Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Obama's Broken Promises by John Stossel

In a Reason Magazine interview last year, Ted Balaker asked me about my hopes for the incoming Obama administration. "Maybe Obama will be financially responsible," I said.

I’m so inclined to wishful thinking.

It's now been one year since Obama took office. He promised fiscal responsibility. Then he broke lots of those promises. Here is a list of some:

Promise #6: No Tax Increase on Families Making Under 250k
“Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase - not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes,” Obama said in a September 2008 town hall meeting in Dover.

Reality: In his first year in office, he proposed Cap and Trade, which would be a fat tax on everyone. He increased the cigarette tax by 159 percent, and now we have that proposed tax on fancy health care benefits.

During the campaign, he criticized John McCain for just suggesting that.
“My opponent can't make that pledge [not to raise taxes] and here’s why: for the first time in American history, John McCain wants to tax your health care benefits," he said in the same speech.

But now it's Obama who wants to tax health plans:
“This reform will charge insurance companies a fee for their most expensive policies,” he said in his health care address to Congress.

Promise #5: Ban Earmarks
"We are going to ban all earmarks,” Obama said at a press conference on January 6, 2009.

Reality: The first spending bill he signed had over 9,000 earmarks.

Promise #4: I Won't Force Americans To Buy Insurance

During the campaign, Obama attacked Hillary Clinton:
“She believes we have to force people who don’t have insurance,” he said in a primary debate in January 2008.

In a Feb. 2008 CNN interview, he added: “If a mandate was the solution, we could try that to solve homelessness by mandating that everybody buy a house.”

Reality: This September, he told Congress: “Under my plan, individuals will be required to carry basic health insurance.”

Promise #3: Health care negotiations will be on C-SPAN
Obama promised at least eight times that "we’re going to do all the negotiations on C-SPAN, So the American people will be able to watch.”

Reality: They haven’t been there.
Well, briefly. C-SPAN CEO Brian Lamb said, “The only time we’ve been allowed to cover the White House part of it was one hour inside the East Room, which was kind of just a show horse type of thing.”

Promise #2: Putting bills online
Obama promised “When there’s a bill that ends up on my desk as President, you the public will have five days to look online, and find out what’s in it before I sign it.”

Reality: He broke that promise when he singed his first bill, the Fair Pay Act. He's broken it since, for instance on the Credit Card Bill of Rights and an expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program.

Promise #1: Cutting spending
On the campaign trail, Obama promised to cut spending several times. In the second presidential debate, he said that “actually, I am cutting more than I’m spending. So it will be a net spending cut.”
In the third debate, he reiterated: “what I've done throughout this campaign is to propose a net spending cut.”
Of course, Republicans made claims like that, too. Bush Sr. is famous for his “Read my lips. No new taxes” line. Bush Jr. made statements like “Prosperity requires restraining the spending appetite of the federal government.”
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John Stossel is from neither the R or D party and looks at things independantly which, for me, gives him more credibility. What do you think of this article?
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The Scott Brown victory in Massachusetts should serve as a BIG reminder that Obama, Reid, Pelosi, House and Senate members are hired by The People!

Inquiring minds want to know.....What is coming next?
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Sunday, January 17, 2010

U.S. Aid to Haiti...What Can We Do?

The earthquake disaster in Haiti is a heartbreaker. Our hearts are full of empathy. We all want to do something to help. I did some research and decided if I was to donate I would want to be well-informed.

The U.S. does give a tremendous amount of help to many many countries every day...we always step up when a disaster occurs. I found an article regarding the fact that the U.S. has been the world's largest foreign-aid donor to Haiti since 1973. This information bears repeating..

Unsurprisingly, Rush Is Right by Jim Geraghty

You knew it was just a matter of time before partisan angles emerged about the disaster in Haiti. The Huffington Post takes umbrage at Rush Limbaugh: "Limbaugh also seems to feel we've done enough already for Haiti: 'We've already donated to Haiti. It's called the U.S. income tax.'"

Obviously, when people are struggling to crawl out from rubble and with meager medical systems stretched to the breaking point, you've got to mobilize. But on the facts, Rush is right.

The tale of U.S. foreign aid to Haiti is maddening, as well-meaning Americans dump more and more money to alleviate suffering, only to see little or no actual improvement in the living conditions on the ground.

Since 1973, the United States has been the world’s largest foreign-aid donor to Haiti, which ranks among the world’s poorest countries.

From 1990 to 2005, the U.S. sent $1.46 billion to Haiti in aid from development assistance and children's health through the Economic Support Fund, the U.S. food program, the Peace Corps, and foreign military training (although that was only $4.6 million, with $3 million coming in 1995). More recently,

In May 2008, the Bush administration announced that it would send an additional $25 million in emergency food aid to Haiti, bringing its total emergency contribution to $45 million . . . Congress provided $100 million for hurricane relief and reconstruction assistance for Haiti and other Caribbean countries in the FY 2009 continuing appropriations resolution, signed September 2008. Haiti received an estimated $287 million in regular appropriations for FY 2009.

So why isn't all of this aid having an impact? Here's how Reuters gently put it:

A combination of factors has made it difficult to distribute aid effectively to Haiti, including poor governance, political turmoil and widespread corruption. Haiti's political system is unstable and plagued with infighting. Since 2004, a 9,000-strong U.N. peacekeeping force has been on the ground. Haiti is the third most corrupt country in the world, according to corruption watchdog Transparency International, compounding the difficulties agencies face in delivering aid in an accountable and transparent way. Power lies in the hands of a few elite, leaving ministries unable to implement policies and divert funds to the local level. Haiti's civil service is poorly trained and lacks the expertise to manage aid.

Should people give to charities to help the Haitians? Of course. But if the past is any precedent, a lot of today's donations will end up in the wrong pockets in the not-too-distant future.

The other troubling aspect for Haiti is the fact that the largest prison's walls crumbled so you have that element running rampant through the country. So very sad...the whole thing makes my heart hurt.

I learned alot from that article and decided in order to avoid any fraudulent organization that I would check out theCharity Navigator website. Why throw good money after bad...I don't have extra to throw away to a fraudster.
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Now a short plug...visit Online Auction. A real Mecca for shoppers...both buyers and sellers.

My 'treasures' can be found at Supergrannys Treasures.

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