Saturday, March 16, 2013

Let's Save Fuel With Barack!!!

Here's Obama's weekly speech on whatever, properly illustrated with pics of him on his private 747, the one that he flew to Chicago to deliver a speech on his fuel-saving plan.... 

Hi, everybody. As a nation, our top priority is growing our economy and creating good middle class jobs. That’s why this week I’m speaking to you from the Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois, because few areas hold as much promise as what they’re focused on right here — harnessing American energy.

You see, after years of talking about it, we’re finally poised to take control of our energy future. We produce more oil than we have in 15 years. We import less oil than we have in 20 years. We’ve doubled the amount of renewable energy we generate from sources like wind and solar — with tens of thousands of good jobs to show for it. We’re producing more natural gas than ever before — with hundreds of thousands of good jobs to show for it. We’ve supported the first new nuclear power plant since the 1970s. And we’re sending less carbon pollution into the environment than we have in nearly 20 years. So we’re making real progress.

But over the past few weeks, we got a reminder that we need to do more. We went through another spike in gas prices, just like last year, and the year before that. It happens every year. It’s a serious blow to your budget — like getting hit with a new tax coming right out of your pocket. Over the past four years, as part of our all-of-the-above energy strategy, we’ve taken steps to soften that blow by making sure our cars use less gas.

We’ve put in place the toughest fuel economy standards in our history so that by the middle of the next decade, our cars will go twice as far on a gallon of gas. Over the life of a new car, the average family will save more than $8,000 at the pump. But the only way we’re going to break this cycle of spiking gas prices for good is to shift our cars and trucks off of oil for good.

That’s why, in my State of the Union Address, I called on Congress to set up an Energy Security Trust to fund research into new technologies that will help us reach that goal. Here’s how it would work. Much of our energy is drawn from lands and waters that we, the public, own together. So I’m proposing that we take some of our oil and gas revenues from public lands and put it towards research that will benefit the public, so that we can support American ingenuity without adding a dime to our deficit. We can support scientists who are designing new engines that are more energy efficient; developing cheaper batteries that go farther on a single charge; and devising new ways to fuel our cars and trucks with new sources of clean energy — like advanced biofuels and natural gas — so drivers can one day go coast-to-coast without using a drop of oil.

Now, this idea isn’t mine. It’s actually built off a proposal put forward by a non-partisan coalition of CEOs and retired generals and admirals. So let’s take their advice and free our families and our businesses from painful spikes in gas prices once and for all. And in the meantime, let’s keep moving forward on an all-of-the-above energy strategy. A strategy where we produce more oil and gas here at home, but also more biofuels and fuel-efficient vehicles; more solar power and wind power.

A strategy where we put more people to work building cars, homes and businesses that waste less energy. We can do this. We’re Americans. And when we commit ourselves to something, there’s no telling how far we’ll go. Thanks and have a great weekend.

And don't do anything to encourage global warming - TWS

Friday, March 15, 2013

The Most Persistent Economic Fallacy Of All Time

Here's the late, great Milton Friedman, explaining the difference between money and production, and then production vs spending.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Spending Vs. Results

Here's a handy infographic showing U.S. spending per tricycle motor, and comparing it to English, Math and Science skills. 
Sources are the CIA Factbook and the U.N. 
Came from here. 
The spending, of course, is much, much higher in some places like D.C., which get truly miserable results. 
One day, someone is going to put out the definitive spending vs. results data for public vs private (and home) education. 

U.S. Education versus the World via Master of Arts in Teaching at USC
Via: MAT@USC | Master’s of Arts in Teaching

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

My heart breaks. My tears flow.

Lobbyists on K Street in Washington D.C. have had a rough time of it for the last two weeks. 
Here's Roll Call, on the difficulties now facing the residents of Gucci Gulch:

…sequester cuts…reflect not only Washington’s political paralysis but a bitter lobbying failure for K Street interests across the board. From university professors and scientists to cancer victims, defense contractors and federal workers, hundreds of advocacy, trade and labor groups have lobbied aggressively for months to head off the cuts. They’ve run ads, testified on Capitol Hill, staged demonstrations and hounded lawmakers, all to no avail. …the path forward could be a lobbying nightmare.

These people have lifestyles that would make Roman Emperors blush. 
They convince your CongressCritters to spend money on silly, silly things.  Mostly defense, but sometimes on million-dollar studies of Why Lesbians Get Fat.  (Hint: It's because they're less promiscuous than men, therefore more secure in their relationships.  Plus, they party a lot.) 

Anyway, thanks to the great Dan Mitchell for the quote copied above.  And also for this cartoon showing his reaction to the difficulties now facing K Street, which, if Libertarians have their way, will eventually be bulldozed to put up a Frisbee Golf Course.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

311,604 Federal Workers doing their part to prevent government waste

Several years ago I began awarding trophies called "The Whitey" to citizens who did their part to eliminate government waste.
The best way to eliminate government waste is to avoid paying your taxes.  If you don't give them your money, they can't waste it.  
An astounding number of Whiteys went to rejected (and confirmed) members of Obama's cabinet.  Timmy "TurboTax" Geithner, Tom Daschle, etc etc etc all did their part to keep their hard earned dollars out of The U.S. Treasury.  Hit the "Whiteys" label at the bottom to read about previous award winners.

Lord have mercy, they're still trying to devalue the trophy.  

From the Tax Prof Blog:
311,566 federal workers and retirees owed more than $3.5 billion in back income taxes in 2011 (up from $3.4 billion in 2010, $3.3 billion in 2009, $3.0 billion in 2008, and $2.7 billion in 2007).

And from Investor's Business Daily.  Looks like 40 of Barack's lackeys and handmaidens have been doing their share:

A new report from the Internal Revenue Service has just revealed that 40 of Obama's White House aides owe their employer, the federal government, a total of $333,485 in back taxes.
This is the third straight year that the chief executive of the United States has been unable to get his own staff members to keep up with a citizen's legal income tax obligations. to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars in back taxes owed. All this while Obama has made such rhetorical hay about corporations and the wealthy paying their fair share.
That's 311,604 current and former suckers of the government tit who are doing their part to keep their own money from being wasted by Barack H. Obama. 

Here are your Whitey Awards !!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Milton Friedman Was Wrong

Milton Friedman once divided all spending into four basic categories, claiming that government spending would always be inefficient because it all fit into his fourth category.

Here's his breakdown:

There are four ways to spend money. 

1. You can spend your own money on yourself. When you do that, why you really watch out for what you're doing, and you try to get the most for your money. 

2. Then you can spend your own money on somebody else. For example, I buy a birthday present for someone. Well then, I'm not so careful about the content of the present, but I'm very careful about the cost. 

3. Then, I can spend somebody else's money on myself. And if I spend somebody else's money on myself, then I'm going to have a good lunch!

4. Finally, I can spend somebody else's money on somebody else. And if I spend somebody else's money on somebody else, I'm not concerned about how much it costs, and I'm not concerned about what I get. And that's government. And that's close to 40 percent of our national income.

His point, of course, is well-taken, but incomplete.  Government spending isn't restricted to Category #4.  But I think the good Dr. Friedman should have anticipated the amount of government spending devoted to Category #3 (spending someone else's money on myself.) 

Consider this:

Poor oversight at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs allowed agency officials to waste as much as $762,000 at a pair of multimillion-dollar conferences that took place last year in Orlando, according to an investigative report released Monday.The report, released by the VA's independent watchdog, estimated that the agency spent about $6.1 million on the two conferences, including $762,000 that was identified as unauthorized or unnecessary. Among the wasteful expenses: $97,906 worth of promotional gifts for the federal workers attending the training sessions; $154,000 for contractor travel; $16,500 to produce daily "Happy Face" videos of those in attendance; and nearly $2,300 for beverages, such as soda and juice, consumed by conference officials and speakers.

And this one:

Where does a muffin cost more than $16?At a government conference, it turns out.They may run just over $2 at your average coffee shop, but the Justice Department paid seven to eight times as much at a gathering it held at the Capital Hilton in Washington. And on Tuesday, the muffins seemed well on their way to joining the Pentagon’s $600 toilet seat as symbols of wasteful spending.Justice Department auditors also criticized a $76-per-person lunch at a conference at a Hilton in San Francisco, featuring slow-cooked Berkshire pork carnitas, hearts-of-romaine salad — and coffee at $8.24 a released Tuesday by the department’s acting inspector general,Cynthia A. Schnedar, is full of what she called “wasteful or extravagant spending” at 10 law enforcement conferences spanning the George W. Bush and Obama administrations. Descriptions of cookies and brownies costing the government nearly $10 each and beef Wellington hors d’oeuvres at $7.32 per serving struck a nerve in Washington, where austerity and belt-tightening are the watchwords at a time of economic hardship.
And there are the recent GSA scandals:
At least 77 General Services Administration employee conferences that totaled more than $6.7 million in costs are under review by the agency’s inspector general, the watchdog said at a hearing before a House panel Wednesday.

The conferences, which cost at least $10,000 each and were attended by 25 employees or more, were held between October 2010, when the agency held an $823,000 employee conference in Las Vegas, and April 2012, when that conference became public.

The conferences were the focus of a hearing before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. GSA acts as the realtor and purchasing officer of the federal government.

The conferences ranged from a a five-day regional marketing managers meeting that cost $10,920, to the 2011 GSA Training Conference and Expo that cost $1.2 million.

According to GSA preliminary findings obtained by The Washington Post, the Federal Acquisition Service held 30 conferences costing more than $3.5 million, the Public Buildings Service held 38 conferences costing more than $2.5 million, the Office of Governmentwide Policy held one conference costing $136,495, the Office of the Chief Information held two conferences costing $177,960, the PBS and FAS held a single joint conference costing $112,131, the Chief People Officer held three conferences costing $60,588; and one for Intergovernmental Relations, costing $15,922.

While the list gave numbers of people who attended, it did not break down the number of employees.

Since the 77 conferences are currently under investigation, the agency’s inspector general could not give examples of which conferences had problems or red flags.

The committee also reviewed a one-day $270,000 awards ceremony in Arlington County for employees of the Federal Acquisition Service.

The one-day conference was held four weeks after the Las Vegas event with a more than $140,000 tab for coordination and logistical costs, $34,000 for the venue, $28,000 on picture frames and $20,579 for drum sticks, Brian Miller, GSA’s inspector general, testified.
So, yeah, Government spending my neighbor's money on me isn't very efficient. 
But I bet spending my neighbor's money on $20,579.00 worth of drumsticks is a lot more fun! 

If you've ever wondered how the Federal Poverty programs can spend over $61,000.00 per family in poverty and still have families in poverty?  Look no further.  Milton Friedman's category #3

3. Then, I can spend somebody else's money on myself. And if I spend somebody else's money on myself, then I'm going to have a good lunch!