Archive for the ‘debt’ Category

Your Tax Dollars At Work: Understanding Sex Workers, Drugs, Disease in Thailand

May 21, 2009

The federal government is spending $178,000 to better understand why drug-abusing prostitutes in Thailand are at greater risk for HIV infection, an endeavor taxpayer watchdogs are calling a huge waste of American taxpayers’ money.

The National Institutes of Health study, “Substance Use and HIV Risk among Thai Women,” is looking at the interplay of personal and cultural factors that put Thai prostitutes at special risk. 

But women aren’t its only target. The two-year project, made possible by a grant from the NIH’s National Institute on Drug Abuse, is also studying kathoey, the transgender prostitutes who are widely accepted in Thailand because of the “karmic idea in Buddhism,” and who have especially high HIV infection rates, according to the study’s abstract.

From Fox News
Read the rest:

Warning to Obama in California Vote

May 21, 2009
California voters sent one heckuva message Tuesday, as they unceremoniously shot down attempts by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and state legislative leaders of both parties to raise their taxes, again. The politicos wanted the additional revenues to cover their $44 billion worth of over-spending, aka the state budget deficit. Voters said no, decisively, with majorities of 60 percent or more against the five tax-and-spend propositions, including a $16 billion “temporary” tax increase approved in April by Schwarzenegger and the legislature. In what cannot be an encouraging sign for advocates in Washington of President Obama’s massive spending increases (and the inevitable tax hikes that will be required to pay for them), the only one of the six initiatives California voters approved was a cap on the salaries of elected officials.
All of this came despite endlessly repeated warnings from the same public officials who got California into its present mess that, if the public voted no, their only alternative would be draconian cuts to education and public safety. According to the Tax Foundation, officials in Sacramento have been on a wild spending spree since 2000, the last time California’s budget was balanced without borrowing or resorting to one-time accounting gimmicks. Between 2003 (when Schwarzenegger took office) and 2007, state spending ballooned 31 percent – far beyond inflation (12 percent) and population growth (5 percent). Californians have seen this train wreck coming for many months.

Had the main initiatives passed, it would have imposed additional taxes in a state that already has the sixth highest tax burden in the nation without addressing the real problem, which is the explosive growth of state government.

The Washington Examiner

read the rest:

Obama, Pelosi, Chris Dodd Credit Card Bill To Raise All Interest Rates Above 20%, Expert Says

May 21, 2009

You might want to hold the champagne on that celebration of the Obama-Pelosi-Chris Dodd Credit Card Bill.

An expert says we can expect all card interest to quickly rise above 20%.

Duncan MacDonald made the claim on the Fox News Channel on Thursday.

MacDonald worked at Citibank for 26 years and was General Counsel of its Card Products for Europe & North America.

MacDonald also said the new interest rates will slow spending and hurt retail sales.

Also under a new law awaiting President Barack Obama‘s signature, credit card companies will be prohibited from giving cards to people under 21 unless they can prove they have the means to repay the debt or a parent or guardian co-signs for the loan.

But there are some good things in the bill.

A  customer would have to be more than 60 days behind on a payment before seeing a rate increase on an existing balance. Even then, the lender would be required to restore the previous, lower rate if the cardholder pays the minimum balance on time for six months.

Consumers also would have to receive 45 days’ notice and an explanation before their interest rate was increased.

“This will allow consumers to make informed choices about how best, and whether, to use a credit card, or to shop around for better terms,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said after the House passed the bill Wednesday, 361-64.


The Coming California Bailout

May 21, 2009

Yesterday we wrote that it was difficut often in today’s political debate to get the truth because the media sides with the left.  Most of the media, that is.  In California, the L.A. Times and Sacramento Bee are blaming the voters for the budget chaos.  But The Orange County Register seems to have a handle on what’s going on and warns us to get ready to bail out California (then maybe New York, New Jersey,….).

It’s not the voters who are to blame, stupid……


California, the sunny incubator of America’s future, has relished its role as a leading indicator of political trends. Tuesday it became what it thinks it should be, the center of attention, but not in the way it wants to be.

By George Will
The Washington Post

Its voters, at last sensible, rejected, by an average of 65 percent, five of six propositions. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the “post-partisan” Republican, and the partisan Democrats who control the legislature, promoted the propositions as efficient for and essential to eliminating the state’s budget deficit, which will now be $21 billion. So California may become the next target for the Obama administration, whose dependency agenda involves seizing every opportunity to break things — banks, insurance and automobile companies, etc. — to the saddle of its supervision.

The Orange County Register — if but one newspaper survives today’s leveling winds, may it be this one — made the case for rejecting all six propositions: 1A would have created an illusory spending cap that could be “easily circumvented by raising taxes” — and the ballot language did not mention that 1A would have meant a $16 billion, two-year extension of some of February’s huge tax increases. Proposition 1B promised the public school lobby $9 billion, effectively bribing it to support 1A, which the California Teachers Association did. Proposition 1C combined “two of the worst practices responsible for” the state’s dysfunction, “rosy revenue projections and borrowing”: It would have authorized borrowing from (hypothetical) increases in state lottery revenue. Proposition 1D, “one more hide-the-pea fiscal deception,” would have transferred to the general fund — and much of it on to public employees — revenue raised for children’s programs. Proposition 1E would have done the same for revenue raised for mental health services.

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger speaks to the media ...
Photo: Reuters

Proposition 1F, passed by 73.9 percent, denies pay raises to legislators when the budget is not balanced. The Register opposed this because it gives legislators “a personal, financial incentive” to balance the budget by raising taxes.

Now California’s mostly Democratic political class will petition Washington for a bailout to nourish the public sector that is suffocating the state’s dwindling — and departing — private sector. The Obama administration, which rewarded the United Auto Workers by giving it considerable control over two companies it helped reduce to commercial rubble, will serve the interests of California’s unionized public employees and others largely responsible for reducing the state to mendicancy.

These factions will flourish if the state becomes a federal poodle on a short leash held by the president. He might make aid conditional on the state doing things that California Democrats and their union allies would love to be “compelled” to do: eliminate the requirements of two-thirds majorities of both houses of the legislature to raise taxes and pass budgets, and repeal Proposition 13, which voters passed in 1978 to limit property taxes. These changes would enable the legislature (job approval rating: 14 percent) to siphon away an ever-larger share of taxpayers’ wealth and transfer it to public employees. Such as prison guards, whose potent union is one reason California’s cost-per-inmate (about $49,000) is twice the national average.

California’s voters are complicit in their state’s collapse. They elect and reelect the legislators off whom public employees unions batten. Also, voters have promiscuously used their state’s plebiscitary devices to control and fatten the budget. In November, as the dark fiscal clouds lowered, they authorized $9.95 billion more in debt as a down payment on a perhaps $75 billion high-speed-rail project linking San Francisco and Los Angeles — a delight California cannot afford.

The greenback may be headed for a tumble as intense selling is underway.In a surreal attempt to terrify voters into supporting the propositions, Schwarzenegger (job approval: 33 percent) threatened to do something sensible: sell such state assets as San Quentin prison, which sits on prime ocean-view real estate. But Californians should now pay a real price, in realism about ways and means, for Schwarzenegger’s wasted years. His governance-by-attention-deficit-disorder has involved flitting from one trendy irrelevance (e.g., stem-cell research) to another (e.g., cooling the planet) while the state has sagged. Fittingly, he was in Washington as his shambolic legacy was being defined by Tuesday’s defeat.


He was at the White House, applauding the Obama administration’s imposition of severe fuel efficiency standards on a dependent automobile industry that at least has a proven aptitude for its new task of building cars Americans will not like. Standing far from Tuesday’s repudiation, in the shadow of the president who may soon effectively be California’s governor, Schwarzenegger was the administration’s dependency agenda writ small.


Democrats all snug and smug in their majority in Congress had better be paying attention because what happened out here yesterday is coming to their congressional districts very soon. Tax increases + out of control spending + incompetent politicians + an angry electorate = the electoral gallows for incumbents.

–Patrick Dorinson, Political communications strategist and commentator.


Watch For Next “Bailout” Idea To Come From California…..

May 20, 2009

“California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, alarmed by the ongoing national financial crisis, warned Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson on Thursday that the state might need an emergency loan of as much as $7 billion from the federal government within weeks.  The warning comes as California is close to running out of cash to fund day-to-day government operations and is unable to access routine short-term loans that it typically relies on to remain solvent.”

That was last October 3, 2008.  So what does any thinking American believe about a bailout of California now that the state’s  voters have refused to pay more?

(A)  Arnold Schwarzenegger will ask Obama for a bailout.  California is too big to fail.


(B) The rest of us shouldn’t have to pay more.  No Fed Bailout for California.

The problem is, like an addict needing drugs, many are crying for a bailout after AIG, the banks, the entire auto industry and a bunch of others got fed at the trough.  Geithner has turned into drug dealer of first choice.

It might not be “permanent.”  Just an addiction….

“We are committed to helping California in these difficult economic times,” an Obama administration official said today. The official was not authorized to speak publicly….

The Obama Administration also caved in on its threat to withhold stimulus money from California…..

The L.A. Times reported that a letter that was given to the governor this morning, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said the state remains eligible to receive another $8 billion in stimulus money for its Medicaid program, a ruling that may offer some solace for state officials coping with the resounding voter defeat Tuesday of five ballot measures aimed at closing California’s huge budget shortfall.

Note “some solace”= $8 billion….

California Voters Reject Taxes, Spending, Big Government — Bluest State is Red in The Face

May 20, 2009

California is arguably the bluest of the blue states — the most liberal of all the 50 states.

But news from Na-Na Land today: the state’s voters reject more taxes, more spending and more bad government.

Voters said yesterday: guess what?  We can’t have it all because we can’t afford it.

California voters soundly rejected a package of ballot measures Tuesday that would have reduced the state’s projected budget deficit of $21.3 billion to something slightly less overwhelming: $15.4 billion.
Three thousand people are leaving California every week: many seeking lower taxes.

“Go West Young Man” has turned into “go back east or go back where we came from.”

The voters of California seemed to join the Tea Party Revolt on Tuesday.

Washington should take note….

Michelle Malkin:

California: Why Liberal Media is Failing
Calif Voters Order Govt Pay Cuts; No New Taxes, Gov Starts Slashing Budget, Services

Schwarzenegger: No Federal Bailout for Calif; Fiscal Discipline Needed

May 19, 2009

Gov Arnold Schwarzenegger said today he is not seeking a federal bailout from President Barack Obama but will return California to prosperity and a balanced budget through fiscal discipline.
“We have a major problem with California. And I think if we work together we can make it through this crisis,” he said. “I didn’t come for any bailout. We (are going to make) the necessary cuts. They’re going to be fiscally disciplined. But we still need to work together in order to move forward and make everything function well in our state.”
Schwarzenegger was in Washington DC to attend a White House fuel standard announcement even though California voters are voting on resolutions designed to solve a huge state fiscal deficit.

Tea party? Calif Voters Likely to Pass Only One Resolution: Freeze Pay For Govt Work Force, No To New Taxes, Spending

Michelle Malkin:

“When the president asks you to come and to be part of a celebration and to sign an agreement, you do it, especially when you feel so passionate about the subject,” the Republican governor told reporters today.

From the Sacramento Bee

“This president, after 120 days in office, has created the action and brought everyone together,” Schwarzenegger said. “So we are ecstatic about this great progress.”

Schwarzenegger called today a day to celebrate in Washington and said he’d be back in the state Wednesday morning to deal with the election results.

He said he looked forward to the outcome.

“You win or you lose,” he said. “I think that we always know how to move forward and make the adjustment. You always respect the will of the people.”

Schwarzenegger planned to meet with Democratic Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein and members of the California House delegation this afternoon to discuss the state’s fiscal crisis.

On Wednesday morning, he plans to meet with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius before heading back to California. The governor plans to ask Sebelius for special permission to make $750 million in cuts to the stat’s Medi-Cal program.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, President Barack Obama and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi depart the Oval Office of the White House after meeting about auto efficiency and emissions May 19, 2009 in Washington, DC.  Photo: Getty Images

Why Republicans will defeat Obama on health care

May 19, 2009

Barack Obama is making an enormous mistake on the most important initiative of his presidency. In recent weeks, Obama has stressed that health care reform is the essential ingredient for the success of his economic recovery plan. Yet the president, easily the most gifted White House communicator since Ronald Reagan, has the message all wrong.

By Byron York
The Examiner

“Our businesses will not be able to compete, our families will not be able to save or spend, our budgets will remain unsustainable unless we get health care costs under control,” Obama said in his radio address Saturday. He has said the same thing on many other occasions, almost always stressing the threat of runaway cost. When Obama talks health care, it’s cost, cost, cost.

But that’s not what people want to hear, or at least not all they want to hear. Of course they complain about the expense of medical treatment, but controlling cost is not their top health care concern.

“Americans will prioritize cost over quality right up until the moment they realize that it’s their quality that they are sacrificing,” writes the Republican pollster Frank Luntz in “The Language of Healthcare 2009,” a brilliant new analysis of the public’s health care concerns that also serves as a roadmap for defeating Obamacare. Basing his conclusions on extensive polling and focus-group research, Luntz writes that the public is very worried that a government takeover of health care — Obamacare — will result in politicians and government bureaucrats making decisions about what kind of care patients will receive and when they will receive it.

“Nothing else turns people against the government takeover of healthcare more than the realistic expectation that it will result in delayed and potentially even denied, treatment, procedures and/or medications,” Luntz writes. “When asked which was a higher priority — spending less on healthcare or being treated in a timely fashion — timely treatment beat cost almost unanimously.”

People know that delayed and sometimes denied care is a way of life in other countries with national health care systems. And when they hear the president’s repeated emphasis on cutting costs, they sense that there’s no way Obamacare can not result in delayed and denied treatment. Luntz urges Republicans to make that the focus of their challenge to the president’s plan. “It is essential that ‘deny’ and ‘denial’ enter the conservative lexicon immediately,” Luntz writes, “because it is at the core of what scares Americans most about a government takeover of healthcare.”

Read the rest:

Calif, NY, NJ: Highest Taxes But “Fiscal Basket Cases;” People Moving Out

May 19, 2009

Columnist and Wll Street Journal writer Steven Moore says New York, New Jersey and California have the nation’s highest tax rates but all three states are ‘fiscal basket cases.”

He said, “1,100 taxpayers leave each of these states every day never to return.”

Moore is the author of “The End of Prosperity.”

47 of 50 States Have Budget Shortfalls Cumulatively Totalling $300 Billion
In Berry’s World Four Years Hence: China Will Be the Only Thriving Superpower
Tea party? Calif Voters Likely to Pass Only One Resolution: Freeze Pay For Govt Work Force, No To New Taxes, Spending
In Calif: Schwarzenegger Runs To See Obama as Voters Expected to Trash His Spend and Borrow Budget
Angry California Votes On $15-21 Billion Deficit; Govt Employees Highest Paid, Gov Threatens to Close Fire Stations, State Already Gets Over $90 B of Stimulus


47 of 50 States Have Budget Shortfalls Cumulatively Totalling $300 Billion

May 19, 2009

California is at a crossroads today, with the State Government asking for even more money from taxpayers to keep the state going as before.

But almost everyone expects that voters will reject Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s plan to keep the state deficit from ballooning from $15 billion to $21 billion.

And even though President Barack Obama is teaching, preaching and spending the United States into further debt, forty seven of the fifty states are already on the precipice of serious budget shortfalls, which cumulatively amount to $300 billion…..

Visit the Center of Budget and Policy Priorities:

Michelle Malkin:


Tea party? Calif Voters Likely to Pass Only One Resolution: Freeze Pay For Govt Work Force, No To New Taxes, Spending
In Calif: Schwarzenegger Runs To See Obama as Voters Expected to Trash His Spend and Borrow Budget
Angry California Votes On $15-21 Billion Deficit; Govt Employees Highest Paid, Gov Threatens to Close Fire Stations, State Already Gets Over $90 B of Stimulus