Priorities?

At a time when many Americans are struggling to make ends meet, I question how Congress is spending our tax dollars.

On Thursday, Breitbart reported the following:

Non-profit theater companies across the country would receive a $5 billion taxpayer-funded bailout under a new plan being promoted by a group of Democrats in the Senate. The proposed bailout comes as prominent stages are facing unprecedented financial crises following their embrace of woke identity politics, which has alienated audiences and donors.

Among the companies poised to receive the new federal dollars would be New York’s Public Theater, which staged the gruesome stabbing death of President Donald Trump in its infamous 2017 production of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.

Sen. Peter Welch (D-VT) is leading the way with the legislation, which is called the Supporting Theater and the Arts to Galvanize the Economy (STAGE) Act of 2024.

What about Americans who are facing ‘unprecedented financial crises’?

The article concludes:

The wave of unprecedented financial crises hitting prominent theaters comes as their far-left agendas continue to drive away loyal audiences and even some donors. Combined with Bidenflation that has caused their operating costs to soar, companies are facing catastrophic budgetary shortfalls and are resorting to layoffs and shutdowns.

Institutions hit hard by the perfect storm include The Public Theater in New York, Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre, the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, the Lookingglass Theater in Chicago, The Artists Repertory Theatre in Portland, and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

I realize that theatre is an important part of culture, but movies and theatre need to consider what their audiences want to watch. What we are seeing here is the free market at work, and as usual Congress is attempting to interfere with free market forces.

 

Who Is Protecting American Cities?

On Sunday, Townhall posted an article about an Amendment to H.R. 2882 proposed by Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN) that would have stopped the Biden Administration from chartering more than 32,000 illegal immigrants from their countries to various American communities.

The article reports:

Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-TN) called out Democrats on Friday night after they opposed legislation that would protect American tax dollars from being spent on flights for hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens to be flown to cities across the country. 

“Make no mistake here. President Biden has secretly been flying hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens in foreign countries into blue-city airports,” Hagerty said from the Senate floor. “Just last year alone, in 2023, it was reported that some 320,000 illegal aliens have been flown in using this method.” 

…Hagerty also warned about the implications of illegal aliens living in American communities would have on Congressional seats and electoral college votes.

“Illegal aliens are counted when determining Americans’ representation in government, and the worth of their votes. The more illegal aliens and non-citizens in your state or district, the greater your voting power in Congress and presidential elections,” Hagerty said in a statement. “This means that in a state like California—or a city like New York—millions of illegal aliens result in several more Congressional seats and Electoral College votes for that jurisdiction.”

He claimed that this explains why every single Democrat who voted on his amendment opposed it, adding that the left is “weaponizing the census.” 

Hagerty accused Democrats of being desperate to preserve their political power and making it easier for blue states to “backfill their declining populations” by delivering illegal immigrants to their towns. 

There is no guarantee how the illegal aliens will vote (without a doubt, they will be voting within five years); however, they will currently impact the census and the Electoral College. Somehow I don’t think this is what the Founding Fathers had in mind.

Your Tax Dollars At Work

On Thursday, The Daily Wire posted an article about the amount of taxpayer money that goes to federal employees that actually work for the unions that represent federal employees rather than the government but are paid by the federal government.

The article reports:

The federal government pays more than $100 million a year to employees who aren’t doing their actual government jobs, but rather working for unions representing government employees against management — with taxpayers essentially funding both sides of the bargaining table. 

For decades, the government has tracked and reported those figures, but the Biden administration has removed the reports.

Under the policy known as “official time,” hundreds of nominal government employees haven’t done anything but full-time union work in years, yet remain on the federal payroll. Not only is the policy expensive to taxpayers, but it also props up the power of unions by subsidizing their activities, giving them resources even if employees don’t support them enough to pay dues. Those unions fight against the firing of employees accused of misconduct, and advocate for policies that sometimes pit the interests of employees over the interests of taxpayers, such as resisting a return to in-person work.

The Office of Personnel Management has historically kept track of and published how the program is being used, including during the Obama administration. But the data has not been updated since 2019 — when the government shelled out for 2.6 million hours, or nearly 300 years’ worth, of employee time that was actually spent on union business.

The Biden administration has even been secretive about its secrecy. In December, The Daily Wire asked OPM why the page listing the reports was missing, along with all historical reports except 2019, which can only be located via the search function. A spokesperson said, “Previous reports on official time are not currently available because OPM is reorganizing our website to improve navigation and customer experience.”

The article concludes:

In 2014, the Washington Examiner found more than 500 employees who did no or almost no work for their actual government jobs, despite drawing a full-time salary from taxpayers, because of official time. That includes 271 employees on full-time union release with the Department of Veterans Affairs, and 201 from the IRS.

Then-Sen. Tom Coburn said “I just don’t think the federal taxpayers ought to be paying for that… That’s what union dues are for. What’s irksome to me is that we are paying someone to be a pharmacist or a nurse, but they’re not doing that. They’re doing union work.”

Washington is due for a really good cleaning out!

Your Tax Dollars At Work

On Monday, The New York Post posted the following headline:

Don’t believe the lies: The UN is paying illegals using US taxpayer cash

Why are we still supporting the UN? Can’t we kick them out of New York City and use the building for kitchy condos?

The article reports:

In 2021, early on in America’s historic border crisis, I wrote that the United Nations was abetting the problem by handing out debit cards and cash vouchers to aspiring illegal border crossers on their way north.

One outraged group of 21 border security-minded lawmakers pitched a bill that would require the United States, the UN’s largest donor, to turn off the taxpayer money spigot.

H.R. 6155 never caught fire, though, in no small part because “fact checks” from outlets such as the AFP claimed that the UN was doing no such thing.

Those fact checkers lied.

The UN’s just released the 2024 “Inter-Agency Coordination Platform for Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela” (R4V for short), a planning and budget document for handing out $1.6 billion in 17 Latin America countries.

It confirms the UN, with the helping hands of 248 named non-governmental organizations, is indeed giving debit cards to illegal migrants — funded, in large part, by US taxpayers.

Despite the R4V plan title naming Venezuelans as recipients of this aid operation, the document’s fine print (footnote on page 14 and paragraph on page 43, for instance) says the largesse goes to “all nationalities” and “multiple other nationalities.”

We are sending foreign aid to these countries which is being misused and stolen by the tyrants who govern them, and then we are giving money to the people who flee those tyrants. Until the citizens of those countries are willing to stay in those countries and fight for freedom, nothing is going to change. America is the country it is because our Founding Fathers fought for it. Admittedly we are not currently going in the direction that they planned, but their system of government has generally held. It’s time to cut off the funding that is not going directly to the people in need. American money does not need to uphold tyrants or encourage people to break the law, either directly or through the UN.

Your Tax Dollars At Work

On Thursday, Just The News posted an article about some of the things the National Institute of Health (NIH) is spending your tax money on.

The article reports:

On a steamy summer day inside the lecture auditorium of the storied National Institutes of Health headquarters, Dr. Michael Bracken delivered a stark message to an audience that dedicated its life, and owed its living, to medical research.

As much as 87.5% of biomedical research is wasted or inefficient, the respected Yale University epidemiologist declared in a sobering assessment for a federal research agency that spends about $40 billion a year on medical studies.

He backed his staggering statistic with these additional stats: 50 out of every 100 medical studies fail to produce published findings, and half of those that do publish have serious design flaws. And those that aren’t flawed and manage to publish are often needlessly redundant.

The article notes where the NIH has spent money instead of researching cures for a coronavirus pandemic:

As you weigh that question, consider this: In the 15 years since evidence first emerged that drugs like chloroquine might help in a coronavirus pandemic, NIH spent:

Just two days ago, in the midst of surging coronavirus deaths in America, NIH released a joint study by its National Cancer Institute and the National Institute on Aging that came to a heady conclusion: If you walk more, you are likely to live longer.

If the NIH had investigated chloroquine fifteen years ago, we might not have governors forbidding doctors to use it to treat coronavirus. It really is time to go through the federal budget line by line and get rid of stupid research projects and useless programs. We could probably pay for the stimulus package with what we cut and have money left over.

 

Ending The War On The Suburbs

The New York Post posted an article yesterday about President Trump undoing a policy put in place under President Obama that would impact the freedom of Americans to live where they choose to live in the neighborhoods they choose.

The article reports:

During the Obama administration, the Department of Housing and Urban Development tried to install Washington bureaucrats as the decision makers for how communities across all 50 states should grow. Using an obscure rule called Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing, HUD sought to remake America’s cities, towns and villages by forcing any community that was getting federal funds to meet racial quotas.

To do this, HUD applied the notion of “disparate impact,” which unilaterally deems housing patterns to be discriminatory if minority representation is not evenly spread across the jurisdiction. Communities with high concentrations of minorities are automatically labeled segregated.

Westchester served as the petri dish for HUD’s “grand experiment.” On Jan. 1, 2010, the day I was inaugurated as county executive, a federal consent decree signed by my predecessor went into effect requiring Westchester to spend at least $56 million to build 750 units of affordable housing over the next seven years in 31 white communities — or face crippling financial penalties.

The article details the problems the program created in Westchester County, New York.

The article then notes the solution:

The impasse finally ended with the election of Donald Trump. Elections matter.

But the big win came last month, when — based on Westchester’s experience and expertise from groups like Americans for Limited Government — the Trump administration replaced Team Obama’s AFFH regulation with its own.

Gone is the federal mandate dictating the modeling of communities based on statistical formulas. Restored to local officials is the power that gives them the flexibility to weigh real-world factors in making housing decisions. Restored, too, is the prosecution of bad actors by the courts — not bureaucrats — under the Fair Housing Act.

And builders are now more likely to build affordable housing, since the attached strings have been removed.

The Democratic candidates for president didn’t get the memo. They continue to support radical, divisive and failed housing policies aimed at abolishing single-family residential zoning. And they’d use billions of our tax dollars to local communities — and the threat of lawsuits — to get their way.

The United States needs affordable housing. By replacing social engineering with common sense, guarded by strong nondiscrimination laws, the country is now better positioned to meet that need — and that’s a victory for everyone.

The free market coupled with individual choice and freedom is always the best solution for any problem.

A New Low In Civilization

The American Thinker posted an article today with the following headine, “NPR says babies aren’t babies until they’re born.”

The article reports:

National Public Radio’s supervising senior standards and practices editor Mark Memmott recently published a “guidance reminder” instructing the non-profit media organization’s employees in how to frame abortion news.  Memmott wrote:

The term ‘unborn’ implies that there is a baby inside a pregnant woman, not a fetus. Babies are not babies until they are born. They’re fetuses. Incorrectly calling a fetus a ‘baby’ or ‘the unborn’ is part of the strategy used by antiabortion groups to shift language/legality/public opinion.

Your tax dollars support NPR.

The article concludes:

A baby is a fetus, though he looks like a baby and functions like a baby and has a beating heart (I mean an “embryonic pulsing,” to quote a recent article in the New York Times), two arms, two legs, and a pair of eyes?  Even though he is an inch or two from being outside the womb, and even though as soon as he makes it outside the womb, he magically turns into a…”baby”?  If a fetus is born weeks — or even months — early, he instantaneously and miraculously morphs into a “baby”?  Must be the air.

What if what NPR calls a fetus identifies as a baby?  What then?  Huh?  How do you handle that, Mark Memmott?

Those who supported slavery and those who support abortion share the vehement belief in dehumanizing those they don’t consider equals.  The Three-Fifths Compromise of the early days of the republic had slaves counted as three fifths of a human being.  Though it sounds horrible, in reality, this was done to lessen the power of the slave states and help bring about the abolition of slavery.  Should there be a Three-Fifths Compromise with pro-abortion types?  If they agree to consider “fetuses” as at least three fifths of a human being, they’d be closer to a moral position than they are now.

All slaves were babies at one time.  Thank God that not all babies grow up to be slaves.

 

What Happened To Ethics In Science?

Yesterday CNS News posted an article about research going on at the University of California at San Francisco. This research is so horrific I can’t even believe it is being done in America, much less being partially financed by the government.

The article reports:

The Department of Health and Human Services says it has granted a second 90-day extension to a contract it has with the University of California at San Francisco that requires UCSF to make “humanized mice.”

These creatures are made by implanting mice with human tissues taken from late-term aborted babies.

The HHS’s multi-million-dollar contract with UCSF that requires the construction of these “humanized mice” creates a demand–driven by federal tax dollars–for tissue taken from late-term aborted babies. According to an estimate it has published on its website, the National Institutes of Health (which is a division of HHS) will spend $95 million this fiscal year alone on research that–like UCSF’s “humanized mouse” contract–uses human fetal tissue.

Under the new 90-day extension, the contract—which the government calls “Humanized Mouse Models for HIV Therapeutics Development”–will run through June 5.

HHS also is still in the process of conducting the “comprehensive review” it announced last September “of all research involving fetal tissue.”

It’s bad enough that we are killing the unborn. Now we are using them for scientific experiments. That is beyond repulsive.

The Wrong People Are Paying For This

On January 11th, The Daily Signal posted the following article, “Conservative Groups Targeted in Lois Lerner’s IRS Scandal Receive Settlement Checks.”

The article reports:

The federal government in recent days has been issuing settlement checks to 100 right-of-center groups wrongfully targeted for their political beliefs under the Obama administration’s Internal Revenue Service, according to an attorney for the firm that represented plaintiffs in NorCal v. United States.

Three of the claimants in the $3.5 million national class-action suit are based in the Badger State.

“This is really a groundbreaking case. Hopefully it sets a precedent and will serve as a warning to government officials who further feel tempted to discriminate against U.S. citizens based on their viewpoints,” Edward Greim, attorney for Kansas City, Missouri-based Graves Garrett LLC told MacIver News Service.

Most of the claimants will each receive a check for approximately $14,000, Greim said. Five conservative groups that were integrally involved in the lawsuit get a bonus payment of $10,000 each, the attorney said.

About $2 million of the settlement goes to cover the legal costs of five long years of litigation. IRS attorneys attempted delay after delay, objection after objection, trying to use the very taxpayer protection statutes the plaintiffs were suing under to suppress documents.

The agency has admitted no wrongdoing in what a federal report found to be incidents of intrusive inspections of organizations seeking nonprofit status. Greim has said the seven-figure settlement suggests otherwise.

Folks, these checks are coming out of our tax dollars. As taxpayers we are paying for the corruption in the IRS during the Obama administration.

The article continues:

Disgraced former bureaucrat Lois Lerner led the IRS division that processes applications for tax-exempt groups. A 2013 inspector general’s report found the IRS had singled out conservative and tea party organizations for intense scrutiny, oftentimes simply based on their conservative-sounding or tea party names. The IRS delayed for months, even years, the applications, and some groups were improperly questioned about their donors and their religious affiliations and practices.

Lerner claims she did nothing wrong. In clearing her of wrongdoing, an Obama administration Department of Justice review described Lerner as a hero. But she invoked her Fifth Amendment right in refusing to answer questions before a congressional committee. The plaintiffs in the class-action lawsuit took the first and only deposition of Lerner, a document that the former IRS official and her attorneys have fought to keep sealed.

“At one level, it’s hard to even assess a dollar amount to what they did, it’s so contrary to what we think our bureaucrats in Washington should be doing. It boggles the mind,” Greim said.

This was an egregious violation of free speech and disregard for the law, and no one actually was held accountable. That is sad.

An Anonymous Article

Yesterday The Daily Caller posted an anonymous article written by someone they know to be a senior official in the Trump administration. I am posting the full text of the article because I believe all of it is very important. I have no additional comments.

As one of the senior officials working without a paycheck, a few words of advice for the president’s next move at shuttered government agencies: lock the doors, sell the furniture, and cut them down.

Federal employees are starting to feel the strain of the shutdown. I am one of them. But for the sake of our nation, I hope it lasts a very long time, till the government is changed and can never return to its previous form.

The lapse in appropriations is more than a battle over a wall. It is an opportunity to strip wasteful government agencies for good.

On an average day, roughly 15 percent of the employees around me are exceptional patriots serving their country. I wish I could give competitive salaries to them and no one else. But 80 percent feel no pressure to produce results. If they don’t feel like doing what they are told, they don’t.

Why would they? We can’t fire them. They avoid attention, plan their weekend, schedule vacation, their second job, their next position — some do this in the same position for more than a decade.

They do nothing that warrants punishment and nothing of external value. That is their workday: errands for the sake of errands — administering, refining, following and collaborating on process. “Process is your friend” is what delusional civil servants tell themselves. Even senior officials must gain approval from every rank across their department, other agencies and work units for basic administrative chores.

Process is what we serve, process keeps us safe, process is our core value. It takes a lot of people to maintain the process. Process provides jobs. In fact, there are process experts and certified process managers who protect the process. Then there are the 5 percent with moxie (career managers). At any given time they can change, clarify or add to the process — even to distort or block policy counsel for the president.

Saboteurs peddling opinion as research, tasking their staff on pet projects or pitching wasteful grants to their friends. Most of my career colleagues actively work against the president’s agenda. This means I typically spend about 15 percent of my time on the president’s agenda and 85 percent of my time trying to stop sabotage, and we have no power to get rid of them. Until the shutdown.

Due to the lack of funding, many federal agencies are now operating more effectively from the top down on a fraction of their workforce, with only select essential personnel serving national security tasks. One might think this is how government should function, but bureaucracies operate from the bottom up — a collective of self-generated ideas. Ideas become initiatives, formalize into offices, they seek funds from Congress and become bureaus or sub-agencies, and maybe one day grow to be their own independent agency, like ours. The nature of a big administrative bureaucracy is to grow to serve itself. I watch it and fight it daily.

When the agency is full, employees held liable for poor performance respond with threats, lawsuits, complaints and process in at least a dozen offices, taking years of mounting paperwork with no fear of accountability, extending their careers, while no real work is done. Do we succumb to such extortion? Yes. We pay them settlements, we waive bad reviews, and we promote them.

Many government agencies have adopted the position that more complaints are good because it shows inclusion in, you guessed it, the process. When complaints come, it is cheaper to pay them off than to hold public servants accountable. The result: People accused of serious offenses are not charged, and self-proclaimed victims are paid by you, the American taxpayer.

The message to federal supervisors is clear. Maintain the status quo, or face allegations. Many federal employees truly believe that doing tasks more efficiently and cutting out waste, by closing troubled programs instead of expanding them, “is morally wrong,” as one cried to me.

I get it. These are their pets. It is tough to put them down and let go, and many resist. This phenomenon was best summed up by a colleague who said, “The goal in government is to do nothing. If you try to get things done, that’s when you will run into trouble.”

But President Trump can end this abuse. Senior officials can reprioritize during an extended shutdown, focus on valuable results and weed out the saboteurs. We do not want most employees to return, because we are working better without them. Sure, we empathize with families making tough financial decisions, like mine, and just like private citizens who have to find other work and bring competitive value every day, while paying more than a third of their salary in federal taxes.

President Trump has created more jobs in the private sector than the furloughed federal workforce. Now that we are shut down, not only are we identifying and eliminating much of the sabotage and waste, but we are finally working on the president’s agenda.

President Trump does not need Congress to address the border emergency, and yes, it is an emergency. Billions upon billions of hard-earned tax dollars are still being dumped into foreign aid programs every year that do nothing for America’s interest or national security. The president does not need congressional funding to deconstruct abusive agencies who work against his agenda. This is a chance to effect real change, and his leverage grows stronger every day the shutdown lasts.

The president should add to his demands, including a vote on all of his political nominees in the Senate. Send the career appointees back. Many are in the 5 percent of saboteurs and resistance leaders.

A word of caution: To be a victory, this shutdown must be different than those of the past and should achieve lasting disruption with two major changes, or it will hurt the president.

The first thing we need out of this is better security, particularly at the southern border. Our founders envisioned a free market night watchman state, not the bungled bloated bureaucracy our government has become. But we have to keep the uniformed officers paid, which is an emergency. Ideally, continue a resolution to pay the essential employees only, if they are truly working on national security. Furloughed employees should find other work, never return and not be paid.

Secondly, we need savings for taxpayers. If this fight is merely rhetorical bickering with Nancy Pelosi, we all lose, especially the president. But if it proves that government is better when smaller, focusing only on essential functions that serve Americans, then President Trump will achieve something great that Reagan was only bold enough to dream.

The president’s instincts are right. Most Americans will not miss non-essential government functions. A referendum to end government plunder must happen. Wasteful government agencies are fighting for relevance but they will lose. Now is the time to deliver historic change by cutting them down forever.

The author is a senior official in the Trump administration.

Respecting The Wishes Of Pro-Life Americans

On Wednesday, Life News posted an article about some changes the Trump administration has made to ObamaCare health plans.

The article reports:

Today the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a new rule directing insurers selling Obamacare plans that cover elective abortion to collect a separate payment from enrollees for that coverage, as required by law. Under the Obama administration, insurers were allowed to collect these payments together in violation of clear statutory language.

In 2018, taxpayer-funded Obamacare insurance plans in 24 states and the District of Columbia are allowed to cover elective abortion with an embedded abortion surcharge. In 10 of those states more than 85 percent of Obamacare plans cover abortion on demand, including seven states where every single Obamacare plan for individuals and families covers elective abortion.

I don’t want to make abortion illegal–I want it available on the rare occasions it is medically necessary. However, I don’t want to be forced to pay for abortions that take place simply because a child is an inconvenience.

Because the Senate Republicans broke faith with the American people, we still have ObamaCare. Hopefully that will change in the near future.

The article concludes:

National Right to Life President Carol Tobias added, “We applaud President Trump and his administration for enforcing the law and seeking to uphold the principles of the Hyde Amendment to prevent the use of tax dollars to pay for abortion coverage.”

Another leading pro-life group praised the Trump administration for issuing the new rule.

“We thank President Trump and HHS Secretary Azar for enforcing the law and providing much-needed transparency about Obamacare’s abortion coverage,” said SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser, in remarks to LifeNews.

She added: “Obamacare was the largest expansion of taxpayer-funded abortion on demand since Roe. Then, the Obama administration went even further by allowing insurers to ignore the plain language of the law that said an abortion surcharge had to be collected separately. Instead, the Obama administration allowed the “separate” abortion surcharge to be collected along with regular premiums, effectively defining ‘separate’ to mean ‘together.’ Thanks to this trickery, millions of Americans have unwittingly purchased plans without knowing about the hidden abortion surcharge. Consumers deserve to know how Obamacare pays for abortion so they can avoid having their hard-earned dollars used to fund the destruction of innocent lives. Congress must still act to eliminate abortion funding from Obamacare, but until then, the rule issued today is an important step in the right direction.”

The law preventing taxpayers from paying for abortion has been in place for years. Those in Washington need to follow that law.

Your Tax Dollars At Work

WJLA posted an article on Monday about a recent study funded by the National Institutes of Health.

The article reports:

You can learn a lot from studying birds and every year government funded research does just that.

But it’s one study in particular Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has been railing against for years.

“$356,000 was spent of your money studying whether or not Japanese quail are more sexually promiscuous on cocaine,” said Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) in a speech on the Senate Floor.

According to scientists, the effects of drugs like cocaine have similar brain effects in quails as in humans. The study looked at behavior patterns while on the drug and found “repeated exposure to cocaine during sexual activity may increase sexual motivation which may, in turn, may lead to high risk sexual activities.”

It cost us $356,000 to find out that cocaine use during sex might be a problem. Most of our mothers could have told us that cocaine use at any time is a problem. Rather than look at the impact of cocaine on sexual activity, why not divert that money to helping combat the opioid crisis in America? The quail on cocaine study is truly a waste of taxpayer money.

Pork In The North Carolina Budget

Washington isn’t the only place where lawmakers love to spend money that isn’t theirs. The North Carolina legislature is currently working on its state budget for FY 2018-19. On Monday, Civitas posted an article about the current budget proposal.

The article reports:

The state budget for FY 2018-19 contains nearly 170 line items totaling $30 million that are highly inappropriate or outright pork.

Appropriations directing funding to local pet projects include items such as walking trails, playgrounds, county fairs and highway signs. Moreover, dozens of nonprofit organizations receive direct appropriations in the budget. Make no mistake, these nonprofits perform admirable work. However, it is highly inappropriate – and unfair favoritism – to single out nonprofits for specific appropriations of state tax dollars, instead of having them go through the appropriate grant process.

There is little doubt that a large percentage, if not all, of these earmarks represent legislators trying to “bring home the bacon” to their districts in an election year. State taxpayers should not be forced to finance explicitly local projects.

Note that the items identified in this article include only adjustments made to the second year of the biennial budget passed last year. There no doubt are many more such earmarks that will be doled out this year that were previously included in last year’s budget.

Legislative leaders have rightly been criticized for the closed-door, non-transparent process used in crafting the budget. It is plausible to believe that these 166 line items were the result of political horse-trading behind closed doors, which left virtually no time for objections from legislators before the House and Senate voted.

Such a significant number of earmarks, while not adding up to a major percentage of the budget in dollar terms, raises legitimate concerns about political patronage in which representatives direct state funds to local projects in exchange for political support.

Please follow the link above to read the entire article. It includes a specific list of the earmarks in question.

A Scary Video

My husband posted this on Facebook. It can be found on YouTube. Please watch the video until the end–there is a surprise twist in the last few seconds. It is scary to know what is happening with our tax dollars. Keep in mind that the man speaking is in his third year of college. Notice how well he has mastered the English language. This is a disgrace.

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