Political Pressure on Budget and Paychecks Matter

The budget proposals passed this morning showed some revealing attitudes on the part of incumbents.  The four democrats who voted against it were those who were up for reelection for the next term.  They knew the democrat favored bill was unpopular among their constituents.  It makes you wonder if the same were true for the rest of the democrats who voted for the bill, but they didn’t care because they had a longer time before they would be held accountable at the polls?

What is also interesting to note is that they managed to come to an agreement before the April 15 deadline.  On that magic day their pay checks would be placed in escrow until such time as they did their jobs.    It’s interesting to note they made sure they wouldn’t miss a pay day but they didn’t mind making other people miss one during sequestering.

The last point of interest today is the amendment requesting them to place 20% of their income with the charity of their choice to help them feel like the rest of us.  Let’s think about that for a moment.  Their current government salary is $174,000.  Add to that income from law practices or other income sources such as rental properties or companies they may own.  There are 216 millionaire congress members.  By millionaire, we mean any number under one billion dollars of net worth.

But let’s just look at the salary of $174,000 per year.  Let’s just say I earned that amount of money.  If I subtracted $34,800 (the 20% for charity), I would still have $112,200 income to live on.  Wow.  That is 2.25 times the amount of the median income per household in the U.S.  Never mind the fact that their government salary alone puts them in the top 10% of citizens for national income distribution.

Political Pressure on Budgets and Paychecks Matter

With this information, one has to wonder why they are so eager to pass a bill before they miss a payday when they can obviously afford to miss a few paydays the same way some of us can afford to miss a few meals.  Wouldn’t it be better if those who can obviously afford to be without a government paycheck would stand up for what it right and do what is right?  If pay were not a motivation for doing the deeds, we could at least give them credit for standing up for what their constituents sent them to do.  It wouldn’t matter if we disagreed with some of them because we would know they were doing what they were sent to do instead of always wondering if they were doing it for some monetary gain.

As it is, they don’t seem to care about the everyday person who might miss a house payment or rent because of sequestering.  But they certainly care if they miss a payday, oops, change that. 
 They mind if their payday is DELAYED.  Remember, it would go to escrow.  They would get paid later after they passed a bill.

The unfortunates affected by sequestering will never get the missed income.  Their money didn’t go into escrow.  Perhaps it might be better to take the 20% from congress and give it to those who suffered under sequestering.  Better yet, change the salary range to match, but never exceed, the median household income.  If they were honorable people, they would not object to getting paid the same as most people.

For the other points of the bill passed this morning, try reading both of the links below.  They provide the same information with a clear difference of opinion by the writers who wrote the articles.  Neither article is more accurate than the other, each writer just chooses to allow his opinion to infiltrate the facts.

“Senate Approves Democratic Budget after Marathon ‘vote-a-rama'” Fox News. FOX News Network, 23 Mar. 2013. Web. 23 Mar. 2013.

Barrett, Ted. “Senate Passes Its First Budget Proposal in Four Years.” CNN. Cable News Network, 01 Jan. 1970. Web. 23 Mar. 2013.

 

 

Sequestering: How Will it Affect Preppers?

It seems everyone is waiting to see if  congress and the president are going to allow sequestering on Friday.  In two previous articles about this topic, States Show Concern about Automatic Budget Cuts Effects and Sequestering:  What’s Really on the  List? we discuss the history of sequestering and the causes of the current situation. In the last in the series we will look at how sequestering may affect Preppers.  For the purposes of this discussion, preppers are those who will be affected primary, secondary or tertiary levels of government furloughs.  The primary level are those who will be furloughed or other wise unemployed immediately.  Secondary and tertiary levels will field the difficulties as business and government agencies react to the budget cuts.

Preppers who have these resources set aside will not lose their homes or run out of cash immediately:

  • financial resources set aside for emergencies will be able to meet their financial needs until those resources run out
  • a food supply set aside for this purpose.  Using it will decrease financial drains.
  • alternate sources of electricity
  • alternate source for heat
  • a supply of medicines

Some parts of the family lifestyle will change and others will not.

  • The furloughed family member(s) will have extra time to spend with family and friend as well as working on those prepping projects they didn’t have time fore.
  • Homeschoolers won’t notice the cuts on educational spending.  The education of their children will continue as it always has.
  • Families will immediately decide how to use the available food resources and may choose not to use water resources.

Since many rural Prepper families have alternate forms of electricity and heat, their primary concern will be financial resources.   All furloughed personnel will want to maximize income during this period.  People will file for unemployment because in many cases they are not allowed to hold other jobs. The furlough shifts the burden of paying government employees to the states in terms of filing for unemployment benefits.

Furloughs in the past have been conducted in such a way that government shut down for a week and then for an additional 22 days under President Clinton.  Both of those furloughs took place during the holiday season.  This was just enough time off to make it difficult for people to get unemployment benefits and make the holidays of the families more difficult.

Given all the implications of a furlough, whether they be for a week or a month, this situation exemplifies why one should prepare for an emergency.   Even our own government can cause emergency situations for families.  Prepared families will simply buckle down and play monopoly and go sledding with their children.  When it’s over they will replenish their cash supply as quickly as possible.

 

Sequestering: What’s Really on the List?

Lets take a look at what is expected to be affected by sequestering.  Since all “lists” are the same form with various values plugged in for each state’s unique situation, we’ll only post the “form”.  The affected groups are:

  1. Education (Title I education funds, Head Start, Special education (IDEA)
  2. Evinronmental Protection Agency (although not specifically named as such)
  3. FBI/Law Enforcement
  4. Unemployment Services
  5. Public Health
  6. Nutrition Programs
  7. Small Business Adminstration (SBA)
  8. Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
  9. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
  10. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
  11. The National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  12. The National Science Foundation (NSF)
  13. FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) and other operations of the FDA
  14. Economic Development Administration’s (EDA),
  15. Department of the Interior (DOI) and other agencies that plan for new projects, conduct environmental reviews, issue permits and inspect operations.
  16. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
  17. National Park Service
  18. Department of Health and Human Services’ Child Care and Development

    Fund

  19. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD)
  20. Emergency Unemployment

    Compensation benefits

  21. Mental Health Block Grant program
  22. Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
  23. Indian Health Service

When you read the list, some of it sounds really bad and some sounds not so bad.  We could spend less money in some of those places.  The fact is that every one of those agencies will always want more money.  Now, lets take a look at the words for some of these items that justify wanting more money.

Several of the sequster “items” listed are actually listed more than once, but reworded to make it look worse than before.  A thinly veiled scare tactic.  Here is one example:

Homelessness programs – More than 100,000 formerly homeless people, including veterans,
would be removed from their current housing and emergency shelter programs, putting them at risk
of returning to the streets.

This snippet is actually covered under other programs previously listed in the document.  By adding it again here with the phrase ” including veterans”,  Mr. Obama wants you to feel shock, sadness, anger and maybe even guilt if you do not do something to prevent the our heroes from being on the streets.    What can you do?  Other than telling your representatives to do get off their tails and do something, not much.

There are other fear generating phrases in the document.  Here is one about mental health issues expecting to tug at your heart strings for people of all ages who suffer mental illness:

Cuts to the Mental Health Block Grant program
would result in over 373,000 seriously mentally ill adults and seriously emotionally disturbed
children not receiving needed mental health services. This cut would likely lead to increased
hospitalizations, involvement in the criminal justice system, and homelessness for these
individuals. In addition, close to 8,900 homeless persons with serious mental illness would not get
the vital outreach, treatment, housing, and support they need through the Projects for Assistance in
Transition from Homelessness (PATH) program.

And to make sure he hits all the notes he throws in this one:

Tribal services – The Indian Health Service and Tribal hospitals and clinics would be forced to
provide 3,000 fewer inpatient admissions and 804,000 fewer outpatient visits, undermining needed
health care in Tribal communities.

At the very least, it is the intent of these documents to bring fear to people and make Republicans feel shame for standing their ground.   They are standing their ground because that is exactly why they were elected.  Sequestering Fear TacticMr. Obama admits the Democrats are also standing their ground and that is why they were elected.  There isn’t a problem with people doing what they were elected to do.  The problem is when one group stands before the nation and says one half of the members of a society are the problem.  Mr. Obama says he wants unity.  This document does not reflect this.  In fact, this document clearly states his willingness to divide the nation.

Most people will agree that some of these agencies should receive funding cuts or be removed completely.  The problem is, people can’t agree on which agencies to reduce or get rid of completely.  No one wants “their piece of the pie” thrown out.

The simple fact is that all of congress didn’t act in a way that would further the purposes of a government.  Instead, if they do not come to some agreement soon they will deliberately, as a single unit called congress, allow sequestering to take place.   Why shouldn’t they?  As noted in yesterday’s article, they have done it before.  

 

Image:  White House Web Site

States Show Concern about Automatic Budget Cuts Effects

Every where you look, the politicians and economists are talking about how their own state and/or city will be affected by the automatic budget cuts set to begin in March, 2013.  Indeed, every state and territory has some to reason worry.  The purse strings may not be totally cut, but they will be shortened.

This isn’t the first time sequestering happened.

In 2003 the military came to a complete stop unless a particular unit was deployed to action.  Training exercises ceased.  Funding for repairs stopped.  Indeed, this process was first described and put into effect in 1985 as a means to enforce budget constraints when congress failed to do its job.  Consider this from the CRS Report for Congress, March 8, 2004:

“During the period encompassing FY1986-2002, the budgetary decisions of
Congress and the President were guided in part by specific goals in statute enforced by
a process known as sequestration. The statutory goals initially took the form of deficit
targets, but later were changed to limits on discretionary spending (first effective for
FY1991) and a “pay-as-you-go” requirement for direct spending and revenue legislation
(first effective for FY1992). Five sequesters were triggered during years in which
Congress and the President did not adhere to these statutory goals, three under the deficit
targets and two under the discretionary spending limits. No sequester occurred,
however, after FY1991.

In many of the years since FY1991, Congress and the President were able to avoid
a sequester by ensuring that it did not enact spending or revenue legislation in violation
of the statutory goals. At times, Congress and the President had to take advantage of
flexibility in the procedures, such as the ability to designate certain spending as
“emergency requirements,” in order to achieve this outcome. In other instances,
however, Congress and the President prevented a sequester that otherwise would have
occurred by enacting into law provisions that intervened in the normal operation of the
process.”

The point is that Congress anticipated not doing its job in 1985 for which they created a plan by which they could forever blame for the resulting sequestering.

Now, the budget cuts won’t be the “fault” of congress.  Instead, they will say they can’t help it when laws take effect.  Members of congress can still sit in their offices with a smug little smile and blame the members of the other parties for not agreeing with them.  Neither party wants to budget.  Both parties are willing to let the sequester happen.  They did it before and will do it again.  After all, it isn’t their fault, is it?

Blame?  The Democratic party, starting with President Obama, flat out blames everything on the Republican party.  The “list” posted on the White House website consists of 52 documents, one for each state or territory.  Paragraph three of each and every document says:

“Unfortunately, many Republicans in Congress refuse to ask the wealthy to pay a little more by closing tax loopholes so that we can protect investments that are helping grow our economy and keep our country safe. By not asking the wealthy to pay a little more, Republicans are forcing our children, seniors, troops, military families and the entire middle class to bear the burden of deficit reduction. The President is determined to cut spending and reduce the deficit in a balanced way, but he won’t stick the middle class with the bill. The President is willing to compromise, but on behalf the middle class he cannot accept a deal that undercuts their economic security.”

Seriously?  Does President Obama expect us to believe 100% of the fault lies with one party?  The stark reality is that Republicans, Democrats and President Obama are all to blame.  They have created amongst themselves an environment that in any other work place could be called unfriendly at best and hostile at worst.  It didn’t just happen during this presidency.  It has happened more than once.  It seems when people get elected to the highest offices in the land, they become difficult personalities.  Working with them has to be a nightmare.

How does all this affect Preppers?  Tune in tomorrow for a run down of how fully prepared Preppers will be affected.

 

References:

The White House List

CRS Report for Congress

“How Automatic Budget Cuts Could Affect Minnesota.” The Journal. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Feb. 2013.

“Automatic Budget Cuts Find Few Fans.” Casper Star-Tribune Online. N.p., 24 Feb. 2013. Web. 25 Feb. 2013.

“A Look at Automatic Budget Cuts in Florida.” Atlanta News, Sports, Atlanta Weather, Business News. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Feb. 2013.

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