On Feb. 17, 2009, President Obama promised the sun and the moon and the stars. That was the day, five years ago, when he signed the $800 billion “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.” President Modesty called it “the most sweeping economic recovery package in our history.” He promised “unprecedented transparency and accountability.” He claimed the spending would lift “two million Americans from poverty.” Ready for the reality smackdown?
The actual cost of the $800 billion pork-laden stimulus has ballooned to nearly $2 trillion. At the time of the law’s signing, the unemployment rate hovered near 8 percent. Obama’s egghead economists projected that the jobless rate would never rise above 8 percent and would plunge to 5 percent by December 2013. The actual jobless rate in January was 6.6 percent, with an abysmal labor force participation rate of 63 percent (a teeny uptick from December, but still at a four-decade low). Continue reading
George Landrith, President of Frontiers of Freedom, commended Congress for allowing the decades-old practice of wasting billions of taxpayer dollars subsidizing the wind industry to expire with the New Year.
“2013’s end marked the expiration of the investment and production tax credits for the wind industry. As we ring in the New Year, Congress took advantage of this opportunity and permanently ended these wasteful tax credits. These subsidies did nothing but hide the true costs of these projects, subsidized corporate rent seekers, and dramatically increased the cost of electricity for taxpayers.” Continue reading
How many times did the Obama Administration promise that GM would repay every dime of the taxpayer provided bailout? And how many times have you heard the lie that GM has fully repaid the federal government for the taxpayer provided bailout? The truth is the taxpayers lost $10 billion on GM, but GM CEO says the taxpayer took a risk like any other investor. That sucking sound you hear is the government taking $10 billion out of the taxpayer’s pocket.
by Todd Spangler
The General Motors bailout may have cost the government $10 billion, but GM CEO Dan Akerson rejects any suggestion that the company should compensate for the losses.
He says Treasury officials took the same risk assumed by anyone who purchases stock.
“I would not accept the premise that this was a bad deal,” Akerson said during a question-and-answer session at the National Press Club in Washington. He also said the government’s $49.5-billion aid to GM helped save billions of dollars in tax revenue and government social services. Continue reading
The defects of the Obamacare website have become well known. But the problems with the law go further than the website. These problems are not incidental, but central to its design and the intentions of its architects.
Many Obamacare backers, including Barack Obama, would prefer “single-payer” health insurance. The government would pay for everything and you would get health care for free.
There is an inconsistency here with the way we treat other things regarded as the basics of life — food, shelter, clothing. Government subsidizes food purchases only for some — though a sharply increasing number in the Obama years — through food stamps. Continue reading
A Brookings Institution study found the $2.85 billion program “provided a short-term boost in vehicle sales, which were pulled forward from sales that would have occurred in subsequent months. There was a small increase in employment but the implied cost per job created ($1.4 million) was far higher than other fiscal stimulus programs.”
The study — from researchers Ted Gayer and Emily Parker — said the “Car Allowance Rebate System,” or CARS did little to boost employment. This is at least the fourth major study since 2012 that has raised questions about the value of the program. Continue reading
A week ago, the technology that assessed spending limits on debit cards for food-stamp recipients malfunctioned. As a result, there was no way for stores to tell how much value was left on individual cards. Many merchants refused to accept the cards until the problem was fixed.
Not wanting to risk having anyone go hungry, Walmart allowed people to use the cards. Unfortunately, the food-stamp recipients treated the stores’ generosity as a bonanza, and filled carts with much more than they were entitled to. As word got out, the two Walmarts quickly found themselves overwhelmed by other food-stamp recipients doing the same. Continue reading
During the shutdown, 85 percent of government stayed open despite the hoopla reported in the media. Government is now 100 percent open. Debt-ceiling deadlines have been averted, but the real problem remains: a $17 trillion debt and a president who continues to pile on new debt at a rate of $1 million a minute.
The government shutdown occurred because Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid allows the Senate to lurch from deadline to deadline without passing a single appropriations bill. Had he done his job and passed each of the 12 appropriations bills, the government could have stayed open.
Opening government has not resolved the big picture — a debt problem so large that it dwarfs all deadlines and threatens the very fabric of the nation. What remains is an unsustainable debt, precisely the problem that motivated me to run for office. Continue reading
Healthcare: Just days before ObamaCare officially launches, the Newspaper of Record discovers that those allegedly low premiums liberals brag about won’t come cheap. At least, not if you want to actually use health care.
Democrats have worked overtime claiming that premiums offered in the ObamaCare exchanges aren’t as bad as everyone thought they’d be.
“Show me the rate shock” is their refrain. The White House even claims that six in 10 uninsured will be able to buy coverage for “under $100 per person per month.”
So just how could ObamaCare pile on costly new benefit mandates, require that insurers take everyone, not charge the sick more than the healthy, and keep rates low? Did Democrats manage to find a loophole in the law of supply and demand? Continue reading
The recent auction of 113,000 acres just off the coast of Virginia Beach, a popular tourist destination, may be a step forward for wind power in the state of Virginia, but it is several steps backwards for the taxpayers and consumers who will be forced to support it.
Wind energy has time and time again proven to be an unreliable means of producing electricity. Quite simply, electricity is only produced if the wind is blowing, and even then the amount is dependent on how strongly. A wind farm rated to produce up to 468 megawatts, such as the proposed Cape Wind project off of Nantucket Sound, will on average only produce an expected 174 megawatts. For power companies, this inefficiency can be a nightmare when trying to provide reliable power to a community. Continue reading
by Karl Rove
Harvard (and later Columbia) sociologist Robert K. Merton wrote in 1936 about the “unanticipated consequences of purposive social action.” Pity that Barack Obama, an alumnus of both universities, either never read or took to heart Merton’s warnings. It would have saved Americans a lot of misery.
The president certainly did not promote the Affordable Care Act by promising it would mean more part-time and fewer full-time jobs. Yet that is one of its unanticipated consequences.
A major provision of ObamaCare requires companies to provide health insurance to any employee who works more than 30 hours a week or pay a $2,000 per-person fine. Not surprisingly, the number of hourly employees working 30-34 hours a week dropped by an average of 146,500 a month over the past year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The number working 25-29 hours rose by 119,000 a month. Continue reading
Contrary to stereotypes, there is no evidence that people on welfare are lazy. Indeed, surveys of welfare recipients consistently show their desire for a job. But there is also evidence that many are reluctant to accept available employment opportunities. Despite work requirements included in the 1996 welfare reform, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says less than 42% of adult welfare recipients participate in work activities nationwide. Why the contradiction?
Perhaps it’s because, while poor people are not lazy, they are not stupid either. If you pay people more not to work than they can earn at a job, many won’t work.
A new study by the Cato Institute found that in many states, it does indeed pay better to be on welfare than it does to work. Continue reading
Here’s an offer for you: $38,004 per year, tax free. No work required. Apply at your local welfare office.
The federal government funds 126 separate programs targeted towards low-income people, 72 of which provide either cash or in-kind benefits to individuals. (The rest fund community-wide programs for low-income neighborhoods, with no direct benefits to individuals.) State and local governments operate more welfare programs. Of course, no individual or family gets benefits from all 72 programs, but many do get aid from a number of them at any point in time. Continue reading
It is hard to read a newspaper, or watch a television newscast, without encountering someone who has come up with a new “solution” to society’s “problems.” Sometimes it seems as if there are more solutions than there are problems. On closer scrutiny, it turns out that many of today’s problems are a result of yesterday’s solutions.
San Francisco and New York are both plagued with large “homeless” populations today, largely as a result of previous housing “reforms” that made housing more expensive, and severely limited how much housing, and of what kind, could be built.
The solution? Spend more of the taxpayers’ money making homelessness a viable lifestyle for more people.
Education is a field with endless reforms, creating endless problems, requiring endless solutions. Continue reading
Health Overhaul: Republicans are fighting over a government shutdown when they should be telling a receptive public that if ObamaCare takes effect, the result will be massive taxpayer fraud and privacy violations.
News accounts have focused on GOP threats to block any ObamaCare implementation funds in next year’s spending bills, even if that risks a presidential veto and a government shutdown.
That, naturally, has sparked a public debate among Republicans not over the merits of stopping ObamaCare, but over the political fallout of such a high-stakes face-off. Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., called it “the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard.” Continue reading