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Tag Archives: economics

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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It’s Women’s Day, so why am I at work?

Today is International Women’s Day. March 8 is traditionally commemorated worldwide to honor women, mothers, daughters, grandmothers, etc. I remember giving my mom flowers on March 8 every year. Kind of like Mother’s Day, but on an international scale, and not just for mothers. And while it has definite socialist roots (it used to be called  International Working Women’s Day, ferpetessake!), it was always just a sweet holiday to me, in which we gave my mom carnations and took her out to a nice dinner. (Note to self: must remember to call mom today.)

Well, the perpetually offended uber-feminist brigade decided to hijack today to stamp their hooves and protest… something.

Much like the “Day Without Immigrants,” which appears to have gone unnoticed, and which resulted in some people who thought their political activism was more important than their jobs, getting shitcanned, this particular protest is meant “to highlight the economic power of women — as well as ongoing problems of discrimination and pay disparity.” To show how critical they are, women are being encouraged to take the day off from all work today and not to shop (except, of course at women and minority owned and small businesses). That’s all work, including unpaid labor.
I guess these cunt hat-sporting booger eaters won’t be taking care of the households and their children today either? Kids can fend for themselves, while mommy sits on the couch and impotently pumps her fist in the air, while sporting the trendy feminist scowl, for feminism – is that the way it works?

Once again, the virtue signalling socialist sow coalition is missing the economic point. Much like during the “Day Without Immigrants” protests, the economic impact will be negligible, other than to show them just how expendable they are.

Those same immigrants staging this protest and not buying anything, will purchase what they need tomorrow… or the next day. No harm, no foul. Any money “lost” from any sale today, will be made up tomorrow or the next day, because ultimately people need what they need.

I have no problem with people choosing where to shop based on anything they see fit. It’s their money. But to take  one day to virtue signal their support for small and women- and minority-owned businesses is an ineffective and economically stupid message to send.

Shutting down entire school districts and depriving children – including minority, low-income, and female ones – of a day’s worth of education doesn’t send the message that women are important. It says women are selfish twats, who think that their politics are more important than their commitment to teaching kids, who, with those kinds of role models, will likely grow up to be just as entitled and ignorant as these teachers, and forcing some parents, who probably aren’t privileged enough to afford skipping out on work and aren’t protected by teachers’ unions to take a day off.

And “striking from smiling” is literally the stupidest thing I’ve read in months! It honestly makes me want to throat punch the first scowling bitch face I see.

No, you screeching harpies, there’s no such thing as “emotional labor.” You will not get recognized or paid extra for being a nice person. But you might not get hired in the first place, if you go into an interview looking like someone shoved a live, venom-filled snake up your ass. Smiling is not the result of harassment. Smiling is polite. Smiling says, “No, I’m not a pernicious cunt wart, but a professional with whom someone would want to interact and possibly work.” Smiling is also psychologically healthy, which would go a long way toward explaining why these glowering hemorrhoids are so mentally unbalanced.

So, yes. I’m at work.

Why?

Because I love my job and my country, and because the work I do is more important than any political gripes I might have.

Because I understand that my value as an employee doesn’t depend on my plumbing, but rather on my performance.

Because manufactured outrage doesn’t trump my responsibilities.

Because I’m not selfish enough to force someone else to take on my duties while I vent my spleen at perceived slights, and I refuse to screw my co-workers.

Because refusing to work means refusing to get paid, and like many women, I’m not privileged enough to be able to afford that.

Because I refuse to demonstrate any kind of solidarity with turd-sucking, whining harridans who possess the economic acumen of  rotting stumps, but who believe they are entitled to MOAR respect and MOAR money despite their ignorance.

And because I prove how integral I am to the economy by actually doing a superior job, rather than shirking my duties.

Shutting down a school or business for one day will not prove your value. It may just do the opposite – much like it did with at least 100 immigrants, who failed to prove their impact on the economy, and lost their jobs in the process.

Making America Great Again… through force

Sarah Palin America’s screeching Trailer Trash Barbie caricature just endorsed the GOP’s front runner Donald Trump America’s authoritarian ass weasel. I was subjected to her screeching, incoherent word salad on what seemed to be an endless loop on Fox News last night until I wanted to gouge my own eardrums out with an electric drill.

donald-trump-dumb-and-dumberSeriously, I weep for America. The meatheads who are supporting Trump are now squealing with glee that he got the endorsement of a woman who is making a career of whipping up excitement among America’s fucktard confederacy while offering no substance whatever. She now has glommed on to the campaign offering her the most attention in an apparent attempt to evade irrelevancy.

So she got up on the stage with Trump, who looked part psychotic, and part constipated, and she spewed a few platitudes.

Well, I am here because like you I know that it is now or never. I’m in it to win it because we believe in America, and we love our freedom.

Well, if we in America love our freedom, why in dog’s name would we EVER support Trump?

Is it his contention that people who are put on the terrorist watchlist – without due process, and sometimes without actually having any affiliation to terrorism whatsoever – should be denied their rights?

trumpIs it his use of eminent domain to line his own pockets while depriving Americans of their property?

Is it his refusal to rule out registration of people based on their faith?

Is it his desire to shut down parts of the Internet?

Or is it his latest promise to FORCE Apple to build computers in the United States?

Trump didn’t just single out Apple in his 45-minute speech – he also took a swipe at Ford, which produces many of its automobiles in Mexico.

“Free trade is good. But we have to do it [force them back to the US]. Or we won’t have a country left,” he said.

You know… for someone who claims to love freedom, Trump sure loves to use government force a lot! And for someone who claims to support freedom, Palin is certainly anxious to ride that authoritarian’s coattails out of obscurity and back into the spotlight.

Trump seems to comprehend economics about as well as Bernie Sanders does, that is to say not at all. Despite Palin’s glowing recommendation about Trump’s economic acumen, “Where, in the private sector, you actually have to balance budgets in order to prioritize,” Trump seems to have little understanding about what will keep companies from outsourcing.

 

If he wants to bring manufacturing back to the United States, perhaps making the conditions more attractive for companies to do so would make more sense. Making it more attractive for businesses involved in the supply chain to operate in the United States would probably help, since that’s part of the reason why Apple manufactures its phones in China. But what about the raw materials that are mined in China? Is Trump going to produce a magical unicorn to shit the raw materials needed to produce an iPhone here in the United States?

Force Apple to relocate its manufacturing facility back to the United States, and you’ve just increased the cost of making an iPhone, because raw materials have to be shipped from Asia to Apple’s factories here. Aren’t iPhones expensive enough already?

Plus, from what I’m reading, manufacturing in the United States is on the rise, not on the decline, and it is automation that is largely responsible for any reduction in American manufacturing jobs, not trade, but note how quickly Trump wants to kick free trade in the nuts.

Hey… spew enough platitudes without any coherent planning or strategy behind them, and the oaf contingency lines up to worship you!

Yeah, he’ll FORCE Mexico to pay for a wall to keep illegal aliens out.

Yeah, he’ll FORCE manufacturers to bring jobs back to the United States from overseas.

Yeah, he wants a “deportation FORCE.”

He’ll FORCE us to be great again.

And the fact that the simpletons who support him don’t see the contradictions in his statements or the vapid cluelessness in Palin’s screeching bromides makes me really wonder about the future of America.

And now they’re complaining?

Let me get this straight. Walmart is evil, right? They sell cheap goods, drive smaller businesses in the area out, and pay slave wages, right? That makes them a player in Satan’s team photo, right?

So why is it that DC residents are now complaining after Walmart has decided to divest them of its evil, odious presence?

Melinda Jones needed a Walmart badly. The 50-year-old lives in the far eastern corner of Washington, D.C. The closest grocery options are over the line in Maryland, well out of walking distance. Because any shopping trip is a production, she typically takes the train out to Virginia and carpools with family to a military commissary.

“There’s nowhere to shop around here. A Walmart would have been great,” Jones said. “I can’t believe it … This makes me want to cry.”

Jones was supposed to have her shiny new Walmart, at a site called Capitol Gateway, as part of a five-store deal hatched between the company and city officials in 2013. But late last week, the Arkansas-based retailer said it was scrapping plans for the two as-yet-unopened stores in the city. Faced with lagging sales, Walmart is closing 154 locations and laying off 10,000 employees in the U.S.

After all, the District was less than welcoming when Walmart initially proposed to build stores there, according to the Washington Post.

Pushed by labor unions, a majority of the D.C. Council at first pushed back against welcoming Walmart to the city. Opponents cited Walmart’s large profits and refusal to let workers unionize, as well as its reputation for low wages.

And then, there’s the District’s minimum wage, which is already high at $11.50/hour, which is apparently not enough for those who want to do minimum work and get paid like skilled labor, and the proposal proposal to require D.C. employers to pay into a fund for family and medical leave for employees, as well as a plan to require a minimum amount of hours for hourly workers.

Apparently, DC expects Walmart to run its business at a loss, as long as the entitled get theirs, including former DC Mayor Vincent Gray, who brokered the deal with Walmart and was hoping to use it to resurrect the carcass of his political career after some not so savory activities came to light.

Melinda Jones apparently can’t get fresh produce where she lives – at least not anywhere close – so she was counting on the Walmart to build its store there, so she would have somewhere to shop.

The residents in the neighborhoods where the two stores were to go up apparently expected the company to run those businesses at a loss, because they NEED them.

Another resident said he planned to get a job there. “Everybody around here probably would’ve tried to get a job,” Mayo said. “Here one minute, gone the next.” Were they hoping to get easy work for high pay, because DC politicians think they can continue fleecing “the rich” while getting themselves re-elected? Well, guess what! Instead of getting work at $7.25 per hour, getting much-needed experience, and perhaps moving on to better employment, these residents now have no jobs at all. And they can thank DC government that they put into positions of authority for that!

But Walmart is evil, horrible, and awful for not wanting to open more stores where they will undoubtedly make no profit, because apparently stores only exist for the benefit of those who want to work there (at inflated wages), those who want to shop there (at low wages), and the politicians who want to put said deal on their resumes.

econSo DC wants to force Walmart to pay higher wages for jobs that require few basic skills and practically no education, and are meant to be a gateway into the working world, not a lifestyle.

DC wants to force Walmart to keep employees on the clock even though it might not need them.

DC wants force Walmart to pay money into a pot for benefits it does not see fit to offer, because somehow everyone is entitled to them.

And now DC seems surprised and upset that Walmart doesn’t want to build two more locations in the city?

Someone in DC needs some lessons in basic economics.

Love of Country

I went out to dinner with my buddies Kevin and Eileen last night. Prior to gorging on Chinese food, we decided to enjoy a wonderful bottle of red wine (some of which my kitten decided looked best spilled all over the nice beige carpet – THANK YOU OXY CLEAN SPRAY!!!!!). Dinner was accompanied by several Moscow Mules, which may be my new favorite drink of the century and followed by a walk around Arlington, after which we wound up at a hotel bar. The bartender – an older gentleman from Jamaica – kept the drinks coming, and at some point I engaged in a conversation with him.

“America,” he told me. “Jamaica may be nice, the weather is beautiful, but I’ve been living here 17 years, and there’s nothing like this country. There’s nothing like the United States. It really is the best country in the world!”

He continued to extol the virtues of our nation for several minutes as I sipped my drink. He is a U.S. citizen, and his love and awe of this nation has not diminished over the years. So many Americans take this nation for granted, he asserted, and as I sat there and listened to him talk, I realized something many immigrants tend to understand more than those who were born and/or raised here:

We – as a society – have become so spoiled by the opportunities, by the consumerism, and by the freedoms with which we have grown up, we have developed a disdain for ourselves – a blindness formed by our lack of perspective, because we’ve always enjoyed what we have enjoyed.

It comes from both sides of the political aisle.

Conservatives and libertarians rail against the government, with many tossing the words “Marxism” and “socialism” around without truly understanding the meaning of those words. Now, we all use hyperbole every so often, myself included, so I wouldn’t condemn the overall use of those words. I will say, however, that the comparison of even our current climate to the former USSR by those who have never actually lived that horror is uninformed and reactionary.

When libraries are forced by the federal government to manually censor books using black sharpies or take books off the shelves altogether, then you can start comparing this nation to the Soviet Union.

1476711_10151852895872775_95077141_nWhen the federal government forces a uniform curriculum on every school in the country while banning private schools, you can talk to me about the Soviet Unionization of this country.

When your religion precludes you from pursuing your career of choice, you can start making USSR comparisons.

That is not to say there’s nothing wrong with what’s going on in this country today. That is not to say that our government and our country is perfect. The list of some pretty egregious government infringements is long and distinguished – from the secretive, nearly arbitrary “no-fly” list, to continued assaults on our Second Amendment rights after every tragedy, to the EPA, IRS, BLM, and other government abuses.

But here’s something we forget, because we’ve been so spoiled by the freedoms we do have: There are countries out there whose governments punish speech, there are nations out there who have outlawed “gay propaganda,” there are countries out there that still ban women from driving, there are nations that have no independent journalists or media, there are nations out there that have completely banned guns and punish armed self defense. And while we still have a lot of work to do, and by no means should we rest on our laurels, we need to get some perspective.

At the same time, the left grouses about poverty, lack of health care access, the minimum wage, and the alleged “gun violence epidemic.” This is a country where even those who live on government assistance have smart phones, flat screen TVs! This is a country where the homeless have actual resources – shelters, food banks, volunteers to help. This is a country where you do have access to basic medical care – even if you don’t have health insurance! And no, the two are not the same thing. We can have a rational discussion about the quality of medical care poor people receive vice those who are considered rich in this country, but resources are there, and they include charitable care through religiously-affiliated hospitals and other private charities, which by the way, the government is making a lot more difficult with continuing onerous regulations.

This is a country in which, despite a growth in gun ownership, firearms-related violence has been generally on the decline. It’s a nation whose fundamental Law of the Land strives to respect and protect armed self defense – both from violent thugs and from government tyrants. We can rationally discuss whether it is possible for an armed populace to defend itself against a much bigger, better armed state wielding nuclear weapons and drones, but the basic principle is there and undeniable.

And those who have never lived the actual horror of government control of the economy, but merely read books about it…

Those who lack a basic respect for their own labor, as well as the labor of others…

Those sheep, who think that the very politicians who use the public’s ignorance to get elected are more qualified to allocate the fruits of the labor of those whose skills they cannot hope to match than those who actually produce and contribute to economic growth…

They screech about the “injustice” of America, the economic inequalities, and their demands for a “living wage,” without understanding the fundamental economic and policy differences between nations that mandate the type of minimum wage for which they clamor – from the comfy confines of their home offices, their plush armchairs, or their ivory towers – because it assuages their guilt about having better funded, more comfortable lives than others.

One such arrogant redistributionist decided that because I was somehow more “privileged” (read: worked my ass off to get my current job for 20 years, struggled with two jobs to pay for my property and remain current on my bills, raised the rent once – by $50 – during the time the tenants lived there, and was in the red every single month, even after they paid the rent) than the child molester Cooper, who made the conscious choice that destroyed the lives of his family and others around him by having sex with a kid, I deserved to have them steal my home, because – as he put it – “It’s unethical for either you or the state to put a family out on their asses. More unethical than their occupation (but not by much, frankly).” Because as a home owner, I apparently had the responsibility to keep these child molesting thieves squatting in my house. Because it didn’t matter that I was getting ruined financially by these criminals. I’m the homeowner, and I somehow had an obligation to get raped by these repulsive, thieving criminals! And if I refused, I was nearly as bad as the kiddie diddler (better, “but not by much, frankly).

Needless to say, I no longer speak to this creature.

They don’t understand justice. They don’t understand fairness. They don’t respect this country for the opportunities it does afford to those who choose to take them, and they only choose to see what they view as deficiencies. They’ve been so spoiled by what this nation does offer, that complacence and contempt have set in, so they’re only able to focus on the flaws.

The gentleman from Jamaica was right. Many Americans are so spoiled, they have forgotten to appreciate what they have.

We are still America. We still have our rights and freedoms. We still have the voice and the ability to fight like hell to protect them. We still have the ability to educate ourselves, even if public schools do a substandard job of doing so. We have information at our fingertips, friends, neighbors, and countrymen who are generous – more generous than we have ever been – and more opportunities to achieve and succeed than most other nations.

Immigrants understand this. Those of us who remember life in other nations, under truly tyrannical regimes, understand this.

Maybe it’s time for many others to get some perspective.

Remember what you have.

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