Category Archives: Budget

Cages for Only $700 per Day

I have seen estimates from a couple sources. NPR says it costs $770 per day. The Washington Examiner, a conservative source, says it is about $670 per day.

This is what taxpayers are paying to private, some times religious, organizations to house immigrant minors. The “unaccompanied” minors, most of whom WERE accompanied when they crossed the border. But who were then taken from their parents and so now are labeled “unaccompanied”.

We are paying about $700 a day for EACH child. Let the fiscal conservatives swallow that. $700 each day.

Who is making $700 a day “housing” these kids? Are cages that expensive? And is the cost of frozen food so much more near the border?

Now, for $700 I can get a round trip flight from New York City to Europe.

For $700 a day I can go to the Big Apple. Stay in a very nice hotel. Sate my appetite  at the best restaurants. Indulge in Broadway play. And still have plenty of money left over for the cab ride and an excellent  happy ending “massage.”

For $700 a day I can make payments on a BMW and have it paid off pretty darn quick.

A farmer in my neck of the woods could easily hire a couple for farm laborers for half that amount.

For $700 a day these kids could be housed in luxury apartments, provided with plenty of food and personal tutors.

$700 a day. That is $3,500 a week. Keep a kid for a month and each little immigrant child is worth $14,000. A little gold mine. Keep em as long as you can..

What do these children get for $700 a day. A bunk bed? A cage? Some providers claim they provide 3 meals a day. And they provide a trip to a bowling alley ! And multi-colored crayons and coloring books ! That is a pretty generous and Christian thing to do.

I mean, when can you find crayons for only $700 a day. I am surprised these private organizations are not going broke.

Of course, when this catastrophe of the Trump years is behind us we will get the facts. The connections between Betsy DeVos and other members of this pirate crew to the owners of these for profit holding centers for children. This gang of grifters using the treasury as their private slush fund.

The stench of corruption of this administration just grows and grows and grows.

I wonder how much perfume you can buy for $700 a day?

 

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Filed under border control, Budget, Conservatives, government, immigrants, Immigration, Politics, Taxes, Trump, United States

The Party’s Over

“The party’s over
It’s time to call it a day
They’ve burst your pretty balloon
And taken the moon away

It’s time to wind up the masquerade
Just make your mind up
The piper must be paid…”

http://www.songlyrics.com/bobby-darin/the-party-s-over-lyrics/

The Congress just passed a massive budget, increasing the deficit by a trillion dollars. And, over time, increasing the debt (with interest payments) by much more. The military and domestic spending were both increased. Disaster relief for the hurricanes was finally passed. Mr Trump, thankfully relegated to  the sidelines during the process , signed the bill into law.

This was an example of compromise. The House of Representatives needed over 60 Democrats to work across the aisle and vote for this. Why? Because even though they “control” the House, the GOP does not control the “Tea Party”. And the Tea Party radicals insisted that this bill spent too much on citizens. They voted “No”.

My own representative, Tom Reed of NY 23, voted “No”. He claims to be a member of the “Problem Solvers” caucus. You know, the guys who reach across the aisle to compromise. But one thing Tom will not compromise on is spending money on “entitlements”. Spending money on citizens. Like the poor. Or elderly. According to Tom, this budget is bad because it raises the debt! It spends too much on people.

Keep in mind, this is the same Tom Reed who bragged about passing the massive tax cuts for corporations. That law drove up the debt AT LEAST $1.5 trillion over 10 years. No platitudes about fiscal responsibilty when to comes to tax breaks for the top 1 %. No crocodile tears about the future of our children. What, me worry?

This is the same Tom Reed who has bragged about the renewed funding for rural hospitals. Taking credit for bringing the pork into the district. The same Tom Reed who voted over and over and over and over to defund the ACA. A vote which, if passed,  would have destroyed so much of our rural medical infrastructure. The same clinics he brags about saving. The same guy. The guy who cares about women’s health care  so much he voted to end funding for Planned Parenthood. Thank god Tom was born with both sides of his mouth intact.

Which brings me to the party. The Tea Party. The young guns who won their places in the House and Senate based on fantasy economics, throwning in a dollop of homophobia, a dash of racism and sprinkling of xenophobia. With a cherry of misogyny on the top.

Tom is not a member of the Tea Party. Tom knows that in New York, even rural New York, being labeled as a Freedom Caucus or Tea Party member will not win him any votes. (The Tea Party has really morphed into the “Freedom Caucus”) So Tom is a member of the “Problem Solvers” caucus, except that he votes like a true believer of Tea Party ideals. He is just too clever to call himself that.

But this last budget deal shows that the Tea Party is over. Their radical ideas and non-solutions certainly live on in a minority of the GOP, like Mr Reed. But, for the most part, the party is over.

We can thank the Democrats for this budget deal. When Mr Obama was POTUS the GOP refused just about any compromise. Lead by McConnell. Supported by Reed. And the forces of the far right are still alive in Congress, make no mistake. Be clear, the Democrats COULD have stopped this budget from passing. They could have given Ryan no votes and the bill woudl be dead. The government shut down. But they didn’t. They decided to compromise.

A glimmer of good news for the country. But for the more radical fringe, not so much. The Tea Party is over.

“The party’s over
It’s all over, my friend
Now you must wake up
All dreams must end

Take off your makeup
The party’s over
It’s all over, my friend”

 

 

 

 

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Filed under ACA, Budget, Democrat, Economy, GOP, government, healthcare, neoconservatives, Politics, Republicans, Society, tea party, Trump, United States

Turkey Tax Theory

For over 30 years I have insisted on cooking the Thanksgiving turkey. I say “insisted”. It is my right as the head of the family. As a man. I decide these things. I know better than anyone else how to cook a turkey, so I take control. End of discussion. (Right, dear?)

I have a very sound theory of turkey cooking. First, you buy a turkey.  Then you cook it. Simple. Common sense.

Of course some folks might look to socalled “experts” when it comes to cooking turkey, but not me. They look in cook books and on line videos and some even ask grandma. But not me. I have a theory and I am sticking to it.

Now, the cookbook “experts” will tell you to cook a turkey at 325 degrees for a certain length of time, depending on the size of the bird. So much for experts. I have been using my own theory for 30 years. Ignoring the experts.

Here’s my theory.  I get a 15 pound turkey. Now, the “experts” say that you should cook a 15 pound turkey at 325 degrees for 3-3 1/2 hours. Balderdash. My common sense theory says  this is a waste of time. I don’t want to wait 3 1/2 hours for a turkey.  So, using common sense and math (Well, a calculator) my theory says this.

Cooking a turkey at 650 degrees will shorten the cooking time by exactly one-half. So, my turkey will be ready at 1 1/2 hours or so. No reason to wait for 3 hours. Simple. To the point. Common sense. A theory any idiot can understand.

I have been cooking Thanksgiving birds like this for 30 years and EVERY year, I mean EVERY year, the turkey ends up charred on the outside, partially cooked on the inside and a smoking mess. There is always a problem with the smoke filling the kitchen and the smoke alarm going off. I solve that easily by opening windows and disabling the smoke alarm ahead of time. Clever. The volunteer fire department is on retainer.

Why does the turkey always burn? For the first 20 years I figured it was a bad batch of turkeys. Not my fault. So I tried every turkey under the sun. I cooked each of the following , in order:

Honeysuckle, Butterball, Jennie-O, Norbest, Shay Brook, Riverside, Foster Farms, Boar’s Head, Plainville Farms, Trader Joe’s , Nature’s Promise, Perdue, Smithfield, Organic Prairie, Carolina, Pilgrim’s Pride, Applegate, Private Selection, O Organics, Cooper Farms.

As fate would have it, every one of these turkeys ended up being defective. They all burned.  They all filled my kitchen with smoke. Sad. Very sad. I thought maybe you just can’t get a decent turkey nowadays.

But then I thought. Wait. Maybe it’s the oven. So, I bought a new oven. Nope. Same problem. No matter what turkey I tried or oven I tried the end product was the same. I know that if only I had the right turkey and right oven my theory would be proven. It is just a matter of time. No amount of evidence can dissuade me from my theory.

Which brings us to the latest Tax Plan.

In 1980 Ronald Reagan had a great theory. A SPLENDID theory. Increase spending on the military. Give money to the rich by lowering taxes and they will create jobs. The economy will BOOM and unemployment will disapper. So, he put the theory into practice.  George H W Bush called it “voodoo economics” and said it would not work. By 1982 the US economy had experienced a recession and unemployment had RISEN to 10.8%. The GDP declined 2.7%. Opposite of the growth expected. Still, despite the evidence, it was a good theory.

In 1990 there was another smaller recession. This time George HW Bush was president. He had run on the slogan of “No New Taxes”. A great theory. Unfortunately circumstances beyond his control led him to abandon that theory and call for “revenue increases” to stabilize spending.  But he still had a good theory.

In 2001 George Bush had a theory. If we cut taxes on the wealthy they will invest in US jobs. GREAT! Wonderful theory. So, Congress cut corporate and individual taxes to stimulate the economy.  And he theorized that we needed to de-regulate big business. Too many restrictions were just strangling these major corporate and financial institutions. So, de-regulate we did. Excellent theory. Of course, it would take a few years for the effects to be felt. But the theory was sound.

And the effects were the biggest recession since 1945. Growth tanked to a negative 5.1%. Unemployment rose to 10%. Big money investors with all that extra capital did not create jobs in the US. Deregulated financial institutions simply made bad loans with investors money and went bust. (Well, they didn’t go bust, they got bailed out. Another theory. Too big to fail… even when they do).

When President  Obama left office unemployment was about 4%. A relatively stable rate. And there were no Obama-era recessions.So, the economy is back on track and continues to chug along. No reason to tamper with it.

BUT, we need to follow theories, not evidence. So, Congress is proposing the biggest tax breaks ever while proposing a massive increase in military spending . In 2015 the USA spent more on the military ($ 597,000,000,000 that’s billion) than the next 10 nations combined. The US spent more than the total spent by China, Saudi Arabia, Russia, UK, India, France, Germany, Japan, S Korea and Brazil…COMBINED). This is not to suggest the US does not need a strong military, but this seems a bit excessive. Spend more, take in less. Voodoo economics, anyone?

So, once again we are following a theory that has been shown to have no evidence supporting it, IF the goal is a stable , fair economic system. But the theory sounds pretty good.

For my part, I continued to use my theory to cook my Thanksgiving turkey. Despite the naysayers. OK, so it got burned again this year. No turkey for Thanksgiving. On the positive side, my wife has made a standing reservation for Thanksgiving at Hop Sing’s Chinese Restaurant.  She is  no theoretician. And I am developing a taste for Mu Shu Pork.

http://www.butterball.com/how-tos/roast-a-turkey

https://www.ranker.com/list/best-turkey-brands/ranker-shopping

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_recessions_in_the_United_States

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Read_my_lips:_no_new_taxes

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_military_expenditures

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Filed under Budget, Congress, Debt, Democrat, economics, Economy, Free Trade, GOP, jobs, Politics, Republicans, Society, United States

A Deal at Any Price

Tom Price, the Health and Human Services Secretary, has been criticized for flying on charter jets. He spent about $ 60,000 of HHS money on 5 flights in just one weekend.  The one that has gotten the most publicity was his round trip flight from DC to Philly and back. For $25,000. That is about 150 miles each way or 3 hours by car.

Now, this is the same Tom Price who had the best luck in the world when he was on the Senate committee responsible for Health issues. Just by chance, his broker bought him a ton of stocks in a company called Zimmer Biomet. This happened just two weeks after Tom introduced a bill called the HIP act.

Now for those of you with all your appendages intact that may not mean much. But the HIP Act (which should have been called the SLIP Act) deregulated the the hip and knee joint replacement industry. I mean, really, should an artificial limb replacement need regulations? I guess they are warranted for the life (good luck) of the owner!

Well, it so happens that Zimmer Biomet  is a supplier of….(drum roll)… hip and knee joint replacements. Like I said, when it comes to investments Tom is one lucky guy.

(To be fair, the HIP Act was so bad that even the GOP Congress has not yet taken it up).

But, back to charter flights. This must be a different Tom Price than the Georgia Senator who castigated the Democrats for proposing buying 8 passenger planes. Wasteful. That Tom Price said the US government should not buy any. Zero. Government employees should be flying on commercial flights. Tighten those belts you spendthrifts.

Senator Tom Price meet HHS Secretary Tom Price.

So, some perspective. Perhaps it is worth it to keep Tom flying hither and yon. Keep him out of DC where he can only do more damage. Perhaps his broker has recently bought some stock in the charter plane industry. Gee. I wonder if he wants to deregulate safety inspections on charter planes. It would streamline the industry.

A final note: Tom landed and spent the day in Pennsylvania. Minimum wage in Pennsylvania is $ 7.25 per hour. A full time worker in PA who decided to treat Tom to this round trip airfare would have to work 86 weeks to earn that much. Before taxes.

If he or she started working now and took no vacations they could pay off Tom’s airfare bill by the end of May, 2019. Unless he or she got sick. Because Tom doesn’t believe in the working poor getting coverage under Obamacare. Too costly!

 

 

 

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/09/20/hhs-sec-tom-price-once-slammed-congress-private-jets.html

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/01/tom-price-healthcare-stock-conflicts-233823

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Filed under ACA, Budget, Congress, Economy, GOP, government, healthcare, minimum wage, Obamacare, Politics, workers

The Reagan Babies

When I was a tyke going to school in a medieval Catholic dungeon I learned about the Pagan Babies.

We would bring in our pennies on Friday and Sister Attila of the Holy Order of Terror would collect the coin. Our little coppers were going to be sent to some missionary in Africa to help convert the “pagan babies”. These little babies evidently had not gotten the word about the all-merciful god. Our job, as little Catholic babies, was to save them.

Whether the money actually went to Africa or to the Vatican I don’t know. Our second grade class did not hire a CPA to check the books. Maybe the load of coppers  went to fund  Sister Attila’s  “Bloody Mary” stash. Perhaps the pennies fed the local liquor economy. Either way, a good cause.

The thing about these Pagan Babies living in Africa was this.

They were ignorant. They were hapless and hopeless. They did not know the truth. They were condemned to a life of squalor and prejudice and stupidity. We pitied them. We felt sorry for them. They knew only what they had been taught. Narrow minded . Ignorant. In the dark. What would  happen when they reached adulthood? How would this ignorance manifest itself?

Which brings me to their American counterparts. The Reagan Babies.

The Reagan Babies were brought up in the 1980s. They were brought up on the mantra that “government is evil” and “greed is good”.  They were told that poor people are poor because they are lazy. And the rich are wealthy because they deserve to be wealthy. They were told that labor should be cheap. Black people are criminals. Most of all, that working people should not have rights.

They were brought up to worship a god that demands obedience and fear. An intolerant, political god who builds hells here on earth for the “fallen” called prisons. And builds “wealth” by buying out real businessmen who actually build real businesses. Then stripping them and selling off the parts. A god that tells us that society is bad. People should not care for each other. The god of the Old Testament.

These Reagan babies have now become politicians. Roughly in their forties . They have achieved power. They want to destroy Social Security. They want to destroy the Civil Rights Act. They want to destroy unions. They want to destroy the concept of a public education for all. Most of all, they want to destroy the very idea of a “social contract”. And they have had some degree of success. The Rubios. The Cruzes. The Ryans. The Brownbacks. The Scott Walkers. The “young studs” of the Republican Party. The Reagan Babies.

We donated out pennies to save the Pagan Babies from ignorance . The Reagan Babies cannot be saved. They have been been taught a narrow view of life. They have been taught to embrace authoritarianism of “supply side” economics and an intolerance for the non-believer. They have been taught that the very concept of “society” is bad. No one is his brother’s keeper. They have come of age and now we are reaping the rewards of Reaganism.

The irony, of course, is that the Reagan Babies are supported by many of the very people they hold in contempt. Working Americans. Older Americans. True believers who  keep sending their hard earned pennies  (and votes) to the Reagan Babies.

Even as 2nd graders we would not have fallen for that scam.

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Filed under blacks, Budget, Christianity, Churches, Congress, crime, Cruz, Debt, economics, Economy, Education, GOP, government, governor, jeb bush, Judaism, liberals, Neoconservative, neoconservatives, Politics, prayer, Religion, Rubio, Social Security, socialism, Society, Taxes, unions, workers

Contestant #6: The Doctor is In…Sane

The next in a series of biased reports about the men and women who want to be President of the United States.

Ben Carson. A great surgeon. Proof that a person can excel in one area and be a total incompetent in other areas.

A look at Mr Carson’s website: https://www.bencarson.com/issues/

Ben has no experience in governing. Which is fine. But he has no record of voting on issues.  So his website is especially important. It allows us to see the depth of his understanding of political issues and the practical solutions he puts forth.

His site lists 10 issues. They are: A Balanced Budget Amendment; Education; Keep Gitmo Open; Keep Faith in Our Society; Health Care; Protect Innocent Life; Russia;2nd Amendment; Israel; and, the Tax Code.

Ben wants an amendment to the Constitution to balance the budget. He makes no recommendations on what he would cut to do so. Voodoo.

Education. Schools are failing. He wants to improve schools by having more “local control” and less big government interference. He would stop common core. Evidently Ben does not know that our educational system is the ONLY area in our lives where “local control” dominates and has done so since book learnin began. . Maybe that is why schools are failing in some communities? He also evidently does not know that common core is not mandated .

Ben wants to keep prisoners at Gitmo without trial. Evidently he does not believe that evidence should be required to detain folks.  (To his credit he does not claim to support the Constitution).

He wants religions to be able to practice their faith. I am not sure who opposes this.

He wants to end the ACA and fund health care through individual “Health Savings Accounts” which will drive down health care costs. Does not explain how this keeps costs down. I guess if you tell your doctor that you are paying with a HSA he will cut you a deal? And on a minimum wage salary it should be easy to sock away a lot of loot into your family’s HSA.  Yep. That will work.

He wants to protect innocent life. Don’t we all?

He thinks Russia must be dealt with. And he supports Israel. So far, so good.

He thinks the 2nd Amendment should stay on the books. Hard to argue that.

And he wants to change the tax code and eliminate the IRS. Not sure how taxes get collected?

All in all, his “Issues” amount to vague generalities, code words and general ideas. To put it bluntly. This guy is full of crap.

One example is from his “Keep the Faith” explanation. He wrongly asserts that the US was based on the Declaration of Independence as the “bedrock” document. It wasn’t . The Declaration lead to the Articles of Confederation, which was a massive failure. The “bedrock” document of the USA is the Constitution, which fails to mention any religion.

There’s more. And I quote:

“…However, we need to reverse the recent trend of secular progressives using activist, federal judges to drive faith out of our society. Anyone who wishes to practice their faith, for example by praying privately, can and should be able to do so. Equally, the rights of someone to abstain from private prayer should also be jealously protected…”

He cites no case in which judges have DRIVEN OUT faith. (Is he not aware of Hobby Lobby?). And he says people should be able to pray privately. Who , in god’s name, is STOPPING THEM  from praying privately?

I have to stop. The shallowness of his thinking, the lack of understanding of US history, the use of code words. I can’t decide if he is the most devious, dishonest candidate to date or if he is actually dumber than Sarah Palin . (Now that WOULD be an accomplishment.)

Last note: He forgot to mention Prison Reform on his website. After all, “Dr” Ben is the guy who insisted that prisons create gays.

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Filed under ACA, Ben Carson, Budget, Conservatives, Constitution, economics, Elections, gays, GOP, prayer, Republicans