Democrats & Liberals Archives

Get Porked

We are pouring hundreds of billions of dollars into Iraq. We need billions of dollars to rebuild the Gulf Coast region. Our Healthcare and Education systems are tragically underfunded. The United States government has created a staggering debt of approximately $8,386,953,491,456.09.
What do our elected officials do to combat these pressing issues?
They “PORK” us.

Our government has responded by demonstrating the fiscal responsibility of an 8 year old with a no-limit credit card.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A watchdog group Wednesday accused Congress of wasting taxpayer dollars to please the people back home, despite the soaring deficit and mounting bills for hurricane damage and the war in Iraq.

Citizens Against Government Waste identified 375 projects -- costing $3.4 billion -- in its "2006 Congressional Pig Book" it says the nation could have done without in fiscal 2006, which ends October 1.

The 53 pages of pork barrel projects "symbolize the most egregious and blatant examples of pork," the report says.

Among the projects the group identified:

* $13.5 million for the International Fund for Ireland, which helped finance the World Toilet Summit

* $6.4 million for wood utilization research in 11 states

* $1 million for the Water-free Urinal Conservation Initiative in Michigan

* $500,000 for the Sparta Teapot Museum in Sparta, North Carolina


According to the group, the highest per capita spending was in Alaska -- $489.87 for each of the state's 663,661 residents, or $325.1 million. That is less than half of the per capita amount in 2005, a decrease CAGW says came about because Republican Sen. Ted Stevens is no longer chairman of the Appropriations Committee.

Alaska is the state where the proposed $223 million "bridge to nowhere" connecting Gravina Island -- population 50 -- to the mainland caused such a nationwide furor that it was rescinded in December.

Among the 2006 Alaska projects is $1.3 million for berry research.

The lowest per capita spending was in Georgia, $12.06 for a population of more than 9 million, or $109.4 million, the group said.

Congress approved a record $29 billion in earmarks for 2006, or 6.2 percent more than last year's $27.3 billion.

CAGW, a private, nonprofit organization with 1.2 million members, says it publishes the annual report in an effort to eliminate waste, inefficiency and mismanagement -- and the crimes they can promote.

"The guilty pleas of lobbyist Jack Abramoff and former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham illustrate how pork-barrel projects, whether used as currency for re-election or as political favors to well-connected individuals or businesses, can corrupt the political process," the report says.

To qualify for the "Pig Book," a project must meet at least one of these standards: requested by only one chamber of Congress; not specifically authorized; not competitively awarded; not requested by the president; greatly exceeds the president's budget request or the previous year's funding; not the subject of congressional hearings; serves only a local or special interest.

If your going to "PORK" me, at least buy me dinner and take me out dancing first.

In 06' we can change this. It's not a partisan issue. We're all getting "Porked!"
Vote for change.

Posted by Andre M. Hernandez at April 6, 2006 9:28 AM
Comments
Comment #138384

The porking goes on no matter who is in office…it’s amazing how easily we forget the past. Even when we had a democratically-controlled congress the porking went “hog wild”…..

Posted by: Charlie at April 6, 2006 11:12 AM
Comment #138387

Andre-

During a debate former Senator Fritz Hollings said something to the effect, “I’m a big budget hawk, but once the budget is signed it is my job to get as much of the money back to my State as I can.”

And that’s the problem; as long as they can have our money to spend it is their job to 1) spend it and 2) spend it in a way that supports their constituents.

Charlie-

It’s not a partisan issue, except that giving the Federal more money through new taxation is not the way to fix the problem.

Posted by: George in SC at April 6, 2006 11:18 AM
Comment #138391

How dare our leaders (if that’s what you want to call them) vote for pork-barrel, waste, graft, and corporate welfare, when our troops don’t have body armor, vehicle armor, and adequate health care, physical rehabilitation, decent food, sufficient troop levels (as recommended by Gen. Eric Shinseki; Bush belatedly added troops, after allowed the security situation to deteriorate in exactly the way Shinseki said it would without sufficient troops, endangering the existing troops), etc.
Just consider some of these fine examples of some of the very difficult decisions our Congress makes daily.

It is truly disgusting.

And that is just the tiny tip of the massive iceberg. Just look at the top 10 examples of government waste. It’s enough to make ya wanna puke.

And, then look at the thousands of examples of pork-barrel and waste ( see: cagw.org ) by every member of congress. Congress is addicted to pork-barrel. And don’t kid yourself about the pork-barrel is for you. It is mostly corporate welfare, graft, and pay-offs. Government is FOR SALE, and this is how corrupt, bought-and-paid-for politicians get elected by a few with vast wealth and power.

Then look at our bloated government and how huge it has grown, and continues to grow daily, to nightmare proportions. There are more jobs in government than all manufacturing. What’s wrong with this picture?

Does any of that make you angry?
If not, nothing will.
Check your pulse.
You must be dead already.
________________________________________________
Please Stop Repeat Offenders,
Don’t Re-Elect Them !
________________________________________________

Posted by: d.a.n at April 6, 2006 11:27 AM
Comment #138394

Look at our vulgarly bloated government.
It is like a cancer.
It is growing uncontrollably.
The nation needs aggressive anti-pork-therapy now !

But, no reforms are possible until one fundamental change is made first. All voters need to do is the one simple, common-sense, no-brainer, non-partisan, safe, peaceful, inexpensive, and responsible thing voters were supposed to be doing all along:


Vote out (or recall) all irresponsible incumbents, always, every election, until no more irresponsible incumbents exist, and government finally agrees to pass the many badly-needed, common-sense, responsible reforms that incumbents have refused to pass for so many decades.

________________________________________________
Please Stop Repeat Offenders (i.e. Master Cheaters)
Don’t Re-Elect Them !
________________________________________________

Posted by: d.a.n at April 6, 2006 11:32 AM
Comment #138400

Andre,

MY GOD! Twice in one week!

Either I’m moving to the left or you’re moving to the right…or BOTH.

Yes, pork is an ugly part of our budget, but it seems that congressmen (and women) of both stripes are addicted to it more than a crack ho to crack. How many times have we heard a CEO say that if they ran their business like the government, they’d be out of business and broke?

Almost 1/2 of our annual budget is spent on social services (Medicaid, Medicare, etc., etc.) and the rest is supposed to fund all the other things (Iraq, Katrina, No Child Left Behind and everything else). After all that’s spent, it seems that Congress just hasn’t had enough Pork Crack and just HAS to snort some more.

I know that I’m dreaming here, but just once I’d like to see the president veto a budget because of too much pork and lay the blame directly on Congress’ shoulders. I wonder what they would do? Make some symbolic “cuts” somewhere and keep the pork? “Cut” some of the pork and add it in somewhere else? Or just simply override the veto?

What would the Congress do to keep snorting the Pork Crack?

Posted by: Jim T at April 6, 2006 11:49 AM
Comment #138402

Oh, and by the way, if I’m going to be PORKED, I’d at least like a kiss.

Posted by: Jim T at April 6, 2006 11:52 AM
Comment #138407

Bush: Veto? I’ve heard of that. What is it?
Rove: George, it’s when you refuse to pass a BILL.
Bush: Bill who?
Rove: BILL, you know. Those things they make in the House and Senate?
Bush: Oh yeah, yeah. Well, don’t tell anyone, but, I lost my veto pen. Do you think anyone will notice?
Rove: Yes sir, many are saying that very thing.
Bush: Darn, I was hoping I could get by for the last two years without anyone finding out. Where can I get another veto pen?
Rove: George, if you don’t know, me telling you won’t matter.

Posted by: d.a.n at April 6, 2006 12:07 PM
Comment #138408

It’s all a matter of slight of hand. If I’m handing you, Joe and Jane Voter, $100 million for a new library or highway in your community, you’re not watching what I’m doing with the other hand. It all comes back to that short memory politicians know Americans have. No matter what else Mr. or Ms. politician is doing with that other hand, when it comes election time, all old Joe remembers is that $100 million!

Posted by: slowthinker at April 6, 2006 12:17 PM
Comment #138409

Now this is just an idea, but is it possible that we don’t have enough money as a result of the war because it’s not a war for profit? Now, take for example, the Mongol emprire. They didn’t last forever, but they had the right idea. When you conquer a country you’re SUPPOSED to steal something from them. Iraq has oil. Why not take it? Bottom line is that our guns are bigger than theirs. Survival of the fittest. We breed better, kill better, and as a result ARE better. We invaded them. They lost. We should take what we can from them. You can’t make Iraq much crappier and desolate anyways.

Posted by: God at April 6, 2006 12:25 PM
Comment #138411

God,

“Bottom line is that our guns are bigger than theirs. Survival of the fittest. We breed better, kill better, and as a result ARE better.”

Yikes!

Posted by: Andre M. Hernandez at April 6, 2006 12:42 PM
Comment #138415

God,
No! No! No!
The goal is to rebuild Iraq and spread democracy, at an astronomical price in American lives and money, so that in a few years, that nation can start kickin’ our butt in the global economy, charge us double or cut us off of the their oil, and then hate us for all of it. Haven’t you learned anything from history?

Posted by: d.a.n at April 6, 2006 12:58 PM
Comment #138422

In 06’ we can change this. It’s not a partisan issue. We’re all getting “Porked!”
Vote for change.

Sounds like a plan!

Oh wait a minute… There are no fiscally responsible candidates. From either party.
Looks like the election will be decided on other issues.
Which is a shame.

If only one of the parties would get behind the idea of debt repayment and force all their people to support the massive spending cuts it would take to…
Sorry, there goes my imagination again.

At any rate, good article Andre.

Posted by: TheTraveler at April 6, 2006 1:22 PM
Comment #138424

To all,

FYI:
“Libby court papers: Cheney said Bush OK’d intelligence leak.”
Washington Post.com

Anybody shocked?

Posted by: Andre M. Hernandez at April 6, 2006 1:31 PM
Comment #138429

Really?
Is there proof of that?
If so, perhaps they should be impeached?

Posted by: d.a.n at April 6, 2006 1:41 PM
Comment #138435

>>I know that I’m dreaming here, but just once I’d like to see the president veto a budget because of too much pork and lay the blame directly on Congress’ shoulders. I wonder what they would do?

Posted by: Jim T at April 6, 2006 11:49 AM

Jim T,

The President depends on the ‘Rubber Stamp Congress’ to let him have his way, i.e., not censure, not impeach and above all not fight him on his Iraqi shambles. He can’t afford to veto…we, on the other hand can’t afford for him not to veto…guess who wins…

Posted by: Marysdude at April 6, 2006 1:53 PM
Comment #138437

Line item veto anybody?

Posted by: justwondering at April 6, 2006 1:57 PM
Comment #138441

Anybody shocked?

Fitzmas has finally arrived!

Either that or Libby is repeating the crime that he was indicted for in the first place…

Either way, I’m not shocked.

The whole Plame/libby thing is probably a political stunt being used by both sides (in their own ways) to distract us from important issues like the one we were discussing. See how easy it worked?

Posted by: TheTraveler at April 6, 2006 2:06 PM
Comment #138445
Line item veto anybody?

Line item veto won’t work and it has already been declared unconstitutional.

Besides, there is a better solution: One-Purpose-Per-BILL.htm

TheTraveler wrote: The whole Plame/libby thing is probably a political stunt being used by both sides (in their own ways) to distract us from important issues like the one we were discussing. See how easy it worked?

Good Point. However, no reforms, discussed here endlessly, will ever be possible until voters do the one simple, common-sense, no-brainer, non-partisan, inexpensive, safe, peaceful and responsible thing that voters were supposed to be doing all along:

Vote out (or recall) all irresponsible incumbents, always, every election, until no more irresponsible incumbents exist, and government finally agrees to pass the many badly-needed, common-sense, responsible reforms that incumbents have refused to pass for so many decades.

Posted by: d.a.n at April 6, 2006 2:11 PM
Comment #138452

I want a reacharound if im gettin porked (nancy pelosi aint half bad as long as she keeps her mouth closed).

God - too funny. I say we build a big pipeline from Iraq to the local Chevron down the street from me. Gas prices in San Francisco are some of the highest in the country. Anyone catch the latest southpark with the hybrids in SF - Too funny.

D.A.N. I think we share the same brain. Can’t help but agree. I couldn’t even finish reading the two links you sent. I actually started to get sick to my stomach.

Anyone that doesnt feel like this is a big issue (government waste) isn’t making a significant contribution to the tax base. Make 6 figures and watch half of it go down the tubes. Look at your payroll deductions and notice that you pay more for medicare than you do for your own healthcare.

Im all for helping out, but not to prop up other people that won’t do for themselves.

Posted by: b0mbay at April 6, 2006 2:21 PM
Comment #138458

>>The whole Plame/libby thing is probably a political stunt being used by both sides (in their own ways) to distract us from important issues like the one we were discussing. See how easy it worked?

Posted by: TheTraveler at April 6, 2006 02:06 PM

TheT,

The only thing more important on the current scene is the wiretapping. Plame and wiretapping go hand-in-hand for reducing our Constitution to zero. Without the Constitution, we are as one with the third world.

Posted by: Marysdude at April 6, 2006 2:35 PM
Comment #138462


We are sufferring through step (4) and (5), and we may now be returning to step (1)

Posted by: d.a.n at April 6, 2006 2:46 PM
Comment #138469

Do any of you think that our government is truly capable of reform. The whole system is set up as one big frat house in the first place. Neither side wants reform they are too busy exploiting us and getting richer by the day. Voting out incumbents is a good idea that will only work until the new crop become corrupt after the first year. Sounds like the time is ripe for a complete overhaul of the system in general which is what is happening today but leaning to the extreme right of the country. The religious zealots who want to see their biblical predictions come to fruition in their lifetime. How can you trust the system when the technology is there to cheat the system and the people who are manufacturing the equipment that can cheat the system are in the same league as the ones running the country. And when they introduced the voting machines the CEO of the company stated he would do anything to get this president re-elected. Did that mean rigging the voting machines? Is that possible? How do you know your vote is being counted accurately? The corruption is so bad that nothing short of an entirely new breed of politician will fix the problem and that new breed has to be installed all at once. Yeah I know good luck with that so I guess voting out incumbents is the next best thing so I’m with you D.A.N in 06

Posted by: Vic at April 6, 2006 3:16 PM
Comment #138471

The hub-bub about Pork Barrel Spending is the greatest sleight of hand trick since David Copperfield made the Statue of Liberty disappear.

Agreed that Pork Barrel spending can be percieved by those who don’t benefit by it as wasteful. I don’t think the steel workers who would have built ‘the bridge to nowhere’ (but who instead went on unemployment) a complete waste. But that perception is the result of tunnel vision.

That $29 Billion ‘wasted’ on Pork Barrel Projects represents only about 8.6 percent of the projected deficit for fiscal 2006. It’s equal to about 8.25 percent of the amount we’ll spend on interest on the national debt.

OF COURSE, pork barrel spending should be reduced with prudent consideration of actual benefit to the nation. But eliminating 100% of the pork barrel spending WITHOUT eliminating the other 91% of the deficit is the equivilant of putting a neck brace on a guy with a broken neck… It’s only the beginning and without MAJOR follow up treatment, the guy is going to die.

In recent discussions on this site, we have discussed the gross underfunding of such critical programs such as health care, education, and alternative energy initiatives. Eliminating $29 Billion in pork barrel spending isn’t going to fund those noble causes.

Don’t be distracted by the one hand waving negligible waste for all to see, while the other hand is making permanent the ridiculous tax cuts for the rich.

Posted by: Thom Houts at April 6, 2006 3:18 PM
Comment #138475

Nowhere in the U.S. Constitution does it say anything about the federal government paying for healthcare, welfare, airfare or any other kind of fare.

The Constitution is dead. It has been replaced by a bunch of fast-talking slimeballs in Congress and nine old geezers in black robes.

So, keep your powder dry, boys and girls.

Posted by: slowthinker at April 6, 2006 3:28 PM
Comment #138477

dan,

I agree with your reply to me especially on this issue. However, given the current candidates, I don’t think new congressmen will reduce spending very much (if any).

marysdude,

The only thing more important on the current scene is the wiretapping. Plame and wiretapping go hand-in-hand for reducing our Constitution to zero. Without the Constitution, we are as one with the third world.

The Plame thing was nothing but a bunch of stupid politically motivated moves by Bush, followed by a bunch of stupid politically motivated responses by the Democrats. None of these moves have helped or hurt the country. They just made everybody involved and everybody who responded look bad.
According to polls the majority of the Americans support Bush on the wiretapping issue. Constitutional or not, it’s a pretty small problem.

No, the fact that our government is bankrupt is a much bigger problem.
We are in debt to many other countries, some of which we consider enemies. The debt is growing and no one in Washington wants to do anything about it.
The issues you mentioned are insignificant compared to this.

Posted by: TheTraveler at April 6, 2006 3:29 PM
Comment #138478

Alaska is also where that stupid star wars boondoggle is based.

Was’nt it Tip O’neal that said “Pork barrel is infrastructure spelled backwords.” Point being what is pork to some may be a valuable project to others.

Posted by: BillS at April 6, 2006 3:33 PM
Comment #138489
Nowhere in the U.S. Constitution does it say anything about the federal government paying for healthcare, welfare, airfare or any other kind of fare.

OK so you’ve never read the preamble… please allow me…


“We, the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

Or Article I, Section VIII, Paragraph 1 of that living document…

“The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;”

Posted by: Thom Houts at April 6, 2006 4:10 PM
Comment #138498
D.A.N. I think we share the same brain. Can’t help but agree. I couldn’t even finish reading the two links you sent. I actually started to get sick to my stomach.
Thanks. Yeah, the waste and corruption is sickening.
dan, However, given the current candidates, I don’t think new congressmen will reduce spending very much (if any).
Yes, it will take more than one election to turn things around. Not many Senators are up for election in 2006 (with 6 year terms, staggered 2 years apart). But, it can work if voters keep votin’ out irresponsible incumbents, always. And, it may not happen in our lifetime. But, the only right thing is the simple, common-sense, tough, safe, peaceful, and responsible thing we were supposed to do all along. We’ve tried everything else, but the one thing we should have been doing all along. Doing anything else is a just a bandaid, or worse, and only pushes the day further into the future when we finally all do the most simple, smart, and responsible thing. It’s right there, right under our nose.

Thom Houts,
The Constitution does not guarantee healthcare. General welfare is a very broad term. If you start down that path, almost anything could fall under the responsibility of the government to provide. The federal governLess has already grown to nightmare proportions, and it has already proven that it can not responsibly manage Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Welfare, the PBGC and pensions, etc., etc., etc.
Healthcare in the hands of the government is a new nightmare. The better solution would be to get government and insurance companies out of the healthcare system. This would be a much, much better, much more affordable system.

Posted by: d.a.n at April 6, 2006 4:40 PM
Comment #138501

TheTraveler,
Yes you are correct.
We do have much bigger fish to fry.

However, this problem, and our many other pressing problems will never be solved until voters do their duty too. Until then, American voters only have themselves to thank for their own negligence and laziness. Especailly when we still have the right to vote, but squander it, and continue to vote for the very same irresponsible incumbent politicians that keep using and abusing the voters.

The mechanism for voters is right there under their own nose. But, the American voters had better hurry, because illegal aliens are also voting in our elections with fake IDs and fake Social Security numbers, and it may not be long before your votes, as citizens are irrelavent, and outnumbered by illegal aliens.

Posted by: d.a.n at April 6, 2006 4:43 PM
Comment #138542

Read report last night, became instant backer of VOID. Please tell me WTF are SCATS and a “Wireless Waterway”??? Sorry about language but am angry. I did find it heartning that there was something that Pelosi and Hutchinson could agree on.

Posted by: Ted at April 6, 2006 6:35 PM
Comment #138550

Thom Houts

Here we go again. Everytime someone challenges the government’s Constitutional authority to enact all these entitlement programs, somebody drags out the premable.

Do you honestly believe that’s what the framer’s had in mind when they spoke of promoting the general welfare? Providing for every citizens personal welfare: Feed them, clothe them, heal them, make their car payments?

I think you better go back and read what Madison and Hamilton had to say on the subject in The Federalist Papers, or de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America, or Thomas Jefferson, or Abraham Lincoln.

One very good modern example of promoting the general welfare is the Americorps program or the Empowerment Zone program in the inner cities.

That’s what the Framers were talking about, not public handouts.

Posted by: slowthinker at April 6, 2006 7:07 PM
Comment #138553

>>According to polls the majority of the Americans support Bush on the wiretapping issue. Constitutional or not, it’s a pretty small problem.

Posted by: TheTraveler at April 6, 2006 03:29 PM

I beg to defer…that so many Americans think it is unimportant that the President of the United States not only fails to protect, but denegrates the Constitution he was sworn to protect, is the most frightening thing I can think of. Debt, Budgets, Wars, NOTHING is as important as our Constitution…it has made us what we are…the regard we have for it in the future will tell us what we are to remain…

Posted by: Marysdude at April 6, 2006 7:24 PM
Comment #138554

Ted,

I understand your concern.

I think SCATS is Syney Coordinated Adaptive Traffic System. It’s a system that can reduce travel time by implementing better traffic signals (for Detroit, MI).

“Wireless over Water” for Washington State, is a plan to provide wireless connectivity to more a potential of 300 to 400 passengers per ferry.

Please tell me WTF are SCATS and a “Wireless Waterway”?

Good question! ?

$21,975,000 for projects added in the districts of House TTHUD Appropriations Subcommittee members Joe Knollenberg (R-Mich.) and Carolyn Kilpatrick (D-Mich.), including: $1,000,000 for FAST-TRAC SCATS signal installations in Oakland County; $550,000 for the city of Detroit for the demolition of unsafe buildings; $350,000 for the city of Farmington for ADA compliance of the Municipal Riverfront Park; $250,000 for Walsh College in the city of Troy for library expansion; $200,000 for MotorCities National Heritage Area in Detroit for renovations to the historic Piquette Plant; $150,000 for the city of Farmington for trail improvements to Shiawassee Park; and $100,000 for the Detroit Zoo for construction of the Ford Center for Environmental and Conservation Education.
$161,015,000 for projects in the state of Senate TTHUD Appropriations Subcommittee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and the district of House appropriator Norm Dicks (D-Wash.), including: $1,000,000 for the Washington State ferries over wireless water project; $550,000 for the Museum of Glass in Tacoma; $500,000 for the Seattle Art Museum for construction of the Olympic Sculpture Park; and $325,000 each for the Spokane Symphony for renovations to the Fox Theater, and the renovation and expansion of the Seattle Aquarium.

People should read this report. It’s getting worse, as government grows more and more corrupt. But, also keep in mind the other (some worse) pressing problems facing the nation. The National debt is skyrocketing. Recessions come on the average every 2 to 11 years (for the last 46 years). That last on was in 2001. I’m not sure we’ll make it to the 2012. In fact, the way things are going, I’d guestimate that a recession will be declared sometime in 2008.
The scary part is that we are doing just about everything we can to make the recovery from the next recession very difficult. There is a real possibility that the next recession could turn into the next great depresssion.

  • 67% Debt to GDP (up from 33% in 1980) has never been higher since WWII.
  • The National Debt (adjusted for inflation) has never been higher (true, there has been growth in GDP too). Deficits continue to grow. The interest on $8.2 trillion represents another $38 trillion in interest alone if we started paying it down now, which would require us to stop borrowing or printing $1 billion per day, and also pay back $1 billion per day, and 139 years to do it, and that is if interest rates don’t go any higher than now. Future generations are being burdened with massive debt.
  • The total nation-wide debt (now $40.2 trillion) has never been higher (ever).
  • We can not grow, tax, immigrate, or print enough money to get out of the hole.
  • The size of the government has never been higher. Government employs more people than all manufacturing. The federal government grew by 140,000 since 2000.
  • The trade deficits have never been higher.
  • Social Security ($12.8 trillion in the hole) and Medicare have never been in worse shape.
  • 77 million aging baby boomers (that all vote), making less, spending less, pay less tax, expecting to draw from already troubled Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, & welfare, and a decreasing number of tax-payers per entitlements recipient.
  • Dependency on the government is at an all time high.
  • The amount of wealth belonging to 1% of the U.S. population has never been higher since the Great Depression.
  • Foreign competition has never been higher (and increasingly better educated too).
  • Global corpocrisy and corporatism, in-league with bought-and-paid-for government has never been worse.
  • Public education is decreaing in quality and increasing in cost.
  • The percentages of college students pursuing engineering and science has never been lower. Our universities are graduating more foreign students in engineering and science.
  • The brain drain has never been worse. 7.8 million Americans have taken better paying jobs overseas.
  • Inflation is rising now.
  • Interest rates are rising now.
  • The Federal Reserve is printing too much money and increasing inflation. We have a bad money system. Paper money is no longer backed by anything of value.
  • China and Japan are getting nervous about buying more U.S. treasury securities, and have decided to start reducing their exposure to the falling U.S. dollar.
  • Median incomes have been falling for 6 consecutive years.
  • Foreclosures nation-wide are rising and have been for the last 13 consecutive months.
  • The Treasury yield curve inverted this month. Historically, inversions of the yield curve have preceded many of the U.S. recessions. Due to this historical correlation, the yield curve is often seen as an accurate forecast of the turning points of the business cycle.
  • Energy vulnerabilities, rising fuel, oil and energy costs. Also, foreign competitors (e.g. China, India, Asia, etc.) are also competing for more oil, and other fuels, as their economies continue to grow at a very fast pace.
  • There is a huge increase in eminent domain abuse (tens of thousands of cases since 2002) and legal plunder.
  • The PBGC and pensions are $1.6 trillion in the hole. Many pensioners are getting ripped off.
  • The massive debt reduces our options when we may need it most, and destroys opportunities, and will make the next recovery from a recession more difficult, and increases the risk of a depression.
  • Skyrocketing property taxes.
  • The war in Iraq and Afghanistan, etc. The cost of life and limb is high and the monetary cost is about $242 billion and climbing.
  • The cost of Katrina may exceed $120 billion.
  • Despite the billion$ being spent to research the problem, national security is a bit of a joke, since our sea ports and borders are almost wide-open. The only reason we have not yet been attacked again is because terrorists do not yet have WMD. When they do, there is little to stop them.
  • Corruption in government is increasing. Government is FOR SALE, and increasingly controlled by big-money-donors (corporations). Pork-barrel, graft, and money in politics is rampant. Incumbents (who always outnumber newcomers) and refuse countless badly-needed, common-sense reforms.
  • 78 million of 200 million voters are complacent, apathetic, or resigned to the futility of voting and do not feel that voting is worthwhile. Many that do vote are misguided and seduced into petty partisan warfare.
  • not, to mention all of the rest of these other pressing problems.
So, those (above) are only a few signs to indicate we are not on the right path, and what we are doing will make the next recovery more difficult. Posted by: d.a.n at April 6, 2006 7:26 PM
Comment #138557

Entitlement programs keep American citizens from starving to death, many of whom are either not smart enough or in good enough health to survive on their own. Forget the laws and whether or not they authorize entitlements, and think about whether the United States of America wants several million of its inhabitants and citizens to die because we are too cheap to give them a helping hand. Charities nor churches can handle the job without help. Isn’t it smarter to help directly rather than through third parties? Isn’t it wiser to help than to watch the result of not helping? What is the difference between not helping and watching them die and puttin them into gas chambers? I get so tired of reading these cry babies whine about entitlement, I just want to crawl off and puke. These programs, every one of them, are in place because nothing else was keeping them alive. If the programs are being abused, stop the abuse, but stop the whining, or get out your gun and go to work, because there are a bunch who, according to you, deserve to die.

Posted by: Marysdude at April 6, 2006 8:01 PM
Comment #138565

Marysdude

Oh, good Lord! You should take up a career in the theater. Get my gun and go to work? Please.

All those programs are in place because we stopped caring for each other and abdicated that responsibility to Congress which saw it as an excellent way to buy votes.

Multigenerational households used to be the norm in America. Now when mom and dad get too old to care for themselves, it’s off to the nursing home, if they’re lucky.

There’s no respect left in this country for families. Single women are encouraged to have more kids so they can get more money from the government. People have become lazy because the government will pay them for not working (welfare).

But, just out of curiosity, when was the last time you helped a family in need? Or a homeless person find shelter? Or fed a hungry person?

Here in my community, the importance of volunteerism and giving back to your community is taught in our schools. Foundations have been set up to help the indigent, the truly needy. There are programs for the elderly, the young, families and everyone in between. We established job programs at the local community college to help people with the skills need to find a real job. We have converted empty business buildings into low-rent apartments. The Salvation Army provides “business” attire for these folks so they don’t have to show up at an interview in rags or dirty clothes.

And I’m doing my share, Marysdude. I’m not a rich man, so I give of my time. I volunteer at the Salavation Army and the Senior Center. I mentor children who through no fault of their own, are at a disadvantage in school.

What are you doing besides making outrageous statements on Internet blogs?

Posted by: slowthinker at April 6, 2006 8:33 PM
Comment #138613

>>What are you doing besides making outrageous statements on Internet blogs?

Posted by: slowthinker at April 6, 2006 08:33 PM

slowthinker,

Trying to make sense out of chaos. I lived through the inception of social security, welfare, medicare, minority programs, etc., and not one of them was initiated because people were taking advantage of anyone. They were each started because not enough help was available. Not from families, not from churches, not from community chests and not from the NAACP. People were hurting and dying. Now we have some unpopular programs in place and it costs tax money to support them…well though tit. We have a couple of choices, i.e., pay up and shut up, or get the gun, because even a sick horse deserves a quick shot.

Posted by: Marysdude at April 6, 2006 11:38 PM
Comment #138624

>>What are you doing besides making outrageous statements on Internet blogs?

Posted by: slowthinker at April 6, 2006 08:33 PM

And, by the way…what are YOU doing besides making outrageous statements on internet blogs?

Posted by: Marysdude at April 7, 2006 12:00 AM
Comment #138657

d.a.n. slowthinker
I GET it. Do you think I’m not aware of the common disregard by republicans of ‘THE GENERAL WELFARE’ of the American Public. (why is it that when neo con considers the constitution, the second amendment, and it’s relationship to automatic assault weapons it’s a living document, but at all other times it means EXACTLY WHAT OUR FOUNDING FATHERS MEANT AND NOT A DAMN THING MORE?)
yeah slowthinker, “MAKING THEIR CAR PAYMENTS”… THAT is what I believe the framers had in mind.
(hey… ask a stupid question, right?)
(why is it that whenever neo con wants to make a point about early american government, he quotes some french aristocrat who pranced around the country talking with American aristocrats?)

d.a.n., I checked out that proposed system… I think I can see why you fell in love with it
“an upper-cap on premiums will increase participation by the very wealthy that otherwise would not find the cost worth it to participate”
How REPUBLICAN OF YOU. I admit, I’m no financial genius, but if the premium of the rich is capped, doesn’t the difference between cost and benefit have to be made up by an INCREASED premium for those who will be paying the full load???

Typical neo con… there shouldn’t be any free rides… well, except of course for those who don’t need ‘em.

Posted by: Thom Houts at April 7, 2006 4:39 AM
Comment #138667

Thom, marysdude, Slowthinker,

This is not a partisan issue.
That is the most important thing to remember.

Posted by: Andre M. Hernandez at April 7, 2006 8:31 AM
Comment #138729

“We are sufferring through step (4) and (5), and we may now be returning to step (1)”-d.a.n.

So true, a revolution is coming, the only problem is that people are pansies and want to get rid of guns. You can’t revolt with just a raised fist or a protest sign these days. People don’t vote, and they complain anyways. So I say to those poeple: You have a choice, you can vote with guns or with paper.

Posted by: God at April 7, 2006 12:03 PM
Comment #138748

Thom Houts,

I’m not Republican, Democrat, or affiliated with any party.
When it comes to taxes, I think everyone, above a low-level-exemption level, should pay the same Flat 17% Income Tax Rate.
We all agree to pay taxes for National Defense, Law Enforcement, and the truly needy. Nothing wrong with that.
But, I can not force people to pay into a Medical Fund Plan.

I see where you’re comin’ from Thom Houts.
You are entitled to believe what ever you like.

But, if one believes healthcare is a human right, then fine.

But, why stop there?
Let us build upon that childish, flawed logic.
Perhaps food and medicine should be a human right too.
Why get a job to buy food if you have a human right to food?
Why get a job to buy a house or rent an apartment if shelter is a human right?
Why not have the government wipe your butt for you too, if butt-wipin’ is a human right?

What your statements reveal is a lazy, pathetic, and irresponsible dependency on government.
You want it to take care of you from cradle to grave.
You try to disguise your childish envy and jealousy of anyone with more as a “claim of equality” or a “human right”.
You believe and perpetuate the myth that we can all live at the expense of everyone else.
If you can’t afford something, you believe it is someone else’s duty to provide it to you.
How revealing.

Most Americans, and rightly so, find that entire type of attitude disgusting, and contrary to their beliefs and philosophy.

Thom Houts,
I pay tens of thousands annually in taxes, and most of the federal budget goes to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Welfare.

I’m all for welfare for the truly needy.

Also, I donate every year to children’s hospitals and children’s charities, because I want the most bang for the buck where it is needed most.

We can’t all live at the expense of everyone else. Resources are limited. But, more importantly, above and beyond what I pay in taxes for the truly needed, your healthcare is not my responsibility, no more than mine is yours. If you disagree, then please send me a check now, cause I could really use it. No? That’s what I thought. Those that want someone else to take care of them are lazy hypocrites. I don’t know how to put any other way. If you don’t get it, then fine. See where it gets you. Maybe some other bleedin’ hearts will help you out, or rob someone else to pay you? After all, it must be someone else’s fault and responsibility to take care of you.

Unlike you, I don’t believe someone with more money owes me part of their money. You do. You think those with more owe you and others healthcare. That philosophy is not only alien to me, but disgusting.

Posted by: d.a.n at April 7, 2006 12:31 PM
Comment #138985

No it is not the responsibility of the government to provide healthcare or a living to anyone. But it is their responsiblity to put a limit on what the healthcare and pharmacutical companies charge for these services. The markup on drugs is just unreal. And I have another question, why is it that gas prices can go up so fast but come down so slowly? I was out today and got gas and by the time I went back out with my mother the price had went up .10 cents. These are the kind of things that is their responsibility. I called yesterday to check the prices of some low cost insurance for myself and husband and to my surprise their is a waiting list that is between 14 and 18 months before we could get it. God forbid either myself or my husband get sick or have a heart attack before we could get covered. Neither of us are able to get insurance through our employers.

Posted by: Sherri at April 8, 2006 12:26 AM
Comment #139276

I would be more willing to pay the indigents’ living expenses if the recipients would agree to behave in a prudent fiscal manner. First, I have no problem with meeting the needs of the elderly. While I don’t expect to get much help when I’m older, the current generation of oldsters had higher expectations for the Social Security system so I’ll support housing, food and health care for this group.

In the case of poor families raising children, I would support aid to those families that comply with some basic rules.

First, adults capable of working should be working.

Second, no more children until the family has a sounder financial base. I think that is reasonable. If you can’t afford three children, a fourth isn’t going to improve the situtation. And while it isn’t criminal to bring a child into a desperately poor household, it’s certainly not admirable.

Third, adult children of the indigent have no place on the public dole. Housing projects would be greatly improved if grandma didn’t have two or three 20 something grandkids hanging out in her subsidized housing.

Fourth, single mothers are not allowed to have live-in boyfriends who would not individually be eligible for federal assistance. Having a rotating cast of “my babies daddy” is an unacceptable drain on federal resources. If this is a true love situation, then the gentleman should step up and be responsible for the lady’s welfare.

I would support enhancing adoption programs, birth control programs and abortion services to further these goals. There is no way that having more kids helps the chronically poor. Additional unwanted and unnurtured children merely provide replacements for the entrenched underclass.

Posted by: goodkingned at April 9, 2006 1:59 AM
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