American Elephants

There is Never Enough. Never. by The Elephant's Child

Random gleanings from today’s news, that somehow seem to be connected.

There was a time when the city of Detroit was a busy metropolis of 1.8 million people, and had the highest per capita income in America. Today is a decaying city of 700,000 that has filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy. A judge has delayed it, but the city is more than broke.

•The city owes money to more than 100,000 creditors. •Detroit faces $20 billion in debt and unfunded liabilities. •In 1950, there were about 296,000 manufacturing jobs in Detroit. •Now there are less than 27,000. •There are approximately 78,000 abandoned homes in the city. •47 percent  of the residents of the city are functionally illiterate. •40 percent of the streetlights don’t work. •If you call the police in Detroit, it takes them an average of 58 minutes to respond.

Even the New York Times has had an article pointing out Detroit as ‘America’s Future.’ The city has been declining for a long time and waiting, since the 1960s, for the federal government to bail them out.

Yet Walter Russell Mead points out that despite everything, Detroit is still going ahead with its plan to build a $450 million taxpayer-funded sports arena. Even Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and emergency manager Kevyn Orr support sticking with the city legislature’s vote to build a half billion dollar hockey stadium.  They see it as economic development that will provide jobs and be productive for the city.

Zero Hedge reports that Chicago’s cash balance has dropped to only $33 million as the city’s debt triples. That’s down from $167 million cash balance the previous year. The city’s long term debt has soared to nearly $29 billion —$10,780 per resident.

The Inspector General for Health and Human Services says the agency doesn’t have enough money to monitor and address Medicare and Medicaid fraud and abuse, They have canceled an audit of computer system security for ObamaCare insurance exchanges, a probe of Medicare Part D drugs for safety and effectiveness, and an investigation into fraudulent suppliers of high-cost durable medical equipment. ( In other words your medical records  with your personal information will not be secure) They are able to hire thousands of community organizers at $20 -$48 per hour to help enroll people in ObamaCare.

President Obama has said he will veto the defense authorization bill unless he gets health care premiums and co-pays increased for troops and scheduled military pay raises reduced. Tricare is the health care program for Uniformed Service members, retirees and their families worldwide. The benefits for civilian defense workers remain unscathed.

Yesterday Treasury Secretary Jack Lew told Fox News Sunday that President Obama will neither sign government funding bills that slash domestic spending, nor negotiate with republicans over spending cuts to raise the federal debt limit. He also said the president would not accept a budget in which domestic spending is further cut to soften the blow to Defense spending. “That’s unacceptable,” Lew said. There is never enough. They always need more. Investors says it is about cutting budgets:

Surging spending has driven the massive buildup of debt under President Obama. Total federal debt today is $17 trillion, twice as high as when Obama began.

Lew and others would have you believe it’s Republicans’ fault for refusing to spend enough to revive the economy — a common refrain among Democrats.

But federal spending soared from about 20% of GDP when Obama entered office to over 25% — an all-time record — the following year. Today at 23% it’s still way above the norm of around 18% to 20%. And it would go even higher, if Obama had his way.

Earlier this month, Democrat Max Baucus and Republican Orrin Hatch, the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee sent a letter to their fellow senators, soliciting thoughts on reforming the federal tax code. Their idea was to start with a blank slate and have the senators justify each tax break, deduction and exemption. Few legislators chose to participate. Most Democrats simply insisted that it was necessary to raise taxes by about $1 trillion over the next ten years.

Harry Reid piously said that he wasn’t even going to read the letter. The priority should be reducing inequality. (read redistribute wealth). Democrats simply want tax increases. There is never enough. They want bigger government. More control. More regulation. Never enough.

William Voegeii has written a splendid book on just that subject, and with that title: Never Enough: America’s Limitless Welfare State, which I recommend highly. It is a great pleasure to read, and a keeper.

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