Tag Archives: congress

It had to be this, George W. Bush, or gay marriage

Global warming, which in addition to being the reason for more snow, less snow, higher temperatures, lower temperatures, more rain, droughts, hurricanes (except those that hit New Orleans, those are due to George W. Bush), floods, not enough crops, too many crops, and all other manner of unpleasant weather, is now also the reason more women are turning to prostitution to earn a living.

I’ve often said all problems can be blamed on global warming, gay marriage, or George W. Bush, and here it is, taken to a level that would only really make sense in The Onion.

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Government in action

How much waste can one dig up?  $27 Million on pottery classes?  How about $30K on gaydar.

The National Science Foundation spent $30,000 to fund a study done by the University of Washington and Cornell University’s to measure “gaydar” – the ability of people to identify sexual orientation merely by appearance. The researchers confirmed that “gaydar” exists, writing that participants were about 60% accurate when attempting to identify sexual orientation by appearance.

I don’t even know what to say.


Congress passes bill requiring the hiring of leprechauns

Well, the might as well.  The EPA is enforcing a law (signed by G.W. Bush, for those of you who assume every government overreach is a Democrat thing) that requires a fuel additive that does not exist.

As a screen shot of EPA’s renewable fuels website confirms, so far this year – just as in 2011 – the supply of cellulosic biofuel in gallons totals zero.

“EPA’s decision is arbitrary and capricious. We fail to understand how EPA can maintain a requirement to purchase a type of fuel that simply doesn’t exist,” stated Charles Drevna, president of American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), the Washington-based trade association that represents the oil refining and petrochemicals industries.

“We’ll fund additional research in cutting-edge methods of producing ethanol, not just from corn but from wood chips and stalks or switch grass,” President G.W. Bush said in his 2006 State of the Union address. “Our goal is to make this new kind of ethanol practical and competitive within six years.”
So, in 2007, Bush idiotically signed the Energy Independence and Security Act. Beyond prohibiting Thomas Edison’s ground-breaking incandescent light bulb by 2014, EISA’s Renewable Fuel Standard mandated cellulosic ethanol.

The question:  “Why is this any of Congress’ business?” never gets asked.


No Confidence

Remember Congressman Hank Johnson (D-GA)? The fellow concerned that Guam would tip over?

I’m just catching up on some things… did you know he was re-elected in November?  That inspires confidence in the American voting public, doesn’t it?


Governed By Simpletons: A Civics Lesson

From the always correct and wise Charles Schumer (D-NY)


Republicans talk may not match walk

Or, at least, match their desire to take responsibility.  According to Politico, many prominent Republicans are turning down the opportunity to serve on the House Appropriations committee, where they would presumably be casting votes to cut spending.

“Anybody who’s a Republican right now, come June, is going to be accused of hating seniors, hating education, hating children, hating clean air and probably hating the military and farmers, too,” said Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), a fiscal conservative who is lobbying to become chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. “So much of the work is going to be appropriations related. There’s going to be a lot of tough votes. So some people may want to shy away from the committee. I understand it.”

Kingston said he’s approached Bachmann, King and Westmoreland about the committee, and they all told him they weren’t interested.

That leaves Republican leaders in a dilemma: How do they live up to the tea-party-driven effort to slash spending if the committee that controls the purse is still dominated by old bulls and senior lawmakers who are only grudgingly giving up earmarks?

Answer:  They won’t.  Because while there’s big talk about responsibility and cost containment, the real goal is power.  New boss, old boss, etc.  I’ll believe different when I see different.  Hopefully they’ll prove me wrong, but I think it’s more likely we’ll see a lot of gridlock, and the same ‘blame the other party’ strategy the Democrats used while they had an overwhelming majority.


Not Solving the Problem

Please don’t take this the wrong way, as I’m all for reducing the tax burden on small businesses.  But The One is not of a great economic mind, even though everyone seems to think He is all knowing.

The problem most small businesses face is not one of a lack of cash.  The problem also isn’t that a credit crunch is keeping small businesses from growing, as they certainly are able to finance growth through borrowing.  Alas, small businesses, as well as lots of big businesses, are holding (hoarding) cash.

The reason companies are hoarding cash and not growing, which is very odd, has to do with all the other stuff the Administration and this Congress have done.  Companies are not going to grow, and they are not going to hire people, when they have no idea what the costs of those investments (or the tax rate on the returns of those investments) will be.

No one knows what the health care mess is going to cost (other than knowing the answer is ‘more’.)  No one knows what Cap and Trade might do to tax rates.  No one knows if they will start taking the private property of businesses or individuals in addition to taking income.

Put that on top of the uncertainty on the demand side of the equation, where individuals are also hoarding cash instead of buying stuff (in the case of the wealthy, for the same reasons as businesses), and you get a nice little cycle of worry that slows (stops) recovery.

It all traces back to the madness we’ve seen these last 18 months.  And while tax breaks to businesses certainly won’t hurt, I don’t think they will help in this case.  (Which will be fodder for the 2012 elections, as the Left will point to the failure of tax breaks to fix the economy as a reason to raise taxes).

The only way we see things get started again is a sweep in November to remove power from the Democratic party, and the overturn of the health care bill in the courts.  When that happens, tax breaks on investment will be welcome and effective.


70? Try ‘Not At Any Age’

The Miami Herald reports today on consideration among Economists and members of Congress of raising the minimum age for Social Security benefits to 70.

No one who’s slated to receive benefits in the next decade or two is likely to be affected, but there’s a gentle, growing and unusually bipartisan push to raise the retirement age for full Social Security benefits for people born in the 1960s and after.

The suggestions are being taken seriously after decades when they were politically impossible because officials – and, increasingly, their constituents – are confronting the inescapable challenge of the nation’s enormous debt.

Social Security was created in 1935 with a retirement age of 65, but since then life expectancy at that age has increased by about six years, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.

Today the full Social Security benefit retirement age is 66 for people born from 1943 to 1954. It then increases by two months for each birth year (66 years and two months for those born in 1955, 66 and four months for those born in 1956 and so forth), until those born in 1960 or later get full benefits at age 67.

Raising the age eventually to 70 could prove to be politically acceptable because it wouldn’t have an immediate social impact, but it would demonstrate that politicians are resolute enough to mend one of the government’s most popular social programs and to tackle the national debt.

To borrow a phrase from The One:  Let me be clear.  I was born in 1970.  I guarantee I will not get Social Security.  Ever.  By the time I hit 65, there will be means testing, and Social Security will be open about the fact that it is simply a wealth redistribution scheme from people who work to people who don’t, with a new twist that people who don’t work who don’t need Social Security (and all of my financial planning is done with the assumption that Social Security will not be available) also pay for those who do.  I’ll be 69 in 2039, the year they admit they won’t have enough money.

Last week the CBO issued a report suggesting that some adjustments must be made to Social Security’s financing. It projected that under the current rules, the system won’t be able to pay scheduled benefits starting in 2039.

However, the CBO also found that raising the full retirement age to 68 starting with workers born after 1966, or to 70 for workers born after 1978, and raising it gradually before that wouldn’t significantly improve the system’s financial outlook.

The CBO said that raising the age to 68 would reduce Social Security spending by only 3 percent, or 0.2 percent of the GDP, in 2040. A retirement age of 70 would save 6 percent, or 0.4 percent of the GDP.

The lawmakers stress that raising the full-retirement age should be only one of a series of Social Security changes.

Their views represent a subtle but important shift. Traditionally, Social Security was considered “the third rail” of politics – touch it and you die – because people cherished their benefits so much.

That changed only once, in 1983, when a bipartisan Social Security commission’s recommendations led to increases in payroll taxes and a gradual rise in the retirement age, putting the system on a path to solvency for decades.

In the years since, however, proposals for more changes have gone nowhere, but the debt threat is forcing another look.

No one in Congress has the courage to stand up and say what is true, that Social Security needs a complete overhaul (or, if I had my way, needs to be eliminated).  We can not continue to make promises like this, and we can’t afford to keep the ones already made.  So plan like I am, assume Social Security will be gone when you retire.


I’m pretty sure this is one thing both parties would agree

I’d really like to see someone propose this legislation, per a suggestion from a letter to the WSJ

Daniel Henninger’s “A Plague of Vagueness” (Wonder Land, July 1) is wonderful. It is highly likely that no member of Congress has yet completely read any of the recent 2000-page bills that are fundamentally reshaping our economy and the role of government in our society. It is near certain that not a single legislator read these bills before voting on them.

Since 2004, candidates for public office are required by law to state that they have personally seen and approved any campaign ad. I think it would be reasonable—and truly should garner full bipartisan support—to demand a law which simply requires our legislators to read the laws that they pass.

Suppose a “yes” vote also requires a signed statement, before the vote, that says, “I have personally read this law, in its entirety, and approve its content.” Could any simpler idea have more profound impact in reversing congressional dysfunction and rescuing Congress from its dreadful approval ratings?

It would be interesting to watch Congress debate its way out of this simple procedural bill.

Robert D. Arnott

Newport Beach, California

Somehow, I doubt we’ll see it; no one in either of the two major parties would support such lunacy.

Via Cafe Hayek


I love the internet

Without it, we might think the people in Congress are smart or something.

I present:  Guam might tip over

and….

“I don’t care what the Constitution says.”

These two better get Changed ™ in 2010.

And let’s not forget the Executive branch and our 3000% decrease in premiums.  I guess the teleprompter told him to say it.


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