The recent FAA bill

 

Since we are past the pressing issues of the last couple of weeks, and President Obama is on vacation giving the rest of us a needed break, I decided to re-examine a subject that garnered a lot of attention after the debt ceiling disaster.

The failure of the Senate to pass an FAA extension bill was an oversight and a disaster in itself.

In the last weeks of July 2011 with Congress going on vacation a new crisis arose. The issue- the FAA extension bill was not passed. What to do, what to do? President Obama went on the offensive and wasted little time in blaming Republicans for going on break before passing the FAA extension bill.

President Obama charged to the stage shouting he was going to make everyone come back from recess and pass this important bill. Everyone needed to put aside politics, come together, and yada yada yada!

Fact was the House did their job and sent the 21st FAA extension to the Senate on July 20th. Harry Reid and President Obama knew full well that the funding would run out on July 23rd and knew that for a very long time.

The House version of the FAA extension was sent over with cuts amounting to $16 million in a $200 million part of a $15 billion operation. The holdup was Senator Rockefeller, a Democrat.

Adding fuel to the fire, Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer went to the media and tossed out over-inflated employee numbers affected by the cuts and the shutdown. The shutdown created because the DEMOCRATES in the SENATE couldn’t pass the bill. But turning the focus from who’s at fault to those affected and how they are all going to suffer, is an old trick.

First we heard that 4,000 lost their jobs because of the requested cuts and that it eventually affected some 70,000 construction jobs. Wow, that sounds bad! Fact is “There were 4,000 furloughed government employees, but the actual number of FAA personnel was not known.”

In reality the cuts would eliminate a small number of jobs out of a workforce of 47,000 and save $16 million annually. They would affect a small number, (13) rural airports which are only open because the government subsidizes the cost of tickets.

Those subsidies range from $9.21 to as much as $3500 per ticket. Cool, I can fly to the middle of nowhere and some nice taxpayer will subsidize my ticket. Hey wait, I’m the taxpayer!

Those 13 subsidized rural airports do not employ 4,000 people.

What was the rush? Well it seems the geniuses in Washington neglected an important fact (What a surprise). You see every time you fly the ticket is taxed (another surprise). The tax collected funds part of the FAA (some 47,000 employees) and the AIP (Airport Improvement Project).

The clowns in the Administration failed to realize the government can only collect the ticket taxes if the FAA is operating. If there is no FAA on duty, then by law the government cannot collect the taxes, which amount to about $200 million per week, Crisis born, and once again, conceived by incompetence.

Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell had agreed to pass the legislation forwarded from the house with the included cuts. While agreeing in public, Harry Reid underhandedly only agreed to the cuts because he knew president Obama had the executive authority to override the cuts now that the debt ceiling was raised and there was funding available.

So that’s exactly what happened. The House recommended $16 million in cuts, the Senate agreed, and the President eliminated the cuts with the stroke of a pen. I think this president is taking far too many liberties!

The President’s authority to extend the funding only lasts until the end of September, when the issue will have to be addressed once again. That’s real efficient government isn’t it? Just put a patch on the problem and have to deal with it again in a couple of months.

Is it innocent inefficiency, or a ‘crisis’ card kept in the back pocket of Obama to be played at the right time in September? I suspect both, but I’m leery of the second possibility.

Anyway, while all of this was going on the AIP funding was at stake. So far the AIP, through the FAA has allocated to spend $1,301,183,208. More on that in a moment.

Why was Obama Johnny on the spot over $16 million in cuts? He couldn’t care less about $16 million in cuts or 13 rural airports, so what was it? Enter the UNION.

You see the Union is hoping to fully unionize the FAA by getting card check passed. What is card check you ask?

Currently if a group of employees at a company want to unionize there is a straight forward yes or no vote with those abstaining counted as no votes. What card check would do is force a yes or no vote with the abstaining votes not being counted at all.

That way the Union thugs only need to rally a few potential members to vote yes, intimidate others not to vote at all. In management this is referred to as the tail wagging the dog.  And we cannot allow this. The unionized FAA employees tried to wreak havoc when Reagan was President and he sent them packing. We cannot, we must not allow the union a foothold in the FAA again.

Any workforce elimination would jeopardize their chances. That’s why Bill Samuel, the AFL-CIO’s legislative director had to put his 2 cents in. You know the same Bill Samuel that is on a “Campaign to End Corporate Dominance of Our Democracy.” Union dominance of all government employment is his goal.

Hey Bill, they are not union yet, so butt out! We all know you don’t care if the government has to waste $16 million a year or $1 billion a year as long as you get yours, right?

Some of those 4,000 furloughed employees were UNION members. Possibly a few hundred of them. The union’s concern for all of the furloughed employees was nonexistent and is clearly reflected in some of the local UNION leader’s comments. 

“To have 14 of approximately 360 employees in our Local furloughed for ideological differences is unconscionable. We urge Congress to ensure these employees are made whole by receiving back pay and benefits for time lost,” Challender said.

Fourteen employees out of 360? Back pay and benefits? Really? And how many of these union employees actually ‘work’ at an airport?

What about those 70,000 construction workers that were idled? Well let’s see. There are some 200 construction projects listed. Some of those projects list cost amounts of $25,000 for installing perimeter fencing to $10 million for major construction projects.

Let’s just use raw data and do some math; 70,000 construction workers doing 200 projects equals 350 construction workers per job. The facts indicate that that number was a huge stretch when you consider some of the projects listed. Some were simply installing a perimeter fence. On what airport project would it take 350 construction workers to install a fence?

Many of the projects listed are paving projects for around $125,000 each. The employees required to do that kind of paving job would amount to about 30.

By contrast there are an estimated 1,000 workers at Ground Zero. I think it would be safe to say that all of the projects under way under the AIP might reach 15,000. 15,000 is a large number to be sure, but a far cry from 70,000.

Now back to the AIP. They have a total fund of $3.5 billion. Secretary Babbit says “they have only spent a small portion of the grant money.”  But according to the government records they have already spent $1,301,183,208. One third does not qualify as a small amount.

There are 909 listings for some 200 construction projects. A number of the grant entries are for equipment purchases, land purchases, and the like.

But I did manage to find some interesting expenditures in the list.

There are 28 entries for Environmental and Wildlife studies totaling $4,619,875.

 AIP stands for Airport Improvement Project. These are existing airports, not new ones. Environmental and wildlife studies should have already been completed. But you know those who seem to get on the governments dime NEVER SEEM TO GET OFF.

Then there are 46 entries labeled Update Airport Master Plan Study totaling $13,026,820.

That’s a whole lot of Updating to plans. In some of the listings, the plan updates cost more of the updates themselves.

There are several other entries where Update Airport Master Plan Study has been included with other expenditures. The exact amounts were not listed so I did not include them in my totals.

15 mysterious entries totaling $54,908,144 with labels like;

Update Miscellaneous Study

Conduct State System Plan Study

Non primary development projects in state block grant program

That is a whole lot of pork. $55 million for miscellaneous listings needs a lot more explaining.

Chuck Schumer came out of hiding because 38 of these projects are in NY totaling $66,436,854.

When the Democrats are protecting their pork and president Obama is protecting his union interests things usually get nasty.

Maybe it’s time to have an audit of some of these AIP projects and the people involved in them. And maybe it should be done before they spend the other $2 billion.

Some may think this is old news. Maybe so.  Maybe not. Maybe it’s relevant for a couple of reasons;

Maybe the next time President Obama starts screaming crisis, you can review the facts surrounding the FAA bill and decide for yourselves if it is in fact a crisis, or is it just another manufactured emergency.

Maybe we should take note of the incompetence displayed when the Administration failed to see the importance of the FAA bill and the tax revenues it represented.

Maybe this article may serve as an illustration of how the Unions are trying to continually fill every government job they can, making it all but impossible to get rid of those employees no matter how meaningless their jobs are or how poor their performance is. It’s just another case of the tail wagging the dog.

Or maybe this article is a glimpse into what Obama plans to reveal in his “Great Economic Salvation Plan” (or whatever the media calls it) in September. The same month the FAA extension is up for renewal.

Maybe this article will make you wonder how far Obama will push the envelope of Executive Authority by side-stepping Congress.

Maybe the photo at the top of the article is an accurate depiction of who’s flying the plane.

Another speech…oh boy.

 

 

 

 

No President has ever talked so much and said so little as this one.

 

One trademark of President Obama’s briefings, speeches, or whatever you want to call them, is they never start on time! How rude this is! This briefing was scheduled for 1:00, and then some sites later reported 1:30. The remarks began at 1:52.

This habit shows no respect for anyone’s time except his.

He began his remarks by placing the blame in the wrong place.

“the United States received a downgrade by one of the credit rating agencies — not so much because they doubt our ability to pay our debt if we make good decisions, but because after witnessing a month of wrangling over raising the debt ceiling, they doubted our political system’s ability to act.”

No, we were downgraded because they did doubt our ability to pay our debt.

“We knew from the outset that a prolonged debate over the debt ceiling — a debate where the threat of default was used as a bargaining chip — could do enormous damage to our economy and the world’s.”

You were the one who used default as a bargaining chip. You were the one chanting the warning about the downgrade. And you used it to try to force another bad bill on the American people.

“With respect to debt, our problem is not confidence in our credit — the markets continue to reaffirm our credit as among the world’s safest.”

Was this confidence reflected in the fact that the stock market tanked 200 points WHILE YOU WERE TALKING, bringing the loss for the day to over 600 points?

And for all of you who think this president is really interested in protecting Social Security and Medicare;

“and modest adjustments to health care programs like Medicare.” Adjustments means cut.

“Making these reforms doesn’t require any radical steps. What it does require is common sense and compromise.”

The downgrade indicates that radical steps are required. The S&P indicated they were looking for $4 trillion in cuts, they got $1.2 trillion. And those cuts will be renegotiated later this year.

“Republicans and Democrats on the bipartisan fiscal commission that I set up put forth good proposals.”

Let’s talk about this bipartisan fiscal commission; it was set up Feb 2010. So what have they been doing since Feb 2010? Well they presented a plan to cut $4 trillion over 10 years. 95% of those ‘cuts’ were the result of tax increases.

The proposals never got pass the commission level, failing to get 14 of 18 votes required to send it to congress. By the way those who voted against it were bipartisan as well- 4 Democrats and 3 Republicans.

David Stockman commented that the plan was “nearly incomprehensible beltway mumbo jumbo and gimmicks.”

After that the commission went into hiding. Funny thing is, shortly after that President Obama, you know the only adult in the room, stormed out of the room and went on a crusade to renew the Bush tax cuts.

Yes Obama crusaded for the renewal of the Bush tax cuts. Say it isn’t so!

“I intend to present my own recommendations over the coming weeks on how we should proceed.”

And it’s called tax and spend. Raise taxes on those paying taxes, and then give the money away.

Here’s the tax:

“we need a balanced, long-term approach..”

“tax reform that will ask those who can afford it to pay their fair share…”

“What it does require is common sense and compromise.”

And here is the spend:

“Specifically, we should extend the payroll tax cut as soon as possible, so that workers have more money in their paychecks next year and businesses have more customers next year.”

“We should continue to make sure that if you’re one of the millions of Americans who’s out there looking for a job, you can get the unemployment insurance that your tax dollars contributed to. That will also put money in people’s pockets and more customers in stores.”

Mr. President, leaders lead, they don’t show up late.

Leaders take responsibility for their failures as well as their successes.

Leaders don’t blame others, they inspire.

I’m tired of hearing speeches composed of the same old regurgitated rhetoric. I think even many Liberals are beginning to tire of it as well.

The problem with narcissism is you continue to deceive yourself long after you stop deceiving others.

 

Compromise on the debt ceiling? No thanks, I gave at the office.

 

In yet another beautiful speech delivered by President Obama last night, he encourages everyone to participate in a ‘balanced approach,’ that we should all be willing to ‘compromise,’ and ‘asks everyone to give a little without requiring anyone to sacrifice too much.’

The question is why? Why should we be willing to compromise at all? And exactly who is it that will be doing the compromising? Who is it that will be doing the ‘sacrificing?’

Will government employees be asked to sacrifice anything, and exactly what will that sacrifice consist of? Will they be asked to work for less pay or will they be required to pay a larger portion of their healthcare or retirement? The answer is of course no. They will not sacrifice, nor will they be asked to.

 

How about those living on welfare, food stamps, social security relief, or any one of a hundred government funded hand outs, what will they sacrifice? Will they accept a reduction in benefits because of the debt crisis, or will they even be asked to? Again the answer is no.

 How about the 47% of Americans who pay no Federal income tax ? What will they sacrifice? Will they suddenly have a minimum tax levied on them? There is little chance that the democrats or this Administration will ever levy taxes on those who pay nothing now.

 How about the politicians themselves? Have any of them offered or suggested that they take reductions in pay or benefits? Yet again the answer is no. No one has offered to make any sacrifice.

 So who does that leave? It leaves those of us who actually pay taxes. We are the only ones who are in the ‘sacrifice’ category. If we are the only ones who are to make the sacrifice, then why should we compromise at all?

 We pay the bills, we are the ones the country cannot function without, and yet we are the ones who are continually called upon to compromise and sacrifice.

 They want you to believe that the ‘rich’ should be asked to donate more. If fact this administration has demonized the rich as some sort of evil entity that only takes from the government and gives back nothing. What a lie this is. And yet it’s so easy for those who pay little of nothing to demand from those who pay, to pay a little more.

 President Obama recently stated he didn’t need the extra money he has. He ‘wouldn’t mind having to pay a little more.’ It’s easy to have such a casual attitude about money you have that you did not earn. And yet he is free, as is anyone, to write a check to theIRS to contribute to the government coffers. Why has he not done this? Because his sacrifice is merely words.

 Now that we have seen the only group that is being asked to compromise is those of us who already support this government, I pose the question again. Why should we compromise?

 If there are so many who will not sacrifice at all as part of this compromise, then why should we?

 Now we see who is being asked to compromise, what exactly does this compromise consist of?

 Does it consist of actual cuts? Where will the cuts take place? No one in the Obama administration has offered any specifics, but as we have already shown those who will not sacrifice, then the only place to make cuts is in those areas that do not affect the groups mentioned above. In other words entitlements are off the table. Since the entitlements are ‘off limits’ to sacrifice, what does that leave?

 We can cut the military budget. But the reductions in operations inIraqandAfghanistanwill not be enough to bring us into financial safety since our entire military budget is less than $900 billion. Against a $14 trillion deficit, how much of our national defense are we willing to give up?

 There is discretionary spending, some $600 billion a year. But is this administration willing to sacrifice this, or have they offered this as a place to make cuts? Not once! And yet this is the most likely place to begin.

 You see it’s very easy to see what Obama and the democrats are willing to cut, when you consider who will actually be affected by those cuts; nothing! This idea of ‘sacrifice’ is one-sided, which is exactly why we should not compromise.

 For you see they are not just spending monies they collect from us, they are spending money we do not have. Borrowed money. Money we have to make interest payments on. In 2010 those interest payments were $200 billion. $200 billion that could have been spent to improve the lives of the citizens of this country, but alas it is $200 billion that is spent for absolutely nothing but debt. For 2012 the interest bill is projected to be $240 billion.

 At the current rate of funds collected verses funds spent by this administration, we are going in debt at the rate of $100 billion a month.

President Obama said in his speech “To make matters worse, the recession meant that there was less money coming in, and it required us to spend even more.” “there was less coming in, and it required us to spend more.” for the president to use this rational for justifying his out of control spending, is laughable.

Do you truly believe you can spend your way out of debt? If you answer honestly, no, then how can you believe this administration can spend us out of debt on a national scale?

Obama’s been spending, and it’s not working. The estimated deficit for this year alone is $1.6 trillion. And what do we have to show for it? Has your life situation drastically improved in the last 2 years? Are there hundreds of infrastructure improvements that we can point to and say there is where the money went?

We have come to a point in history when it’s time to pay up. Pushing the problem further into the future will only make the situation worse, and much harder to deal with. Now is the time to let the ‘crap hit the fan.’ It will be tough, but it will be easier now than in the future. Talking about $2 to $3 trillion in cuts over the next 10 years is a pipe dream.

Let’s say we agreed to follow this $3 trillion over ten year plan; Logic would dictate that we cut the federal budget by $300 billion a year for ten years. But there are no specifics that follow logic. Their plan could mean $50 billion in cuts for each of the first 4 years, then a balloon increase in years 5 through 10 of $2.2 trillion.

 

Well in 4 years everyone who voted for this reduction plan will have served out their terms and be gone. There is no guarantee that the Congressmen who are in office 4 years from now will not alter the deal and kick the problem further into the future. Are we to take their word that they will stick to the deal?

Please list a time when that has actually happened. Not since Newt Gingrich was speaker of the house has congress kept their word on spending cuts.

Once we hit the debt ceiling, then truly there will be ‘shared sacrifice.’ Especially by those who have be excluded from it until now. Until then, the only shared sacrifice will be amongst us who actually are sacrificing now.

President Obama told the American people to call their congressmen. I agree, call them and tell them to stop spending our money!

We must not compromise, there is no reason to. They need us to fund this government, we do not need them to spend our money, and they know it.

Audacity of Budgets (Part 5)

  The Department of Defense 

We have come to the DOD. Some of the insight into this Department is difficult because of the nature of the Department itself. Some of the funding is for projects that relate directly to National Security interests and are not public. 

Others are weapons costs, including R&D, as well as ongoing war operations

This does not / should not excuse this Department from scrutiny or accountability.

There are a few things about the Budget Proposal for this Department that need to be looked at, and I would encourage you to do a little digging on your own, as this series is not an exhaustive research project, just a primer.

 Because a portion of this departments activities are done in secret, full financial disclosure is not readily available. But I do have a problem with the fact that virtually all of the expenditures are labeled as Discretionary Spending.

Why so much? Certainly the DOD has some in place procedures, rules, etc., that are monthly and yearly expenditures. I am very uncomfortable with the fact that all of this is Discretionary.

When there is a lack of disclosure, it will be accompanied by a lack of accountability. It opens too many opportunities and reasons to spend money without accountability. And we all know this administration loves to spend money.

And Obama’s campaign promise of the “most transparent Government ever” turned out to be yet another lie. 

Let’s begin with the funding Highlights:

Bullet point one:

The Budget also includes a series of management and acquisition reforms that will produce a net of $78 billion in savings through 2016.

Forgive me if I’m a bit skeptical when this Administration uses the terms ‘reform’ and ‘savings’. I have yet to see them save anything in this budget, even though they have claimed to in every Department we have looked at.

Looking at the bottom line in the DOD, there are no bottom line savings here either. Anyone in business management will tell you that you put cost reduction plans on the table and then forecast the actual savings. The only way you can produce Net results is if the planned cuts are applied to mandatory outlays.

Reforms under discretionary spending do not qualify, so the savings are projected not produced.. And we all know how reliable government projections are.

Bullet point seven:

Reinvests $100 billion of expected savings in high-priority areas such as the development or purchase...

Deja vu. Expected savings and reinvests? But note we are not going to cut, merely reinvest that money.

Bullet point eight:

Continues the reform agenda to achieve more efficient business operations.

Is that the same thing we are doing in bullet point one? Or is this a different reform agenda?

Bullet point nine:

Invests in new and on-going cybersecurity research and development and improvements to existing cybersecurity capabilities.

Did we see this issue being addressed in the Department of Commerce (see pg 55 of the Budget)? Two Departments funding the same venture?

Page 63: Under Secures Information Infrastructure from Intrusion.

The Budget provides $2.3 billion to support improved cybersecurity capabilities.

Yep, sounds just like page 55 Under the Department of Commerce. The same project being funded by at least two different departments.

The rest of the highlights are boring dribble. Moving on.

Page 60: The incremental costs of funding “Overseas Contingency Operations”.

Call it what it is, the WAR ON TERROR, or the war against radical Islam. Forget this Politically correct nonsense. I am very interested in spending $118 billion dollars to defend this country against Islamic Terrorists and others who would do us harm. I am not interested in spending one red cent on “Overseas Contingency Operations”.

Under the category Prepares for Emerging Threats.

“$200 million for a public – private partnership of a vaccine manufacturing facility in support of the Administration’s new Medical Counter Measure Initiative;”

Medical Counter Measure Initiative is what exactly? And I hate that word initiative. It’s a nondescript term to what is actually going on here. This initiative created another government funded entity, period! 

They are going to do what? Develop vaccines for emerging threats. Maybe frivolous lawsuits won’t run this vaccine company out of the country, like all the rest of the vaccine companies have been. 

$200 million doesn’t sound like a lot in the grand scheme of things when we are talking about a Department that has a $668 billion dollar budget. But we find the $200 million is just another installment in this little venture.

Obama already pulled $1 billion from WMD-defense to fund in 2010 to develop vaccines

Now he wants to give them another $200 million to fund a “public-private partnership”. Great! Liberal spending at it’s best. Now we are at $1.2 billion in this little initiative.

Hmmmmm… Haven’t I read about the Medical Counter Measure Initiative before? 

Hey, there is a Medical Countermeasures Initiative under the FDA. Great, now we have two?

Even better, there are three? Yes the third is under The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

In our previous article I mentioned the duplication of programs and the inconsistency of multiple departments running the same program.

This is a perfect example.

My number one concern with this kind of nonsense is it affords the administration to fund these efforts from many sources; thereby making it difficult at best to find out exactly how much is being spent.

They are going to work hand in hand with Interagency BioDefense Campus.  

Nice, on their front page they have scrolling photos of deer and ducks. At first glance I would say it’s yet another Environmental org that this administration is so fond of funding at tax-payer expense. A $138 million worth. Clever the way they hid it in defense budget.

I’m sure it’s important though, right?

Page 61, under the heading “Backs the Nation’s Troops and Their Families”.

“Overall, the Budget provides $8.3 billion to support military families, including $1.2 billion to expand availability of affordable, high-quality child care;”

 I am all for supporting our troops and their families, but $1.2 billion for ‘child care’. There needs to be a limit to anyone’s support, military family or civilian family. If you are in the military and decide to have children, that is your choice, and child care should be at your expense. 

$2.4 billion to sustain and build DODschools, supporting quality education for military dependents. 

You realize they are talking about ‘overseas‘ schools’ don’t you?

Department of Defense Dependents Schools: $2.4 billion. Are all of the benefits of this program for the soldier’s families, or is part of it to benefit the countries they are located in? 

The total proposed outlays for this Department are $707 billion. Which is an increase of $41 billion over 2010. I don’t see any evidence supporting the claims of “more efficient business operations”. If there were, there would not be a $41 billion increase. 

The DOD is one of the worst examples of Budget Control, exceeded only by the vast array of Social Programs in this country. And like those programs, huge cuts need to be initiated.

There are many other aspects of this Department that deserve further investigation, but this series addresses the budget. The implications and sub-sections are another story.

The Cowards of the county

Important legislation had to be put one hold in Wisconsin, not because of a terrorist attack, but because a group of gutless cowards refused to do the job they were elected to do. Yes boys and girls, the Dem’s did themselves proud. Instead of representing their constituents in the State Senate and debating the issue, they did the mature thing and ran. Not only did they run, they ran clear out of the state!

            Maybe I’m being ‘unduly harsh’ on them as President Obama stated yesterday. Not! I think gutless-cowards describes them pretty well (without using profanity).  One can only hope that the people of Wisconsin remember their actions when election time rolls around again. When they are at home, watching their children, and losing pay because a bunch of union cry-babies refused to do the job they are paid to do, they can harken back and recall that the elected official that was supposed to represent them in the Senate took the last bus to Illinois.

            Here’s a list of the cowards:

 TIM CARPENTER

TIMOTHY F. CULLEN

SPENCER COGGS

JON ERPENBACH

JIM HOLPERIN

ROBERT JAUCH

DAVE HANSEN

CHRIS LARSON

FRED A. RISSER

JULIE M. LASSA

LENA C. TAYLOR

KATHLEEN VINEHOUT

MARK MILLER

ROBERT W. WIRCH

            Here is a LINK with contact information if you would like to contact them.

            While in Illinois, one of these brave Senators (LENA C. TAYLOR) took time to Tweet an answer to a reporter who inquired of her whereabouts – she was “doing the people’s business. Power to the PEOPLE.” What the hell kind of reply is that? Is the ‘people’s business in another state? Or did she just borrow that line from the 60’s because she was busy hiding? 

            The cowards were even cheered on by fellow Dem’s from other states. Like Judy Eason McIntyre from Oklahoma. Nothing like rooting for a loser. But hey, ‘birds of a feather’ and all of that. All we need now is Joe Biden to show up and tell everyone what ‘a big f’ing deal’ this really is.

Union Whining in Wisconsin

As the union protests in Wisconsin continue, let’s sort through some of this and try to find out if they have a legitimate reason for their actions. Here’s the deal. The state of Wisconsin is $3.6 billion is in the red. The Governor Scott Walker and the state legislature have put together a bill to address this growing problem.

 One of the efforts to reduce this short-fall is to pass a bill that changes the contribution amounts state employees are required to make to their benefit packages. The short version; they are going to have to contribute more to their own nest egg. Another point of the proposed bill is a realignment of the cost of living raises. The protestors say they are fighting to keep their collective bargaining rights. Basically, they would not be able to get cost of living raises that exceed increases in the Consumer Price Index. What? That’s it? No pay cuts? No job elimination?

Anyone, with any common sense anyway, realizes that there are going to have to be sacrifices made to correct the debt. Those sacrifices, namely budget cuts, will affect local and state employees. But the sacrifices the unions are asked to make are no where near the same sacrifices that those of us who work in the private sector, have already made, and are still making. While private sector employees face pay cuts, job elimination, lack of health insurance, and no retirement, they are faced with contributing more their own benefits and the lack of pay raises. Wow, I really feel sorry for them. Welcome to the real world.

            Up until this point, government employees have been excluded from these sacrifices. They have not had to work longer hours or take on more work for the same pay. Nor have they taken pay cuts, or lost their jobs altogether.

            Why should they be excluded? Why should they continue to reap the benefits of our tax dollars, while everyone else has already made the tough choices? The answer is they shouldn’t. We have come to the end of the road. Government employees are going to have to take it on the chin just like the rest of us. If they are unwilling to take reductions in pay and/or benefits, then some of them will have to be placed on leave (without pay) or fired outright. The unions know these facts. They have to make the choice. Either all of their members give a little up, or some of them give it all up.

            Forget the ‘we’re fighting for the children’ dribble, and all of the other empty cliché’s. These protests are by Union members. Not just teachers. But members of other government protected unions. Plumbers, electricians, and garbage collectors joining in. I guess they are doing it for the children as well. No they are not. They are doing it to protect the union, children be damned. So what if the state of Wisconsin is facing a $3.6 billion defict this year. The union doesn’t care about the buget short-fall any more than they do about the children. Period. If the welfare of the children was a real concern, why were there mass  “I’m sick today” call in’s? This act of blatent arogance, once again forced hardships on many private sector families. The layouts by these teachers forced many schools to close, which forced working familes to stay home with their children and lose much need income. The teachers get to spend the day at the caitol with no loss of pay.

            What is the administrations position on this? Well President Obama stated Wed on the radio  “that Walker’s plan is unduly harsh on unions.” Unduly harsh? Give up some benefits, but keep your job is unduly harsh? Obama supports the Union position. No surprise there. On Fox and Friends this morning, the Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, in lock step, refused to take a stand against this illegal work stoppage. And he was very careful not to say anything against the Union’s position. In fact he didn’t say anything. He was speaking, but he didn’t say anything. The administrations is certainly not going to suggest any cuts to the union population.  In fact their numbers have increased under this administration by some 200,000 in the last 2 years. This administrations support of Unions is a sad joke and reflects a total lack of leadership.

            While this administration does nothing but aggravate the issue, the elected officials in Wisconsin are willing to do the right thing and execute the will of the people. Yes, the majority of the people of Wisconsin support this legislation, even though the media has conveniently dodged that point. The bill was scheduled to be voted on today. But the vote cannot continue because all of the Democratic representatives failed to show up. How mature is that. Hey voters in Wisconsin, are you taking note?

What needs to be done? Pull a Reagan, and put those teachers envolved in this illegal work-stoppage in the road. And do it ‘for the children’.

The Audacity of Budgets

When President Obama introduced his proposed 2012 budget Monday it came with all of the familiar promises of budget cuts. An amazing $1.1 trillion over 10 years. And the usual mantra of the ‘tough choices’ and ‘sacrifices’ we are all going to have to make. Who is we?

With the haunting thought of a $1.5 trillion deficit, an unemployment rate in the 9 – 10% range, and an ever-growing government, I was anxious to learn about these ‘tough choices’ and who it was that was going to make the ‘sacrifices’ required to fix this problem.

Glancing through the $3.73 trillion budget for 2012 I was hoping to find these ‘cuts’ he was referring too. I didn’t find them. So I looked a little harder. To be fair, there are a few. But they are what I would refer to as ‘chump change’ when you are talking about 3.73 trillion bucks. None of those ‘cuts’ are reflected in the bottom line. So are they really cuts? There is some fuzzy math. And there are increases, a lot of them. They were not so hard to find. Looking at the total outlays (using their projections) we find this.

 Total outlays for 2010 are $3.45 trillion.

 2011 – $3.81 trillion. Ten years down the road. 2021 – $5.69 trillion.

 $3.45 trillion – $5.69 trillion = $2.24 trillion increase. That’s fuzzy math.

 Those increases made me feel  a little queazy. Couple that with the unknown cost of recent legislation (Health Care and Financial Reform), and I began to go from queazy to sick. The answer to the question: who. It is you, me, and every other tax paying American.

When you and I are faced with less income we sit down and decide what we can afford and what we have to do without. But this administration, faced with the same choice, operates under the delusion that they can continue to spend. As if the difference can just be made up or doesn’t exist.  When the budget goes up every year that’s called spending, not cutting.

We can no longer afford to ‘kick the can down the road,’ with the promise of cutting a trillion dollars over ten years (which I doubt will never happen anyway). We need to cut this year’s budget by a trillion dollars. Not in 2012, but in 2011. This of course is an unrealistic expectation. So let’s use Obama’s statement (cutting $1.1 trillion over 10 years) to do the math. $1.1 trillion / 10 years = $110 billion per year. Yet the total outlays for 2010 are $3.45 trillion verses the total outlays for 2012 are $3.73 trillion. Maybe he’s referring to the outlays for 2011 verses 2012. Which are $3.8 trillion (2011) vs. $3.7 trillion (2012). So, jack the spending up in 2011 by $300 billion, then, make us all feel better by trimming $100 billion next year. What a plan! We are going the wrong way.

Why is it so hard for these people to understand the words budget and cut?

You would have thought that the outcome of the recent elections would have made this administration realize that we are tired of out of control government spending. But such is not the case. They seem to be as oblivious to what ‘we the people’ want as they are to the reality of necessary budget cuts.

            In the next few articles we will look at some of the sections of this joke of a bill in some detail. The bill affords us the numbers from 2010 and proposed numbers from 2012. Get ready for a surprise or two. Say 5100 new IRS agents to be hired and paid for in the 2012 budget.