32 Consecutive Dividend Increases Offers Blue Chip Income
by Todd Johnson,
July 25, 2012
Enterprise Products Partners L.P. (EPD) is the largest publicly traded energy partnership. The company has provided consistent results since their initial public offering (IPO) in 1998. The partnership provides midstream enterprise services in North America. Midstream operations are less prone to commodity price swings. A successful 14 year track record suggests this is a blue chip income stock to buy and hold. An investor has received an annual return of 22.08%, on average, with dividends reinvested since 1998. As the company has 32 quarters of consecutive increases, I address 3 key reasons why [....]
72% Believe Small Business Owners Primarily Responsible for Their Own Success
57% Say Venture Capital Firms Better Job Creators Than Government Programs
70% Prefer Free Market to Government-Managed Economy
69% Think Competition Between Health Insurers Better for Consumers Than More Government Regulation
60% Trust Business Leaders More Than Government To Create Jobs
July 23, 2012
Most Americans believe entrepreneurs who start businesses do more to create jobs and economic growth than big businesses or government. They also believe overwhelmingly that small business owners work harder than other Americans and are primarily responsible for [....]
ABC News president to staff: Our coverage was excellent except for that whole Brian Ross tea party thing
July 24, 2012
It’s now day five of Rossgate and we continue to inch ever so slowly towards meaningful action. Consider this post the official launch of the Hot Air pool on when disciplinary measures will be announced. Put me down for five bucks on seventeen days from now.
Ed calls this “ABC’s version of ‘Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?’”
ABC News president Ben Sherwood told staff today that last Friday’s incorrect report by Brian Ross detracts from the network’s otherwise excellent coverage of the Colarado theater shooting, network sources tell POLITICO.
Sherwood’s remarks, made on the network’s daily editorial conference call, came the morning after Ross’s report was picked up by late night comedians John Stewart and Stephen Colbert of Comedy Central, both of whom used Ross’s erroneous suggestion of a Tea Party link to the Colorado theater shooting as fodder for their Monday night routines. On Monday’s conference call, ABC News SVP James Goldston also commended the staff for its work, noted the incorrect report, and said that the network was taking steps to ensure it did not happen again, sources told POLITICO yesterday. Right-wing blog indignation could be safely ignored but once the media’s patron saint gave the official thumbs down, Sherwood and Goldston had no choice [....]
The Buerkle Bulletin
by Ann Marie Buerkle,
July 23, 2012
The 25th District is home to a vibrant business community that works closely with the Department of Defense in the mission to keep our nation secure. In 2011, our community received 2,182 contracts from the Department of Defense totally over $600 million. The Defense industry employs 5,000 people and provides some of our area’s highest quality jobs. Last week the house took up legislation regarding the process of sequestration. This legislation would result in cuts of almost 10% to America’s defense budget over the next ten years. I remain opposed to sequestration, and I continue to urge our government to prevent such potentially catastrophic cuts.
Undoubtedly, there are examples of budget mismanagement within the Defense Department; however, I believe the steps we take to amend such abuses should be carefully considered and made with [....]
Consequences of the Fall of the Syrian Regime
by George Friedman,
July 24, 2012
We have entered the endgame in Syria. That doesn't mean that we have reached the end by any means, but it does mean that the precondition has been met for the fall of the regime of Syrian President Bashar al Assad. We have argued that so long as the military and security apparatus remain intact and effective, the regime could endure. Although they continue to function, neither appears intact any longer; their control of key areas such as Damascus and Aleppo is in doubt, and the reliability of their personnel, given defections, is no longer certain. We had thought that there was a reasonable chance of the al Assad regime surviving completely. That is no longer the case. At a certain point -- in our view, after the defection of a Syrian pilot June 21 and then the defection of the Tlass clan -- key members of the regime began to recalculate the probability of survival and their interests. The regime has not unraveled, but it is unraveling.
The speculation over al Assad's whereabouts and heavy fighting in Damascus is simply part of the regime's problems. Rumors, whether true or not, create uncertainty that the regime cannot afford right now. The outcome is unclear. On the one hand, a new regime might emerge that could exercise control. On the other hand, Syria could collapse into a Lebanon situation in which it disintegrates into regions held by various factions, with no effective central government.
The Russian and Chinese Strategy
The geopolitical picture is somewhat clearer than the internal political picture. Whatever else happens, it is unlikely that al Assad will be able to return to unchallenged rule. The United States, France and other European countries have opposed his regime. Russia, China and Iran have supported it, each for different reasons. The Russians opposed the West's calls to intervene, which were grounded on human rights concerns, fearing that the proposed intervention was simply subterfuge meant to extend Western power and that it would be used against them. The Chinese also supported the Syrians, in part for these same reasons. Both Moscow and Beijing hoped to avoid legitimizing Western pressure based on human rights considerations -- something they had each faced at one time or another. In addition, Russia and China wanted the United States in particular focused on the Middle East rather than on them. They would not [....]
How Can We Spur Organizational Innovation to Fix US Health Care?
by Stuart Butler, PhD,
The JAMA Forum
July 18, 2012
The American health system is among the most innovative in the world. We are at the leading edge in developing breakthrough drugs, inventing effective and less invasive surgeries, and tackling cancer. But we seem to fall down flat in one area—achieving the kind of organizational innovation in the health care industry that we take for granted in virtually every other field. Why is it so hard to improve the delivery system or to reform the outdated structure of Medicare?
In large part it’s because of the way we have chosen to solve the challenge of getting a vibrant private-sector market to achieve social goals, such as providing insurance for many essentially uninsurable people or delivering a basic package of care to people who don’t have the money to pay for it. To address this challenge, we’ve primarily been using a central planning strategy. And it is fundamentally flawed. By “central planning,” I mean the approach of managing or manipulating a market to try to get it to operate in the way that you think is best to achieve an objective. It was the philosophy behind Bill Clinton bringing in 400 or so health and systems experts back in 1993 in an effort to redesign our health system. Or the sweeping insurance rules in the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Or, for that matter, the new Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation—smart people who are supposed to figure out better ways to organize care for the elderly and the poor and then propose new regulations or financial inducements to make it happen.
The Issue of Scale
But there are good reasons why this approach is [....]
Justice Department investigating Pa. voter ID law
by Leigh Ann Caldwell,
July 24, 2012
The Justice Department has asked the state of Pennsylvania to hand over information and databases important to determining if the state's new voter photo ID requirement is discriminatory. Pennsylvania is one of a dozen states that have passed new laws requiring photo identification to cast a vote. The Justice Department is requiring the state to prove that the law does not violate Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which prohibits voting requirements that would disproportionately impact minorities.
In a letter sent Monday to Carol Aichele, acting secretary of the Commonwealth, the Justice Department asked the state to hand over the complete voter registration list, including voter history and race of registered voters and the current Pennsylvania driver license and ID list. The Justice Department is also [....]
Obamacare Falls Short of Promises to Uninsured
July 25, 2012
Two new reports out yesterday continue to knock down President Obama's promises about Obamacare: his "If you like your plan, you can keep it," and the promise to significantly shrink the ranks of the uninsured. According to a new study from consulting firm Deloitte, almost one of out of 10 employers said they are going to drop coverage for their employees because of Obamacare, while another 10 percent said they "remain unsure" about what they are going to do. As the vast majority of Americans have health insurance through their workplaces, this is a huge blow. Yesterday the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) dealt another blow with its updated outlook on the health care law, as it attempted to integrate the Supreme Court's ruling into its projections.
Although Obamacare spends more than $1 trillion to get people covered, CBO predicts it will still leave 30 million Americans uninsured, falling far short of what was promised. CBO's announcement said that Obamacare [....]
Obama’s False Attacks
June 12, 2012
OBAMA MYTH: Destroying companies
REALITY: Governor Romney’s private sector record is one of success and turnaround, despite many investments in companies that were failing at the time.
Eighty percent of the companies Bain Capital has invested in from its founding to today have grown revenues. When companies grow, they are able to hire more workers and our economy grows.
Bain Capital pursued an investment strategy that often included targeting companies in decline and trying to turn them around. In most cases, it held the companies for many years and invested a significant amount of human and financial capital into improving operations to help revive these struggling companies.
When President Obama attacks Governor Romney’s record in the private sector, he’s also attacking our country’s greatest engine for job creation: the free enterprise system.
OBAMA MYTH: Rich businessmen profited most from the firm’s investments.
REALITY: The major investment beneficiaries of Mitt Romney’s work in private equity – and private equity in general – are the investors in the fund. The investors include [....]
Remaining Opportunities In REITs
by Dane Bowler,
July 24, 2012
The historically low interest rates of late have been heavenly for REITs providing two direct benefits:
1) Lower interest rates translate to better financing options, directly increasing the profitability of the business model for most REITs.
2) Low bond yields send yield seekers into the REIT market, which has previously been overlooked.
Consequently, REITs are swelling with greater internal revenues and a plethora of fresh investors. Today (7/20/12), the MSCI US REIT Index (RMZ) hit 902.81, a gain of 12.41% since the start of the year. As the REIT market continues to rise, it becomes increasingly difficult to find stocks that are still value buys. Yet in the face of such market prosperity, some [....]
Soros: Republic Enemy #1
by Jim O'Neill,
September 15, 2009
“The main obstacle to a stable and just world order is the United States.”
“George Soros is an evil man. He’s anti-God, anti-family, anti-American, and anti-good.”
—Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson
Is it possible to lay the global financial meltdown, the radicalizing of the Democratic Party, and America’s moral decline, at the feet of one man?
It is indeed possible.
If George Soros isn’t the world’s preeminent “malignant messianic narcissist,” he’ll do until the real thing comes along. Move over, Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot. There’s a new kid on the block. What we have in Soros, is a multi-billionaire atheist, with skewed moral values, and a sociopath’s lack of conscience. He considers himself to be a world class philosopher, despises capitalism, and just loves social engineering.
Uh oh. Can you say “trouble,” boys and girls?
Soros is a real life version of Dr. Evil—with Obama in the role of Mini-Me. Which is not as humorous as it might at first sound. In fact, it’s [....]
The Dog Days Of Global Warming
by John Myers,
Personal Liberty Digest
July 25, 2012
Scientists and Federal officials say climate change is ultimately to blame for recent forest fires.There have been massive forest fires and record temperatures across North America this summer. With this heat wave impacting so many millions of people, it must be definitive proof of global warming — or so the Big Green Machine would like us to believe. I will admit that it has gotten so hot where I live that I had to go buy a couple of fans.
On July 1, even The Washington Post declared that Colorado’s destructive wildfires are global warming’s “smoking” gun: “Lightning and suspected arson ignited them four weeks ago, but scientists and federal officials say the table was set by a culprit that will probably contribute to bigger and more frequent wildfires for years to come: climate change.”
Remember The Coming Ice Age?
It all sounds familiar and for good reason. In January 1971, my father decided my brothers and me were going to help him build a big reservoir that he could stock with fish. It was a natural gully filled with brush and trees. The spring runoff would provide the water after dirt was hauled in and one end was dammed. I remember how cold that winter was. Between New Year’s Day and the end of February the thermometer rose above 0 degrees Fahrenheit only one day. It had to be climate change right? That’s what the mainstream media were saying. Magazines like Time and Newsweek ran cover stories on the coming Ice Age, and climate experts predicted that humanity was on the brink of an environmental crisis. The Big Chill was coming, said the scientists. It just so happened that it was a movie by that same title and it was released a decade later.
And Then Came Ozone
That was followed up in the 80s and 90s by fear over the depletion of the ozone layer. The ozone layer, scientists said, protects all DNA of all surface-dwelling life by absorbing Ultraviolet B from our sun. Environmental scientists stated that the Earth’s future depended on people not using a certain version of Freon because it was eating away the lifesaving ozone layer. They made such a big deal about it that the Federal government got involved and forced all of us to pay more to replace the Freon in our cars and refrigerators. This pushed prices higher, plus the consumer had to pay for disposal fees.
These environmental idiots said they had proof that these things were damaging the environment — scientific proof.
Who Decided Scientists Know It All?
We all give so much credence to these experts that it [....]
Updating Obamacare’s Damage Estimates
by Robert Moffit,
July 13, 2012
Following the Supreme Court’s Obamacare ruling, the Heritage Foundation’s Health Policy Director Nina Owcharenko says that Washington policymakers must revisit their cost, coverage, and spending projections. Coincidentally, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) announced their updated analysis is to be released the week of July 23. Get ready. First, forget CBO’s initial ten-year estimate of 32 million newly insured, with new Medicaid enrollment accounting for roughly half of the coverage. Because Congress enacted a mandatory Medicaid expansion that the Court declared unconstitutional, that number will shrink. The only question is by how much. Congressional liberals did not design seamless coverage based on personal choice of plans. Poor people get Medicaid under the law, whether they like it or not; and now some of them won’t get coverage at all. So, we have a new “donut hole.”
Second, forget CBOs initial estimates on compliance with the individual mandate. At first, CBO said just 4 million a year would pay the “penalty.” But Chief Justice Roberts’s bold rewrite of the mandate as a “tax” introduces a very different dynamic: “Imposition of a tax . . . leaves an individual with a choice to do or not do a certain act, so long as he is willing to pay a tax levied on that choice.” And while persons might be fearful of incurring a “penalty” for unlawful behavior, even without criminal sanctions, they may respond differently to an optional “tax.” They simply decide whether they want the government- approved insurance and its taxpayer subsidies or whether they would rather pay the “tax.”
Urban Institute analysts estimate [....]
Using tax code to modify behavior is a boon for big business, lawyers, lobbyists
by Timothy McCarthy,
The Washington Examiner
July 23, 2012
The hip new bipartisan way for government to try to steer the economy and subsidize favored industries or companies is through tax deductions and credits. As with most government meddling in the economy, the benefit accrues disproportionately to large, politically connected businesses. Today’s Wall Street Journal has a great piece [behind a paywall, alas] on this. The crux, with my emphases added:
[E]xecutives, particularly at small and medium-size companies, complain that many of the tax deductions are either too cumbersome or too confusing. In some cases, the cost of obtaining the tax benefit is greater than the benefit itself….
“I usually avoid these targeted tax incentives, because it costs so much just to be compliant that it’s not worth messing with,” says John Raine, CEO of Raine Inc….
Both sides agree the code’s complexity is unfair: While small and medium-size companies such as Raine forgo the headaches and the tax savings, bigger companies can more easily afford the specialized accountants and lawyers needed to claim the best breaks and gain a cost advantage. Raine Inc isn’t going to jump through the IRS’s hoops (hoops that may be very necessary in order to avoid fraud), but General [....]
Australian Work Visas
Australian Skilled Independent Visa (Subclass 189)
The Skilled Independent visa (Subclass 189) is a permanent work visa for individuals who have the qualifications and skills required to fill Australia's skill shortages.
Skilled Independent visa (Subclass 189) applicants are required to obtain a minimum of 60 points on a point assessment. The assessment is such that applicants are required to be under 50 years of age and be able demonstrate that they have a qualification and/or skills in an occupation on the Skilled Occupation List (SOL). Applicants for the Skilled Independent visa (Subclass 189) do not require sponsorship.
Employers seeking to sponsor or hire foreign workers can sign up for Australian Corporate Immigration Services.
Australian Skilled Independent Visa (Subclass 189) Basic Requirements
The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) has set specific basic requirements that all applicants must meet in order to apply for a visa in the General Skilled Migration program. To qualify for a Skilled visa, applicants (or their partner) must be able to satisfy the basic visa requirements related to age, English language ability, occupation, skills, qualification, health and character. In addition, applicants for a Skilled visa must also pass a points test. Points can be claimed in areas related to age, English language ability, specific work experience, spouse skills and other bonus categories.
The current pass mark for the Skilled Independent visa (Subclass 189) is 60 points.
On 1 July 2012, the skilled migration program switched to a new online system called "SkillSelect" which will require prospective skilled migrants to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI). Once an EOI is submitted, these details can be viewed by Australian employers, state and territory governments and by the Australian Government who have the ability to extend an invitation to lodge a visa application.
There is no guarantee that submitting an EOI will result in an invitation to apply for a visa. If an invitation is received, there will be a prescribed timeframe within which the visa application must then be formally lodged with DIAC.
Australian Skilled Independent Visa (Subclass 189) Entitlements
Successful applicants and holders of [....]
America, the Law-crazed
by John Stossel,
Jul 25, 2012
Over the past few decades, America has locked up more and more people. Our prison population has tripled. Now we jail a higher percentage of people than even the most repressive countries: China locks up 121 out of every 100,000 people; Russia 511.
In America? 730.
"Never in the civilized world have so many been locked up for so little," The Economist says.
Yet we keep adding more laws and longer jail terms.
Lavrentiy Beria, head of Joseph Stalin's secret police in the old Soviet Union, supposedly said, "Show me the man, and I'll show you the crime." Stalin executed anyone he considered a threat, and it didn't take much to be considered a threat. Beria could always find some law the targeted [....]
The Culture Of Vultures
by Ben Crystal,
Personal Liberty Digest
July 24, 2012
The suspect in the massacre at this movie theater in Aurora, Colo., was not associated with the Tea Party.Join me, if you will, on a journey back in time. Let’s visit those heady days of yore when the corporate media delivered unbiased accounts of important events, America met tragedy with sincerely respectful grief and former Bill Clinton Administration cabin boy George Stephanopoulos was revered as an icon of journalistic integrity. Just reading that sentence aloud ought to confirm one thing: I really need to lay off the sauce when I’m working.
Kidding aside, I can’t hearken back to those days for the same reason you can’t. Outside the fevered imaginations of left-wing sycophants and Stephanopoulos himself, those days never existed. So no one should have been surprised when, while covering the unfolding tragedy in Aurora, Colo., Stephanopolous and ABC News correspondent Brian Ross won the race to be the first liberal media to connect the suspect, James Holmes, to the Tea Party. It took Stephanopolous, Ross and the ABC/Democratic Party mouthpieces a few hours to find a “Jim Holmes” who belonged to the Tea Party and then erroneously associate him with the Aurora massacre. It took the same bunch of self-described “journalists” two years to notice President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder were trying to keep a lid on the Operation Fast and Furious debacle. Granted, Ross did retract the report later in the day; but he couldn’t unring the bell. I expect that was the point.
But forget about Stephanopolous, Ross and ABC News. I have a feeling they’re going to be a mite busy for the foreseeable future. Something about a Tea Party member named Jim Holmes who didn’t shoot anyone being miffed that the aforementioned liberals gave him the “Spike Lee” treatment. Ross, help Stephanopoulos down from his booster seat. It’s time for remedial ethics training at the Richard Jewell School for Excessively Garrulous Sock Puppets.
Of course the left was [....]
8 Reasons You Didn't Get the Job
by Marissa Brassfield,
July 17, 2012
Dave Fecak, the founder and president of the Philadelphia Area Java Users' Group, recently penned a column for Job Tips for Geeks in which he outlined eight reasons job candidates don't end up getting the job besides a fundamental skill mismatch. While his blog centers on the software industry, the reasons he provides apply for jobseekers in all industries.
Lack of depth in talent. While a diverse, "jack-of-all-trades" approach may work for some positions, hiring managers expect to see deeper skills in at least a few key proficiencies.
Sense of entitlement. Companies are looking for team players, not candidates with a superiority complex. Individuals who express that they are only interested in doing specific tasks might similarly set off red flags.
Lack of passion. "If a candidate has no passion for the business, the technology or the people, chances are the interview is a waste of time," writes Fecak.
Talking too much about coworkers' accomplishments. You may think you're being humble, but at best, this move indicates that you're incapable of describing your own responsibilities and achievements at work. At worst, it sends a message that you may not be the most productive of your team.
Lack of information. Hiring managers want [....]
A Sick Brain and a Great Naval Disaster
by Dr. Gifford Jones,
July 1, 2012
It was June 27, 1942, during World War II and Russia was in desperate need of tanks, planes, ammunition, food and other war necessities. The Soviet army was involved in a fearsome battle against Hitler’s panzer divisions that were advancing deeper and deeper into Russian territory and winning on all fronts. It appeared that without supplies the future course of World War II in the east was in doubt. And no one knew that a dreadful naval decision was about to be made to further the conquests of Nazi Germany. To aid the Russian army, allied commanders decided to assemble a huge convoy of British and American ships with the final destination, Archangel, in northern Russia. It was a perilous journey under the best of conditions. The strategy was to have this heavy naval escort meet merchant ships carrying supplies north of Iceland. They were then to proceed through frigid enemy waters controlled by German submarines and torpedo-bombers based in northern Norway.
But a strange thing happened while in these treacherous waters. The escorting naval ships received an order telling them to leave the convoy at high speed. In addition, the puzzled captains of the merchant ships were told to scatter and proceed to Archangel. These murderous signals sent from 2,000 miles away resulted in a frightful disaster. For U-Boat commanders and torpedo-bombers it became a shooting gallery. Just 11 of the 34 ships reached their destination. Winston Churchill called convoy PQ 17 one of the most melancholy episodes of the whole war. But who sent this infamous signal against all naval advice? It was The First Lord of the British Admiralty, Sir Dudley Pound. Members of his staff had noticed for some time that he was suffering from exhaustion and fell asleep when meeting with President Roosevelt and at other high level meetings. They also questioned whether his symptoms might be due to serious disease. But because Churchill held him in high esteem, as did other admirals, no one suggested that he should seek medical attention.
When Pound issued this infamous order he was actually suffering the symptoms of a glioma, a type of brain tumour, and died a few months later. Dr. Bengt Ljunggren, a Swedish neurosurgeon and historian, outlines [....]
CBO: Obamacare to Cost $1.930 Trillion, Leave 30 Million Uninsured
by Jeffrey H. Anderson,
July 27, 2012
The latest CBO scoring of Obamacare, in the wake of the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision upholding the overhaul’s individual mandate as an allowable (although seemingly unprecedented) tax on inactivity, shows that President Obama’s centerpiece legislation would cost about $2 trillion over its real first decade (2014 through 2023). The CBO also says that — despite its colossal cost and its unprecedented expansion of power and control over Americans’ lives — Obamacare would, as of a decade from now, leave 30 million people uninsured.
At the time of Obamacare’s passage, Democrats touted the fact that the CBO had then said that the gross cost of Obamacare’s insurance coverage provisions would be “only” $938 billion. But that was for 2010 through 2019, while Obamacare wouldn’t really even go into effect until 2014. Now, the CBO says that the gross cost of Obamacare’s insurance coverage provisions over the 9-year span from 2014 through 2022 would be $1.674 trillion. Even if one were to assume that Obamacare’s annual costs, which the CBO says would rise by between 3.6 and 9.5 percent during each of the final five years of its scoring, would suddenly stop rising altogether in 2023 and would remain at $256 billion — the cost for 2022 — the tally for Obamacare’s real first decade (2014-23) would be $1.930 trillion.
Really, it would be much higher. That’s because this tally, as the CBO notes, merely reflects the cost of Obamacare’s “insurance coverage provisions,” not the cost of Obamacare as a whole. Based on [....]
CYS Investments: 14% Dividend Yield And Continued Solid Performance
by Saibus Research,
July 24, 2012
We published our research on CYS Investments (Cypress Sharpridge Investments, Inc: CYS) after it went ex-dividend. We were surprised that the company issued a secondary public offering of stock recently due to the fact that it has a small estimated market premium to book value, especially in relationship to two of our favorite mREITs (American Mortgage Capital: MTGE, and American Mortgage Agency: AGNC). Our firm took advantage of the 2.7% decline in CYS's stock price on July 11th to add to our position in CYS's common stock. We believe that the market received this offering as well as we did because not only did CYS increase it from 30M to 40M, CYS's stock price recovered to the July 10th pre-secondary closing price of $14.14 on July 17th. CYS's stock price dealt with volatility when AGNC issued a secondary offering of its own, but has only shed $.02 net from the close of July 17th to the close of July 20th.
CYS Investments pays a $.50 per share quarterly dividend, which represents $2/share annually and a 14.2% dividend yield. Yield-hungry investors who invest in mREITs need to make sure that the company is able to maintain the dividend because what good is a 17% dividend if you end up losing 100% of your seed capital. We know people invested in Anthracite and Thornburg who can attest to getting burned with those mREITs. Looking at CYS's Net Interest Income Per share, we can see that the company generated $.513 in Q1 2012 and $.49165 in Q2 2012. While 100% net interest income to dividend may seem high at first glance, we also noticed the high [....]
Federal Government's Debt Jumps More Than $1T for 5th Straight Fiscal Year
by Terence P. Jeffrey,
July 23, 2012
(CNSNews.com) - By the end of the third quarter of fiscal 2012, the new debt accumulated in this fiscal year by the federal government had already exceeded $1 trillion, making this fiscal year the fifth straight in which the federal government has increased its debt by more than a trillion dollars, according to official debt numbers published by the U.S. Treasury.
|The Three Happy "MUCKateers!"|
In the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012, the federal debt has continued to accumulate [....]
The Green Graveyard of Taxpayer-Funded Failures
by Amy Payne,
July 24, 2012
Solar-cell manufacturer Solyndra became a household name when it collapsed, taking $627 million in American taxpayer dollars with it. It’s the poster company for the government picking winners and losers—or really, just losers—in the energy market. But there are 12 more “green energy” losers that have declared bankruptcy despite attempts to prop them up with taxpayer money—and the list is growing. There’s a reason why these companies could not rely solely on private financing and needed help from the government. They couldn’t make it on their own; they couldn’t even make it with extra taxpayer help.
These green government “investments” take from one (by taxing or borrowing) and give to another, but they merely move money around. They do not create jobs. They send labor and resources to areas of the economy where they are wasted. Proponents of special financing and tax credits for solar companies claim that these benefits will pay for themselves down the line—but when the companies receiving them are going bankrupt, that is highly unlikely. Kate Adams, a member of Heritage’s Young Leaders Program, and Heritage’s Rachael Slobodien compiled a list of the 12 members of the Green Graveyard—companies that received taxpayer money for green initiatives yet have filed for bankruptcy.
Abound Solar (Loveland, Colorado), manufacturer of thin film photovoltaic modules.
Beacon Power (Tyngsborough, Massachusetts), designed and developed advanced products and services to support stable, reliable and efficient electricity grid operation.
Ener1 (Indianapolis, Indiana), built compact lithium-ion-powered battery solutions for hybrid and electric cars.
Energy Conversion Devices (Rochester Hills, Michigan/Auburn Hills, Michigan), manufacturer of flexible thin film photovoltaic (PV) technology and a producer of batteries and other renewable energy-related products.
Evergreen Solar, Inc. (Marlborough, Massachusetts), manufactured and installed solar panels.
Mountain Plaza, Inc. (Dandridge, Tennessee), designed and implemented “truck-stop electrification” technology.
Olsen’s Crop Service and Olsens Mills Acquisition Co. (Berlin, Wisconsin), a private company producing ethanol.
Range Fuels (Soperton, Georgia), tried to develop a technology that converted biomass into ethanol without the use of enzymes.
Raser Technologies (Provo, Utah), geothermal power plants and technology licensing.
Solyndra (Fremont, California), manufacturer of cylindrical panels of thin-film solar cells.
Spectrawatt (Hopewell, New York), solar cell manufacturer.
Thompson River Power LLC (Wayzata, Minnesota), designed and developed advanced products and services to support stable, reliable and efficient electricity grid operation.
Some lawmakers are looking [....]
Gutting Welfare Reform: Ending Welfare as We Know It
Heritage Foundation Fact Sheet #109
July 23, 2012
Ends Work Requirements
Waives Centerpiece of Reform: On July 12, the Obama Administration issued a directive from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that guts the successful welfare reform act of 1996. Obama’s new policy allows states to waive the federal work requirement, the foundation of the reform law.
Sidestepping the Law: Federal law does not allow HHS to waive the work requirements. When the welfare reform law was enacted in 1996, Congress specifically limited the HHS Secretary’s discretion to waiving certain state reporting requirements, which is not the heart of the reform law. The Obama Administration’s insistence that Congress actually authorized the Secretary to waive the principal reform is not credible, nor is it a fair reading of the statute.
The End of Work Requirements: Work requirements have been watered down over the years, as liberals in Congress refused to reauthorize the law and states found loopholes to get around the requirements. The Obama Administration’s directive aims to weaken work requirements much further—to the point that they are essentially meaningless.
Americans Favor Work Requirements: The most recent polling data show that the vast majority—83 percent—of Americans favor work requirements be included in welfare.
Successes of Welfare Reform
1996 Reform Effort: In 1996, Congress reformed the largest federal cash assistance program, Aid to Families with Dependent Children. The new law instituted work requirements for the first time and renamed the program Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). As a result of the changes, welfare rolls decreased dramatically, as did child poverty rates.
Recipients Leave Welfare for Work: Prior to welfare reform, the welfare caseload had not declined significantly at any time since World War II. After welfare reform, the [....]