American Elephants

“Apparently They Want The Public to Feel the Pain.” by The Elephant's Child

The White House continues the announcement of the horrors brought on by Republican intransigence on the sequester. Rep. Steve Scalise, Chairman of the Republican Study Committee, noted that airport waiting lists were the shortest he’s had in months, but the TSA agents are scared because they don’t know what to expect from the president.

“The president has been flying around the country on Air Force One on a scare tour telling everybody that every food inspector is going to be laid off. Every school teacher and firefighter — we’ve been combing through the law books to figure out where the president fires and hires school teachers and police officers — but they don’t know that because they all think they’re going to get laid off.”

School children are disappointed that their tour of the White House has been cancelled. Deputy press secretary Josh Earnest said West Wing employees will face furloughs and pay cuts due to sequester. “We’re also a pretty personnel-heavy agency, if you will,” Earnest said “So that means there will be employees…who work here at the White House that will be facing furloughs and again, this is the result of a policy that Democrats and Republicans agree is really bad.”

Republicans would certainly agree that the White House is “pretty personnel-heavy” and they have expressly warned the White House about furloughing people unnecessarily.

The government on Thursday notified 60,000 federal workers in Customs and Border Protection that furloughs and other austerity will cause delays at ports of entry and reduce the number of border patrol officers on duty at any one time.

On the other hand, Senate Budget Committee Ranking Member Jeff Sessions and House Budget Chairman sent a letter to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood urging the DOT to reject a $5.5 billion gamble on a high-speed rail from Victorville, CA to Las Vegas, NV that depends on wildly optimistic projections of ridership (4 times that of Amtrak’s Acela train), expects riders to drive 50 to 100 miles to get to the station for a 175 mile ride to Las Vegas. There are doubts that the project could possibly pay back the loan.

Republican Virginia Foxx (R-NC) has introduced legislation H.R. 803, the SKILLS Act, to consolidate 35 federal job training programs judged ineffective and to waste billions on duplicative administrative expenses into one workforce investment fund that states would administer. Would further require the OMB to reduce the federal workforce by the number of employees currently administering the eliminated programs. This would redirect resources from employing bureaucrats to training workers. The Department of Labor has a history of failing to investigate whether its programs work.

The EPA has announced plans to furlough all of its employees and shut down for three days to absorb sequestration’s spending cuts. On the other hand, the EPA awarded a $141,450 grant under the Clean Air Act to fund a Chinese study on pig manure. Funded a $67,926 poster contest at Syracuse University that yielded fewer than 10 entries, and gave $1.2 million to the U.N. for the ‘promotion’ of so-called clean fuels. The EPA’s spending is up 51% since 2008. They can’t find two percent to cut?

An IG report revealed that the EPA has 430,000 square feet of underutilized space, which costs taxpayers more than $20 million annually. The EPA has awarded $1.5 billion in federal grants for cellulosic ethanol and issued a production mandate of 500 million gallons of this fuel . Demand is contrived, and exists only because government mandated the demand— not the market.

The amount of foolish expenditures, pure waste if you consider it taxpayer dollars instead of ‘government money’, is ongoing and amazing. Just Google “government waste” and see what you can come up with.  How about the National Science foundation grant for a robot squirrel for $325,000 to study how squirrels and rattlesnakes interact (previous research already exists). $49,000 for a Smokey Bear hot-air balloon for balloon festivals in the Southwest. (the money could be used for a DC10 tanker to fight wildfire). $1.8 billion in loans to cupcake boutiques from the SBA. $1.2 million to see if the elderly could play World of Warcraft to increase cognitive function from the National Science Foundation.

Another federal employee has come forward to claim the Obama administration resisted efforts to ease the impact of sequester. A U.S. park ranger told FoxNews that supervisors in the National Park Service overruled plans to deal with the budget cuts in a way that would have had minimal impact on the public. Instead, the source said, park staff were told to cancel special events and cut “interpretation services” — the talks, tours and other education services provided by local park rangers. “Apparently, they want the public to feel the pain,” the ranger said.

Memos have surfaced from National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis appearing to show the agency put a priority on telling the public how the cuts would affect them.

Jarvis wrote that agency officials expected the cuts to result in reduced visitor services, shortened seasons and other visible changes. “Parks must be specific in their description and include the number of visitors affected and an indication of the effect on nearby communities and businesses,” he wrote. “All other organizations should describe impacts in terms of diminished performance and reduced administrative services and oversight.”

The ranger, who wanted to remain anonymous, said “A lot of these parks can absorb these cuts without the public’s visit being affected.”

DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano who has bragged about nonexistent long lines at the airport has been issuing all sorts of memos about expected horrors, but according to Tom Schatz, President of Citizens Against Government Waste , the government has $9 billion in unspent “preparedness funds.”

The President finds himself in a hole of his own devising. The best advice — Stop Digging!

This Is Not An “Accelerating” Job Market. by The Elephant's Child

The unemployment rate for February has dropped to 7.7%, down from 7.9% last month. Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 236,000 in February, which sounds good until you realize it’s not far from the same as it was in February 2012, when it was 271,000— a little higher. Not exactly progress.

Those who are unemployed and are not looking for work are designated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as “no longer in the work force” has climbed to a record high at 89,304,000 up from 89,008,000 in January.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for whites 6.8 percent declined. The rate for adult men 7.1 percent, adult women 7.0 percent, Hispanics 9.6 percent, Blacks 13.8 percent, and teenagers 25.1 percent.

In February multiple jobholders rose by a record, as full-timers dropped, part-timers increased. The number of multiple job holders increased by 340K. This is undoubtedly a result of ObamaCare rules which are forcing many businesses to shift their workers to part-time. These workers attempt to recover by holding a second job.

The Federal Reserve Beige Book, a report issued eight times a year, details economic activity. Employers in several Districts cited the unknown effects of the Affordable Care Act as reasons for planned layoffs and reluctance to hire more staff. Three different Federal Reserve regions have directly linked ObamaCare to slower hiring.

Just saw yesterday that J.C. Penney is laying off 200,000 employees, and that didn’t even make it into the numbers.

Tyler Durden at Zero Hedge points out that $1.2 trillion in debt buys the United State about 61 percent of the jobs created a year ago. And lest you get excited about the record Dow Jones , every “record” Dow Jones point costs $200 million in federal debt.

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