Blowouts, Bailouts, Budgets, & Bites

I had a completely different post in mind for tonight, but thanks to my DISH Network DVR crapping out on my 2 hour recording, and C-SPAN having some sort of archive issue, I am unable to put together the video clip for the post I wanted to do. Because of this techno-glitch, I will postpone that post until tomorrow night and give you some more random thoughts about some interesting topics tonight.

One quick side note before I begin though. A while back I posted about some family issues going on, and although I have no intention of discussing the heart of the issue any longer, I have to mention something I find completely ironic (and a bit hypocritical).

Ever since the “blowout” we haven’t heard a word from the family members in question. No phone calls, no email, nothing. It’s clear that we are being “put in our place” based on the complete lack of communication from those family members. To be honest, I could care less, but eventually our three kids are going to notice that these family members haven’t been in contact with them. It’s a shame really, because no matter what happened with us, they shouldn’t take it out on our kids, but anyway, I digress.

At the end of the “blowout” I was told,

I am highly educated and not as stupid as you seem to think I am. I think you are both just crazy.

Go watch your fox news and hang out with your crazy right wing conservative friends. I’m sure they will all agree with everything you say.

Yet, almost every day since the “blowout”, I’ve had one specific visitor here, on this page, from the same IP address originating from the place of employment of one of those family members. It’s funny too, because they always enter the site by performing a Google search for “101 dead armadillos”. It’s like they can’t remember the url of the site or something (yes, for those less educated than others, that was sarcasm). It’s clear that this family member is still watching my blog, still reading my words, still listening to my opinions, and well, still hanging out with their crazy right wing relative, even if they are choosing to do so from the shadows.

Anyway, I just wanted them to know I know they are here. They may think I am crazy, but I too am highly educated, I just don’t choose to call people names, insult them, stereotype them, or hide in the shadows. Lord knows I have plenty of ammunition if I wanted to start attacking them, but as an educated person, I am also capable of making the decision to remain civil.

So, with that said, let’s talk about some of the stuff that happened today…

Thought #1

It looks like all of those crazy right wing conservatives who said we wouldn’t see a dime in return for the $700 billion bailouts weren’t so crazy after all.

U.S. taxpayers are “extremely unlikely” to earn any return on the $700 billion government program to invest in banks and other companies as the financial system teetered on the edge of collapse, a quarterly audit said.

In a report to Congress, the Troubled Asset Relief Program watchdog Neil Barofsky said that recouping the billions of dollars given to insurer American International Group Inc. and automakers General Motors Co. and Chrysler LLC “is far from certain.” He also noted that $50 billion set aside for helping struggling homeowners lower their mortgage payments will yield “no direct return.”

Funny. This is something you just don’t hear about on those other cable news outlets. Too bad Fox News isn’t a “White House sanctioned news organization”, President Obama could have saved the American people $700 billion if he had just changed the channel. Maybe we could all chip in to send President Obama a new remote control or something. Naw. I am sure the White House has plenty of control, remote or not. Right?

Thought #2

The White House isn’t doing so good controlling the number of jobs created by the 2009 stimulus package. If you don’t watch Fox News you may want to brace yourself for this one.

According to the data, 49 States and the District of Columbia have lost jobs since stimulus was enacted. Only North Dakota has seen net job creation following the February 2009 stimulus. While President Obama claimed the result of his stimulus bill would be the creation of 3.5 million jobs, the Nation has already lost a total of 2.7 million – a difference of 6.2 million jobs. To see how stimulus has failed your state, see the table below.

Barack Obama promised to create 3.5 million jobs but we’ve lost 2.7 million jobs. That seems to be a difference of 6,168,600 jobs. Wow. How do you miss the mark by that much? Is Maxwell Smart working in the Obama administration? (Sorry, that was a bit of czar-chasm) on my part).

Thought #3

Although the health legislation sponsored by Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) claims to reduce the budget deficit by $81 billion over the next ten years, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has something different to say.

CBO breaks down the Baucus plan’s budgetary effects into those occurring “on budget” (where the substantive policy changes are) and those “off budget” (meaning through the Social Security program). The Baucus plan’s on-budget provisions would reduce the ten-year budget deficit by a tiny $1 billion and in 2019 would increase borrowing by $6 billion. In the real world, where entitlement costs rise faster than projected and Congress fails to implement promised cuts to Medicare spending, the Baucus plan will doubtless generate significant deficits.

Meanwhile, the Baucus plan’s fiscal skullduggery takes place off-budget. Social Security revenues would increase by $80 billion over ten years, with an $18 billon increase in 2019 alone. Around 3 million individuals would leave employer-sponsored health coverage — which is exempt from taxes — to purchase insurance through a subsidized “exchange.” Leaving employer-sponsored coverage would raise workers’ taxable wages and thereby boost Social Security revenues. Millions more would trade a portion of their insurance benefits for higher wages to avoid a new tax on high-cost policies. By skimming the new Social Security taxes, the Baucus plan appears to significantly cut the deficit when, in truth, it balances only by the skin of its teeth.

This is perhaps the clearest example of “raiding the trust fund” on record.

Oh my goodness. Does this mean that the entire Baucus plan depends on the creation of new (additional) Social Security surpluses to offset the higher spending on health care? Wow. Who, in this world of educated persons, would think that politicians in Washington, on the left side of the aisle, could do something so… so… crazy? I know, that’s just too far-fetched to be believable, isn’t it?

Thought #4

Have you ever wondered who owns our debt? Click here to see a nice graphic which represents our national debt and the percentage owned by each group. Yeah, I know I could have snatched the image so you could read it here, but I want you to get your exercise by clicking that mouse today. It’s important to keep your motor reflexes functioning in case you ever get accused of not being able to change the channel or something.


A man begins cutting his wisdom teeth the first time he bites off more than he can chew.
Herb Caen