Posts Tagged ‘stimulus’


Corruption: Billions To Timulate Criminality

July 28, 2009

Billions To Stimulate Criminality

IBD: 24 July 2009

Corruption: A nonprofit group committing a crime conjures up images of terrorist fundraising. But $8.5 billion in taxpayer money may go to specialists in political terror: the tax-exempt scam artists of Acorn.

Did Democrats come to their present dominance of both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington thanks in large part to a “syndicate of tax-exempt organizations” that “has coordinated and implemented a nationwide strategy of tax fraud, racketeering, money-laundering and manipulating the American electorate”?

The reams of evidence provided by House Oversight and Government Reform Committee ranking Republican Darrell Issa of California and his GOP colleagues on the panel strongly suggest so.

… (Acorn) uses “a complex structure designed to conceal illegal activities” — 361 different entities in 120 cities, 43 states and the District of Columbia, amounting to a “shell game” that “diverts taxpayer and tax-exempt monies into partisan political activities.”

The group has over the last 15 years received in excess of $53 million in federal funds. Moreover, as the report warns, “under the Obama administration, Acorn stands to receive a whopping $8.5 billion in available stimulus funds.”

Acorn’s improprieties, of course, are not news. As Issa’s report notes, a third of the 1.3 million voter registration cards the organization solicited and presented in 2008 ended up being null and void; the group has been investigated for voter registration fraud in places such as Connecticut, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina and Ohio.

A decade ago, an Acorn operative in Arkansas was arrested for falsification of voter registration forms. Soon after that, Philadelphia officials discovered hundreds of Acorn’s falsified registration forms. In 2007, the state of Washington filed felony charges against several Acorn employees and supervisors for submitting more than 1,700 fraudulent voter cards.

Just last fall, federal agents raided Acorn’s Nevada offices and in May of this year Nevada officials charged the organization and its state personnel with voter fraud. That was soon followed by seven Acorn officials in Pittsburgh being charged with voter fraud. Acorn has been accused of presenting at least 2,100 fraudulent registration forms in Lake County, Ind.

Superimposed upon these offenses are the alleged embezzlement practices of Dale Rathke, brother of the organization’s founder, Wade Rathke, who apparently used a financial management company to “loan” himself over $948,600 in Acorn funds.

For eight years after the incident, Acorn kept him in its employ and failed to notify its board of the money grab. Acorn board members Marcel Reid and Karen Inman were actually kicked off for trying to investigate the Dale Rathke cover-up, and for seeking financial transparency within Acorn.

Inman’s response to her removal last fall was to ask: “Why would you want us not to clean up things? Why would you not want to do your own investigation instead of bringing in the sheriff?”

Perhaps because a cleaned-up Acorn would not be able to operate effectively. Even the left-friendly National Public Radio has reported that the organization’s financial sleight of hand “essentially gives them a cloak that prevents people from seeing really how they’re spending money that comes, in some cases, from the taxpayers, in other cases, comes from members of their organization who pay dues.”

Yet this corrupt outfit has actually been signed up as a national partner with the U.S. Census Bureau to help recruit the nearly 1.5 million workers who will count and classify our 306 million population for 2010. It’s like getting a car thief to manage a parking garage.

As the Capital Research Center’s Matthew Vadum has documented, $3 billion from the stimulus package, another billion dollars from HUD, and $4.5 billion in Community Development Block Grants look set to come Acorn’s way for a total of $8.5 billion.

The Issa report further charges Acorn with submitting false filings to the IRS and the Labor Department, and violating the Fair Labor Standards Act and the ERISA law.

Amidst all this apparent illegality, the campaigns of President Obama, disgraced ex-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, and Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, are among the beneficiaries of financial contributions from Acorn and its affiliates.

“These actions are a clear violation of numerous tax and election laws,” the Issa report charges.

Issa called it “outrageous that Acorn will be rewarded for its criminal acts by taxpayer money in the stimulus and is being asked to help with the U.S. census.” He says the organization “cannot and should not be trusted with taxpayer dollars.”

Don’t hold your breath for justice. No doubt Attorney General Eric Holder will soon be too busy hounding former Vice President Dick Cheney — for his forceful effort in waging the global war on terror — to probe the shady outfit that helped elect his boss president.


Cartoon: Unemployment Office

July 16, 2009


Unloved Stimulus

July 16, 2009

IBD: 15 July 2009

Spending: The stimulus isn’t working, and Americans don’t want another. At least, that’s what our latest IBD/TIPP Poll shows. So why is Congress mulling a second stimulus when the first has so obviously failed?

In our national poll taken last week, 53% said the $787 billion stimulus plan passed in February was “not effective” in “getting the economy going in the right direction.”


So while we have very little economic activity to show for all the stimulus and bailout money spent, we’ll have a massive debt hanging over our collective heads for decades to come.


With joblessness now at 9.5%, White House economic adviser Christina Romer on Tuesday admitted there was no way to tell how many jobs were created or saved. Stimulus, it seems, is faith-based economics.


Hasn’t anyone noticed that despite a 20% jump in spending over the last year, tax revenues have plunged 18% — largely because many of the “millionaires” Congress is going after are going broke?

So are the rest of us. Web site estimates the U.S. has lost over $108 billion in real GDP since the stimulus began.


Cartoon: SLOW stimulus road work

June 23, 2009



June 9, 2009

Europe’s Lesson

IBD 9 June 09

Stimulus: With the votes tallied from a weekend election, it’s now apparent that the European Union has taken another step to the right. There’s a message in this for both the White House and the U.S. Congress.

Results from the vote for the EU Parliament showed huge disaffection among Europeans for state-directed answers to the economic crisis — specifically, for the kinds of massive stimulus programs pushed by the U.S.

Parties allied with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy — who have both made a point of opposing any kind of U.S.-style stimulus — made big gains. Even Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi, embroiled in a scandal in his home country, saw his party increase its strength in the Euro Parliament.

We mention this because, just one day after this sweeping repudiation of statism in Europe, the White House is doubling down on a losing bet, moving to “accelerate” stimulus spending and claiming it’ll “save or create” up to 600,000 jobs.

Pardon us if we’re skeptical. Earlier this year, the White House predicted the jobless rate would top out at 8% if Congress passed the $787 billion stimulus package. Well, since then, 1.5 million jobs have been lost, and unemployment just hit a 26-year high of 9.4%. So, by the administration’s own yardstick, it hasn’t worked at all.

Ignoring this reality, the new “Roadmap to Recovery” unveiled Monday seeks to accelerate stimulus spending on 10 major projects, ranging from road and airport repairs to hiring 135,000 teachers to finding 125,000 summer jobs for youth.

It sounds noble, but it’s just plain foolish.            (STUPID!)

As we’ve written before, the economy’s already on the mend and likely to show positive GDP growth before the end of the year — and perhaps as early as the third quarter. The $787 billion stimulus, which is only 6% spent, has nothing to do with this. It won’t even start being spent in significant amounts until early next year.

Virtually all of the jobs in Monday’s stimulus do-over are nonproductive government jobs — not productive private sector ones. Virtually all economists agree: Real job creation means permanent jobs in the private sector, not make-work jobs for government.

The short-term recovery that looks under way was baked in the cake when the Fed cut interest rates to a record low 0% last December. Still, with economic policy favoring high taxes and government over the private sector, the rebound’s not likely to be a strong one. And looking long term, the outlook is troubling. With an estimated $13 trillion in new spending planned by 2019, the U.S. government is fast becoming a bloated leviathan.

Americans will pay for this through higher taxes, more regulation, fewer jobs, lower incomes and less freedom. The surge in government spending and taxes will significantly hurt our productivity, damaging our economy’s long-term growth.

Just half a decade ago, it was commonly assumed that U.S. GDP could grow indefinitely by 3.5% or more, thanks to surging productivity. Now economists think we’ll be lucky to get 2% growth.

When Europeans trooped to the polls, they gave a definitive “no” to more and bigger government. Maybe Americans are ready to do the same; last weekend, a Gallup Poll showed most Americans for the first time view President Obama unfavorably when it comes to “controlling federal spending.”

There’s a lesson in this for the White House, if it’s willing to listen.


Wealth Connection

March 16, 2009

Wealth Connection


Economy: The Federal Reserve last week announced that Americans’ net worth took an $11.2 trillion hit in 2008 — the biggest on record. Some might say, “Why care? It’s ancient history.” But we should care. A lot.

Read More: Economy

The recent economic and budget news has included so many gargantuan numbers — many in the trillions — that we’re in danger of becoming a bit jaded by them. In such company, the wealth shrinkage might seem benign by comparison. It isn’t.

Net worth — basically, the value of everything you own minus the debt you took on to buy it — plunged 9% from 2007’s $64.4 trillion to $51.5 trillion last year. In the fourth quarter alone, Americans lost $5.1 trillion in wealth. Both are records.

This is more than just a paper reduction in wealth. Such a big shift affects our behavior, making us less prone to take risks, less able to borrow, less able to spend and more anxious about the economy.

This is known as the “wealth effect.” When wealth rises, we spend more; when it falls, we spend less. For each $1 change in wealth, spending changes by 5 cents or so, economists say.

Across the economy, such impacts can be enormous. An $11.2 trillion drop in national wealth, for instance, translates into a $560 billion drop in spending — about $1,963 for every American.

This is why economists worry about net worth. If we don’t do something about stemming the decline in wealth and encouraging wealth accumulation, our economy will continue to struggle.

They may be on to this at the White House, where there’s been a decided shift in tone away from the expressions of doom and gloom common in the initial weeks of Barack Obama’s presidency.

On Friday, for instance, President Obama told Americans the economy is “not as bad as we think,” and that he was “highly optimistic” about things in the long run. Compare that with his statement of early February, when he called the economic crisis “as deep and dire as any since the days of the Great Depression.”

His Treasury secretary, Lawrence Summers, who isn’t exactly known as Mr. Sunshine, had this to say last week: “Before, we had too much greed and too little fear. Now, we have too much fear and too little greed.” And, for the record, he said he already sees “modestly encouraging” signs of success.

Maybe it’s dawned on them that fear and worry are two of the biggest enemies of wealth. People will only invest, and push up prices of assets such as stocks, bonds and real estate, when they feel comfortable about the future and its prospects. It’s called optimism.

We’ve heard this before, of course. FDR said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” The problem is, people do have many things to fear — especially bad policies that will drag stock and home prices down even more, further eroding wealth.

We’re glad to see a change in the administration’s tone. But wealth will start to grow again only when policies change to include lower taxes on income and capital, much less government spending and far fewer regulations.

This would make all assets in America more profitable and therefore more valuable — the essence of wealth.


Ray & Bubba

March 11, 2009

Ray & Bubba

( Arkansas mechanical engineers) were standing at the base of a flagpole, looking up.. A woman walked by and asked what they were doing.

ʽWe’re supposed to find the height of the flagpole, ‘said Bubba, ‘but we don’t have a ladder.’

The woman took a wrench from her purse, loosened a few bolts, and laid the pole down.  Then she took a tape measure from her pocket, took a measurement, announced, ‘Eighteen feet, six inches,’ and walked away.  Ray shook his head and laughed. ‘Ain’t that just like woman!
We ask for the height and she gives us the length!’

Bubba and Ray are currently working for President   Obama….

…  and helping to design and distribute the “stimulus package.”