is offensive. There is no limit to that type of government authority, says Economics21. The market, not the government, is supposed to be the arbiter of acceptable speech.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has repeatedly stressed that the Redskins' name was never meant to be offensive: "This is...a football team that's had that name for 80 years and has presented the name in a way that it has honored Native Americans."

Wisconsin's Gov. Walker Attacked : Judges Declare John Doe Unlawfull / Warrantless

Have you been watching the attacks on Scott Walker in Wisconsin by the progressive socialist liberal democrats? And if you have what is your opinion of the proceedings? From the news reports, what conclusion have you reached as to Walkers guilt in the charges of corruptions in his campaign?
These attacks on Scott Walker are perhaps the worst case of unlawful use and abuse of the public trust in memory in the United States by public officials. Further, with the assistance of the media, specifically the Journal Sentinel in Milwaukee, the absolute misinformation and out right lies about the John Doe investigation of Walkers has been breath taking in it's totality. The newspaper and the District attorney, John Chisholm, that is leading the John Doe investigation, leave no stone unturned to mislead the public for political gain.

This is the worst case of the politics of personal destruction ever seen in the State of Wisconsin.
The tactics of intimidation and personal destruction of a political figure for advancing a political agenda used by the progressive socialist liberal democrats in Wisconsin to destroy Governor Walker, have not been seen ever in this state, and for that matter, in this country according to the Wall Street Journal in there sweeping totality.
The fact that two judges have stopped the investigation as being warrantless and were told to cease and desist - no crime has been committed by Walker. Did it matter the judges said they were attacking Walker for political reasons was of no concern to the progressive democrats. They are continuing the attacks.
After reading this account of how totally partisan and singled minded the attacks have been leaves little doubt this is the true face of the progressive socialist liberal democrat party, and what they intend to do for the last two years of the Obama administration. They believe it's now or never. There is no limit to how viscous the attacks will become.
Get ready for more of the same as the election comes closer.
Wait, What? Dems Coordinated Too? Where's The Doe?
   Via David Blaska
Double standards? Partisan motivations? Dave Blaska notes that last week's John Doe document dump includes extensive evidence that Democrats and liberal groups engaged in the same sort of coordination that lead to the John Doe targeting of conservatives and Scott Walker.
In contrast to the Walker Doe, however, there is no evidence that prosecutors ever investigated the activities on the left. And, needless to say there were no breathless headlines about "criminal schemes" about the Obama campaign, Kathleen Falk, or Tom Barrett -
Today’s document dump includes the heretofore suppressed motions by defense attorneys for Eric O’Keefe and the Club for Growth. Those motions detail how, while Chisholm and his deputy, Bruce Landgraf, "engaged in an ever-broadening investigation in an attempt to discredit Scott Walker and to harass and intimidate his supporters, the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office continually refused to investigate credible allegations of misconduct involving Democrats."
From that filing:
On Nov. 19, 2011, The Committee to Recall Scott Walker … announced a gathering to kick off the Walker recall effort. The event was widely announced as being "in coordination with We Are Wisconsin, United Wisconsin, and the Democratic Party of Wisconsin) …" In fact … the timing of the recall was carefully discussed between these members, political candidates, and nationwide Democratic Party leaders, including officials from the Barack Obama presidential campaign.
In one prototypical meeting in October 2011, union leaders met with Obama’s campaign manager and deputy campaign manager for several hours to discuss the timing of the recall. ... In fact, the word "coordination" or a derivation was used regularly in [news] articles to describe United Wisconsin’s role in the recall petition. Defendants did not investigate this coordination, much less commence an open-ended investigation into the entire left-wing movement in Wisconsin.
But, wait, there's more. Remember the group that coordinated with Kathleen Falk's failed gubernatorial campaign?
[An] organization supporting Kathleen Falk, then running in the Democratic recall primary, ran $1.6 million worth of TV ads. The name of that organization, "Wisconsin for Falk," was "suspiciously similar … to Falk’s official committee, Falk for Wisconsin."
Indeed, "the candidate appeared in that ad buy, directly staring at the camera, clearly demonstrating that Falk worked with the group to film the ads."
And then there's Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in his latest failed gubernatorial bid.
The defense filing notes that in January 2010, the City of Milwaukee awarded a no-bid contract paying $75 an hour to a former campaign spokesman for Tom Barrett, who was then a candidate against Walker for governor in the first go-around. "Among other things, [Jeff] Fleming worked on speeches for Barrett, and correspondence regarding this and other campaign activities was sent both to Fleming’s city account and his personal account. … The District Attorney’s Office did not investigate this appearance of impropriety, much less commence an open-ended investigation into Barrett’s campaign."
And finally, this classic tidbit of smug liberal entitlement:
In November 2013, the Center for Media and Democracy, a left-wing 501(c)3 hosted a conference call between reporters and its director Lisa Graves, who is well connected with Democratic Party members … statewide. One reporter asked about whether the same activity being investigated had occurred among liberal and Democratic groups. Graves’ response indicated that such activity did occur, but was distinguishable, she said, because "they’re advancing not just an ideological agenda but an agenda that helps advance the bottom line of their corporate interests."
In other words, yes we do the same things, but it's okay, because we are he forces of sunshine, light, and virtue. Deadpans Blaska:
Prosecutors, the defense motion reads, "did not investigate this acknowledgment of coordination," either.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Pension Planning Risks Increased With New Strategy : A $1 Trillion Shortfall

Over the long haul, it has been proven that the stock market will have a positive return. And as the pension planners have moved to a more risky strategy for future demands for retirees, it make sense to move away from a system that will not provide advocated funding.

The important part is to educate the retiree that they also must understand the risks involved and plan for a future that might be tight in some years when the market slows.

Changes in Pension Plan Funding
Source: Mark Wolff, "State Public Pension Investments Shift Over Past 30 Years," Pew Charitable Trusts, June 3, 2014.

June 20, 2014

As public pension plans have shifted towards more volatile investments, sound investment strategy is critical for the health of such state and local pension plans, according to a new study from the Pew Charitable Trusts.

As of 2012, within state and local pension plans, there was a $1 trillion shortfall between pensions earned and assets available to pay those pensions. 14.5 million state and local employees are eligible for public pension plans with $3 trillion in assets.

Sixty percent of promised pension benefits are funded by investment earnings, but future investment returns are inherently uncertain. In order to deal with the funding gap, efforts to increase investment returns have led to a shift in investment strategies over the past 30 years:
  • Over the last few decades, public pension plans have shifted funds away from fixed-income investments such as government and corporate bonds and towards stocks, private equity, hedge funds, real estate and commodities.
  • In 1952, almost 96 percent of public pension assets were invested in fixed-income assets and cash. By 2012, that figure had dropped to just 27 percent.
  • These changes were aimed at increasing returns, and they have done so: Between 1982 and 2000, public pension assets more than doubled per worker.
  • However, they have also increased fees and created uncertainty, and pension funds suffered large losses from 2000 to 2002 and in 2008. While state pension plan funding was above 100 percent in 2000, it was at 72 percent as of 2012.
Increasing investments in equities can mean greater financial returns, the report says, but it can also cause large losses. The study notes that just a 1 percentage point difference in returns in a single year on $3 trillion adds up to $30 billion.

ObamaCare Subsides Taxed As Income Goes Up

It's like everything else in ObamaCare, this is designed to take control of the population through a national health care system. That millions will be hit with new taxes that they never knew about when they signed up is not by accident.

What the designers thought would work for a population that they believed would just accept the new taxes as usual are finding out it people that have to work for a living are not so easily duped, even a lot of democrats.

Obamacare Subsidies: Tax Trouble
Source: Bertha Coombs, "Obamacare subsidies could hurt at tax time," CNBC, June 14, 2014

June 20, 2014

While anyone who lacks health insurance will face a tax penalty under the Affordable Care Act, many insured Americans do not realize that they too may owe money to the government, reports CNBC.

Americans under 400 percent of the federal poverty level who enroll in the health insurance exchanges are eligible to receive subsidies to offset the cost of their health insurance premiums. But these "subsidies" are better termed "advanced tax credits," as they are granted based on a person's anticipated income.

Therefore, if an enrollee's income is actually higher than he anticipated when signing up for health insurance, he will owe money back to the IRS.
  • According to reports, more than a million people who enrolled in Obamacare plans have estimated incomes that differ from their incomes in previous years.
  • A recent study by UCLA and UC Berkeley researchers suggests that, due to changes in income from one year to the next, three-fourths of subsidy recipients in California will see their incomes change more than 10 percent from one year to the next, and one-third will have to make repayments to the government.
Estimating income accurately is especially complicated for those working multiple part-time jobs or for the self-employed, and the complexity of the tax code ensures that mistakes will be made when calculating subsidies.

According to Douglas Holtz-Eakin, president of the American Action Forum, if ACA premium credits face an error rate similar to that of the 20 percent error rate of the earned income tax credit (EITC), inappropriate subsidy payments could add up to $152 billion over the next decade.

Tax advisors suggest that Americans who receive bonuses or raises that lift their incomes above anticipated levels should report that income immediately, rather than waiting to file their next tax return.

Transportation Planners What Control : We Know What's Best

Urban planning is riff with the ideas of high rise buildings and control spaces forcing people to relinquish their desires to living in open areas, suburbia.

Among some of the other ideas for forcing people to live in tightly focused and controlled areas where people live and work within walking distance for most activities, the planners are  also restricting the building of roads out into the country to forestall housing projects, which in turn removes a large numbers of tax payers from the urban areas. 

The result of allowing people to move away from the congestion of the city into the country is city officials not only lose revenue but control of the population to do what they know is best.

When viewed from the stand point that what the city planners are about is taking the freedom to choose in ones best interests where they want to live and work must be denied. Flight from the city doesn't serve the over all purpose of the collective, that is what's best for the community must take presidency over individual freedom to choose.

DC's Transportation Plan: Discouraging Driving
Source: Randal O'Toole, "Move DC or Move Out of DC?" Cato Institute, June 6, 2014.

June 20, 2014

Washington D.C.'s proposed transportation plan will reduce the mobility of DC residents, explains Randal O'Toole, senior fellow at the Cato Institute.

The District of Columbia's goal is to reduce auto commuting from 54 percent of all workers in the district to no more than 25 percent. How does the city council plan to do this? By instituting toll roads and cordon pricing.
  • While properly designed tolls can relieve congestion, the district will likely design them wrong, says O'Toole, using them more as a punitive and fundraising tool rather than to relieve congestion.
  • Cordon pricing charges drivers to drive within congested areas. Instituting such a system will only penalize suburban commuters and push jobs into the suburbs, rather than discourage people outside the district from driving.
The plan will substitute high-cost urban transit for low-cost driving, even though transit emits more greenhouse gases per passenger mile than driving does.
  • The average car and light truck on the road in 2012 emitted 268 grams of carbon dioxide per passenger mile, compared to 285 grams per passenger mile emitted by Washington's transit system.
  • In 2012, Washington's transit system cost $1.20 per passenger mile, compared to the automobile cost of 25 cents per passenger mile.
The plan does not make sense. The real goal of the "MoveDC" plan, says O'Toole, is to reduce people's travel, which reduces mobility. City planners, for example, believe that placing a grocery store near a cluster of homes prevents the need to drive, but doing so also reduces the competition that the ability to drive to multiple stores creates.
Moreover, packing more people and services into smaller areas drives up property, housing and consumer prices and forces people to live in smaller homes.