Tag Archives: Waste

Trump wants to increase taxpayer subsidies of ethanol, Cruz wants to end them

Donald Trump should stick to Miss Universe pageants
Donald Trump should stick to Miss Universe pageants

Donald Trump is pandering to ethanol special interests, trying to catch up to Cruz in Iowa.

The Wall Street Journal explains:

Donald Trump, who is battling Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas), for the top spot in in corn-rich Iowa, is seeking to draw a contrast between the two candidates by catering to the state’s corn ethanol industry more than any other top GOP candidate.

[…]“I am there with you 100%,” Mr. Trump told a crowd of hundreds of Iowans whose livelihoods depend on the ethanol industry at a summit in Altoona, Iowa, on Tuesday. “You’re going to get a really fair shake from me.”

Corn has long been king in Iowa, the nation’s top corn-producing state, implanting in Iowa voters a sentiment that every candidate must cheer Washington’s backing for ethanol. Since 2011, though, that universal backing has been eroding.

Congress decided at the end of 2011 not to renew a tax credit that cost the government $6 billion a year. Critics of the government’s ethanol policy then set their targets on the ethanol mandate, which requires refineries to blend an increasing amount of biofuels into the U.S. gasoline supply each year.

At the ethanol summit Tuesday, Mr. Trump also read a prepared statement opposing Congress “changing any part of the RFS,” or Renewable Fuel Standard, the mandate’s formal name.

Trump doesn’t just want to keep the subsidies as they are, he wants to raise them, according to this article from The Hill.

It says:

Donald Trump said Tuesday that federal regulators should increase the amount of ethanol blended into the nation’s gasoline supply.

Speaking at an event hosted by the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, Trump, a real estate mogul and the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, said the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ought to follow the ethanol volumes Congress set in 2007.

“The EPA should ensure that biofuel … blend levels match the statutory level set by Congress under the [renewable fuel standard],” Trump said.

The mandate is popular in Iowa, which hosts the nation’s first caucuses.

He is pandering to the people he speaks to wherever he goes… he has no convictions.

Ethanol doesn’t lower the price of gas, it actually raises the price of food, since some crops are being redirected to an inefficient process. It’s a handout to ehtanol producers, at the expense of gas consumers who must pay more for an inferior product.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz
Texas Senator Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz is different:

In a Des Moines Register op-ed Wednesday, Cruz said he would look to “phase out the Renewable Fuel Standard, end all energy subsidies, and ensure a level playing field for everyone,” a move that would eventually end the mandate that requires oil refiners to mix biofuel into their gasoline supplies.

“My view on energy is simple: We should pursue an ‘all of the above’ policy,” he wrote. “We should embrace all of the energy resources with which God has blessed America: oil and gas, coal, nuclear, wind, solar, and biofuels and ethanol. But Washington shouldn’t be picking winners and losers.”Cruz has previously said he would look to end the mandate by 2022, phasing it out over five years, if elected to the Oval Office.

Cruz leads Republicans in Iowa polls ahead the caucuses there next month, but his ethanol policies could hurt him in the state, which leads in the fuel’s production.

The senator from Texas has previously co-sponsored a bill to end the ethanol mandate immediately. Last spring, he sponsored a phase-out bill, and he says that plan is the best way to support fuel producers.

Going into Iowa and taking on the ethanol subsidy takes balls of steel. And Cruz has them.  He is risking the entire election on doing the right thing for the country as a whole, instead of pandering.

Cruz is trying to shift the public to the right – explaining basic economics to them, and asking them to give up their special interests in order to return to the vision of the Founders for America. Will it work? I think someone ought to try to remind us what America is supposed to be like.

There is a very good explanation of why ethanol subsidies are crony capitalism, by conservative firebrand Mark Levin.

Here’s a summary:

Levin explained what crony capitalism is. That it is the state picking winners at the expense of others.  In the case of ethanol they have made it mandatory in cars, even though it is proven that it does not reduce oil usage, because oil is needed for the production of ethanol.  That it hurts engines.

The most damaging thing that ethanol does, according to Levin is add to famine and poverty in the third world, by limiting the production of food crops, as the land is used to grow ethanol feedstock instead of food.

Levin focused on the fact that Donald Trump is going all in for ethanol to pander to Governor Terry Branstad in Iowa.  He told his audience that Branstad’s son makes a living from the ethanol industry.

There are fundamental economic issues at play here. We are harming our economy and destroying our long-term prosperity the longer we allow socialists to run our economy. Things can be good in this economy. We can get the jobs we want, cheaper prices, higher quality. We can have social programs that work, and greater individual freedom. But we have to go back to our founding principles. That is what made us great, and what can return us to greatness. We did not become the wealthiest nation on the Earth by accident. When all else has failed, why don’t we try doing what worked for the last 200 years?

U.S. taxpayers pay $3 billion to United Nations budget

Secretary of State John Kerry, United States Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power (center) and United States National Security Advisor Susan Rice
National Security Advisor Susan Rice, United States Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, Secretary of State John Kerry

CNS News has the story on how much we give the United Nations.

Excerpt:

American taxpayers will once again be liable for more than one-fifth of the United Nations’ regular budget next year, as well as more than one-quarter of the much-larger peacekeeping budget – a total of approximately $2,957,000,000.

[…]U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power tweeted her congratulations to the U.S. team involved in committee haggling over the budget – or what she described as “tough negotiations to secure more fair UN budget to slow growing costs & take steps to streamline UN ops.”

[…]There are 193 U.N. member-states. When decisions are made on the U.N. budget, the U.S. has the same (one) vote as does every other member, despite the size of its contribution. America’s 22 percent contribution comes with no more weight in the budget process than the 0.001 percent paid by the lowest-assessed nations.

We’re paying the bill, but other nations – often with gross human rights abuses – are calling the tunes. What kinds of tunes are they calling?

Well, they are promoting abortion, for one.

Life News explains:

The United Nations’ treaty monitoring body for the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) ignored the pro-life laws of four countries under review during its recent 55th session and strongly urged the countries to change their laws or policies on abortion, despite the fact that the treaty does not mention abortion.

And the United Nations is very concerned with promoting gay rights, too.

Life Site News explains:

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon promised that homosexual and transgender rights would advance at the United Nations despite the strain it will cause within the organization and between states.

[…]“This is not just a personal commitment, it is an institutional commitment,” he said, promising that he would “continue to fight” and that he would be the “first of many” Secretary Generals to take up LGBT rights, as part of the UN’s “sacred mission” to promote human rights.

Now for those who are more concerned about fiscal issues than social issues, you shouldn’t like the United Nations either.

Here’s a column by Claudia Rossett in The Tower:

The results range from Security Council paralysis to watered-down resolutions that too often fail to solidly reflect U.S. interests. This has not been helped by U.S. policies outlined by President Obama when he told the UN General Assembly in 2009 that “No one nation can or should try to dominate another nation” and “No balance of power among nations will hold.” Far from taking this as an inspiration to live in brotherly peace and fill the communal pot, some of the more opportunistic UN member states appear to have received it as an invitation to grab whatever they can get. Russia and China have been ever more aggressively pursuing anti-American interests, including increasing engagement with terror-sponsoring Iran and actively preventing action to stop the atrocities in Syria. Following a spate of Security Council sanctions resolutions meant to stop Iran’s rogue nuclear program, in 2006, 2007, and 2008, the Council has not produced another since 2010. When civil war engulfed Syria starting in 2011, Russia blocked Security Council action for more than two years, until finally, in Sept., 2013, the U.S. deferred to a Russia-brokered deal to relieve Syria’s Assad regime of its chemical weapons in exchange for effectively shoring up Syria’s President Bashar Assad—and allowing the killing to continue unabated.

In the General Assembly, U.S. money has similarly not bought friendship. On the contrary, U.S. funding has fostered an entitlement culture, in which the U.S. is not only taken for granted as a cash dispenser, but also systematically denounced and defied. Nations deeply hostile to the U.S. have made an art of twisting the UN system, flush with U.S. resources, for their own aims. A prime exhibit is Iran’s current three-year chairmanship (2012-2015) of the so-called Non-Aligned Movement, which with 120 members is the second-largest voting bloc in the UN General Assembly. At the UN’s New York headquarters, the largest voting bloc, the Group of 77, with 133 members, is currently chaired by Bolivia—where the anti-American government maintains close ties to Iran.

The practical results of such arrangements can be found in the annual reports submitted by the State Department to Congress on “Voting Practices in the United Nations.” The most recent report, released last April and covering 2012, records that of all General Assembly resolutions put to a vote, fewer than half the UN member states—just 42.5 percent—aligned themselves with the U.S. For votes on resolutions the State Department judged “important,” the coincidence of countries voting with the U.S. was even lower: a mere 35.4 percent.

We’re not getting good value for money here… we’d be better off using that money on our own military and military alliances, e.g. – NATO.

And if you care most about foreign policy, well… the United Nations is still not for you.

Claudia Rossett reports on that in Forbes magazine:

Founded in 1945 to promote global peace, human dignity and freedom, the United Nations is celebrating its 70th anniversary — with a parade of dictators. The ceremonies will peak on Monday, at U.N. headquarters in New York, when the General Assembly opens its annual debate with a lineup starring the presidents of such notorious tyrannies as China, Russia, Iran and Cuba.

[..]Monday’s opening of the U.N. general debate will also feature the despots who bestride such countries as Belarus, Turkmenistan, Zimbabwe, Kazakhstan, Qatar, Ethiopia and Gabon.

[…]Today, according to the rankings of Washington-based Freedom House, more than half the U.N.‘s 193 member states are only partly free, or not free at all. During the entire general debate, a six-day marathon of speeches, from Sept. 28 – Oct. 3, all members get a 15-minute turn (though some take more) on the main stage.

What’s historic, however, is the procession of high-profile despots planning to appear in person in Monday’s starting lineup, including Russia’s Vladimir Putin, China’s Xi Jinping and Cuba’s Raul Castro… [M]aking his third appearance at the U.N. general debate, comes Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, clutching the freshly minted Iran nuclear deal and fronting as head of state for Tehran’s terror-sponsoring tyranny run by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

That’s right. The United States is handing billions of taxpayer dollars to an organization that has large numbers of dictators calling the shots. It’s really time to cut off funding for this corrupt, anti-American organization. But that will never happen while the Democrats are in charge. Think of that when you are voting next November.

Planned Parenthood whistleblower: we billed Medicaid $35 for $3 pills

Hillary Clinton and Planned Parenthood
Hillary Clinton and Planned Parenthood

This is from the Daily Signal.

Excerpt:

A little-known whistleblower lawsuit accuses Planned Parenthood clinics in Iowa of wrongly siphoning millions of American taxpayer dollars with a series of complicated billing schemes aimed at increasing profits.

Among other dishonest practices, a former manager of the clinics alleges, Planned Parenthood staffers routinely purchased birth control pills for just under $3, billed Medicaid $35 for the same package of pills, and got reimbursed for $26.

[…]By privately negotiating a deal with Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo, a birth control prescription manufactured by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Thayer said the Iowa clinics were able to purchase birth control pills for $2.89 per 28-day cycle.

[…]Thayer then said Planned Parenthood of the Heartland would bill Medicaid $35 for each birth control package and be reimbursed about $26 by Iowa Medicaid authorities.

Medicaid, a government-run health care program, provides free services to low-income families and individuals. When a patient on Medicaid seeks treatment at one of Planned Parenthood’s more than 600 locations, the organization bills Medicaid on that patient’s behalf.

Video:

Now recall that Planned Parenthood gives a cut of their profits to the Democrat Party, in exchange for allowing them to butcher defenseless unborn children:

Planned Parenthood donations to Democrats
Planned Parenthood donations to Democrats

We already know that the Democrats give Planned Parenthood tons of money every year to subsidize their operations. Now, if these charges are true, the Democrats politicians are funneling taxpayer even more money to Planned Parenthood, by allowing them to overbill incompetent government agencies, and then some of that taxpayer money they are getting makes its way back to the Democrat politicians by way of political contributions. So, if you’re paying taxes, you’re actually giving money to people who kill unborn babies, as well as the Democrats who protect the abortion industry.

There is always a conflict between government and private sector businesses. The private sector businesses serve customers in exchange for money, and the government takes some money from the private sector businesses and gives it to low-information voters in exchange for votes. Conservatives know that the government wastes taxpayer money, and that’s why we want to shrink government spending and instead let the efficient private sector handle things like health care. Liberals realize that the private sector cannot be fleeced as easily because they do business with their own money. Government spends taxpayer money – and that’s why they aren’t careful with it.

When we have more government, we get more government waste. The wasting is what gives the Democrat politicians the ability to help themselves to taxpayer money.

Report: Kay Hagan and family got nearly $450,000 in taxpayer money

Democrat Senator Kay Hagan
Senator Kay Hagan (D-N.C.)

Here’s the latest from Carolina Journal.

Excerpt:

From a report filed early Saturday by WRAL-TV news, we have confirmation that a cluster of businesses owned by Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan’s husband and other family members collected even more subsidies from taxpayers than initially reported. While Carolina Journal’s Don Carrington has highlighted a stimulus grant totaling $250,644 that was paid to JDC Manufacturing, a real estate business co-owned by Hagan’s husband, Chip, and his brothers John and David, WRAL confirmed that JDC received an additional $137,000 in energy tax credits from the project. (Some of the relevant documents are here.)

[…]Add a second federal renewable energy grant of $50,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to the ledger, and we learn that Hagan businesses soaked taxpayers for nearly $450,000 to pay for energy upgrades installed at JDC’s 300,000-square-foot building in Reidsville.

[…]Team Hagan has chosen to hire Marc Elias, a high-powered political lawyer and Caitlin Legacki, acrisis-management specialist and former Hagan press secretary, to argue otherwise.

Now that the story is out, an Obama donor is blocking access to the Hagan stimulus records.

Excerpt:

After first agreeing to allow Carolina Journal to inspect the documents relating to a taxpayer-funded U.S. Department of Agriculture energy grant to a company owned by family members of U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, the USDA Rural Development office in Raleigh later said the matter was being handled in Washington — implying the USDA’s headquarters in the nation’s capital.

On Tuesday, CJ spoke by telephone with Delane Johnson, North Carolina’s rural development public information coordinator, who said she would treat CJ’s request for documents about the $50,000 renewable energy grant as a Freedom of Information Act request. By email, she said agency policy requires USDA to contact the grant recipient, JDC Manufacturing, before complying with the document request. She also indicated that she would have a response to CJ within 10 days.

By Wednesday, however, Johnson was much less cooperative. CJ went to the Raleigh office to meet Johnson and ask her additional questions about the process of reviewing the grant file. Upon arrival, CJ was told to take a seat outside Johnson’s office. Another employee went into the office, closed the door, and a few minutes later, informed CJ that Johnson would not be able to speak with him and that the matter was being handled in Washington.

Not only that, but the Washington Free Beacon also reported on a scandal with a judicial nominee.

Excerpt:

Just a week after Sen. Kay Hagan (D., N.C.) recommended a North Carolina judge to President Barack Obama for a seat in the U.S. District Court, the judge ruled in favor of a company partially owned by Hagan’s husband.

The senator’s husband, Charles T. “Chip” Hagan, was a managing member of Hydrodyne Industries LLC when it sued a regional water authority for drawing water out of a river that had one of its hydroelectric dams built on. The lawsuit sought millions of dollars in damages and was carried out by Chip Hagan’s legal firm.

Superior Court Judge Calvin E. Murphy ruled the case in favor of Hydrodyne, setting the table for the Piedmont Triad Regional Water Authority to pay millions in damages to companies including Hydrodyne.

Murphy’s ruling was made on Oct. 23, 2009, just nine days after Sen. Hagan sent his name to Obama to be nominated for a lifetime seat on the U.S. District Court for Western North Carolina.

Previously, I blogged about her support for late-term abortion.

This is why we vote Republican, people. Because secular people don’t do morality much.

Are “budget cuts” to blame for the CDC’s inept handling of Ebola?

Investors Business Daily tells the truth.

Excerpt:

There haven’t been any real cuts to those budgets at all. At least not in the sense that any American household would recognize.

The CDC’s budget today is 25% bigger than it was in 2008 and 188% bigger than in 2000. The NIH budget has been flat for the past few years, but at a level that’s more than double what it was 14 years ago.

Plus, spending at both of these agencies has actually been higher than President Obama himself proposed (see chart). The 2014 NIH budget, in fact, is almost $1 billion bigger than Obama sought in his budget plan, released in early 2010.

True, the heads of these agencies are decrying cuts. But that’s what government officials always do, even as their budgets continue to grow. Besides, the CDC and NIH are desperate to point the finger of blame somewhere other than their own incompetence.

Even if there has been some cutting here and there at these agencies, it’s not as if there isn’t plenty of fat to trim.

If the NIH was really so concerned about developing an Ebola vaccine, for example, it could have directed more grant money to that effort, rather than wasting it researching such things as diseases among male sex workers in Peru ($400,000), why chimps throw feces ($600,000) and sexual attraction among fruit flies (nearly $1 million).

The CDC isn’t much better at husbanding its resources. A few years ago, it dumped $106 million into a swanky visitors’ center in Atlanta, even though it already had one. It bought $10 million worth of furniture for its lavish new headquarters and spent $1.7 million to advise Hollywood on medical plots.

Yes, the federal government has blown it on Ebola. But that’s not because the relevant agencies have too little money to spend. It’s the result of unfocused missions, bureaucratic bloat and a shameful lack of accountability.

I think that this Ebola crisis is an excellent reminder to us why we should not trust government to be accountable to people. We were told that the government was going to handle this, and there was nothing to worry about. But now we know that there has been mistake after mistake. We were told that Ebola could not spread, but now two nurses have it. It’s another case of the government saying one thing, but the opposite is actually true. If we’re going to have government, we should at least have competent government, and that certainly is not a Democrat government.