The Senate health care bill was unveiled on Thursday, and it appears to be dead on arrival. At least four conservative senators say that they can’t vote for the current version because it doesn’t go far enough, while several moderate Republicans are expressing concerns that it goes too far in repealing popular Obamacare provisions. You can read the full text of the bill here. Since Democrats are going to be united in voting against any bill that the Republicans put forward, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell can only lose two Republican votes if he wants something to pass. I don’t know how that is going to be possible, and so in the end we may be stuck with Obamacare for the foreseeable future and that would be a total disaster.
It is astounding to me that Republicans don’t want to pass the exact same clean Obamacare repeal bill that they got to Obama’s desk in 2016. If they got that same bill to Trump’s desk, he would sign it. Instead of trying to do everything at once, just repeal Obamacare and then start working on various pieces of the health care system one at a time.
According to Real Clear Politics, Congress currently has an average approval rating of just 17.6 percent. It is an institution that has failed the American people over and over again, and we are never going to move things in a positive direction in this country until we do something to clean up that cesspool of filth and corruption.
If we truly want to fix health care in this country, we need to rebuild the entire system from the ground up based on free market principles. But of course the bill that was just unveiled in the Senate simply tries to patch up the system we already have, and that ultimately won’t work…
The bill is very similar to the version of the House bill that passed last month but with some key changes. The text released Thursday showed the Senate legislation would still make major changes to the nation’s health care system, repealing Obamacare’s individual mandate, drastically cutting back federal support of Medicaid, eliminating Obamacare’s taxes on the wealthy, insurers and others. The Senate plan however would keep Obamacare’s subsidies to help people pay for individual coverage.
One thing that is good about the Senate bill is that it would eliminate Medicaid reimbursements for Planned Parenthood for 12 months, but of course this is something that would need to be made permanent as soon as possible.
A more detailed list of major changes that the Senate bill makes was posted on Zero Hedge…
- Gives subsidies illegal immigrants if they are working in the United States
- Subsidies based on 350% Federal Poverty Level, not 400%.
- Gets rid of business and consumer mandates with no penalty
- Qualified plans don’t need to provide abortion coverage unless it’s to save the life of the mother
- Each state gets 15-10 Billion for uninsurables
- Cadillac tax is gone
- OTC med tax is gone
- HSA penalty tax is 10%
- Prescription tax is gone
- Medical device tax is gone
- Business owners can deduct part d expense again
- Deductible medical expenses are back to 7.5% instead of 10% AGI
- Tanning tax is gone (ironic)
- Net investment tax is gone
- HSA deductibility will be adjusted every year for COLA
- Both spouses can now make catch-up contributions to a family HSA
- 60 day limitation to setting up an HSA account when first getting the plan for purposes of a current claim
- No coverage for abortion clinics
- Repeal of cost-sharing subsidy
- MLR set by states
- Grants for states battling opiod addiction (like mine)
- CHIP is reauthorized
- $5,000 app fee to create small business association health pool
- Psychiatric coverage is limited to institutionalized individuals only, and for stays up to 30 days but not to exceed 90 days
- The Senate draft health-care bill doesn’t currently include a provision penalizing people who don’t maintain continuous coverage
Overall, the Senate bill would be a bit of an improvement over Obamacare.
But a slight improvement over a major disaster is still a disaster.
Shortly after the bill was unveiled, four conservative senators announced that they cannot vote for the bill the way that it stands now…
However, four conservative Republican senators —Rand Paul of Kentucky, Ted Cruz of Texas, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Mike Lee of Utah— said they “are not ready to vote for this bill” because it does not go far enough in repealing Obamacare. Separately, moderate GOP Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada said he has “serious concerns” about the bill’s impact on Medicaid patients.
“Currently, for a variety of reasons, we are not ready to vote for this bill, but we are open to negotiation and obtaining more information before it is brought to the floor,” Paul, Cruz, Johnson and Lee said in a joint statement. “There are provisions in this draft that represent an improvement to our current health care system, but it does not appear this draft as written will accomplish the most important promise that we made to Americans: to repeal Obamacare and lower their health care costs.”
On the other end of the spectrum, a couple of RINO (Republican in name only) senators are expected to object to the bill because it would reduce funding for Planned Parenthood…
The Senate bill would cut Medicaid funds from organizations that provide abortions for one year. It does not mention Planned Parenthood by name, but the legislation is clearly targeting the organization, which Republican leaders have promised to defund.
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, have both expressed concerns about any legislation that defunds Planned Parenthood. Murkowski said Thursday she was still reviewing the bill’s provisions.
President Trump says that the Senate bill is not a finished product and that it is open for negotiation.
But I don’t see how in the world anyone is going to be able to craft something that will be acceptable to at least 50 Republicans in the Senate.
Unfortunately, even if the Republicans pass a health care bill somehow it will not fix the giant mess that our system has become.
One step in the right direction would be to legalize the kind of national buying groups that Rand Paul has proposed…
Imagine if the tens of millions of people who belong to Credit Unions, or organizations like the NRA or ACLU, could negotiate as a group for health insurance and drug prices! Imagine the insurance executives and drug companies coming on bended knee to negotiate for the business of tens of millions of people!
I have proposed legalizing nationwide Association Health Plans. My Senate Bill 222 does just that. I have advised the President to act through his Secretary of Labor to review existing law and make it explicitly known that national associations can negotiate as one to bring down insurance prices.
And I would also like to see an expansion of direct primary care and other models that bypass the health insurance companies entirely.
The health insurance companies collectively make a profit of 15 billion dollars a year, and they are a big part of what is wrong with our current system.
There is so much that needs to be done to fix things, and both parties are failing the American people.
So let’s hope that we can remove a lot of these incumbents in 2018, because we definitely need some fresh thinking in Washington.
It has become exceedingly clear that the Democratic Party is in deep trouble. Close to 55 million dollars was spent on the race in Georgia’s sixth congressional district, and that shattered all kinds of records. Democrat Jon Ossoff was able to raise and spend six times as much money as Karen Handel and yet he still lost. This was supposed to be the race that would show the American people that the Democrats could take back control of Congress in 2018, and so for the Democrats this was a bitter failure. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee actually injected almost 5 million dollars into the race themselves, and Planned Parenthood threw in another $700,000. But after all of the time, effort and energy that was expended, Handel still won fairly comfortably.
The Democrats are trying to spin this result as some sort of “moral victory”, but as Dan Balz of the Washington Post has pointed out, there are “no moral victories in politics”…
There are no moral victories in politics. Republicans won on Tuesday in the most important special election this year. Democrats lost, as they have done in the other special elections in GOP-held seats this year.
For the national Democratic Party, the debate continues about developing a message that goes beyond attacking Trump, or assuming dissatisfaction with the president will be enough.
It has been a very long time since there has been so much national attention on a single House race. A number of high profile Hollywood celebrities became personally involved in Ossoff’s campaign, and they were absolutely devastated when he lost…
Celebrities who donated time and money to Ossoff’s campaign, including actresses Alyssa Milano and Rosie O’Donnell, used their social media accounts to react to the Democrat’s loss shortly after the election results were confirmed late Tuesday night.
Milano, who personally drove voters to the polls in April’s preliminary election and was actively campaigning for the Democrat for most of Election Day, tweeted simply: “Grouphug” and “Get in.”
Meanwhile, electronic music producer Moby and vocal Trump critic O’Donnell appeared to be frustrated by the results, with Moby questioning how Democratic “still can’t win” even with “buffoon” Donald Trump in the White House. O’Donnell tweeted: “DONALD TRUMP IS THE DARKNESS ITSELF.”
Where does the Democratic Party go from here?
Their anti-Trump message is not working, and their usual divide and conquer tactics are not working either.
At this point either the Democratic Party is going to have to reinvent itself, or they could be facing a long, painful string of election defeats for the foreseeable future. To say that things have not been going well for the Democrats lately would be a major understatement. I really like what Rush Limbaugh had to say about this on his radio show…
“You have no idea the degree to which the media and the Democratic Party are destroyed today. I’m talking about how they feel … which is complete and utter defeat, frustration and devastation,” he said on Wednesday, hours after Republican Karen Handel was a multiple percentage point winner over defeated Democrat Jon Ossoff.
“The dirty little secret is the media and the Democratic Party is turning off average Americans. They are not persuading, they are not convincing people Trump is a reprobate,” he continued. “They do not know how to beat Donald Trump. There are depressed and despondent.”
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why Jon Ossoff lost.
All of the anger and violence that we have seen lately has greatly tainted the Democratic Party.
The Democrats have become the party of Kathy Griffin.
The Democrats have become the party of Antifa and mock Trump assassinations.
And the Democrats have become the party of James Hodgkinson.
U.S. Representative Tim Ryan was right on the ball when he admitted that his party’s brand has now become “toxic” in much of the nation…
Representative Tim Ryan of Ohio, who tried to unseat Ms. Pelosi as House minority leader late last fall, said she remained a political millstone for Democrats. But Mr. Ryan said the Democratic brand had also become “toxic” in much of the country because voters saw Democrats as “not being able to connect with the issues they care about.”
“Our brand is worse than Trump,” he said.
As I have discussed repeatedly, the left doesn’t have any positive vision for the future to offer the American people. They cannot win in the marketplace of ideas, and so they use anger, frustration, intimidation and violence as weapons. For quite a while the Democrats successfully used “the blame game” and divide and conquer tactics to win elections, but now the American people are seeing through the charade.
The more angry and violent the left becomes, the more the American people are going to turn against them. The following comes from Daniel Greenfield…
But Trump Derangement Syndrome is a symptom of a problem with the left that existed before he was born. The left is an angry movement. It is animated by an outraged self-righteousness whose moral superiority doubles as dehumanization. And its machinery of culture glamorizes its anger. The media dresses up the seething rage so that the left never has to look at its inner Hodgkinson in the mirror.
The left is as angry as ever. Campus riots and assassinations of Republican politicians are nothing new. What is changing is that its opponents are beginning to match its anger. The left still clings to the same anger it had when it was a theoretical movement with plans, but little impact on the country. The outrage at the left is no longer ideological. There are millions of people whose health care was destroyed by ObamaCare, whose First Amendment rights were taken away, whose land was seized, whose children were turned against them and whose livelihoods were destroyed.
Of course it is quite true that the Republican Party needs to be cleaned up as well. Many establishment Republicans use labels such as “conservative” and “Pro-Life” to win elections, but then they end up government like Democrats. And so many members of Congress in both parties spend far more time and energy raising money for their next elections than they do serving the American people.
There is a reason why Congress only has a 17.6 percent approval rating at the moment. Both major parties should take that as a sign that they need to clean up their acts, because the American people are sick and tired of the status quo.
The quote in the headline comes from Ron Paul, and it should be the goal of every conservative lawmaker in the entire country. When professional politicians tell you that they are in favor of reforming the tax code or reducing taxes a little bit, essentially what they are telling you is that they are perfectly fine with the status quo. They may want to tweak things slightly, but in general they are content with big taxes, big spending and big government. I spent an entire year getting a Master of Laws in Taxation at the University of Florida Law School, and in my opinion the best thing that Congress could do to the tax code would be to run it through a shredder and put it in a dumpster. As I noted the other day, the tax code is now more than four million words long and it takes Americans about six billion dollars a year to comply with it. Those that believe that they are offering the American people a “solution” by proposing to tinker with this abominable mess are just fooling themselves.
The only long-term solution that is going to work is to get rid of the entire steaming pile of garbage. Ron Paul understood this, and we would be very wise to take his advice. The following is the full version of the quote from the headline above…
“By the way, when I say cut taxes, I don’t mean fiddle with the code. I mean abolish the income tax and the IRS, and replace them with nothing.”
If I run for Congress, and I am very strongly leaning in that direction, this is what my position on taxes is going to be.
Of course we are going to have to dramatically change the composition of the House and the Senate in order to get this done, so in the short-term we may have to focus on reducing tax rates and the size of the tax code by as much as possible.
But ultimately, the goal will be to abolish the tax code and the IRS altogether.
We have become so accustomed to an income tax that many of us couldn’t possibly imagine a society without one. But today there are seven states that do not have one, and that includes very big states such as Texas and Florida. And from 1872 to 1913, there was no federal income tax. When a federal income tax was finally reinstituted in 1913, the rates were extremely low. The following comes from Politifact…
The 1913 law imposed a tax of 1 percent on income up to $20,000, for both individual and joint filers. However, exemptions from the tax — the first $3,000 of income for individuals and the first $4,000 for joint filers — meant “virtually all middle-class Americans” were excused from paying, according to W. Elliot Brownlee’s book, Federal Taxation in America. The law also put in place a graduated surtax on incomes above $20,000; the highest rate paid, 7 percent, applied to Americans making more than $500,000 (about $11.4 million in 2011 dollars).
So how did things go for our country during the four decades when there was no federal income tax?
Well, if you regularly follow my work you already know the answer to that question.
That period of time just happened to be the best period of economic growth in U.S. history.
Oh, but we wouldn’t want to change from the way things work today, would we? After all, the U.S. economy has grown at a blistering average yearly rate of just 1.33 percent over the past decade, and we are actually behind that pace so far in 2017.
If you want a no growth economy and a steadily shrinking middle class, then our current system is perfect for you.
But I believe that we can do so much better.
So how are we going to fund the federal government if we eliminate the income tax?
Well, the truth is that taxing individual incomes accounts for only 46.2 percent of all federal revenue. The federal government has lots of other ways that it raises money, but of course we wouldn’t be able to keep the massively bloated federal bureaucracy that we have today. We would need to reduce the size and scope of the federal government to an appropriate constitutional level, and of course most politicians on the left would resist this greatly.
There are some federal agencies and programs that we could completely eliminate altogether. If it was up to me, the EPA, the Department of Education and the BATFE would be good places to start. Any essential functions that they are currently performing could easily be absorbed by other agencies.
There are very few politicians in our entire country that will still talk like this, because our leaders have taken us so far down the road toward “a social state” that most Americans don’t even know what “limited government” looks like anymore.
I would like to share with you an old newspaper clipping that was posted to Facebook by Get Involved, You Live Here…
Over the past several decades, the left has made a tremendous amount of progress toward achieving the goals that Saul Alinsky originally outlined in Rules for Radicals. Obamacare was a giant step toward federal control over our healthcare system, poverty is exploding as the middle class shrinks, we are nearly 20 trillion dollars in debt, our public schools have become left-wing indoctrination centers, and God has been pushed out of almost every corner of public life.
We should be very thankful that we got Donald Trump instead of Hillary Clinton, but many radical leftists consider Trump to simply be a bump in the road on the way to completely eradicating our way of life.
They want to criminalize what we believe by making it “hate speech”, they want to steal the minds of the next generation by dominating our system of education, and they want to use government institutions and the legal system as tools to completely reshape society in their image.
The only way that we are going to defeat this tyranny is if we stand up and fight for our country, and that is precisely what we are going to do.
What in the world did the left think would happen? When Kathy Griffin posed for a photo with “Trump’s bloody head”, that sent a message. And the twisted version of “Julius Caesar” that is currently being put on by a New York theater group in which a character meant to closely resemble Donald Trump is brutally assassinated sends a message. At any time of the day, you can find leftist radicals openly discussing violence against Trump and Republicans on Facebook and Twitter, and groups like Antifa have been employing extremely violent tactics ever since the Inauguration. So it is not much of a surprise that a huge Bernie Sanders supporter decided that it would be a good idea to try to mow down Republican members of Congress as they were practicing for an upcoming charity baseball game on Wednesday. 66-year-old James T. Hodgkinson was simply the product of a political movement that is absolutely seething with hate.
This is not a game. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was shot in the hip, and four others were injured. You can see some footage of Scalise being taken to an ambulance here. When Hodgkinson arrived at the practice field, he specifically asked which party was using the practice field at that moment…
Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) recounted an “odd” encounter he had as he was leaving the field just minutes before the shooting: “There was a guy that walked up to us that was asking whether it was Republicans or Democrats out there, and it was just a little odd,” DeSantis told Fox News.
According to news reports, Hodgkinson fired dozens of shots. This wasn’t a case of targeting a particular individual. Rather, it was obvious that he intended to kill as many Republicans as he possibly could.
But instead of showing remorse, many on the radical left were actually celebrating the shootings on Twitter. And there were even some that were disappointed that it wasn’t Trump that had been shot.
I hate to say this, but it is likely that this is just the beginning of the violence by the radical left.
So what would make a 66-year-old man suddenly snap like this?
His Facebook page has now been taken down, but when it was up Hodgkinson had an enormous photo of Bernie Sanders as his banner image. And it turns out that he was a huge fan of Rachel Maddow…
So, where did Hodgkinson draw inspiration for his “progressive” political beliefs? Well, according to a letter to the editor published in the “Belleville News-Democrat” in July 2012, Hodgkinson’s favorite TV show was MSNBC’s “Rachel Maddow Show.”
What you consistently feed your mind determines what you eventually become, and this case is a perfect example. On Facebook, Hodgkinson regularly shared his hate-filled beliefs…
In a March 22 Facebook post, Hodgkinson, who turned his ire against Trump, who he described as a “traitor.”
“Trump Has Destroyed Our Democracy,” he said. “It’s Time to Destroy Trump & Co.”
In a post earlier this week, the suspect highlighted a campaign calling for the president’s impeachment.
“Trump is Guilty & Should Go to Prison for Treason,” Hodgkinson wrote.
And just check out some of the Facebook groups that Hodgkinson belonged to…
▪ “The Road to Hell is Paved with Republicans”
▪ “Donald Trump is not my President”
▪ “President Bernie Sanders”
▪ “Illinois Berners United to Resist Trump”
▪ “Boycott the Republican Party”
▪ “Expose Republican Fraud”
▪ “Terminate the Republican Party”
The hate-filled ideology of the left is intellectually and morally bankrupt, and the only thing all of this violence is going to do is to drive the American people away from their cause.
I must say that I agreed with U.S. Representative Steve King 100 percent when he told reporters that “violence is appearing in the streets”, and that it is “coming from the left”…
“America has been divided,” said Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), who, in suit and tie, stopped by the crime scene to pray and was viscerally angry about his colleagues being attacked. “And the center of America is disappearing, and the violence is appearing in the streets, and it’s coming from the left.”
And of course there has been a pattern of violence against Republican lawmakers in recent months. The following compilation comes from Natural News…
Last month, as noted by The Daily Caller, GOP Rep. Tom Garrett’s town halls were replete with heavy security and police presence after he and his family were repeatedly threatened with death. “This is how we’re going to kill your wife,” some disgusting coward wrote, Garrett told Politico.
Also last month, Tennessee police arrested and charged a 35-year-old woman, Wendi Wright, with felonious reckless endangerment after she allegedly attempted to run GOP Rep. David Kustoff off the road following a raucous town hall event featuring the Republican health care legislation.
That same day, North Dakota police escorted a man out of a town hall meeting hosted by Rep. Kevin Cramer after a man became physical with him, shoving a fistful of dollars into Cramer’s shirt collar.
I almost didn’t want my wife to see what happened in Alexandria this morning, because I am very, very strongly considering running for Congress here in Idaho.
I couldn’t help but think that it could have been me out on that baseball field.
It would be naive to think that more Republican lawmakers won’t be targeted. Just like radical Islam, the radical left in this country will never be satisfied until they completely eradicate our way of life. The radical left uses tools such as threats, violence and intimidation because they simply do not have the ammunition to win in the marketplace of ideas. And so anyone that tries to stand up to them will become a potential target.
But if we just sit back and do nothing, they will win by default.
In the end, Hodgkinson and others like him will fail. Because every time they strike us, all they are doing is waking up a sleeping giant called “the American people”. We will not bend, we will not bow, and we will not break, and no matter how violent they become our resolve will not waver.
Every since the very beginning of our nation Americans have had to stand up against tyranny, and we aren’t going to back down now.
Barack Obama is secretly negotiating a global economic treaty which would destroy thousands of American businesses and millions of good paying American jobs. In other words, it would be the final nail in the coffin for America’s economic infrastructure. Obama knows that if the American people actually knew what was in this treaty that they would be screaming mad, so the negotiations are being done in secret. The only people that are allowed to look at the treaty are members of Congress, and even they are being banned from saying anything to the public. American workers are about to be brutally stabbed in the back, and thanks to all of this secrecy and paranoia they won’t even see it coming.
The name of this new treaty is “the Trans-Pacific Partnership”, and it is being touted as perhaps the most important trade agreement in history. But very few people in this country are talking about it, because none of us are allowed to see it. An article that was just released by Politico detailed the extreme secrecy that is surrounding this trade agreement…
If you want to hear the details of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal the Obama administration is hoping to pass, you’ve got to be a member of Congress, and you’ve got to go to classified briefings and leave your staff and cellphone at the door.
If you’re a member who wants to read the text, you’ve got to go to a room in the basement of the Capitol Visitor Center and be handed it one section at a time, watched over as you read, and forced to hand over any notes you make before leaving.
And no matter what, you can’t discuss the details of what you’ve read.
This treaty is going to affect the lives of every man, woman and child living in this nation, and yet it is deemed so “important” that none of us can know what is in it?
Are you sure that we still live in a Republic?
This treaty will cover 40 percent of the global economy, and U.S. officials hope that the EU, China and India will become members eventually as well…
Right now, there are 12 countries that are part of the negotiations: the United States, Canada, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. These nations have a combined population of 792 million people and account for an astounding 40 percent of the global economy. And it is hoped that the EU, China and India will eventually join as well. This is potentially the most dangerous economic treaty of our lifetimes, and yet there is very little political debate about it in this country.
If the EU, China and India did eventually join the treaty, that would essentially make it a trade agreement for the entire planet.
This is a really big deal, and it should be openly debated by the American people. But instead, Barack Obama has chosen to shroud the entire process with as much secrecy as possible. Not only that, he also wants Congress to give him fast track negotiating authority. If Congress does that, they would essentially be saying that they blindly trust Obama to negotiate a good treaty for us. At the end of the process, Congress would be able to vote the treaty up or down, but would not be able to amend it.
That sounds insane, right? Well, if you can believe it, Republicans in the Senate are quite eager to give Barack Obama this authority.
And this is not just an economic treaty. The following is an excerpt from one of my previous articles…
It is basically a gigantic end run around Congress. Thanks to leaks, we have learned that so many of the things that Obama has deeply wanted for years are in this treaty. If adopted, this treaty will fundamentally change our laws regarding Internet freedom, healthcare, copyright and patent protection, food safety, environmental standards, civil liberties and so much more. This treaty includes many of the rules that alarmed Internet activists so much when SOPA was being debated, it would essentially ban all “Buy American” laws, it would give Wall Street banks much more freedom to trade risky derivatives and it would force even more domestic manufacturing offshore.
We can’t consume our way to prosperity, and we can’t borrow and spend our way to prosperity. In order to be prosperous as a nation, we have got to create at least as much wealth as we consume. But instead, we are doing just the opposite. We are consuming wealth like mad even while our economic infrastructure is being absolutely gutted. We have lost thousands of businesses and millions of jobs already, and this new treaty will make things much worse.
And of course eventually even the ultra-cheap labor on the other side of the planet will be replaced. This is something that is already happening in China. Just today there was a news story about a new manufacturing facility in China that will use only robots…
Construction work has begun on the first factory in China’s manufacturing hub of Dongguan to use only robots for production, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
A total of 1,000 robots would be introduced at the factory initially, run by Shenzhen Evenwin Precision Technology Co, with the aim of reducing the current workforce of 1,800 by 90 percent to only about 200, Chen Xingqi, the chairman of the company’s board, was quoted as saying in the report.
The company did not give a figure for the investment in the factory, but said its production capacity could reach a value of 2 billion yuan (US$322 million) annually.
All of this is very bad news for American workers. Whether it is ultra-cheap labor on the other side of the globe or new technology, big corporations are constantly looking for ways to produce things less expensively.
But in order to have a middle class, we have got to have middle class jobs. The middle class in the United States is steadily disappearing, and neither political party seems very concerned about this at all.
Even without this new trade treaty, our trade deficit with the rest of the planet continues to grow even larger. We just learned that the monthly U.S. trade deficit for March rose to $51.4 billion. That was the largest monthly trade deficit since October 2008. If you will remember, in October 2008 we were experiencing the worst financial crisis since the days of the Great Depression.
And if you take oil out of the number, our trade deficit for the month of March would be the worst ever recorded.
Thank you Barack Obama. Your trade policies are really “working”.
Because the trade deficit was much worse than expected, that is going to push the GDP number for the first quarter into negative territory…
Greg Daco of Oxford Economics says he expects the wider than expected trade deficit to prompt the government to revise its estimate of 0.2% growth in U.S. gross domestic product for the first quarter to a 0.5% contraction.
That means that if we have another contraction in the second quarter, we will officially be in a recession.
In fact, we could be in a recession right now (according to the official government definition) and not even know it yet.
One of the biggest reasons why the U.S. economy has been struggling so much in recent years is due to our trade policies. If we had balanced trade with other nations, our cumulative economic growth since mid-2009 would have been nearly 20 percent higher…
Since rising trade balances subtract from economic growth, the increase in this real non-oil goods deficit has now cut cumulative U.S. economic growth after inflation by a stunning 19.49 percent since the recovery technically began in mid-2009.
Are you starting to see why I get so fired up about trade?
But instead of encouraging big corporations to do what is right for the American people, our system greatly rewards companies like Apple that proudly send jobs offshore. The following is an excerpt from an outstanding article by Andrew Zatlin…
Nine years, a trillion dollars in sales, and almost no taxes paid. That’s just the starting point for wondering about Apple’s actual contribution to the US economy.
Apple’s success drags down the US GDP. The behemoth that is Apple sold almost 200M phones last year, none of which were made in the US or used components made here. Instead of exporting $100B in iPhones, the US imported $50B. That $150B swing matters in terms of balance of trade, GDP and jobs. If you wanted to improve the US economy, there’s no better place to start than with Apple and smartphones.
Apple undermines the US manufacturing base. Assembly matters and manufacturing matters more. There was a time when Apple could have assembled phones and tablets in the US, but that would mean spending an extra $5 per phone since that’s approximately the extra labor cost to build that $700 phone here instead of in Vietnam or China. Assembly may not be a competitive, value-add step but it does employ a lot of people.
Unfortunately, it would also cut Apple’s profits by $1B, shrinking the company’s annual net income from $45B to $44B. Apple wouldn’t notice a drop in profits of $1B because it’s not putting its cash to use: Apple has $200B in cash conveniently parked outside of the US, not doing anything. On the other hand, assembling in the US would employ tens of thousands of people.
You can read the rest of that great article right here.
Our trade policies matter. Decades of incredibly foolish decisions have ripped our economic infrastructure to shreds, and we are slowly but steadily committing national economic suicide.
Now, Barack Obama is absolutely determined to deliver the finishing blow, and it is all being done in secret.
When are you going to wake up and start getting angry America?
Barack Obama is secretly negotiating the largest international trade agreement in history, and the mainstream media in the United States is almost completely ignoring it. If this treaty is adopted, it will be the most important step toward a one world economic system that we have ever seen. The name of this treaty is “the Trans-Pacific Partnership”, and the text of the treaty is so closely guarded that not even members of Congress know what is in it. Right now, there are 12 countries that are part of the negotiations: the United States, Canada, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. These nations have a combined population of 792 million people and account for an astounding 40 percent of the global economy. And it is hoped that the EU, China and India will eventually join as well. This is potentially the most dangerous economic treaty of our lifetimes, and yet there is very little political debate about it in this country.
Even though Congress is not being allowed to see what is in the treaty, Barack Obama wants Congress to give him fast track negotiating authority. What that means is that Congress would essentially trust Obama to negotiate a good treaty for us. Congress could vote the treaty up or down, but would not be able to amend or filibuster it.
Of course now the Republicans control both houses of Congress. If they are foolish enough to blindly give Barack Obama so much power, they should all immediately resign.
And it is critical that people understand that this is not just an economic treaty. It is basically a gigantic end run around Congress. Thanks to leaks, we have learned that so many of the things that Obama has deeply wanted for years are in this treaty. If adopted, this treaty will fundamentally change our laws regarding Internet freedom, healthcare, copyright and patent protection, food safety, environmental standards, civil liberties and so much more. This treaty includes many of the rules that alarmed Internet activists so much when SOPA was being debated, it would essentially ban all “Buy American” laws, it would give Wall Street banks much more freedom to trade risky derivatives and it would force even more domestic manufacturing offshore.
In other words, it is the treaty from hell.
In addition to imposing Obama’s vision for the world on 40 percent of the global population, it is also being described as a “Christmas wish-list for major corporations”. Of the 29 chapters in the treaty, only five of them actually deal with economic issues. The rest of the treaty deals with a whole host of other issues of great importance to the global elite.
The following list of issues addressed by this treaty is from a Malaysian news source…
• domestic court decisions and international legal standards (e.g., overriding domestic laws on both trade and nontrade matters, foreign investors’ right to sue governments in international tribunals that would overrule the national sovereignty)
• environmental regulations (e.g., nuclear energy, pollution, sustainability)
• financial deregulation (e.g., more power and privileges to the bankers and financiers)
• food safety (e.g., lowering food self-sufficiency, prohibition of mandatory labeling of genetically modified products, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) or mad cow disease)
• Government procurement (e.g., no more buy locally produced/grown)
• Internet freedom (e.g., monitoring and policing user activity)
• labour (e.g., welfare regulation, workplace safety, relocating domestic jobs abroad)
• patent protection, copyrights (e.g., decrease access to affordable medicine)
• public access to essential services may be restricted due to investment rules (e.g., water, electricity, and gas)
Why can’t we get this type of reporting in the United States?
And if this treaty is ultimately approved by Congress, we will essentially be stuck with it forever.
This treaty is written in such a way that the United States will be permanently bound by all of the provisions and will never be able to alter them unless all of the other countries agree.
Are you starting to understand why this treaty is so dangerous?
This treaty is the key to Obama’s “legacy”. He wants to impose his will upon 40 percent of the global population in a way that will never be able to be overturned.
Of course Obama is touting this treaty as the path to economic recovery. He promises that it will greatly increase global trade, decrease tariffs and create more jobs for American workers.
But instead, it would be a major step toward destroying what is left of the U.S. economy.
Over the past several decades, every time a major trade agreement has been signed we have seen even more good jobs leave the United States.
And it doesn’t take a genius to figure out why this is happening. If corporations can move jobs to the other side of the planet to nations where it is legal to pay slave labor wages, they will make larger profits.
Just think about it. If you were running a corporation and you had the choice of paying workers ten dollars an hour or one dollar an hour, which would you choose?
Plus there are so many other costs, taxes and paperwork hassles when you deal with American workers. For example, big corporations will not have to provide Obamacare for their foreign workers. That alone will represent a huge savings.
Any basic course in economics will teach you that labor flows from markets where labor costs are high to markets where labor costs are lower. And at this point it costs less to make almost everything overseas. As a result, we have already lost millions upon millions of good jobs, and countless small and mid-size U.S. companies have been forced to shut down because they cannot compete with foreign manufacturers.
Later this month, consumers will flock to retail stores for “Black Friday” deals. But if you look carefully at those products, you will find that almost all of them are made overseas. We buy far, far more from the rest of the world than they buy from us, and that is a recipe for national economic suicide.
We consume far more wealth that we produce, and anyone with half a brain can see that is not sustainable in the long run. The only way that we have been able to maintain our high standard of living is by going into insane amounts of debt. We are currently living in the largest debt bubble in the history of the planet, and at some point the party is going to end.
Please share this article with as many people as you can. We need to inform people about what Obama is trying to do.
If Obama is successful in ramming this secret treaty through, it is going to do incalculable damage to what is left of the once great U.S. economy.
A new law that has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives “would prohibit the sale, transfer or possession of military-level body armor by civilians”. In other words, private citizens all over the entire nation would be permanently banned from owning body armor if this bill gets passed and signed into law. The bill that I am talking about is H.R. 5344 (The Responsible Body Armor Possession Act), and you can view the proposed legislation for yourself right here. The driving force behind this new law is Democrat Mike Honda from California. To Honda, it doesn’t matter that large numbers of very responsible Americans have purchased body armor to protect themselves and their families in a society that is rapidly decaying. Instead, it makes perfect sense to Honda to ban body armor because “access to military-grade body armor emboldens criminals and mass shooters to act.” And Honda wants to make possession of body armor a criminal offense with a penalty of up to 10 years in prison. This is absolutely crazy, and it is yet another example of the “police state mentality” that is so prevalent among our politicians these days.
When I first learned about this new law, I could hardly believe it. But it is actually true. The following is an excerpt from a news story about the introduction of this new bill…
Rep. Mike Honda, D-San Jose, has announced legislation that would block civilians from accessing military-grade body armor to prevent criminals from using them in gun battles with law enforcement.
Honda, speaking at a news conference in San Jose Wednesday morning with police chiefs and the district attorneys and sheriffs from Santa Clara and Alameda counties, said his proposal would discourage criminals from wearing enhanced body armor to commit mass shootings.
“This bill will keep military body armor out of the wrong hands,” Honda said. “It would ensure that only law enforcement, firefighters and other first responders would be able to access enhanced body armor.”
Fortunately, it is incredibly tough to get just about anything accomplished in Congress these days, so the odds of this bill ever becoming law are probably pretty low.
But without a doubt those that are attempting to systematically disarm the American people will just keep on trying.
And we need to be vigilant, because history has shown what happens when entire populations are disarmed. All we have to do is look back at the millions that were killed under Nazi Germany or the tens of millions that were killed under the communist Chinese.
Of course one of the greatest examples of this phenomenon was what happened under Joseph Stalin as Simon Black recently explained…
By the late 1920s, Joseph Stalin became the unchallenged leader of the Soviet Union after having eliminated his opposition.
He topped it off in 1929 by serving a decisive blow to anyone that would dare to oppose him by outlawing private gun ownership in the country.
From that year on until 1953 when Stalin died, it’s estimated that more than 20 million Soviet citizens that were seen as a threat to the country’s leadership.
Many Americans are tempted to believe that it is impossible for that kind of tyranny to happen in our day and age, but the truth of the matter is that America is becoming more like Nazi Germany with each passing day.
For example, the “Department of Homeland Security” recently raided dozens of families all over the nation because they “imported unsafe vehicles“…
Jennifer Brinkley of North Carolina says when saw a line of law enforcement vehicles coming up her driveway earlier this month she didn’t know what to think. “I haven’t done anything wrong.”
According to WBTV, the Homeland Security agents were not there to take her away, they were looking for illegally imported Land Rover Defenders.
It was a task government officials were performing in several states in early July. Forums on defendersource.com contain posts from Defender owners claiming their vehicles were seized by the government.
All vehicles coming into the United States must meet U.S. safety and emissions standards. Many British manufactured Land Rover Defenders do not.
Why in the world are armed Homeland Security agents roaming the countryside hunting down vehicles that don’t conform to federal regulations?
That is absolutely absurd.
But this is the kind of society that we now live in.
In a recent article, John W. Whitehead shared some more examples of how our control freak bureaucrats are ruining our society…
Debra Harrell, a 46-year-old South Carolina working mother, was arrested, charged with abandonment and had her child placed in state custody after allowing the 9-year-old to spend unsupervised time at a neighborhood playground while the mom worked a shift at McDonald’s. Mind you, the child asked to play outside, was given a cell phone in case she needed to reach someone, and the park—a stone’s throw from the mom’s place of work—was overrun with kids enjoying its swings, splash pad, and shade.
A Connecticut mother was charged with leaving her 11-year-old daughter in the car unsupervised while she ran inside a store—despite the fact that the child asked to stay in the car and was not overheated or in distress. A few states away, a New Jersey man was arrested and charged with endangering the welfare of his children after leaving them in a car parked in a police station parking lot, windows rolled down, while he ran inside to pay a ticket.
A Virginia teenager was charged with violating the state’s sexting law after exchanging sexually provocative videos with his girlfriend. Instead of insisting that the matter be dealt with as a matter of parental concern, police charged the boy with manufacturing and distributing child pornography and issued a search warrant to “medically induce an erection” in the 17-year-old boy in order to photograph his erect penis and compare it to the images sent in the sexting exchange. The police had already taken an initial photograph of the boy’s penis against his will, upon his arrest.
In Georgia, a toddler had his face severely burned when a flash bang grenade, launched by a SWAT team during the course of a no-knock warrant, landed in his portable crib, detonating on his pillow. Also in Georgia, a police officer shot and killed a 17-year-old boy who answered the door, reportedly with a Nintendo Wii controller in his hands. The cop claimed the teenager pointed a gun at her, thereby justifying the use of deadly force. Then there was the incident wherein a police officer, responding to a complaint that some children were “chopping off tree limbs” creating “tripping hazards,” pulled a gun on a group of 11-year-old boys who were playing in a wooded area, attempting to build a tree fort.
For many more examples like this, please see my previous article entitled “30 Signs That America Is Being Transformed Into A ‘Big Brother’ Police State“.
The United States was supposed to be a beacon of liberty and freedom for the entire globe.
Instead, we are going to end up looking just like North Korea eventually if we are not careful.
Our freedoms and liberties are being eroded a little bit more with each passing day. And if the American people don’t start standing up and objecting to all of this craziness, the control freaks are going to feel empowered to keep on pushing the envelope even further.
So what do you think about all of this? Please feel free to share your thoughts by posting a comment below…
It may not happen this month, or even this year, but food stamp riots are coming to America. In fact, we got a small preview of the coming food stamp riots this past weekend when a “temporary system failure” caused food stamp cards to stop working in 17 U.S. states. Within hours, there were “mini-riots” at Wal-Marts and other retailers that rely heavily on food stamp users. So what would happen if food stamp benefits were cut off or reduced for an extended period of time? As you will see below, if Congress had not pushed through a “deal”, the USDA would have started cutting off food stamp benefits on November 1st. Considering the fact that 47 million Americans are on food stamps and more than 100 million Americans are enrolled in at least one welfare program run by the federal government, that could have sparked massive rioting. So the good news is that the coming food stamp riots will probably not happen in November. The bad news is that the “deal” in Congress only delays the political fighting until after Christmas. In just a few months we will be dealing with a potential “government shutdown” and a debt ceiling deadline once again.
Most Americans have no idea what almost just happened. According to Reuters, the state of North Carolina had already cut off some welfare benefits for the month of November…
North Carolina has become the first state to cut off welfare benefits to poor residents in the wake of the partial federal government shutdown, ordering a halt to processing November applications until a deal is reached to end the federal standstill.
More than 20,000 people – most of them children – receive monthly benefits aimed at helping them buy food and other basic supplies through North Carolina’s welfare program, called Work First, which is fully funded by the federal government. Recipients must reapply each month.
And as Mac Slavo recently detailed, the USDA was already planning to cut off food stamp assistance to millions of Americans on November 1st…
We say next month because the USDA, which oversees the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), has just issued an order to SNAP agency directors calling for their respective States to implement an emergency contingency program because of government funding issues. In a letter obtained by the Crossroads Urban Center food pantry, the USDA is directing state agencies to, “delay their November issuance files and delay transmission to State Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) vendors until further notice.”
What this means is that should Congress fail to increase the debt ceiling this week, come November there will literally be millions of people in the United States who will have exactly zero dollars transferred to their EBT cards.
What will happen to the nearly 50 million people who depend on these benefits to survive?
In fact, there have been quite a few news reports that have confirmed this…
In Utah, Fox News 13 in Salt Lake City reported that a local provider recently received a letter from the USDA sticking to the November 1 cut-off date.
“This is going to create a huge hardship for the people we serve here in our food pantry,” Bill Tibbits, Associate Director at Crossroads Urban Center, told Fox News 13.
“What this means [is] if there’s not a deal, if Congress doesn’t reach a deal to get federal government back up and running, in Utah about 100,000 families won’t get food stamp benefit,” added Tibbits.
The USDA letter says in part, “in the interest of preserving maximum flexibility, we are directing states to hold their November issuance files and delay transmission to state electronic benefit transfer vendors until further notice.”
So what would have happened if tens of millions of Americans suddenly had their food stamp benefits cut off without warning?
Well, what happened last weekend can give us a few clues. Just check out what happened at one Wal-Mart in Mississippi…
Customers staged a disturbance then walked out of a Mississippi Walmart store with groceries that hadn’t been paid for Saturday night after a computer glitch left them unable to use their food stamp cards.
People in 17 states found themselves unable to buy groceries with their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program cards after a routine check by vendor Xerox Corp. resulted in a temporary system failure.
Shortly after the mini-riot, managers decided to temporarily close the store, citing customer safety.
Due to this technical glitch, many parents were left wondering how they were going to feed their families. If this is the kind of anger that is unleashed over a single failed trip to the grocery store, what would we see if this kind of thing went on for an extended period of time?
At some Wal-Mart stores down in Louisiana, EBT cards were not showing any limits on Saturday night, and within two hours many store shelves in the grocery section were completely cleared of merchandise…
Shelves in Walmart stores in Springhill and Mansfield, LA were reportedly cleared Saturday night, when the stores allowed purchases on EBT cards even though they were not showing limits.
The chaos that followed ultimately required intervention from local police, and left behind numerous carts filled to overflowing, apparently abandoned when the glitch-spurred shopping frenzy ended.
Springhill Police Chief Will Lynd confirms they were called in to help the employees at Walmart because there were so many people clearing off the shelves. He says Walmart was so packed, “It was worse than any black Friday” that he’s ever seen.
Sadly, this was only a very small preview of the massive food stamp riots that are eventually coming to America. I like how Mike Adams explained what we are likely to see in the future…
Why does any of this matter? Because this is exactly the same way these people will behave when the federal government goes into default and nearly 50 million EBT cards stop working nationwide.
Fifty million. Consider that for a moment. Most of those 50 million people live in high-density cities. Many are proud owners of Obama phones, Obama food stamps, Obama unemployment checks and Obama subsidized housing. They have absolutely no clue that the government upon which they wholly depend to put food on the table is teetering on the verge of permanent collapse. (Seriously, they cannot conceive of the idea of government “running out of money” because they do not understand where money comes from.) Because of this distorted belief, they do not prepare for any future events other than more Obama handouts. Their entire “preparedness” plan is to vote for Democrats, because that’s who they know will give them the most handouts. And they will always win the popular vote, too, because any politician promising to restore responsible fiscal spending to the government by cutting programs will be viciously accused of being “mean” or involved in “hating poor people.” So the government handouts will only ratchet higher and higher, ensnaring more and more people, until the entire system is unsustainable and collapses under its own weight.
When that system of dependence fails, those who depend on it will panic in mere hours. As proof of this, consider the fact that this mass looting of Wal-Mart stores happened in less than three hours after the Saturday EBT card glitch struck. Police had to be called in to prevent the situation from getting completely out of control, and it was offline for only part of one day.
Now imagine what will happen when EBT cards go offline for 24, 48 or even 72 hours. And imagine it happening in every U.S. city simultaneously.
Of course not all Americans would go wild when food stamp benefits are cut off.
Other Americans express their desperation in other ways. According to Bloomberg, an increasing number of people are starting to sell hair, breast milk and their own eggs in a desperate attempt to make ends meet…
Hair, breast milk and eggs are doubling as automated teller machines for some cash-strapped Americans such as April Hare.
Out of work for more than two years and facing eviction from her home, Hare recalled Louisa May Alcott’s 19th-century novel and took to her computer.
“I was just trying to find ways to make money, and I remembered Jo from ‘Little Women,’ and she sold her hair,” the 35-year-old from Atlanta said. “I’ve always had lots of hair, but this is the first time I’ve actually had the idea to sell it because I’m in a really tight jam right now.”
The mother of two posted pictures of her 18-inch auburn mane on www.buyandsellhair.com, asking at least $1,000 and receiving responses within hours. Hare, who also considered selling her breast milk, joins others exploring unconventional ways to make ends meet as the four-year-old economic expansion struggles to invigorate the labor market and stimulate incomes.
We have moved into a time when things are becoming increasingly unstable and when people are becoming increasingly desperate.
In an attempt to keep order, the authorities will become increasingly forceful in the years ahead. At this point, many law enforcement officers already believe that there is very little that they cannot do to exert their “authority” over the rest of us. Just check out video of a drunk off-duty police officer “arresting” a woman that refused to go out on a date with him right here. Sadly, this type of behavior is becoming way too common these days.
And it looks like major financial institutions are getting ready for the chaos that is eventually coming as well. In fact, according to an article by Paul Joseph Watson, Chase Bank is now placing a limit on cash withdrawals and is banning business customers from sending wire transfers out of the country…
Chase Bank has moved to limit cash withdrawals while banning business customers from sending international wire transfers from November 17 onwards, prompting speculation that the bank is preparing for a looming financial crisis in the United States by imposing capital controls.
Numerous business customers with Chase BusinessSelect Checking and Chase BusinessClassic accounts have received letters over the past week informing them that cash activity (both deposits and withdrawals) will be limited to a $50,000 total per statement cycle from November 17 onwards.
Fortunately, the chaos that would have been unleashed if Congress had not made a deal has now been delayed for a few months.
But by kicking the can down the road, our politicians continue to make our long-term problems even worse. Either we are going to have tremendous pain now, or we are going to have even worse pain later. Peter Schiff explained the choice that we are facing this way…
If Republicans were to inexplicably prevail, and the federal government were to cut spending so that its expenditures matched its tax revenues (a truly radical idea) the country’s financial mess would be laid bare. The government would have to weigh the relative costs and benefits of making interest payments on Treasury debt (primarily to foreign creditors) or to trim entitlements promised to U.S. citizens. But those are choices we will have to make sooner or later anyway. In fact we should have dealt with these issues years ago. But generations of mechanistic debt ceiling increases have allowed us to perpetually kick the can down the road. What could possibly be gained by doing it again, particularly if it is done with no commitment to change course?
The Democrats’ argument that America needs to pay its bills is just hollow rhetoric. Paying off one’s Visa bill with a new and bigger MasterCard bill can’t be considered a legitimate payment of debt. At best it is a transfer. But in the government’s case, it doesn’t even qualify as that. Treasury debt is primarily bought by the Fed, foreign central banks, and major financial institutions. None of that will change with a debt ceiling increase. We will just go to the same people for greater quantities. So it’s like paying off your Visa card with a bigger Visa card.
We are living on borrowed time that has been purchased by stealing money from future generations.
We are literally destroying the future in order to make the present more palatable.
But whether it is this year, or next year or the year after that, at some point we are going to experience the pain that results from decades of incredibly foolish decisions.
I hope that you are getting ready.
If you want to live the high life, you don’t have to become a rap star, a professional athlete or a Wall Street banker. All it really takes is winning an election. Right now, more than half of all the members of Congress are millionaires, and most of them leave “public service” far wealthier than when they entered it. Since most of them have so much money, you would think that they would be willing to do a little “belt-tightening” for the sake of the American people. After all, things are supposedly “extremely tight” in Washington D.C. right now. In fact, just the other day Nancy Pelosi insisted that there were “no more cuts to make” to the federal budget. But even as they claim that things are so tough right now, our politicians continue to live the high life at the expense of U.S. taxpayers. The statistics that I am about to share with you are very disturbing. Please share them with everyone that you know. The American people deserve the truth.
According to the Weekly Standard, an absolutely insane amount of money is being spent on the “hair care needs” of U.S. Senators…
Senate Hair Care Services has cost taxpayers about $5.25 million over 15 years. They foot the bill of more than $40,000 for the shoeshine attendant last fiscal year. Six barbers took in more than $40,000 each, including nearly $80,000 for the head barber.
Keep in mind that there are only 100 U.S. Senators, and many of them don’t have much hair left at this point.
But hair care is just the tip of the iceberg. The following are 21 other ways that our politicians are living the high life at your expense…
#1 According to Roll Call’s annual survey of Congressional wealth, the super wealthy in Congress just continue to get much wealthier even though they are supposedly dedicating their lives to “public service”…
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) is the richest Member of Congress for the second year in a row, reporting a vast fortune that in 2011 had a minimum net worth surpassing $300 million for the first time.
McCaul is followed by Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), who reported a minimum net worth of $198.65 million, and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who reported a minimum net worth of $140.55 million. The two lawmakers swapped places since last year’s list.
The lawmakers who round out the top five, Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), also flipped positions from 2010 to 2011, with Warner’s reported minimum worth rising about $9 million to $85.81 million and Rockefeller’s minimum worth rising slightly to $83.08 million.
#2 Amazingly, the 50th most wealthy member of Congress has a net worth of 6.14 million dollars.
#3 At this point, more than half of those “serving the American people” in Congress are millionaires.
#4 In one recent year, an average of $4,005,900 of U.S. taxpayer money was spent on “personal” and “office” expenses per U.S. Senator.
#5 Once they leave Washington, former members of Congress continue to collect huge checks for the rest of their lives…
In 2011, 280 former lawmakers who retired under a former government pension system received average annual pensions of $70,620, according to a Congressional Research Service report. They averaged around 20 years of service. At the same time, another 215 retirees (elected in 1984 or later with an average of 15 years of service) received average annual checks of roughly $40,000 a year.
#6 Speaker of the House John Boehner would bring home a yearly pension of close to $85,000 if he left Congress when his current term ends in 2014.
#7 At this point, quite a few former lawmakers are collecting federal pensions for life worth at least $100,000 annually. That list includes such notable names as Newt Gingrich, Bob Dole, Trent Lott, Dick Gephardt and Dick Cheney.
#8 The U.S. government is spending approximately 3.6 million dollars a year to support the lavish lifestyles of former presidents such as George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
#9 Nearly 500,000 federal employees now make at least $100,000 a year.
#10 During one recent year, the average federal employee in the Washington D.C. area received total compensation worth more than $126,000.
#11 During one recent year, compensation for federal employees came to a grand total of approximately 447 billion dollars.
#12 If you can believe it, there are 77,000 federal workers that make more than the governors of their own states do.
#13 When Joe Biden and his staff took a trip to London, the hotel bill cost U.S. taxpayers $459,388.65.
#14 Joe Biden and his staff also stopped in Paris for one night. The hotel bill for that one night came to $585,000.50.
#15 When Biden and his staff visited Moscow for two days in 2011, the total hotel bill came to $665,445.00.
#16 During 2012, the salaries of Barack Obama’s three climate change advisers combined came to a grand total of more than $370,000.
#17 Overall, 139 different White House staffers were making at least $100,000 during 2012, and there were 20 staffers that made the maximum of $172,200.
#18 It is estimated that the trip that the Obamas took to Africa cost U.S. taxpayers about 100 million dollars.
#19 The Obamas only have one dog named “Bo”, but the White House “dog handler” reportedly makes $102,000 per year and sometimes he is even flown to where the Obamas are vacationing so that he can take care of the dog.
#20 There is always at least one projectionist at the White House 24 hours a day just in case there is someone that wants to watch a movie. Apparently turning on a DVD player is too much to ask.
#21 In one recent year, more than 1.4 billion dollars was spent on the Obamas. Meanwhile, British taxpayers only spent about 58 million dollars on the entire royal family.
So who pays for all of this extravagance?
The American people do of course.
Unfortunately, what most of our politicians fail to understand is that most families are struggling tremendously right now.
This week, Yahoo featured the story of a 77-year-old former executive that is now flipping burgers and serving drinks to make ends meet. He says that he now earns in a week what he once earned in a single hour, but he is thankful to have a job in this economic environment…
It seems like another life. At the height of his corporate career, Tom Palome was pulling in a salary in the low six-figures and flying first class on business trips to Europe.
Today, the 77-year-old former vice president of marketing for Oral-B juggles two part-time jobs: one as a $10-an-hour food demonstrator at Sam’s Club, the other flipping burgers and serving drinks at a golf club grill for slightly more than minimum wage.
While Palome worked hard his entire career, paid off his mortgage and put his kids through college, like most Americans he didn’t save enough for retirement. Even many affluent baby boomers who are approaching the end of their careers haven’t come close to saving the 10 to 20 times their annual working income that investment experts say they’ll need to maintain their standard of living in old age.
So many Americans are barely making it from month to month at this point. Most people work very, very hard for their money, and it is very discouraging to see our politicians waste our hard-earned tax dollars so frivolously.
Fortunately, there are signs that the American people are starting to get fed up with all of this. According to a stunning new Gallup survey, more Americans than ever before (60 percent) believe that the federal government has too much power.
So what do you think?
Do you think that the government is too big and too wasteful?
Please feel free to share what you think by posting a comment below…