Budget Hero 2.0

Find out how hard it really is to get us out of the economic mess we’re in. Do you have a better fiscal plan than Paul Ryan’s road map, can you destroy the country as quickly as Obama’s reckless spending spree?

Computer game gives people shot at managing budget

Think you might do better than President Barack Obama and congressional leaders in picking and choosing what government spending to cut — or taxes to raise — to stave off a debt showdown that could wreck the economy? A new computer game gives you, too, the chance to play “Budget Hero.”

“Budget Hero 2.0” is an update of an original version that came out in 2008. It shows players just how difficult it might be to carry out their grand policy objectives — universal health care, extending the Bush tax cuts or ending foreign aid — and still keep the government from either becoming irrelevant, or going broke.

“Our timing turns out to be perfect,” said former Rep. Jane Harman, D-Calif., who resigned this year to head the Woodrow Wilson Center, a nonpartisan think tank that developed the game with American Public Media.

Play the game:

Budget Hero 2.0

See also:
Budget Hero 2.0: Fun with debt ceilings!
Get Ready To Get Your Game On And Save The Country! (Civic Duty Meets Casual Gaming)
Computer Game Lets You Be a ‘Budget Hero’
Computer game gives people shot at managing budget
New Game Allows Users to Take a Crack at the Debt Ceiling
Computer game offers a chance to solve fiscal crisis
Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
American Public Media
American Public Media

Okay, okay, so the game was developed by Lefties, as disclosed above. It’s still somewhat amusing, factual, and pertinent to our current predicament.

/give it a whirl, be a Budget Hero

Running On Empty

Actually, we’re running beyond empty now. The United States can’t legally borrow any more money until Congress acts to raise the debt ceiling.

US government hits debt ceiling, lighting 11-week fuse

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner informed Congress on Monday that the United States has reached its legal debt limit, setting off a ticking time bomb that could explode in less than three months if lawmakers can’t bridge differences and allow more government borrowing.

In hitting the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling – the limit on how much the government can borrow – the Obama administration on Monday began temporarily halting payments to the retirement and federal pension accounts of federal workers and started borrowing from those funds, to be restored later.

Geithner sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., warning that the government can move money around for about 11 weeks but if a new debt ceiling isn’t agreed to by Aug. 2, the U.S. government could effectively default on its obligations to its creditors. He warned of “catastrophic economic consequences for citizens” unless Congress raises the debt ceiling.

An increase of about $2 trillion is expected, enough to get the issue past the 2012 elections before Congress would have to lift it again.

Republicans who control the House of Representatives vow to link raising the debt ceiling to cuts in government spending of at least equal measure. In a combative statement Monday, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, upped the ante.

“As I have said numerous times, there will be no debt limit increase without serious budget reforms and significant spending cuts, cuts that are greater than any increase in the debt limit.” Boehner has called previously for $2 trillion in spending cuts as part of any deal to raise the debt ceiling.

See also:
US hits $14 trillion debt limit
US Hits Debt Ceiling, But Treasury Market Rules Out Default For Now
Deja Vu, But No Disaster: U.S. Government Hits Debt Ceiling
U.S. Hits Debt Limit, Sky Doesn’t Fall
U.S. hit debt limit today
Treasury Tapping Federal Retirement Accounts to Stave Off Default
Turbo Tim Raids Pension Plans
With Debt Limit Maxed Out, Lawmakers Hold Firm On Remedy
Rep. Jordan: U.S. won’t default if debt ceiling isn’t raised
U.S. National Debt Clock

Well, we hit the debt ceiling and, despite all the Democrat Chicken Little hysteria, the Sun didn’t explode, the seas didn’t boil, and the markets didn’t plunge thousands of points. Go figure.

/all I can say is that the Republicans had better stand firm and hold their ground this time and hold out for concrete, verifiable spending cuts that at least equal the amount of any debt limit increase

The Path To Prosperity

Adult swim, Democrats out of the pool!

Republicans embrace Rep. Ryan’s government budget plan for 2012

House Republicans announced a far-reaching vision for a leaner federal government on Tuesday, presenting a 2012 budget blueprint that would privatize Medicare for future retirees, cut spending on Medicaid and other domestic programs, and offer sharply lower tax rates to corporations and the wealthy.

The proposal represents the most comprehensive philosophical statement by resurgent Republicans since they claimed control of the House in last fall’s midterm elections. It promises to define the party heading into the 2012 presidential election and to shape the policy debate in Washington as both parties grapple with a soaring national debt.

Drafted by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the proposal aims to eventually shrink federal spending, measured against the economy, to its lowest level since 1949. Ryan said the plan would create jobs, promote growth, and rebuild an economy ravaged by recession and “relentless government spending, taxing and borrowing.”

Read the budget proposal:

The Path to Prosperity

See also:
House Republicans unveil ‘Path to Prosperity’ budget cuts
U.S. Republicans present budget plan with massive cuts
Proposal Transforms Role of Government
The CBO scores Paul Ryan
The Ryan Resolution
GOP budget proposal would cut feds, extend pay freeze
Ryan Rides To The Rescue With Realistic Budget Plan
Editorial: Ryan’s Budget Plan Gets The Job Done
The GOP Path to Prosperity

Right on cue, the Democrats are already squealing like stuck pigs being electrocuted in an acid bath. Children will die, senior citizens will be forced to eat cat food! Brace yourself, because the cynical and deceitful doomsday din will only get louder. Gird yourself for the 2012 elections, Republicans need to oust Obama, take the Senate, and hold the House in order to wrangle this country back onto the road to fiscal sanity. The Democrats’ irresponsible and ruinous spending gravy train must be brought to an end, the status quo is unsustainable and not an option. Vote Republican to save this country’s future from the economic abyss.

/the Path to Prosperity won’t be painless, but it has to be taken, the other road leads the United States down the third world drain

How Do You “Invest” When You’re Broke?

Hey Obama, what part of “we don’t have any money” don’t you understand?

CBO: Federal deficit to hit $1.5T this year

Last month’s bipartisan tax cuts and spending deal has deepened the federal deficit dramatically this year, putting the government on track for a nearly $1.5 trillion shortfall — the largest in history — the Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday.

The sobering check on the country’s finances was announced a day after President Obama‘s address to Congress and underscored the country’s tenuous fiscal standing, which could doom many of Mr. Obama‘s initiatives to boost government spending on education, roads and other infrastructure.

The CBO did say the economy appears to be improving, albeit slowly, from a deep recession that drove the unemployment rate to more than 10 percent. The rate is still above 9 percent, despite efforts by Mr. Obama and Congress to pump money into the economy.

“It’s been a slow recovery by the standards of our past. The labor market in particular has been coming back slowly; income has been coming back slowly,” said CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf.

Social Security Will Post Shortfall This Year, CBO Says

Social Security will post a $45 billion shortfall in fiscal 2011 and will pay out more in benefits than it accepts in payroll taxes through at least 2021 without legislative changes, the Congressional Budget office said on Wednesday.

See also:
The Budget and Economic Outlook: Fiscal Years 2011 to 2021
CBO projects record-high $1.5 trillion budget deficit this year
As deficits, debt soar, Obama, Congress fail to confront them
Deficit Outlook Darkens
CBO forecast: frightening fodder for both parties
It’s official: The debt is ballooning. Now can we think clearly?
Social Security to Run Deficits for Foreseeable Future, CBO Says
Social Security fund now seen to be empty by 2037
Social Security to Operate in the Red for the Next 10+ Years: CBO
Social Security to run permanent deficits, says CBO
CBO: Social Security Will Run Permanent Deficits
A Roadmap for America’s Future

I swear, Is Paul Ryan the only adult in Washington? When are these moron politicians going pay attention, grow some spines, and start taking this fiscal crisis seriously. Every day that goes by, we dig ourselves deeper into the national debt hole and it becomes ever so much more difficult and painful to try and climb out of our self inflicted, bottomless deficit pit.

/we’d better just forget about pie in the sky choo choo trains and go straight to the required austerity budget measures

Must Be Election Season

Oh, sure, it’s cheap political theater, but it’s the thought that counts and it’s got Democrats howling, so it serves its purpose.

In run-up to Nov. vote, GOP unveils ‘Pledge to America’

House Republican leaders vowed to reverse the course of Washington and “realign our country’s compass” in a wide-ranging agenda unveiled six weeks before the fall elections.

The 21-page “Pledge to America,” released Thursday at a Virginia hardware and lumber store, focused largely on government spending, the economy and ways to roll back ideas proposed by President Obama, including the new health care law.

“Government is out of control,” said House GOP leader John Boehner, sounding a theme repeated throughout the plan. “And we need to rein it in.”

An anti-Washington mood has endangered dozens of House Democrats this year, bolstering the GOP’s hopes that they can recapture the majority in the November elections. To do so, the party would need to win back 39 seats.

Democrats called the plan a retread: “The Republican agenda … will take us right back to the exact same agenda that failed middle-class families,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said.

Read the pledge:

A Pledge to America

/Michael Ramirez

See also:
A Pledge to America – The Fall 2010 GOP Agenda
The GOP makes its “Pledge to America”
Pledge to America: good policy, good strategy
GOP’s ante: The pledge
Republicans unveil Pledge to America, but where was Paul Ryan?
Will the “Pledge to America” Produce a Single GOP Vote in November?
Democrats on the Pledge to America
GOP ‘Pledge to America’ infuriates some conservatives

Well, the “Pledge” certainly has provoked reactions from all sides, which I guess was the point. Whether you believe this is a serious document or a gimmick, it really doesn’t matter. Even if the Republicans take back the House and, by some miracle, manage to retake the Senate, as long as Obama is still sitting in the White House with his veto pen, the Pledge to America is going nowhere fast.

/the best Republicans can hope for, with control of the House, is to kill funding for the agenda the Democrats have already passed and try and starve it to death, which is certainly much better than a sharp stick in the eye

Pinocchiobama’s Nose Grows Again!

Remember that emphatic promise? Well, as with most of Pinocchiobama’s promises, it turns out that this promise was just so much bull[expletive deleted] too. Never mind that most of the existing taxes will be increasing at the start of 2011, Pinocchiobama’s got a brand new tax in mind to relive taxpayers of their hard earned income, so he can spend even more money the government doesn’t have.

Obama Floats a VAT: ‘It’s Something That Would Be Novel for the United States’

President Obama made it official today: He is open to the imposition of a Value-Added Tax (VAT) on the American people. A VAT would violate Obama’s central campaign promise – a “firm pledge” that no family making less than $250,000 per year would see “any form of tax increase“.

Obama’s admission came during an interview with CNBC’s John Harwood. Asked if he could see the potential for a VAT, the President said:

“I know that there’s been a lot of talk around town lately about the value-added tax. That is something that has worked for some countries. It’s something that would be novel for the United States. And before, you know, I start saying ‘this makes sense or that makes sense,’ I want to get a better picture of what our options are.”

Obama’s VAT admission may explain his recent attempts to alter the terms of his central campaign promise.

Twice in the past two weeks, Obama has claimed his middle class tax pledge only applied to income taxes rather than “any form of taxes”.

In his April 10 Weekly Radio Address, Obama said:

“And one thing we have not done is raise income taxes on families making less than $250,000. That’s another promise we’ve kept.”

In a speech on the evening of April 15, Obama repeated the truncated promise:

“And one thing we haven’t done is raise income taxes on families making less than $250,000 a year — another promise that we kept.”

The two recent statements stand in stark contrast to Obama’s original promise:

“I can make a firm pledge. Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.” (Dover, NH) [Transcript] [Video]

The Obama VAT admission also comes the day after White House economic advisor Austan Goolsbee refused six consecutive opportunities to permanently close the door on a VAT and two days after White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said a VAT “is not something the President has proposed nor is it under consideration.”

See also:
Obama suggests value-added tax may be an option
Barack Obama Leaves The Door WIDE Open For A VAT Tax
Obama suggests value-added tax may be an option
Obama: Value-Added Tax A “Novel” Idea
Key Player on Debt Commission Says VAT in the Mix
Will the VAT Lady Sing?
The VAT Is Obama’s License to Spend
Will They Take ‘No’ As Answer To VAT?
Sales-tax idea meets with a bipartisan no
Value added tax (VAT)

So, there it is America, yet another big Pinocchiobama lie that’s going to cost you your hard earned money. You can’t trust anything that comes out of Pinocchiobama’s mouth anymore, he can’t even spell the word truth.

/you might try nailing your wallet to the kitchen table, but voting Republican this fall is probably the only thing that’ll keep Pinocchiobama from stealing it

The New Pig Book Is Here, The New Pig Book Is Here!

It’s a bipartisan effort, Republicans are just as bad as Democrats. Take a look at who’s flushing your hard earned tax dollars down the hog trough.

Cochran Leads Congress in Earmarks, $16.5B Total Set Aside for Pet Projects in 2010

Drumroll, please.

And the king of pork is … Sen. Thad Cochran. The Mississippi Republican ranks at the top this year of the Citizens Against Government Waste’s list of congressional earmarkers.

Cochran, the ranking Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee, is typically a leading pork-seeker and in 2010 had his name on 240 projects worth $490.2 million The runner-up was Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, with 151 projects worth $387.5 million.

Taken together, earmarked projects in fiscal year 2010 accounted for $16.5 billion of the federal budget. Leading the the 50 states was Hawaii, which enjoyed $251 per capita, thanks in large part to the help of Inouye. On the House side, Rep. Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D., took home the gold with 50 projects worth $148.4 million.

Citizens Against Government Waste President Tom Schatz said Cochran has earned the nickname of “Thad the Impaler” for his persistent earmarking.

“Senator Cochran has been number one for three years in a row and his total exceeds $2 billion during that three-year period of time,” he said.

The good news was the number of earmarks declined — the 9,129 projects listed marked about a 10 percent decline from last year. But that’s still more than 15 times the number of projects when Citizens Against Government Waste first started tracking in 1991.

And according to the annual “Congressional Pig Book” released Wednesday by the watchdog group, some oddball projects were on the receiving end. Shrimp research, local museums and military projects that even the Pentagon didn’t want were among the beneficiaries this year of billions of dollars in pork-barrel spending, according to the guide.

Here’s a look at some of the more peculiar projects on the extensive “Pig Book” list:

— Shrimp must be in vogue this year. The budget set aside $2.9 million in seven states for shrimp aquaculture research. Elsewhere in the budget was $700,000 requested by several senators and representatives for fishing research by the Southern Shrimp Alliance.

— Five senators and four representatives across four states requested $2.6 million for potato research. Along those lines, several lawmakers also set aside $775,000 for the Institute for Food Science and Engineering, which, as CAGW notes, has a program for researching “Pickle Science and Technology.”

— The wool industry has attracted millions in funding over the past decade and 2010 was no different. Montana, Texas and Wyoming were the recipients of $206,000 for wool research.

— Talk about a war on drugs. Among the projects requested by Cochran was $500,000 for the University of Southern Mississippi for a cannabis eradication program.

— The Camden Police Department, which reportedly was not eligible for stimulus funding because of prior grant violations, was awarded $200,000 in earmarks from New Jersey’s two senators, Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez, for a Mobile Communications Center.

The Pentagon was awarded billions for programs Defense Secretary Robert Gates spoke out against as unnecessary. One earmark worth $2.5 billion was for 10 C-17 cargo jets. Another was worth $465,000 for development of a Joint Strike Fighter alternative engine. Lawmakers fought administration attempts to cut those programs out of concern over lost jobs.

— Somehow, the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the Senate also made its way into the defense budget. The institute is expected to include exhibits, classrooms and a replica of the U.S. Senate chambers — at a price of $18.9 million.

— Local museum and educational center funding was also popular this past year. The budget included $100,000 for the Cabot’s Pueblo Museum in Desert Hot Springs; $250,000 for the Wistariahurst Museum in Massachusetts; $500,000 for the Czech and Slovak Museum and Library in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and another $500,000 for the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium in Dubuque, Iowa.

— Several educational campaigns also received funding. Among them was $250,000 for an anti-steroids awareness program at the I Won’t Cheat Foundation in Salt Lake City.

And that’s just the tip of the pork iceberg. Read The 2010 Pig Book for yourself and pick out your own favorite nauseating examples of tax money wasted on hog[expletive deleted].

The Congressional Pig Book is CAGW’s annual compilation of the pork-barrel projects in the federal budget. The 2010 Pig Book identified 9,129 projects at a cost of $16.5 billion in the 12 Appropriations Acts for fiscal 2009. A “pork” project is a line-item in an appropriations bill that designates tax dollars for a specific purpose in circumvention of established budgetary procedures. To qualify as pork, a project must meet one of seven criteria that were developed in 1991 by CAGW and the Congressional Porkbusters Coalition.

Complete Pork Database: Search all 9,129 projects by keyword, member, state, party or appropriations bill.

Features: Oinker Awards | State Rankings | Historical Trends | All About Pork

See also:
2010 Pig Book Summary
Citizens Against Government Waste
Earmark Spending $16.5 Billion in CAGW’s 2010 Congressional Pig Book
“Pig Book” released today details members of congress’ pork requests
The 2010 Congressional Pig Book: 20 Years at the Trough
68M For Ind. Among Earmarks Flagged In ‘Pig Book’
Rep. Yvette Clarke Wins Award in CAGW’s 2010 Pig Book
Pig book shows earmark reduction
Watchdog group finds smaller servings of congressional pork

Okay, so $16.5 billion is hardly a drop in the overall budget bucket and it’s good that the Congressional hogs pigged out on fewer earmarks than last year. But damn it, $16.5 BILLION IS REAL MONEY, IT’S YOUR HARD EARNED TAX MONEY, OR BORROWED FROM THE CHINESE, AND THESE CORRUPT MORONIC BASTARDS ARE SPENDING IT ON RIDICULOUS, UNNECESSARY BULL[EXPLETIVE DELETED]!

/inform yourself, pay attention to who’s wastefully spending America into economic oblivion, and vote accordingly in November