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Tag Archives: budget

Shrinking the Federal Bureaucracy

You all know I’ve been super critical of the President on a number of foreign policy and national security issues, including those he chose for his national security team, but I like to think I’m fair, and aside from the thankfully defunct Michael Flynn and the unfortunately current Darth Badhair McHobo and MiniMogul, his national security team is actually shaping up pretty well. Jim Mattis and John Kelly are perfect Secretaries of Defense and Homeland Security respectively. I’ve heard nothing but good things about H.R. McMaster, and I literally did a happy dance at the selection of Fiona Hill as White House senior director for Europe and Russia. I’ve referenced her articles on Putin before. She’s an expert and a realist. What’s not to like?

I also like to think I’m fair on domestic policy issues. So, yes, TrumpCare, or whatever we’re calling it this week, is a dumpster fire and the constant Twitter seizures and unsubstantiated claims of wiretapping and unemployment data manipulation by 44 are getting old.

That said… the left’s apoplectic paroxysms of outrage about proposed Trump budget cuts are giving me giggle fits. Fiscal responsibility involves sometimes tough choices, and I think we finally have a President who is willing to make them, who is willing to look at all the multiplicative, wasteful, and downright unconstitutional programs the federal government is funding and say, “Enough!”

Let’s remember that the vast majority of the federal budget is non-discretionary, which means it’s mandatory spending. We have to pay certain bills, and we don’t have a choice about it.  Among them is entitlement spending, such as Social Security. It is spent based on existing laws rather than the budgeting process, and without actual entitlement reform, we must pay it. Discretionary spending constitutes a pretty small portion of the federal budget, which means we need to be judicious about how we spend that money, which includes funding for our military, education, international affairs, environment, etc.

Discretionary Spending is the portion of the budget that the president requests and Congress appropriates every year. It represents less than one-third of the total federal budget, while mandatory spending accounts for around two-thirds.

Trump’s budget proposal does exactly this, but the left is, of course, hyperventilating about it, because they’re all about MOAR SPENDING! The Washington Post this morning helpfully shows what program cuts will help fund $54 billion in proposed defense spending increases. I’m good with this, quite frankly, because national defense is one of the very few constitutional functions of our government. And guess what’s not on that list!

Agency/Program What it does
21st Century Community Learning Centers Provides funding for after-school programs for students in high-poverty areas
Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Program Provides loans to automotive manufacturers developing fuel-efficient technologies
African Development Foundation Invests in African businesses
Appalachian Regional Commission Invests in projects for economic growth in the Appalachian region
ARPA-E Funds research into new energy technologies
Capacity Building for Community Development and Affordable Housing Provides housing assistance to low-income families
Chemical Safety Board Investigates industrial chemical accidents
Chesapeake Bay Restoration Provides funding for cleanup and protection of the Chesapeake Bay watershed
Community Development Block Grant Provides housing assistance to low-income families
Community Development Financial Institutions Fund grants Provides support to financial services in underserved communities
Community Services Block Grant Provides funding for projects that alleviate poverty
Corporation for National & Community Service Runs AmeriCorps, City Year and other public service programs
Corporation for Public Broadcasting Provides federal funding to local radio and television stations across the U.S.
Delta Regional Authority Funds infrastructure and economic programs in the Mississippi River delta region
Denali Commission Provides economic assistance in Alaska
Economic Development Administration Provides funding for economic development projects across the U.S.
Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance Account Provides emergency funding for humanitarian crises around the world
Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program Tests pesticides and other chemicals for adverse effects on humans and animals
Energy Star Provides assistance for energy efficiency programs
Essential Air Service program Provides funding for air transportation to rural communities
Global Climate Change Initiative Provides financial assistance for climate change initiatives in developing countries
Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Provides funding for cleanup and protection of Great Lakes watersheds
Institute of Museum and Library Services Provides grants and research for libraries, museums, zoos and similar institutions.
Inter-American Foundation Provides development assistance to Latin American countries
Legal Services Corporation Provides legal aid to low-income Americans
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program Assists low-income families with heating and cooling costs
McGovern-Dole Food for Education Program Provides school meals and nutrition programs in poor countries
Minority Business Development Agency Provides technical assistance to minority-owned businesses
NASA Office of Education Supports STEM education initiatives
National Endowment for the Arts Provides funding for arts projects
National Endowment for the Humanities Provides funding for cultural institutions like universities and museums, as well as projects by individual scholars
Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation Provides housing assistance to low-income Americans
Northern Border Regional Commission Economic development in northern New England
Overseas Private Investment Corporation Helps U.S. businesses invest overseas
Senior Community Service Employment Program Funds job training for low-income, unemployed seniors
State Energy Program Provides funding and technical assistance for energy efficiency and clean energy
Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants program Provides grants to improve education quality
Targeted Air Shed Grants Provides grants for air pollution control
TIGER Discretionary Grant program Provides funding for transportation projects across the U.S.
Title 17 Innovative Technology Loan Guarantee Program Provides loan guarantees for new energy products
United States Institute of Peace Works on international conflict mitigation
United States Interagency Council on Homelessness Coordinates federal response to homelessness
US Trade and Development agency Promotes U.S. exports in developing countries.
Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program Provides funding for water infrastructure in rural areas
Weatherization Assistance Program Provides grants for weatherizing low-income homes
Woodrow Wilson International Center Foreign policy think tank

The Post reports that a number of these federal programs have failed to show efficacy and that the private sector can perform these functions better.

Why the hell are we funding a foreign policy think tank? So it can produce written opinions on policy that, because they’re funded by the government, will invariably become a mouthpiece of said government.

Why are the feds giving money to businesses that want to invest overseas? Let these businesses assume their own risk and invest how they see fit, instead of the taxpayers funding businesses who will inevitably assume more risk, because it’s not their money to play with!

Why are U.S. taxpayers giving money to USAID through the McGovern-Dole Food for Education Program to subsidize school lunches to foreign students? Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that it’s the function of the government to give school lunches to our own kids, let alone to ones in other countries! I get that we want to appear to be generous and bighearted, but as a wise man once said, voting for the government to give poor people money is not compassion.

Neither is forcing the U.S. taxpayers to foot the bill for investments in African businesses. If someone wants to plop down their hard-earned dollars to invest in an African enterprise, great! Good for them! But to arbitrarily take money away from Americans and send them overseas tells us that bureaucrats know better how to spend our money and where to invest it (in businesses that likely prop up the political agenda, or in which the bureaucrats and politicians have interests). I’ll remind you how Solyndra worked out.

And don’t even get me started on government funding for the arts!

So yes, we need to be judicious with our spending. We need to focus on programs that are effective, efficient, and constitutional, and all this crap above ain’t it.

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And just like that, the GOP caves…

with a whimper.

At Obama’s meeting with Senate Republicans, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine laid out a proposal to raise the debt limit until the end of January, reopen the government and take a slice out of the health care law.

Under a proposal she and other GOP senators have been developing, a medical device tax that helps finance the health care law would be repealed, and millions of individuals eligible for subsidies to purchase health insurance under the program would be subject to stronger income verification.

At the same time, federal agencies that have been affected by across-the-board cuts would gain greater flexibility in the use of their remaining funds.

Everything else would be negotiated later.

That is to say, the Democrats got everything they wanted, with nearly no concessions to the GOP, and the GOP folded like a cheap lawn chair.

It’s not that I’m unhappy that I may finally get paid for the work I’m doing. It’s just that the Republicans have once again proven to be inept in the face of appalling Democrat intransigence and arrogance.

You know those elections where you’re hoping to make gains in 2014, GOP?

I wouldn’t count on it if I were you.

Furlough, Day 2

Well, it looks like we’re in it for the long haul, boys and girls. That’s according to the Wall Street Journal, which reports neither the Republican’t nor the Demonrat party held any negotiations on the actual problems faced by the nation, but chose instead to trade blame and point fingers at one another.

Republicans criticized Senate Democrats as being unwilling to negotiate an end to the standoff that forced federal agencies to curtail a range of activities and begin the furlough of more than 800,000 workers.

President Barack Obama pointed the finger at House Republicans for their efforts to scale back or dismantle the 2010 health law, the [anything but] Affordable Care Act. “They’ve shut down the government over an ideological crusade to deny affordable health insurance to millions of Americans,” Mr. Obama said from the White House Rose Garden.

To translate: Republicans were too busy surrendering, squabbling and begging the intractable Harry Reid for a bone, “Oh, please, Harry! Just talk to us, Harry!” after spending four years kicking around the very “Tea Party extremists” who handed them a massive win in the House in 2010.

Reid was busy tossing every proposal the House sent him into the trash, without so much as a glance at the actual text.

And Dear Leader was busy blaming the Republicans for being unwilling to fund a law that has already damaged the very people he pledged to care about – the middle class. I point you to my friend Danielle for some anecdotal evidence that there’s nothing “affordable” about your law.

Yesterday morning my husband calls me from work and informs me that our cost for our health care premiums skyrocketed from $550 a month for our family, to $1100 a month!  We cannot afford to pay that much out of pocket!  So he and our oldest will have coverage, but myself and our other 5 children do not.  I do not want to hear how great Obamacare is.  It is government bureaucracy at its worst, and my family and many others are now paying for it. Don’t tell me that we should be able to keep my plan.  It’s obvious that we cannot!  85% of the country was doing just fine with our personal health care plans. You and the Democrats have trashed the whole system instead of trying to find a way to insure the other 15%. I don’t want any part of the Affordable Care Act. My children cannot play sports now for fear of broken bones or other injuries, and I will have to be the one to deal with their disappointment, not you!  

And he has the unmitigated gall to claim it’s Republicans who want to deny affordable coverage to millions of Americans (who, by the way, couldn’t even get on the damn site to register yesterday, but that must be all BUSHTEAPARTYEXTREMISTREPUBLICANS fault too – or there’s just soooooo many Americans wanting to get on there, that the site crashed!)?

Today we learn that Reid and the shitbag patrol tossed yet another proposal in the trash without so much as a read. Because you see, ObamaCare is THE LAW (opposed by the majority of Americans, whom these assholes claim to represent), and funding it has nothing to do with the budget, so get over it, Republicans, and just give the Democrats what they want, because RACIST!

Yes, ObamaCare was passed by both houses (against the wishes of the plurality of people whom they are supposed to represent and with lots of cajoling and outright bribery), signed by the President (not because the law was good, but because he pushed for it, and Nancy Pelosi said we had to pass it to know what’s in it – kind of like the Christmas gift from hell your aunt buys you every year. You know you’re going to hate it, but you have to open it anyway and pretend to be thrilled!), and upheld by the Supreme Court (which revamped this atrocity into a “tax” – one that would punish millions of Americans, the majority of whom are now being raped with a legislative billy club, so a tiny minority could get free shit).

All this is true.

It is also true that since Congress makes the law, it can certainly pass another law to defund or delay this crap, which by the way, Dear Leader did by executive fiat already for many of his big business and union cronies anyway, and which by the way, even more Americans want gone.

In the meantime, hundreds of thousands of workers – yes, actual WORKERS, not politicians and their cronies – have been booted off the job. Bills will go unpaid. Debts will increase. Demand will fall. Local economies will be affected.

All because Washington cannot get its head out of its collective ass.

I was talking to my dad today, and I would love to see every piece of shit responsible for this mess give up its salary to a family whom it put out of work for the duration of this furlough. They’re still getting paid for not doing their jobs, and only a tiny little minority is actually doing something other than hoarding that paycheck for itself.

That evil, horrible Ted Cruz, who actually had the balls to stand up to the bullying from both sides of the political aisle, will give his salary to charity each and every day during the furlough.

A handful of others have promised to give up their pay as well.

A handful of Democrats and Republicans have stepped forward recently to say they will not accept their paychecks this week if a shutdown occurs. Alabama Republican Rep. Martha Roby has said she shouldn’t get paid if members of the military don’t get paid. “This is Congress’s problem to fix,” she said. Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI) says he’ll donate his salary to charity if Congress can’t agree on a continuing resolution. “Michigan families work hard and when they don’t go to work, they don’t get paid,” Peters said. “The same should hold for Congress.

“On Saturday, Rep. Pete Gallego (D-TX) introduced a bill to designate members of Congress as “non-essential employees,” meaning they would be stop being paid along with the other federal employees starting on Tuesday.

Looking to take the decision out of individual members’ hands, Sen. Barbara Boxer introduced legislation in January to prevent any member of the House or Senate from getting paid in the event of a government shutdown. A similar bill passed the Senate unanimously in 2011, but the House never voted on it. This year, as the likelihood of a shutdown looks more certain than ever, Boxer’s bill has one co-sponsor, Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA).

“How is that Republicans who are urging a shutdown of the government are not co-sponsors of my bill?” Boxer said Friday. “They want to protect their own pay, they want to protect themselves and their families, but they don’t seem to care about the single mom who works as a custodian in one of our government buildings who is struggling to get by … These Republicans are willing to put the livelihoods of millions of American workers at risk—but not their own.”

Martha Roby’s “sacrifice” is a nice little trick. The first thing these leeches will do is pay the military, no matter how much they threaten not to. They know and understand the backlash they will face on both sides of the aisle if they fail to pay the troops who are out there getting maimed and killed! And yes, this is Congress’ problem to fix, so fix it already, assholes!

It makes my spleen hurt to agree with Boxer on anything, but fact of the matter is that the bill to prevent any member of the Senate or House from getting paid if they take a large, steamy dump on hundreds of thousands of civil servants and their families, is a good one. But my support is mitigated by her claim that Republicans are the ones urging the shutdown of the government!

Republicans aren’t the ones tossing every proposal in the trash.

They aren’t the ones unwilling to even discuss the ObamaCare issue.

They aren’t the ones telling millions of Americans to “get over it.”

They are the ones making mealy-mouthed proposals for compromise being rejected by the Democrats.

Meanwhile, I get this feeling that people are forgetting that these 800,000 civil servants being deprived of a livelihood are actual people with actual families and actual bills, many of whom actually love their jobs and love serving their country.

I see “shutdown parties” on Facebook.

I see the gleeful, snide remarks about how “non-essential” we are, and how they don’t need us.

I see snarky advice telling me to go find a “real job.”

You know what, assholes? Fuck you. When you’re unemployed or underemployed, because you voted for free shit, and your vote comes back to bite you in the ass, because your employer has decided it is too expensive to keep you on more than 20 hours per week, I’ll tell you to go get a real job too. And maybe I’ll hold a party in honor of your inability to pay the rent.

Or maybe, I’ll be a human being and remember that real people are suffering, and work silently to change what you have wreaked.

Don’t mess with vets, assholes! (UPDATED WITH COOL STUFF)

If you aren’t convinced about this administration’s utter contempt and outright disregard for our military veterans, this should do the trick.

The White House and the Department of the Interior rejected a request from Rep. Steven Palazzo’s office to have World War II veterans visit the World War II memorial in Washington, the Mississippi Republican told The Daily Caller Tuesday.

Palazzo helped the veterans commit an act of civil disobedience against the Park Service Tuesday, when the heroes stormed through barricades around the closed memorial.

The veterans were visiting the memorial as part of Honor Flight, a non-profit that provides veterans free transport to the nation’s capital to visit the memorials to the wars they fought in.

They were told, “Gee! There’s a government shutdown. Go pound sand.”

Food stamps are still funded, and you will still get molested and ogled by the TSA at the nation’s airports.

Bureaucrats will still be on the job processing citizenship and permanent resident applications, because I guess it’s somehow “essential” to process that paperwork (but unsurprisingly programs to actually verify their legal presence in the United States will shut down), but not to allow our nation’s heroes to visit a memorial.

And Social Security checks will still go out, because we can’t possibly endanger something that sucks the most money out of the budget! But we can certainly deny a bunch of octogenarians a what may be a last chance to visit a memorial to the war in which they served.

Why?

Because Park Service personnel won’t be there to tackle these elderly men and taze them, in case they get unruly and spray graffiti on the monument or something!

Shitbags.

Bennies for bloodsucking parasites are not to be touched, but allowing a bunch of war heroes to visit a monument is not possible because of a bloody shutdown??

Redistributing taxpayer earnings to those who haven’t earned them is fine. But allowing a group of veterans who have given so much to the defense of this nation to walk through a monument – something that doesn’t even require any expense or a guide – is a no-no, because OHNOESSHUTDOWN!

So you know what these veterans did? They knocked over the barricades and told the Obama bureaucrats where to stick their shutdown!

These guys took on Hitler. I doubt they considered some flabby, donut-eating bureaucrat a challenge!

So don’t stand in their way. They want to visit a memorial – one dedicated to a war in which they sacrificed more than any worthless, drooling member of the current Congress and administration could possibly imagine. They paid more than their tax dollars for the right to visit that memorial.

I’m quite certain they earned it.

UPDATE: Laughing Wolf has a few videos of World War II vets – heroes who fought at Normandy – the types of heroes whom this administration tried to deny access to a monument to their sacrifices.

Look for them here and here.

Go there and know that these men fought for you, and their stories are fascinating and real – the kind of stories you want to treasure and keep with you as inspiration of the sacrifices men like these have made for our nation.

So what is really going on here?

I’m not going to insult anyone’s intelligence by claiming it’s the fault of one party or another. This whole mess with the government non-shutdown is the fault of nearly every politician in Washington, and that includes the GOP as well as the Democrats and the White House.

So first… they shove ObamaCare through both houses, with the majority of the nation opposing the plan.

Support didn’t improve over time. The people don’t want and never wanted this monster. But this is what they got, thanks to parliamentary tricks and outright bribes.

The Supreme Court, thanks to the turncoatery of John Roberts decided it was perfectly cool to force people to purchase a product and fund those who couldn’t.

The American people in all their wisdom – because the left told them how much Republicans hate women, minorities and anyone else who wasn’t white and Republican, and because you really can’t beat something with the kind of nothing Romney was – saw it fit to reelect not just the current administration, but the party that would give them more free shit. Why? Because Republicans like to give away free shit too. Except they give less of it away, and give it away to recipients of their choice. And if you’re going to vote for free shit, you might as well vote for the party that gives you more free shit, not less.

The GOP proved completely inept at galvanizing the opposition it needed to get rid of this onerous health care fiasco. It spent more time attacking itself than it did doing its job. It spent more time smacking down those “wacko birds” and blaming conservative “extremists” for their losses than it did actually working to repeal this bill.

And then, at the 11th hour, the stubborn asshattery on both sides of the aisle has resulted in the furlough of thousands of civil servants, putting a financial hardship on thousands of families. Why? Because the GOP is incompetent, and the Democrats are arrogant pieces of detritus.

The GOP was too busy with demagoguery to do anything about ObamaCare, and have compromised with themselves to such an extent, that they look like they’re begging Harry Reid for mercy!

GOP: We won’t fund ObamaCare.

Reid: Fuck your budget bill. Denied.

GOP: How about we just delay ObamaCare?

Reid: Fuck your budget bill. Denied.

GOP: How about we just get rid of certain, more objectionable portions of ObamaCare?

Reid: Fuck your budget bill. Denied.

GOP: But… but… but… Conference?

Reid: No. Screw you.

GOP: Compromise?

Reid: You’re terrorists, because you’re holding the government hostage!

The GOP is weak and ineffectual. And the Democrats pitch a temper tantrum if anyone dares to suggest that perhaps this law… oh… I don’t know… SUCKS?

You know who’s stuck in the middle of all this? Yeah, those thousands of families deemed not immediately essential, who may not be able to pay their rent, pay for groceries, pay their car payments and their other bills. Those thousands of families whose loved ones perform duties that may not cause the imminent collapse of the nation, but are necessary in the long term given the nature of what our nation is and the nature of the world environment today.

Meanwhile, the incompetents in Congress are still getting paid

The entitlements, which eat up half of the federal budget, still get distributed.

The post office, which is once again bankrupt, is still paying its employees.

And the politicians, who wouldn’t know a budget if it bit them in their shriveled nutsacks, who have been incapable of running this government, making America the laughing stock of the world with their incompetence, keep telling us how they feel our pain.

There’s a bill out there now that would allow the government to reimburse furloughed workers for the time they were forced to take off. I’m not sure how I feel about it. On one hand, it would definitely alleviate the current financial ache, but on the other hand, I’m not a person who takes payment for work I didn’t do. On one hand, I know I will make up that work in spades, but on the other hand I’m keenly aware of this nation’s fiscal nightmare.

Personally, I’d love to see just one politician with the testicular fortitude to say he or she would give up their salary for however long it takes for them to figure out how to fix this mess!

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