American Elephants

The Splendid State of the Union or Not So Much. by The Elephant's Child

A little humor from the GOP. You can just watch this and not bother with listening tomorrow, or you can compare this to see how much is just regurgitated, take your pick.

Bureaucracy and Budget Cuts: Humbuggery and Hooey. by The Elephant's Child


When Republicans go on (and we do) about “Big Government,” many assume we’re just talking about size, and don’t understand what all the fuss is about. It’s the falsity. Nothing is real, it’s all lies and pretense. Government is a bureaucracy, an enormous bureaucracy and so big that nobody really knows what is going on.

The federal budget in 2011, according to the Washington Post, included an undisclosed amount of money allocated for projects and programs already completed or already cancelled. In some cases, Congress removed these funds and counted them as “cuts” instead of actual reductions in real projects:

Late on the night of April 8, 2011, Washington’s leaders announced that they’d just done something extraordinary. They had agreed to cut the federal budget — and cut it big.

“The largest annual spending cut in our history,” President Obama called it in a televised speech. To prevent a government shutdown, the parties had agreed to slash $37.8 billion: more than the budgets of the Labor and Commerce departments, combined.

At the Capitol, Republicans savored a win for austerity. There would be “deep, but responsible, reductions in virtually all areas of government,” House Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers (R-Ky.) promised a few days later, before the deal passed.

Well, promises, promises.  There were a few real cutbacks in federal spending. but the bill turned out to be an epic kind of Washington illusion. There were gimmicks that made cuts seem bigger than they were and the politicians more responsible than they were.

  • The Transportation Department got credit for cutting a $280 million tunnel that had been cancelled six months earlier.
  • The Census Bureau officials got credit for a huge $6 billion cut for promising not to hold the expensive 2010 census (that was not due to be repeated for 10 years) again in 2011.
  • The Department of Defense got credit for $6.2 billion in cuts which represented $5 billion for base closing and relocation that the Pentagon had already decided not to spend. The remaining $1.2 billion came from “cutting programs that were already cancelled. The Pentagon did cancel one project that it wanted to keep, a $25 million building project in Qatar.
  • The Federal Transit Administration took credit for $680 million” for cutting” programs that had already been canceled for other reasons. One was a project to build a new train tunnel between New York and New Jersey that was cancelled by Gov. Christie.
  • The Department of Energy got credit for $638 million, but the loss of the money was made up for with funds appropriated in the stimulus bill. No federal employees lost their jobs.
  • The Department of the Interior produced a $529 million phantom cut when Congress took back unused money from Interior’s reserve funds. Congress replenished what they had used. The only impact in the real world was that the department had to delay work for hazardous fuels reduction, rural fire assistance and burned area rehabilitation.

When Obama starts talking about all the severe budget cuts that he has made — this is a guide to what they are. The “cut” from not continuing to spend the same amount of money in Iraq as we were before our troops pulled out was well publicized.  The same gimmick has covered Afghanistan.

Big Government is a problem because it becomes too big to understand what is happening and how taxpayer money is being wasted, and how taxpayer’s lives are being diminished by what is, after all, just government fraud and corruption. And under the Obama administration with its Chicago style brand of politics, that is just the way things are supposed to work.

What to Expect From the State of the Union —Or Not by The Elephant's Child

UPI Pictures of the Year 2012 – WASHINGTON POLITICS

The New York Times offered a preview of President Obama’s State of the Union Speech tomorrow, sounds like same as last year’s except longer and duller:

President Obama on Tuesday will move beyond of the politics of the moment to define a second-term agenda built around restoring economic prosperity to the middle class, using his State of the Union to unveil initiatives in education, infrastructure, clean energy and manufacturing.

After four long years of increasing unemployment, Obama wants more money to spend “invest.” There has been enough talk about the sequester, that Obama is probably aware that his very own clever ideas (Republicans will be so terrified by the idea of huge cuts in defense spending that they will give me what I want) are not going to work. The Sequester was entirely Obama’s idea, and he is so resistant to reducing spending at all that Republicans may just accept the sequester to get the necessary cuts in spending.

Democrats, impervious to reality, simply refuse to accept the idea that spending is a problem. It seems pretty obvious when we spend more money than our economy produces. Barack Obama was inaugurated on January 20, 2009. The recession that he “inherited” officially ended in June of 2009. Median household income was $54,983. By June of 2012, Median household income had shrunk to $50,964, adjusted for inflation. That’s $4,019 in lost real income. That hurts!

The unemployment rate is 7.9 percent — one tenth of a point higher than it was when Obama took office. But this does not cover the real toll of joblessness. The Labor Department’s  U-6 rate, which includes people who want a job, but have become so discouraged they have quit looking is 14.4 percent. A new study from Rutgers University shows that 23 percent of those surveyed have lost a job sometime in the last four years, while another 11 percent have seen someone in their household lose a job. Jobs, unemployment and the economy are the top concerns of the public, ranking far above any other issue.

Obama’s mindset and ideology make him convinced that changes in the economy come from the actions of government. Government will create jobs with new government spending on green energy projects. Government will create more capable new employees with government retraining programs and more student loans. Look for the new “Healthy Housing Initiative.”

So now that the economy is recovering (?) all the poor government employees who are vastly overpaid in comparison to their peers in the private sector, but who have suffered immeasurably by having their salaries frozen for the past two years, really deserve a raise, which Obama intends to give them. He really is blind to what is actually going on in the economy, and it doesn’t occur to him to set an example of thrift.

In a New Year’s interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press” Obama said his top priority for the next four years was immigration reform. In his inaugural address, Obama ignored the issue of the economy or jobs. The closest he came was when he said “An economic recovery has begun.” So now he wants to convince America that jobs are his top priority — in spite of every indication that it isn’t a priority at all.

But it is Lincoln’s birthday. You can expect him to compare himself favorably to President Lincoln.

Enter, I Guess, Under News of the Day. by The Elephant's Child

Let’s see. If I understand the current hysteria over guns and bullets, assault weapons, scary looking attachments like scopes and magazines of assorted sizes and how many bullets a magazine may contain, the liberal argument is that only the police need guns. And in the meantime, a former police officer has issued a manifesto to kill police officers in the Los Angeles area.

Christopher Jordan Dorner, an ex-LAPD police officer is the main suspect in three separate murders. A vehicle that matched the description of Dorner’s truck was driving down the road, but was delivering newspapers. Two older women were delivering papers when police officers opened fire. One woman was shot in the back, the other in the hand. Both are expected to survive.

Another person was shot while driving a pickup truck after Torrance police arrived at the scene. Reports of his injuries weren’t clear, but he is considered in good condition—except for being shot by police officers.

Perhaps they should rethink that idea that only the police need guns.

At the bottom of the piece under “RECOMMENDED STORIES’

—Convicted Ohio man apologizes to family of slain daughter-in-law strangled, put in septic tank.

—Pennsylvania mistrial declared when man’s prosthetic eye pops out on witness stand.



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