So is it a GOOD DEAL?

So what’s in this new “deal”?

According to the Powerpoint released by the Speaker’s office (CLICK HERE), it is a good deal. Response from both sides of the aisle have been mixed though, and most are waiting to read the real bill. They better be quick though as they will likely have to vote on it tomorrow.

Here’s what seem like good things:

  • No Tax Hikes are included in the bill
  • Cuts more over 10 years than the debt ceiling is raised
  • Cuts and caps discretionary spending
  • First “tranche” is $900B increase now, second “tranche” needs to be acted on by Congress next year
  • Second “tranche” of $1.5T enacted if BBA sent to the states by year end OR joint committee cuts spending (by Thanksgiving) more than another $1.5T
  • Triggers require across the board cuts if caps are violated
  • According to the Powerpoint, it makes it “impossible” for the Joint Committee to increase taxes

Some not so good things (not all mentioned in the Powerpoint):

  • Spending cuts are back loaded – first two years are pocket change.
  • Requires 12 member bipartisan “joint committee” to agree on second round of cuts – if no agreement, automatic cuts are applied to Medicare (doctors and providers get cut – not beneficiaries) and Defense. Medicaid, Social Security, Veterans and military pay are exempt
  • Powerpoint claims that committee cannot raise taxes, yet one analysis implies that the Bush tax cuts will be allowed to expire – effectively Obama’s tax on “the rich”. Will have to wait and see on that one.

So is this a good deal or not? My thought is that we may have been snookered again, just like with the continuing resolution earlier in the year. The democrats orchestrated this to be resolved at the last minute and the House will be asked to vote on it without having even a full day to consider the ramifications. Washington at its UGLIEST!

I withhold my judgement until I can read the bill. So should you.

When is a Budget Cut Not a Budget Cut?

When it is liberals and progressives pulling the wool over conservatives’ eyes.

You would think that if there is a short-term budget cut of one trillion dollars, the country would have turned the corner on runaway spending and would spend less in 2112 than 2011.

Not so.

The plan is to spend 8% more in 2012 than 2011 and 8% more in 2013 than 2012. So the short term budget cut means the planned 8% increase will be a little smaller increase,

That is not what conservatives were elected in 2010 to do.

Dictatorial Legislation

A small handful of congressional leaders meet with the President in secret behind closed doors and decide on crucial budget legislation which is handed down to a Congress that is expected to approve. Our elected representatives have no say in the legislation formulation and no insight into what is done in secret.

That is unpleasantly similar to the legislative process in a dictatorship where the ruler hands down the laws and the peasants are expected to be grateful.

It is also unpleasantly similar to the legislative process that was used to enact Obamacare, immensely unpopular legislation whose details were formulated in secret behind closed doors and few had time to read before being obliged to vote. Their leader told them they had to pass it to find out what was in it. We are still finding out many months later.

For other less critical programs proposed legislation is discussed in an authorization subcommittee in one house of Congress and, if agreed upon, goes to a full authorization committee for discussion and approval. If he committee approves, the legislation then goes to the floor for approval or amendment by the full body. The proposed program then goes to the other house of the Congress where it is discussed by an authorization subcommittee and, if approved, taken up by the full authorization committee. The legislation then goes to the floor for approval or amendment by the full body. If the authorizations of the two houses differ, and they usually do, the proposed authorization goes to a conference committee made up of interested legislators from both houses where the differences between the two houses are discussed and a common authorization is decided upon. The authorization then goes to back to both houses for their approval. Only after both houses agree to the exact same language is the authorization passed.

That process authorizes the executive branch to pursue the program but provides no funds for its execution.

The funding for the authorized program is decided by a process similar to the authorization process with appropriations subcommittees and committees now taking up the programs previously considered by authorization committees and the full bodies approving or amending the appropriation. Conference committees then resolve differences between the two houses and the appropriations bill then goes back to both for final approval.

This relatively lengthy legislative process allows time for the lawmakers to investigate the issues involved and to have hearings where expert citizens can testify to shed light on the potential good and bad consequences of the legislation.

But this lengthy and considered approach to adopting laws only applies to the more insignificant ones. Important things like debt ceilings deficit spending and universal health care are decided by a self-chosen few in secret behind closed doors with our elected representatives left out in the cold. There are no hearings, no opportunities for expert testimony, no investigations of potential ramifications and no time for thoughtful reflection on what is about to happen.

Is it any wonder Congress has such a low (6%) citizen approval rating.

But even with that low rating they continue their legislation-in-secret approach.

Next year we will have another chance to tell them what we think of their antics.

Congressman West Under Attack

Congressman Allen West has been under attack due to his support for the House Speaker Boehner’s debt-ceiling plan that passed the US House yesterday but was summarily tabled by the US Senate.

Please read this letter from Congressman West and let us know what you think.

Read the letter here

Blowhard V Conservative

I am writing in support of Congressman West . Although I do not support his decision to support the Boehner Bill I feel he certainly knows what he is doing and is aware of all the ramifications. All the reasons we worked so hard to elect him cannot be discarded because of one ,my words, misguided, vote. Albeit, a huge vote but he is a strategist I am not. Especially since some loud mouthed blowhard  has appointed himself as a representative of us grassroot volunteers has threatened to have a primary against this proven Conservative, I feel more motivated to stand by Congressman West, because this attention seeking egomaniac does not speak for me, my friends, acquaintances, co- workers & co- volunteers. It is his, not Congressman West’s, Conservative loyalties I question.

Aug 15th Jupiter /PBG Monthly Meeting (note date/venue change)

Are You Really Interested in Creating Jobs, Mr. President?

Earlier in the year, I had the privilege of speaking to a local Tea Party group on why it is imperative that we have a national energy policy.  I have spent much of my professional career in the energy field, particularly the electric utility industry.  It is incredulous to me how our President cannot see or understand the severe damage he is creating by supporting and endorsing the ridiculous EPA regulations now being promulgated and the impact these regulations will have on job creation and getting things “built in America.” 

To think President Obama won praise from businesses in January when he promised to bring “reason and balance” to a 21st century regulatory system is a real crock.  Once again, watch what he does vs what he says because most of the time, they are diametrically opposed.  Six months later after making this statement, he is preparing to issue the single most expensive environmental regulation in US history.  There is simply nothing “reasonable or balanced” about the EPA’s proposal to tighten national air quality standards on ozone emissions.  The EPA’s new standards are currently under review by the OMB but could end up on the President’s desk very soon.  The tightening of the standards from 0.075ppm to 0-.070 ppm or even 0.060ppm would mean that 85% of the counties in the country would fall into nonattainment status. 

The EPA estimates and their estimates are always way low is the cost of attainment is anywhere from $20 to $90BB annually.   The estimate itself further should convince us they do not have a clue! Existing businesses or new businesses will be bound by these new regulations and will result in significantly higher costs and uncertainty of marginal facilities that would have to be retrofitted. 

The EPA readily admits based on their own data that between 1990, when the Clean Air Act underwent its last major revision, and 2008, emissions of the six common pollutants including ozone were down 41! The EPA and President Obama simply have no understanding of the economic penalties that these regulations have on businesses and job creation. They have no concept of the “law of diminishing returns” that is to say, once you get down to a certain emission levels with respect to many of these regulated substances, the cost of incremental increases exponentially, far greater than the benefit to society.  In other words, what is reasonable, and what is unreasonable! What is the cost vs benefits of tighten down further on these regulations?

In my talk to the Tea Party I referred to earlier, I quoted a few statements that Newt Gingrich made while campaigning in Iowa.  He stated, “the EPA has rarely been innovative and has focused only on issuing regulations and litigation.  What you have is a very expensive bureaucracy that across the board makes it hard to solve problems, and slows down the development of new innovations.”  He goes on to say “we need to have an agency that is first of all limited, but cooperates with the 50 states. The EPA is based on bureaucrats centered in Washington issuing regulations and litigation and basically opposing things. 

I would replace it with an environmental solution agency—we need an agency that would get up every morning, very much like the national institutes of health or the NSF, and try to figure out what do we need to do today to get a better environment that also gets us a better economy.  The level of control that Washington bureaucrats want to extend over topics they don’t understand and communities they don’t live in is wrong.  Having an attitude of getting up every morning and trying to stop the economy is just a very destructive attitude.”

If Obama was acting as he is saying, he would send the new ozone rules back to the EPA until a thorough scientific review was done as planned, to confirm the likely outcomes of the legislation.  He would also ask for an accurate cost of implementation and then make an reasonable assessment on how this might affect recovery and job growth.  But, he won’t!

Obama: The Politics of Blame

I was embarrassed after listening to President Obama’s speech last night on television.  He is so transparent as what he is doing.  Clearly, he is setting up to blame the Republicans for any debt default AND to inoculate himself in case the US loses its AAA credit rating.  He dishonestly tied the debt-ceiling debate to the credit-rating issue with full knowledge that Standard and Poor’s has already said that it may cut the US rating even if Congress moves on the debt ceiling.  He want to avoid accountability when he and the democratically controlled Congress over the last three years has raised the national debt held by the public from 40% in 2008 to 72% next year, and rising in subsequent years!  This spending is the REAL CAUSE of any downgrade—uncontrolled spending—no budget established by the Democrats while in 100% control of congress and the presidency—for over 800 days!  Are the American people this stupid not to see through this lie?  Well maybe they are getting smart.  The latest Obama Gallup poll numbers show his approval rating dropped again to 43%, the lowest level of his presidency and lower than Bill Clinton at a similar stage of his budget standoff with the Republicans in 1995.  And, by the way, did you also notice in his speech last night the absence of the word “veto” when talking about the Republicans and Boehner’s current proposal.  Wonder why?  Doesn’t take a genius to figure that one out!

Let’s review some facts once again about the debt at the risk of repeating myself over and over again.  We must get this through to the general population—tell your friends—and go to this link

Send this to everybody you know. Let’s be straight and once again examine the real facts.  Budget reforms need to remember that that this is NOT a political fight between Republicans and Democrats; it is a fight against a 50-year trend toward socialism.  Moreover, it is a moral fight, not an economic one.  Lastly, this is a fight that anyone can win in 16 months from now to the presidential election.  It will take hard work for 10 years or more to undo what has been done over the past 50 years.

Let’s review the facts again.  The Bureau of Economic Analysis tells us that total government spending at all levels has risen to 37% of gross domestic product today from 27% in 1960—and will reach 50% by 2038 at our current rate of spending.  The Tax Foundation reports that between 1986 and 2008, the share of federal income taxes paid by the top 5% of earners has risen to 59% from 43%.  Between 1986 and 2009, the percentage of Americans who pay zero or negative federal income taxes has increased to 51% from 18.5%.  All of this is accompanied by an increase in our national debt to 100% of GDP today from 42$ in 1980.  Do we have a problem?

Where will all this lead—for those who should ask?  Two scenarios—the first we will eventually hit a point where so few people actually pay for their share of the growing government that a majority become completely invested in the social welfare state, which stabilizes at some very high level of taxation and government social spending—think Europe, Greece, Portugal, Ireland, and Italy.  Alternatively the social system collapses under its own weight, and we get some kind of permanent austerity after the rest of the world finally comprehends the depth of our national spending disorder and stops lending us money at low interest rates—again—think Greece! 

Then think Rome—what have we learned in 2066 years?

“The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be  tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be  curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work,  instead of living on public assistance.”       Cicero,  55 BC

Ladies and gentlemen—we must stop this—please, please spread the word!

Being a Grandparent

Being a Grandparent: I have been a grandparent for the last six years. Need I tell anyone the joys and heartaches that come with it? I do not think so. The demands, the crying, the laughs, the kisses and hugs are all a part of this wonderful journey.  I did not have the benefit of my Grandparents. They passed away before we got to know one another. My dad told stories as do most families. These stories included gossip, medical remedies, tall tales and moments of courage. It is the moments of courage I remember most. My Dad and I were close but he, having raised his five kids alone, was not the typical grandparent. For me that was fine and very understandable. When I began my journey of grandparenthood I was very committed to the idea that I would take the very best of my and my dad’s life experiences and pass them on. Little did I know at the time I would be talking about the national debt. I would have talked about personal financial responsibility, i.e. saving your allowance, do not spend more than you have, do not use credit cards to get what you want unless you can pay it off the next month. Your financial profile tells a lot about who you are.

When I go on like this people say to me Janet you are forgetting a generation. What about your own kids. I say that I and most of the people of my generation spoiled our kids. We worked hard and believed it was better to make life easier for them. Unfortunately, we were wrong. We did not prepare them. They did not have the benefit of the experiences of people who lived thru the depression. I had many relatives talk about how hard it was. I sat with them and heard their stories of courage. Regrettably when I tried to repeat those stories I was silenced with the “yeh I know you walked five miles in the snow to go to school”. I did not demand they listen and learn. What can I expect of a generation that was raised in the good life. Is it their fault? There are exceptions to this and they are making their voices heard. God willing, one by one we shall all stand side by side to right this wrong.

I tell them to be concerned with the National debt. Pay attention for the sake of your children. I  tell them that now because rightfully or wrongfully I am a part of a generation that has taken their future. I have to apologize to them. I have to tell them I am doing everything I can do to reverse it. I have to tell them I do not know if I will be successful.

Am I willing to cut back, stand up for what is right and quit the blame game to look for viable answers …yes. Are you? If you are,  join the fight, put your boxing gloves on and fight a good fight. Win or lose, the most important lesson I can pass on to the next generation is be personally accountable for everything you say, do and how you vote.

God Bless Janet


Is he caving? I certainly hope that he has the courage to hold his ground.W e can’t afford any more debt.

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