Saturday, August 29, 2009
So... after waiting none too patiently for four weeks, this past Thursday I finally got my chance to grill my Congressman in person on HR 3200.
My liberal Democrat Representative, John Hall, had been ducking the public since the summer recess began. Oh... he'd go out in public alright... but he'd only speak to select groups - and only when there was no advance public notice given to his general constituency.
Ya gotta love politicians, huh...? Ahh... the "openness" of the "Age of Obama."
This past week though... Hall got "caught." He had apparently accepted an invitation to speak before the Monroe "Jolly Seniors" organizations. Apparently someone there let the press know Hall was scheduled to speak there. Both our local weekly and our regional daily "outed" the meant to be "closed" presentation and once the news became public... (*SHRUG*)... the Congressman's appearance suddenly became an "open event" to which members of the general public were invited.
Well... I attended. Me and 200 fellow citizens - mostly seniors since while the meeting had been noted in the newspapers, it wasn't exactly front page news - plus... for some "unknown" reason... Congressman Hall's staff "neglected" to post advance notice of the newly designated Congressional Town Hall Meeting on the Congressman's own official website.
Again... gotta love these "dutiful public servants..."
Now John Hall knows me. For some strange reason I don't get the feeling he's overly fond of me... (*SMILE*)... but he knows me by sight and I'm guessing when my name is mentioned to him he connects the name with the man - all 6'4" inches of me.
Hey... I'll give John this much credit: After arriving 15 minutes late to the event, he only made a few brief remarks before turning the meeting over to questions. Yours truly was at the head of the line to ask the first question!
Allow me to paraphrase...
Hiya John... you're a hard man to get to see! I've been calling your office week in and week out for the past month and all I get from your staff is that "they're working on scheduling" for upcoming Town Hall Meetings.
Hey... for some strange reason they even neglected to tell me in advance about that Fishkill forum you spoke at a couple weeks ago that your official website "reported" on - after the fact of course.
Funny thing, John... were you aware that TODAY'S public meeting isn't being touted - or even mentioned, let alone advertised - on your own official website? You should speak to someone about that...
(Oh... he didn't seem to like my opening remarks one bit; in fact, he had this fake smile plastered across his face the whole time I was being... er... chatty.)
Anyway... to continue the recap...
Hey, John... just one more thing before I get to my question... what's this business about you taking your ENTIRE Washington DC staff - and I'm assuming your local staff as well - on a three weekday "retreat" recently? You see, I heard about that one kinda by accident. On one of my phone calls asking about upcoming Town Hall Meetings one of your young interns let it slip that the reason no one was answering the phones at your Washington office on a Wednesday afternoon was because everyone was in New York at a "staff retreat." Just as an aside, I mentioned this to the fine folks at The Record... but for some "strange" reason they've apparently failed to report on this "retreat." Oh, well... perhaps they'll get around to it...
(The Record is our local liberal daily rag. They're not big on printing stories that reflect badly upon Democrats.) (*WINK*)
Back to the recap...
Anyway, John... as to healthcare... as you may be aware, just the other day the news came out that apparently the Obama administration had... umm... underestimated the ten year U.S. Government deficit projections. Apparently instead of the $7 TRILLION or so in projected deficit spending that Team Obama had been forecasting as recently as May, the newest OMB projection is a bit over $9 TRILLION.
John... that's just projected deficits! In 2008 the national debt stood at something like $9 trillion. Today it's approaching $12 Trillion. By 2019 I've read estimates that it may triple!
John... you and your colleagues are BANKRUPTING OUR COUNTRY...! Your website claims that any healthcare bill coming out of congress will be "100% paid for." John... how the heck can ANYTHING the government does be "100 paid for" when NOTHING the government does NOW is being "100% paid for" and all you people in Washington are doing is adding billions and trillions of dollars in deficits and ever increasing debt to America's balance sheet year by year, decade by decade?
(Now between you and me, folks... I wasn't quite that eloquent. I'm basically pasting from my talking points - my notes; facts and figures - which I took with me to the meeting. At the start of the meeting they requested no reading directly from notes... so I paraphrased. What you see here is the "cleaned up" version of the points I made. The "style" is dead on though. The substance is accurate as well, but just to be perfectly honest I'm letting you know the above isn't "word for word" what I actually said. Close enough though!)
Well... Hall's answer basically amounted to a pledge that he'd only vote for a bill that was "revenue neutral." He totally ignored the larger point about how he and his colleagues are bankrupting the nation... destroying the dollar... creating the perfect "birthing climate" for what I contend will be the coming stagflation...
Oh... and before I forget... when I had the mic I also threw in a few remarks about how Social Security is now projected to go topsy turvy (start running at deficit) in 2016 - two years EARLIER than forecast as recently as last year! I noted that Medicare is going bankrupt... that Medicaid is destroying state budgets across the nation - with states on average spending almost 17% of their entire state budgets just on Medicaid alone and if you count federal matching expenditures the proportion rises to around 22% with no end in sight.
I threw in that the federal government couldn't even run the Cash for Clunkers Program properly or forecast either demand or expenditures... (*SIGH*)
Basically I told John Hall that before Congress created another new program to screw up, they might wanna demonstrate some competence by fixing the messes they and their institutional predecessors had already made and which we the American People were already stuck with.
Anyway... to make a long story... er... a bit shorter... let me just say that I'll update this tale within the comments section of this thread.
Heck... while I'm at it... I'll also add my "notes" to the comments section. This way anyone interested can know what I know. I'm talking four typed pages of notes! I'm talking several hours of research, primary research... these note a conglomeration of stats and analysis I found at various Think Tanks and via accessing primary sources such as government reports and documents.
Those who know me and my "style" can attest to the fact that if I assert something as a fact... you can take it to the bank. (Just not one of those failing banks that FDIC is going to have to bail out...)
That's it for this post, folks; check back in a day or two to see what I've added to the comments section.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Well, it's been a month since my last post; I was gently reminded of this by my cyberbud Rodak who was kind enough to send me an email simply titled, "Quitting Already?"
Nope. Not quitting. As I responded to Rodak, I've simply been distracted by - and frankly posting like mad at - NewMajority.com.
What can I say... I'm a social animal! I like a crowd and David Frum's "New Majority" attracts a crowd.
OK. That said... Rodak is right. I started my own blog, I should keep in current. Whether I get much traffic is in a sense beside the point.
Anyway... here are a few "must reads" out of today's news headlines:
Be afraid. Be very, very afraid.
The USPS lost $2.4 billion in the quarter ended in June and projects a net loss of $7 billion in fiscal 2009, outstanding debt of more than $10 billion and a cash shortfall of $1 billion. It was moved to intensive care - the Government Accountability Office’s list of “high risk” cases - last month and told to shape up.
No. The United States Postal Service's well known financial problems aren't going to bankrupt the United State; the point of the the analysis, if you take a moment to read it (which I strongly suggest you do) is that the Post Office example provides a vision of where President Obama's and the Democratic Party's health insurance/health care visions may take this nation.
Read the op-ed. It's well worth your time and attention.
Buffet Says Federal Debt Poses Risks To Economy
The U.S. budget deficit is forecast to reach a record $1.841 trillion in the year that ends Sept. 30. ... The “greenback emissions” will swell the deficit to 13 percent of gross domestic product this fiscal year, while net debt will increase to 56 percent of GDP... The U.S. budget deficit reached a record for the first 10 months of the fiscal year and broke a monthly high for July. The excess of expenditure over revenue for July climbed to $180.7 billion compared with a $102.8 billion gap in July 2008 as the government spent more than in any month in U.S. history, the Treasury said Aug. 12. ... Pacific Investment Management Co., which runs the world’s biggest bond fund, said in an Emerging Markets Watch report that the dollar will weaken as the swelling U.S. deficit erodes its status as a reserve currency. The Dollar Index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of currencies, has fallen 12 percent from this year’s high in March. “Unchecked greenback emissions will certainly cause the purchasing power of currency to melt," Buffett said. "The dollar’s destiny lies with Congress."
Great! The dollar's destiny lies with Congress. Wonderful!
As I've been saying all along, folks, prepare yourself for the opening bugle sounds of the coming stagflation. Buffet sounds as if he believes we can avoid stagflation till perhaps 2011-2012; I think we'll see it beginning in mid-2010.
Hey... folks... ya can't make this stuff up! I wouldn't even try!
Hmm... let's see... what else...
Oh, yeah! Meanwhile... Social Security continues to go broke:
Social Security could face a deficit within two years, according to U.S. Rep. Spencer Bachus who met with The Tuscaloosa News editorial board Tuesday. “The situation is much worse than people realize, especially because of the problems brought on by the recession, near depression,” said Bachus, R-Vestavia Hills, in an interview with the Tuscaloosa News editorial board. Bachus, the ranking member of the House Committee on Financial Services, said most people seem unaware of the impending crisis. He initially said Social Security could face "default" within two years, but his staff responded later saying the Congresssman intended to say "deficit."
Fasten your seat belts, people... it's going to be a long few years!
Hmm... and speaking of seat belts...
It seems about half of New York's auto dealerships have pulled out of the Cash For Clunkers Program, citing delays in getting reimbursed by the government.
Oh, yeah... when I think of government I think of efficiency - don't you?!
And these people want MORE control over one-seventh of our economy as represented by health insurance/health care. God help us. God help us all.
Well, folks, that's it for now. I'll try to do better in terms of more frequent posts!