Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Nancy Pelosi’s brother-in-law gets $737M of taxpayers’ money to build solar plant

From the UK Daily Mail.

Excerpt:

Nancy Pelosi is facing accusations of cronyism after a solar energy project, which her brother-in-law has a stake in, landed a $737 million loan guarantee from the Department of Energy, despite the growing Solyndra scandal.

The massive loan agreement is raising new concerns about the use of taxpayers’ money as vast sums are invested in technology similar to that of the doomed energy project.

The investment has intensified the debate over the effectiveness of solar energy as a major power source.

The SolarReserve project is backed by an energy investment fund where the Minority Leader’s brother-in-law Ronald Pelosi is second in command.

PCG Clean Energy & Technology Fund (East) LLC is listed as one of the investors in the project that has been given the staggering loan, which even dwarfs that given to failed company Solyndra.

Other investors include one of the major investors in Solyndra, which is run by one of the directors of Solyndra.

Steve Mitchell, who served on the board of directors at the bankrupt energy company, is also managing director of Argonaut Private Equity, which has invested in the latest project.

Since Solyndra has filed for bankruptcy has been asked to testify about the goings on at the firm by two members of the House and ‘asked to provide documents to Congress’.

[...]The project approval came as part of $1 billion in new loans to green energy companies yesterday.

Did they learn anything from Solyndra? No:

‘The administration’s flagship project Solyndra is bankrupt and being investigated by the FBI, the promised jobs never materialised, and now the Department of Energy is preparing to rush out nearly $5 billion in loans in the final 48 hours before stimulus funds expire — that’s nearly $105 million every hour that must be finalised until the deadline,’ said Florida representative Cliff Stearns, who is chairman of the investigations subcommittee of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

Since Nancy Pelosi took over federal spending in January 2007, the national debt has increased from $8.5 trillion to about $17.5 trillion. That’s NINE TRILLION dollars in new spending. And much of it just handed off to the people and groups who got the Democrats elected 2008 and 2012.

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Obama violates his own stimulus law by refusing to release status reports

The Weekly Standard reports.

Excerpt:

Have you heard much about President Obama’s $787,000,000,000 economic “stimulus” (now estimated to cost $831,000,000,000) lately?  In its last report, published in 2011, the president’s own Council of Economic Advisors released an estimate showing that, for every $317,000 in “stimulus” spending that had by then gone out the door, only one job had been created or saved.  Even in Washington, that’s not considered good bang for the buck.

Moreover, that was the fifth consecutive “stimulus” report that showed this number getting progressively worse.

Alas, that was the last report we’ve seen.  Never mind that Section 1513 of the “stimulus” legislation, which Obama spearheaded and signed into law, requires the executive branch to submit a new report every three months.  It reads:

“In consultation with the Director of the Office of Management and Budget and the Secretary of the Treasury, the Chairperson of the Council of Economic Advisers shall submit quarterly reports to the Committees on Appropriations of the Senate and House of Representatives that detail the impact of programs funded through covered funds on employment, estimated economic growth, and other key economic indicators.”

[...]By now, [the Obama administration] was supposed to have released fourteen such reports.  It has released only eight.  The last one covered the period ending in June 2011.  That’s right — 2011.

With only 58.6 percent of Americans currently employed — down 2.4 percent from the time of Obama’s first inauguration — it’s not surprising that the Obama administration doesn’t really want to fulfill it legal responsibilities and release subsequent reports on its failed “stimulus.”  However, it hardly seems fair — to use one of Obama’s favorite words — that the rich and (extremely) powerful think that they can choose whether or not to abide by the laws they spearhead and sign, while the rest of us are forced to obey them.

I’m not surprised by this, because we all know that Democrats are the biggest tax cheats ever. It’s not surprising to me that they pass laws that they have no intention of following themselves, because they are hypocrites. The laws are meant to stop others from succeeding, but Democrats themselves always seem to be exempt. Just like the waivers that the big labor unions got from Obamacare. Poverty for thee, but not for me.\

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CBO: each job created by stimulus cost between $4.1 million and $540,000

Here’s the latest Congressional Budget Office report. (H/T American Enterprise Institute)

When [the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act] was being considered, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation estimated that it would increase budget deficits by $787 billion between fiscal years 2009 and 2019. CBO now estimates that the total impact over the 2009–2019 period will amount to about $831 billion.

By CBO’s estimate, close to half of that impact occurred in fiscal year 2010, and more than 90 percent of ARRA’s budgetary impact was realized by the end of March 2012. CBO has estimated the law’s impact on employment and economic output using evidence about the effects of previous similar policies and drawing on various mathematical models that represent the workings of the economy. …

On that basis CBO estimates that ARRA’s policies had the following effects in the first quarter of calendar year 2012 compared with what would have occurred otherwise:

– They raised real (inflation-adjusted) gross domestic product (GDP) by between 0.1 percent and 1.0 percent,

– They lowered the unemployment rate by between 0.1 percentage points and 0.8 percentage points,

– They increased the number of people employed by between 0.2 million and 1.5 million,

– They increased the number of full-time-equivalent jobs by 0.3 million to 1.9 million. (Increases in FTE jobs include shifts from part-time to full-time work or overtime and are thus generally larger than increases in the number of employed workers.)

We spend $831 billion taxpayer dollars to create between 200,000 to 1.5 million jobs. That works out to a cost-per-job number of between $4.1 million and $540,000.

Go socialism! Our children can afford to pay for our generation’s irresponsible wastefulness, right? I mean the ones we don’t abort, of course.

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Fact check: Mitt Romney’s claim that Rick Santorum was a big spender

The Weekly Standard evaluates Mitt Romney’s claim that Rick Santorum is fiscally liberal. (H/T Shane)

Excerpt:

The National Taxpayers Union (NTU) has been rating members of Congress for 20 years.  NTU is an independent, non-partisan organization that — per its mission statement — “mobilizes elected officials and the general public on behalf of tax relief and reform, lower and less wasteful spending, individual liberty, and free enterprise.”  Steve Forbes serves on its board of directors.

For each session of Congress, NTU scores each member on an A-to-F scale.  NTU weights members’ votes based on those votes’ perceived effect on both the immediate and future size of the federal budget.  Those who get A’s are among “the strongest supporters of responsible tax and spending policies”; they receive NTU’s “Taxpayers’ Friend Award.”  B’s are “good” scores, C’s are “minimally acceptable” scores, D’s are “poor” scores, and F’s earn their recipients membership in the “Big Spender” category.  There is no grade inflation whatsoever, as we shall see.

NTU’s scoring paints a radically different picture of Santorum’s 12-year tenure in the Senate (1995 through 2006) than one would glean from the rhetoric of the Romney campaign.  Fifty senators served throughout Santorum’s two terms:  25 Republicans, 24 Democrats, and 1 Republican/Independent.  On a 4-point scale (awarding 4 for an A, 3.3 for a B+, 3 for a B, 2.7 for a B-, etc.), those 50 senators’ collective grade point average (GPA) across the 12 years was 1.69 — which amounts to a C-.  Meanwhile, Santorum’s GPA was 3.66 — or an A-.  Santorum’s GPA placed him in the top 10 percent of senators, as he ranked 5th out of 50.

Across the 12 years in question, only 6 of the 50 senators got A’s in more than half the years.  Santorum was one of them.  He was also one of only 7 senators who never got less than a B.  (Jim Talent served only during Santorum’s final four years, but he always got less than a B, earning a B- every year and a GPA of 2.7.)  Moreover, while much of the Republican party lost its fiscal footing after George W. Bush took office — although it would be erroneous to say that the Republicans were nearly as profligate as the Democrats — Santorum was the only senator who got A’s in every year of Bush’s first term.  None of the other 49 senators could match Santorum’s 4.0 GPA over that span.

This much alone would paint an impressive portrait of fiscal conservatism on Santorum’s part.  Yet it doesn’t even take into account a crucial point:  Santorum was representing Pennsylvania.

Based on how each state voted in the three presidential elections over that period (1996, 2000, and 2004), nearly two-thirds of senators represented states that were to the right of Pennsylvania.  In those three presidential elections, Pennsylvania was, on average, 3 points to the left of the nation as a whole.  Pennsylvanians backed the Democratic presidential nominee each time, while the nation as a whole chose the Republican in two out of three contests.

Among the roughly one-third of senators (18 out of 50) who represented states that — based on this measure — were at least as far to the left as Pennsylvania, Santorum was the most fiscally conservative.  Even more telling was the canyon between him and the rest.  After Santorum’s overall 3.66 GPA, the runner-up GPA among this group was 2.07, registered by Olympia Snowe (R., Maine).  Arlen Specter, Santorum’s fellow Pennsylvania Republican, was next, with a GPA of 1.98.  The average GPA among senators who represented states at least as far left as Pennsylvania was 0.52 — or barely a D-.

But Santorum also crushed the senators in the other states.  Those 32 senators, representing states that on average were 16 points to the right of Pennsylvania in the presidential elections, had an average GPA of 2.35 — a C+.

In fact, considering the state he was representing, one could certainly make the case that Santorum was the most fiscally conservative senator during his tenure.  The only four senators whose GPAs beat Santorum’s represented states that were 2 points (Republican Judd Gregg of New Hampshire), 10 points (Republican Jon Kyl of Arizona), 25 points (Republican James Inhofe of Oklahoma), and 36 points (Republican Craig Thomas of Wyoming) to the right of Pennsylvania in the presidential elections.  Moreover, of these four, only Kyl (with a GPA of 3.94) beat Santorum by as much as a tenth of a point.  It’s an open question whether a 3.94 from Arizona is more impressive than a 3.66 from Pennsylvania.

Do you know who is a big tax and spend fiscal liberal, though? MITT ROMNEY.

So, why is liberal Mitt Romney telling lies about conservative Rick Santorum?

New national Rasmussen poll: Santorum leads Romney 39-27

From Newsmax. (H/T Doug)

Excerpt:

Building on his triple play of victories in Minnesota, Colorado and Missouri, former Sen. Rick Santorum has now surged to a 12-point lead over Mitt Romney in the race for the GOP presidential nomination heading into a key battle in Romney’s home state of Michigan.

Political analyst and Democratic pollster Doug Schoen tells Newsmax that Romney’s presidential bid is in “deep trouble” and his campaign badly needs a win in the Great Lakes State before heading into the do-or-die Super Tuesday contests on March 6, where voters in 10 states will pick their candidate to become the GOP presidential nominee.

“Romney is in deep trouble. He’s out of arguments. People don’t buy the central premise of his candidacy that he’s a businessman who can get things moving again,” Schoen said in an exclusive interview on Wednesday. “He’s entirely negative — whether it’s about President Obama, Newt Gingrich and now Rick Santorum. And Rick Santorum’s ad basically sums up the case against Mitt Romney: He’s a serial attacker who offers nothing other than negative ads, super PACs, bundlers and special interest money. It’s a recipe for failure.”

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of likely Republican primary voters released on Wednesday shows Santorum leading with 39 percent support, compared with 27 percent for Romney nationwide.

The two latest polls in Michigan, a state where Mitt Romney grew up and where his father was governor, show Rick Santorum with a 10 point lead and a 9 point lead.

Mitt Romney

Rick Santorum

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Obamacare contains billions of dollars in pork for Obama’s union allies

From Investors Business Daily. (H/T Jan)

Excerpt:

According to a new Government Accountability Office report, the federal government has so far handed out $2.7 billion out of a $5 billion program squirreled away in ObamaCare.

The Early Retiree Reinsurance Program is advertized as a way to “stabilize the availability of employer-sponsored coverage for early retirees,” according to a Health and Human Services memo.

The argument goes that companies are increasingly dropping retiree health benefits, leaving those who retire before becoming eligible for Medicare in a jam — either they face exorbitant rates for insurance or expose themselves to potentially catastrophic health costs.

[...]According to figures obtained by IBD, 10 of the top 12 recipients are either unions or public employee groups. In fact, the biggest single recipient was the UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust, which alone grabbed more than 8% of all the funds handed out so far. Other union beneficiaries include the United Food and Commercial Workers, the United Mine Workers and the Teamsters.

Meanwhile, almost half of the money doled out has gone to state and local governments, the GAO found.

[...]The problem is that these groups are the least likely to drop their retiree health benefits, calling the lie to the Obama administration’s whole “stabilizing” excuse.

In fact, over the past 10 years, the share of state and local governments offering retiree benefits increased — climbing to 83% from 80% in 2001, according to an annual Kaiser Family Foundation health benefits survey.

That’s at a time when private companies have been dropping retiree health plans to cut costs, with the share of large firms offering such benefits falling to 26% this year from 37% in 2001, the Kaiser survey shows.

So this ObamaCare money is really being used mainly to pay off unions and governments that would have provided these benefits anyway.

While the law forbids employers from using the funds for anything other than retiree health costs, money is fungible, freeing up union and government resources for other uses like, say, helping Obama get re-elected.

And what will the unions do with that money? IBD explains.

Excerpt:

United Steelworkers President Leo Gerard, speaking on radio host Ed Schultz’s show last Monday, declared, “What we need is more militancy.” Asked to clarify, Gerard said: “I think we’ve got to start a resistance movement. If Wall Street Occupation doesn’t get the message, I think we’ve got to start blocking bridges and doing that kind of stuff.”

The Canadian union leader then denounced Americans’ 2008 election of Tea Party representatives to the House as “nut jobs,” and called for more force and illegality: “We ought to be doing more than occupying parks. We ought to start occupying bridges. We ought to start occupying the banks’ places themselves.”

[...]Two months ago another White House ally, Teamsters chief Jimmy Hoffa, openly called for his members to “take these sons of bitches out” in Congress, as Obama stood silently at his side. “They got a war with us and there’s only going to be one winner,” he growled.

Hoffa’s Teamsters, it should be noted, have the most violent record of all labor unions, clocking in 454 incidents of violence since 1991, according to the National Institute for Labor Relations Research in Washington.

Then there’s the SEIU-linked Acorn, which has made OWS its latest cause. The Obama-tied group had supposedly disbanded, but now operates as New York Communities for Change (NYCC), using the strong-arm political tactics of community organizer Saul Alinsky.

Since it was discovered that NYCC was a prime funder and director of the Occupy movement, Fox News reports that the group has been shredding documents, firing staff, offering up alibis and surveilling Fox News personnel.

One starts to wonder: Is Occupy Wall Street a grass-roots movement, or a corrupt, violent organization whose real center is the Obama administration itself? One thing’s for sure: It isn’t interested in democracy.

You can see the full list of Occupy Wall Street crimes here – it’s up to 167 crimes right now, including rape. The unions are heavily involved in the Occupy Wall Street protests.

I’m concerned that the government is getting too closely involved with groups of people who are not peaceful and law-abiding.

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