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Author Topic: Government programs & regulations, spending, deficit, and budget process  (Read 256150 times)
« Reply #200 on: August 25, 2010, 03:47:14 AM »

I have frequently people coming to me for temporary disability.  Not always but most of the time they will (if covered) drag out thier time off and complain that it is justified due to some medical problem.  Usually it is obvious when they are soaking the "system" whether it be public or private for as much as possible.  I admit, that I and other doctors have a very hard time saying no.  When one is trying to be a good caring physician who wants to maintain a good relationship with a patient it is (for me at least) very hard to tell this patient they are full of it and they should get their behind back to work - even when I know this to be true.

Probably half of *all* disability is exaggerated and is abuse of the system.

I get angry myself when pts. come in making exxagerated claims but it isn't easy playing sole arbitar, judge and jury in deciding whether to give or not give medical excuses.

That is why many companies have arrangements with their own workers comp doctors who are less concerned about pissing off a person when they tell them they can go back to work.

I had one patient who is on permanent Federal disability for stress, anxiety.  He came in for a renewal of his disability papers and I simpoly looked him straight in the eye and said, " you really can't work because you are stressed out?"  His repsonse, "absolutely".  So I filled out the form with this information exactly as it was and that is that.  He gets it. 

I tell him everyone is stressed out.  Who isn't?  He didn't blink one time when I asked him.  He couldn't care less.

I don't know.  What would you do? 

The Blatant ones, I would live without as patients, I guess.  That one opposing physician report might be what is needed to take care of the abuser by triggering an investigation.  Softselling a return to work a couple of times before signing off as ready and forcing the issue........   At least that way you are caring while at the same time minimizing the abuse?
Power User
Posts: 7838

« Reply #201 on: August 25, 2010, 11:39:58 AM »

"a return to work a couple of times before signing off as ready and forcing the issue........   At least that way you are caring while at the same time minimizing the abuse?"

Often I try to do this.  Yet if I sign off on the bottom line often there is not other oversight.  Some companies or gov. agencies seem to have a policy of "whatever the doctor" will say although others tend to say enough is enough.  Occasionally some have bosses who will simply tell the person to get their ass back to work.  Occasionally I even see this go the other way where I think the patient could use more time to rest an injured back or limb.  It certainly is different when I person gets paid for sick or disability time or not.  They usually get better far faster when they are losing pay.

It is harder (for me) to tell a person I really suspect they are full of crap which if I refuse signing their papers is really what I am doing.  I can often sense in the office what the deal is but then again I am not really following the patient around to see if they can or cannot do what they claim.  It is not always what it appears.  So if I accuse someone and am wrong, or based on my opinion I am thought be unfair.....

There was a story in Florida wherein a neurosurgeon was successfully sued for 2 million by some guy who claimed he was permanently disabled from the waist down.  The neurosurgeon knew it was phoney and at his own expense hired a PI to follow the patient around.  The pt. was caught on camera running to a hotel in the Keys carrying multiple heavy suitcases at the same time up the stairs shortly after receiving his money.  According to the newspapers this guy was sentenced to jail time.

This kind of justice is rare.  It took a doctor with the funds to hire his own person to go after this.
Power User
Posts: 9482

« Reply #202 on: August 25, 2010, 12:12:26 PM »

Speaking of affirmative action, I hear that DEA is hiring Ebonics translators to help with cases.  I wonder if well-qualified whites and Asians will get their proportional share of the hirings (joking):
It actually sounds like a good and necessary idea.  LE needs to know what potentially criminal conversations captured with legal warrants mean, be able to explain translations to investigators and juries and they should be free to hire whoever does that best.  The key will be to find the Ebonics experts who also knows English well enough to do that.

Reminds me of Hillary's start at State.  She couldn't find anyone in the entire Dept. of civil servants and diplomats or from all her other contacts that knew enough Russian to get the word 'reset' translated correctly, besides that it was a stupid idea.  I don't think Russians are having the same trouble translating from English the military secrets that they steal.  A predecessor of hers humbly spoke fluent Russian all at the same cost to the taxpayer.
Power User
Posts: 42527

« Reply #203 on: August 25, 2010, 01:02:50 PM »

The Foundation
"We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt." --Thomas Jefferson

Editorial Exegesis

Obama's fiscal plan"Speaking last Wednesday in Columbus, Ohio, President Obama asked, 'How do we, over the long term, get control of our deficit?' Good question. Here's the answer suggested by last Thursday's semi-annual budget summary from the Congressional Budget Office: Stop spending so much. CBO's mid-year review largely reinforces the bad news we already knew -- to wit, that spending has exploded since Democrats took over Congress in 2007, first with the acquiescence of George W. Bush and then into hyperdrive after Mr. Obama entered the White House. To appreciate the magnitude of this spending blowout, compare CBO's budget 'baseline' estimate in January 2008 with the baseline it released Thursday. The baseline predicts future spending based on the law at the time. ... In a mere 31 months Congress has added more than $4.4 trillion to the 10-year spending baseline. ... As recently as 2005, total federal spending was only $2.47 trillion. Keep that $4.4 trillion in mind the next time you hear Mr. Obama or Speaker Nancy Pelosi say they 'inherited' this budget mess. Let's assume the recession that Mr. Obama inherited -- Mrs. Pelosi was already in power -- was responsible for causing $1 trillion or so in deficit spending. That still doesn't explain why the annual deficit of roughly $1.4 trillion will be nearly as high in fiscal 2010, after a year of economic growth, as it was in 2009. Or why CBO says the deficit will still be nearly $1.1 trillion in 2011 even if all of the Bush-era tax cuts are repealed. The deficit is barely declining because of the lackluster economic recovery, which continues to yield too little revenue, and especially because of the record levels of spending passed by the Democratic Congress and eagerly signed by Mr. Obama." --The Wall Street Journal

Power User
Posts: 15533

« Reply #204 on: August 25, 2010, 06:15:20 PM »

The de-policing of America.
prentice crawford
« Reply #205 on: August 25, 2010, 09:09:48 PM »

 One thing I'll throw out there is that politicians often use the jobs and salaries of police officers and teachers as tools of extortion to put fear into the citizenry about cutting government spending or resisting tax hikes. Anytime there is a budget shortfall the first thing they roll out is cut backs in law enforcement and teachers as a way to remedy the problem; of course these are the last things people want to see cut but the politicians can't seem to find anything else less needful, like million dollar studies to figure out the mating habits of the tit mouse or the placement of thousand dollar road signs touting the stimulus plan at work or funding for the public golf course. And speaking of the stimulus, note that many states haven't spent a dime of that money yet but just as the elections are coming on they are loosening it up. As an added benefit the Democrat control House and Senate are funnelling a larger share of stimulus funds to states that have Democrats that are in trouble. In other words it's just a giant slush fund they've been setting on.
As I was saying... And...


« Last Edit: August 25, 2010, 09:29:15 PM by prentice crawford » Logged
Power User
Posts: 15533

« Reply #206 on: August 25, 2010, 09:14:43 PM »


What you say is true, but until recently the "We'll have to cut police/fire/EMS" was just a threat to protect pork. Now, lots of agencies are really getting cut, and at some levels, the money just isn't there.
prentice crawford
« Reply #207 on: August 25, 2010, 09:22:04 PM »

 Do you know how much Oakland spends on going green projects and parks and rec? The money is there to cut but they go for the cops and teachers first, so how is it their priories are so upside down? This is a shake down.
 Also I added some more examples to my previous post. What!? Let the golf pro go at the public course? No way, instead let's get rid of some cops. tongue
« Last Edit: August 25, 2010, 09:36:51 PM by prentice crawford » Logged
Power User
Posts: 9482

« Reply #208 on: August 25, 2010, 10:28:39 PM »

"We'll have to cut police/fire/EMS" was just a threat to protect pork. Now, lots of agencies are really getting cut, and at some levels, the money just isn't there."

Agree, it went from a threat, to a tactic to a reality.  When everything is top priority, nothing is.  Most LE is local.  One of our county commissioners likes to say 'don't tell me we don't have enough money' every time he sees one of these other crazy projects that go through.  Not the obvious ones like the billion dollar ballpark that went through last year with a tax increase where the commissioners  voted to waive the legal requirement to let the voters vote on it.  Just couldn't trust the voters to do the right thing.

He finds the more obscure ones for his local golden fire hydrant award, like 14 million extra on a bridge re-build to make it look a little fancier in a recession (how many sheriff's deputies would that fund?),  $600,000 to teach urban kids how to garden (the state and the school districts are charged with education, not the county), $700,000 on Landscaping at the Garbage Burner, $35,000 county funds for alcoholic wet houses where alcoholics can continue drinking, and on it goes.
Power User
Posts: 15533

« Reply #209 on: August 25, 2010, 10:53:19 PM »

Wow. Those are amazing examples. I hope the public in those places is aware of this.  shocked
prentice crawford
« Reply #210 on: August 25, 2010, 11:19:58 PM »

Woof GM,
 I think you get the picture now; I know it's hard to believe that our public officials are knowingly doing this to us but they are and it is rampant across America.
Power User
Posts: 7838

« Reply #211 on: August 27, 2010, 10:20:04 AM »

Good article from Mort Zuckerman.  I don't know how to link here.

The debt is unsustainable, and the spending from the most fiscally irresponsible administration in history appears to be a woeful failure.

We need a GOP *LEADER* who will lay an honest proposal on the table.  Cutting taxes sounds nice but a lie if anyone thinks this alone is the answer.

We need to raise retirement age.  We need to cut the dole.  And yes wealthy people are going to have to pay more.  I will not accept that wealth is continuously concentrated at the top more and more and that is good for this country.

I propose we streamline the tax code.  Everyone pays a percentage including those above poverty and those at the top.  Get rid of deductions.

Even charity.   I do agree with reducing business taxes to stimulate.  But not personal.  Not at the very top.  When a very small percentage of people control the vast majority of wealth something is wrong.

We can't have the lower classes suffer alone and keep bailing out the rich.

I understand supply side theory but there has to be some compromise or middle way with this.
Power User
Posts: 42527

« Reply #212 on: August 28, 2010, 11:21:31 AM »

I suppose this could go on the Health Care thread too, but since the larger point seems to be about the nature of government programs, I post it here:

From Nebraska congressman Lee Terry

President Obama signed a government takeover of healthcare into law. Below is a list of new boards and commissions created in the bill and each one will require your tax dollar to support:


1. Grant program for consumer assistance offices (Section 1002, p. 37)
2. Grant program for states to monitor premium increases (Section 1003, p. 42)
3. Committee to review administrative simplification standards (Section 1104, p. 71)
4. Demonstration program for state wellness programs (Section 1201, p. 93)
5. Grant program to establish state Exchanges (Section 1311(a), p. 130)
6. State American Health Benefit Exchanges (Section 1311(b), p. 131)
7. Exchange grants to establish consumer navigator programs (Section 1311(i), p. 150)
8. Grant program for state cooperatives (Section 1322, p. 169)
9. Advisory board for state cooperatives (Section 1322(b)(3), p. 173)
10. Private purchasing council for state cooperatives (Section 1322(d), p. 177)
11. State basic health plan programs (Section 1331, p. 201)
12. State-based reinsurance program (Section 1341, p. 226)
13. Program of risk corridors for individual and small group markets (Section 1342, p. 233)
14. Program to determine eligibility for Exchange participation (Section 1411, p. 267)
15. Program for advance determination of tax credit eligibility (Section 1412, p. 288)
16. Grant program to implement health IT enrollment standards (Section 1561, p. 370)
17. Federal Coordinated Health Care Office for dual eligible beneficiaries (Section 2602, p. 512)
18. Medicaid quality measurement program (Section 2701, p. 518)
19. Medicaid health home program for people with chronic conditions, and grants for planning same (Section 2703, p. 524)
20. Medicaid demonstration project to evaluate bundled payments (Section 2704, p. 532)
21. Medicaid demonstration project for global payment system (Section 2705, p. 536)
22. Medicaid demonstration project for accountable care organizations (Section 2706, p. 538)
23. Medicaid demonstration project for emergency psychiatric care (Section 2707, p. 540)
24. Grant program for delivery of services to individuals with postpartum depression (Section 2952(b), p. 591)
25. State allotments for grants to promote personal responsibility education programs (Section 2953, p. 596)
26. Medicare value-based purchasing program (Section 3001(a), p. 613)
27. Medicare value-based purchasing demonstration program for critical access hospitals (Section 3001(b), p. 637)
28. Medicare value-based purchasing program for skilled nursing facilities (Section 3006(a), p. 666)
29. Medicare value-based purchasing program for home health agencies (Section 3006(b), p. 668)
30. Interagency Working Group on Health Care Quality (Section 3012, p. 688)
31. Grant program to develop health care quality measures (Section 3013, p. 693)
32. Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (Section 3021, p. 712)
33. Medicare shared savings program (Section 3022, p. 728)
34. Medicare pilot program on payment bundling (Section 3023, p. 739)
35. Independence at home medical practice demonstration program (Section 3024, p. 752)
36. Program for use of patient safety organizations to reduce hospital readmission rates (Section 3025(b), p. 775)
37. Community-based care transitions program (Section 3026, p. 776)
38. Demonstration project for payment of complex diagnostic laboratory tests (Section 3113, p. 800)
39. Medicare hospice concurrent care demonstration project (Section 3140, p. 850)
40. Independent Payment Advisory Board (Section 3403, p. 982)
41. Consumer Advisory Council for Independent Payment Advisory Board (Section 3403, p. 1027)
42. Grant program for technical assistance to providers implementing health quality practices (Section 3501, p. 1043)
43. Grant program to establish interdisciplinary health teams (Section 3502, p. 1048)
44. Grant program to implement medication therapy management (Section 3503, p. 1055)
45. Grant program to support emergency care pilot programs (Section 3504, p. 1061)
46. Grant program to promote universal access to trauma services (Section 3505(b), p. 1081)
47. Grant program to develop and promote shared decision-making aids (Section 3506, p. 1088)
48. Grant program to support implementation of shared decision-making (Section 3506, p. 1091)
49. Grant program to integrate quality improvement in clinical education (Section 3508, p. 1095)
50. Health and Human Services Coordinating Committee on Women's Health (Section 3509(a), p. 1098)
51. Centers for Disease Control Office of Women's Health (Section 3509(b), p. 1102)
52. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Office of Women's Health (Section 3509(e), p. 1105)
53. Health Resources and Services Administration Office of Women's Health (Section 3509(f), p. 1106)
54. Food and Drug Administration Office of Women's Health (Section 3509(g), p. 1109)
55. National Prevention, Health Promotion, and Public Health Council (Section 4001, p. 1114)
56. Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Integrative and Public Health (Section 4001(f), p. 1117)
57. Prevention and Public Health Fund (Section 4002, p. 1121)
58. Community Preventive Services Task Force (Section 4003(b), p. 1126)
59. Grant program to support school-based health centers (Section 4101, p. 1135)
60. Grant program to promote research-based dental caries disease management (Section 4102, p. 1147)
61. Grant program for States to prevent chronic disease in Medicaid beneficiaries (Section 4108, p. 1174)
62. Community transformation grants (Section 4201, p. 1182)
63. Grant program to provide public health interventions (Section 4202, p. 1188)
64. Demonstration program of grants to improve child immunization rates (Section 4204(b), p. 1200)
65. Pilot program for risk-factor assessments provided through community health centers (Section 4206, p. 1215)
66. Grant program to increase epidemiology and laboratory capacity (Section 4304, p. 1233)
67. Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee (Section 4305, p. 1238)
68. National Health Care Workforce Commission (Section 5101, p. 1256)
69. Grant program to plan health care workforce development activities (Section 5102(c), p. 1275)
70. Grant program to implement health care workforce development activities (Section 5102(d), p. 1279)
71. Pediatric specialty loan repayment program (Section 5203, p. 1295)
72. Public Health Workforce Loan Repayment Program (Section 5204, p. 1300)
73. Allied Health Loan Forgiveness Program (Section 5205, p. 1305)
74. Grant program to provide mid-career training for health professionals (Section 5206, p. 1307)
75. Grant program to fund nurse-managed health clinics (Section 5208, p. 1310)
76. Grant program to support primary care training programs (Section 5301, p. 1315)
77. Grant program to fund training for direct care workers (Section 5302, p. 1322)
78. Grant program to develop dental training programs (Section 5303, p. 1325)
79. Demonstration program to increase access to dental health care in underserved communities (Section 5304, p. 1331)
80. Grant program to promote geriatric education centers (Section 5305, p. 1334)
81. Grant program to promote health professionals entering geriatrics (Section 5305, p. 1339)
82. Grant program to promote training in mental and behavioral health (Section 5306, p. 1344)
83. Grant program to promote nurse retention programs (Section 5309, p. 1354)
84. Student loan forgiveness for nursing school faculty (Section 5311(b), p. 1360)
85. Grant program to promote positive health behaviors and outcomes (Section 5313, p. 1364)
86. Public Health Sciences Track for medical students (Section 5315, p. 1372)
87. Primary Care Extension Program to educate providers (Section 5405, p. 1404)
88. Grant program for demonstration projects to address health workforce shortage needs (Section 5507, p. 1442)
89. Grant program for demonstration projects to develop training programs for home health aides (Section 5507, p. 1447)
90. Grant program to establish new primary care residency programs (Section 5508(a), p. 1458)
91. Program of payments to teaching health centers that sponsor medical residency training (Section 5508(c), p. 1462)
92. Graduate nurse education demonstration program (Section 5509, p. 1472)
93. Grant program to establish demonstration projects for community-based mental health settings (Section 5604, p. 1486)
94. Commission on Key National Indicators (Section 5605, p. 1489)
95. Quality assurance and performance improvement program for skilled nursing facilities (Section 6102, p. 1554)
96. Special focus facility program for skilled nursing facilities (Section 6103(a)(3), p. 1561)
97. Special focus facility program for nursing facilities (Section 6103(b)(3), p. 1568)
98. National independent monitor pilot program for skilled nursing facilities and nursing facilities (Section 6112, p. 1589)
99. Demonstration projects for nursing facilities involved in the culture change movement (Section 6114, p. 1597)
100. Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (Section 6301, p. 1619)
101. Standing methodology committee for Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (Section 6301, p. 1629)
102. Board of Governors for Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (Section 6301, p. 1638)
103. Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Trust Fund (Section 6301(e), p. 1656)
104. Elder Justice Coordinating Council (Section 6703, p. 1773)
105. Advisory Board on Elder Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation (Section 6703, p. 1776)
106. Grant program to create elder abuse forensic centers (Section 6703, p. 1783)
107. Grant program to promote continuing education for long-term care staffers (Section 6703, p. 1787)
108. Grant program to improve management practices and training (Section 6703, p. 1788)
109. Grant program to subsidize costs of electronic health records (Section 6703, p. 1791)
110. Grant program to promote adult protective services (Section 6703, p. 1796)
111. Grant program to conduct elder abuse detection and prevention (Section 6703, p. 1798)
112. Grant program to support long-term care ombudsmen (Section 6703, p. 1800)
113. National Training Institute for long-term care surveyors (Section 6703, p. 1806)
114. Grant program to fund State surveys of long-term care residences (Section 6703, p. 1809)
115. CLASS Independence Fund (Section 8002, p. 1926)
116. CLASS Independence Fund Board of Trustees (Section 8002, p. 1927)
117. CLASS Independence Advisory Council (Section 8002, p. 1931)
118. Personal Care Attendants Workforce Advisory Panel (Section 8002(c), p. 1938)
119. Multi-state health plans offered by Office of Personnel Management (Section 10104(p), p. 2086)
120. Advisory board for multi-state health plans (Section 10104(p), p. 2094)
121. Pregnancy Assistance Fund (Section 10212, p. 2164)
122. Value-based purchasing program for ambulatory surgical centers (Section 10301, p. 2176)
123. Demonstration project for payment adjustments to home health services (Section 10315, p. 2200)
124. Pilot program for care of individuals in environmental emergency declaration areas (Section 10323, p. 2223)
125. Grant program to screen at-risk individuals for environmental health conditions (Section 10323(b), p. 2231)
126. Pilot programs to implement value-based purchasing (Section 10326, p. 2242)
127. Grant program to support community-based collaborative care networks (Section 10333, p. 2265)
128. Centers for Disease Control Office of Minority Health (Section 10334, p. 2272)
129. Health Resources and Services Administration Office of Minority Health (Section 10334, p. 2272)
130. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Office of Minority Health (Section 10334, p. 2272)
131. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Office of Minority Health (Section 10334, p. 2272)
132. Food and Drug Administration Office of Minority Health (Section 10334, p. 2272)
133. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Office of Minority Health (Section 10334, p. 2272)
134. Grant program to promote small business wellness programs (Section 10408, p. 2285)
135. Cures Acceleration Network (Section 10409, p. 2289)
136. Cures Acceleration Network Review Board (Section 10409, p. 2291)
137. Grant program for Cures Acceleration Network (Section 10409, p. 2297)
138. Grant program to promote centers of excellence for depression (Section 10410, p. 2304)
139. Advisory committee for young women's breast health awareness education campaign (Section 10413, p. 2322)
140. Grant program to provide assistance to provide information to young women with breast cancer (Section 10413, p. 2326)
141. Interagency Access to Health Care in Alaska Task Force (Section 10501, p. 2329)
142. Grant program to train nurse practitioners as primary care providers (Section 10501(e), p. 2332)
143. Grant program for community-based diabetes prevention (Section 10501(g), p. 2337)
144. Grant program for providers who treat a high percentage of medically underserved populations (Section 10501(k), p. 2343)
145. Grant program to recruit students to practice in underserved communities (Section 10501(l), p. 2344)
146. Community Health Center Fund (Section 10503, p. 2355)
147. Demonstration project to provide access to health care for the uninsured at reduced fees (Section 10504, p. 2357)
148. Demonstration program to explore alternatives to tort litigation (Section 10607, p. 2369)
149. Indian Health demonstration program for chronic shortages of health professionals (S. 1790, Section 112, p. 24)*
150. Office of Indian Men's Health (S. 1790, Section 136, p. 71)*
151. Indian Country modular component facilities demonstration program (S. 1790, Section 146, p. 108)*
152. Indian mobile health stations demonstration program (S. 1790, Section 147, p. 111)*
153. Office of Direct Service Tribes (S. 1790, Section 172, p. 151)*
154. Indian Health Service mental health technician training program (S. 1790, Section 181, p. 173)*
155. Indian Health Service program for treatment of child sexual abuse victims (S. 1790, Section 181, p. 192)*
156. Indian Health Service program for treatment of domestic violence and sexual abuse (S. 1790, Section 181, p. 194)*
157. Indian youth telemental health demonstration project (S. 1790, Section 181, p. 204)*
158. Indian youth life skills demonstration project (S. 1790, Section 181, p. 220)*
159. Indian Health Service Director of HIV/AIDS Prevention and Treatment (S. 1790, Section 199B, p. 258)*

*Section 10221, page 2173 of H.R. 3590 deems that S. 1790 shall be deemed as passed with certain amendments.
Power User
Posts: 15533

« Reply #213 on: August 28, 2010, 11:28:23 AM »

God help us.

I guess I better buy some Yuan and work on my Mandarin.

Thanks Obama voters.
Power User
Posts: 15533

« Reply #214 on: August 28, 2010, 12:03:19 PM »

The national debt is the single biggest threat to national security, according to Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Tax payers will be paying around $600 billion in interest on the national debt by 2012, the chairman told students and local leaders in Detroit.

“That’s one year’s worth of defense budget,” he said, adding that the Pentagon needs to cut back on spending.
Power User
Posts: 42527

« Reply #215 on: August 28, 2010, 12:15:37 PM »

That $600B number for 2012 is more than twice the number I have been carrying in my head for current interest payments. shocked  A major excrement storm cometh.
« Reply #216 on: August 28, 2010, 12:45:54 PM »

Research Desk: How accurate were CBO projections of spending and revenue for the 2000s?
By Dylan Matthews

cummije5 asks:

Since the CBO makes 10 year projections, I would like to see how much more spending over what was projected in 2000 happened, and how much less revenue under what was projected in 2000 happened.
As cummije5 says, the CBO's 2000 Budget and Economic Outlook, released in January of that year, provided predicted revenue (see table 3-2) and spending figures, both in nominal terms and as a percentage of GDP, from 2000 to 2010. Given as we now know, of course, what revenue and spending were for 2000 to 2009, it's useful to see how accurate the predictions were. Here's how the projected and real figures compare:

The discrepancy here does not prove that the CBO is wrong or bad at making these kinds of predictions. It just shows that they don't know what Congress is going to do over the course of the decade. For one thing, the outlays estimates assume that discretionary spending will grow at the rate of inflation, which they obviously did not.

But more important, the CBO in 2000 did not know that we were going to invade and occupy two foreign countries. They did not know two major tax cuts representing trillions in lost revenue would be passed. They did not know Medicare would start covering prescription drugs. They definitely did not know that the financial sector would collapse in upon itself, leading to a dramatic drop in revenues and necessitating trillions in spending to fuel a recovery. Policymaking is messy and unpredictable, and those sorts of thing just can't be factored in ahead of time.

Which is all to say that while CBO estimates are very useful, especially when discussing specific policies and trying to isolate their effects, Doug Elmendorf is not a precog. The next 10 years is a long time for Congress to pass new spending programs, cut old ones, raise some taxes, cut others and so forth, and while we have to operate off of something, it's likely in 10 years we'll look back at the budget discussions we're having now and find the budget outlook we're working with preposterous.
Power User
Posts: 9482

« Reply #217 on: August 28, 2010, 01:16:12 PM »

Thanks BBG for that.  CBO models are wrong just like the climate models.  CBO still ignores almost all affects caused by changing incentives and disincentives.  In the heyday of the previous tax cut and growth cycle, CBO was wrong about revenues by 12 digits in a year - roughly $100,000,000,000.  As they say in Washington: good enough for government work.  No one was fired and no changes to the flawed model were requested or forced on this BS agency.

That said, I think there is too much going on in that graph, measuring everything as a % of GDP which is not constant or on a straight line headed anywhere.  Again like climate data, I say look at the actual numbers.  At the end of the analysis, then some perspective is gained by seeing the results as a percentage of GDP or as a comparison to anything else.  That graph hides much of the revenue growth during the highest growth years.  In 2005 and 2006, we grew revenues by roughly a half a trillion dollars in two years to the Feds alone (highest dollar growth in history) not counting the windfalls states and local governments were taking in.  At least the Wash. Post graph accurately shows that the hard inflection point is Jan. 2007 where it all started to go to hell, coinciding with Pelosi taking the Speakership, Obama-Hillary-Biden-Schumer taking majority power in the Senate, all promising to "end tax cuts for the rich", and new Congressman Keith Ellison symbolically putting his hand on the Koran and promising to dismantle piece by piece what we once knew as a great nation.
Power User
Posts: 42527

« Reply #218 on: August 28, 2010, 03:51:26 PM »

"They did not know two major tax cuts representing trillions in lost revenue would be passed."

Exactly when were these tax rate cuts passed?
Power User
Posts: 9482

« Reply #219 on: August 28, 2010, 09:16:32 PM »

Wash.Post: "They did not know two major tax cuts representing trillions in lost revenue would be passed."

Crafty: "Exactly when were these tax rate cuts passed?"

I think they are referring to 2001 and 2003.  Strangely even in hindsight they are confusing "trillions in lost revenue" with actual results which were the two largest years of dollar increases to a Treasury anywhere on earth at any time in history ending with the Pelosi-Obama takeover of congress.  Long pdf, see p.26: Half trillion actual increase in revenues in 2 years, exactly when Wash Post says "trillions in lost revenue".

How can anyone report that wrongly and stay in business?
« Last Edit: August 28, 2010, 10:30:07 PM by DougMacG » Logged
« Reply #220 on: August 28, 2010, 09:52:58 PM »

A piece that speaks to Doug's point:

Higher Tax Rates on the Rich Will Backfire
August 28, 2010 by Dan Mitchell

I know I’ve beaten this drum several times before, but the Wall Street Journal today has a very good explanation of why class-warfare tax policy will backfire. The Journal’s editorial focuses on what happened after the 2003 tax rate reductions. And below the excerpt, you’ll find a table I prepared showing what happened with tax revenues from the rich following the Reagan tax cuts. The simple message is that lower tax rates are the best way to soak the rich.

Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation recently dropped a study claiming that millionaires will pay $31 billion of the $36 billion in revenue that it expects will be raised next year if tax rates rise as scheduled on January 1. …If you believe that, you probably also believed Joint Tax when it predicted that the rich would gain a huge tax windfall when tax rates were cut in 2003. Let’s go to the videotape. According to the most recent IRS data on actual tax payments, total revenues collected over the period 2003-07 were about $350 billion higher than Joint Tax and the Congressional Budget Office predicted when the 2003 tax cuts were enacted. Moreover, the wealthiest taxpayers paid a larger share of all income taxes from the beginning to the end of this period. The IRS data show that in 2003 those with incomes above $200,000 paid $313 billion in income tax. By 2007 they paid $610 billion. …Guess what income group paid the most in higher taxes after tax rates were cut? Millionaires. From 2003 to 2008, millionaires increased their tax payments to $249 billion from $132 billion. One reason for the big increase in payments: the number of returns declaring $1 million or more in income increased 76% to 319,000 from 181,000 as the economy expanded. The IRS data are a useful reminder of how dependent Uncle Sam is on the rich to pay the government’s bills. …We’re not saying that tax cuts “pay for themselves.” What we are saying is that the 2003 tax cuts proved again, as we should have learned in the 1960s and 1980s, that rich people are the most responsive to changes in tax rates. When tax rates are high, the wealthy invest less, hire accountants to protect more of their income from the IRS, and park more of their money in tax shelters, such as municipal bonds. …That’s why it’s a fantasy to think that raising income and capital gains and dividend tax rates on the rich is going to pry $31 billion out of millionaire households. History teaches that the best way to soak the rich and reduce the deficit is to promote rapid economic growth. But that’s less likely to happen in 2011 if the economy is rear-ended with the biggest tax increase in at least 16 years.
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« Reply #221 on: August 28, 2010, 10:37:51 PM »

"A piece that speaks to Doug's point: Higher Tax Rates on the Rich Will Backfire"
Thank you BBG.  If you don't believe me, see Christina Romer's last published piece before being fired as chief economic adviser: the tax hikes coming will be highly contractionary.

We hear about tax cuts and deficits from the 1980s but seldom hear that revenues doubled in that decade, same link from my previous post: Revenues 1980: $517 Billion.  Revenues 1990: 1.032 Trillion, almost exactly doubling in 10 years, in spite of one recession waiting for the tax cuts to kick in and while inflation was defeated in its tracks.  As always, the deficits came from excess spending.  p.26
« Reply #222 on: September 01, 2010, 12:02:09 PM »

Ah, good to see it's business as usual in my old stomping grounds.

Road Construction: Illinois Contractors Learn How To Play Money Game
by Daniel T. Zanoza, Executive Director
You are driving down I-57, I-55, I-90/94, I-294 or any other major highway in Illinois.  Suddenly, you see a sign that reads "road construction ahead for next 15 miles".  The speed limit drops from 65 to 55 miles per hour and traffic begins to back up.  Let's say you are traveling north on I-55 and you are unexpectedly riding on a road which is graded and unpaved.  The other lane is in its usual condition, in need of repair or not, but there is no construction crew in sight.  In fact, there are no road crews for the entire stretch of highway that is supposed to be under construction.  You might ask why this is the case.  Well, private contractors in Illinois have learned how to play the funding game.  Instead of completing one stretch of road, before tearing up another, you find a patch work of torn up highway, sometimes for over 100 miles or more.
There is a reason for this.  Construction companies have learned, if they tear up a piece of road at mile marker 155 through 160 and then tear up another section of highway between mile marker 170 and 180 and repeat this process infinitum, the contracts they received from the state will have to be fulfilled.  In the past, if the state of Illinois ran out of money to pay for repairing the infrastructure of the Illinois highway system, a section of road would be left for another year's budget.  But if a road is partially completed, covering a substantial distance, the work cannot be left for another year.  That is why you will see a ten mile stretch of highway--which is in different stages of repair--not being worked on.
Sometimes it's so ridiculous, a piece of highway will be torn up for a quarter mile and traffic will slow to 55 or perhaps 45 for that short distance and there will be no road work being done for 25 miles or more.  Often you will see signs which says "road construction ahead" and then come across another sign which tells you that you are out of the construction zone when there was no construction being done.  This is a very clever bit of legal gamesmanship being practiced by contractors who want to make sure the contracts they signed for the jobs they bid on and won are fulfilled.  And really, in a way, you can't blame them.
For example, if the state signs a contract for a company to do 100 miles of road, that business will make sure they get paid for 100 miles of road repair by doing it peacemeal.  In the past, road construction was done in a linear fashion, complete one section of road and move on to the next.
So, the next time you're sitting in a traffic jam and wondering how long it's going to take you today to get through the construction zone, first of all you can thank the "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act" better known as the stimulus package, for your plight.  No, the highway you're traveling on probably didn't need repair, but there were billions of dollars to spend.  Your tax dollars, or let's say your children's tax dollars or perhaps their children's tax dollars.  And thanks to some clever road construction contractors, you might expect that ride--which usually took a half hour--to last twice the time.  So, pop in another one of your favorite cd's or listen to your I-Pod and plan to leave early, but at least now you know the reason why.
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« Reply #223 on: September 09, 2010, 07:44:22 AM »

By Neal Boortz @ September 8, 2010 9:05 AM Permalink | Comments (29) | TrackBacks (0)
Since we started off talking about the economy here ... once again it might be a good idea to remind you just what got us into this economic mess. As you know ... the entire economic crash was centered around a collapse in the U.S. real estate market. This collapse was cause by millions (tens of millions?) of homeowners suddenly finding themselves completely unable to make payments on their mortgage loans - payments that had increased due to adjustable rate mortgages.

I've gone through this explanation before ... but this time let me use the words of Thomas Sowell in this excellent column:

"Another political fable is that the current economic downturn is due to not enough government regulation of the housing and financial markets. But it was precisely the government regulators, under pressure from politicians, who forced banks and other lending institutions to lower their standards for making mortgage loans.

These risky loans, and the defaults that followed, were what set off a chain reaction of massive financial losses that brought down the whole economy.

Was this due to George W. Bush and the Republicans? Only partly. Most of those who pushed the lowering of mortgage lending standards were Democrats-- notably Congressman Barney Frank and Senator Christopher Dodd, though too many Republicans went along.

At the heart of these policies were Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, who bought huge amounts of risky mortgages, passing the risk on from the banks that lent the money (and made the profits) to the taxpayers who were not even aware that they would end up paying in the end.

When President Bush said in 2004 that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should be reined in, 76 members of the House of Representatives issued a statement to the contrary. These included Barney Frank, Nancy Pelosi, Maxine Waters and Charles Rangel.

If we are going to talk about "the policies that created this mess in the first place," let's at least get the facts straight and the names right."

As I've been telling you for well over a year now ... if you want to point the finger at the people most responsible for our current economy, figure out where Barney Frank and Chris Dodd are right now ... and point in that general direction.

And while we're at it ... just to increase the insensitivity here ... when are we going to really explore the role of Barney Frank's boyfriend in this mess? At the very same time that the Republicans were trying to rein in Fannie and Freddie Barney's lover was working for Fannie Mae ... working in the very Fannie Mae program that was encouraging these irresponsible loans. Does that bring up any questions as to why Barney opposed reform? Change the scenario just a bit and have a congressman protecting Fannie Mae while his girlfriend was working there. Do you think THEN someone might have suggested investigating the situation?

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« Reply #224 on: September 17, 2010, 05:28:15 PM »,0,3706864.story

Lets see.  If we divide $111,000,000 by the 55 jobs already created/saved, that comes out to $2,018,018 per job.

If we accept the promise of 265 jobs that will be created/saved when the program finishes spending its money, that comes out to about a mere bargain of $415,100 per job.

 tongue tongue tongue rolleyes rolleyes rolleyes  shocked shocked shocked angry angry angry angry angry angry angry angry angry
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« Reply #225 on: September 21, 2010, 08:23:31 AM »

This story of course would go unnoticed if not for her famous nephew, leader of the free world.
Taxpayer funds were paying her to live here illegally long before he became famous.  Do you wonder how many million others?

I agree with her on one point, it is the voters fault for the programs, not the recipient for taking it.
Aunt Zeituni: 'The System Took Advantage Of Me'
President Obama's Aunt Speaks Exclusively With WBZ-TV

"If I come as an immigrant, you have the obligation to make me a citizen." Those are the words from 58-year-old Zeituni Onyango of Kenya in a recent exclusive interview with WBZ-TV.

Onyango is the aunt of President Barack Obama. She has been living in the United States illegally for years, receiving public assistance in Boston.

Aunt Zeituni, as she has come to be known, first surfaced in the public light in 2008, in the final days of the Presidential election. Then-candidate Obama said that he was not against the possible deportation of his aunt. "If she has violated laws, then those laws have to be obeyed," he told CBS's Katie Couric. "We are a nation of laws."

Onyango had violated the law, and she knew it.

"I knew I had overstayed" she told WBZ-TV's Jonathan Elias when the two sat down one-on-one.

Zeituni Onyango said she came to the United States in 2000 and had every intention of leaving. Then, however, she says she got deathly ill and was hospitalized. When she recovered, she said she was broke and couldn't afford to leave.

For two years Onyango said she lived in a homeless shelter, before she was moved into public housing. "I didn't take advantage of the system. The system took advantage of me."

"I didn't ask for it; they gave it to me. Ask your system. I didn't create it or vote for it. Go and ask your system," she said unapologetically.

And she's right. The system provided her assistance despite her status as an illegal immigrant.

In 2004 a judge ordered Zeituni Onyango out of the country, but she never left. She stayed, hiding in plain site. In 2005 she attended her nephew's swearing in as the junior Senator of Illinois. In 2008 she traveled to D.C. for President Obama's inauguration.

Onyango hired a top immigration lawyer from Cleveland to help fight her case. We asked how she afforded that lawyer, when she claimed poverty.

"When you believe in Jesus Christ and almighty God, my help comes from heaven," she responded.

When asked about cutting in line ahead of those who have paid into the system she answered plainly, "I don't mind. You can take that house. I will be on the street with the homeless."

In May 2010, Onyango's case went back before the same judge who ordered her out of the country in 2004. This time she was granted asylum in the United States. The ruling said a return to Kenya might put Onyango in danger.

So she is now here legally, still living on public assistance and hoping that the spotlight on her will dim.
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« Reply #226 on: September 21, 2010, 10:33:14 AM »

Maybe CNN's Soledad O'Brien can do an hours long, "Kenyan in America" without, of course, a *single* mention about the costs to legal Americans.
Only that they are human like us, with hopes and dreams, and all want to work go to school and live in peace and harmony.

Is da bamster's aunt adorable??

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« Reply #227 on: September 21, 2010, 10:57:36 AM »

People are asking if the American dream is dead or if they will have to keep working hard. To the former the answer is no.  To the latter the answer is yes.  No politician has been honest about it yet. 

****US Government 'hiding true amount of debt'
By Gregory Bresiger From: NewsCore September 20, 2010 9:09AM Increase Text Size Decrease Text Size Print Email Share Add to Digg Add to Add to Facebook Add to Kwoff Add to Myspace Add to Newsvine What are these? THE actual figure of the US' national debt is much higher than the official sum of $US13.4 trillion ($14.3 trillion) given by the Congressional Budget Office, according to analysts cited on Sunday by the New York Post.

"The Government is lying about the amount of debt. It is engaging in Enron accounting," said Laurence Kotlikoff, an economist at Boston University and co-author of The Coming Generational Storm: What You Need to Know about America's Economic Future.

"The problem is we're seeing an explosion in spending," added Andrew Moylan, director of government affairs for the National Taxpayers Union.

In 1980, the debt - the accumulated red ink incurred by the Federal Government - was $US909 billion.

This represented some 33 per cent of gross domestic product, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

Thirty years later, based on this year's second-quarter numbers, the CBO said the debt was $US13.4 trillion, or 92 per cent of GDP.

The CBO estimates the debt will be at $US16.5 trillion in two years, or 100.6 per cent of GDP.

But these numbers are incomplete.

They do not count off-budget obligations such as required spending for Social Security and Medicare, whose programs represent a balloon payment for the Government as more Americans retire and collect benefits.

In the case of Social Security, beginning in 2016, the US Government will be paying out more than it is collecting in taxes.

Without basic measures - such as payment cuts or higher payroll taxes - the system could be on the road to bankruptcy, according to officials.

"Without changes," wrote Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue, "by 2037 the Social Security Trust Fund will be exhausted. There will be enough money only to pay about $US0.76 for each dollar of benefits."

Mr Kotlikoff and Mr Moylan agree US national debt is much more than the official $US13.4 trillion number, but they disagree over how to add up the exact number.

Mr Kotlikoff says the debt is actually $US200 trillion.

Mr Moylan says the number is likely about $US60 trillion.

That is close to the figure quoted by David Walker, the US Comptroller General from 1998 to 2008.

He launched a campaign to convince Americans that the federal spending and debt is a greater threat than terrorism.

But whichever figure is accurate, all three agree that the problem has worsened in the last few years.

They say it is because Congress and the Administration, whether Republican or Democrat, consistently overspend.

Read more:****
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« Reply #228 on: September 24, 2010, 02:45:59 PM »

Income Redistribution: Cost per Job 'Created' Is Sky High

History shows that there are two foolproof ways to drive up costs: increase demand
or involve the government. For the latest illustration of the latter, just look
west. According to reports recently released by Los Angeles City Controller Wendy
Greuel, for the $111 million in stimulus funds received by two L.A. departments,
only 55 jobs have been created. That's a whopping $2 million spent per job. Greuel
says that eventually the departments will create or save (those infamous words
again) 264 jobs, but even that would still keep the price per job at $420,000, far
higher than what the workers will receive.

Explaining the preposterous price tags, Investor's Business Daily
( ) notes that
part of the money "goes to the capital costs and profit of the contractors. But much
of it also gets absorbed into the normal process of government contracting" (read:
bureaucracy). Even Greuel admits
( ) the numbers are
disappointing, stating, "With our local unemployment rate over 12 percent we need to
do a better job cutting the red tape and putting Angelenos back to work."

Of course, the Obama administration still wants to convince us that the stimulus is
working. It seems that while Americans are stretching dollars to make ends meet,
Washington is stretching our patience with its tales of economic growth, job
creation and recovery.

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« Reply #229 on: September 28, 2010, 02:12:13 PM »

Europe needs Warren Buffett and Joe Biden to simply tell them to stop the whining and to grow up:

Austerity whips up anger, protests mount in Europe AFP - Wednesday, September 29Send IM Story Print
Austerity whips up anger, protests mount in Europe
 BRUSSELS (AFP) - – Painful cuts by overspending EU countries come head to a head with mounting social anger on Wednesday when labour leaders call angry workers onto streets right across the continent.

Set for its largest Europe-wide protest for a decade is Brussels where labour leaders are planning to bring 100,000 people from 30 countries to say "No to austerity!"

"We will demonstrate to voice our concern over the economic and social context, which will be compounded by austerity measures," John Monks, general secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation.

The protest, the biggest such march since 2001 when 80,000 people spilled into the EU capital, is being held to coincide with a plan to fine governments running up deficits.

Detailed proposals are due to be released that day by the 27-nation bloc's executive arm, the European Commission, with the continent's finance ministers also gathering in Brussels this week.

Millions of jobs fell off the European map in the global downturn and many more look set to be squeezed as governments axe public spending.

"This is a crucial day for Europe," said Monks, "because our governments, virtually all of them, are about to embark on solid cuts in public expenditures.

"They're doing this at a time where the economy is very close to recession, and almost certainly you'll see the economy go back into recession as the effect of these cuts take place."

In Spain, where trade unions have called a general strike on Wednesday, unemployment has more than doubled, with one in five workers jobless in July.

Madrid in consequence is looking at a drastic overhaul of its labour legislation to ease flexi-time and hiring and firing. Pensions are frozen, wages cut for civil servants and VAT taxes on the rise.

But elsewhere labour leaders are equally concerned. At a glance: The human cost of the crisis in Europe

Portugal's leading labour confederation, the CGTP, which is close to the communists, has called protests in Lisbon and Porto and hopes for more than 10,000 participants.

Poland's main unions, Solidarity and OPZZ, expect "several thousand" at a protest outside government headquarters.

Similar marches are scheduled in Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia and Serbia, with labour leaders across the board clamouring for growth and protesting the injustice of workers paying for the errors of the financial sector.

"Those responsible for this crisis, the banks, the financial markets and the ratings agencies are all too quick in asking for help from states and public budgets and today want the workers to pay for their debts," said French labour leader Jean-Claude Mailly, who heads the FO union.

But while Europe tries to clean up its post-recession books, a backlash has begun among voters focused on vast anticipated numbers of public sector job cuts.

The worker backlash was clearly seen in Britain, where Labour unions, lawmakers and party members handed their leadership to left-leaning Ed Miliband -- in a surprise, last-minute defeat for his better-known, more centrist brother and former foreign secretary David.

"We're a rich part of the world," said Monks.

"We're going to keep this campaign going, fight for growth, fight for jobs, fight to protect social Europe. Don't go down the austerity route."

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« Reply #230 on: September 29, 2010, 02:57:28 PM »

During a recent press conference, President Obama blamed George W. Bush for the nation's fiscal condition. "When I walked in," he declared, "wrapped in a nice bow was a $1.3 trillion deficit sitting right there on my doorstep." Earlier this year he asserted that "we came in with $8 trillion worth of debt over the next decade."

Neither statement is correct, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). True enough, the outgoing Bush administration bequeathed big deficits to Mr. Obama. The expected 2009 deficit was $1.19 trillion, not $1.3 trillion, however—and the actual deficit for 2009 came in at $1.41 trillion, meaning that the new president added some $220 billion to the total.

 Steve Moore in Washington with the latest on the looming tax increases.
.Far more significant, however, was the president's misstatement that Mr. Bush and the Republicans left the country with $8 trillion of debt over the next 10 years. The CBO's projected 10-year deficit when Mr. Obama took office was actually $4.09 trillion. Now, after 20 months of his presidency, the expected deficit has almost doubled, to $7.68 trillion.

A strong case can be made that the people most responsible for the gigantic deficits we face today are neither George W. Bush nor Barack Obama. The real culprits are Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Congress controls the purse strings. When Mrs. Pelosi and Mr. Reid rose to their present jobs in January 2007, the deficit was $161 billion. It had been on a downward trajectory from $413 billion in 2004. Three years later, the Pelosi-Reid Congress had added $1.2 trillion to the deficit.

Of course, Mr. Bush sponsored or signed into law many of these deficit-raising bills, such as the bank bailouts and effective tax rebates of 2008. But the Democratic Congress passed them.

View Full Image

Associated Press
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, right, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
.Long forgotten is the promise Mrs. Pelosi made on the day she became speaker: "Our new America will provide unlimited opportunity for future generations, not burden them with mountains of debt." I think future generations would like a do-over.

Today, Mr. Obama and Democrats in Congress love to talk about how Mr. Bush turned a $200 billion Clinton surplus into a $1 trillion deficit. Indeed he did, though they ignore the 9/11 terrorist attacks that happened less than a year after Mr. Bush became president. Those attacks were fiscal game-changers, jolting the economy to a temporary standstill and requiring unplanned spending for homeland security and antiterrorism efforts.

For the sake of comparison, let's look at the Pelosi-Reid fiscal record over 10 years. In January 2007, the CBO projected a $379 billion surplus over the next decade. Now, after four years under Mrs. Pelosi and Mr. Reid, and two years of Mr. Obama in the White House, the 2007-2016 projection is a deficit of $7.16 trillion.

This deterioration of the nation's fiscal situation is arguably the worst in United States history, and it was brought to us courtesy of a congressional leadership that pledged "pay as you go" budgeting to bring the budget into balance.

It is no wonder that Americans are not eager to retain the services of these two spendthrifts as leaders of Congress.

Mr. Moore is senior economics writer for The Wall Street Journal editorial page.
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« Reply #231 on: October 01, 2010, 10:17:02 AM »

Well it is POTH writing on a subject likely to exhibit itself at its worst.  Is there any truth to any of this?


WASHINGTON — Even as voters rage and candidates put up ads against government bailouts, the reviled mother of them all — the $700 billion lifeline to banks, insurance and auto companies — will expire after Sunday at a fraction of that cost, and could conceivably earn taxpayers a profit.

A final accounting of the government’s full range of interventions in the economy, including the bailouts of the mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, is years off and will most likely remain controversial and potentially costly.

But the once-unthinkable possibility that the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program could end up costing far less, or even nothing, became more likely on Thursday with the news that the government had negotiated a plan with the American International Group to begin repaying taxpayers.

The rescue of the troubled insurer included $70 billion from the bailout program that was enacted two years ago, at the height of the global financial crisis late in the Bush administration, initially to prop up big banks.

At the White House on Thursday, the Treasury secretary, Timothy F. Geithner, briefed President Obama about A.I.G. and about the broader outlook for the expiring rescue program, putting the projected losses at less than $50 billion, at most. Yet neither the White House nor Congressional Democrats are likely to boast much in the month remaining before midterm elections. For most voters, TARP remains a four-letter word.

Brian A. Bethune, the chief financial economist in the United States for IHS/Global Insight, while critical of parts, called the program over all “a tremendous success. Now obviously, they can’t go out on the campaign trail and say that, because certainly, for a lot of voters, it’s just not going to resonate.”

The “bank bailout” was the first big issue, before the Obama administration’s roughly $800 billion stimulus plan and its health insurance overhaul, to stoke the rise of the Tea Party movement. After supporting TARP, several Republicans have lost elections largely because of their votes. For many Americans, TARP is more than a vote; it is a symbol of big government at its worst, intervening in private markets with taxpayers’ billions to save Wall Street plutocrats while average Americans struggle through the recession those financiers spawned.

Fewer than three in 10 Americans say they believe the program was necessary “to prevent the financial industry from failing and drastically hurting the U.S. economy,” according to a poll in July for Bloomberg News.

“This is the best federal program of any real size to be despised by the public like this,” said Douglas J. Elliott, a former investment banker now associated with the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank.

“It was probably the only effective method available to us to keep from having a financial meltdown much worse than we actually had. Had that happened, unemployment would be substantially higher than it is now, the deficit would have gone up even more than it has,” Mr. Elliott added. “But it really cuts against the grain for a public that is so angry at banks to think that something that so plainly helped the banks could also be good for the public.”

After Sunday the Treasury can no longer commit money to new initiatives or recycle repayments to other purposes.

The Treasury never tapped the full $700 billion. It committed $470 billion and has disbursed $387 billion, mostly to hundreds of banks and later to A.I.G., the car industry — Chrysler, General Motors, the G.M. financing company and suppliers — and to what is, so far, a failed effort to help homeowners avoid foreclosures.

When Mr. Obama took office, the financial system remained so weak that his first budget indicated the Treasury might need another $750 billion for TARP. The administration soon dropped that idea as Mr. Geithner overhauled the rescue program and the banking system stabilized. Still, by mid-2009, the administration projected that TARP could lose $341 billion, a figure that reflected new commitments to A.I.G. and the auto industry.

The Congressional Budget Office, which had a slightly higher loss estimate initially, in August reduced that to $66 billion.

Now Treasury reckons that taxpayers will lose less than $50 billion at worst, but at best could break even or even make money. Its best-case assumptions, however, assume that A.I.G. and the auto companies will remain profitable and that Treasury will get a good price as it sells its corporate shares in coming years.

“We’d have to be very lucky to have both A.I.G. and the auto companies pay us back in full,” Mr. Elliott said.

Also, the best result for taxpayers could mean bad results for squeezed homeowners. Treasury has been ready to use up to $50 billion to help modify mortgages for people facing foreclosure, but its initiatives have been such a failure that little has been spent.

Whatever the final losses from housing, auto companies, A.I.G. or smaller banks, those will be offset by taxpayers’ profits from the big banks that have been the focus of their ire since 2008.

They have repaid their loans and Treasury has collected about $25 billion more from dividends and proceeds from the sale of warrants held as collateral, officials say. Many smaller banks hold on to their loans, however, reflecting their weakness and the desire of some others to keep the money given its advantageous terms. Scores are behind on dividend payments to the Treasury.

By any measure, TARP’s final tally will be less than expected amid the crisis. But the program remains a big loser politically.

On Wednesday, four days before its expiration, House Republicans nonetheless unsuccessfully forced a vote on legislation to end TARP. “We would be much better served if private institutions would either fail or be successful on their own,” said Representative Erik Paulsen of Minnesota, in an interview.

Among those who voted for the program in 2008, several Republicans have lost nominating contests for re-election or for another office, and others are on the defensive in fall races.

Senator Robert F. Bennett of Utah was “Bailout Bob” to Republicans who refused to re-nominate him for a fourth term.

“For those who were screaming at me — and screaming was the operative word — ‘You’ve just saddled our children and grandchildren with $700 billion,’ I said, ‘No, I haven’t,” Mr. Bennett said in an interview.

“My career is over,” he added. “But I do hope that we can get the word out that TARP, number one, did save the world from a financial meltdown and, number two, did so in a manner that, I believe, won’t cost the taxpayer anything. And even if it did not all get paid back, it was still the thing to do.”
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« Reply #232 on: October 04, 2010, 11:37:21 PM »

I pulled this short paragraph of wisdom out of Victor Hanson's lastest post over at Works and Days / Pajamas Media:

The upper-middle-class is not greedy, but they do have three reservations about the Obama pie-slicing: they want to have a little say in the distribution; they better than Obama know how much they can afford to give; and they sense that something for nothing is not a neutral act, but a sort of evil in creating dependency and destroying initiative — all for that selfish feeling of benefaction among elites that comes from handing out someone else’s money.
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« Reply #233 on: October 05, 2010, 08:07:33 AM »

This chart by Mercatus Center Senior Research Fellow Veronique de Rugy examines likely options for the long-term cost of carrying the debt held by the public if investors begin to demand higher interest rates.   This chart compares the Congressional Budget Office Alternative projection of net interest costs, which incorporates likely policy changes while assuming that the interest remains constant at just below 5%, with these same projections at long-term interest rates of 6% and 7%.  At an interest rate of 6%, the interest cost of the debt balloons to 59.8% of GDP by 2084, at an interest rate of 7%, this cost more than doubles to 136% by 2084.

United States debt is primarily held short-term, and had long-benefitted from low interest rates due to its level of security relative to other sovereign debt
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« Reply #234 on: October 05, 2010, 11:01:39 AM »

That's looking out pretty far ahead shocked; I'd love to see a chart of the next 10 years first  smiley
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« Reply #235 on: October 11, 2010, 01:29:32 PM »

Mentioned previously, 8 million people receive roughly $500/mo. ( mostly under the following loose disability rules:

"Disability means inability to engage in any SGA [substantial gainful activity] by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which...has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months."

Normally paid via cash card in addition to all other programs of eligibility.
My reason for posting was because of hundreds of personal observations of what I would consider to be abuse of the program.  Already answered by CCP as to what kind of situation it puts the doctor in.  One note from a doctor is worth 6k per year, year after year, and we pay for the doctor visit, and a taxi in some cases to get to the doctor.

Who is hurt most, the taxpayer or the recipient?  I say the one who learns to end the search for productive accomplishment within their own mental and physical capability.
Power User
Posts: 7838

« Reply #236 on: October 11, 2010, 04:01:32 PM »


From one of my previous posts:

"I had one patient who is on permanent Federal disability for stress, anxiety.  He came in for a renewal of his disability papers and I simpoly looked him straight in the eye and said, " you really can't work because you are stressed out?"  His repsonse, "absolutely".  So I filled out the form with this information exactly as it was and that is that.  He gets it. 

I tell him everyone is stressed out.  Who isn't?  He didn't blink one time when I asked him.  He couldn't care less."

This pt. returned and apparantly was referred to a disability psychologist who through testing was able to show he was likely malingering.

The pt. advised me "they want to stop my disability".

Disability people must not have been impressed with my earlier notes and thus sent him for "second opinion".

I didn't offer to provide any additional information and fortunately he didn't come right out and ask.
Power User
Posts: 15533

« Reply #237 on: October 12, 2010, 11:13:28 AM »

The public is waking up and the Obama koolaid is turning bitter in many mouths.

Hope has turned to doubt and disenchantment for almost half of President Barack Obama’s supporters.

More than 4 of 10 likely voters who say they once considered themselves Obama backers now are either less supportive or say they no longer support him at all, according to a Bloomberg National Poll conducted Oct. 7-10.

Three weeks before the Nov. 2 congressional elections that Republicans are trying to make a referendum on Obama, fewer than half of likely voters approve of the president’s job performance. Likely voters are more apt to say Obama’s policies have harmed rather than helped the economy. Among those who say they are most enthusiastic about voting this year, 6 of 10 say the Democrat has damaged the economy.
Power User
Posts: 15533

« Reply #238 on: October 20, 2010, 08:19:51 AM »

Report: In Obama's Chicago, stimulus weatherization money buys shoddy work, widespread fraud
By: Byron York
Chief Political Correspondent
10/19/10 6:06 PM EDT

Projects to weatherize homes are a key part of the Obama administration's fusion of stimulus spending and the green agenda. But a new report by the Department of Energy has found serious problems in stimulus-funded weatherization work -- problems so severe that they have resulted in homes that are not only not more energy efficient but are actually dangerous for people to live in.

The study, by the Department's inspector general, examined the work of what's called the Weatherization Assistance Program, or WAP, in Illinois. Last year, the Department awarded Illinois $242 million, which was expected to pay for the weatherization of 27,000 homes. Specifically, Energy Department inspectors took a close look at the troubled operations of the Community and Economic Development Association of Cook County, known as CEDA, which is the largest recipient of weatherization money in Illinois with $91 million to weatherize 12,500 homes.  (Cook County is, of course, home to Chicago.)

The findings are grim. "Our testing revealed substandard performance in weatherization workmanship, initial assessments, and contractor billing," the inspector general report says. "These problems were of such significance that they put the integrity of the entire program at risk."

Department inspectors visited 15 homes that were being weatherized by CEDA and paid for by stimulus funds. "We found that 14 of the 15 homes…failed final inspection because of poor workmanship and/or inadequate initial assessments," the report says. In eight of the homes, CEDA had come up with unworkable and ineffective plans -- like putting attic insulation in a house with a leaky roof. In ten of the homes, "contractors billed for labor charges that had not been incurred and for materials that had not been installed." The report calls billing problems "pervasive," with seven of ten contractors being cited for erroneous invoicing. And the department found "a 62 percent final inspection error rate" when CEDA inspectors reviewed their own work.

The work was not just wasteful; it was dangerous. Department inspectors found "heat barriers around chimneys that had not been installed, causing fire hazards." They found "a furnace [that] had not been vented properly." The found "a shut-off valve that had not been installed on a gas stove." And they found "carbon monoxide detectors, smoke alarms and fire extinguishers had not been installed as planned."
Power User
Posts: 9482

« Reply #239 on: October 21, 2010, 10:18:41 PM »

I have enjoyed quite a time with no working television in the house fo much of the DTV era.  Now with just a few channels, and seldom on, I can catch a glimpse of the campaign commercial season and see what the others are basing their vote on.  Rep. Keith Ellison brags that he brought $120 million to Minneapolis.  Like that is a big number for a major city - out of a budget he authorized of $4 trillion.  Like it was something new.  Like it was free money.  Like it wouldn't have happened without him.  What was so striking was just what old-style of politics that message was, with no apologies.  I bring you pork.  You need to reelect me. I will bring you more pork.  Seriously.

Besides Muslim, Keith Ellison is black.  A black former community activist from North Minneapolis. "We don't get no justice, you don't get no peace", he used to chant. You would think he would chant something about easing barriers to startup capital or easing employment regulations or lowering commercial property taxes or about private sector growth.  North Minneapolis has almost no industry or employers.  We have the Urban coalition.  We have ACORN.  We have the heating assistance office.  We have welfare advocates.  Unemployment within this community is astronomical if we had a way of measuring it all.  No mention of that.  Ellison policies make it worse. No mention of that either. Pork is his business and not the kind that puts food on the table.  He is running with virtually no opposition and no media scrutiny.  He can say what he wants and not be questioned on anything else.  He holds a seat for life, if he wants.  The only thing anyone can do to limit his power is to have his side be the political minority party in the House.
Power User
Posts: 2004

« Reply #240 on: October 21, 2010, 10:58:01 PM »

Actually I don't even have a TV.  I don't miss the 30 second political ads on TV (regardless of party); they are mostly *$.

I know nothing of Keith Ellison.  But I do like Minneapolis.  But frankly, IF he brought "120 million to Minneapolis" in these difficult
times, that IS a big deal to Minneapolis.

I always thought it seemed like a dichotomy; does a congressman represent his district first, or national interests first?

Power User
Posts: 15533

« Reply #241 on: October 21, 2010, 11:03:55 PM »

Ellison, like Obama is anti-american first.
Power User
Posts: 15533

« Reply #242 on: October 21, 2010, 11:07:55 PM »

Congressman Keith Ellison (D-Muslim Brotherhood) likens resistance to Islamic supremacism to racism
Ellison.jpg$13,350 from the group that wants to destroy the West from within

As I noted in December 2008, when it was first revealed that Ellison's Hajj was paid for with $13,350 from the Muslim American Society:

The Muslim Brotherhood "must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and "sabotaging" its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God's religion is made victorious over all other religions." -- "An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Brotherhood in North America," by Mohamed Akram, May 19, 1991.

What does that have to do with Congressman Ellison? Everything. The Muslim American Society paid for his Hajj. And what is the Muslim American Society? The Muslim Brotherhood.

"In recent years, the U.S. Brotherhood operated under the name Muslim American Society, according to documents and interviews. One of the nation's major Islamic groups, it was incorporated in Illinois in 1993 after a contentious debate among Brotherhood members." -- Chicago Tribune, 2004.
« Reply #243 on: October 26, 2010, 07:11:23 PM »

What Gets You Most Upset about the TARP Bailout, the Lying, the Corruption, or the Economic Damage?

Posted by Daniel J. Mitchell

As an economist, I should probably be most agitated about the economic consequences of TARP, such as moral hazard and capital malinvestment. But when I read stories about how political insiders (both in government and on Wall Street) manipulate the system for personal advantage, I get even more upset.

Yes, TARP was economically misguided. But the bailout also was fundamentally corrupt, featuring special favors for the well-heeled. I don’t like it when lower-income people use the political system to take money from upper-income people, but it is downright nauseating and disgusting when upper-income people use the coercive power of government to steal money from lower-income people.

Now, to add insult to injury, we’re being fed an unsavory gruel of deception as the political class tries to cover its tracks. Here’s a story from Bloomberg about the Treasury Department’s refusal to obey the law and comply with a FOIA request. A Bloomberg reporter wanted to know about an insider deal to put taxpayers on the line to guarantee a bunch of Citigroup-held securities, but the government thinks that people don’t have a right to know how their money is being funneled to politically-powerful and well-connected insiders.

The late Bloomberg News reporter Mark Pittman asked the U.S. Treasury in January 2009 to identify $301 billion of securities owned by Citigroup Inc. that the government had agreed to guarantee. He made the request on the grounds that taxpayers ought to know how their money was being used. More than 20 months later, after saying at least five times that a response was imminent, Treasury officials responded with 560 pages of printed-out e-mails — none of which Pittman requested. They were so heavily redacted that most of what’s left are everyday messages such as “Did you just try to call me?” and “Monday will be a busy day!” None of the documents answers Pittman’s request for “records sufficient to show the names of the relevant securities” or the dates and terms of the guarantees.

Here’s another reprehensible example. The Treasury Department, for all intents and purposes, prevaricated when it recently claimed that the AIG bailout would cost “only” $5 billion. This has triggered some pushback from Capitol Hill GOPers, as reported by the New York Times, but it is highly unlikely that anyone will suffer any consequences for this deception. To paraphrase Glenn Reynolds, “laws, honesty, and integrity, like taxes, are for the little people.”

The United States Treasury concealed $40 billion in likely taxpayer losses on the bailout of the American International Group earlier this month, when it abandoned its usual method for valuing investments, according to a report by the special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program. …“The American people have a right for full and complete disclosure about their investment in A.I.G.,” Mr. Barofsky said, “and the U.S. government has an obligation, when they’re describing potential losses, to give complete information.” …“If a private company filed information with the government that was just as misleading and disingenuous as what Treasury has done here, you’d better believe there would be calls for an investigation from the S.E.C. and others,” said Representative Darrell Issa, the senior Republican on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. He called the Treasury’s October report on A.I.G. “blatant manipulation.” Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, the senior Republican on the Finance Committee, said he thought “administration officials are trying so hard to put a positive spin on program losses that they played fast and loose with the numbers.” He said it reminded him of “misleading” claims that General Motors had paid back its rescue loans with interest ahead of schedule.

P.S. Allow me to preempt some emails from people who will argue that TARP was a necessary evil. Even for those who think the financial system had to be recapitalized, there was no need to bail out specific companies. The government could have taken the approach used during the S&L bailout about 20 years ago, which was to shut down the insolvent institutions. Depositors were bailed out, often by using taxpayer money to bribe a solvent institution to take over the failed savings & loan, but management and shareholders were wiped out, thus  preventing at least one form of moral hazard.
Power User
Posts: 9482

« Reply #244 on: October 29, 2010, 10:30:44 AM »

Thomas Sowell (age 80) is on my short list for VP or maybe press secretary for the next administration.  This is about the election but really about spending and process jeopardizing our freedom.

A Crossroads Election
By Thomas Sowell

Most elections are about particular policies, particular scandals or particular personalities. But these issues don't mean as much this year-- not because they are not important, but because this election is a crossroads election, one that can decide what path this country will take for many years to come.

Runaway "stimulus" spending, high unemployment and ObamaCare are all legitimate and important issues. It is just that freedom and survival are more important.

For all its sweeping and scary provisions, ObamaCare is not nearly as important as the way it was passed. If legislation can become laws passed without either the public or the Congress knowing what is in those laws, then the fundamental principle of a free, self-governing people is completely undermined.

Some members of Congress who voted for ObamaCare, and who are now telling us that they realize this legislation has flaws which they intend to correct, are missing the point.

The very reason for holding hearings on pending legislation, listening to witnesses on all sides of the issue, and having Congressional debates that will be reported and commented on in the media, is so that problems can be explored and alternatives considered before the legislation is voted into law.

Rushing ObamaCare into law too fast for anyone to have read it served no other purpose than to prevent this very process from taking place. The rush to pass this law that would not take effect until after the next two elections simply cut the voters out of the loop-- and that is painfully close to ruling by decree.

Other actions and proposals by this administration likewise represent moves in the direction of arbitrary rule, worthy of a banana republic, with only a mocking facade of freedom.

These include threats against people who simply choose to express opinions counter to administration policy, such as a warning to an insurance company that there would be "zero tolerance" for "misinformation" when the insurance company said that ObamaCare would create costs that force up premiums.

Zero tolerance for the right of free speech guaranteed by the Constitution?

This warning comes from an administration with arbitrary powers that can impose ruinous costs on a given business.

Those who are constantly telling us that our economic problems are caused by not enough "regulation" never distinguish between regulation which simply enforces known rules, as contrasted with regulation that gives arbitrary powers to the government to force others to knuckle under to demands that have nothing to do with the ostensible purposes of the regulation.

As more businesses reveal that they are considering no longer buying health insurance for their employees, as a result of higher costs resulting from ObamaCare legislation, the administration has announced that it can grant waivers that reduce these costs.

But the power to grant waivers is the power to withhold waivers-- an arbitrary power that can impose millions of dollars in costs on businesses that the administration doesn't like.

Recent proposals from the Obama administration to force disclosure of the names of people who sponsor election ads would likewise open all who disagree with Obama to retaliation by the government itself, as well as by community activists and others.

History tells us where giving government one arbitrary power after another leads. It is like going into a Venus fly-trap, which is easy to enter and nearly impossible to get out of.

The headstrong, know-it-all willfulness of this administration, which threatens our freedom at home, also threatens our survival in the international jungle, because Obama seems determined to do nothing that will stop Iran from going nuclear.

The Obama administration goes through all sorts of charades at the U.N. and signs international agreements on sanctions that have been watered down to the point where they are not about to bring Iran's nuclear weapons program to a halt. The purpose is not to stop Iran but to stop the American people from realizing what Obama is doing or not doing.

We have a strange man in the White House. This election is a crossroads, because either his power will be curbed by depriving him of his huge Congressional majorities or he will continue on a road that jeopardizes both our freedom and our survival.
« Reply #245 on: October 29, 2010, 02:44:06 PM »

Red Tape Rising: Obama’s Torrent of New Regulation
Published on October 26, 2010 by James Gattuso , Diane Katz and Stephen Keen BACKGROUNDER #2482

Abstract: The burden of regulation on Americans increased at an alarming rate in fiscal year 2010. Based on data from the Government Accountability Office, an unprecedented 43 major new regulations were imposed by Washington. And based on reports from government regulators themselves, the total cost of these rules topped $26.5 billion, far more than any other year for which records are available. These costs will affect Americans in many ways, raising the price of the cars they buy and the food they eat, while destroying an untold number of jobs. With the enactment of new health care laws, financial regulations, and plans for rulemaking in other areas, the regulatory burden on Americans is set to increase even further in the coming year.

The Hidden Tax
The cost of regulation has often been called a hidden tax. Although the total does not appear anywhere in the federal budget, the multitude of rules, restrictions, and mandates imposes a heavy burden on Americans and the U.S. economy. According to a report recently released by the Small Business Administration, total regulatory costs amount to about $1.75 trillion annually, [1] nearly twice as much as all individual income taxes collected last year.[2]

Not all regulations are unwarranted, of course. Most Americans would agree on the need for protections against terrorism, although the extent of such rules is certainly subject to debate. Moreover, regulations are not necessarily inconsistent with free-market principles. Some, such as anti-fraud measures, protect the rights of consumers. But there is always a cost. And, for the same reasons that federal spending is reported, so, too, should regulatory costs.

Record Increases
This regulatory burden has been increasing for some time. During the presidency of George W. Bush, which many mistakenly consider as a period of deregulation, the regulatory burden increased by more than $70 billion, according to agency regulatory impact reports. In FY 2009, which spanned the Bush and Obama Administrations, rulemaking proceeded at a nearly unprecedented rate, with the addition of 23 major rules imposing $13 billion in new costs.[3]

But the available evidence indicates that regulatory costs increased last year at a far greater pace. According to data from the Government Accountability Office, federal agencies promulgated 43 rules during the fiscal year ending September 30, 2010,[4] that impose significant burdens on the private sector. The total costs for these rules were estimated by the regulators themselves at some $28 billion, the highest level since at least 1981, the earliest date for which figures are available.[5] Fifteen of the 43 major rules issued last during the fiscal year involved financial regulation. Another five stem from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act adopted by Congress in early 2010. Ten others come from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), including the first mandatory reporting of “greenhouse gas” emissions and $10.8 billion in new automotive fuel economy standards (adopted jointly with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)). Overall, counting the fuel standards, the EPA is responsible for the lion’s share of the reported regulatory costs—some $23.2 billion.
Among the most costly of the FY 2010 crop are:
Fuel economy and emission standards[6] for passenger cars, light-duty trucks, and medium-duty passenger vehicles imposed jointly by the EPA and NHTSA. Annual cost: $10.8 billion (for model years 2012 to 2016). For automakers to recover these increased outlays, NHTSA estimates the standards will lead to increases in average new vehicle prices ranging from $457 per vehicle in FY 2012 to $985 per vehicle in FY 2016.[7]
Mandated quotas for renewable fuels. Annual cost: $7.8 billion (for 15 years). Utilizing farmland to grow corn and other crops used in renewable fuels will displace food crops, leading food costs to increase by $10 per person per year—or $40 for a family of four, according to the EPA.[8]
Efficiency standards for residential water heaters, heating equipment, and pool heaters. Annual cost: $1.3 billion. The appliance upgrades necessary to comply with the new standards will raise the price of a typical gas storage water heater by $120.[9]
Limits on “effluent” discharges from construction sites imposed by the EPA. Annual cost: $810.8 million. The cost of the requirements will force the closure of 147 construction firms and the loss of 7,257 jobs, according to the EPA. Homebuyers also will bear some of the costs, with an increase in mortgage costs of about $1,953.

Regulatory Reductions Missing in Action
Measures to reduce regulatory burdens, by contrast, were few and far between in FY 2010. Only five significant rulemakings adopted last year reduced burdens. Of these, cost reductions were quantified for only two, for reported savings of $1.5 billion. This leaves a net increase in the regulatory burden of $26.5 billion.
Moreover, one of the five measures—though technically deregulatory in nature—relates to an unparalleled expansion of EPA powers. Due to its determination last year that greenhouse gases are pollutants, the agency is moving to set emissions limits for such gases. To follow the standards in the Clean Air Act would corral millions of currently unregulated “facilities,” including offices and apartment buildings, shopping malls, restaurants, hotels, hospitals, schools, houses of worship, theaters, and sports arenas into the EPA regulatory regime. In hopes of quieting political outrage over so sweeping a dictate, the EPA’s “Tailoring Rule”[10] set a minimum threshold level for regulation. Therefore, fewer facilities would be subject to permit requirements, making imposition of the emissions limits more feasible. Rather than reduce overall burdens, this action actually facilitated increased burdens.[11]

Actual Costs Likely Higher
The actual cost of regulations adopted in FY 2010 is almost certainly much higher than $26.5 billion. As a first matter, the cost of non-economically significant rules—rules deemed not likely to have an annual impact of $100 million or more—is not calculated (although such rules are believed to constitute only a small portion of total regulatory costs). Moreover, costs were not quantified for 12 of the economically significant rules adopted in FY 2010.

Many of the rules lacking quantified costs involve financial regulation. The Federal Reserve Board, for instance, did not quantify any costs for its new “Truth in Lending”[12] regulations—which impose fee and disclosure requirements for credit card accounts—although the new rules are generally expected to be costly. Similarly, costs were not calculated for new Federal Reserve Board regulations on prepaid electronic gift cards.[13]

It should also be noted that reported costs are likely minimized by allowing agencies to make the initial calculations, thereby casting their proposals in the best light. This could have a substantial impact: Overall, there is evidence that agencies systematically understate regulatory costs. In its 2005 report to Congress, the OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs conducted ex ante analyses of regulations to test the accuracy of cost-benefit estimates. The study determined that regulators overestimated benefits 40 percent of the time and underestimated costs 34 percent of the time.[14]

Even a finding that costs exceed benefits does not necessarily stop a new rule from going into effect. For instance, in evaluating new regulations for train-control systems, the Department of Transportation identified costs of $477.4 million, and benefits of a mere $22 million. Nevertheless, due to a statutory mandate, the regulations were adopted.
The EPA is prohibited by law from considering costs in devising regulations under the Clean Air Act and other major environmental statutes. Thus, the agency recently set new, more stringent standards on emissions of nitrogen dioxide without formally considering the economic or technical feasibility of compliance.[15] While the EPA did prepare a cost-benefit analysis—concluding that the costs exceed the benefits—agency officials conceded they had no way of determining the number of localities that would be out of compliance under the new rule.

Lastly, it should be noted that annual compliance costs constitute only part of the economic burden of regulation. New rules also entail start-up costs for new equipment, conversions of industrial processes, and devising data collection and reporting procedures. These “first-year” costs exceed $3.1 billion for the 43 new FY 2010 regulations. For example, new restrictions on “short sales”[16] imposed by the Securities and Exchange Commission will require initial costs of more than $1 billion[17] for modifications to computer systems and surveillance mechanisms, and for information-gathering, management, and recordkeeping systems. Likewise, the EPA estimates one-time implementation costs of nearly $745 million for new limits on emissions from diesel engines used in energy production.[18]

More Rules on the Way
Many, many more regulations are in the pipeline. According to one estimate, financial regulation legislation recently adopted by Congress, known as the Dodd–Frank bill, will require 243 new formal rule-makings by 11 different federal agencies.[19] So wide-ranging are regulators’ new powers, in fact, that the Department of Health and Human Services has failed to meet one-third of the deadlines mandated by the new federal health care law, according to a report by the Congressional Research Service.[20]

Meanwhile, the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau created under the Dodd–Frank measure will wield vaguely defined powers to regulate financial products and services, including mortgages, credit cards, even student loans. And, the Federal Communications Commission is mulling new regulations to limit how Internet service providers manage their networks. Such “net neutrality” rules, if enacted, would undermine investment incentives, thereby robbing the nation of much-needed broadband upgrades.[21]
Taken together, these initiatives embody a stunningly full regulatory agenda—indicating that this year’s record for regulatory increases will not stand for long.

The regulatory burden increased at an unprecedented rate during FY 2010, as measured by both the number of new major rules as well as their reported costs. Even more are on the way in 2011.

A number of steps have been proposed to stem this growth, ranging from automatic sunsetting of rules[22] to requiring congressional approval of all new major rules.[23]
Mere procedural reforms will not be enough to stem this regulatory tide. Regulatory costs will rise until policymakers appreciate the burdens that regulations are imposing on Americans and the economy, and exercise the political will necessary to limit—and reduce—those burdens.

—James L. Gattuso is Senior Research Fellow in Regulatory Policy, Diane Katz is Research Fellow in Regulatory Policy, and Stephen A. Keen is a Research Assistant, in the Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation.

« Reply #246 on: October 29, 2010, 02:44:39 PM »

Major Rulemaking Proceedings that Increased Regulatory Burdens, October 2009–September 2010
October 2009
October 30, 2009, Environmental Protection Agency, “Mandatory Reporting of Greenhouse Gases”: $94.9 million annually; $140.7 million start-up.
November 2009
November 17, 2009, Federal Reserve System, “Electronic Fund Transfers”: $10.9 million annually.
December 2009
December 1, 2009, Environmental Protection Agency, “Effluent Limitations Guidelines and Standards for the Construction and Development Point Source Category”: $810.8 million annually.
December 4, 2009, Securities and Exchange Commission, “Amendments to Rules for Nationally Recognized Statistical Rating Organizations”: $34.9 million annually; $16.2 million start-up.
December 4, 2009, Department of Transportation, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, “Pipeline Safety: Integrity Management Program for Gas Distribution Pipelines”: $101.1 million annually; $130.1 million start-up.
December 23, 2009, Securities and Exchange Commission, “Proxy Disclosure Enhancements”: $66.5 million annually.
January 2010
January 8, 2010, Department of Energy, “Energy Conservation Program: Energy Conservation Standards for Certain Consumer Products (Dishwashers, Dehumidifiers, Microwave Ovens, and Electric and Gas Kitchen Ranges and Ovens) and for Certain Commercial and Industrial Equipment (Commercial Clothes Washers)”: $23.4 million annually.
January 11, 2010, Securities and Exchange Commission, “Custody of Funds or Securities of Clients by Investment Advisers”: $125.1 million annually; $1.2 million start-up.
January 15, 2010, Federal Reserve System and Federal Trade Commission, “Fair Credit Reporting Risk-Based Pricing Regulations”: $252.1 million annually.
January 15, 2010, Department of Transportation, Federal Railroad Administration, “Positive Train Control Systems”: $477.4 million annually.
January 28, 2010, Department of the Treasury, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency; Federal Reserve System; Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; Department of the Treasury, Office of Thrift Supervision, “Risk-Based Capital Guidelines; Capital Adequacy Guidelines; Capital Maintenance: Regulatory Capital; Impact of Modifications to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles; Consolidation of Asset-Backed Commercial Paper Programs; and Other Related Issues”: cost not quantified.
February 2010
February 9, 2010, Environmental Protection Agency, “Primary National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Nitrogen Dioxide”: cost not quantified.
February 17, 2010, Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Marketing Service, “National Organic Program; Access to Pasture (Livestock)”: cost not quantified.
February 22, 2010, Federal Reserve System, “Truth in Lending”: cost not quantified.
March 2010
March 3, 2010, Environmental Protection Agency, “National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Reciprocating Internal Combustion Engines”: $373.4 million annually; $744.7 million start-up.
March 4, 2010, Securities and Exchange Commission, “Money Market Fund Reform”: $60.2 million annually; $86.9 million start-up.
March 9, 2010, Department of Energy, “Energy Conservation Program: Energy Conservation Standards for Small Electric Motors”: $263.9 million annually.
March 10, 2010, Securities and Exchange Commission, “Amendments to Regulation SHO”: $1.2 billion annually; $1.1 billion start-up.
March 19, 2010, Department of Health and Human Services, Food and Drug Administration, “Regulations Restricting the Sale and Distribution of Cigarettes and Smokeless Tobacco to Protect Children and Adolescents”: cost not quantified.
March 26, 2010, Environmental Protection Agency, “Regulation of Fuels and Fuel Additives: Changes to Renewable Fuel Standard Program”: $7.8 billion annually.
April 2010
April 1, 2010, Federal Reserve System, “Electronic Fund Transfers”: cost not quantified.
April 5, 2010, Department of Transportation, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, “Electronic On-Board Recorders for Hours-of-Service Compliance”: $139 million annually.
April 14, 2010, Department of Health and Human Services, Food and Drug Administration, “Use of Ozone-Depleting Substances; Removal of Essential-Use Designation (Flunisolide, etc.)”: $181.9 million annually.
April 16, 2010, Department of Energy: Energy Conservation Program, “Energy Conservation Standards for Residential Water Heaters, Direct Heating Equipment, and Pool Heaters”: $1.3 billion annually.
May 2010
May 6, 2010, Environmental Protection Agency, “Lead; Amendment to the Opt-Out and Recordkeeping Provisions in the Renovation, Repair, and Painting Program”: $419.5 million annually; $552 million start-up.
May 7, 2010, Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “Light-Duty Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emission Standards and Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards; Final Rule”: $10.8 billion annually (2012–2016).
May 13, 2010, Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service; Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration; Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Secretary, “Interim Final Rules for Group Health Plans and Health Insurance Issuers Relating to Dependent Coverage of Children to Age 26 Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act”: $11 million annually.
May 28, 2010, Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration, “Automatic Dependent Surveillance—Broadcast (ADS-B) Out Performance Requirements to Support Air Traffic Control (ATC) Service”: $100 million annually.
June 2010
June 4, 2010, Federal Reserve System, “Electronic Fund Transfers”: cost not quantified.
June 17, 2010, Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service; Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration; Department of Health and Human Services, “Interim Final Rules for Group Health Plans and Health Insurance Coverage Relating to Status as a Grandfathered Health Plan Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act”: $25.2 million annually; $30.2 million start-up.
June 22, 2010, Environmental Protection Agency, “Primary National Ambient Air Quality Standard for Sulfur Dioxide”: $1.6 billion annually.
June 28, 2010, Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service; Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration; and Department of Health and Human Services, “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act: Preexisting Condition Exclusions, Lifetime and Annual Limits, Rescissions, and Patient Protections”: $4.8 million annually.
June 29, 2010, Federal Reserve System, “Truth in Lending”: cost not quantified.
July 2010
July 14, 2010, Securities and Exchange Commission, “Political Contributions by Certain Investment Advisers”: $85.1 million annually; $22.6 million start-up.
July 16, 2010, Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration, “Reasonable Contract or Arrangement Under Section 408(b)(2)—Fee Disclosure”: $57.7 million annually.
July 19, 2010, Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service; Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration; and Department of Health and Human Services, “Interim Final Rules for Group Health Plans and Health Insurance Issuers Relating to Coverage of Preventive Services Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act”: cost not quantified.
July 23, 2010, Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service; Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration; and Department of Health and Human Services, “Interim Final Rules for Group Health Plans and Health Insurance Issuers Relating to Internal Claims and Appeals and External Review Processes Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act”: $75.1 million annually.
July 28, 2010, Department of the Treasury, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, “Registration of Mortgage Loan Originators”: $123.9 million annually; $283.3 million start-up.
August 2010
August 9, 2010, Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, “Cranes and Derricks in Construction”: $151.6 million annually.
August 12, 2010, Securities and Exchange Commission: “Amendments to Form ADV”: $20.5 million annually; $56.4 million start-up.
August 20, 2010, Environmental Protection Agency, “National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Reciprocating Internal Combustion Engines”: $253 million annually.
September 2010
September 9, 2010, Environmental Protection Agency, “National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants from the Portland Cement Manufacturing Industry and Standards of Performance for Portland Cement Plants”: $1 billion in 2013.
September 16, 2010, Securities and Exchange Commission, “Facilitating Shareholder Director Nominations”: $8 million annually.
Major Rulemaking Proceedings that Decreased Regulatory Burdens, October 2009–September 2010
October 19, 2009, Securities and Exchange Commission, “Internal Control Over Financial Reporting in Exchange Act Periodic Reports of Non-Accelerated Filers”: savings not quantified.
November 2, 2009, Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Medical Examination of Aliens—Removal of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Infection from Definition of Communicable Disease of Public Health Significance”: savings not quantified.
November 13, 2009, Environmental Protection Agency, “Oil Pollution Prevention; Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) Rule—Amendments”: $98.6 million.
March 31, 2010, Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration, “Electronic Prescriptions for Controlled Substances”: $1.4 billion.
June 3, 2010, Environmental Protection Agency, “Prevention of Significant Deterioration and Title V Greenhouse Gas Tailoring Rule”: savings not quantified.
Power User
Posts: 15533

« Reply #247 on: October 29, 2010, 03:34:22 PM »

I am amazed the economy hasn't come roaring back with all the new taxes and regulation.....  rolleyes
Power User
Posts: 15533

« Reply #248 on: October 31, 2010, 04:52:48 PM »

A scary scenario: What if a U.S. state defaults?
NEW YORK— From Thursday's Globe and Mail
Published Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2010 7:15PM EDT
Last updated Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2010 7:19PM EDT

It’s the year 2013. A large U.S. state can’t come up with the cash to make a bond payment. A default would ricochet through markets worldwide. What happens next?

That’s the scenario that a high-powered panel gathered to address this week at a conference in New York. For seasoned observers, the chance that a state would default on its debt ranges from remote to impossible. Yet the fact that the risk is being openly discussed shows the depth of the worries over the finances of states and cities.
More related to this story

 Strapped for cash and committed to huge spending as their employees age, these governments are a looming vulnerability in the U.S. financial system. They also represent a drag on economic growth as deficits force them to slash services and staff.

The Great Recession left a yawning hole in state budgets as revenues collapsed. California faced a $19-billion (U.S.) shortfall this year. This month, it finally approved a budget, 100 days late, that filled the breach – for now – through cuts, delays and optimistic assumptions.

While California is usually the poster child for fiscal trouble, other states aren’t far behind. By next spring, Illinois will face a deficit of $15-billion, or half of the state’s yearly day-to-day spending. Nevada, too, will confront a budget hole of similar proportions
Power User
Posts: 15533

« Reply #249 on: November 15, 2010, 03:47:49 PM »

So I took a crack at the budget simulator cooked up over at the NYTimes Web site. It starts out with a projected 2015 deficit of $418 billion and a projected 2030 deficit of $1.355 trillion. My goal was to do it through 100 percent spending cuts.

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