Category: Pork/Earmarks

Here are the 10,535 pages of ObamaCare condensed to 4 sentences

...and then I told them If they like their doctors, like their health plans, they could keep them...

…and then I told them If they like their doctors, like their health plans, they could keep them…

Here are the 10,535 pages of ObamaCare condensed to 4 sentences
As humorous as this sounds…..every last word of it is absolutely TRUE!

1. In order to insure the uninsured, we first have to uninsure the insured.

2. Next, we require the newly uninsured to be re-insured.

3. To re-insure the newly uninsured, they are required to pay extra charges to be re-insured.

4. The extra charges are required so that the original insured, who became uninsured, and then became re-insured, can pay enough extra so that the original uninsured can be insured, which will be free of charge to them.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is called “redistribution of wealth” ,or, by its more common name, SOCIALISM, and of course the Architect Jonathan Gruber absolutely admitted it.  Breathtaking coverup by the self-proclaimed “most transparent Presidency ever”.

Click here for the Gruber Confession by the Washington Post.

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$10G to watch grass grow: Coburn report details worst examples of government waste

The government spent $10,000 to watch this type of grass grow. (USDA.GOV)

The government spent $10,000 to watch this type of grass grow. (USDA.GOV)

As American taxpayers worried about the terror threat from the Islamic State, the crisis at the border and the economy, the U.S. government spent their money to give rabbits massages, to teach sea monkeys to synchronize swim and to literally watch grass grow.

These and other examples of wasteful government spending were detailed by Republican Sen. Tom Coburn in his annual “Wastebook,” his final edition since he is retiring early next year.

“I have learned from these experiences that Washington will never change itself,” Coburn, R-Okla., said in a statement. “But even if the politicians won’t stop stupid spending, taxpayers always have the last word.”

The first example cited in the report is the millions spent on what one attorney called the government’s “dirty little secret”: paid administrative leave for troublesome employees. Workers who were placed on leave for disciplinary reasons, such as misconduct, security concerns or criminal issues, received $20 million while on leave this year.

These workers, according to Coburn, were essentially on a paid vacation that can last for months or years. The GAO also detailed this phenomenon in a report Monday. According to the GAO, during a three-year period more than 57,000 employees were placed on leave for 30 days or more, costing taxpayers $775 million in salary alone.

Another wasteful project with a big price tag is the Pentagon’s plan to destroy $16 billion in military-grade ammunition that it deems no longer useful. Sounds pricey, right? Well add in the fact that on top of that, the feds plan to spend $1 billion just to destroy the ammo.

“The amount of surplus ammunition is now so large that the cost of destroying it will equal the full years’ salary for over 54,000 Army privates,” the report notes.

Other examples vary from the serious, to the aggravating, to just plain bizarre. One that takes the cake is the $10,000 the government spent to watch grass grow — seriously.

That project is the brainchild of the Department of Interior’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which is paying for the growth of the smooth cordgrass to be observed on a Florida reserve. The money covers “the cost to monitor grasses, restore two acres as a demonstration and publish a guide on best practices for cultivating the cordgrass, known formally as Spartina alterniflora.”

Still more examples show that while some Americans are struggling to make ends meet in a rough economy, there is a group in the U.S. getting major perks: animals.

In one instance, the government shelled out $387,000 to provide rabbits with a relaxing daily massage. The critters were treated to a “mechanical device that simulates the long, flowing strokes used in Swedish massages” to study the effect of massages on exercise recovery, according to the report.

Another animal getting a fun extracurricular activity courtesy of the U.S. taxpayers are sea monkeys. The government dropped $50,000 on a project to study the swirl of sea monkeys’ collective movements. The researchers did so by choreographing a synchronized swimming routine for the tiny shrimp.

The government also spent $856,000 to throw mountain lions on a treadmill and $171,000 to watch monkeys gamble. They also spent $331,000 on a study that led to a mind-blowing discovery, that “hungry people get cranky and aggressive.”

“With no one watching over the vast bureaucracy, the problem is not just what Washington isn’t doing, but what it is doing.” Coburn said in the statement. “Only someone with too much of someone else’s money and not enough accountability for how it was being spent could come up some of these projects.”

Other notable examples include $90 million spent to promote U.S. culture around the world, $414,000 spent on a U.S. Army video game that some in the intelligence community have worried could inadvertently train terrorists and $4.6 million spent on “lavish” homes to house Border Patrol agents in areas temporarily.

Coburn, known as “Dr. No” for his strong stance against excess spending in Washington, announced in January he is retiring from the Senate early due to ongoing health issues. The Republican had already announced he would not seek reelection but decided to leave his term two years early, in January 2014.

A Coburn spokesperson told FoxNews.com that the senator has said that answers about if and how the “Wastebook” will continue will have to wait until next year. The spokesperson said Coburn hopes every lawmaker will make monitoring government waste a priority, but that one does not have to be a current lawmaker to do so.’

Click to read the “Wastebook.”

U.S. debt balloons to $7 TRILLION more than it was when Obama took office Total federal government debt has increased by 66 per cent since Barack Obama became president Stunning milestone is revealed by Treasury Department website that discloses burgeoning numbers at the end of every business day It took more than 223 years for the US to accumulate its first $7 trillion in debt Obama has repeated the depressing feat in less than 67 months

The United States government’s accumulated debts have grown by more than $7 trillion – with a ‘t’ – since Barack Obama became president on January 20, 2009.

The sad milestone was revealed on July 31 by the U.S. Department of the Treasury on a ‘debt to the penny’ website that calculates the debt at the end of every business day.

On Obama’s first day in office the debt stood at $10.626 trillion. Last Thursday it reached $17.687 trillion.

Somber salute to the economy? When Barack Obama came home from Camp David on Sunday, the nation was $7 trillion poorer than it was when he first arrived at the White House on January 20, 2009  Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2715986/U-S-debt-balloons-7-TRILLION-Obama-took-office.html#ixzz39iYB7IAo  Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Somber salute to the economy? When Barack Obama came home from Camp David on Sunday, the nation was $7 trillion poorer than it was when he first arrived at the White House on January 20, 2009 Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2715986/U-S-debt-balloons-7-TRILLION-Obama-took-office.html#ixzz39iYB7IAo Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Up, up, up: The national debt has grown steadily during the Obama years, jumping by a total of $7 trillion as of July 31  Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2715986/U-S-debt-balloons-7-TRILLION-Obama-took-office.html#ixzz39iYOlGS3  Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Up, up, up: The national debt has grown steadily during the Obama years, jumping by a total of $7 trillion as of July 31 Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2715986/U-S-debt-balloons-7-TRILLION-Obama-took-office.html#ixzz39iYOlGS3 Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

America’s first 43 presidents took 223 years to rack up the country’s first $7 trillion in red ink.

Obama has duplicated that dubious achievement in less than five years and seven months.

After the same number of days in office, former President George W. Bush had increased the national debt by a comparatively paltry $2.720 trillion.

Bill Clinton’s debt load at the same point in his presidency had increased by just $1,324 trillion.

The right-leaning Cybercast News Service was first to point out that Obama had cleared the $7 trillion hurdle in added financial obligations.

During a July 2008 campaign speech in North Dakota, then-Senator Obama ripped into the Bush administration for running up the federal debt by a total of $4 billion near the end of his second term.

‘The problem is,’ he said, ‘is that the way Bush has done it over the last eight years is to take out a credit card from the Bank of China in the name of our children, driving up our national debt from $5 trillion for the first 42 presidents – #43 added $4 trillion by his lonesome, so that we now have over $9 trillion of debt that we are going to have to pay back – $30,000 for every man, woman and child.’

‘That’s irresponsible,’ Obama said then. ‘It’s unpatriotic.’

The Republican Party ripped into the president on Monday with an email blast charging that after ‘[i]gnoring warnings from all corners, Obama has one of the worst records on the federal debt in U.S. history.’

The White House didn’t immediately respond to a request for a response.

In February the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that ‘federal debt held by the public will equal 74 percent of GDP at the end of this year and 79 percent in 2024.’

At the end of 2008, that number was just 39 per cent. At current rates of spending, by 2019 the debt will be larger than the nation’s annual GDP.

‘Such large and growing federal debt,’ the CBO warns, ‘could have serious negative consequences, including restraining economic growth in the long term, giving policymakers less flexibility to respond to unexpected challenges, and eventually increasing the risk of a fiscal crisis.’

Debt held by the public makes up about 71 per cent of the total federal debt. The rest consists of ‘intragovernmental holdings’ – government-speak for gaps in the Medicare Trust Fund, the Social Security Trust Fund, and other revolving funds.

Those lines on Uncle Sam’s balance sheet totaled $5,036 trillion at the end of last Thursday, a number that represents how far behind the government is in meeting its long-term obligations to retirees and other benefit-takers.

Government spending has skyrocketed during Obama’s time in office due to a combinations of his policies, a spendthrift Congress and recession-related automatic stabilizers like unemployment insurance that can quickly drain the Treasury.

The annual deficit – a single year’s addition to the larger debt – was $1.413 trillion in 2009, Obama’s first year in the White House. He has steadily reduced it year-on-year, and the 2014 deficit is expected to be $492 billion.

That number, however, is still larger than any other annual deficit in the history of the U.S. before he became president.

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How Did the Clintons Become So Rich?

The real scandal is not that the former president and first lady are so wealthy, but how they got that wealthy.

NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 24: Hillary Clinton, Chelsea Clinton and Bill Clinton attend the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting at The Shertaon New York Hotel on September 24, 2013 in New York City. (JStone / Shutterstock.com)

NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 24: Hillary Clinton, Chelsea Clinton and Bill Clinton attend the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting at The Shertaon New York Hotel on September 24, 2013 in New York City. (JStone / Shutterstock.com)

“Is Hillary our Mitt Romney?”asked MSNBC’s Krystal Ball in a recent segment of her TV show. Ball’s statement came on the heels of several comments by Clinton that made her seem completely out of touch with ordinary Americans — that she is not “ truly well off,” that she and her husband were compelled to give speeches for six figures apiece because they were “ dead broke” upon leaving the White House.

Indeed, considering that Bill and Hillary Clintonhave made more than $100 million since leaving the White House in 2000, it’s not surprising that many Americans see the former first couple as hopelessly detached from the problems of ordinary Americans despite presenting themselves as going through the very same struggles as other Americans.

“We had no money when we got there [to the White House],” explained Hillary Clinton in comments to ABC’s Diane Sawyer. “And we struggled to piece together the resources for mortgages for houses, for Chelsea’s education. It was not easy. Bill has worked really hard. And it’s been amazing to me. He’s worked very hard.”

Yet many Americans have also worked very hard, and they have not amassed the same kind of wealth as the Clintons, with multiple homes and over $100 million of earned income in the past decade. But underneath the social distance their wealth creates, there is a much deeper and more troubling truth. The real scandal is not that the Clintons are so wealthy but how they got that wealth.

Poor rascal

In 2009, Bill Clinton addressed the Campus Progress National Summit, a gathering of progressive students in Washington, D.C. “I never made any money until I left the White House,”he told the students. “I had the lowest net worth, adjusted for inflation, of any president elected in the last 100 years, including President [Barack] Obama. I was one poor rascal when I took office. But after I got out, I made a lot of money.”

Clinton didn’t just make “a lot of money” when he left the White House. Together, the Clintonspulled in $111 million from 2000 to 2007 — far more than what most people would consider a lot.

Thanks to the Office of Government Ethics (OGE), which compiles personal financial disclosures from federal public officials, and the ethics laws governing the U.S. Senate, we know a little bit about how the Clintons made their money. Federal disclosure laws require not only officeholders to disclose their finances but also their spouses, since spousal income is shared. Thus Hillary Clinton’s disclosures both as a U.S. senator and as secretary of state are a window into this shared fortune, one that was gleaned from the very same interest groups and corporations over which the Clintons had authority.

In 1999, Bill Clinton made repealing the Depression-era Glass-Steagall Act — which separated commercial and investment banking — a priority. He commanded a bipartisan push in repealing the law, which was primarily advocated for by Wall Street lobbyists. Not long after his pen hit the paper to repeal the law, Citigroup, a top beneficiary of the repeal, recruited Clinton’s Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin to join as an executive at the firm. Rubin went on to be one of Citigroup’shighest-paid officials, pulling in $115 million in pay from 1999 and 2008.

While Rubin was made rich from Wall Street deregulation, his boss went on the lecture circuit. In February of 2001, Clinton had been out of the White House for less than a month when he gave his first paid speech, to none other than Morgan Stanley — another beneficiary of and advocate for Clinton’s Wall Street deregulation — for $125,000. His next address in Manhattan was at Credit Suisse First Boston, which gave him an additional $125,000. His paid speaking arrangements took him around the world, from Canada to Hong Kong, speaking to a variety of interest groups with major public policy interests, including the American Israel Chamber of Commerce and the investment banking giant CLSA. Clinton had also made passing the North American Free Trade Agreement a priority during his presidency, so it is no surprise that major Canadian firms such as the Jim Pattison Group ($150,000) were happy to pay to hear a few remarks from him as well.

The Wall Street payments were significant in that they represented a form of gratitude not only for Bill Clinton’s deregulation of Wall Street. That year Hillary Clinton, now a senator from New York,voted for a bankruptcy bill that made it much harder for people to qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy; the bill was backed primarily by banks and credit card issuers.

Bill Clinton in his spree of speeches repeatedly returned to two of the banking giants at the heart of political power in Washington: Citigroup and Goldman Sachs. In 2004 he took home a quarter-million dollars for a Citigroup address in Paris; Goldman Sachs gave him $125,000 for a New York City address. That address must have been a real hit for the former president, because Goldman invited him back for a series of lectures the next year, at Kiawah Island, South Carolina ($125,000); Paris ($250,000); and Greensboro, Georgia ($150,000). The next year, Citigroup Venture Capital invited him for a $150,000 speech, and the Mortgage Bankers Association — representing the folks at the very heart of the financial crisis — gave him $150,000 for a speech in Chicago.

Goldman and Citigroup repeatedly paid Clinton for the next few years, and a number of other major corporate interest groups — such as the National Retail Federation ($150,000) and Merrill Lynch ($175,000) — also joined in the fun.

After Hillary Clinton lost her presidential bid and was appointed to the State Department, she and her husband had brought in more than $100 million from books and speeches. By any measure, they had far more wealth than they needed to pay debts and to take care of their daughter’s future — the reasons Hillary Clinton cited to Diane Sawyer.

Friends and enemies

In June of 2010, months after the Affordable Care Act was signed into law and the regulatory battle over the health overhaul was set into motion, the former president took $175,000 from the main health insurance lobbying organization, America’s Health Insurance Plans. A year after Hillary Clinton called Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and his family “friends” of her family, Bill Clinton was paid $250,000 to speak to the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt, which was closely tied to the Mubarak regime. As Hillary Clinton grappled with foreign policy issues in Pakistan, Turkey and the Middle East, Bill Clinton took home $175,000 from the Middle East Institute, a think tank that does work in those areas. In 2011 she filmed a video congratulating Kuwait on its independence; a few months later, he was paid a $175,000 honorarium from the Kuwait America Foundation.

Shortly after stepping down from her post, the she then embarked on her own spree of paid speeches, which don’t have to be disclosed because neither Clinton is a public official anymore. But from voluntarily disclosures and press reports, we know that she gave at least two paid speeches to Goldman Sachs for $200,000 each. Although she has not disclosed her full remarks at these events, a number of attendees talked to Politico about her tone and content. “Clinton offered a message that the collected plutocrats found reassuring, according to accounts offered by several attendees, declaring that the banker-bashing so popular within both political parties was unproductive and indeed foolish,” read the article. We won’t know the full extent of payments for speeches unless Clinton chooses to release them or she officially declares for president and has to release her personal financial documents since 2013.

Common people

What has been laid out here is only a small sample of the vortex of wealth that Hillary and Bill Clinton have received from corporations, foundations, foreign organizations and others with an interest in U.S. public policy. No one with any knowledge of politics believes these payments to be disinterested or impartial; they are part of a larger political system that rewards politicians for fealty and obedience. The Clintons were simply following a path laid by other politicos, such as former U.S. Rep. Billy Tauzin of Louisiana, who raked in millions of dollars as a drug lobbyist after crafting an industry-friendly Medicare overhaul, and former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, who has leveraged his experience in government to enrich himself influence-peddling for a variety of corporate clients without ever having to officially register as a lobbyist.

Given their immense wealth and how they got it — politicized kickbacks from the most powerful political forces in Washington, on Wall Street and around the globe — the Clintons would do well to admit that they are unusually wealthy and stop trying to pass themselves off as ordinary folks. If they don’t, their fate may very well resemble Romney’s, as mounting public anger over growing income and wealth inequality could prevent them from returning to the White House in 2016.

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Obama defends redistribution

President Obama on Dec. 3, 2013 in the South Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington.(AP)

President Obama on Dec. 3, 2013 in the South Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington.(AP)

 

OBAMA DEFENDS REDISTRIBUTION – President Obama today heads to the liberal Center for American Progress to talk about ObamaCare and the economy. And while the president will certainly hit talking points about how Americans, one day freed of concerns over health insurance, can pursue their dreams of higher education and economic betterment, the basic message is likely to be the same one he has made in his other “major” economic addresses over the years: the need for more redistribution of wealth to deal with income inequality. Remember that while the redistributive properties of ObamaCare are causing mainstream Americans to recoil from the president and his health law, redistribution is its cardinal virtue to many on the left.

[Watch Fox: House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., discusses how the administration is attacking Republicans for their opposition to ObamaCare in the 10 a.m. ET hour]

Not paying attention – Obama has pursued his policy aims with dogged persistency since taking office and has made no secret of his central aim of shifting wealth. The surprise from many reporters at seeing millions of health insurance policies vaporized and in seeing premiums for those already covered leap astronomically indicates either massive inattention or a facile response to a story they can no longer ignore. Obama’s law turns insurance companies into vehicles for redistribution: heavily regulated, highly protected public utilities with a social-engineering mission. The fact that Obama is emphasizing this point now suggests he knows just how bad the days ahead will be for his law and his party. By hardening the resolve of the third of Americans standing with him on ObamaCare, Obama hopes to make good on his promise to have the law go into effect despite massive opposition and survive at least until the end of his term.

 

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$1 trillion in Tax Increases Over the Coming Decade … thanks Democrats

No cuts in site…

WASHINGTON –  An exhausted Senate approved its first budget in four years early Saturday, calling for almost $1 trillion in tax increases over the coming decade while sheltering safety net programs targeted by House Republicans.

Despite the fanfare — and the spectacle of senators lingering for hours into the weekend to vote on dozens of amendments before the final tally — the budget passed by the smallest of margins, 50-49. Four Democrats facing tough re-elections voted against it.

The resolution also stands no chance of passing Congress in its current form. The nonbinding but politically symbolic measure caters to party stalwarts on the liberal edge of the spectrum just as the House GOP measure is crafted to appeal to more recent tea party arrivals.

The vote, though, follows four years of pressure and taunting by House Republicans who excoriated the Senate for failing to approve a formal year-long budget throughout most of President Obama’s first term. The government has been limping by on a series of partial-year budget bills, the latest of which was approved this week to fund the rest of fiscal 2013.

The final vote early Saturday morning was preceded by a marathon session of votes on dozens of amendments to the 2014 budget proposal. Many of the proposals were offered in hopes of inflicting political damage on Democratic senators up for re-election in GOP-leaning states like Alaska and Louisiana.

The two main budget proposals produced by Senate Democrats and House Republicans are miles apart. The Senate plan does not attempt to balance the budget at all, though it does claim to reduce the deficit by imposing nearly $1 trillion in tax increases on top of more than $600 billion in higher taxes on top earners enacted in January. It also includes $875 billion in spending cuts, generated by modest cuts to federal health care programs, domestic agencies and the Pentagon and reduced government borrowing costs.

The House plan — by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., his party’s vice presidential candidate last year — claims $4 trillion more in savings over the period than Senate Democrats by imposing major cuts in Medicaid, food stamps and other safety net programs for the needy. It would also transform the Medicare health care program for seniors into a voucher-like system for future recipients.

“We have presented very different visions for how our country should work and who it should work for,” said Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., who chairs the Senate Budget Committee. “But I am hopeful that we can bridge this divide.”

Congressional budgets are planning documents that leave actual changes in revenues and spending for later legislation, and this was the first the Democratic-run Senate has approved in four years. That is testament to the political and mathematical contortions needed to write fiscal plans in an era of record-breaking deficits that until this year exceeded an eye-popping $1 trillion annually, and to the parties’ profoundly conflicting views.

“I believe we’re in denial about the financial condition of our country,” Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, top Republican on the Budget panel, said of Democratic efforts to boost spending on some programs. “Trust me, we’ve got to have some spending reductions.”

Though the shortfalls have shown signs of easing slightly and temporarily, there is no easy path to the two parties finding compromise — which the first months of 2013 have amply illustrated.

Already this year, Congress has raised taxes on top earners after narrowly averting tax boosts on virtually everyone else, tolerated $85 billion in automatic spending cuts, temporarily sidestepped a federal default and prevented a potential government shutdown.

By sometime this summer, the government’s borrowing limit will have to be extended again — or a default will be at risk — and it is unclear what Republicans may demand for providing needed votes. It is also uncertain how the two parties will resolve the differences between their two budgets, something many believe simply won’t happen.

Both sides have expressed a desire to reduce federal deficits. But President Barack Obama is demanding a combination of tax increases and spending cuts to do so, while GOP leaders say they won’t consider higher revenues but want serious reductions in Medicare and other benefit programs that have rocketed deficits skyward.

Obama plans to release his own 2014 budget next month, an unveiling that will be studied for whether it signals a willingness to engage Republicans in negotiations or play political hardball.

In a long day that began Friday morning, senators plodded through scores of amendments — all of them non-binding but some delivering potent political messages.

They voted in favor of giving states more powers to collect sales taxes on online purchases their citizens make from out-of-state Internet companies, and to endorse the proposed Keystone XL pipeline that is to pump oil from Canada to Texas refineries.

They also approved amendments voicing support for eliminating the $2,500 annual cap on flexible spending account contributions imposed by Obama’s health care overhaul, and for charging regular postal rates for mailings by political parties, which currently qualify for the lower prices paid by non-profits.

In a rebuke to one of the Senate’s most conservative members, they overwhelmingly rejected a proposal by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., to cut even deeper than the House GOP budget and eliminate deficits in just five years.

The Democratic budget envisions $975 billion in unspecified new taxes over the coming 10 years. There would be an equal amount of spending reductions coming chiefly from health programs, defense and reduced interest payments as deficits get smaller than previously anticipated.

This year’s projected deficit of nearly $900 billion would fall to around $700 billion next year and bottom out near $400 billion in 2016 before trending upward again.

Shoehorned into the package is $100 billion for public works projects and other programs aimed at creating jobs.
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