Financial Statements…

I am going to be busy for the next few days as we try to nail down our living arrangements before Friday. We’ve set a sort of “personal goal” to have something permanent lined up as soon as possible.

While I work on our finances and make sure we have enough money to pay for our next home, take a moment to see how much your government is spending

 

Just for grins, use the above chart to dissect Christopher Hayes’ statement that our current and future deficits are caused by “three things: the ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Bush tax cuts and the recession.”

Two of those three things — the wars and tax cuts — were in effect from 2003 through 2007. Do you see alarming deficits or trends from 2003 through 2007 in the above chart? No. In fact, the trend through 2007 is shrinking deficits. What you see is a significant upward tick in 2008, and then an explosion in 2009. Now, what might have happened between 2007 and 2008, and then 2009?

If I worked my budget the way the Democrats have been working with our economy, I would be moving into Bill Gates’ house and you’d all be paying for it!!! Aren’t you glad I’m not a Democrat?!?

Spenders, Snubs, & Shakespeare

As you’ve read in the previous few posts, this was a busy week. Next week will be even busier. Thank God it’s Friday. (No that was not an ad). Tomorrow I am taking the boys over to Sweetwater Creek State Park to do some birdwatching. Who knows what we’ll see.

For now, let’s see what else happened this week that I forgot to talk about.

Thought #1

The current debt ceiling is $12.1 trillion. Democrats want to raise that ceiling 14.87% this year alone.

In a bold but risky year-end strategy, Democrats are preparing to raise the federal debt ceiling by as much as $1.8 trillion before New Year’s rather than have to face the issue again prior to the 2010 elections.

“We’ve incurred this debt. We have to pay our bills,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told POLITICO Wednesday. And the Maryland Democrat confirmed that the anticipated increase could be as high as $1.8 trillion — nearly twice what had been assumed in last spring’s budget resolution for the 2010 fiscal year.

I don’t know about you, but my bank doesn’t increase my credit line 14.87% everytime I get close to reaching my limit. It’s time to stop this b.s., isn’t it?

Thought #2

Wow. It’s one thing to change protocol at the White House and attempt to change things at every level of government here in the United States, but isn’t it a bit arrogant to cancel out on the events that Norway plans for all Nobel Peace Prize winners?

Barack Obama’s trip to Oslo to pick up his Nobel peace award is in danger of being overshadowed by a row over the cancellation of a series of events normally attended by the prizewinner.

Norwegians are incensed over what they view as his shabby response to the prize by cutting short his visit.

The White House has cancelled many of the events peace prize laureates traditionally submit to, including a dinner with the Norwegian Nobel committee, a press conference, a television interview, appearances at a children’s event promoting peace and a music concert, as well as a visit to an exhibition in his honour at the Nobel peace centre.

He has also turned down a lunch invitation from the King of Norway.

Oh that’s right, President Obama isn’t like most of the other Nobel Peace Prize winners. They actually had to earn theirs. I found this following line the funniest of them all in the article.

The Norwegian Nobel committee, which awards the peace prize, dismissed the criticism. “We always knew that there were too many events in the programme. Obama has to govern the US and we were told early on that he could not commit to all of them,” said Geir Lundestad, secretary of the committee.

President Obama is far too busy governing the United States so it’s understandable that he cannot find the time to attend all of these events. I suppose the Nobel committee forgot all about his trip to Copenhagen to lobby for the 2016 games for the city of Chicago.

The Obama administration said at the time that the President could ‘multitask’ so there was no problem with him traveling to Copenhagen to lobby the Olympic Committee.

So what’s the problem with Oslo and the King of Norway? No kickbacks? No incentive to attend? Come on, tell the truth for once.

Thought #3

Al Gore doesn’t know how to read

. It must be all those carbon credit fumes clouding his mind.

Q: How damaging to your argument was the disclosure of e-mails from the Climate Research Unit at East Anglia University?

A: To paraphrase Shakespeare, it’s sound and fury signifying nothing. I haven’t read all the e-mails, but the most recent one is more than 10 years old. These private exchanges between these scientists do not in any way cause any question about the scientific consensus.

Yet, the East Anglia emails are dated from March 7,1996 through November 12, 2009. Wow. First we have global warming now we have time warping. Ten years have passed since November 12th? Someone get me a few thousand global second credits, this is going to be painful.

4.9 Trillion Reasons To Contact Your Senator

In the same fashion as the House version of health care reform, the Senate version eliminates lifetime and annual limits on the benefits for any participant or beneficiary, dependent coverage is extended until children turn 26 (although they are very much NOT children by this point), and it prohibits the discrimination of coverage based on salary.

I don’t really get that last one, because employers will be terminating their own health care plans because the government fines and fees for not providing coverage will be much lower than the cost of the plans themselves.

The Senate version provides for immediate access to insurance for those individuals with a pre-existing condition, sets up the “health benefit exchange”, and like the House version, creates so many layers of bureaucracy in health care that you’ll be lucky to make it through the red tape to see an actual doctor.

While reading the Senate’s “amendment in the nature of a substitute” to HR 3590, I realized that even though they worked on it behind closed doors and kept the whole process hush-hush, we’ve seen much of this bill before. Most of the provisions of the Senate version of the bill have been seen twice before, even three times, in the previous versions of the House bills as well as the first Senate bill that was “tossed out there” for all of us to see.

And just like the House version(s), this bill stinks, and it stinks bad. The Senate debated the bill all day today and they are scheduled to debate again all day tomorrow. You can watch the proceedings on CSPAN2, but make sure you contact your senators before you do anything else and tell them to vote against cloture on this bill. A vote for cloture (remember, they need 60 votes to proceed) is a vote for the bill (since they only need 51 votes to pass the bill).

Rather than go section by section (which would take me a couple days to post again) I thought I would cover some of the more pertinent and dangerous portions of the bill. If you read my posts on HR3200 or HR3962 then you are pretty much up to speed with this Senate bill, with a few exceptions.

The Senate bill weighs in at 2,074 pages (the largest one yet) and 20.8 pounds. The average staple weighs roughly 32 milligrams, average paper clip weighs 1 gram, and the average stethoscope weighs about 5 ounces. The Senate bill weighs more than 294,835 staples, 9,434 paper clips or 66 stethoscopes. That’s one heavy bill.

When Medicaid was created years ago, the original estimates put the cost of the bill at $238 million, yet the cost of Medicaid hit $1 billion and have been rising ever since, so let’s get real about the cost of this (or any) health care bill presented thus far by the Democrats.

James Capretta, the Ethics and Public Policy Center fellow for NRO, estimates the true cost of the bill (with the “doc fix” included) to be $4.9 trillion over 20 years with Democrats raising $2.2 in tax hikes and recovering more money by making cuts to Medicare coverage.

At a cost of $2.5 trillion, which is turning out to be a very conservative number itself, the Senate bill will cost us $1.2 billion per page, or $6.8 million per word.

The Senate bill includes provisions which will impose an additional taxes and fees which borderline on ridiculous. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said it best when he said,

If you have insurance, you get taxed. If you don’t have insurance, you get taxed. If you need a life-saving medical device, you get taxed. If you need prescription medicines, you get taxed

There is a new marriage penalty which will hit many couples right in the pocketbook, and will increase the federal deficit, which President Obama promised he would not support doing. Of course, when was the last time you heard an honest word come out of his mouth, seriously?

The non-partisan Joint Committee on Taxation released it’s own report which estimates how much revenue taxes in the bill are likely to generate. According to the JCT,

  • Tax on high-end health insurance plans: $149.1 billion
  • Capping flexible spending accounts at $2,500: $14.6 billion
  • Fees for drug makers: $22.2 billion
  • Fees for medical device makers: $19.3 billion
  • Fees for health insurance companies: $60.4 billion
  • Higher floor for deducting medical expenses: $15.2 billion
  • Higher payroll tax for top earners: $53.8 billion
  • Tax on cosmetic surgery: $5.8 billion

The report goes on to list all of the different taxes and fees, which total much more than this initial list which comes to $340.4 billion in new taxes paid by you and me. Notice that last one which reflects the new 5% excise tax on elective cosmetic surgery. Nancy Pelosi is not going to like that provision at all. How much you want to bet that entire paragraph gets stripped in conference if this bill passes the Senate?

One fee not mentioned, until now, is the monthly abortion fee that everyone under the government-run plan will be paying for. According to Section 1303 of the Senate bill, the Secretary of Health and Human Services will have the authority to determine when abortion will be allowed under the government run health plan, and all premiums paid under the government run plan will be paid into the U.S. Treasury account which will be used to pay for abortion services.

HR 3590, “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” will also allow the government to enter your home under “home visitation programs”. Section 2951 will allow the government to send officials into your home to check the “wellness” of your children, to make sure you are parenting your children properly and otherwise taking care of them at some standard which will be set by the government.

Those officials will be checking on low income families, women under the age of 21 who become pregnant, families with a history of substance abuse, families that have members who use tobacco products, families with children who have low student achievement, families with children who have learning disabilities or developmental delays, and families with individuals who are serving or have served in our armed forces.

Just think of the ramifications of section 2951 which is a clear example of invasion of privacy, and that section alone is enough reason not to support the passage of this bill.

There is no doubt that our health care system needs an adjustment, or even reform if you want to call it that, but this bill, as well as all of the other Democrat bills presented thus far is not what we need, or want. We cannot allow this bill to be forced upon us by Barack Obama, with help Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi.

Remember to take some time out of your day tomorrow to contact your senators and tell them to vote no on cloture. One vote could literally save our country from the downward spiral known as government run health care.

Two Thousand Seventy Four Pages

Scary Harry Reid released the brand new Senate health care reform bill. I’ve added it to the source document list to the left, and I will begin reading it sometime tomorrow. According to early reports, the bill will cost $849 billion over 10 years, and will reduce the deficit by $127 billion over that same 10 years.

$127 billion dollars sounds like an awful lot, except it’s not. Not really. The federal deficit for October 2009 alone, was $176 billion. Think about it. The Senate version of health care reform will reduce the deficit by $1.058 billion per month for 10 years. If we have more months like October 2009, the deficit will still rise by more than $174 billion every month.

The next time you hear someone brag about this bill “reducing the deficit” just slap them in the face with the facts and watch the blood drain from their face.

The Senate health care bill is being introduced as an amendment, in the form of a substitution, for House Resolution 3590. HR 3590 had absolutely nothing to do with health care before this substitution.

Early reports indicate that this substitute HR3590 contains a 40% excise tax on health care plans which are in excess of $8,500, an additional 0.5% Medicare tax on wages in excess of $106,800, and additional fees for manufacturers of certain drugs and medical devices. The bill also raises taxes by $370 billion over 10 years, and it doesn’t stop there. The Senate health care reform bill allows for taxpayer-funded abortions through the public health insurance plan and the health insurance “exchange”.

In short, the Senate bill will raise premiums, raise taxes, and cut benefits. You can read the Congressional Budget Office score of the bill (PDF), for more information on the costs of this version of health care reform but remember one thing. The bill they scored for this report (HR 3590) will not be the same bill (therefore their score of the bill will no longer be valid) once it passes. It is sure to “evolve” before any final vote comes to the Senate floor.

Like I said at the beginning of this post, I will begin my review of the substitute to HR3590 tomorrow evening. Until then, get reading. Don’t make me do it alone.

Capitulation, China, Crazies, & Contracts

I’ve got quite a bit on my mind this evening, so let’s get started.

Thought #1

The Obama administration has decided that the mastermind of the September 11th attacks should be tried in a criminal court with a civilian jury. No matter what you call it, we are at war with Al Qaeda, and trying those captured on the battlefield in our nation’s courtrooms makes about as much sense as completely overhauling our nation’s healthcare system to insure those who are currently uninsured.

According to former Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet, when 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was apprehended in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, in March 2003, his first response to his captors was to sneer “I’ll talk to you guys after I get to New York and see my lawyer.”

Now the second half of KSM’s taunt to his captors is coming true. He is off to New York, where he will have endless opportunities to converse with his many lawyers. They will work hard to ensure that his trial is all about what he “endured” at the hands of the U.S. government, and not at all about what he inflicted on the American people. They will strive to put in the dock George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, George Tenet, John Yoo, the CIA, and the United States government and the American people.

This decision will have serious repercussions for the United States. Precedent will be set to try all war criminals in our courtrooms, and we all know that’s a terrible idea. Let me make it clear that I would support trying him in our criminal courts with a civilian jury, if and only if (a) he had been in the United States when the attack occurred, and (b) he was captured on American soil. But neither (a) nor (b) apply in this case, and therefore I see no reason (other than showing a sign of weakness to our enemy) for trying his case on U.S. soil in American courts.

Many argue that it would be a “hang him now” type trial anyway, but that is irrelevant, especially in light of the fact that the last guy who tried to blow up the World Trade Center didn’t get the death penalty either.

The entire world will be watching the circus that is created by holding his trial in New York, and the entire world, especially our enemies will perceive our actions as weakness in the battle and a sign of capitulation on the part of our President.

Don’t believe me? Just pay attention for the next few months. Watch what happens here in the United States as well as across the world.

Thought #2

In an apparent attempt to show they are pleased with President Obama, the people of China are preparing for his upcoming visit on Sunday.

The Chinese have learned English from his speeches and celebrated the way he rolls up his sleeves. Now President Barack Obama is finally coming, and he’s being greeted with “Oba Mao” T-shirts and a statue of him that bursts into flames.

“He’s so hot right now, so I wanted to translate that through my work,” said Liu, who was inspired by the idea of the first black U.S. president.

Oba-Mao t-shirts and a statue that bursts into flames? Those Chinese have a strange way of showing their support of the curent U.S. President, don’t they?

If I was Obama, I would be worried about that Mao Tse Tung visual association and the fact that the people of China actually think setting him on fire is a sign of respect. Shen Dingli brings it all into perspective later in the article.

“He’s special for the Americans, but definitely not for the Chinese,” said Shen Dingli, director of the Center for American Studies at Fudan University in Shanghai. “On the contrary, we are always influenced by the tone of government-monitored media.”

Maybe Obama is heading over there for a refresher course on that “government-monitored media” they speak of.

Thought #3

Does this really make sense?

The Obama administration, mindful of public anxiety over the government’s mushrooming debt, is shifting emphasis from big-spending policies to deficit reduction. Domestic agencies have been told to brace for a spending freeze or cuts of up to 5 percent as part of a midterm election-year push to rein in record budget shortfalls.

President Obama, Nanny State Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Majority Leader Scary Harry Reid are all working as hard as they can to force government run health care down our throats at a cost that will add unprecedented amounts to our deficit. So this year they are going to triple our deficit, but “next year” they are going to freeze spending and make cuts.

Sure they are. Sure they are.

Thought #4

I don’t mean to be disrespectful… Oh who am I kidding? When I read the following quote I couldn’t help but remember 1994.

Newt Gingrich, the former Republican House speaker and purveyor of the GOP “Contract With America” that helped his party win control of the House after President Bill Clinton’s election, says GOP chairman Michael Steele has started work on a new framework for 2010 that he is calling “First principles.”

They’ve done this before, and we fell for it. The “Contract With America” was a great idea, it was a great motivator and it helped turn the tide in Washington, D.C., but soon afterward we all realized that it was just a ploy for many Republicans In Name Only to gain a stronghold in an otherwise crowded House.

For too many years now, we’ve watched those same Republicans become lazy, non-responsive, and ineffective when it comes to doing what is best for our country.

Sorry Newt, I’m not falling for it this time. The upcoming elections in 2010 have nothing to do with the (R) or the (D) next to the candidates names. It has everything to do with making sure that those candidates which are elected can do the best job to preserve the principles of our founding fathers and our nation’s laws.

Thought #5

Sometimes I wonder how much disdain one must have for his country to act like this.

 

Wow. Just wow. Such respect for our nation, for our flag, for our principles. Great job, Mr. President.

With that, I will finish for the night.

UPDATE (11/18/2009):

It’s come to my attention that the above photograph was not taken during the playing of our National Anthem or for any reason to salute the flag. The other people on the stage were saluting President Obama as he was introduced. I hope you’ll forgive this slight error, as President Obama is known for standing in the same pose while our National Anthem is actually playing.

 
This one has video to back it up.

 

A man’s country is not a certain area of land, of mountains, rivers, and woods, but it is a principle and patriotism is loyalty to that principle.
George William Curtis