Category Archives: Economy

Government waste plods on.

New signs have popped up all over the place here in Illinois. Apparently the fed and state have a bunch of money laying around and decided to spend it by replacing signs with new versions. Here’s the first one I noticed.

This sign is our new Speed Limit Ahead, or Speed Zone Ahead sign. This is painfully obvious by the mini speed limit sign along with the giant black arrow.

 

 

 

 

This is the sign that it replaced. Kinda plain, but it’s worked for years. Did we need to spend money to replace all of these signs? Apparently this is a federal mandate from the US Department of Transportation, one of many parts of the government that just can’t seem to spend money fast enough to keep themselves happy.

Democrats are driving businesses out of Illinois

High taxes and an anti-business climate in Illinois are driving people and business to leave the state. The latest news comes from Caterpillar, a company that is resisting the latest tax increases by contemplating a move out of the state.

The cold reality is that Illinois government is spending more money that it takes in. Expenses exceed revenues. It’s not really all that complicated to understand. The complicated part is getting people to understand what to do about it. Democrats think the solution is to increase revenues by raising taxes. Unfortunately that’s causing people and companies like Caterpillar to look hard at their finances and consider moving to a more friendly tax climate.

We’ve demonized business and the wealthy for so long now that the public’s knee-jerk reaction to news stories like this is to assume that such a move would be caused by greed. “Those corporate fat-cats are moving because they want to line their pockets!”.

What people tend to forget is that companies like Caterpillar employ a lot of people that otherwise wouldn’t have any jobs at all. Companies like Caterpillar are owned by many shareholders and people’s retirement funds are counting on them to make money. If Caterpillar doesn’t make smart business decisions, a lot of people will be affected, and most of them won’t be those supposed “fat-cats”.

There are plenty of other consequences of a company like Caterpillar moving out of Illinois. Many people in the Peoria area would lose their jobs, for starters. Property tax collections would take a huge dive, both from the direct loss of the Caterpillar properties and also from people having to sell their houses to move away, depreciating the housing market. Government agencies such as schools that depend heavily on those property taxes would have to make cuts. Local businesses who do business both directly with Caterpillar and also with the employees would suffer. It would take years, if ever, for Peoria to recover from such a loss.

Another town that could see a huge loss is Bloomington, the home of State Farm Insurance. Tax revenues drop because of the slow economy, government expenses climb because the Democrats have never met an entitlement program they don’t like, and the response is to try and soak a company like State Farm for more taxes. There will come a time when they will be pushed too far and it will make financial sense to pull their operations out of Bloomington, leaving a massive hole in the economy behind.

When will it get bad enough in Illinois that people finally wake up and quit voting Quinn and Madigan and the rest back into office? How many companies need to leave? How many people need to leave? The corruption just keeps getting worse and the debt keeps growing. If we can’t convince people to make a real change in leadership in this state the next election cycle, we’re doomed.

What would happen if we eliminated the EPA?

The Environmental Protection Agency was founded in the early seventies, like to many other socialist big-government agencies. Over the last 30 years, it has grown to a budget of over $10 billion and 17,000+ employees. Whether it has made a positive or negative impact on our country is a matter of opinion, but the fact is, it costs the American people a lot of money.

So, what would happen if we shut down the EPA? When the idea comes up of shutting down a major government agency like the EPA or DOE, a lot of people immediately think about the things that won’t happen. Some claim that corporations will dump waste in the oceans or CO2 will kill us all.

Since I happen to think the EPA does little good, if any, what I usually think of first is what would happen to the 17,000+ employees and their families if they lost their jobs? It sounds terrible to want to put those people out of work, so what should be done?

Today when I looked up the budget and staffing numbers, I found pretty much what I expected. The EPA costs almost $600,000 per employee to run. Now, obviously that’s not all salaries. There are other expenses such as utilities, office buildings, etc… But, it’s pretty clear that the money saved by shutting down the EPA would be more than sufficient to prop up those 17,000 people until they could find new jobs, plus save us a lot of money in the federal budget.

Also, keep in mind that that $10 billion isn’t producing anything. It’s not adding value to goods or providing services to people who want them. It’s just paying for an organization to come up with rules and apply them to the people. When a dollar circulates through the economy without adding value, it does nothing to stimulate that economy. Also, when that dollar is diminished in value because the hands it passes through all tear off a piece, it depresses the economy.

So what would happen if we shut down the EPA? Well, there would be an immediate 17,000 additional unemployed. The $10 billion saved would reduce the deficit, which would increase both consumer and world confidence in our economy. When confidence increases, people spend more and businesses expand and hire more, which in turn puts those 17,000 back to work.

Amazing, isn’t it? The free-market economy is a beautiful thing when government gets out of the way and let’s it work like it is supposed to.

Are we being fair to Ron Paul?

H/T News Real Blog:

Apparently Lisa Richards is pretty unhappy with Ron Paul’s earmarks in the scrapped Omnibus spending bill:

The anti-pork, anti-tax-hike, anti-IRS, anti-Fed libertarian Congressman Ron Paul has a dirty little secret: he is a pork-spending bureaucrat who stuffed the latest, and now defunct, $1.3 trillion dollar Omnibus bill with $8 million dollars in earmarks.  This should come as no surprise to anyone who looks at these bills.  Ron Paul has snuck pork into already inflated stimulus packages American taxpayers and the country cannot afford.

Now, I may not agree with Paul’s reasoning regarding earmarks. Apparently he’s against spending, but he feels that IF a spending bill passes, it’s his responsibility to make sure his district gets it’s cut. I’d like to think that I’d be more idealistic, and refuse to even cooperate with any spending bills by putting my earmarks in them, but I’m not Ron Paul and I don’t have to answer to his constituents.

Richards is being unfair, however, in criticizing the projects in the earmarks themselves. She points to the Gulf States Consumer Education Program and points out Paul’s stance that the Federal Government should not be involved in public education. If Richards checked her facts, she’d know that the Gulf States program has nothing to do with public education, and that it’s really something of an R&D program for the commercial fishing industry. Do I think the Fed should be handing out money to private industry for R&D? Of course not, and Paul shouldn’t be for that either, but if you’re going to bash the guy, make sure it’s for the right reasons.

The reality of it is, the current state of things has gotten so bad that it’s very hard to stand on principle. If Paul refuses to earmark and play the game, he risks the chance that his district will pay taxes into the system and get nothing back out. If he plays along, but then votes against the whole bill, he can be against spending, but make sure his district gets their cut in the event that it passes. This is no different than states deliberating on whether to turn down stimulus money. Our city government was encouraged to turn down money for a transportation hub. If they do so, it’s not as if the people in that district are then going to get a tax refund for the unused money; instead it will go to some other district.

The whole thing stinks, and there’s no good clean way out of it. Paul may not be holding fast as a pure Libertarian, but he’s doing far better than many others.

Will Obama’s pay freeze really save any money?

The big news is, there’s a planned pay freeze for several million government employees for 2011. It’s projected that it will save $2 billion in 2011, $28 billion after five years and more than $60 billion over 10 years.

I have a couple problems with this whole thing. Firstly, I have my doubts that a salary freeze is really going to translate into money savings. Keep in mind, base salary is only part of the equation. There are bonuses, overtime, benefits… It’s not exactly an original idea to shift money from one area to another in budgets. I’ll be surprised if any of these people that are having their pay frozen truly end up with less.

Next, government projections are just that – projections. They’re based on estimates that are truly more like guesses. The so-called experts cherry-pick the facts that they like and combine them with their guesses to come up with projections that their bosses want to hear. That $60 billion over 10 years is assuming the best of all conditions.

Lastly, who exactly is going to analyze the results after 2011, 2015, and 2020? Who is going to look at what savings were really seen and report back to us on the success or failure of the plan? No one, of course. No one will even remember. By then some other idiotic government power-grab will be big news. The 2012 elections will roll in and the Democrats will point to this stunt as an example of how important it is to them to reduce the deficit.

Prepare yourself, between now and November 2012, you can expect an avalanche of this kind of nonsense from the Democrats.

Republicans to try and cut public funding of NPR

H/T: The Hill

If you ask me, it’s about time. The firing of Juan Williams is being held up as the example of political bias in NPR’s reporting, but it’s hardly news that NPR is a shill for the liberals.

It’s hard to tell exactly how much money this would save. In the grand scheme of things, it would probably be a pretty small drop in the bucket. Regardless, it’s a drop, and we need to start somewhere. It’s a signal to the voters that the Republicans are listening and serious.

The intricacies of dealing with China

It’s never as simple as it seems. Foreign relations is a complex beast. For instance, this article about rare metal mining and how we are currently dependent on China for our needs shows how complicated things can get. We’re not exactly best pals with China, which makes the whole situation a disaster waiting to happen.

When we talk about dependence on foreign oil, we should really say “dependence on foreign resources”. We’ve allowed ourselves in the USA to become reliant on countries that definitely don’t have our best interests in mind.

It’s time to get our country moving again. Boot the eco-nuts out of office, take power away from the EPA, loosen regulations on mining and development, and spur industries to expand here instead of overseas.

Chris Christie shows how it’s done

Once again, my favorite governor, Gov. Christ Christie of New Jersey, shows how to be a leader. It’s amazing to hear him talk without the doublespeak that we’ve come to expect from politicians. New Jersey has this awesome guy to lead their state, and here in Illinois we’ve got Pat Quinn.

Look at New Jersey, people of Illinois. Learn from their example. Get rid of the mindless Democrats who are killing our state, and vote for conservatives who will turn things around.

Paul Ryan slams Krugman in a challenge of wits any day

H/T The Weekly Standard

Paul Ryan could beat Krugman at a battle of the wits in his sleep. Ryan truly knows his stuff and shows it every time the liberal media attacks his ideas. He stays on topic, has real answers for every inane point they try to make, and shows that he has what it takes to lead us out of the mess that’s been made of this country by the Democrats and the RINOs.

Paul Ryan is a rising star. Let’s hope he’s able to stay true to his principles. We need leaders like him.

Quincy Tea Party takes a stand on out-of-control spending

H/T Illinois Review:

Hooray for the QTP!  Let’s take a stand for what’s right and reject this $6 million waste of taxpayer money!  Why in the world do we need a transportation hub?

We already have an Amtrak station.  The only other transportation services in town are the shuttles/taxis and the city buses.  Have one of the bus routes stop by the Amtrak, and set up a kiosk with local-only phones and a list of numbers for the shuttle/taxi services.  Airports usually have the same thing for people arriving on late flights.

I’d say “problem solved”, but I don’t know of anyone who thinks we have a problem to solve. We just have a tax-and-spend government in Illinois that is out of control.

Maybe they think if they throw enough money around, people will think they’re getting something and vote the idiots back in?

See the Quincy Tea Party site for more information about the group.