Bloviator In Chief

Hoo boy.

Obama’s 17-minute, 2,500-word response to woman’s claim of being ‘over-taxed’

Even by President Obama’s loquacious standards, an answer he gave here on health care Friday was a doozy.

Toward the end of a question-and-answer session with workers at an advanced battery technology manufacturer, a woman named Doris stood to ask the president whether it was a “wise decision to add more taxes to us with the health care” package.

“We are over-taxed as it is,” Doris said bluntly.

Obama started out feisty. “Well, let’s talk about that, because this is an area where there’s been just a whole lot of misinformation, and I’m going to have to work hard over the next several months to clean up a lot of the misapprehensions that people have,” the president said.

He then spent the next 17 minutes and 12 seconds lulling the crowd into a daze. His discursive answer – more than 2,500 words long — wandered from topic to topic, including commentary on the deficit, pay-as-you-go rules passed by Congress, Congressional Budget Office reports on Medicare waste, COBRA coverage, the Recovery Act and Federal Medical Assistance Percentages (he referred to this last item by its inside-the-Beltway name, “F-Map”). He talked about the notion of eliminating foreign aid (not worth it, he said). He invoked Warren Buffett, earmarks and the payroll tax that funds Medicare (referring to it, in fluent Washington lingo, as “FICA”).

. . .

Even Obama seemed to recognize that he had gone on too long. He apologized — in keeping with the spirit of the moment, not once, but twice. “Boy, that was a long answer. I’m sorry,” he said, drawing nervous laughter that sounded somewhat like relief as he wrapped up.

But, he said: “I hope I answered your question.”

See also:
Obama’s 17 Minute, 14 Second Answer on Higher Taxes and Health Care
The great elaborator: Obama gives 17-minute answer to health-care query in N.C.
Obama’s 17-minute answer
Obama’s answer was rather loquacious
Obama Fights Adversity With Verbosity
Defensive much? Obama gives rambling, incoherrent 17 minute response to concern about being ‘overtaxed’
President Obama takes 17 minutes to answer a question

Let’s see, Obama takes 17 minutes to not answer a simple question, Alan Grayson is threatening doctors, Henry Waxman is threatening major U.S. corporations, and, a week into this new entitlement fiasco, most Americans still think Obamacare sucks.

/yeah, I see nothing but smooth sailing for Democrats going forward

Friday Night Obama Not Good Economic News Dump

Yes siree Bob, this country’s economic future is in the very best of hands.

Stimulus Math: $533,000 Per Job Saved or Created?

With the release of some hard data, the effects of the first wave of President Obama’s stimulus program are now observable. Businesses receiving federal contracts participating in the program reported creating or saving more than 30,383 jobs in the first months of the program, based on less than $16 billion in federal contracts.

ProPublica has done some basic math on the program so far, and calculated scenarios that shed light on the value proposition as outlined by the Obama administration. Following is the ProPublica analysis by Christopher Flavelle:

On Thursday, the government released a flood of data about the stimulus, showing how 9,000 federal contractors spent their stimulus dollars — including the value of the contract, each project’s status, and how much each of the contractor’s five highest-paid officers were paid.

But when it came to presenting that data, Recovery.gov, the government’s official site for stimulus information, highlighted one number in particular, posting it on the site’s main page in large font: “JOBS CREATED/SAVED AS REPORTED BY FEDERAL CONTRACT RECIPIENTS: 30,383.” To make extra certain of getting viewers’ attention, the number itself appears in bright green.

As the economy continues to shed jobs , it’s easy to see why the administration is keen to highlight the number of jobs created by the stimulus. When the numbers were released, Jared Bernstein, the administration’s chief economist, said the job count “exceeds our projections,” adding that it supported the conclusion “that the Recovery Act did indeed create or save about 1 million jobs in its first seven months.”

But do the 30,000 jobs represent a good return? And since the federal contracts for which data was reported this week represent just a sliver of the overall stimulus package, what do they really say about the impact of the stimulus as a whole?

Let’s start with the 30,000 jobs themselves. The federal contracts in question represented $16 billion in stimulus spending. Assuming the number of created or saved jobs reported by each contract recipient was accurate—which, as we’ve reported before, is still an open question—that breaks down to $533,000 for each job. That’s more than five times the projection of the president’s own Council of Economic Advisers , which estimated in May that every $92,136 in government spending would create one job for one year.

That’s right, on your behalf, the Obama administration has “saved or created” a little over 30,000 jobs, spending over a half million dollars of borrowed taxpayer money to “save or create” each job. Oh, by the way, since Obama took office, the U.S. economy has lost 3.6 million jobs. What’s wrong with this picture?

But wait, there’s more Obama not good news! In just nine months, Obama and the Democrats have managed to triple the Bush era record deficit set last year. You go Obama, borrow that money, spend, spend, spend!

Obama team makes it official: Budget deficit hits record. By a lot.

The Obama administration has released new deficit numbers, and they are not pretty.

The deficit for Fiscal Year 2009, which ended Sept. 30, came in at a record $1.42 trillion, more than triple the record set just last year.

In addition, future deficits are currently projected to total $9.1 trillion in the coming decade.

See also:
Do Direct Stimulus Jobs Really Cost $533,000 a Piece?!
First Hard Data on Stimulus Released
Firms report 30,000 new stimulus jobs
Stimulus jobs paying $500,000 — good work if you can get it
30,000 Stimulus Jobs, Many in D.C. Area, Reported
Federal contracts show 30,000 stimulus jobs
Federal Government says Preliminary Numbers Show 30,000 Jobs Created
On stimulus jobs reporting, a big ‘Oops’
2009 federal deficit surges to $1.42 trillion
U.S. Budget Gap Hits Record $1.4 Trillion
Treasury reports record deficit
U.S. FY 2009 budget deficit a record $1.417 trln
US budget deficit hits record 1.4 trillion dlrs: govt
Record-High Deficit May Dash Big Plans
Deficit Hits $1.4 Trillion, Complicating Stimulus Plans
US National Debt Clock
Read The Writing On The Wall

/have you had enough hope and change yet?

How Bad Does The “Stimulus” Suck?

Let Tom Coburn count the ways. As a taxpayer, you’ll have trouble believing just how bad it really is and this is only the tip of the iceberg.

A Second Opinion on the Stimulus

Earlier this year, Congress was quick to pass the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, or stimulus bill that promised to jumpstart the economy and put Americans back to work by spending $787 billion on “shovel-ready” projects across the country.

There was no question that the nation’s economic condition demanded bold action. Nor is there any question that the massive amount of stimulus spending so far has created some new jobs. Yet, as recent statistics have shown, the jobs that may have been created or saved from the stimulus are not offsetting the millions of jobs that our economy is still hemorrhaging. In my estimation, Congress chose the wrong approach to stimulating the economy by spending money we don’t have on things we don’t need. Real stimulus includes lowering the tax and regulatory burden on hardworking families and businesses, which creates good jobs for the long term.

Unemployment soared to 9.4 percent in May 2009, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), with 14.5 million Americans now out of work. These numbers are staggering, but may actually be too low. BLS also reports that “true unemployment” could be as high as 16.4 percent when adjusted for all workers that would like to work full time but are discouraged from doing so. Behind these statistics are stories of families trying to make ends meet without a steady pay check, and even those who have not lost their jobs are anxious about their own financial situation, as well as the future that they can expect for their children and grandchildren.

It is fair to say that these statistics do not tell the full story of the stimulus. Taxpayers have a lot of questions about how the stimulus is working and they deserve answers.

For example, what kinds of jobs are being created? Are these permanent jobs or seasonal and temporary jobs that will soon be gone when the project is completed? What are the merits of projects being funded with stimulus dollars? Will these projects make real improvements in the lives of taxpayers and communities or are they simply pet projects of politicians and lobbyists that never got off the ground because they are a low priority? Are some stimulus projects actually making matters worse for ordinary Americans?

Taxpayers would not be shocked to hear that millions of dollars of stimulus money are being wasted, but they might be shocked to learn the answers to these questions. After a review of thousands of projects, it is fair to claim that there are some successes, but there are also places where we need to do better.

Earl Devaney, head of the Recovery Act Accountability and Transparency (RAT) Board, estimates that at least $55 billion of the money may be lost to waste, fraud and abuse. Unfortunately, we all have come to expect waste and mismanagement when Washington spends money. But this time the expectation must be different. When ordinary Americans are laid off or lose their jobs, they are losing more than just income. They are losing their health insurance, as well as their ability to pay their mortgages, to send their kids to school, or even provide necessities like food and shelter.

This report is an attempt to look beyond the statistics of jobs created or even money wasted. It, instead, provides a closer examination of 100 projects, programs and missteps – worth $5.5 billion – some even in my own home state of Oklahoma, that are likely to fail the expectation of out of work Americans who were hoping this bill would create good jobs that they are desperately seeking so that they can provide for their families once again.

I plan on issuing additional reports on stimulus projects in the months to come in the hope that by keeping government accountable, we can provide the most value for taxpayers.

Tom Coburn, M.D.
U.S. Senator

GOP senator issues list of 100 wasteful stimulus projects

It’s no secret that Sen. Tom Coburn isn’t wild about the federal stimulus.

But on Tuesday the Oklahoma Republican underscored his displeasure with a 45-page report on 100 stimulus projects he considers wasteful, with special care for his top 10 most dubious projects. Read the complete report here.

The worst project in his view is a wastewater facility in Perkins, Okla. The town gets $1.5 million in stimulus help for the project, but it comes with enough other federal strings attached that it has forced a 60 percent rate hike, Coburn claims.

Only one stimulus project from Arizona made his list, a $5.4 million grant to the Phoenix Police Department that will likely go to ticketing equipment rather than extra cops.

Back in February, even before President Barack Obama signed it into law, Coburn released a list of 37 stimulus projects he considered wasteful.

“There was no question that the nation’s economic condition demanded bold action. Nor is there any question that the massive amount of stimulus spending so far has created some new jobs,” Coburn notes at the outset of his latest report. “In my estimation, Congress chose the wrong approach to stimulating the economy by spending money we don’t have on things we don’t need.”

Top 10 wasteful stimulus projects

Senator Tom Coburn (R – Okla), a staunch opponent of wasteful spending, has issued a report entitled 100 Stimulus Projects: A Second Opinion. The report highlights 100 of the most wasteful projects funded by the stimulus. Here are the top ten wasteful projects according to the report.

1. “Free” Stimulus Money Results in Higher Utility Costs for Residents of Perkins, Oklahoma

2. $1 billion for FutureGen a power plant that uses “cutting edge technology.” The irony of the whole project is that the costly technology being used is already obsolete.

3. $15 million for “shovel-ready” repairs to little-used bridges in rural Wisconsin are given priority over widely used bridges that are structurally deficient.

4. $800,000 for little-used John Murtha Airport in Johnstown, Pennsylvania airport to repave a back-up runway; the “airport for nobody” has already received tens of millions in taxpayer dollars.

5. $3.4 million for a wildlife “eco-passage,” a way for animals to go under a busy road, in Florida.

6. Nevada non-profit gets $2 million weatherization contract after recently being fired for same type of work.

7. Non-existent Oklahoma lake in line for over $1 million to construct a new guardrail.

8. Nearly $10 million to be spent to renovate a century old train station that hasn’t been used in 30 years.

9. Ten thousand dead people get stimulus checks, Social Security Administration blames a tough deadline.

10. Town of Union, New York, encouraged to spend money it did not request for a homelessness problem it does not have.

See also:
Sen. Coburn Questions Stimulus Projects
New Report Cites Wasteful Stimulus Spending — Going Nowhere
Stimulus program fraught with waste, report says
Sen. Coburn questions 100 stimulus projects
Guardrail to ‘Nowhere’ Should Go, Says Coburn
Coburn: Stimulus Forces Higher Utility Rates
Some projects raise question: Where’s the stimulus?
More to Florida turtle crossing than Oklahoma Sen. Coburn claims

And here’s another “stimulus” gem that didn’t make Coburn’s list, but it proves the law of unintended consequences and that no one actually read the shameful “stimulus” bill before they voted on it.

STIMULUS WATCH: $25 check may cost you food stamps

When President Barack Obama increased unemployment benefits as part of his economic stimulus, he also made some Americans ineligible for hundreds of dollars a month in food stamps.

Under the economic recovery plan, laid-off workers have seen a $25 weekly bump in their unemployment checks as part of a broad expansion of benefits for the poor. But the law did not raise the income cap for food stamp eligibility, so the extra money has pushed some people over the limit.

Laid-off workers and state officials are only now realizing the quirk, a consequence of pushing a $787 billion, 400-page bill through Congress and into law in three weeks.

And for people hurt by the change, there’s no way around it.

See also:
Obama’s unemployment boost kicks thousands off foodstamps
How $25 Extra in Unemployment Benefits is Hurting Some
Stimulus bill adds jobless benefits; removes food stamps
Georgia Man Says Stimulus Money Costing Him
Move To Help Families May Be Hurting Others

So, here we have even more evidence that very little of the “stimulus” money has been spent so far and the money that has been spent has been spent of ridiculous Democrat pet projects that do nothing to boost the economy or ease unemployment. And, seeing as the economy is already starting to recover despite the “stimulus”, any further insane spending of money we don’t have on things we don’t need, is an unconscionable waste of borrowed money that taxpayers, present and future, will have to repay, with interest.

/in the name of common sense and basic fiscal responsibility, CANCEL THE REST OF THE “STIMULUS”, CANCEL IT NOW!

Where’s The Stimulus And Why Do We Need Any More Of It Anyway?

Remember the urgency?

So, this pork packed $1 trillion, plus interest, “stimulus” bill just had to be passed immediately, before anyone could even read it, to save the economy from disaster. Well, it’s more than three months later, just how much of this urgently needed $1 trillion in “stimulus” money has actually been spent so far?

Obama upbeat about stimulus, but not much has been spent

“Only a small part” of the nation’s $787 billion economic stimulus had been spent through the end of last month, according to congressional analysts, despite the Obama administration’s boasts Wednesday that the plan is a big success.

“One hundred days later, we are already seeing results,” President Barack Obama said during a visit to Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada.

“Across America, recovery is under way,” Vice President Joe Biden said in a statement accompanying a 28-page progress report.

However, Douglas Elmendorf, the director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, was more cautious in his “State of the Economy” review to the House Budget Committee last week.

“The economy will stop contracting and resume growing during the second half of this year,” he said, “but the hardships caused by the recession will persist for some time.”

The CBO report found that through April only about $19 billion in stimulus funds has been spent.

The Results Are In: Stimulus Bill Neither Timely Nor Targeted

Before the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (also known as the “stimulus bill”), President Obama and his chief economic advisor, Larry Summers, stressed that the government’s response to the economic crisis needed to be “timely, targeted, and temporary.” As predicted by a Heritage Foundation analyst,[1] the bill is neither timely nor targeted. Only time will tell if it is temporary.

Not Timely

Government agencies have spent only a tiny fraction of money planned to be spent in fiscal years 2009 and 2010. Moreover, agencies have not allocated most of the money that has been directed toward them for any named projects.

As of May 8, less than 8 percent of the spending scheduled for fiscal years ’09 and ’10 has taken place.[2] That 8 percent ($37 billion) had been spent almost entirely on Health and Human Services until the week of May 1, when $12 billion was spent in one week by the Department of Labor. Before the week of May 1, just 3.3 percent of scheduled ’09 and ’10 spending had occurred.

Of the $461 billion called for to be spent by the stimulus bill before the end of fiscal year 2010, just $37 billion has been doled out. Of that, $16 billion has been spent by the Health and Human Services department, $12 billion has been spent by the Department of Labor, and $6 billion has been issued in one-time payments to Social Security recipients. All of the other agencies combined have spent a total of $2.6 billion as of May 8.

Not Targeted

Fiscal year 2010 ends September 30, 2010, but the recession could end sooner than that. Indeed, a majority of economists surveyed in April predicted the recession will end in 2009.[3] Fed chairman Ben Bernanke also thinks the recession will end this year. The stimulus bill threatens to miss the very target it was meant to address.

Spending to fight an already-ended recession is unnecessary and wasteful. More diffusely, the specific spending programs targeted to fight the recession have mostly not been named.

Of the $461 billion of the stimulus bill the President’s budget blueprint says will be spent in fiscal years 2009 and 2010, just $102 billion has even been targeted for specific outlays by government agencies. Once again, a large amount of this sum is allocated by the Health and Human Services Department. Several agencies (such as the Agency for International Development, NASA, and the National Science Foundation) have yet to say how any of the billions of dollars granted to them by the act will be spent. Just 22 percent of the fiscal years 2009 and 2010 stimulus spending has been planned by government agencies.[4]

The New Keynesianism

The new Keynesian philosophy fashionable among Washington policymakers is that government spending can pull an economy out of recession–that government spending “injects” new demand into the economy, thereby increasing GDP.

But every dollar Congress injects into the economy must first be taxed or borrowed out of the economy. Rather than add new demand, government spending merely redistributes existing demand. Even transferring money from savers to spenders will not add new demand, because nearly all savings are banked or invested and then quickly made available for someone else to spend. Simply put, Congress cannot create new demand out of thin air, and this explains the repeated failure of Keynesian policies.

See also:
Very Little Stimulus Spending So Far
Economic Stimulus: How Much Has Been Spent So Far?
How Much of the Stimulus Money Has Been Spent? Not Much!
Obama, GOP Battle Over Impact Of Stimulus
Obama’s stimulus: First 100 days, ‘spin?’
Watchdog: Stimulus spending a corruption risk
What Is Congress Stimulating?
See If You Can Read It Before Congress Passes It

No matter who’s doing the counting, it’s pretty clear that it’s been over three months now and hardly any of this desperately needed $1 trillion has even been spent yet, a drop in the ocean, spit in a bucket. Surely not an amount that anyone can seriously claim, with a straight face, is doing anything to “stimulate” the U.S. $13+ trillion GDP economy. And how has this trivial amount of Democrat pork spending been spent so far, what important uses has it been put to? Let’s ask Joe Biden.

RECOVERY REPORT: 100 DAYS 100 PROJECTS

Here’s a random sample of what your taxpayer money (borrowed, but you’ll have to pay for it eventually, with interest) is being spent on in the name of desperately needed “stimulus”:

Supporting Communities:17. Darlington County, South Carolina, will be the location of a new 4,200 square-foot library supported in part by $787,000 of Recovery Act Community Facility Grant funding. This new library, located in the town of Society Hill, will replace an existing 850 square-foot building, and provide for the informational, educational, and recreational needs of the 4,000 residents who live in the greater Society Hill area of Darlington County. Isolated from larger libraries by 17 miles in either direction, the Society Hill library supports junior and high school students research needs, as well as adults who use the library’s resources for help in locating jobs, for instructions on constructing a resume, and for submitting their resumes electronically.

Direct Farm Loans:18. With the assistance provided by a Farm Service Agency (FSA) USDA Stimulus Beginning Farmer operating loan, Chang Suhn Lee and his wife Soon Oak have been able to expand their farm in Coalmont, Tennessee, both keeping a family farm operating and keeping up with a growing demand for their crops. Combined with a USDA Direct Farm Ownership Loan the Lees received in 2007, they have expanded their vegetable farm from seven acres to 45 acres in 2009.

Direct Farm Loans:19. David and Katherine Pyle, both raised on dairy farms, recently sought to start their own diary operation and saw a classified advertisement to purchase cows and lease a dairy facility in Augusta County, Virginia. Working with the Farm loan team and using Recovery Act funding, the Pyles were able to work out a loan and started the lease on their new farm on April 1st. Using Recovery Act funds to purchase cows, breed heifers and provided start-up and operating capital, the Pyles now own and manage a growing dairy operation.

Direct Farm Loans: 20. Norman and Ida Layne, along with their son Avery, of Cullen, Virginia, received two direct operating loans supported by Recovery Act funds for their family dairy and hog farm. The combined loans will help support direct operating expenses of the farm, as well as prior fee, repair and veterinary expenses, and will allow the Laynes to be able to keep the family farm for their son. Without the assistance of Recovery Act funds, the Laynes would have had to sell the family farm.

Supporting Communities:21. Ecumenical Faith In Action, Inc., in Washington County, Virginia, is the recipient of $50,000 in Community Facility Grant funding through the Recovery Act. With this funding, Ecumenical Faith in Action will add approximately 5,300 square feet to its food-distribution center. Their existing facility does not have any walk-in freezers or coolers — or even a loading dock. All frozen food is stored in approximately 25 residential type chest freezers. The addition will help alleviate these problems.

Hey, there’s 95 more “projects”, most just as worthless. Read the whole thing. And remember, this pork spending is just barely out of the starting gate, there’s about $950 billion more to flush down the toilet on unneeded Democrat pet projects like this that we can’t afford in the first place. And has anyone noticed that, despite this non-stimulative, wasteful pork spending, the economy is starting to recover anyway and most economists predict that the recession will be over by the end of this year?

Economists: Recession to end in 2009

The end of the recession is in sight, according to a new survey of leading economists.

While the economy is showing signs of stabilizing, the recovery will be more moderate than is typical following a severe downturn, said the National Association for Business Economics Outlook in a report released Wednesday.

The panel of 45 economists said it expects economic growth will rebound in the second half of 2009. However, the group still expects to see a decline in second-quarter economic activity.

“The good news is that the NABE panel expects economic growth to turn positive in the second half of this year, with the pace of job losses narrowing sharply over the remainder of this year and employment turning up in early 2010,” said NABE president Chris Varvares in a written statement.

Almost three out of four survey respondents expect the recession will end by the third quarter of 2009, the report said.

But 19% predicted that a turnaround won’t come until the fourth quarter, and 7% said it may not come until early 2010. None of the panelists expected the recession to continue past the first quarter of next year.

See also:
Will the recession end in 2009?
U.S. Recession May Soon End, Business Economists Say (Update1)
Economists hope US recession will end in 2009
Survey: Most economists see recession end in ’09
Geithner Says Economy Stabilizing, at ‘Beginning’ of Recovery

Let’s recap. We had to have a $1 trillion pork spending bill shoved down our throats, before anyone could even read it, in order to pull the economy out of a deep recession. But, the tiny fraction of the $1 trillion that’s been actually spent so far, more than three months later, isn’t enough to “stimulate” the economy in any meaningful way and has been spent on a variety of Democrat pet project pork nonsense that we don’t need and had to borrow the money for. Furthermore, in spite of this wasteful spending, the economy is recovering all by itself, and the economic consensus is that the U.S. will be out of this recession in about six months!

Now, you may ask yourself, if the purpose of the “stimulus” was to pull the economy out of the recession and, despite the “stimulus”, the economy will be out of the recession before the end of the year, why the [expletive deleted] do we need to spend another $950 billion of borrowed money, that we’ll have to pay interest on, on shameful, useless pork?

Of course, the obvious answer is that we don’t. In fact, all this additional, unnecessary pork “stimulus” spending will do nothing besides massively increase U.S. deficits and debt, trigger higher interest rates and inflation, increase the size of government and crowd out private sector investment. In other words, it’ll be a huge drag on economic growth and the debt albatross we’ll soon have around our necks could conceivably break the U.S. economy itself. If Obama and the Democrat Congress had any honor or shame they’d immediately repeal all the unspent portions of the “stimulus” bill still in the pipeline, in the name of fiscal responsibility and the American taxpayer, generations present and future.

/but they won’t do that because stimulating the economy wasn’t their objective in the first place, Obama and the Democrats could care less about the economy or the taxpayers, what they’re after is raw power, an expanded government, and the votes to hang onto it in 2010