Posts Tagged ‘boondoggle’

Let’s Reflect On The History Of Social Security: On The Government Takeover And Of The FAR Better Privatized Option We Should Have Had

February 3, 2012

I begin by quoting from Burton Folsom, Jr.’s New Deal Or Raw Deal? to illustrate the history of the disaster that is otherwise known as “Social Security”:

Roosevelt’s social security plan created an array of problems. First, it retarded recovery from the Great Depression by contributing to unemployment. From 1937 to 1940, employers and employees were docked for social security, and that money was out of private hands and lying fallow in the treasury. Lloyd Peck of the Laundryowners National Association concluded, “The burden of this proposal for employers to carry, through a payroll tax, will act as a definite curb on business expansion, and will likely eliminate many businesses now on the verge of bankruptcy.”

Second, social security was unsound financially.  Unlike life insurance policies, workers had to live to age sixty-two to collect anything.  Life expectancy in 1930, the year of the most recent census, was almost sixty years, which meant that most people of that time would lose money from their paycheck every month for thirty to forty years, and neither they nor their children would ever receive a return on it.  In the case of black Americans, who had only a forty-eight-year life expectancy in 1930, most contributed to pensions that would disproportionately go to whites.  What’s more, the payroll tax was regressive – Henry Ford and Andrew Mellon paid in the same amount as their employees who earned $3,000 a year.

While some Americans were soaked by social security, others, especially the first retirees, rolled in benefits after making only minimal payments.  Ida Fuller, for example, a legal secretary in Ludlow, Vermont, paid a total of $24.75 into social security from 1937 to 1940, when she retired at age sixty-five.  Her first monthly social security check of $22.54 almost matched her entire contribution.  At her death in 1975, she had received $22,888.92 from social security, a payout of roughly $1,000 for every dollar she paid in.

When an accountant quizzed Roosevelt about the economic problems with social security, especially its tendency to create unemployment, he responded, “I guess you’re right on the economics, but those taxes were never a problem of economics.  They are politics all the way through.”  Roosevelt explained that “with those taxes in there, no damn politician can ever scrap my social security program.”  That’s why, as Roosevelt admitted, it’s “politics all the way through.”  Most politicians, following Roosevelt’s lead, have taken delight in raising social security payouts and using that gift to plead for votes from the elderly at election time.

In the original debate in the Senate on social security, Senator Bennett Champ Clark of Missouri wondered if private pensions for retirement might outperform the government pensions proposed in the social security bill.  He introduced the Clark Amendment, which would have allowed private employers to opt out of social security.

The key provision in the Clark Amendment was that employers had to at least match the government’s social security program in benefits to the employee and in premiums extracted from the employee.  The employer also had to agree to place the premiums with an insurance company – to an approved alternative – and to give all employees the right to choose the government-run program instead of the private alternative.

When the Clark Amendment was debated before the Senate in 1935, the advocates of a government monopoly were on the defensive.  On of them, Senator Robert La Follette, Jr., of Wisconsin complained: “If e shall adopt this amendment, the government having determined to set up a federal system of old-age [insurance], will provide in its own bill creating that system, for competition, which in the end may destroy the federal system.”  La Follette was perceptive.  If private insurance or mutual funds were allowed to compete with the government, no one might choose the government plan.  The Senate decided that workers ought to have a choice and voted 51-35 to make the Clark Amendment part of the social security law.

President Roosevelt was furious at the Senate, and threatened to veto the social security bill if it came to him with the Clark Amendment attached.  When the House passed a social security bill without the Clark Amendment, Roosevelt and his supporters used a parliamentary tactic to gain victory.  The House-Senate conference committee met to work out a compromise bill, and naturally the Clark Amendment was the main point of debate.  The committee decided to submit a final bill to Roosevelt with the government monopoly intact.  But they agreed to appoint a special joint legislative committee to study the Clark Amendment and report to Congress the next year on how best to provide for competition.  but after the government monopoly was instituted, the promised meeting in 1936 was never held.  Given that many private pension plans over the last sixty years have returned around 8 percent a year, and that social security benefits have averaged less than a 2 percent return, Senator Clark’s alternative showed much wisdom, but he couldn’t overcome Roosevelt’s political skill. — Burton Folsom, Jr., New Deal Or Raw Deal?  How FDR’s Economic Legacy Has Damaged America, 2008, pp. 116-118

Can we document the fact that FDR massively undermined workers and created devastating unemployment with his stupid and immoral policies?  To quote Obama, “Yes we can!”  For one thing, economists can now calculate that FDR prolonged the Great Depression and all the misery that accompanied it by seven years.

Don’t believe those economists?  Okay, then allow me to quote Henry Morganthau, FDR’s close personal friend and Secretary of the Treasury:

“We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. And I have just one interest, and if I am wrong… somebody else can have my job. I want to see this country prosperous. I want to see people get a job. I want to see people get enough to eat. We have never made good on our promises… I say after eight years of this Administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started… And an enormous debt to boot!” – Henry Morganthau, FDR’s Treasury Secretary, May 1939

In April 1939, for the record, unemployment was 20.7%

Don’t believe the economists or FDR’s own treasury secretary?  The how about Barack Obama’s former chief economic advisor?

Larry Summers blasphemy: Hitler saved FDR’s ass
by Lee on July 23, 2011 21:16 pm

Larry Summers is often quotable and Charlie Rose is occasionally watchable. Put ‘em together and you get the very definition of a blind sow finding an acorn.
 
The whole clip is interesting, but the money quote begins a hair after the 21:30 mark when Summers says something about left wing icon FDR that will undoubtedly result in fewer dinner invitations in the Hamptons this summer:

“Never forget, never forget, and I think it’s very important for Democrats especially to remember this, that if Hitler had not come along, Franklin Roosevelt would have left office in 1941 with an unemployment rate in excess of 15 percent and an economic recovery strategy that had basically failed.”
 
Why next thing you know Summers will be saying that Keynesian economics don’t work.

Clip here to watch the video: CharlieRose.com
http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/11777

You might also be interested in finding out what Obama’s former chief economic advisor had to say about the massive and massively failed $862 billion (and actually, according to the CBO, $3.27 TRILLION) stimulus.

It is a documented fact that FDR and the Democrat Party failed America.

Now consider one country that tried what that Democrat Senator (Bennett Champ Clark) proposed achieved:

Chile’s Privatized Social Security Program is 30 Years Old, and Prospering
Written by Bob Adelmann   
Tuesday, 03 May 2011 16:40

As a quiet example of how privatizing Social Security works in the real world, Chile’s 30-year experiment is succeeding beyond expectations. Instead of running huge deficits to fund the old “PayGo” system, private savings now exceed 50 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.

Prior to May 1, 1981, the Chilean system required contributions from workers and was clearly in grave financial trouble. Instead of nibbling around the edges to shore up the program for another few years, José Piñera, Secretary of Labor and Pensions under Augusto Pinochet, decided to do a major overhaul of the system:

We knew that cosmetic changes — increasing the retirement age, increasing taxes — would not be enough. We understood that the pay-as-you-go system had a fundamental flaw, one rooted in a false conception of how human beings behave. That flaw was lack of a link between what people put into their pension program and what they take out….

So we decided to go in the other direction, to link benefits to contributions. The money that a worker pays into the system goes into an account that is owned by the worker.

The system still required contributions of 10 percent of salary, but the money was deposited in any one of an array of private investment companies. Upon retirement, the worker had a number of options, including purchasing an annuity for life. Along the way he could track the performance of his account, and increase his contribution (up to 20 percent) if he wanted to retire earlier, or increase his payout at retirement.

How well has the system performed? John Tierney, a writer for the New York Times, went to visit Pablo Serra, a former classmate and friend in Santiago a few years ago, and they compared notes on how well their respective retirement programs were doing. Tierney brought along his latest statement from Social Security, while his friend brought up his retirement plan on his computer. It turned out that they both had been contributing about the same amount of money, so the comparison was apt, and startling, said Tierney:

Pablo could retire in 10 years, at age 62, with an annual pension of $55,000. That would be more than triple the $18,000 I can expect from Social Security at that age. OR

Pablo could retire at age 65 with an annual pension of $70,000. That would almost triple the $25,000 pension promised [to me] by Social Security starting a year later, at age 66. OR

Pablo could retire at age 65 with an annual pension of $53,000 and [in addition receive] a one-time cash payment of $223,000.

Tierney wrote that Pablo said “I’m very happy with my account.” Tierney suggested that, upon retirement, Pablo could not only retire nicely, but be able to buy himself a vacation home at the shore or in the country. Pablo laughed it off, and Tierney wrote: “I’m trying to look on the bright side. Maybe my Social Security check will cover the airfare to visit him.”

According to Investors Business Daily, the average annual rate of return for Chilean workers over the last 30 years has exceeded 9% annually, after inflation, whereas “U. S. Social Security pays a 1% to 2% (theoretical) rate of return, and even less for new workers.”

As expected, the capital accumulated in these privatized accounts have generated substantial growth in Chile’s economy. As noted by Wikipedia, “Chile is one of South America’s most stable and prosperous nations, leading Latin American nations in human development, competitiveness, income per capita, globalization, economic freedom, and low perception of corruption.” [Emphases added.]

High domestic savings and investment rates helped propel Chile’s economy to average growth rates of 8% during the 1990s. The privatized national pension plan (AFP) has encouraged domestic investment and contributed to an estimated total domestic savings rate of approximately 21% of GDP.

This was anticipated by Piñera when the plan was originally designed and implemented in 1981. In reviewing the success of the plan after just 15 years, Piñera said, “The Chilean worker is an owner, a capitalist. There is no more powerful way to stabilize a free-market economy and to get the support of the workers than to link them directly to the benefits of the market system. When Chile grows at 7 percent or when the stock market doubles … Chilean workers benefit directly, not only through high wages, not only through more employment, but through additional capital in their individual pension accounts.”

All of which should resonate with American workers who have been forced to contribute to a failing Social Security system for years. And yet when given the opportunity to support any sort of privatization, as during the Clinton and Bush administrations, the idea gained little traction. And now that Rep. Paul Ryan’s “Road Map” offers the chance for those same workers to contribute just one-third of their Social Security taxes to similar private accounts, the idea continues to fall on deaf ears.

However, according to Rasmussen Reports, that may be changing. Nearly half of those polled now correctly understand ‘that making major long-term cuts in government spending will require big changes” in Social Security, Medicare, and defense. That figure, adds Rasmussen, “suggests a growing awareness of budgetary realities among the American people.”

To privatize Social Security makes nothing but sense, as in dollars and cents. The ownership of private property has always propelled economic prosperity, higher wages and improved standards of living. Only those whose goals are to impoverish the American worker and reduce his ability to manage his own affairs and control his own future would resist such an attractive alternative. As noted by Piñera,

This is a brief story of a dream that has come true. The ultimate lesson is that the only revolutions that are successful are those that trust the individual, and the wonders that individuals can do when they are free.

I think of the misery that FDR inflicted upon every single American worker for the sake of a Democrat-controlled boondoggle that would “progressively” rob one generation of Americans after another compared to what they could have had if a privatized system (such as Chile’s or such as Clark’s) had been implemented instead.

But it is not enough to say America could have had much more than what Franklin Delano Roosevelt afflicted us with as a result of his partisan political takeover to give government a sole monopoly of something it never should have involved itself with in the first place.  The simple fact of the matter is that ENTIRELY because of FDR and the increasingly despicable Democrat Party that would follow, America is now in a situation in which it is guaranteed to economically implode.

Social Security was ALWAYS a Ponzi scheme and it was ALWAYS guaranteed to ultimately fail and result in the collapse of the American dream and the very nation itself.

Consider what Boston University economist Laurence Kotlikoff, writing in the September issue of Finance and Development, a journal of the International Monetary Fund, discovered:

A National Debt Of $14 Trillion? Try $211 Trillion
by NPR Staff
August 6, 2011

When Standard & Poor’s reduced the nation’s credit rating from AAA to AA-plus, the United States suffered the first downgrade to its credit rating ever. S&P took this action despite the plan Congress passed this past week to raise the debt limit.

The downgrade, S&P said, “reflects our opinion that the fiscal consolidation plan that Congress and the administration recently agreed to falls short of what, in our view, would be necessary to stabilize the government’s medium-term debt dynamics.”

It’s those medium- and long-term debt problems that also worry economics professor Laurence J. Kotlikoff, who served as a senior economist on President Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisers. He says the national debt, which the U.S. Treasury has accounted at about $14 trillion, is just the tip of the iceberg.

“We have all these unofficial debts that are massive compared to the official debt,” Kotlikoff tells David Greene, guest host of weekends on All Things Considered. “We’re focused just on the official debt, so we’re trying to balance the wrong books.”

Kotlikoff explains that America’s “unofficial” payment obligations — like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits — jack up the debt figure substantially.

“If you add up all the promises that have been made for spending obligations, including defense expenditures, and you subtract all the taxes that we expect to collect, the difference is $211 trillion. That’s the fiscal gap,” he says. “That’s our true indebtedness.”

We don’t hear more about this enormous number, Kotlikoff says, because politicians have chosen their language carefully to keep most of the problem off the books.

“Why are these guys thinking about balancing the budget?” he says. “They should try and think about our long-term fiscal problems.”

According to Kotlikoff, one of the biggest fiscal problems Congress should focus on is America’s obligation to make Social Security payments to future generations of the elderly.

“We’ve got 78 million baby boomers who are poised to collect, in about 15 to 20 years, about $40,000 per person. Multiply 78 million by $40,000 — you’re talking about more than $3 trillion a year just to give to a portion of the population,” he says. “That’s an enormous bill that’s overhanging our heads, and Congress isn’t focused on it.”

“We’ve consistently done too little too late, looked too short-term, said the future would take care of itself, we’ll deal with that tomorrow,” he says. “Well, guess what? You can’t keep putting off these problems.”

To eliminate the fiscal gap, Kotlikoff says, the U.S. would have to have tax increases and spending reductions far beyond what’s being negotiated right now in Washington.

“What you have to do is either immediately and permanently raise taxes by about two-thirds, or immediately and permanently cut every dollar of spending by 40 percent forever. The [Congressional Budget Office’s] numbers say we have an absolutely enormous problem facing us.”

Democrats want to self-righteously lecture us about the giant spending of Reagan or Bush.  But don’t just consider that Barack Obama demonized George Bush for increasing the debt by $4 trillion in eight years before he increased the debt by $6 trillion in only three years.  Go beyond that and divide Bush’s debt by the $211 trillion that Democrats have saddled us with after giving us toxic boondoggles loaded with lies and pork.  I come up with 1.9 percent; what do you get?

Virtually every single penny of toxic, staggering, insurmountable, unpayable debt that we have been saddled on us by Democrats.  And they have done so while giving us massively inferior boondoggles such as Social Security and Medicare.

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The Failure And Stupidity Of Democrats’ Fascist Central-Planning Documented In Leftist Los Angeles Times

January 30, 2012

Two articles on the same day from the same liberal newspaper pretty much put the kibosh on any portrayal of liberals as anything other than completely insane:

A big bet on electric vehicle manufacturing goes bust
Production of electric vehicles and batteries was supposed to create high-tech jobs in Indiana. Think City and Ener1 set up shop, enticed by government incentives. But soon they filed for bankruptcy.
January 27, 2012|By Julie Wernau

Reporting from Elkhart, Ind. — For politicians betting on electric vehicles to drive job growth, the view from inside Think City’s plant here is their worst nightmare: 100 unfinished vehicles lined up with no word on whether they will be completed.

 Only two years ago, the tiny Think cars (two can fit in a regular parking space) were expected to bring more than 400 jobs to this ailing city and a lifeline to suppliers who once made parts for gas-guzzling recreational vehicles.

“We’ve said we’re out to make Indiana the electric vehicle state. It’s beginning to look like the state capital will be Elkhart County,” Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels said in January 2010 in announcing government incentives used to attract Think to his state.

 Instead, the Hoosier State’s big bet has been a bust. The plant is devoid of activity; there are just two employees. A Russian investor who recently purchased Think’s bankrupt parent in Norway has been silent about its future.  A government-backed Indianapolis battery maker that was to supply Think wrote off a $73-million investment in the car company and Thursday declared bankruptcy. Two unrelated electric truck makers Indiana planned to nurture have yet to get off the ground.

 Indiana’s foray into electric vehicles is a cautionary tale for states in hot pursuit of high-tech manufacturing jobs. Think’s story illustrates how politicians so badly wanted to stimulate job growth that they showered the automaker and the battery supplier with tax benefits and incentives while at the same time failing to determine whether there was a market for the car: a plastic two-seater with a top speed of about 65 mph and a price tag approaching $42,000.

 “Where’s the value?” Gregg Fore, an Elkhart recreational vehicle industry executive, said of Think. “I could buy a golf cart for five grand if that’s what I wanted to drive.”

 Fore says the federal and state governments as well as Elkhart subsidized the Think project apparently believing those tax benefits would drive down the vehicle’s price and make the cars more attractive. “By giving money to the battery company and electric car company, they are saying, ‘We want you to buy their products even though we know you don’t want them.'”

 Indiana’s total losses aren’t immediately known. Katelyn Hancock, a spokeswoman for the Indiana Economic Development Corp., the state’s economic development arm, declined to disclose how much Think and battery-maker Ener1 had received in taxpayer-funded credits and incentives, saying such information is confidential. Ener1 also refused to provide the information.

 What is known, however, is that the Obama and Bush administrations poured millions of dollars into battery production in a quest to power thousands of Think City vehicles with lithium-ion batteries. To date, Ener1 has spent $55 million in federal funding, according to the U.S. Energy Department.

 Some analysts say government backing of the car didn’t seem like a bad investment at the time. “It looked like electric vehicles were it in 2008. It really did,” said Theodore O’Neill, an analyst who has followed the electric car industry. “You had the government calling the shots and doling the money out with the major” automakers.

 Still, O’Neill says he wouldn’t buy such a car. “For $40,000, you can get a certified pre-owned BMW convertible and a Vespa scooter. Both of them. And if you want to have a good time, put the top down.” General Motors’ Chevy Volt electric car sells for about the same price.

Think City’s plant, a 10-minute drive from Elkhart’s Main Street, appears all but abandoned these days. When a reporter visited recently, the parking lot was empty and the visitor entrance and lobby were laced with cobwebs. A single pickup truck and a sign telling visitors to ring the buzzer were the only signs of life near the rear of the building. Inside two men were quietly baby-sitting the plant, awaiting headlights and seat belts from Europe so the cars could meet U.S. standards.

 What eventually is supposed to happen to these cars isn’t clear. No one in Elkhart could point to a local executive in charge of production. A person identified as a spokesman declined to comment, saying he was no longer on the payroll.

 The person who may have the most to say about Think’s future also isn’t talking. Russian investor Boris Zingarevich bought Think Global, the Norwegian parent company, at auction a month after its bankruptcy.

 Reached by phone in Russia, Slava Bychkov, a spokesman for Zingarevich’s Ilim Group, said he could not provide details of plans for the car company.

 “The management is now under the restart process and will communicate their strategy in [the] near future,” Bychkov said.

Okay.  So Democrats’ bright idea to impose “green” cars on America was a rather stupid one and all the promises they made about such vehicles and all the jobs they would create were all a bunch of lies.  So we’re finally abandoning that idiotic boondoggle, right?  I mean, obviously nobody but a collection of abject idiots would keep demanding we keep pursuing the same utterly failed policies, right?

Wrong.  You can NEVER underestimate the sheer imbecilic stupidity of liberals or their determination to implode America with said stupidity:

California orders hike in number of super clean cars
The state’s air board issues new rules to automakers as part of its effort to cut greenhouse gases.
By Bettina Boxall, Los Angeles Times
January 28, 2012

California, long a national leader in cutting auto pollution, pushed the envelope further Friday as state regulators approved rules to cut greenhouse gas emissions from cars and put significantly more pollution-free vehicles on the road in coming years.

The package of Air Resources Board regulations would require auto manufacturers to offer more zero- or very low-emission cars such as battery electric, hydrogen fuel cell and plug-in hybrid vehicles in California starting with model year 2018.

By 2025, one in seven new autos sold in California, or roughly 1.4 million, must be ultra-clean, moving what is now a driving novelty into the mainstream.

The board also strengthened future emission standards for all new cars, making them the toughest in the nation. The rules are intended by 2025 to slash smog-forming pollutants from new vehicles by 75 percent and reduce by a third their emissions that contribute to global warming.

“Today’s vote … represents a new chapter for clean cars in California and in the nation as a whole,” said Air Resources Board chairwoman Mary Nichols.

Auto manufacturers are uneasy with some of the provisions but generally support the package, which took three years to develop. “We know the board wants to push the automakers,” said Mike Love, national regulatory affairs manager for Toyota Motor Sales. “We said we’re willing to go along with you and do our best.”

The requirements are expected to drive up car prices. The board staff predicts that the advanced technologies needed to meet the new standards will add $1,900 to the price of a new car in 2025. But that would be more than offset by $6,000 in estimated fuel savings over the life of the vehicle, according to the board’s staff.

Zero-emission autos now make up a minuscule portion of the more than 26 million cars in California, with just a few hundred fuel cell cars and about 34,000 battery electric autos on the road.

“The fact that we are going to change what consumers can buy is one of the most important things we can do,” board member Ken Yeager said before the panel, at the end of a two-day hearing in Los Angeles, voted 9 to 0 to approve the rules.

Manufacturers are poised to introduce a number of new electric and plug-in hybrid models. “This year, two dozen or more new vehicles are going to come out in the market,” Love said. “Everyone is trying their idea for EVs (electric vehicles), plug-ins.”

Nichols said she has seen “a real change in attitudes on the part of auto companies that have seen the handwriting on the wall…. The reality is that companies see the future is going to be in electric drivetrain vehicles. They’re moving there as fast they can.”

But automakers do still have concerns, particularly whether consumers will buy the ultra-clean cars.

“Automakers are mandated to build products that consumers are not mandated to buy,” said Gloria Bergquist, a spokeswoman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which includes Chrysler Group, Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co. “If the electric vehicle infrastructure is not in place, consumers may be reluctant to buy these technologies.”

Jack Nerad, Kelley Blue Book market analyst, predicted that “the added expense and lesser versatility of the ‘environmental’ vehicles” will continue to make them less desirable to consumers. Manufacturers might have to sell clean cars at a loss to meet the requirements, and “buyers of conventional cars will pick up the remainder of the tab,” he said. One of the most disputed elements of the rules centered on a clause that in the early years of the mandate gives credits to automakers who reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of their fleets more than required. Those credits would cut the number of electric, fuel cell and plug-in hybrids the companies had to offer in California.

Jay Friedland, legislative director of Plug In America, called it “a loophole you can drive a truck through” that will undermine the 2025 goal of having ultra-clean cars make up 15% of the new vehicles sold in the state.

A zero-emission mandate is not new in California. It dates from 1990 but was progressively watered down over the years.

The state’s ambitious goals to slash its greenhouse gas production renewed focus on the role that super clean cars could play.

“The steady drumbeat of the need to get off the dependence on petroleum is really what is driving this,” Nichols said. “It’s taken longer than we’ve hoped.”

Starting with model year 2015, automakers will have to meet tougher standards for smog-forming emissions and, in 2017, greater limits on pollutants that contribute to global warming.

By 2025, the standards are designed to reduce the average smog-forming emissions of new cars and light trucks by 75% compared with those sold today.

The greenhouse gas limits, which would be the same as the federal government has proposed for vehicles nationally, should cut those auto emissions by a third more in 2025 than required under current standards. To meet the new limits, the board staff anticipates the auto industry will make greater use of advanced hybrid technology, stronger and lighter materials and improved emission control equipment.

If oil companies don’t reach an agreement with the state to voluntarily install alternative fueling stations, such as for hydrogen fuel cells, the new rules will also require them to do so when a certain number of cars using that fuel is reached. The outlets could be placed at an existing gasoline station or a free-standing site.

“I hope the oil industry will get on board rather than dragging its feet,” said board member Hector De La Torre.

Democrats are more rigidly determined to be stupid and to impose their immoral stupidity on others than any other people who have ever lived.  I say that because they come from the greatest nation on earth with the greatest example of the success that comes from liberty and economic liberty.  And then they choose every single time to choose the 100 percent failed track record of centrally planned economies.

Democrats are also fascist to the cores of their shriveled little souls.  They have long-since convinced themselves that they are better than you and smarter than you and more moral than you.  And that gives them the right to dictate – because that’s precisely the right word – what kind of health insurance you must have and what kind of light bulbs you must use and what kind of car you must drive.  Whether it is utterly insane or not.

It doesn’t work.  But that is completely irrelevant:

Conservatives who want the government to end all energy subsidies say they are not surprised that Obama won’t let go of the clean-energy mantra.

“They don’t look at Solyndra as part of the larger problem of the Energy Department and the federal government intervening in the markets,” said Jack Spencer, a research fellow at The Heritage Foundation. “They see it as a failed program within the larger context of a succeeding policy.”

Solyndra.  Ener1.  Think City.  Beacon Power.  Evergreen Solar.  AES.  SpectraWatt Amonix.  It doesn’t matter how many times Obama or Democrats fail with other people’s money.  Because they are maximally immune from reality.  And when they create these boondoggles they invariably seem benefit their big Democrat donors (crony capitalist fascism alert).  And did I mention that they play their games with other peoples’ money?

We have the most important election in our entire history coming up this year: we either vote Democrat and vote to go the way of the Dodo bird or we vote Republican and vote for a chance – and I mean only a chance – to survive.  Because Obama has already wounded this country so terribly in his “fundamental transformation” that it may well not survive no matter who runs it.

Myth Of Obama’s ‘Shovel-Ready’ Jobs Revealed In Unemployment Stats

January 12, 2010

Democrats’ promises of “shovel ready jobs” was a shovel load of sh*t.  That’s pretty much what we’re learning.

Here’s a headline to remember: “Construction unemployment rises to 22.7%.”

In a clear sign of construction’s persistently severe problems, the industry’s jobless rate hit its highest level in at least a decade, climbing to 22.7% in December, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported.

The latest BLS monthly employment figures, released Jan. 8, show that construction’s December jobless rate rose from November’s 19.4%, and also was well above the December 2008 mark of 15.3%.

“In at least a decade”?  That would be during – your audible gasp here – the Clinton years, when the streets were paved with gold (but clearly not laid by construction workers).

Hot Air shows us what a bunch of hot air Obama’s and the Democrat’s promises really were:

Democrats insisted that they would usher in a wave of new jobs by speeding up spending on infrastucture, especially road construction.  All across the US, signs began appearing that heralded the local traffic snarl as a product of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act — Porkulus, as we came to call it.  Did it do anything to create or even “save” jobs?  The Associated Press says no:

Even within the construction industry, which stood to benefit most from transportation money, the AP’s analysis found there was nearly no connection between stimulus money and the number of construction workers hired or fired since Congress passed the recovery program. The effect was so small, one economist compared it to trying to move the Empire State Building by pushing against it.

Which is to say, Obama is depending on “the butterfly effect” for his stimulus package to actually work.

I should confess here that I have actually captured a butterfly, and have evilly created chaos all over the planet by forcing it to flap its wings.  But apparently no U.S. jobs have come out of it.

I also have to mock the part about the porkulus road signs (actually the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act” – but “porkulus” has turned out to be FAR more accurate).  We find that the Democrats are spending millions of dollars for “stimulus” road signs that aren’t stimulating anything but the Democrats’ political slush fund to bribe votes for their ObamaCare boondoggle.

Michelle Malkin presented what the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act signs SHOULD HAVE looked like nearly 8 months ago:

Meanwhile, what is unemployment among government workers?

3.6%.

Rush Limbaugh was all over that on like poop on stink (which is rather like Obama on stimulus, but actually telling the truth):

“I mean you cannot take $50 trillion or $50 billion, any amount of money out of the private sector then put it back in and say you’re stimulating something.  You’d have to infuse money that’s not already there.  And there’s no money to do that.  You have to print it, you have to borrow it, or you have to tax it and then put it back.  This is an old shell game; it’s an old trick. It’s designed to enhance the growth of government.  But the proof is right there in the latest unemployment numbers — and I don’t mean the 10% employment, which is an obvious disaster, and I don’t mean the 17% real unemployment.  That’s an obvious disaster.  But here are two numbers from last Friday’s jobless numbers: Construction unemployment is 22.7%. It’s 22.7%!  Now, remember, the stimulus was for “shovel-ready jobs;” Roads, bridges, schools, all this infrastructure stuff.  Construction unemployment is almost 23%. Government worker unemployment is at 3%, 3.6, less than 4%.”

The Associated Press has the following story (from which the quote from Hot Air above is a part):

Stimulus for roads no path to help joblessness
Analysis comes as Obama urges another bill funding more transit projects

updated 9:01 a.m. ET Jan. 11, 2010

WASHINGTON – Ten months into President Barack Obama’s first economic stimulus plan, a surge in spending on roads and bridges has had no effect on local unemployment and only barely helped the beleaguered construction industry, an AP analysis has found.

Spend a lot or spend nothing at all, it didn’t matter, the AP analysis showed: Local unemployment rates rose and fell regardless of how much stimulus money Washington poured out for transportation, raising questions about Obama’s argument that more road money would address an “urgent need to accelerate job growth.”

Obama wants a second stimulus bill from Congress that relies in part on more road and bridge spending, projects the president said are “at the heart of our effort to accelerate job growth.”

And Rush Limbaugh picks up from there:

“The AP is admitting here it didn’t work but then, hey, they say let’s try it again.  They outline in this piece that the stimulus money that’s been spent so far has had no effect on jobs, none.  Not anywhere.  The veil is off.  They’re no longer pretending that there are jobs created or saved.  Now, here how the story starts: “Ten months into President Barack Obama’s first economic stimulus plan, a surge in –” and it’s not Bush’s.  It’s Obama’s.  “– spending on roads and bridges has had no effect on local unemployment and only barely helped the beleaguered construction industry, an AP analysis has found. Spend a lot or spend nothing at all, it didn’t matter, the AP analysis showed: Local unemployment rates rose and fell regardless of how much stimulus money Washington poured out for transportation, raising questions about Obama’s argument that more road money would address an ‘urgent need to accelerate job growth.'”

All they can talk about from the stimulus that’s been beneficial is the extension of unemployment compensation benefits.  So, you know, the real question there, folks, is how come despite the vast amount of history that’s available to all of us, all of the smart, so-called smart educated business and economic people, hard evidence, examples of failure and successes, charts and graphs, data out the wazoo, we still seem to be confounded by the elementary process of creating and keeping jobs.  Why is this?  Why is the blueprint for coming out of the circumstance we’re in, the 1980s, JFK in the 1960s, why is it ignored?  And why is this, government spending, constantly looked at as a panacea when it isn’t?  And the answer is it’s not looked at as a panacea.  The people in charge of doing this know exactly what they’re doing.  They’re weakening the private sector for a host of reasons that we’ve mentioned.  I’m going to get blue in the face here, repetitive.  Just don’t doubt me.  It’s being done on purpose and the reasons are all recounted in various multiple monologues at my website, RushLimbaugh.com.”

Meanwhile, the government sector is absolutely thriving compared to the rest of the economy.

Would you have supported the stimulus if you’d known the TRUTH: that instead of “shovel-ready jobs” we’d be getting “bureaucrat-ready jobs”?

Don’t Think ObamaCare Won’t Be A Giant Black Hole Of Debt

October 27, 2009

You will be hearing about the Democrats “paying” for their health care takeover.  Don’t believe it.  Again and again and again, Democrats have sold one health care boondoggle after another, claiming that it will “only” cost such-and-so.  They have a perfect track record — of failure to live up to their claims.

Health Costs and History
Government programs always exceed their spending estimates.

Washington has just run a $1.4 trillion budget deficit for fiscal 2009, even as we are told a new health-care entitlement will reduce red ink by $81 billion over 10 years. To believe that fantastic claim, you have to ignore everything we know about Washington and the history of government health-care programs. For the record, we decided to take a look at how previous federal forecasts matched what later happened. It isn’t pretty.

Let’s start with the claim that a more pervasive federal role will restrain costs and thus make health care more affordable. We know that over the past four decades precisely the opposite has occurred. Prior to the creation of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965, health-care inflation ran slightly faster than overall inflation. In the years since, medical inflation has climbed 2.3 times faster than cost increases elsewhere in the economy. Much of this reflects advances in technology and expensive treatments, but the contrast does contradict the claim of government as a benign cost saver.

Next let’s examine the record of Congressional forecasters in predicting costs.  Start with Medicaid, the joint state-federal program for the poor. The House Ways and Means Committee estimated that its first-year costs would be $238 million. Instead it hit more than $1 billion, and costs have kept climbing.

Thanks in part to expansions promoted by California’s Henry Waxman, a principal author of the current House bill, Medicaid now costs 37 times more than it did when it was launched—after adjusting for inflation. Its current cost is $251 billion, up 24.7% or $50 billion in fiscal 2009 alone, and that’s before the health-care bill covers millions of new beneficiaries.

Medicare has a similar record. In 1965, Congressional budgeters said that it would cost $12 billion in 1990. Its actual cost that year was $90 billion. Whoops.  The hospitalization program alone was supposed to cost $9 billion but wound up costing $67 billion.  These aren’t small forecasting errors. The rate of increase in Medicare spending has outpaced overall inflation in nearly every year (up 9.8% in 2009), so a program that began at $4 billion now costs $428 billion.

The Medicare program for renal disease was originally estimated in 1973 to cover 11,000 participants. Today it covers 395,000, at a cost of $22 billion. The 1988 Medicare home-care benefit was supposed to cost $4 billion by 1993, but the actual cost was $10 billion, because many more people participated than expected. This is nearly always the case with government programs because their entitlement nature—accepting everyone who meets the age or income limits—means there’s no fixed annual budget.

One of the few health-care entitlements that has come in well below the original estimate is the 2003 Medicare prescription drug bill. Those costs are now about one-third below the original projections, according to the Medicare actuaries. Part of the reason is lower than expected participation by seniors and savings from generic drugs.

But as White House budget director Peter Orszag told Congress when he ran the Congressional Budget Office, the “primary cause” of these cost savings is that “the pricing is coming in better than anticipated, and that is likely a reflection of the competition that’s occurring in the private market.” The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services agrees, stating that “the drug plans competing for Medicare beneficiaries have been able to establish greater than expected savings from aggressive price negotiation.” It adds that when given choices “beneficiaries have overwhelmingly selected less costly drug plans.”

Yet liberal Democrats fought that private-competition model (preferring government drug price controls), just as they are trying to prevent private health plans from competing across state borders now.

The lesson here is that spending on nearly all federal benefit programs grows relentlessly once they are established. This history won’t stop Democrats bent on ramming their entitlement into law. But every Member who votes for it is guaranteeing larger deficits and higher taxes far into the future. Count on it.

You should notice the bit about the prescription drug benefit passed under Bush, because Democrats have routinely demonized it.  They claim that Republicans didn’t even TRY to pay for it, but merely increased the deficit.  That is for the most part true, but at least it a) relied upon the private sector to provide the benefit, and b) didn’t socialize the entire economy in the process.  Democrats argue that, unlike Republicans with the prescription drug benefit, they are trying to “pay” for their plan.  Just as right now I am flapping my arms and trying to fly out of my chair.

As much as Democrats want to demonize the Bush prescription drug benefit, it remains the anomaly as being the ONLY government health care program that ran under budget, as opposed to ten times budget.

We can’t allow the Medicare system to collapse, as it is on the verge of doing.  Too many elderly people who don’t have recourse to anything else are counting on it.  But the gigantic hole of red ink is proof that we never should have started this program until we truly counted the cost.  Had the government not foisted Medicare upon us, the private market would have solved the problem better.

Anybody who thinks we can save one giant government program by creating an even more giant government program is a fool.  It is the mindset of one who believes the best way to get out of a hole is to dig deeper and faster.

The health care plan that the Democrats are envisioning will be a FAR greater black hole of debt than anything this country has ever seen.  Because it is FAR more ambitious, involves FAR more people, and involves a FAR greater takeover of the US economy.

And, incredibly, the Democrats are literally using the argument of the skyrocketing deficit to enact something that will massively increase our deficits.

Their mindset is the same mindset that deals with our exploding debts by constantly raising the debt ceiling so we can keep on borrowing and borrowing and borrowing.  That fixes the problem, doesn’t it?

We are facing the largest federal deficits since World War II.  That should really scare you, because in World War II, it was AMERICANS who held that debt by purchasing war bonds.  Back then, Americans actually saved their money.  Quite different from these days, when we routinely go into debt to buy a lot of crap that we don’t need.  Today it is CHINA who holds our debt.  So as we begin to contemplate the $800 billion a year in interest payments that we will soon be paying, we realize that we are no longer our own masters.

If that isn’t bad enough, consider this: at the end of World War II, the United States had the greatest manufacturing and industrial base the world had ever seen.  Today, we have only a tiny fraction of that former capability.  In addition to being a debtor nation, we are also a “service” nation.  You don’t spend your way out of debt; you don’t even service your way out of debt.  You produce your way out of debt.  We have long since lost the capability to do that.

Finally, the debts accrued during World War II were debts that were a) necessary and b) temporary.  That, also, is no longer true today.  Our World War II debts were the result of our war of necessity against the greatest evil humankind had ever seen; the debts we are experiencing today are the result of our war against our children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s children as we demand more and more benefits at somebody’s else’s expense.

As a result of American power following World War II, the U.S. dollar became the fundamental world currency, and English became the official lingua franca of the global economy.  Tragically, as a result of the rapid American collapse, the U.S. dollar is now on the verge of being expunged from the global stage, and English is increasingly not being spoken even in America.