Posts Tagged ‘Ready Projects’

President Blah, Blah, Blah

by Alan Caruba

on Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

This is article 67 of 1015 in the topic Obama

President Blah, Blah, Blah got in front of the television cameras midday on Monday to say the usual meaningless things he has been saying since he was elected, none of which are true and none of which have been able to hide the fact that he has driven the nation into the ditch with a lot of help from Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.

Over the weekend he unleashed the White House attack dogs to blame the nation’s problems on the Tea Party when, of course, it was his administration that added three trillion to our debt.

After a while we just stop listening to what a president says; especially if we have concluded he is either clueless or has a hidden agenda.

“If his lips are moving, he’s lying” is an old cliché, but it fits President Barack Hussein Obama because it is quite likely that no one believes him any more with the exception of the usual brain-dead liberals who still think he is a genius. So far he has shown a genius for increasing the debt and the unemployment numbers.

This is a man who was still talking about electric cars, high speed trains, and renewable energy while the price of gas continued to increase along with everything else.

On Monday he was still talking about the nation’s infrastructure as a source of jobs even after recently admitting there were few “shovel ready” projects. Tired ideas, ideas that don’t work, repeated over and over again.

President Obama has been boring people from the day he took office. “This was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.” The oceans have been rising a few centimeters every century and the planet is just fine. His election did not transform either the laws of nature or physics.

Instead, all that transformational gibberish turned out to be about a nation already in financial trouble as the result of the September 2008 bursting of the housing bubble. His response was to waste a great deal of time forcing Obamacare on everyone. Americans want to feel that they have a say in what the government is doing and, when they don’t, they organize.

The emergence of the Tea Party was the legacy of Obamacare. A movement without leaders, but one that made itself felt in the 2010 elections that transferred the power of the nation’s purse from Democrats to Republicans in the House and reduced their majority in the Senate.

It may just be my imagination, but President Obama seems to believe he can just stand at the podium, read from the Tele-Prompters, and convince Americans that all our problems have to do with “millionaires and billionaires”, “corporate jets”, and the folks who provide the sources of all real energy; coal, oil, and natural gas.

Nobody is buying those idiotic electric cars (except government agencies) and nobody believes the Green grifters who have been living off federal largesse with their pathetic wind and solar farms, and ghastly ethanol. If it were not for government mandates they would all have been out of business long ago.

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The Turning Point for “Entitlement” Programs

by Alan Caruba on Thursday, July 28th, 2011

This is article 1 of 8 in the topic Entitlement Programs

The result of all the drama emanating from Capitol Hill and the White House has been to get a lot of people wondering about the sustainability of Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid.

Both Democrats and Republicans agree that the “debt ceiling”, the limit on how much the federal government is permitted to borrow, must be raised. It is essentially an accounting fiction because, since 1960, it has been raised 78 times; 49 times by Republican presidents and 29 times by Democrat presidents.

What makes it an issue now? $14.3 trillion dollars worth of U.S. debt.

It is not just the size of this debt, probably the greatest that any nation has ever owed in history, it is that it was initially due to a financial rescue program in 2008 when President Bush and Congress sought to avoid a collapse of Wall Street and banks. The TARP funds were eventually repaid.

Part of the current debt is due to massive spending programs by the Obama administration, allegedly to “create or save” jobs and “stimulate” the economy. They did neither.

The Obama spending programs were, in essense, Democrat slush funds parceled out to the party’s faithful to ensure that teachers and other public service workers would be retained, that General Motors and Chrysler could avoid the normal bankruptcy procedures that would have restructured both companies—and likely reduce union power, and that favored contractors could receive funding for “shovel ready projects.”

A long term, on-going problem has been the current and future debt is attributed to meeting the obligations of Social Security, introduced in 1935 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and to the high costs of Medicare and Medicaid. The latter became law on July 30, 1965 as an amendment to the existing Social Security legislation.

In sum, both programs reflect the Democratic Party’s commitment to “social justice” (wealth redistribution) that began in the early part of the last century. Republicans were not immune to this. President George W. Bush added to the costs of Medicare with prescription coverage.

The battle on Capital Hill is between the Democrats, led by President Obama, who wants to raise taxes in the midst of what is called a recession but is truly a Depression 2.0. Raising taxes is what President Roosevelt did and it simply prolonged the Great Depression by sucking money out of the free market economy.

On the other side of the non-negotiating table are the Republicans who, thanks to the Tea Party members of the House, have been forced to reclaim their reputation as a party devoted to limited government and prudent fiscal policies.

It is assumed by all that the debt ceiling with be lifted. It is unknown whether the nation’s credit rating of AAA will be reduced as the result of a failure to substantially cut spending and, far more importantly, meet its obligation to repay its debt. Indeed, the central issue is all about credit.

A nation that must borrow billions every day to meet its obligations cannot afford to lose a rating that is rooted in the very beginning of its history when Alexander Hamilton, the first Secretary of the Treasury, insisted that all Revolutionary War debts be paid in full.

Social Security is the largest government benefit program in the world.

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Boring Bridges and Roads

by Alan Caruba on Friday, July 1st, 2011

This is article 8 of 37 in the topic Government Programs

In November 2010, Business Week, noting the $72 billion set aside in the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the “stimulus”, cited a 2009 report by the American Society of Civil Engineers on the state of the nation’s infrastructure of roads and bridges, solid waste and water treatment processing facilities, the aviation system, and energy needs.

Known as the ASCE “report card” and issued every four years, the Society gave America a grade of D regarding the nation’s crumbling and outdating infrastructure. The estimated cost of what needs to be spent through 2014 was estimated to be $2.2 trillion.

The stimulus allocation of $72 billion falls considerably short, but any money directed to infrastructure maintenance and upgrading is money well spent. However, as President Obama discovered, “not all shovel ready projects were shovel ready.” Any civil engineer or town mayor could have told him that.

Essentially, today’s politicians find infrastructure projects boring. They lack the razzle-dazzle of programs devoted to “renewable energy”, high speed trains, and countless electric cars speeding down the potholed highways of the future.

It took a very long time to create the network of bridges, roads, air and seaports, and other essential elements of the infrastructure and, thanks to time, wear and tear, and general indifference they are all deteriorating at an increasing rate.

This means your children and grandchildren face the possibility of living in a Third World nation of disasters such as the Minneapolis bridge collapse in 2007 and the New Orleans’ levee failures when Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005.

The national highway system we love was built in the 1950s. “More than 26% of U.S. bridges are either structurally deficient or obsolete,” says the ASCE. “The average bridge is now 43 years old.” Auto traffic between 1980 and 2005 increased 94% and truck traffic doubled!

Most Americans are blissfully unaware or just plain ignorant about the role of infrastructure and, worse, at a time of financial crisis the prospect of spending millions or trillions on it is slim. There is, of course, a price to neglecting such things. It goes up every year repair and replacement is put off.

Fortunately, there are people sufficiently concerned about this to come up with a plan to address it in a fiscally prudent, but long term way. There’s a website, representing “a campaign to implement life-cycle budgeting at the federal, state, and local levels.” It was initiated on June 22.

The site offers a white paper titled “Delivering Taxpayer Value: Three Tools That Can Help Ensure a More Efficient Cost-Effective Infrastructure” written by John W. Fischer, a transportation consultant who spent more than three decades with the Congressional Research Service.

The white paper should be read by the staffs of every Senator and Representative in Congress. White House staff should read it, too. Then it needs to be read by the staffs of every state governor and, of course, all transportation officials.

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Obama didn’t believe that there were “shovel-ready” jobs a year ago, but didn’t he still just recently push for a $50 Billion Stimulus Bill

by John Lott on Sunday, October 17th, 2010

Apparently, Obama didn’t believe in so-called “Shovel-Ready” jobs a year ago.

DAVID BROOKS, NYT: Yes. Well, I shouldn’t have confessed this. He said this to me off the record about a year ago. But it hasn’t…

JIM LEHRER: Off the record? So, then you can’t talk about it.

DAVID BROOKS: Yes, because Peter Baker is a better journalist than I am, because I couldn’t get him to go on the record with that thing.

JIM LEHRER: He said this to you a year ago?

DAVID BROOKS: It was obvious. I mean, you are trying to build a stimulus package. And when they were trying to build it, believe me, they would have loved to have filled it with infrastructure jobs. But the projects just didn’t exist. They couldn’t do it. They couldn’t find them.

He told Peter Baker in October:

He realized too late that “there’s no such thing as shovel-ready projects” when it comes to public works. . . .

He realized “too late”? If that is true, what about the $50 billion bill that Obama put forward in just September that was know for building “roads, railways, and runways.”

President Barack Obama on Monday proposed a quick $50 billion boost in federal spending to rebuild roads, railways and runways — a move he said will create jobs and which Democrats hope will improve their election prospects in November.

Obama rolled out the Labor Day proposal at a speech to a friendly union audience in Milwaukee, the launch of a week-long push on the economy and jobs that will include an Ohio speech pushing tax breaks for business and a White House news conference on Friday.

It all comes as the country pivots to a fall campaign for control of Congress in which Democrats are expected to take a pounding. . . .

A copy of Obama’s speech is available here.

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What Obama now says that he would have done differently

by John Lott on Thursday, October 14th, 2010

This is article 282 of 1015 in the topic Obama
This is part of what Obama told the NY Times this week.

He let himself look too much like “the same old tax-and-spend liberal Democrat.” He realized too late that “there’s no such thing as shovel-ready projects” when it comes to public works. Perhaps he should not have proposed tax breaks as part of his stimulus and instead “let the Republicans insist on the tax cuts” so it could be seen as a bipartisan compromise. . . .

Well, Obama has set massive records on spending, overseeing a 21.4 percent increase in Federal spending over two years. This sounds like a very temporary election conversion. As to the taxes that he pushed, it wasn’t the type of taxes that Republicans like. His large deductions that are then phased out as income increases raises the marginal tax rate and actually reduces the return to people working. Here are the violins:

“we probably spent much more time trying to get the policy right than trying to get the politics right. There is probably a perverse pride in my administration — and I take responsibility for this; this was blowing from the top — that we were going to do the right thing, even if short-term it was unpopular. And I think anybody who’s occupied this office has to remember that success is determined by an intersection in policy and politics and that you can’t be neglecting of marketing and P.R. and public opinion.” . . .

But if Obama really thought that these were the right things to do, why didn’t he campaign on what he was going to do? Don’t the people at the NY Times remember that he clearly promised to cut government spending after he became president. Take the third debate (though he also made this promise very clearly in the second debate).

But there is no doubt that we’ve been living beyond our means and we’re going to have to make some adjustments. Now, what I’ve done throughout this campaign is to propose a net spending cut. I haven’t made a promise about . . . . What I want to emphasize, though, is that I have been a strong proponent of pay-as- you-go. Every dollar that I’ve proposed, I’ve proposed an additional cut so that it matches. . . .

The consistency here is that Obama walks away from what he really believes when he faces the voters.

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There’s A Reason Joe And Jane Voter Are Cranky

by Bob Livingston on Monday, September 13th, 2010

This is article 83 of 393 in the topic economy

There’s A Reason Joe And Jane Voter Are Cranky

President Barack Obama unleashed his October Surprise a little early, announcing last week his plan to get the Federal Reserve to print $50 billion more dollars and funnel it to the unions under the guise of improving America’s roads, railways and runways. Perhaps he wanted to get a head start in case this one fails, too.

The plan will bring the total amount of stimulus dollars allocated for infrastructure to $280 billion. You remember those shovel-ready projects that were supposed to stimulate the economy? They apparently weren’t so ready after all. Only about a third of the original $230 million has been spent.

Yet Obama feels the need to pile on more. He couched the plan, called the “Plan to Renew and Expand America’s Roads, Railways and Runways,” as a way to put people back to work. But the only people who are going to benefit are unions and Democrats running for the House and Senate who are going to get more campaign cash from the unions as a result of what columnist Michelle Malkin calls “The Mother of all Big Boondoggles.”

Malkin points out that because of Obama’s Executive Order 13502, contractors who bid on large-scale public construction projects worth $25 million or more must submit to union representation for its employees. Mandates of this sort raise the cost of projects from 9 percent to 18 percent depending on the project and the market, research has shown.

Even unions recognize that projects using union labor increase costs. Recent reports indicate that when labor unions need construction projects done they more often than not chose non-union contractors to do the work, admitting it’s done to save costs.

But Obama is willing to expedite the collapse of the United States economy for the immediate benefit of his union thug buddies and, ultimately — he hopes — his Democrat lackeys in Congress.

Whether he can get such a bill through Congress is another story. Even Democrats, sensing the mood of a populace growing increasingly skeptical of more government spending, are leery of voting for anything that will add the country’s debt burden.

It’s not that they oppose the spending. Were we a year or more away from elections Democrats — and not a few Republicans — would be eager to pile on the spending. After all, spending other people’s money is what the elected elites do best.

But politicians read polls, and polls showing that Republicans hold a 13-point favorability edge over Democrats in the Congressional elections have the Democrats feeling queasy.

Republicans — once so demoralized by the drubbing they received in the 2006 and 2008 elections — are feeling emboldened by the same news. They are — mostly reluctantly — joining with the Tea Parties to oppose more spending and more debt. Some of the GOP Congressmen who supported stimulus spending pushed first by big government, big spending President George W. Bush and then Obama have been handed their walking papers and are about to join millions of Americans in the unemployment lines.

That’s a good place for them. Hopefully they will be joined by many more elected (and suddenly newly-unelected) elitists after Nov. 2.

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The Problem with the Economy is Obama

by Alan Caruba on Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

This is article 86 of 393 in the topic economy

On Tuesday evening during a CNN news hour anchored by Wolf Blitzer, he and his guest, David Gergen, the channel’s senior political analyst and a journalist with experience inside the White House as well as reporting on it, were discussing the many polls that show that the Democrat Party will likely lose control of the House and possibly even the Senate.

Gergen opined that the economy that President Obama inherited from George W. Bush had not improved in the twenty months since he took office and, in fact, had worsened despite throwing billions at it in the form of so-called stimulus bills, shovel-ready projects, green jobs, and all the other promises made.

What was the problem they wondered and I thought, the problem is President Barack Hussein Obama.

No one in the corporate, industrial, and business world intends to do much more than acquire their faltering competitors so long as Barack Obama is setting economic policy. The rest of the nation, particularly small business owners, are not doing anything except waiting for the midterm elections in November and thereafter for the national election in 2012.

Few trust the President and even fewer trust his economic advisors, the most inept and incompetent bunch of academics to gather in the Oval Office since the days of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Over the course of a decade in the 1930s, FDR’s advisors tried everything except to leave the business community alone long enough to let market forces take hold.

The result was the Great Depression during which the owner of a drycleaner service was threatened with jail time for lowering his cost to customers in order to be competitive!

The oldest lesson in governance is that the government, no matter who’s in charge, has no idea how to run a business and only rarely relaxes the iron grip of taxation to permit business activity to expand. We particularly remember those that did introduce sensible tax policies such as John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan.

A very big part of the problem is that U.S. corporations are taxed at a higher rate than virtually all other nations.

Instead of a “Fair Tax”, a flat rate on the consumption of goods and services, as opposed to a tax on income, individuals and businesses find themselves trapped in a rat’s maze of tax rules and loopholes that baffles even the Internal Revenue Service.

President Obama came into office with the expectation that he would address the single most important issue of the day, the economy.

His predecessor had tried to introduce some reasonable changes to the Social Security system, but they were rejected. When the housing market imploded Bush was blamed, but Bush had earlier attempted to correct the abuses of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and had been rebuffed by Congress.

As of 2006 political power in Congress had been transferred to the Democrats. Thus, for the past four years, the economy has been their responsibility even before Obama was elected.

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Obama Porkway: Road Built With Stimulus Money Will Bear President’s Name

by Doug Powers on Monday, June 21st, 2010

nullI’m only guessing that, when it’s completed, Pres. Barack Obama Parkway in Orlando, Florida will lead straight to the Magic Kingdom:

Is it too soon to name a road after President Barack Obama? A new road being built through Orlando will have his name.

Roads in Orlando honor some of our greatest presidents, from Washington to Jefferson and now Obama.

On Friday, Orlando leaders made President Barack Obama Parkway the first road under construction in the nation named after our 44th president, and surely one of the few in history to be named after a sitting president in his first term.
Two hundred jobs will be created to build the first $10.5 million phase of the road, which will connect with Metrowest Boulevard.

Most roads that are constructed are paid for with taxpayer dollars, but the fact that the first new road named after Barack Obama is being funded by his beloved “stimulus” is only appropriate.

If you’re in Orlando looking for this road, it’s just a mile west of the intersection of Hope and Change, and a half-mile east of the corner of Shovel and Ready. Why did local officials decide to name the stimulus road after the president? Because “A Blatant Attempt to Bankrupt America Boulevard” wouldn’t fit on the sign.

President Obama has a long way to go before surpassing Robert Byrd on the “stuff named after me that somebody else paid for” list, but if enough taxpayer money keeps being dumped into “shovel ready” projects, he’ll catch up in no time.

A photo of the Obamas, Joe Biden and Hillary taking their first drive down Pres. Barack Obama Parkway is here.

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