Category: Spending


The Federal Emergency Management Agency: Floods, Failures, And Federalism

 

 

” The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is the lead federal agency for disaster preparedness, response, and relief. FEMA’s budget fluctuates from year to year, but spending has trended sharply upwards in recent decades. The agency spent $22 billion in fiscal 2013 and $10 billion in fiscal 2014. The main activity of FEMA is distributing aid to individuals and state and local governments after natural disasters, such as hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes. In addition, the agency provides ongoing grants to the states for disaster preparedness, and it operates the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

  FEMA’s response to some major disasters has been slow, disorganized, and profligate. The agency’s actions have sometimes been harmful, such as when it has blocked the relief efforts of other organizations. FEMA’s dismal response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 dramatized the agency’s bureaucratic dysfunction. FEMA’s grants for disaster preparedness are known for wastefulness. As for the NFIP, its insurance subsidies are spurring development in flood-prone areas, which in turn is increasing the damage caused by floods. The NFIP also encourages an expansion of federal regulatory control over local land-use planning.

  Federalism is supposed to undergird America’s system of handling disasters, particularly natural disasters. State, local, and private organizations should play the dominant role. Looking at American history, many disasters have generated large outpourings of aid by individuals, businesses, and charitable groups.

  Today, however, growing federal intervention is undermining the role of private institutions and the states in handling disasters. Policymakers should reverse course and begin cutting FEMA. Ultimately, the agency should be closed down by ending aid programs for disaster preparedness and relief and privatizing flood insurance. “

 

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All The Best Black Friday Tech Deals

 

 

 

 

” Get your shopping list in order–the Black Friday deals are popping up already. We’ve scoured them for the most interesting bargains, and we’ll be updating more great deals as we see them.

  Call it 50-inches of entertainment nirvana for less. Best Buy has announced its Black Friday deals, and one of them is a massive Panasonic 50-inch HDTV for only $199. It’s an LED model so it won’t suck up as much power. Other deals include a DigiLand 7-inch tablet that runs Android but won’t deplete your pocketbook—it’s only $40. We also should point out that the iPad Air 2, which almost never gets price cuts, is also on sale. Best Buy is taking $100 off any model. “

   There is much more on tech deals at Popular Mechanics … 

   Meanwhile over at The Verge you can find lots more impending Black Friday deals from Apple , Amazon ,Walmart and more …

” Black Friday is the best time of the year to get great deals on all kinds of electronics, games, and gadgets. We’ve culled through the best deals around to bring you everything that matters and nothing that doesn’t. This stream will be updated all season, so be sure to check back often.”

$1 Million Hospital Bill For Canadian Woman Who Gave Birth In US

 

 

 

 

 

 

” A Canadian mother is stuck with a $1 million hospital bill after she gave birth prematurely while on vacation in the U.S. last year. 

  Jennifer Huculak-Kimmel, at six months pregnant, thought she and husband Darren had taken all the right steps before taking a trip to Hawaii. She got approval from her doctor and even purchased travel insurance from Blue Cross, the Toronto Sun reported.

  But her water broke while she was on vacation, leading to an emergency C-section and a lengthy hospital stay for the couple’s premature daughter, Reece.

” Blue Cross said that because I had a bladder infection at four months and hemorrhaged because of that, that they would not cover the pregnancy,” Huculak-Kimmel said. “We thought we had done everything right. We thought we had covered all avenues and we thought we were covered. We thought we were safe to go.”

  The hospital bill added up to about $950,000, including $40,000 for medical evacuation to a Honolulu hospital; $160,000 for Huculak-Kimmel’s hospital stay; and $750,000 for the care of the baby in a neonatal intensive care unit. Saskatchewan Health paid about $20,000 of the bill and the United States paid $12,000, leaving the couple with a staggering $918,000 bill.”

 

This is the Canadian healthcare system that we are supposed to aspire to ?

NewsMax

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New CBO Study Shows That ‘The Rich’ Don’t Just Pay Their ‘Fair Share,’ They Pay Almost Everybody’s Share

 

 

cbo1

 

 

 

” The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) just released its annual report on “The Distribution of Household Income and Federal Taxes” analyzing data through 2011 on American household’s: a) average “market income” (a comprehensive measure that includes labor income, business income, and income from capital gains), b) average household transfer payments (payments and benefits from federal, state and local governments including Social Security, Medicare and unemployment insurance), and c) average federal taxes paid by households (including income, payroll, corporate, and excise taxes). Some of the key findings of the CBO analysis are displayed in the table above, with the data organized by household income quintiles. The data in the first five rows above appear in the CBO report (from Tables 1 and 4), and rows 6-8 above have been calculated separately based on data from the first four rows in the table.

  The CBO report received attention and commentary this week from John Merline at Investor’s Business Daily (“New CBO Report Explodes Tax Fairness Myths”), Reason’s Nick Gillespie (“3 Charts About Income Inequality, Transfers, and Taxes”), AEI’s Jim Pethokoukis (“Here is what’s really happening to middle-class incomes and inequality”), Heritage Foundation’s Curtis Dubay (“The Richest 1 Percent of Americans Pay 24 Percent of Federal Taxes”) and former economist Paul Krugman (“Why the One Percent Hates Obama”).

  Some additional analysis and commentary will be provided here that reveal a yet-to-be discussed major implication of the CBO report – almost the entire burden: a) of all transfer payments made to American households and b) of all non-financed government spending, falls on just one group of Americans – the top one-fifth of US households by income. That’s correct, the CBO study shows that the bottom three income quintiles representing 60% of US households are “net recipients” (they receive more in transfer payments than they pay in federal taxes), the second-highest income quintile pays just slightly more in federal taxes ($14,800) than it receives in government transfer payments ($14,100), while the top 20% of American “net payer” households finance 100% of the transfer payments to the bottom 60%, as well as almost 100% of the tax revenue collected to run the federal government. Here are the details of that analysis.”

 

Read it all

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Barack Obama’s Security Team Strips Floor Of Marriott Hotel Ahead Of G20 In Brisbane

 

Mr Obama and his staffers will occupy multiple floors of the Marriott Hotel in Brisbane this weekend

 

 

” Barack Obama’s security team ordered the stripping of an entire floor of the Marriott Hotel and investigated installing their own wiring to keep the world’s most powerful man safe while he is in Brisbane for the G20.

  Bedding and furniture, including mirrors, have been ­removed from rooms, while others have been left with just desks and chairs as part of the elaborate security operation to ensure he cannot be spied on.

  Secure communication lines will be established and rooms will be swept for bugs to ensure he can conduct confidential business and make private phone calls from within the hotel.

  The hotel will sit inside a cordoned off ­security zone, where only those with accreditation will be allowed to enter.

 The President is expected to arrive on Saturday and will stay at the Marriott for at least one night while he attends the G20. “

 

 

    This man sure knows how to piss away our money . How is it that he seems to require so much more in the way of precautions , special treatment and taxpayer funds for his travels than any previous president ?

 

 

Courier-Mail.com.au

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lawmakers Aim To Fire More Federal Employees In 2015

 

 

 

” Some lawmakers are looking to the new Congress to pass legislation to ease the firing of federal employees, with hopes the Republican-controlled Senate will be friendlier to the idea.

  Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Mich., in July introduced a bill to mitigate the hurdles in firing and suspending senior executives at federal agencies. The Senior Executive Service Accountability Act cleared the House in September. Despite receiving no resistance in the lower chamber, the Senate has yet to take up the bill.

  A spokeswoman for Walberg told Government Executive it is unlikely the Senate will move on the bill before the new session begins in January. Walberg plans to start from scratch next year, however, and expects future Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to bring it up for a vote after the House once again passes the measure.

  The bill, as currently written, would allow agencies to suspend SES employees for 14 days or less without pay, require the executives to pay back any paid leave used during investigations if they result in a guilty verdict, increase the SES probationary period to two years and expand the definition of fireable offenses.”

 

GovExec

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Did Healey Get 22% In R.I. Governor’s Race With Just $36?

 

 

 

 

” In 2010, Frank T. Caprio ran as the endorsed Democratic candidate for governor. He outspent his opponents, pouring $2.6 million into the race. And he finished third with 23 percent of the vote, taking three cities and towns: Johnston, North Providence and Central Falls.

  On Tuesday, Robert J. Healey Jr. ran as the Moderate Party’s last-minute substitute candidate. He spent $36.29 (including two stamps), while his opponents spent millions. And he finished third with 22 percent of the vote, taking two towns: Warren and Bristol.

  So what in the name of the Cool Moose is going on here? I mean, Healey ran for governor three times before this year, but the best he ever did was 9 percent in 1994. So what catapulted him into the Caprio-sphere this year? “

 

Providence Journal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The US Government Doesn’t Want You To Know There’s A Run On Silver Bullion

 

 

Gold Coin Demand US Mint

 

 

 

” It looks like the entire world is spitting out gold and silver as an investment or hedge, as the prices of both precious metals were tumbling in the past few weeks. Well, at least the demand for gold and silver ‘paper’ isn’t anymore what it used to be, but the demand for physical silver is really booming.

  Reports have reached us from Germany that the demand for silver is really surging, and this is an interesting sentiment meter because Germany usually acts as one of the main distribution centers for the European Union. Several large bullion dealers have seen the demand for silver increase, and in just the next few days after last week’s crash, almost all dealers sold as many silver coins in just three days as they usually do in an entire month.

  Now you can try to dismiss this easily by saying that the Germans and the rest of the European Union are simply preparing for an upcoming implosion of the Eurozone, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. The US Mint recently had to announce that there were no more silver Eagles in inventory, and that it would have to suspend deliveries for new orders. This announcement hasn’t been made public (why not, US Mint? Are you trying to keep the people dumb?) but was only sent to larger bullion dealers in the USA. “

 

Zero Hedge has more

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

World’s Largest Solar Plant Applying For Federal Grant To Pay Off Federal Loan

 

 

” After already receiving a controversial $1.6 billion construction loan from U.S. taxpayers, the wealthy investors of a California solar power plant now want a $539 million federal grant to pay off their federal loan.

” This is an attempt by very large cash generating companies that have billions on their balance sheet to get a federal bailout, i.e. a bailout from us – the taxpayer for their pet project,” said Reason Foundation VP of Research Julian Morris. “It’s actually rather obscene.” “

 

 

Ivanpah Bailout

 

 

 

” The Ivanpah solar electric generating plant is owned by Google and renewable energy giant NRG, which are responsible for paying off their federal loan. If approved by the U.S. Treasury, the two corporations will not use their own money, but taxpayer cash to pay off 30 percent of the cost of their plant, but taxpayers will receive none of the millions in revenues the plant will generate over the next 30 years.

” They’re already paying less than the market rate,” said Morris, author of a lengthy report detailing alleged cronyism and corruption in the Obama administration’s green energy programs. “Now demanding or asking for a subsidy in the form of a grant directly paying off the loan is an egregious abuse.” “

 

Cronyism at its worst . If anyone can afford to pay the taxpayers back for their forced largesse it is certainly Google .

Fox News

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Big Climate Flops Out

 

 

 

 

 

” I wouldn’t be surprised if Tom Steyer, Big Climate’s Daddy Warmbucks, woke up this morning with the all-time worst dose of “climate depression“. Sample headline:

Tom Steyer Spent $74 Million on the Election. He Didn’t Get Much to Show for It.

  He blew through that $74 million in order to make “climate change” the winning wedge issue for beleaguered Democrats. How’d that work out?

  Colorado was a prime battleground for Steyer’s Super PAC and other environmentalist groups, but Gardner bested Udall by a 4.2 percent margin on Tuesday.

  Udall was one of the few vulnerable Senate Democratic incumbents who refused to publicly back the Keystone XL pipeline, opposition to which was Steyer’s litmus test for his sizable financial support… Steyer’s Super PAC poured money into the Colorado Senate race, the bulk of which was used to attack Gardner.

  NextGen Climate Action, one of the election cycle’s most active and well-funded Super PACs, spent more than $5.5 million in the race, nearly 15 percent of all outside spending on Udall’s behalf.

The group had 68 staffers working in the state.

Wow. Sixty-eight staffers just in Colorado! Maybe Tom Steyer could redeploy them to Michael E Mann’s legal team in the upcoming Mann vs Steyn trial of the century. Or at least buy him a couple new hashtags. Dr Mann today:

How much does it cost to buy the U.S. Senate? $1Billion, apparently. #KochMachine “

Saturday’s must read from Mr Steyn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

De Blasio Is A Superb Mayor, Says Taxpayer-Funded YouTube Videos

 

 

 

 

 

” The mayor’s taxpayer-funded p.r. machine has spit out 250 YouTube videos since he took office — including some slickly produced messages that look a lot like campaign ads.

  Complete with voice-overs, soaring music and interviews with New Yorkers waxing poetic about Hizzoner, the videos are created by former de Blasio campaign workers now employed by City Hall.

“ I feel like Bill de Blasio and [wife] Chirlane [McCray] have brought the love back to New York City,” an unnamed woman gushes in one video while waiting to tour Gracie Mansion three days after his inauguration.

  Another video celebrates his first 100 days in office with staged testimonials from New Yorkers, including one by a carwash employee applauding the mayor’s signing a paid-sick-leave law.”

 

NY Post

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 Reasons President Obama Is Wrong About Stay-At-Home Mothers

 

 

 

 

 

 

” Charlie Spiering reports on a speech President Obama made in Rhode Island today. You know things are rough for President Obama this election season when he is relegated to a state so small CNN thinks it’s a city.

  Anyway, he was painting a picture of how he’d like to expand the administrative state to include government pre-school. Because public schools are doing such a good job generally. Anyway, he then took an absolutely bizarre swipe against stay-at-home mothers:

“ Sometimes, someone, usually Mom, leaves the workplace to stay home with the kids, which then leaves her earning a lower wage for the rest of her life as a result,” he said. “That’s not a choice we want Americans to make.”

  Here are three problems with his argument. “

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Federal Government Made $20 Billion In Secret Purchases In Recent Months

 

Federal Starbucks Secret purchases

 

 

” The federal government has spent at least $20 billion in taxpayer money this year on items and services that it is permitted to keep secret from the public, according to an investigation by the News4 I-Team.

  The purchases, known among federal employees as “micropurchases,” are made by some of the thousands of agency employees who are issued taxpayer-funded purchase cards. The purchases, in most cases, remain confidential and are not publicly disclosed by the agencies. A sampling of those purchases, obtained by the I-Team via the Freedom of Information Act, reveals at least one agency used those cards to buy $30,000 in Starbucks Coffee drinks and products in one year without having to disclose or detail the purchases to the public.

  A series of other recent purchases, reviewed by internal government auditors, include wasteful and inappropriate purchases by government employees — including a gym membership and JC Penney clothing — that were not detected or stopped until after the purchase was completed.”

Read more

Did You Hear The Koch Brothers Just Gave A Million Bucks To NPR To Cover Healthcare?

 

 

 

” No, you didn’t hear about that Koch gift to NPR, because it never happened. 

  But now that I have your attention, let me ask you whether you heard that a different funder, who also has a strong agenda on healthcare, just gave $1.3 million to NPR to report on this topic?

  No, you probably didn’t hear about that gift either, by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation—a grant that has caused zero controversy. 

  Come to think of it, I didn’t recall any controversy when RWJF gave National Public Radio $5.6 million to report on healthcare between 2008 and 2011, during a period when this was among the most politicized of all topics. 

  You’d think that somebody would at least have raised an eyebrow, given that RWJF is a strong proponent of the Affordable Care Act, as well as other healthcare policy positions on the progressive side of the spectrum.

  God bless that foundation, if you ask me. But as a thought experiment, imagine if the Koch brothers had given the same amount of money to NPR to cover healthcare. 

  People would have gone nuts. “

 

Read all about the “progressive” funding hypocrisy at Inside Philanthropy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Government Gold-Plating

 

 

 

 

 

” Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) released his annual Wastebook this past week. It contains a laundry list of doozies. The U.S. government’s gold-plating operations included $190,000 to study compost digested by worms, $297 million for the purchase of an unused mega blimp, and $1 million on a Virginia bus stop where only 15 people can huddle under a half-baked roof. These questionable (read: absurd) expenditures only represent the tip of the iceberg.

  Just consider the following: the Speaker of the House currently receives an annual salary of $223,500, and will receive a payment of roughly that amount, depending on the years of service, for life. An annual payment of this magnitude amounts to about five times the average annual wage in the United States. But that’s not all. For those who have had different positions in Congress, their retirements can be augmented. For example, Nancy Pelosi will not receive $223,500 for life, but roughly double that. Why? Because she is a member of Congress, currently the House of Representatives’ Minority Leader, and a retired Speaker of the House. For purposes of computing retirement pay, Congress adds and accumulates. They do not net.”

 

Read more at Cato

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Those Ebola Vaccines in Testing Now? You Can Thank Dick Cheney for That

 

 

 

 

 

 

” Democrats looking to blame Republicans for the lack of an Ebola vaccine may owe Dick Cheney an apology.

  It turns out that as vice president, Cheney was the driving force behind more funding for the National Institutes of Health that helped lead to the development of Ebola vaccines being tested today.

  From the time scientists first discovered the deadly virus in 1976 to 2012, two dozen outbreaks of Ebola claimed the lives of roughly 1,500 people–far less than the nearly 5,000 killed in the current outbreak in West Africa.

  Bloomberg News reports that little money had been available to scientists to work on finding a cure to the disease. But after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Cheney, anticipating the potential for bioterrorist attacks, became the Bush White House’s point man advocating more spending to protect the nation from deadly pathogens.

  Cheney told Bloomberg:

 It has ramifications when the source of the problem you’re dealing with is something like an outbreak of Ebola, but our prime motivation was to make certain we were prepared to deal with an attempt to use those substances in an attack. “

 

  Since 2001, the National Institutes of Health’s budget to study biodefense measures has increased from $53 million to $1.6 billion. “

 

Daily Signal has more

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New World’s Largest Yacht In The Works

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

” Better watch your back, (current world’s largest) 590-foot Azzam. Project “Triple Deuce” is coming. And at 728 feet (222 meters), she’s going to send you, and other yachts in your category, into relative obscurity as she swipes your title as the world’s largest yacht.

“ Project Triple Deuce is about to set the world on fire as not only the largest private yacht ever built, coming in at a whopping 222 meters, but also the most expensive, at a cost of over $1 billion USD,” said Craig Timm, yacht broker at 4Yacht, Inc., responsible for selling Project Triple Deuce to his client.

  To put this massive yacht in perspective for the layman, the sheer size of Triple Deuce even dwarfs some cruise ships. As an example, Costa Cruises has a ship named Costa Classic that is 722 feet long and carries 1,308 passengers and 590 crewmembers. But Triple Deuce is a private yacht, and is designed to carry only 36 guests in opulent luxury with a crew complement of 90-100.

  In addition to being the longest private yacht in the world at 728 feet, the yacht will have a beam of nearly 82 feet, and a draft of nearly 16 feet.

  She’ll be no slouch in the speed department either, with top speed projected to be in excess of 30 knots—to be achieved by triple gas turbine engines generating over 100,000 horsepower. The yacht also has no rudders. Electric podded propulsion units will handle maneuvering. 

 

 

4Yacht Inc Project

 

 

 

Owner and guests will live like royalty

  The owner’s suite, at 2,960 square feet (275 square meters) over two stories, will encompass nearly one full deck of space in the seven-deck yacht, and offer unparalleled views. It will feature two staterooms, and will include private access to a helipad and an elevator from an exclusive drive-in dock, as well as all the luxury amenities you would come to expect. The owner’s suite also offers a private gym, office and study, private dining area, butler’s stateroom and more.

  Onboard guests will be similarly pampered in four VIP suites of 968 square feet (90 square meters) apiece, and 12 guest suites, each at over 645 square feet (60 square meters). All guests will have access to the yacht’s two pools, one indoor, one outdoor, multiple Jacuzzis, spa facilities, full time masseuse, hair stylist and barber, as well as all the water toys the yacht can carry.

 

Who Would Buy A Yacht Of This Size?

“ It takes a person of vision, someone with a dream to own the worlds largest yacht and to bring it to reality,” claims Timm. “For several years, we have advertised the sale of a 200-meter yacht and have worked with several UHNWI as well as several Middle Eastern clients toward the goal of building a yacht of this size. We had many discussions with our buyer that a yacht of 200 meters was of sufficient length, however with the launching of Azzam recently at 180 meters, that all changed.

“ What our client was concerned about is that if we built the yacht to 200 meters, then someone would come along like Roman Abramovich when he built Eclipse at 163.5 meters, to barely ‘eclipse’ Sheikh Maktoum’s yacht, the 162-meter Dubai, by only 1.5 meters,” said Timm. “By building the yacht to 222 meters, he wants to make it difficult, if not impossible, to be ‘eclipsed’ himself.”

  According to Timm, construction of Project Triple Deuce will begin at a European shipyard, which has still yet to be decided, in the next 6-12 months, with a target delivery date of spring 2018. He goes on to say that the yacht will be built under the 100 A1 Passenger Ship Classification and be fully PYC (Passenger Yacht Code) Compliant.

 

What will it all cost?

  Current large superyachts run about €3.5 million to €4 million per meter to build at the best European shipyards.

  Doing some quick math, it seems that Project Deuce will cost €777 million to €888 million, or at the current USD exchange rate, $1.1 billion to $1.2 billion.

“ Don’t forget to add in annual operating costs,” Timm said. “On a yacht of this size, it will run the owner an additional $20-$35 million USD per year.”

  Much like the race to build the tallest buildings in the world, such as the Shanghai Tower at 632 meters (2073′), or the Burj Khalifa at 828 meters (2717′), super yachts will continue to expand their size depending on who needs to have the biggest and best yacht.

 

How Long Will Project Triple Deuce Hold Its Position As The World’s Largest Yacht?

“ That’s hard to determine, as there is a limit, not in size, but functionality and logistics,” Timm said.  “We haven’t gotten there yet, but if the uber wealthy of the world have their way, Project Triple Deuce will be toppled in the future. How soon? That will be anybody’s guess.” “

 

Thanks to Yacht International

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Government Waste Includes Swedish Massages For Rabbits, Monkey Gambling Lessons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

” More than a dozen lucky rabbits were given Swedish massages four times a day, courtesy of U.S. taxpayers, as part of a study to figure out whether massage can help recovery times after strenuous exercise — a practice Sen. Tom Coburn says makes a mockery of federal spending.

  The rabbit massages are one of the hundred wasteful products Mr. Coburn, an Oklahoma Republican, identified in his latest edition of the Wastebook, an annual compendium of the ridiculous and outrageous items in government spending, which he is releasing on Wednesday.”

 

 

If you think Swedish massage for rabbits is absurd get a load of these expenditures …

 

 

” Other highlights included the National Science Foundation paying academics to teach monkeys to gamble, government sponsorship of a children’s play about brain-eating zombies and a first-person combat shooting video game the Army developed — but which intelligence officials fear terrorists could use to train their own recruits. Indeed, Hezbollah has adapted the game’s design to train suicide martyrs.

  Mr. Coburn’s investigators also found scientists putting mountain lions, monkeys, rats and cows on treadmills. That’s reminiscent of a previous famous item Mr. Coburn spotted that involved sticking shrimp on a treadmill to try to see if tired shrimp were less healthy. “

 

Washington Times

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overpaid Federal Employees

 

 

 

 

 

” With the election only weeks away, pundits are visualizing how a Republican-controlled Senate would impact future policy decisions.  Today’s Washington Post highlights the supposed plight of federal workers under a Republican Congress.

  The piece discusses House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget proposal:

  Under the Ryan budget, the contribution of most federal employees toward their retirement plan would increase by 5.5 percentage points with no increase in benefits — effectively a pay cut. Ryan emphasizes a “defined-contribution system” that centers on employee payments to their retirement program instead of the current system, which includes pensions from the U.S. government. He estimated his plan would save the government $125 billion over 10 years.

That $125 billion in savings, however, would come from the pockets of federal employees.

  The piece continues in a similar vein discussing Republican-supported legislation that would make it easier for federal employees to be disciplined, fired, and restricted in their conference expenditures–all  reasonable proposals. It cites federal employee union officials on the difficulties these policies would place on federal workers.

  But the piece fails to mention the elephant in the room: federal employees are compensated more generously than their private-sector counterparts.

  Using data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the average wage for a federal civilian employee in 2013 was $81,076, compared to the average wage of $55,424 for private-sector employees. “

 

Cato reports

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Government Has Paid Millions For Workers To Stay Home

 

 

 

 

The federal government has shelled out more than $700 million in paid leave to more than 57,000 employees who were home from work for time periods stretching from one month to three years, a Government Accountability Office report has found.

  In a 62-page report published Monday, the GAO analyzed why so many federal employees were home and getting paid for such long periods of time and they discovered a variety of reasons.”

 

Paid Leave

 

” In many cases, employees were home awaiting the outcome of investigations into alleged misconduct and criminal actions. Some racked up paid leave for “physical fitness activities,” and others were away from work seeking professional development. Employees also took paid leave for “recuperation” from overseas work.

  Hundreds of federal employees remained at home, collecting a paycheck, for years.

  The report found that during a three-year period beginning in 2011, 263 employees remained on paid leave for one to three years at a cost of $31 million.

  In some cases, about five percent of the time, the federal government couldn’t come up with a reason why some employees were home on paid leave.”

 

   Those 263 employees cost the US taxpayers an average of $117,870 each to sit on their asses … “We’re in the best of hands”

 

Read more

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ranking Known State Subsidies To Private Businesses

 

 

 

 

 

” While corporate welfare, whether in the form of subsidies or bailouts, is more often associated with the federal government, state governments also regularly use generous, targeted subsidy packages to entice corporations to locate within their borders. As these charts show, corporate welfare is a significant problem at the state level, with New York State leading the rest.

  This week’s charts use data from the Subsidy Tracker 2.0 dataset compiled by Good Jobs First, a government accountability and smart-growth advocacy group, to display the states (plus the District of Columbia) that disperse the highest amounts and numbers of subsidies, along with the top parent corporations that cumulatively benefit from these subsidies. 

  Comprehensive data on total state assistance to private businesses have long been hard to access, since the relevant information has been inconsistently scattered among various government reports and websites. The Subsidy Tracker project is an ambitious effort to compile state data on subsidized projects, amounts, beneficiaries, and outcomes in one location. The dataset distinguishes between 11 types of subsidies, including tax credits and rebates, property tax abatements, low-cost loans, infrastructure assistance, and enterprise zones. The dataset is a constantly updated work-in-progress; while it does not yet contain every single state subsidy, it is one of the most comprehensive sources of state subsidies assembled so far. Additionally, the database compilers decided to count sales tax exemptions on business purchases of inputs as a “subsidy.” However, some economists argue that applying sales taxes to input purchases would inefficiently favor vertically integrated firms over firms that purchase inputs from other businesses. Therefore, this kind of sales tax exemption is not a “subsidy,” but an efficient tax policy. Despite these important limitations, the dataset can give us an early glimpse of the rough value of the  subsidies that each state issues. The User Guide provides further details on the methodology.

  The first chart displays the states known to have extended cumulative subsidies exceeding $1 billion, according to the dataset. In the top portion, the states are ranked, left to right, from the highest amount of subsidies to the lowest amount of subsidies. In the bottom portion, the equivalent number of deals are displayed for each state. 

  New York state clearly leads the pack, extending a known 71,759 subsidy deals worth $21.71 billion. The second highest corporate beneficiary in the dataset, Alcoa, received a plum deal from the Empire State in 2007, raking in an astounding $5.6 billion to build an aluminum plant. “

Veronique de Rugy at Mercatus has much more on state funded corporate welfare

 

Rand Paul Mocks The NIH For ‘Origami Condom’

 

 

 

 

 

 

” Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) took aim Wednesday at the National Institutes of Health for blaming the agency’s slow response to the Ebola outbreak on budget cuts.

” We have people who go blithely on TV and say we don’t have enough money to study Ebola. Have you seen what the NIH spends money on?” Paul, a prospective 2016 presidential candidate, said at a campaign rally for Republican congressional candidates Dave Brat and Ed Gillespie.

Nine-hundred thirty-nine thousand dollars spent to discover whether or not male fruit flies would like to consort with younger female fruit flies,” the senator said to laughter. “One hundred seventeen thousand dollars spent to determine if most monkeys are right handed and like to throw poop with their right hands.”

 

 

 

 

” And the NIH spent $2.4 million for an “Origami condom,” said Paul, who said he spared folks in the room an explanation because it was a family audience.

  Paul appeared to be referring to a project to “radically” redesign the condom for the 21st century, according to the Origami website, in part to reduce HIV transmission.

  The NIH, Paul said, now spends about $30 billion a year, up from $17 billion in 2000.

” When they say they don’t have enough money with their big cuts, look at the bottom line,” Paul said. “No money has been cut in Washington, but it’s about time we do cut money in Washington.”

 

The Hill

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prefer GOP On Seven Of 13 Election Issues; Democrats, On Just Four

 

2014 Midterm Issues: Importance and Party Advantage

 

 

” The Republicans in Congress hold significant leads over the Democrats on four of the six issues that U.S. registered voters say are most important in determining how they will vote in November: the economy, the way the federal government is working, the situation with Islamic militants in Iraq and Syria, and the federal budget deficit. Democrats, by contrast, top their Republican rivals on just one of the six: “equal pay for women.”

  These results are from a Sept. 25-30 poll in which Gallup asked registered voters to rate the importance of 13 issues to their vote for Congress, and then to indicate which party would do a better job on each issue. The accompanying graph simultaneously displays the rankings of these issues on both dimensions. The higher an issue is, the greater the Republican Party’s advantage. And the farther to the right an issue is, the more important it is to the electorate.

  The 13 issues measured in the new poll include eight that appeared in a Gallup Poll conducted in April, before the midterm campaign season came into full bloom, plus five new ones. In total, six issues were rated above the average of 69%, in terms of the percentage of voters saying they are extremely or very important to their vote:

  1. the economy (88%)
  2. the availability of good jobs (86%)
  3. the way the federal government is working (81%)
  4. the situation with Islamic militants in Iraq and Syria (78%)
  5. equal pay for women (75%) and
  6. the federal budget deficit (73%)

  On the No. 1 issue, the economy, Republicans have more than doubled their April lead over Democrats, to 11 percentage points. “

 

Read the rest at Gallup

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poll: Americans Worry _ Can Government Protect Us?

 

Govt Poll

 

Click for PDF of poll results

 

 

” Americans lack confidence in the government’s ability to protect their personal safety and economic security, a sign that their widespread unease about the state of the nation extends far beyond politics, according to the latest Associated Press-GfK poll.

  With Election Day about a month away, more than half those in the survey said Washington can do little to effectively lessen threats such as climate change, mass shootings, racial tensions, economic uncertainty and an unstable job market.

  For many of those questioned in the poll, conducted before doctors in Texas diagnosed a Liberian man with the Ebola virus, the concern starts with the economy.

  The poll found that 9 in 10 of those most likely to vote in the Nov. 4 election call the economy an extremely or very important issue. Teasdale is among those who say the slow recovery from the recession is a top concern.

  Despite improvements nationally, business is far from booming in his state, Teasdale said. He’s been supplementing his stagnant salary by renovating and renting out duplexes and has little faith the situation will improve soon. He wants government to get out of the way of business.

” If you’re putting so much restriction on them where it isn’t practical for them to expand or grow, why should they?” Teasdale asked.

  Those surveyed also pointed to events such as the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, that followed the fatal police shooting an unarmed black 18-year-old and the beheading of a woman in an Oklahoma food processing plant, apparently at the hand of a suspended co-worker.

” This is the first time I’ve felt insecure in my own country,” said Jan Thomas, 75, of Stevensville, Montana. “Especially after the beheading in Oklahoma. That’s scary.”

  The poll found that Democrats tend to express more faith in the government’s ability to protect them than do Republicans. Yet even among Democrats, just 27 percent are confident the government can keep them safe from terrorist attacks. Fewer than 1 in 5 say so on each of the other issues, including climate change.”

   Another first for the gentleman from “Hope & Change” . He’s the best friend fans of liberty have ever had , albeit unintentionally … Read the rest from AP News

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