American Elephants


See, You Can Cut Back on Spending. by The Elephant's Child

House Speaker John A. Boehner announced last Wednesday that members will no longer be allowed to travel by military aircraft on Congressional delegation trips.

The Ohio Republican told members that because of the spending cuts mandated by the sequester, he will cut the costs of the taxpayer-funded trips by suspending the standard military aircraft and making members fly commercial. The airfare costs are still paid by the government, but commercial flights are less expensive than it is to commission a military plane.

“The Speaker believes this is the prudent and responsible course of action, and it goes above and beyond the spending cuts the House will be implementing.,” said a GOP aide. Good example too.

Mr. Boehner has steadily been a proponent of commercial travel. He has long flown commercial between Washington and his home district in Ohio.



What? Information Kept From The People? by The Elephant's Child

Quote of the Day:

Everything which might cause doubt about the wisdom of the government or create discontent will be kept from the people. The basis of unfavorable comparisons with elsewhere, the knowledge of possible alternatives to the course actually taken, information which might suggest failure on the part of the government to live up to its promises or to take advantage of opportunities to improve conditions —all will be suppressed. There is consequently no field where the systematic control of information will not be practical and uniformity of views not enforced……………………………….The Road To Serfdom

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Inflicting Maximum Pain, Just to Prove a Point by The Elephant's Child

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The brilliant Thomas Sowell is always quotable, but today’s comments are particularly apt:

Back in my teaching days, many years ago, one of the things I liked to ask the class to consider was this: Imagine a government agency with only two tasks: (1) building statues of Benedict Arnold and (2) providing life-saving medications to children. If this agency’s budget were cut, what would it do?

The answer, of course, is that it would cut back on the medications for children. Why? Because that would be what was most likely to get the budget cuts restored. If they cut back on building statues of Benedict Arnold, people might ask why they were building statues of Benedict Arnold in the first place.

The example was deliberately extreme as an illustration. But, in the real world, the same general pattern can be seen in local, state and national government responses to budget cuts.

In this state they threaten to close the parks, at least if it is  summer. The president is following the usual playbook, in a little too obvious a way. He has painted himself into a corner, and is hampered by a complete inability to be at fault, apologize, accept blame, admit error, confess to wrongdoing or even consider the concept that he may, just possibly,  have been wrong.

He not only keeps rewriting the history of how he got into the sequester, but he is seeing to it that the most disrupting and annoying things that were claimed as what would happen if the Republicans didn’t give in and raise taxes so he could continue his addictive, out-of-control spending.

Raising taxes is far more damaging to an economy than reducing spending.

ObamaCare is an economic bomb with long-lasting effects. This $900 billion entitlement creation has made the future unfunded liabilities of the entitlements much worse. President Obama has removed the entitlements completely from any bipartisan discussion. In last year’s Obama budget, entitlement programs nearly double over the next 12 years. According to the House Budget Committee the budget saves $419 billion over a decade. Mostly from cutting payment to Medicare providers.

John Boehner has said that nearly every entitlement reform Republicans proposed was rejected by the White House, unless Republicans agreed to raise taxes. In the meantime he still has not managed to come up with his proposed 2013 budget as required by law.

DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano has announced enough slowdowns in customs and immigration at major airports to assure that lines are long and people are annoyed.

Four Navy air wings have been grounded, and in addition two air wings are dropping to a “tactical hard deck” and basic flight training for pilot and flight officer trainees will halt in March. The deployment of the carrier Truman has been cancelled. Seven other ships have had their upcoming deployment cancelled, the hospital ship Comfort will not conduct its “Continuing Promise 2013” humanitarian mission to Central and South America.

The Department of Defense will furlough about 15,000 military school teachers and staff around the world, and they will be shutting 250 commissaries around the world, which will affect the troops who depend on the stores for basic necessities.

That’s just a few agencies. Obama will see to it that what is cut is not the waste and fraud that has been enumerated so often, but attempt to demonstrate Republican non-cooperation by making sure that any cuts are visible and inflict the maximum inconvenience. Just to prove that saving money is not Obama’s concern, the U.S. suddenly found $250 million to spare for Egypt under Muslim Brotherhood control in immediate foreign aid termed “economic assistance.” This comes after $450 million in “emergency aid” last year including dozens of F-16s for the new president who belongs to an organization dedicated to “civilizational jihad.”

Remember this is simply the task of managing 2% in automatic spending cuts. Could you cut 2% out of your family’s budget over a year without cutting your children’s life-saving medicines? Cutting out one daily latte each workday would do it. And with all apologies to my local Starbucks, I could manage that just fine. Goodness, we are told that if Obama had just given up his golf lesson last weekend it would have saved 341 jobs.



Don’t Like Rising Food Prices? End the Ethanol Mandate. by The Elephant's Child
March 4, 2013, 6:57 am
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Energy, Environment | Tags: , ,

Your government at work— caused a few problems on January 1. First of all was the expiration of the payroll-tax cut . With the turn of the calendar, the take-home pay of the average American family dropped by $80 per month.

Then the IRS delayed the start of its tax refunds to January 31 from January 17. What is it about this administration? They can’t seem to meet their deadlines at all. The Senate has been unable to produce the budget required by law since April 29, 2009. Long time passing. The president’s budget proposal is also way past it’s legal due date. Secretary Sebelius is behind on due dates. If the people at the top do not believe statutory deadlines are important, then apparently nobody else does either. Don’t count on getting away with that with your income tax. Only works for the administration.

But these things have consequences.  Food prices are rising faster than overall inflation. Inflation is a hidden tax, especially when it hits essentials like food. Core inflation is running around 2%, but the Department of Agriculture predicts that food prices will climb at a 3% to 4% rate in 2013.  You’ve probably noticed all the things that are suddenly in thinner packages, or smaller packages. Items that were packaged by the pound (16 oz.) are now 12 oz.. at the same price.  Gas prices are up 30 cents a gallon so far, long before summer driving raises costs.

There is one step that the government could take that would certainly significantly end the rise in food costs. End the ethanol energy mandate. The ethanol mandate essentially pays farmers to grow fuel instead of food, and corn is integral to all the rest of the food production process. A rise in the price of corn results quickly in a rise in the cost of meat, poultry, dairy and soy products. Some 40 percent of the nation’s annual corn crop is directed into ethanol production.

Congress allowed direct ethanol subsidies to end in 2011, but the renewables standard remains, and it is the bigger factor by far. Even if we just partially relaxed the renewables standard, corn prices could drop by as much as 20 percent.

The idea that ethanol is a “cleaner” fuel has proven false, and it’s use does not reduce carbon dioxide emissions — but then it has become clear that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is not causing global warming, so there is no reason for the mandate in any case. Carbon dioxide emissions have continued to increase,  but there has been no warming of the climate in 16 years. Another of those governmental “bright ideas” that didn’t prove out. Farmers, however like the higher prices brought from selling their corn for fuel, and farm state politicians like to please the farmers.




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