Posts Tagged ‘Spending’

Wonder what you would find if you frisked federal employees’ average compensation and compared them to the private sector?

Answer: A startling difference.

USA Today reports:

At a time when workers’ pay and benefits have stagnated, federal employees’ average compensation has grown to more than double what private sector workers earn, a USA TODAY analysis finds.

Federal workers have been awarded bigger average pay and benefit increases than private employees for nine years in a row. The compensation gap between federal and private workers has doubled in the past decade.

Federal civil servants earned average pay and benefits of $123,049 in 2009 while private workers made $61,051 in total compensation, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The data are the latest available.

The federal compensation advantage has grown from $30,415 in 2000 to $61,998 last year.

After seeing numbers like this, there’s no wonder why President Obama just announced a two-year pay freeze for overpaid federal employees (reminder: the number of federal employees earning over $150,000 doubled under President Obama). According to the White House, the pay freeze will save $2 billion for the remainder of FY 2011.

Every little bit helps, but the White House will have to come up with something better than this minuscule “symbolic gesture” that shows the American public they are getting serious about tackling bloated government and our massive debt.

Let’s be honest, the majority of us (who do not receive a paycheck from the federal government) are sick and tired of seeing the public employee pay scales dominating the private sector. Fortunately, the people over at The Heritage Foundation have a few solutions that would address this issue:

  • Abolish the general schedule and implement performance-based pay.
  • Hire more private contractors.
  • Reduce federal benefits.
  • End dismissal restrictions.

Of course these solutions are not popular with the powerful and greedy organized labor unions. In the end, it will be a fight if we are going to be serious about tackling this problem.

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Wonder what you would find if you frisked the accomplishments of President Obama’s first 19 months in office?

Answer: He’s added more to the national debt than all presidents from George Washington to Ronald Reagan COMBINED.

Now that my friends is “Hope-n-change”. CNS News reports:

In the first 19 months of the Obama administration, the federal debt held by the public increased by $2.5260 trillion, which is more than the cumulative total of the national debt held by the public that was amassed by all U.S. presidents from George Washington through Ronald Reagan.

The U.S. Treasury Department divides the federal debt into two categories. One is “debt held by the public,” which includes U.S. government securities owned by individuals, corporations, state or local governments, foreign governments and other entities outside the federal government itself. The other is “intragovernmental” debt, which includes I.O.U.s the federal government gives to itself when, for example, the Treasury borrows money out of the Social Security “trust fund” to pay for expenses other than Social Security.

At the end of fiscal year 1989, which ended eight months after President Reagan left office, the total federal debt held by the public was $2.1907 trillion, according to the Congressional Budget Office. That means all U.S. presidents from George Washington through Ronald Reagan had accumulated only that much publicly held debt on behalf of American taxpayers. That is $335.3  billion less than the $2.5260 trillion that was added to the federal debt held by the public just between Jan. 20, 2009, when President Obama was inaugurated, and Aug. 20, 2010, the 19-month anniversary of Obama’s inauguration.

Don’t worry America… We got a lot for all that money being tossed into our economy, like Obama’s job deficit of 7.5 million!

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Wonder what you would find if you frisked our federal employees?

Answer: A few greenbacks in their pockets.

Trust me, I’m all for capitalism and achieving the ‘American dream’ but when it comes down to our citizens’ tax dollars… This might be a little bit over the top:

Federal employees making salaries of $100,000 or more jumped from 14% to 19% of civil servants during the recession’s first 18 months — and that’s before overtime pay and bonuses are counted.

Federal workers are enjoying an extraordinary boom time — in pay and hiring — during a recession that has cost 7.3 million jobs in the private sector.

The highest-paid federal employees are doing best of all on salary increases. Defense Department civilian employees earning $150,000 or more increased from 1,868 in December 2007 to 10,100 in June 2009, the most recent figure available.

Here’s the interesting tidbits about this whole issue:

When the recession started, the Transportation Department had only one person earning a salary of $170,000 or more. Eighteen months later, 1,690 employees had salaries above $170,000.

The growth in six-figure salaries has pushed the average federal worker’s pay to $71,206, compared with $40,331 in the private sector.

Let me get this straight… So while everyday Americans around the country are forced to tighten their belts, our government is doing the exact opposite in a recession? I must say, the logic within our government is pretty interesting especially when they are the ones dictating pay within the private sector. All I can say is: Please explain.

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Wonder what you would find if you frisked the Democratic Party and the U.S. economy?

Answer: Democrats on Capital Hill are creating ANOTHER stimulus porkulus spending package!

What else is new folks? The Democrats ram through a worthless $787 billion spending package that hasn’t worked so they plan on spending MORE money:

The cost of a new jobs bill Democrats hope to move early next year runs to nearly $300 billion when major proposals under serious consideration are added up.

Lawmakers are looking to extend unemployment insurance and COBRA healthcare benefits for the unemployed through 2010 at a cost of $100 billion alone, according to the sponsor of House legislation, Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.).

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Jim Oberstar (D-Minn.) and Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) pushed Wednesday for $69 billion for highway and transit projects that could be started almost immediately with funding. Oberstar had criticized the earlier stimulus bill for not including enough infrastructure spending, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.) and Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) have voiced support for more infrastructure spending to create jobs.

Democrats would also increase loans from the Small Business Administration (SBA) at a cost of $20 billion, according to Zandi.

He called for raising limits for the SBA loans, removing the interest rate cap on them in order to allow credit to be given more freely and using leftover bank bailout money as small-business credit.

Tax credits for businesses that hire new full-time workers would cost about $27 billion under a proposal by Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) and the Economic Policy Institute, a left-leaning policy group. A new hiring tax credit has received extensive discussion and is under consideration by President Barack Obama, according to his economic team.

Providing more aid to states, a move to stem further job losses, also has support among lawmakers, The New Republic reported Tuesday. Zandi, noting that the state governments will have a $150 billion budget shortfall in fiscal 2011, has called for $75 billion in federal aid for states.

A federal work-share program backed by Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and four other Democrats would cost about $600 million.

The total cost of all of those proposals would be $291.6 billion.

Great… Be prepared for more “jobs saved or created” rhetoric and more money sucked out of American’s pockets in order to expand the already increasing national debt! Seriously though, stimulus package number 2… What possibly could go wrong???

Stimulus mistakes: Oops #1 | Oops #2 | Oops #3 | Oops #4 | Oops #5 | Oops #6 | Oops #7 | Oops #8

What they really need to do can be summed up by Ed Morrissey from Hot Air:

If Congress wants to stimulate the economy, it needs to stop expanding government and incurring massive deficits.  That means an end to ObamaCare, cap-and-trade, and Card Check, as well as significant reductions in federal government.  That would send positive signals to private capital that they can expect pro-growth policies and predictable tax rates, which would encourage investment and job creation.  They don’t need a summit to reach that conclusion — they just need a big dose of common sense.

Totally agree!

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Wonder what you would find if you frisked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the rest of Congress’s wasteful spending of taxpayer money?

Answer: $2,993 on flowers and more…

Bravo Ms. Pelosi! If there’s one thing government knows how to do, it’s wasting our hard earned money on useless things. My case and point:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) spent $2,993 in taxpayer money on flowers between June and October. […]

These expenditures – culled from thousands of line items released Monday by the Chief Administrative Officer of the House – are just a fraction of the $300 million spent last quarter by House offices. But while the bulk of congressional office spending goes to salaries and routine office expenses, some of the line items offer a window into the personalities and priorities of each congressional office.

Pelosi, who has come under fire in the past for spending on flowers, also spent roughly $30,610 in food and beverage and about $2,740 on bottled water, contributing to the nearly $120,531 total from all congressional leadership accounts. Her offices defended the charges, saying the Speaker’s office holds more ceremonial events with visiting dignitaries than other congressional offices. They also use a local florist, and about a third of her flower expenses this quarter were for Jack Kemp’s funeral.

Lawmakers appear to have great flexibility on what qualifies as an office expense. Money is spent on everything from security services for district offices to thousands in mileage reimbursements for individuals’ cars. Taxpayers foot the bill for leasing cars for members, including cars for Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) and Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas).

Hmm… Lawmakers keep telling us we’re in a recession, while they themselves don’t act like it. A majority of Americans are tightening their belts while our politicians in Washington are spending money like there’s an infinite amount. Oh wait… That’s because we don’t have any money left and we’re using ‘imaginary’ money. It’s simple: Government spends while it makes its own rules. Therefore, government is inefficient and should never be competing or taking over the private sector. (Cough*Health-Care*Cough)

Side-Note: Remember folks! The next time you take a tour of Washington D.C. and come across Nancy Pelosi’s office, take a flower. After all, you helped pay for them.

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Wonder what you would find if you frisked the fight between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. that was suppose to take place in New York or New Jersey?

Answer: High state taxes make the fight impossible.

I believe the boxing referee is counting down, because New York and New Jersey are definitely getting knocked out on this one:

It appears the Tax Man is about to do to Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. what Oscar de la Hoya, Ricky Hatton and Miguel Cotto could not.

Namely, knock both of them out.

Out of New York, that is. And New Jersey, too.

Poor Yankee Stadium and Meadowlands:

But last night, Arum dropped the hammer on the fight taking place anywhere east of the Mississippi River.

“No chance,” Arum said. “Nothing would please me more than to have it at Yankee Stadium, but the way the tax structure in New York is set up, it’s impossible.”

It appears the fight will be at Jerry Jones’ new $1 billion-plus Cowboys Stadium! Wonder what’s the tax difference between the liberal East Coast and conservative Texas? Easy, there’s a lot of difference:

The answer is, no state taxes in Texas and a ton of them in New York and New Jersey. According to Arum, the fighters could lose more than $12 million in taxes if the fight takes place in New York and slightly less if it winds up in the Meadowlands.

Arum said that between New York State and city taxes and a tax levied on nonresident independent contractors performing in New York, the fighters – and the promoter – would lose 15 percent of all revenue generated by the bout.

“It’s just not economically feasible to do events like that in New York,” Arum said. “It’s ridiculous, really.”

The bright blue states just received an uppercut of reality, because no one likes taxes! It appears the East Coast lost out on possibly one of the greatest fights, but don’t worry… Texans will enjoy ALL the benefits and business that will come with the match.

Side-Note: With taxes shooting up faster than a firework display on the 4th of July, boxing promoters aren’t the only ones keeping an eye on taxes. Carlos Boozer of the Utah Jazz has also voiced his concerns in regards to state taxes.

As liberals spend frantically, I’d expect more of these situations to pop up in the future. Mark my words.

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Wonder what you would find if you frisked the last decade of politics in Michigan?

Answer: Not many positives.

As most of you know in Michigan, our unemployment rate leads the nation… high five! If your not from Michigan, well… Your damn lucky.

Daniel Howes from The Detroit News wrote a good article on what it will take for Michigan to bounce back:

After this latest budget spectacle in Lansing, I’ve got one question: What’s it gonna take?

What’s it gonna take for Michigan’s political class, in both parties, to acknowledge they repeatedly have failed the people who sent them to Lansing with some expectation that they would do something to earn the salaries we’re paying them?

What’s it gonna take for Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s apologists — all 10 or so of them — to concede that the governor has taken a bad economic hand and played it just about as poorly as it could be played? For example:

Budget problems in ’07? Slap a 22-percent surcharge on business and increase the income tax rate. Budget problems in ’09? Call the Big Stall and plug holes with ObamaCash. Can’t ease the tax-and-regulatory burden on existing business, estimated to cost companies in the state three percentage points of profit? Dump massive incentives on “new” industries and those who come, shoot their movies and leave.

Lead a campaign for structural reform that challenges organized labor’s hold on the state’s public sector? Nah, that would be too hard, too divisive and it might complicate the guv’s quiet campaign to land a job with Team Obama, the most pro-labor administration since LBJ in the 1960s.

What’s it gonna take for the pro-term limits crowd to accept that Michigan’s political drift, exemplified by these embarrassing budget stalemates, symbolizes the failure of term limits? Where you don’t have rookies legislating like rookies, you have term-limited lawmakers (and a governor) staking positions to benefit their next

What’s it gonna take for Michigan’s voters (assuming they even care about politics amid this economic free-fall) to see that the problem in Lansing isn’t a lack of proposed solutions? It’s a lack of action. The servers of Michigan’s think tanks and civic groups are clogged with proposals, studies and “agendas for change” that the politicians routinely ignore and the special interests savage.

Let me say this plainly, folks: Political Michigan is broken, as broken, lost and bereft of strong leadership as much of the Detroit auto industry has proven to be over the past year.

And like Detroit Auto, the Big Mitten won’t get back on track until its leaders — present and future — stop denying reality, man up and attack the structures that make it unsustainable today, next year and 10 years from now.

Quick fixes won’t help any more than they helped General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC, Delphi Corp. and Visteon Corp. For years, those companies lived on borrowed time and someone else’s money, betting they could somehow outrun obligations to investors and unions they simply could not keep.

Today’s Michigan is no different.

Hoping that the car market will return, as I heard the governor remark recently in an interview with WJR’s Lloyd Jackson, isn’t a strategy. It’s a delaying tactic. Because U.S. car sales are not likely to hit the trends of the early part of this decade for years — and when they do, Detroit’s share of that market will be less than it’s ever been in the history of the industry.

That may sound negative. It may be depressing. It may cause one of the governor’s closest advisers to send me another snarky note. But it’s true, no matter what comes from the Lansing excuse factory.

I suspect I speak for a lot of small-business owners and big-company CEOs when I say that just once I’d like to see the governor or the Democratic leadership — beyond the speaker, all by his lonesome — champion a piece of structural reform that could make Michigan a better place to do business.

What does that mean? Comprehensive tax reform that a) makes Michigan’s tax burden competitive with the top tier in the country and b) reflects the relative diminution of manufacturing and the increasing importance of the service sector in the state economy.

It means risking the wrath of the de facto leaders in Lansing, the Michigan Education Association and the United Auto Workers, and aligning the pay and benefits of public employees with national averages. It means pushing localities to share services and penalizing those that don’t. It means seriously assessing what state functions might be more efficiently done by outside contractors.

What’s it gonna take? Evidently another “lost decade” to see that the people calling the shots prefer to do what benefits them and their friends — and the rest of us can go hang.

Good luck 2010 Republican governor candidates! Make sure you bring a HUGE mop with you to Lansing if you win, because you’ll have a big mess to clean up.

Props: Daniel Howes.

Side-Note: Sorry F.A.L. fans for being away for a bit this weekend and not having the time to post much.

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