Posts Tagged ‘washington’

Obama Cuts 0.47% from Budget

May 6, 2009

Today, word came out that President Obama has cut $17 billion from the 2010 budget.  While that is a lot of money to you and me, it is a measly 0.47% of the $3.55 trillion budget that has been proposed for this year.  Surely, with the way things are going, the 2010 budget figures to be even bigger, so the $17 billion will become an even smaller percentage.

During his campaign, Obama promised to go through the budget, line by line and cut programs that weren’t working or were not necessary.  Looks like he thinks 99.53% of all the government spending is necessary.  And he’ll probably tout this as the “change” he promised and the media and all of his supporters will eat it up.  They’ll just blame the Republicans and Bush for making all the spending “absolutely necessary.”

Just when I think Obama can’t be more of a hypocrite, he does something like this.  Why even announce you’re “cutting” less than one-half of one percent of the budget?  This country is going off a cliff, and Obama isn’t putting on the brakes, he’s flooring the gas.

Washington Decides to Throw Votes Away Too

April 29, 2009

The state of Washington has joined Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey and Maryland in a pact that will have their Electoral College votes go to the winner of the national popular vote.

So, basically, they are telling the residents of their states, that their vote doesn’t count, and that they will vote for whoever wins the national vote, no matter what.

What if Washington residents vote 90% in favor of the person who loses the national vote?  Then they send all of their electoral college votes to a person who 10% of their population voted for?  It really doesn’t make any sense at all.  It will just lead more Washington voters to stay home and not vote, because they know their vote has no bearing whatsoever.  Their votes will be controlled by the states with the largest populations, which sway the national poll numbers.

I agree that the Electoral College system as it exists now is not perfect.  It is dominated by the two parties who have rigged the rules in the states to give all of the electoral votes to whoever wins the state.  It just supports their interests, and not those of independents and third parties.

If Washington and other states want to make changes, they should split their Electoral College votes proportionally to the popular vote of their state.  That way, every vote at least has an influence.  In California, I can vote Republican every time, but I know that all of our electoral votes are going to go to the Democratic candidate.  By breaking up the electoral votes, it will reflect the will of the people, and will keep the Electoral College intact.

Raising the Gas Tax?

January 2, 2009

Today, the National Commission on Surface Transportation Infrastructure Financing suggested to Congress to raise our taxes on gas and diesel by roughly 50%.  Currently, we pay about 18 cents a gallon on gasoline and 25 cents a gallon for diesel.  Read about it here.

According to the commission, the current taxes leave a shortfall of about $100 billion a year, which means road and bridge projects can’t get funded.

My main problem is that this panel was created by Congress.  They are not an independent party to analyze the entire infrastructure system and budget.  The easy way out is to just raise taxes.  What they really need to do is look at all the bureaucracy that exists and look at how much they can save if they streamlined their operations.  Nothing in this article suggests the government faced such an audit.

Also, I have a big problem with the taxes I pay going to Washington for them to dole out.  How do I know that my taxes will help build or repair roads in my neighborhood?  My money might go to build a bridge in Alaska or some high-ranking Senator’s home state.  This is one of the main reasons for the American Revolution and our Constitution in the first place.  They were fed up paying taxes to the British government, and then never seeing any returns on those dollars.

They should lower, or even abolish, the Federal tax and replace it with State or local ones.  That way, we would all see returns for our tax dollars.  If we did this, we would probably see lower taxes because there would be more efficient use of the dollars, resulting in less of a need for the tax.

The Federal government does fund some of the major Interstate highways, so they could either give the power to the states or they could use a portion of the tax dollars the states or local governments receive.

The entire system is backwards right now, where our money goes into a black hole, and we have no idea if we will ever see it.  We need to start at the local level, not at the Federal level.

Also, we should not be fooled into thinking this is for environmental reasons.  They say in the article that they need to “sell” it to us.  If they really had the environment in mind, they need to explore different fuel sources, electric cars and plug-in hybrids.  Raising the tax on gas does nothing to promote alternative forms of transportation.  Taxes to deter the use of something rarely work, if ever.

And finally, check out this paragraph from the article:

According to a draft of the financing commission’s recommendations, the nation needs to move to a new system that taxes motorists according to how much they use roads. While details have not been worked out, such a system would mean equipping every car and truck with a device that uses global positioning satellites and transponders to record how many miles the vehicle has been driven, and perhaps the type of roads and time of day.

Are you kidding me?  Talk about Big Brother!  The government has no right to monitor where or when you are driving.  Why is that their business?  Rather than tracking your every move, they should just set up toll booths on certain roads.  I know that their ideas are well meaning, but the last thing we need is the government monitoring our every move.

We need less Federal intervention in our road and infrastructure system, in order to really fix and address the problem.  The more power that is handed to local, state, or even private companies the better.  We have no way to hold Washington accountable for how they spend our tax dollars.  Locally, we can see the results of our taxes and can hold our politicians and policy makers accountable.

Like Recessions? Better Get Comfy!

December 16, 2008

This is awesome!  Today, the genius Ben Bernanke announced that we will officially be in the longest recession in American history!  As much as I love worrying about my job and scrimping and saving to pay the bills, I can’t wait for it to get worse!  I hope I get to eat Hamburger Helper and Ramen every night!  Better get used to those PB and J’s!

I really can’t believe how bad of job Bernanke is doing.  He is driving this county off a cliff, and instead of applying the brakes, he’s stepping on the gas.  Remember the “financial abyss” Paulson warned us about when Congress didn’t approve the TARP bailout the first time?  We’re there, and Helicopter Ben is taking us all down with him.

I guess I have to cut him a little slack because he was only a professor at Harvard.  He never got any real world experience, so I guess he never really actually got to apply any of his theories until now.  The old saying is “those that can’t, teach.”  I respect elementary, junior, middle and high school teachers.  They believe in what they do and are trying to help make the world better.  However, everyone wants to have a cush job like a college professor.  You get tenured, you can’t get fired, you get fat pay, great benefits, 3 months a year off, paid sabaticals and a great pension.  I’m sure glad we picked such an idiot to run our financial system.

Ben was supposedly an expert on the Great Depression in his research as a professor.  I guess he didn’t study an recent history like the Lost Decade in Japan.  Can the problem be any similar?  Cheap credit, a real estate bubble, a credit crisis, a central bank that cut it’s rate to zero, and then a 15 year recession.  Wow.  Sounds like a blast.  Maybe Ben wanted to relive the Depression first hand!

Here’s a quote from Yahoo! Finance:  “Given how low interest rates are, the central bank said it planned to use a variety of unconventional methods to flood the banking system with credit and drive interest rates lower.”

Sounds like that’s exactly what we need right now.  More and more credit.  Floods of it to be exact.  Isn’t that how we got here in the first place?  How is it going to get us out of it?  It’s like telling someone who’s drunk that what they need is more tequila, not trying to sober up.

The American consumer is being criticized right now for cutting back, being frugal, and not buying big ticket items (with debt) like cars and appliances.  They should be lauded for setting a great example.  Helicopter Ben should realize what everyone, from banks to lenders to consumers, wants is a stable economic policy.  We don’t need more reckless spending and more and more debt.

I wonder what Ben’s personal finances look like.  If he practices what he preaches, he must have 10 maxed out credit cards and no savings.  He probably has all new appliances on the store’s credit card and he has huge car payments each month.  That’s supposedly what is good for the economy because he’s spending.

What we need right now is for Ben to make an early exit, and for Obama to name a new person to run the Fed, not this Geithner clown who shares Ben’s affinity for the printing press.  We need someone who will run our economy like we all have to run our houses.  We need to live within our means and manage our debt.  We can’t rely on printing new money whenever we get in a bind.  Why should the Fed be any different?

All I know is that right now, all the actions of the Fed and Washington have failed miserably.  Ben the Genius keeps thinking that more debt and credit will right the ship.  We have a credit crisis, but the underlying problem is a complete and total lack of confidence in our economic system.  The government also has a huge credibility problem because it has no plan, is running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off, and pumping trillions of dollars into the system.

Until we get a policy that restores confidence in the system and faith in our government, we won’t get out of this.  So grab a chair and a blanket, sit back, and enjoy your Hamburger Helper.