Food Stamps:You Want Fries With That?

Judicial Watch

Video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NzspsovNvII&feature=player_embedded#!

A government entitlement program heavily promoted by the Obama Administration
to eradicate “food insecure households” is doling out so much money that a
growing number of private businesses are competing for a piece of the lucrative
pie.

At stake are nearly $65 billion distributed annually to food-stamp recipients
by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The number has skyrocketed in the
last few years (from $28.5 billion in 2005 to $64.7 billion in 2010) in part
because the Obama Administration has spent millions
of dollars to recruit
more participants and reduce the “stigma” associated
with food stamps,even as the number surged without taxpayer-funded publicity
campaigns.

Obama’s Agriculture
Secretary,Tom Vilsack
,claims that increasing
the number of food-stamp recipients actually helps the economy
,strengthens
communities and creates jobs. The USDA has cited some unknown “research” that
shows every $5 in new food-stamp benefits actually generates as much as $9 in
economic activity. The source of the research has never been revealed by the
agency.

Now so many people get food stamps in the U.S. that a growing number
of businesses—including gas stations,dollar discount stores and pharmacies—are
accepting them,according to a national newspaper
report.
Even restaurants,which don’t participate in the program,are fighting
for a piece of the action,according to federal lobbying records cited in the
story….

Read
more
.

Morning Bell: Five Ways to Create New Jobs in America

Morning Bell: Five Ways to Create New Jobs in America

Posted By Mike Brownfield On September 8, 2011 @ 10:01 am In Enterprise and Free Markets | No Comments

Two years ago, President Barack Obama was bold in his optimism for job growth in America, promising that his stimulus spending plans would create 3 million jobs by the end of 2010. It didn’t work, the Obama jobs deficit now stands at 6.7 million jobs, and tonight the President will present a jobs plan chock full of new promises. Unfortunately, that plan appears to be a retread of the same policies that have blocked job growth in America.

The good news is that there is another way, and there are things the President can do to pave the way for businesses to create new jobs.

1) Do Less, Not More: For the last two-and-a-half years, we have seen the federal government spend more and regulate more. Instead, the government should step back and free America’s businesses to grow, thereby creating jobs. Heritage’s J.D. Foster writes [1]:

At this stage the primary focus should be on government doing less to the economy in its attempt to do anything to spur recovery. The basic strengths of the American economy remain undiminished and undamaged by recent events. What is lacking is not smarter nostrums from Washington, but a chance to breathe, more clarity, and a respite from the flurry of “do somethings” that have spewed from the nation’s capital.

2) Restore Confidence, Eliminate Uncertainty: One of President Obama’s favorite talking points is that wealthier Americans should “pay their fair share” [2] of taxes, threatening to raise rates on small businesses and investors. That rhetoric might play well in populist circles, but his calls for the redistribution of wealth at the expense of the most productive elements of the economy has a real cost–provoking uncertainty.

The President should stop proposing tax hikes and instead focus on instilling confidence in the economy. He can do that by pressing Congress to make current tax policy permanent or, at the very least, extend current policy until the economy returns to near full employment.

3) Get Spending Under Control: President Obama has tried massive government spending to stimulate the economy, and today we’re seeing the results. Deficits, 9.1 percent unemployment, 14 million unemployed, no new jobs created in August, and a reduced credit rating.

Instead of more spending, the President should focus on getting spending under control, reforming entitlements, and setting the United States on a fiscal path with greater economic certainty.

4) Eliminate Unnecessary Regulations: In the first six months of the 2011 fiscal year, 15 major regulations were issued with annual costs exceeding $5.8 billion. Since Inauguration Day, the Obama Administration imposed 75 new major regulations with annual costs of $38 billion. The regulations that are on the books–and the ones that are yet to come–drive up the cost of doing business, discourage investment, and leave businesses waiting on the sidelines until they have more certainty about their future. Instead of regulating more, Washington should end the regulatory assault, eliminate unnecessary regulations, and free our businesses to grow and create jobs.

5) Repeal Obamacare: The President’s signature health care law brings with it more spending, costly mandates and regulations, and higher taxes, all of which weigh heavily on individuals and businesses. Repealing Obamacare would go a long way toward getting America back on the job creation path. Heritage’s Nina Owcharenko explains [3]:

Obamacare is perhaps the most damaging of the Administration’s policies that are impeding the country’s recovery. At a time when there should be a focus on cutting spending, [4] reducing regulation [5], and lowering taxes [1], Obamacare does the complete opposite. It spends more, imposes costly new mandates and regulations, and raises taxes on individuals and businesses. This is no way to get the economy up and running again.

Today, there are 1.7 million fewer Americans working than when the President’s stimulus bill was enacted. Bigger government did not deliver on the promise of creating more jobs for Americans. And though many on the left see an even bigger government and more spending as the cure for America’s stagnant job growth, that simply has not worked. Instead, it’s time for the President and Congress to look away from government–not toward it–have Washington get out of the way, and allow job growth to return to the fruited plain.

Is Obama Insane?

Is Obama Insane?

Matt Patterson

A popular definition of insanity, variously attributed
to Albert Einstein, Mark Twain, and Ben Franklin, is, “doing the same thing over
and over and expecting different results.”

By this standard the
President of the United States is clearly insane, if reports are true that Obama
will tonight call on Congress to pass for yet another stimulus program, this
time in the ballpark of $300 billion.

What will this latest “stimulus”
consist of?  More government spending, of course (oops, I mean “investment”).
True, some tax cuts are reportedly in the mix, but don’t get too
excited:  According to Reuters, Obama would “…offset those short-term costs by
calling on Congress to raise tax revenues.”  So really, in the end, Obama wants
to tax more and spend more – that’s his jobs proposal (again, if press reports
are accurate), you know, the one he had to wait until after some late summer sun
and surf at Martha’s Vineyard to unveil.

This is insane, going by the
popular definition, for the simple reason that the President has already tried
this approach on a massive scale — the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
of 2009, which injected nearly $1 trillion in government “stimulus” into the
economy.

How did that go?  Well, it was a dismal failure, but don’t take
my word for that.  In January 2009, a report by Christina Romer, then-chairwoman
of the president’s Council of Economic Advisers, predicted that, “Without the
stimulus (the baseline), unemployment was projected to hit about 8.5 percent in
2009 and then continue rising to a peak of about 9 percent in 2010. With the
stimulus, they predicted the unemployment rate would peak at just under 8
percent in 2009,” as PolitiFact succinctly summarizes.

Well, Democrats
got their stimulus, and two years later the unemployment rate is still above 9
percent, while the economy added a horrifying zero net jobs in August.  In other
words, the unemployment rate is higher with the stimulus than the administration
told us it would be if there had been no stimulus at all.

In spite of
this massive (and expensive) policy failure, Obama wants to do the same thing
all over again.

Of course, insanity has another, legal
definition: “A mental illness of such a severe nature that a person cannot
distinguish fantasy from reality.”  According to this measure, I am seriously
worried about the health of our Chief Executive’s psyche, for government
redistribution (which is what any stimulus really is) has never produced
prosperity, ever. The fact that it does or can is a fatal fantasy.  In February,
2011, economist J.D. Foster summed up why in testimony before The House
Committee on Oversight and Government Reform:

“This policy does not work for the simple reason that
government must somehow fund this additional spending, and it does so by
borrowing.  Suppose you take a dollar from your right pocket and transfer it to
your left pocket. Do you have a new dollar to spend? Of course
not.”

A frank assessment of Obama’s fiscal stewardship of
our country would conclude the following: 1) He is committed to long discredited
economic theories, in spite of their utter and repeated failures, and 2) he is
unwilling — or unable — to consider any other course of action.  Having tried
the only thing he knows — spend, spend, spend — Obama is now at a complete
loss.  His flawed theory is now our failing economy.

God help
us.

mattpattersononline.com

Green Pigs Don’t Fly

Green Pigs Don’t Fly

By Jeffrey
Folks

Reportedly, Obama’s jobs speech will focus on
infrastructure spending, and much of that spending will undoubtedly be tied to
the creation of “green jobs.”  The problem is, what he has already spent has not
created jobs.  According to the Heritage Foundation, it may well have
cost
jobs
.  It has, however, enriched some of his wealthiest political
contributors.  And that seems to be the real motive behind the president’s
infrastructure spending.  Not green jobs, but green pork.

That appears to be the case with Obama’s $535-million
loan guarantees to Solyndra Inc.  During a 2010 visit to Solyndra’s plant in
Fremont, California, Obama insisted that the solar panel company would create
“one thousand long-term jobs.”  Solyndra has since declared bankruptcy, and it
seems unlikely that the taxpayer will recover any of the $535 million in
loans.

The half-billion that Obama threw away on Solyndra is
only a small part of $60 billion earmarked for alternative energy in Obama’s
2009 stimulus bill, and that $60 billion is only a fraction of the $100 billion
that Energy Secretary Stephen Chu envisions “investing” in alternative energy.
Solyndra is not the only green jobs company to receive stimulus funding —
hundreds of them did.  And dozens of them have gone bankrupt already, including
Evergreen Solar, taking billions of taxpayer money with them.

The GAO’s Franklin Rusco has raised questions
about the transparency and rigor of the approval process for the Solyndra loan
guarantees.  It has been suggested that the White House took a special interest
in Solyndra during the loan guarantee application process, monitoring the
process, and perhaps communicating with officials in charge.

That should be a question for congressional
investigations, and thankfully the investigations have begun.  The House
Committee on Energy and Commerce is seeking White House documents regarding
Obama’s role in obtaining the loan guarantees for Solyndra.  So far, the White
House has stonewalled, refusing to supply the requested
documents.

Reportedly, Solyndra CEO Christian M. Gronet, who
received ten
million
stock options on the same day the $535-million loan
guarantee was approved, donated to “Friends of Barbara Boxer” in 2009/2010.
According to other reports, Tulsa billionaire George Kaiser, a
prominent Obama campaign contributor and bundler, was a major Solyndra investor
as well.  It is an open question as to whether political contributions from
Solyndra executives and investors influenced the administration’s decision to
back the loans.

The latest green power company to receive federal loan
guarantees is SoloPower Inc., which just this month revived a $197-million loan
guarantee to build a solar film factory in Oregon.  The initial phase of the
project, funded with the help of the federal loans, along with $40 million in
loans and tax credits from the state of Oregon, is expected to create
170
new jobs
,
according to company projections.  By my calculation, that is $1.4 million per
job — not exactly a bargain for taxpayers who will then also have to pay higher
fuel bills as a result of green energy mandates.

Before coming to SoloPower, CEO Tim Harris was a
successful executive at Seagate Technology, where he is credited with setting up
an operation creating 15,000 jobs.  Those jobs were not in America, however;
they were in Malaysia, the same country where First Solar, another major
recipient of Obama loan guarantees, has located most of its new
jobs.

In fact, Obama’s green energy stimulus has done more
for job-creation in Malaysia and China than it will ever do in the U.S.  Under
Obama’s massive loan guarantee program, the American taxpayer has footed a
$60-billion bill largely for Asian job creation.

Ironically — or perversely — the president is doing
everything possible to kill off the one industry that is producing jobs that
cannot be exported to Asia.  America possesses vast new reserves of oil and gas
that can be developed only with American labor.  If only the administration
would rescind unnecessary regulation, those jobs would double virtually
overnight.  Not only that, but federal and state royalty collections would
double as well, and the U.S. trade balance would stabilize as less oil and gas
was imported.  But so far, the president continues to press for more taxes on
conventional energy companies.  And never at any time has it occurred to him
that it might be in the national interest to support energy independence by
making it easier for American energy companies to drill right here in
America.

The White House continues to insist that the $60
billion in alternative energy funding, along with tens of billions approved in
other legislation, was a wise “investment.”  Most real investors,
having lost billions on alternative energy, would shy away from solar and wind
projects.  But Obama continues to throw money away.  In September alone, the
president approved an additional $622 million in loan guarantees for solar
companies.  Even Democrats like Senator Jeff Bingaman admit
that Obama’s loan guarantees “have not worked.”  Yet Bingaman himself introduced
a bill to fund a “clean-energy bank” to make more loans to the same kind of
companies.  Apparently, Bingaman’s logic is, “It doesn’t work, so let’s do it
again.”

That seems to be the rationale for Obama’s latest
green jobs initiative.  Bingaman is asking for $10 billion for his clean-energy
bank.  I’m sure Obama will top that by a couple hundred billion.  That funding,
if approved, will disappear into the pockets of Democratic Party supporters,
just as surely as it has in the past, though much of it will be passed along to
Democratic candidates in the 2012 elections.  If that sounds like “pay to play,”
you can draw your own conclusions.

After all, the guiding principle behind Obama’s green
jobs initiative all along has been how much it will contribute to his own
reelection.  The fantasy of green jobs presented him with a unique opportunity
to please environmentalist supporters while at the same time rewarding wealthy
contributors who also happen to be investors and executives in alternative
energy companies.

It is unlikely that Obama will ever desert this
winning combination, even as his scandalous relationship with one bankrupt
company after another comes to light.  No matter how many billions end up being
wasted, the president will continue to insist, as did an official at the
Department of Energy just last week, that the green jobs program “is on pace to
create thousands of jobs.”  Already Obama has spent as much as $10 million each
for the thousands of green jobs, he claims to have created.  Is there no limit,
and no shame?

Actually, there is not.  Because more important than
actual green jobs is green pork.  Obama is relying on green pork, along with
union pork and trial lawyer pork, to get him reelected.  Green jobs are at the
heart of his domestic agenda because green pork results in donations to the
Democratic Party.  Whether it results in any jobs, to say nothing of “long-term”
jobs, is irrelevant.  It’s his own job that Obama is focused on
saving.

Jeffrey Folks is author of many
books and articles on American culture, most recently
Heartland of the
Imagination

(2011).