Monday, February 16, 2009

As Broke As We Wanna Be

I swore I was getting out of politics. I swore that I would let the chips fall where they may, because other than voting every two years, I can do little to influence the idiocy that emanates from Washington.

And I’m not trying to convince anybody with occasional posts in this blog about politics and not sports.

This is my therapy. And maybe you’ll take a little comfort knowing that you are hardly the only one pissed off enough to start shopping for torches and pitchforks.

If you think I’m full of shit, fine. You can email me if makes you feel better. Or you can leave this blog and never come back. Again, I’m not trying to convince you. I’m just trying to add my one small voice to a howling wilderness of powerless Americans who are sick to their stomachs right now.

Most of the time, I’m going to be doin’ the sports thing. But when an $800,000 million generational theft occurs, I can’t sit by quietly. I must scream like everybody else at a Congress who claims we must RUSH RUSH RUSH to SPEND SPEND SPEND all this money.

Except hundreds of billions won’t even be spent until 2010 or later. This, is “stimulus?”

Except almost none of the people voting on the bill, had enough time to actually read all 1,000 pages of it first.

So ….. Obama is ready to make it rain with a stroke of his pen.

Are you already feeling “stimulated?” I know every firm which has government contracts is feeling that way.

For them, it’s party time!

Here was a fun little article from Saturday’s Washington Post about what happens when all that money rains down from politicians with little oversight.

Design and engineering companies helping to build the nation's highways ran up millions of dollars in inappropriate charges at the expense of taxpayers, including bills for parties, luxury car leases and hefty paychecks for executives, according to auditors.

Among the "unallowable expenses" singled out:

$355,767 to pay the personal income taxes of executives.
$301,667 to lease 45 automobiles, including Mercedes, BMW and other luxury brands.
$247,685 for dinners, tickets to sporting events, theme-holiday parties.
$60,000 paid to a consultant with only a verbal agreement.
$35,352 charged by two firms for "image-enhancing items such as golf shirts."

The Transportation Department audit, which took four years, examined bills from a sampling of 41 design and engineering firms picked from 3,580 firms that had active contracts with state departments of transportation. Auditors looked at data from 2003 because it was the most current year available when the review began.

One firm alone charged $950,000 in unallowable costs, included a political contribution, spa resort bills and alcohol.

"Inadequate oversight enabled these costs to evade detection," said Oberstar, chairman of the committee on transportation and infrastructure.

Well, no shit. “Inadequate oversight.” Who would have guessed?

I mean, there’s only $50 billion flying out of Uncle Sam’s truck of money here, another $35 billion flying out there. I’m shocked that we can’t keep close tabs on it all.

I have worked at medium to small sized companies my whole career. I’ve yet to work for one that really kept a good track of expenses, equipment, or costs.

And these companies don’t get their money from the federal fire hose!

"As we move toward implementing the stimulus package, this report shows the need for all levels of government to work together to ensure that taxpayer monies are spent only for their intended purposes and in accordance with laws," said DOT Inspector General Calvin L. Scovel III.

Right. You do that. It’s a fucking free for all, people. Let’s not kid ourselves. Tax day is April 15th for everyone who is obligated to feed this pig. Don’t be late.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. It's real nice that now that the democrats are in charge czabe and all the repub's found their fiscal responsibility hat. Hope it still fits. Please bitches, where were you 2001-2008 when we went from surplus to doubling the national debt!

  3. Thanks Tim, that is a very good defense of the bill. I thought the Dems were blowing $800,000,000,000, but now that I know this is because of Bush it is OK. It is terrible for the last 2 years Dems have been passing balanced budgets but Bush kept dicking it up. For the last 8 year the Dems were screaming for people to be responsible when buying homes. They passed a dozen bills that would have stopped this recession but Bush vetoed them.

  4. RUSH RUSH RUSH to SPEND SPEND SPEND this bill? How about RUSHING TO GO TO WAR WITH IRAQ FOR WMDS that were an imminent threat to the national security of the Middle East and the US? Howd that turn out monetarily GOP? (try 600 billion and this is a loan not money in the bank)

    Sorry your in the wilderness, but you've been in it for three weeks and your screaming? That must suck that a President and a Congress, whose ideas are so radically different from your ideology, are in charge. Welcome to the last eight years that the other half of the country went through.

    I don't claim to want to bipartisan anything, mind you. While our system of government is far from perfect, it's nice to know that the a majority of the American people from time to time gets to say "wow that sucked, let's go another direction"

    This pig of a government didn't grow up overnight. Your argument about conservative ideas on anything is dead until the democrats screw it up, in which case it'll be my turn to go to the wilderness.

  5. I think it's great how the folks who jump down Czabe's throat on this subject can't address or debate this $800 billion waste on its own merits. They have to invoke Bush, the Iraq war, or something else that has nothing to do with it.

    I am trying to figure out the sports equivalent of this, and the closest I can get is the following...

    Person 1: "The Redskins made a lot of poor moves, such as Adam Archuleta, Antwan Randle-El, and Brandon Lloyd. What do you think about this?"

    Person 2: "Umm...Cowboys...Pacman Jones...Roy Williams...blah blah blah."

  6. Why Republicans make me sick:

    1. suddenly every one of them is a qualified economist that knows what spending is justified and what spending is "waste" "pork" etc
    2. they are not truly fiscal conservatives. they don't mind spending, as long as it is on things they approve of. drawn out war against an unnamed enemy with no tangible or measurable achievements? No problem! a 700 mile fence to keep out people that don't look and talk like them? Do it! But transportation, environment, education? SOCIALISM!

  7. It is pretty obvious the commenters here have NOT read the bill. It is a complete and utter joke. The money is being spent on programs, and is certainly not "stimulus."

    As far as the war, I believe the democrats all (vast majority) voted for it and the funding to continue it. They could have just cut off the funding to end it.

  8. Bill while your analogy is funny, your argument that the Iraq war or having ex-president G. W. Bush at the helm has nothing to do with our economy falls flat on its face.

    The war and/or the President may not have caused the recession but they sure as shit didn't help. Think about 600 billion dollars not being spent HERE. Forget social programs, or anything you conservatives think is a waste, the money is being spent OVER THERE. For what? Securing Iraq? Really? Last time I checked Iran was launching missiles into space and North Korea had an underground nuclear test, we really secured ourselves for the long term with a democratic iraq.

    Wouldn't it have been nice if our grandchildren can say "were paying for our forefathers loans but man I'm glad they invested in roads/railway/solar powered cars/etc"

    Secondly, when the run up to the war was going, the country was also asked to "trust" and that the Dems in Congress need to get on board against this enemy. Now we have a new president and this time the enemy is toxic assets and bad mortgages. I will spot you, Todd, that this bill doesn't address those issues head on and indeed contains stupid amendments, but doing absolutely nothing or doing what we did for the last 8 years is more illogical than this.

    And cut off funding for the war? Once we were in it, we were in it for the long haul. We don't send out our brethren to battle and then give them a penny to do it. People are not pissed because we have to support our costs there, people are pissed because we shouldnt have gone there in the first place! (even if iraq had wmds, that alone is no cause to go attack them...north korea, iran and the USSR/cuba (in the 60s) had wmds and we didn't go sending our whole army into their territory).

    I welcome more arguments from conservatives, I have eight years of video on team elephant I can break down to defeat your mostly stupid ideas.

  9. Michael,

    This is supposed to be a new era of bipartisonship and change. Well they (democrats) hid in a room, crafted the biggest spending programs in the history of the country - outspending the war (over 8 years) by leaps and bounds (in one night or over a period of 3 weeks depending on how you look at it) once interest on this money is paid, and gov't expanded so much we will not recognize this country.

    They then gave the public and the Republicans from 11 pm to 2 pm the next day to review this before the vote, refusing to allow any input. This is change and bipartisonship. Business as usual.

    Then after passing this is such a rush, Obama takes a vacation for 3 days and will sign this obomination in Denver tomorrow.

    Michael, I would like to hear you justify this spending and not talk about the last 8 years. This is not stimulus. "Stimulus" read gov't expansion in 2009, but more so in 2010 and 2011 and beyond doesn't help us one bit today. Spending money on programs such as National Edowment for the Arts doesn't "save or create 4 million jobs."

  10. Michael -- You obviously have a strong opinion about whether or not we should have gone into Iraq, and you can argue that point all day. But your claim that the entire war budget is "being spent OVER THERE," is just plain false. In fact, it's a small fraction compared to the personnel and equipment costs that result in spending OVER HERE.

    If you really want to tie the war to the recession, I think you'd have a tough time arguing that it hasn't actually had at least some stimulative effect on the economy, but you're obviously having an even tougher time trying to defend the stimulus bill on any merit it might actually contain.

  11. Todd and Lenerd

    I will agree to both your points that the stimulus bill as whole has a) pork and b) may not do enough (i say may, because I like you don't have a crystal ball to say It will work/it won't).

    But if we look at the video replay, how can you Todd try to argue that this sort of tactic is something Democrats crafted/figured out? Really? What about the infamous August 2005 Highway Spending Bill? Actually let me back track a little bit...what's the federal deficit now up to? Yeah, fiscal conservatives really reigned in government spending from 2001-2006. I am no economist and maybe you two are, but our current tax cuts and the war aren't the sole contributors to the current hole (trillions of dollars) that our grandchildren have to pay out. Also if all that money was spent I'm sure some of that caused the government to grow a bit don't you think?

    My defense of the stimulus bill is this: I don't advocate for communism or socialism, but I don't like knowing that unemployment benefits are rising.I would rather the government put our brethren to work and EARN the paycheck (whether its signed by Uncle Sam or some private company) than for them to sit at home because there are no jobs to be had. If that means we create an agency whose sole responsibility is to recongnize and give awards to artists, but the agency has 1000 positions open, then clear out some land somewhere and get some carpenters, electricians, etc to work on building them a headquarters. I do wish that the stimulus bill take effect now, target more areas of need, and not contain what you and me can agree to as pork. But when has congress been perfect? Did the DEMS run on the platform that government will be perfect? What about the GOP? Didn't both parties say they would clean up Washington? So in three weeks the guy in power didn't clean up congress. If Mccain has been elected president I wouldn't have expected him to make that happen in three weeks.

    The President promised a lot, and you indirectly call him a liar or that what he's doing is bogus. When the country pulls an Iceland then I'll concede my point, but in the THREE WEEKS TO A MONTH government has been in session, to be pissed that the DEMS arent delivering on their campaign pledges is comical on your part.

    I will also spot your next possible point that not just republicans solely are not to blame for the deficit, democrats did exist in congress when the GOP was in power. But as you both can clearly see in the last three weeks, majorities often get to make law/decisions. I respect your opinions and that the GOP chose to vote No on this bill. But to say that the Dems are being underhanded, cheating the taxpayers, not living up to the word, is the pot calling the kettle black.

    Which is why I am glad that only three republicans voted for this bill. I look it at this way, if in the next two years, this stimulus bill and the DEMS in power stay on par with how the republicans ran things, then I'll shut up and eat crow and I'll suffer. But if by some miracle that you both say isn't going to happen, things do react positively to what they have done, that ought to be a nice debate on who did what to save this country's economy.

    Lenerd1, yes you are correct we are buying more bulletproof vests, UAVs and MRAPs and that in turn helps the US economy. But wouldn't it have been just as nice if we didn't go to war and instead spent even a fraction of that money on either a) tax breaks to all of us, including our troops b) something that ensures that the middle-east is not as high on the national security list (i.e. electric cars and trucks). This, 600 billion and counting, money is being spent for OVER THERE reasons. Then as the video replay shows, our troops still had to find scrap armor for their vehicles, buy their own equipment and then get crappy treatment facilities. So yes as a DoD Contractor and former soldier I appreciate that the country is investing this money, but as a citizen, couldn't we have found better uses for it?

  12. One more thing since you guys seem to better at math/economics than me

    Please look at this government page and look up what our debt was when Clinton left office vs Bush left office.

    No the stimulus bill won't fix this, but I just wanted to point out that one bill alone isn't going to fix this catastro-fuck.

  13. Bush had 9/11 and the economy was struggling when he came in. That is the main reason for him running larger deficits. That and he and the GOP lost their way when they had all part of the gov't and went on a spending spree while also trying to run a war. There should have been spending cuts. Clinton had a Republican congress that was very thrifty. He was more middle of the road too, so those both helped him, but he really had no crisis.

    But if the deficit went up by overspending for GW how is this bill (which is far and away larger), going to not raise the deficit even more. Let me put it another way. If you were 10,000 in the hole, is the answer to take out a loan for another 10,000 or 20,000 to get yourself out of the hole? 99 times out of 100 that will fail.

    I am in full agreement that the current batch of RINO's in Washington are not fiscally conservative. That doesn't mean enlarging gov't is the answer