Wednesday, April 13, 2016

April, 2016, Part 9, Political Class Insanity: Sotomayor Lunacy, More Money For Former Presidents, Anotehr Solyndra-Like Flame Out and More

It is the beginning of another month which means it is time again to review the latest political class insanity from the American political class. Each month it takes us multiple posts to cover the wasteful spending, incompetent government organizations and employees, government programs that usually make a problem worse than resolving it, inane and idiotic politician comments, etc.

To review past posts on this insanity and idiocy, just click on the first few posts in each month listed to the right of this page. After reviewing just a handful of these insanity posts we think you will agree that we are currently being served by the worst set of American politicians ever to hold office in our entire history.

It looks like our politicians have been especially insane over the past month or so let’s get started with the latest insanity from today’s American politicians:

1) The purpose of government in a democracy and free nation should be to be as minimal as possible, letting citizens do and say and believe what they want as long as they do not interfere with others doing the same thing. But apparently that concept is lost on at least on Supreme Court judge who wants to know what would happen if government could not “demand“ citizens to conform to a government decree. 

Consider a recent statement from Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor: “What I don’t understand, Mr. Clement, is when will any government law that someone claims burdens their practice ever be insubstantial? Because every believer that’s ever come before us, including the people in the military, are saying that my soul will be damned in some way. I’m not naysaying that that is a very substantial perceived personal burden by them. But if that’s always going to be substantial, how will we ever have a government that functions? How will we ever have anything that the government can demand people do in objecting that won’t be a problem?”

Two serious problems with this attitude. First, in a democracy the government should be subservient to the people and should “demand” very little of them. Second, there really is no such “thing” as a government who is all knowing and knows best what is optimal for citizens. Government is simply a bunch of people who got elected, supposedly to represent the interests of the citizens who voted. 

When she says government demands she is really saying politicians demand and that is when things usually go off the tracks. 500 or so elitist, usually pompous politicians sitting in Washington should not be demanding anything of over 300 million citizens, they should be doing what those 300 million citizens want them to do. Sotomayer has it ass backwards, as we explained long ago from a Freedom Pyramid perspective:

Very scary that she thinks that we should sit back and passively accept any and all government decrees, which are really political class decrees. 

2) Let’s put some facts out there first before discussing the latest political class insanity from Obama:
  • There are about 14 million Americans who are unemployed or working part time since they cannot find a full time job.
  • Even jobs that have been created under Obama have tended to  be low wage, menial jobs.
  • Household wages and incomes have stagnated throughout the Obama administration.
  • Current Presidential pensions are orders of magnitudes higher than the median U.S. household income.
  • Social Security recipients got no increase in their payments this past year.
  • Recent past Presidents have milked their Presidencies for multi-millions of dollars in speaking fees and other activities.
  • The Obama family is likely worth over $10 million and counting.
Despite these realities of America today, Obama has asked for a whopping 18% increase in the annual amount of taxpayer wealth that is paid to former Presidents, beginning in fiscal year 2017, just in time for his administration ending, how convenient. A report from the Congressional Research Service found that: "The President’s FY2017 budget request seeks $3,865,000 in appropriations for expenditures for former Presidents, an increase of $588,000 (17.9%) from the FY2016 appropriation level." This is up from $3,277,000 for former Presidents in 2017.

Americans are suffering across the board from an economic perspective, and this multi-millionaire wants more retirement funds for himself and other milionaire foirmer Presidents like him once he leaves office despite being a millionaire many times over. Step 42 from ”Love My Country, Loathe My Government” would kill this kind of nonsense if it was in effect: Step 42 would make a former President start paying for post Presidency perks, rather than the taxpayers, once their annual income was over a million dollars or to suspend their annual pension payments and perks once their annual income was over $3 million or their total assets were over $10 million.  

Unfortunately, it is not in effect which allows the existing set of American politicians to continue to enrich themselves at the expense of struggling taxpayers.

3) At last count, the Obama administration had wasted billions of taxpayer dollars on failed alternative energy programs and companies, almost all of which have either gone out of business or have provided no societal or taxpayer benefit in return for the taxpayer wealth they received. As we have previously discussed in this blog, almost all of the companies that received taxpayer wealth were deeply entangled with Democratic politicians, including President Obama. In other words, billions of taxpayer dollars were sent out to Democratic crony businesses without any overall strategy or plan, it was just reward for loyalty to Democrats.

Unfortunately, the wasting of taxpayer dollars on bad alternative energy projects and companies continues to today. Consider the case of the Ivanpah solar energy thermal plant facility in California. David Kreutzer of the Heritage Foundation recently did a summary of how this latest energy boondoggle was failing and taking taxpayer wealth with it:
  • The Ivanpah plant cost $2.2 billion to build.
  • Much of the plant was funded with taxpayer loan guarantees to the tune of $1.6 billion.
  • The plant is owned by Google, NRG Energy, and Brightsource, all of which have a combined market cap of half a TRILLION dollars.
  • Obviously, these three companies could have paid for the whole plant, given their corporate, they did not need the American taxpayer to put up $1.6 billion.
  • Despite spending so much money, the electricity created by Ivanpah is four to five times more expensive than electricity created by natural gas powered plants.
  • Ivanpah electricity is two to three times more expensive than electricity created from other solar technologies.
  • The physical plant has burned thousands of birds to death.
  • It is behind on its loan payments which means that the taxpayer loan guarantees are in danger.
  • It is looking for half a billion in financing to pay off the guaranteed loans.
  • Even though it is a solar plant, it still needs to burn 4.5 hours worth of natural gas each day just to get the whole plant underway.
  • Its actual production of electricity is running 32% below what was promised despite receiving only 9% less sunlight than planned for.
Just another alternative energy disaster, courtesy of the Obama administration. From Solyndra to A123 to many other failures, crony capitalism, Democratic style, has wasted billions of taxpayer dollars while Americans go homeless, hungry and drug addicted. Pathetic priorities.

4) Hillary Clinton to some degree and Bernie Sanders to a very great degree want to bring more socialism programs to the country and our economy. But is that a good idea? Consider a recent article and analysis by Juan Carlos Hidalgo, writing for Cato, on what socialism did for Venezuela:

  • Transparency International ranks Venezuela and Haiti as two of the most corrupt countries in the Western Hemisphere.
  • Annual inflation in Venezuela will reach 720% this year, according to the IMF.
  • External national debt is up 115% in the past ten years.
  • Given how worthless the Venezuelan currency has become, and the government does not have American dollars to purchase imports, there are widespread shortages throughout the entire country.
  • Citizens line up for hours at government run supermarkets to find very little stock and choices available to them.
  • A national opinion poll found that the percentage of Venezuelans eating less than three meals a day has grown 10 percentage points in the past year.
  • Only 20% of the drugs that doctors need to treat their patients are available.
  • Much of the country’s medical equipment is useless since there is no money to purchase repair parts - 86% of the country’s X-ray machines do not work.
  • A recent article in one of the few remaining newspapers in the country quoted a resident doctor in one of the public hospitals saying that, due to the shortages, doctors cannot save the lives of all patients. “We are operating under war conditions.”
  • The government’s inane reaction to the shortages was to encourage citizens create “urban gardens” and grow their own food or to raise chickens.
  • One citizen tried to take this advice and bought 30 chickens but could not find any feed for the birds so he and his family had to kill the chickens and eat them lest the birds starve to death.
What a disaster and humanitarian crisis. And politicians like Bernie Sanders want to bring this nonsense to this country. Sometimes you cannot make up the idiocy when discussing the American political class. More insanity from today’s politicians tomorrow.

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