One Of Many Reasons We Should Not Trust The Government With Our Money

Any time the government starts giving away money, you can almost always bet that there will be corruption. The stimulus plan put into effect to help the country get through the coronavirus crisis is not an exception.

The Daily Caller reported yesterday

  • At least $4 million in PPP loans went to a real estate company at the center of a federal bribery investigation involving a Los Angeles city councilman.
  • Shenzhen New World Group, owned by Chinese billionaire Wei Huang, received two PPP loans for hotels it operates in Los Angeles. 
  • Jose Huizar is accused of accepting more than $800,000 in bribes from a real estate company chairman referred to in a federal indictment as “Chairman E.” 
  • Charging documents against Huizar make it clear that the real estate company in question is Shenzhen New World Group, which is working on a 77-story skyscraper project in Huizar’s district. 

The article continues:

The Real Deal, a website that covers the Los Angeles real estate market, first reported the coronavirus relief loans to Shenzhen New World.

The funds, issued under the Paycheck Protection Program, went to two of Shenzhen New World Group’s limited liability corporations (LLCs), Shen Zhen New World I and Shen Zhen New World II. The LLCs control the L.A. Grand Hotel and Sheraton Universal Hotel, respectively.

California business registration documents show that Huang signed the articles of incorporation for both LLCs in 2010. Shenzhen is proposing to redevelop the L.A. Grand Hotel into a 77-story skyscraper.

The Treasury Department on Monday released a database of PPP loan recipients, showing that both of the LLCs received between $2 million and $5 million each.

The article concludes:

The complaint against Huizar, who has held office since 2005, alleges that the Chinese developer provided the bribes in part because of his position as chairman of the city council’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee.

“HUIZAR was poised to significantly benefit Chairman E’s desire and plans to redevelop Property E and transform it into a 77-story skyscraper, making it the tallest building west of the Mississippi River,” the complaint against Huizar says.

“This project would require official acts from HUIZAR at various stages of the City approval process.”

Huizar’s former aide, George Esparza, pleaded guilty on May 27 to racketeering charges as part of the probe.

According to Esparza’s plea agreement, he said that the Chinese developer began paying Huizar after he introduced a motion to keep the head of the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety in his position.

Virginia Clark, who is listed as the point of contact on Shenzhen New World’s applications for the skyscraper, did not respond to a detailed list of questions about the PPP loans and the FBI investigation of Huizar.

The Small Business Administration, which approves the PPP loans, did not respond to a request for comment. Huizar’s lawyer also did not respond to a request for comment.

Please follow the link above to the article for further details.

How The Media Game Is Played

Townhall posted an article today which illustrates how some media outlets skew their reporting in order to advance a political agenda.

The article notes a change in a CNN headline about the Democrats’ blocking of a bill to add more funding for paycheck protection for small businesses.

The article includes the following tweet:

The article notes:

Democrats in the Senate blocked Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s effort to legislate more funding to the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program, which gives small businesses the opportunity to take out forgivable loans during COVID-19. 

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) ultimately torpedoed Leader McConnell’s effort by objecting to a vote by unanimous consent, calling the effort to deliver more relief to America’s small businesses a “political stunt.” A bipartisan program, PPP alleviates the economic hardship facing small businesses while the economy is virtually shut down. 

The article concludes:

This misrepresentation is not only inaccurate, but also dangerous for Americans seeking information. The American people deserve to know which lawmakers put aside ideology in order to alleviate economic distress, and which party chose partisanship over relief for small businesses during a global health pandemic. Despite CNN’s virtue signaling in defense of Democrats, the delay of additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program is at the hands of Senate Democrats, and Americans will suffer because of their delay.

I have very mixed emotions about the amount of money we are spending. The only silver lining here is that at least the money is aimed at businesses who need it–not destined to be lost in corporate kickbacks to Congress or subsides to companies that are not able to stand on their own such as Solyndra.

 

Putting Money Toward A Good Cause

The Hill is reporting today that President Trump will donate his quarterly salary to the Small Business Administration to fund a program that provides assistance to veterans who are interested in starting their own companies.

The article reports:

She (Administrator Linda McMahon) said the money will be used for the SBA’s “Emerging Leaders” program, which offers seven months of training to veterans transitioning from military life into the private sector.

Trump has donated each of his quarterly salaries to different areas of the government since taking office. The president donated his salary from the first quarter of 2018 to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Last year, Trump gave his salary to the Transportation Department, the Health and Human Services Department for the opioid epidemic, the National Park Service and the Education Department.

Thank you, President Trump.

Small Business Pay The ObamaCare Tax A Year Early

There was a dust-up on the internet this week when Matt Drudge of The Drudge Report tweeted, “Just paid the Obamacare penalty for not ‘getting covered’… I’M CALLING IT A LIBERTY TAX.” The reaction from the media was immediate–“He lied.” The mainstream media immediately informed him that the ObamaCare penalty was not in effect until next year, so he could not possibly be telling the truth. Well, not so fast. Depending on how they are organized, many small business pay estimated income taxes during the year prior to actually filing–Matt Drudge has already paid the ObamaCare penalty.

So why is that important? Small business are the job creators in the American economy. The chart below is from the Small Business Administration:

sba2The ObamaCare penalty is already negatively impacting small business. This will in turn impact job creation, slowing down whatever economic recovery is actually taking place.

The bottom line here is simple. ObamaCare is bad for the economy. It is also bad for healthcare. It is time for the Republicans to come out with an alternative plan, publicize that plan, and get rid of national healthcare once and for all. It also needs to be understood that for whatever reason the media is not going to let ObamaCare go down easily. They (and the government under President Obama) are going to attack anyone who speaks out about the negative consequences of ObamaCare. Let the battle begin.

The source for this story is Breitbart.com.

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The Spending Game

One of the tricks the government uses to avoid having its budget trimmed is to make sure that when cuts are called for they are very visible and very painful. Local school departments will threaten sports programs or art and music programs. It’s a game that has been played forever.

The thing to remember about the sequester is that even with the sequester, federal spending this year will be more than it was last year. The culprit is something called baseline budgeting. The basic concept of baseline budgeting is that the federal budget for the year automatically increases a certain percentage from the federal budget from last year. If the budget does not increase by that percent, the smaller increase is seen as a spending cut–even though the spending has increased. Anytime you hear Congress cry ‘wolf’ about spending cuts, you need to remember that they are not spending cuts–they are small decreases in the rate of growth. Please keep that in mind as you read the following.

On Tuesday, the Military Times reported that the military has closed or cut hours at some outdoor swimming pools and water slides on our military bases.

The article reports:

The pools and water parks are typically open to active-duty personnel, family members, military retirees, Defense Department civilians and their guests. The costs can range from free to just a few dollars. The cutbacks are one tangible way the automatic spending cuts are affecting the broader military community.

“Everybody’s a little bit emotional,” said Michael Martin, a spokesman for Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Virginia. “People are a little upset … These decisions are tough. They really are. But in the budgetary climate we’re working in, these are the types of decisions we have to make. It’s unfortunate.”

Martin said the commander for the joint Army and Air Force base had already planned to close the outdoor pool at Fort Eustis in Newport News prior to sequestration, but made the decision to close the outdoor pool at Langley Air Force Base in Hampton following the automatic spending cuts ordered by Congress.

This kind of thing sends me through the roof. Our military works hard, makes unbelievable sacrifices, and is paid little. They don’t deserve to have what little family recreation they have taken away.

In October 2012, the Heritage Foundation listed some of the recent examples of how the government spends money:

  1. “RoboSquirrel.” $325,000 was spent on a robotic squirrel named “RoboSquirrel.” This National Science Foundation grant was used to create a realistic-looking robotic squirrel for the purpose of studying how a rattlesnake would react to it.
  2. Cupcakes. In Washington, D.C., and elsewhere across the country, cupcake shops are trending. The 10 cupcake shop owners who received $2 million in Small Business Administration loan guarantees, however, can only boast so much of their entrepreneurial ingenuity, since taxpayers are backing them up.
  3. Food stamps for alcohol and junk food. Though they were intended to ensure hungry children received healthy meals, taxpayer-funded food stamps were instead spent on fast food at Taco Bell and Burger King; on non-nutritious foods such as candy, ice cream, and soft drinks; and on some 2,000 deceased persons in New York and Massachusetts. Food stamp recipients spent $2 billion on sugary drinks alone. Improper SNAP payments accounted for $2.5 billion in waste, including to one exotic dancer who was making $85,000 per year.
  4. Beer brewing in New Hampshire. Despite Smuttynose brewery’s financial success and popularity, it is still getting a $750,970 Community Development Block Grant to build a new brewery and restaurant facilities.
  5. A covered bridge to nowhere. What list of government waste would be complete without a notorious “bridge to nowhere”? In this case, it’s $520,000 to fix the Stevenson Road Covered Bridge in Green County, Ohio, which was last used in 2003.

Follow the link above to read more. To Congress this is a game. To the American military and the American taxpayer it is not a game.

In March, I posted an article about the Congressional Democrats in Massachusetts. They spent nearly $200,000 in bonuses, pay hikes and new hires in a timeworn tradition of end-of-the-year handouts. Despite their concern about closing the federal deficit, the Massachusetts congressmen increased their payroll by $196,000 in the last three months of 2012.

Let’s cut Congress’ budget and leave the swimming pools for our military and their families. While we are at it, let’s ground Air Force One and open up the White House for tours.

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Something I Hadn’t Noticed

 When I heard President Obama say that he wanted to cut some government agencies, I thought that was good news. Washington, D.C., is one of the few areas of the country that has experienced job growth since President Obama took office; the government does need to shrink. However, CNS News posted an article yesterday the curbed my enthusiasm somewhat.

Yesterday on his show, Rush Limbaugh pointed out that all of the agencies the President wants to shrink or cut are ‘pro business.’

The article points out:

Let’s look at the types of agencies Obama wants to the authority to shrink, Limbaugh said:

“The Commerce Department, The Small Business Administration, The Office of the U.S Trade Representative, The Export/Import Bank, The Overseas Private Investment Corporation, The Trade and Development Agency.

“Now what do these agencies all have in common?”

“They’re all pro-business…and this is where Obama wants to shrink.  You can even say those agencies might lean to being pro-Republican or pro-Conservative.”

Rush is right. I guess I should have been paying closer attention. Please follow the link to the article at CNS News. The comments are as informative as the article!

 

 

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One Answer To The Deficit And To Job Creation

In April of this year, the Daily Caller posted a story about the high cost of government regulations. The article reports:

Wayne Crews, vice president for policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, combed through the 81,405 pages of the Federal Registry — which contains the nation’s regulations on businesses, and state and local governments — and cites a report showing that regulation cost the economy a whopping $1.75 trillion in 2008.

In July, Forbes posted an article about the cost of Government regulation stating:

The country’s wealth creators need a real review of regulations, not comforting words from federal officials. Out of over 3,500 rules finalized in 2010, OIRA (Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs) reviewed 66 — and of those only did benefit calculations for 20.

A simple perusal of the Federal Register shows over 430 rules costing over $65 billion so far this year alone, let alone the entire Crain (Nicole and Mark Crain, author of the SBA’s oft-cited report finding of $1.7 trillion in regulatory costs) universe of rules, which stops at 2008. As the Crains note, regulatory costs are often “indirect,” compared with direct taxation.

The article at the Daily Caller also points out:

Combining regulatory costs with federal FY 2010 outlays of $3.456 trillion reveals a federal government whose share of the entire economy now reaches 35.5 percent.
In 2010, federal agencies issued 3,573 final rules.

While agencies issued 3,573 final rules, Congress passed and the president signed into law a comparatively “few” 217 bills. Considerable lawmaking power is delegated to unelected bureaucrats at agencies, an abuse addressed recently in proposals such as the REINS Act.
Proposed rules in the Federal Register have surged from 2,044 in 2009 to 2,439 in 2010, a jump of 19.3 percent.
I don’t know what the President will say in his economy speech tomorrow night, but unless he agrees to cut government regulations drastically, the unemployment numbers will not change significantly.

 

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