Archive for the ‘Economy’ Category

The Government Wastes Billions of Tax Dollars on Pork Projects, but Can’t Seem to Scrape Up $5 Billion for Border Security

Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) puts out an annual Pig Book; a compilation of the year’s biggest porkers (spenders) in government.  Go to their site and read over some of the ways in which elected officials spend our money.

Take your blood pressure meds before you read this shit. This is the reason why this country has such a high national debt; because of the feckless assholes in Congress.

From Citizens Against Government Waste:

The Congressional Pig Book is CAGW’s annual compilation of the pork-barrel projects in the federal budget. A “pork” project is a line-item in an appropriations bill that designates tax dollars for a specific purpose in circumvention of established budgetary procedures. To qualify as pork, a project must meet one of seven criteria that were developed in 1991 by CAGW and the Congressional Porkbusters Coalition.

It should come as no surprise that the dam burst on earmarks in fiscal year (FY) 2018.  Congress had set the stage for a significant increase in every category of spending when the Bipartisan Budget Act (BBA) of 2018 was approved on February 8, 2018.  This legislation obliterated the spending caps set in the 2011 Budget Control Act (BCA) and increased spending by $143 billion, or 13.4 percent, in FY 2018 compared to FY 2017.

Citizens Against Government Waste’s (CAGW) 2018 Congressional Pig Book exposes 232 earmarks in FY 2018, an increase of 42.3 percent from the 163 in FY 2017.  The cost of earmarks in FY 2018 is $14.7 billion, an increase of 116.2 percent from the $6.8 billion in FY 2017, or nearly nine times greater than the increase in discretionary spending.  The only other time the cost has at least doubled was FYs 1992-1993.  Since FY 1991, CAGW has identified 110,861 earmarks costing $344.5 billion.

The $14.7 billion in FY 2018 earmarks is more than half of the record $29 billion in FY 2006.  At the rate of increase over FY 2017, earmarks could exceed the FY 2006 figure in two years.

……The 26th installment of CAGW’s exposé of pork-barrel spending includes $2.7 billion (434.9 percent more than FY 2017) for 20 additional F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) aircraft, which have been plagued with cost overruns, delays, and poor performance; $593 million (1,382.5 percent more than FY 2016) to upgrade the M1 Abrams tank, which is opposed by the Pentagon; $16.7 million (183.1 percent more than FY 2017) for the East-West Center, added by Senate Appropriations Committee member Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), even though there was no budget request and the House bill had no funding; and, $13 million (160 percent more than FY 2017) for Save America’s Treasures grants, which in the past have funded the restoration and operation of local museums, opera houses, and theaters.

……$10,000,000 for high energy cost grants within the Rural Utilities Service (RUS).  The RUS grew out of the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Electrification Administration (REA) of the 1930s.  The REA’s mission was to promote electrification to farmers and residents in communities where the cost of providing electricity was considered to be too expensive for local utilities.  By 1981, 98.7 percent electrification and 95 percent telephone service coverage was achieved.  Rather than declaring victory and shutting down the REA, the agency was transformed into the RUS, and expanded into other areas.

……$65,000,000 for Pacific coastal salmon recovery, a 333.3 percent increase from the $15 million last earmarked in FY 2015, and the largest earmark ever for this purpose.  The Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund (PCSRF) was established by Congress in FY 2000 to “reverse the declines of Pacific salmon and steelhead, supporting conservation efforts in California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Alaska.”  Both President Trump’s FY 2018 and FY 2019 Major Savings and Reforms recommended eliminating funding for the PCSRF.

Elimination of the fund would allow the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration “to better target remaining resources to core missions and services.”  The budget also noted that programs like the PCSRF favor state, local, and/or industry interests, are “not optimally targeted … favor certain species and geographic areas over others,” and do not direct funds to programs and projects that have “the greatest need or potential benefit.”

……$57,500,000 for the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program, which provides grants, training, and technical assistance to local law enforcement.  President Trump’s FY 2019 Major Savings and Reforms recommended reducing the COPS Hiring Program by $96 million.

In FY 2008, COPS received 680 earmarks requested by hundreds of members of Congress costing $245.2 million.  In that same year, the Office of Management and Budget’s Program Assessment Rating Tool awarded the COPS program with a “results not demonstrated” rating, which “indicates that a program has not been able to develop acceptable performance goals or collect data to determine whether it is performing,” noting that the COPS program’s “long-term goals have no timelines or specific targets.”

……$2,674,600,000 for 20 additional F-35 JSF aircraft, including 10 for the Air Force, eight for the Navy, and two for the Marine Corps, a 434.9 percent increase in cost from the $500 million earmarked for JSFs in FY 2017, and the most ever earmarked for the JSF in one year.  The money earmarked for the F-35 represents 18.2 percent of the $14.7 billion in earmarks for FY 2018.

The acquisition misadventures of the JSF program have been well-documented, as the program has been plagued by an abundance of persistent issues.  In development for nearly 17 years and seven years behind schedule, total acquisition costs now exceed $406 billion, nearly double the initial estimate of $233 billion.  An April 2015 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report noted that the lifetime operation and maintenance costs of the most expensive weapon system in history will total approximately $1 trillion. ….As in each preceding year, 2018 brought more bad news.  A May 2018 House Armed Services Committee (HASC) report revealed that the Navy’s JSF, the F-35C, may lack sufficient range to function adequately in a future war.

Many of the problems with the F-35 program can be traced to the decision to develop and procure the aircraft simultaneously.  Whenever problems have been identified, contractors needed to go back and make changes to aircraft that were already assembled, adding to overall costs.  Speaking at the Aspen Security Forum on July 24, 2015, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James stated, “The biggest lesson I have learned from the F-35 is never again should we be flying an aircraft while we’re building it.”

……$593,000,000 for two earmarks funding the continued upgrade of the M1 Abrams tank to the M1A2SEP variant, an astounding 1,382.5 percent increase over the $40 million earmarked in FY 2016, and the largest earmark ever for this program.

Over the objections of senior DOD officials, members of Congress have for many years been earmarking funds for the M1 upgrade program.  Although the tank plant is in Lima, Ohio, its suppliers are spread across the country, which helps to explain the widespread support.

In testimony before the HASC on February 17, 2012, then-Army Chief of Staff General Raymond Odierno told Congress that the U.S. possesses more than enough tanks to meet the country’s needs.  In fact, the Army has so many M1 tanks that 2,000 of them are parked in a California desert.

Past versions of the DOD Appropriations Act, including the FY 2016 version, hinted at a parochial incentive for the program’s continuance:  industrial base support.  There’s nothing like an old-fashioned jobs program disguised as a national security priority.

Since FY 1994, there have been 41 earmarks for the M1 Abrams program, requested by at least 13 members of Congress, costing taxpayers $1.5 billion.  As Congress continues to ignore the DOD, taxpayers will carry on footing the bill for upgrades to what Gen. Odierno described as “tanks that we simply do not need.”

……$544,075,000 for three earmarks funding the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), the largest amount ever earmarked for the vessel.  Known to some inside (and outside) the Navy as the “Little Crappy Ship,” the LCS has been a disaster since its inception, with problems that include a vaguely defined mission, a lack of firepower and survivability, and design flaws leading to cracks in the hull and corrosion.  The number of ships the Navy intends to purchase has been cut in half, from 55 to 28, while the cost per ship has increased by 117.3 percent, from $220 million to $478 million.

Delays have also plagued the LCS.  A June 2018 GAO report noted that “deliveries of almost all LCS under contract have been delayed by several months, and, in some cases, a year or longer.”  The average LCS Freedom variant is 16 months behind schedule, while the average Independence variant is delayed by 14 months.  Because of the surfeit of problems, the Navy may not deploy the ships in 2018.

……$25,000,000 for alternative energy research, a 66.7 percent increase from the $15 million earmarked in FY 2017.  Since FY 2004, Congress has used funding meant for national security to insert 28 earmarks worth $314.9 million for this purpose, even though the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act supplies billions annually for alternative energy research.

A March 8, 2018 Defense News article detailed the Navy’s plans to cancel its fuel-efficient hybrid electric drive in 34 of its 35 destroyers.  It will not request funding for the program in FY 2019, which makes the earmark even more absurd.  Canceling the program makes sense, as a 2011 Rand report funded by the Pentagon found that “there is no direct benefit to the Department of Defense or the services from using alternative fuels.”

Alternative fuels are notoriously expensive.  A July 27, 2015 report found that between FYs 2007 and 2014, the Pentagon “purchased about 2.0 million gallons of alternative fuel for testing purposes, at a cost of about $58.6 million.  Over the same period, it purchased about 32.0 billion gallons of petroleum fuel at a cost of about $107.2 billion.”  This means the alternative fuel cost nearly 10 times as much as petroleum.

……$17,000,000 for the Asia Foundation, which is “committed to improving lives across a dynamic and developing Asia.”  The $17 million earmarked in FY 2018 is a 240 percent increase over the $5 million in FY 2017, and the largest earmark ever for this program.  Since FY 1997, members of Congress have directed 12 earmarks totaling $81.6 million to the Asia Foundation.

The foundation has a $96.5 million annual budget, meaning the earmark represents 17.6 percent of its income.  The organization had 387 donors between October 1, 2016 and September 30, 2017, composed of 76 corporations and organizations, 36 government agencies, and 251 individuals.  The entity should rely solely on these private sources of income.

A February 26, 2018 article by Brett Schaefer of the Heritage Foundation argued for the elimination of funding for the Asia Foundation and the East-West Center, claiming that the organizations “receive appropriated federal funding to support their activities, but do not operate under direct Executive Branch oversight.  These organizations should be required to compete for federal funding like other nongovernmental organizations.”

Both the FY 2018 and 2019 versions of President Trump’s Major Savings and Reforms proposed eliminating funding for the Asia Foundation.

There’s a ton of obscene waste, pork, and earmarks they could cut, but instead they pander to special interests and the usual bunch of outstretched hands. When military leaders tell you to stop wasting money on equipment and weapons they don’t need and don’t work, you know it’s gotten out of control.

More from Sen. Rand Paul’s ‘Festivus’ Report, Hat tip to Breitbart:

……about $115 million in American taxpayer money funded a slew of government projects, including $200,000 to put on plays in Afghanistan.

American taxpayers this year have also been forced to subsidize:

  • $76 million to provide stipends to Somali National Army
  • $18 million to promote tourism in Egypt
  • $2.4 million to study daydreaming
  • $1 million to support “legislative priorities” in Libya
  • $875,000 to study the sexual habits of quails on cocaine
  • $635,000 to develop a Pashto-language TV drama series for Afghanistan
  • $400,000 to support asset seizure programs in Paraguay
  • $360,000 to study horse and donkey hunting on the ancient Anatolian Peninsula
  • $250,000 to teach Rwandan special interest groups how to lobby elected officials
  • $75,000 to make videos marketing U.S. colleges to Indian students
  • $75,000 to blow leaf blowers at lizards
  • $35,000 to encourage people in the Republic of the Congo to use local resources
  • $15,000 to fund a fictionalized opera about Prince Harry, called “Stone Prince”
  • $50,000 to create conceptualized games in India
  • $50,000 to teach female entrepreneurs in India how to “vlog”
  • $50,000 to fund museum trips in Bosnia & Herzegovina

American taxpayers have paid nearly $30 million since 2014 to fund “reintegration” gift bags for illegal aliens and their children who were deported from the U.S. to their home countries, Breitbart News reported

As part of this “reintegration” effort, young migrants are provided with U.S. taxpayer-funded school supplies, toys, coloring books, dolls, toiletries, backpacks, and clothes……

This is the kind of shit that happens every fiscal year, at our expense. And the politicians wonder why no one trusts or respects them.

Mick Mulvaney Explains the Stupidity of the Federal Government

 

Winning: ‘Shutdown’ Schumer Folds, Government Set to Reopen

From Fox News

The Senate on Monday voted 81-18 to break a Democratic filibuster on a stalled government spending bill, clearing the way for Congress to approve the stopgap measure and end the three-day government shutdown.

Democrats effectively backed off their opposition, after being given assurances from majority Republicans.

Before the vote, Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer made clear that Democrats would supply the GOP-controlled Senate with the votes needed, in exchange for “fair” and immediate efforts to consider legislation that would protect illegal immigrants brought to the United States as children. It was a stark contrast from his position just a few days ago.

“We will vote today to reopen the government,” Schumer, a New York Democrat, said on the Senate floor. “In a few hours, the government will reopen.”

The 100-member, Republican-controlled chamber will now need only a simple majority to pass the temporary spending bill that would keep the government open until Feb. 8. The House would then have to approve the bill, sending it to President Trump’s desk.

“I am pleased that Democrats in Congress have come to their senses and are now willing to fund our great military, border patrol, first responders and insurance for vulnerable children,” Trump said in a written statement Monday.

……Democrats largely had opposed the stopgap spending bill because it did not include provisions to protect the illegal immigrants from deportation under Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals executive order. Trump last year set a deadline of early March to end the protections, but has indicated he wants to provide permanent protections for the young illegal immigrants — along with border security, particularly funding for his U.S.-Mexico border wall.

 

The Dems held the military hostage over illegals.

Anyone who follows the pattern of Dem agenda, talking points and strategy knows that illegal aliens are part of their voting bloc.  They intend to entrench and exploit as many (Hispanic) illegals as they can to push their socialist agenda, institutionalize selective rights, and wrest control of the country away from American citizens. Democrats  would rather subvert the voting process for political gain than follow the law.

Rush weighs in:

This shutdown is about a budget deal. The Drive-Bys want you to believe the shutdown is over the fact that Republicans hate immigrants. Now, what it means, if this is actually true — and we won’t know ’til the vote is completed. This is all because of the what we think is gonna happen. It’s because people — aides to various senators — are telling people in the media that there might be enough Democrats to vote to end the shutdown.

……My take on this is Trump wins….The government shutdown has been…..When was the first time the GOP ever won a shutdown showdown? Yet Trump has won a shutdown showdown. The Schumer Shutdown showdown is over and Trump has emerged victorious.

……I want to tell you what the Republicans offered that led to the shutdown. The Republicans first offered a budget deal that would keep the government running and a DREAMer amnesty. DREAMer amnesty has always been on the table with Trump. The polls all show that 80% of the American people want something done for the DREAMers because the American people have been led to believe that they’re teenagers.

“They’re just young kids, Mr. Limbaugh! They’re just young children. They were brought here, they don’t know anybody, and they’re parentless, and they don’t know any other country.” Well, most of them are not teenagers anymore. They’re into their young twenties, mid-twenties now. Some of them are even in their thirties. I don’t know what percentage of them work but they’re not exclusively a bunch of kids. But, anyway, the politics of this, because everybody thinks they’re kids, the Republicans/Trump offered amnesty for the DREAMers weeks ago.

……And the Republicans said, “We’ll come back in March when the DREAMer thing is set to expire, and when we don’t have any hard-and-fast limits here, because we’re gonna do the budget. So we’re not gonna come up with any deadlines that we’re running out of money.” And they rejected that. The Democrats rejected every proposal. So the Democrats and their rejection forced the Republicans to come up with a third attempt. What it was is the Democrats had made it clear that amnesty — which they’ve always made clear and a lot of Republicans, too. “Amnesty, “comprehensive immigration reform is a requirement.

“We’re not moving forward ’til we get some kind of commitment on that,” and since the Republicans had taken amnesty for the DREAMers out of their second offer….. So McConnell came up with an idea to get rid of the filibuster and let’s pass a funding bill. Let’s do the budget side of this with just 50 votes instead of 60. They refused that! They refused getting the money they wanted and they refused amnesty for the DREAMers in two separate offers.

They refused a deal that would pick up amnesty for the DREAMers in March. They wanted the shutdown. The Republicans gave them three variations of everything they wanted, including, “Hey, let’s do a vote on the budget and get rid of that. Let’s extend the budget here with only 50 votes,” and the Democrats said “no” to that. And when Schumer said, “No” to that — when Schumer said “no” to a temporary vote, a one-time vote getting rid of the filibuster — that guaranteed the shutdown.

 

Dump DACA. Deport the illegals. Secure the border. Build the wall,

 

 

Related post:

https://sfcmac.wordpress.com/2018/01/21/pelosi-celebrates-putting-illegal-aliens-before-our-troops-at-fancy-dc-restaurant-with-fellow-dems/

 

Related articles:

https://www.dailywire.com/news/26175/cave-democrats-abandon-shutdown-agree-mcconnell-emily-zanotti

http://portlandtribune.com/pt/9-news/251429-120608-rep-schrader-immigration-is-the-new-civil-rights-battle

http://thefederalist.com/2018/01/22/6-events-prove-democrats-government-shutdown-daca-fraud/

http://insider.foxnews.com/2018/01/22/trump-holds-schumer-folds-pundits-react-deal-end-government-shutdown

Pelosi Celebrates Putting Illegal Aliens Before Our Troops at Fancy DC Restaurant With Fellow Dems

 

Via 100percentfedup

Late Friday evening, House and Senate Democrats voted to shut down our government and use our military as political pawns in their fight to keep 800,000 illegal aliens and their extended families in America, hoping that if they show they are fighting to keep illegals here, millions of illegals will become future Democrat voters.  Meanwhile, without batting an eye, Demcrat lawmakers have shamelessly cut payments to our brave troops and law enforcement officers.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders slammed House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) for taking House members out to dinner at a fancy DC restaurant to celebrate. Sanders tweeted:

Politico’s Jake Sherman was the first to report about Nancy Pelosi hosting a dinner for all House Dems at the “Aqua Al 2” restaurant in DC.

Republican Rep. Steven Smith responded to Sherman’s tweet, by posting a copy of the menu with entree items ranging from $18- $39.

“Thomas-S Fla,” asked Pelosi if his US Army daughter can go? He admonished the out-of-touch legislator for her arrogance and insensitivity to our American troops who the Democrats are using as pawns in their fight to keep 800,000 illegal aliens and their extended families in the U.S. for votes.  He tweeted:

Anyone who follows the pattern of Dem agenda, talking points and strategy knows that illegal aliens are part of their voting bloc.  They intend to entrench and exploit as many (Hispanic) illegals as they can to push their socialist agenda, institutionalize selective rights, and wrest control of the country away from American citizens. Democrats  would rather subvert the voting process for political gain than follow the law.

 

Related posts:

https://sfcmac.wordpress.com/2018/01/17/the-lefts-hypocrisy-on-illegals-before-illegal-aliens-became-political-tools-dems-actually-wanted-the-immigration-laws-enforced/

https://sfcmac.wordpress.com/2013/10/08/illegal-alien-rallies-exempt-from-shutdown/

Excellent Essay From Victor Davis Hanson: ‘Crossing the Trump Rubicon’

From American Greatness

EXCERPTS:

We are in a veritable war of competing visions. The strife inside the two parties is irrelevant—when compared to the larger existential war for the soul of America.

……the Trump presidency on all fronts is all that now stands in the way of the completion of what was started in 2009.

We are no longer in the late 1950s era of liberal reform. It is now a postmodern world of intolerance and lockstep orthodoxy.

There are few Berkeley-like free speech areas on college campuses any more. Students charged with particular crimes enjoy little due process. There is no Joan Baez-style acknowledgement of the tragedy of good Southern poor men fighting for an awful cause. No one acknowledges tragedy anywhere at all; it has all become melodrama. We may yet see Joan Baez’s version of The Band’s ballad or Shelby Foote’s commentaries in Ken Burn’s epic Civil War documentary Trotskyized.

The media is not disinterested. Networks such as CNN see their role actively on the barricades, devoted to the higher cause of destroying the Trump presidency, not as reporting its successes or failures. The danger to free expression and a free media is not even Trumpian bombast. It is the far more deliberate and insidious transformation (begun in full under Obama) of journalism into a progressive ministry of truth. Even if he wished, Trump could not take away what the professional press already surrendered voluntarily.

After the nocturnal effort to tear down historic statuary, the NFL player psychodramas, the therapeutic reactions to radical Islamic terror attacks inside the United States, and the often unhinged profanity and assassination chic of the anti-Trump “Resistance,” Trump almost alone seems to sound off in opposition.

And while reform and protest may be innate to the American character, traditions and values of the past simply cannot be airbrushed away because a particular generation suddenly believes that the dead of a far more hazardous and impoverished age must meet their own transitory mores of the present.

On one side are traditionalists who believe the United States is the most exceptional nation of a uniquely self-critical West. They believe that we need not be perfect, past or present, to be good and certainly are and were always far better than the alternative. And while reform and protest may be innate to the American character, traditions and values of the past simply cannot be airbrushed away because a particular generation suddenly believes that the dead of a far more hazardous and impoverished age must meet their own transitory mores of the present. Oddly, few of the Republican establishment speak out for them.

The new progressive Left believes that America has always been defined by its collective sins, which outweigh those of other cultures. They identify the white heterosexual male as the font of most pathologies (cf. the Democratic National Committee’s unapologetic effort not to hire white males for some of its jobs). Like it or not, Trump is now a central figure in resisting a full-scale dismantling of the idea of the uniquely individual, free, and outspoken American.

……Like most neo-socialists, the new progressive party that supplanted the old Democratic Party promotes social justice in relative terms, and not defined by absolute incomes of the middle class.

The new progressivism would prefer an America in which everyone made about $50,000 a year, overseen by a far greater and more intrusive government (of properly insightful and caring souls, whose selflessness would earn exemption from the consequences of their ideologies) to the alternative of a country where a small minority made well over $1 million but the middle classes achieved average incomes of $75,000.

……Like Trump or not, by the end of his first three quarters of his presidency, GDP growth had rebounded and was growing at a pace set to achieve 3 percent for the year. Real unemployment (U6) had fallen below 8 percent; business and consumer confidence were at record levels. Energy production was likewise. Manufacturers expressed confidence unlike that seen in the last two decades. Corporate profitswere unparalleled. The radical turnabout was largely Reaganesque in spirit—predicated on a new can-do psychological climate, ending insidious deregulation, the specter of impending tax-cuts, and a determination that manufacturing could return to the United States if energy was cheaper than elsewhere and industry had proper incentives. One can see the sudden bustle anywhere one goes.

 

Much to the angst of the convulsive Dems, Trump is reversing the damage Barky did to our economy, foreign policy, domestic policy, and national security.

The RINOs need to get on board with the agenda we elected in 2016, or get replaced.

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