June brings back childhood memories of summer vacations, way before the days of air conditioning or GPS. Back then, Dad and Mom relied on maps and road signs. A keen awareness of our surroundings and following those road signs got us safely to our destination many a time.
A similar, keen awareness seems to be sorely lacking by some Americans as we head into this November’s elections. These elections will once again provide direction for our country for years to come. Looking at the road signs (the finance & news reports), I see there are many current US policies that need a change in direction. But the one I write about today is US fiscal policy and the craziness of putting more debt on top of bad debt – bailouts.
Here’s a list of the bailouts I’m aware of since 2008:
March 2008 - $29 Billion Stimulus Package – Wall Street Bailout
May 2008 - $178 Billion Stimulus Package – Average American Bailout
July 2008 - $300 Billion Stimulus Package – Homeowners Bailout
September 2008 - $200 Billion Stimulus Package – Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Bailout
September 2008 - $50 Billion Stimulus Package To Guarantee Money Market Funds
September 2008 - $25 Billion Stimulus Package – Automakers Bailout
September – November 2008 - $150 Billion Stimulus Package – AIG Bailout
October 2008 - $700 Billion Stimulus Package – Banks Bailout
February 2009 - $787 Billion Stimulus Package – Average Americans Bailout
February 2009 - $275 Billion Stimulus Package – Homeowners Bailout
March 2009 - $30 Billion Stimulus Package – AIG Bailout
March 2009 - $15 Billion Stimulus Package – Small Business Loans
March 2009 - $1 Trillion “Toxic Asset” Program – Banks Bailout
March 2009 - $22 Billion Stimulus Package – Automakers Bailout
April 2009 - $1 Trillion Stimulus Package – G-20 World Leaders Stimulus
In addition, we have ponzi schemes for retirement funds (social security system), an expensive new health care system we didn’t ask for, the government payrolls continue to balloon while the private joblessness rate hovers around 10%. The $787 Billion bailout is heavily loaded to pay out in 2010, just before this year’s elections. It may just all come crashing down shortly after November (anyone else remember the 80’s recession?). The current road signs don’t look good at all. Here in Illinois, our financial house is in a total mess, too.
As I see it, we’re basically broke as a nation, but the bankers haven’t foreclosed yet. All the signs tell me this. This out of control spending has been going on for many decades and it has to stop before our loans get called in (Greece anyone?). Government was never meant to meet our needs, which is socialism (just ask Senator Maxine Waters). Only God and the abilities He gives us (grace) can meet our needs.
Please take a little time this busy summer to research who the fiscally responsible candidates are this November. Then get up off that La-Z-Boy, and go vote the big spenders out of government before the bankers come to foreclose!
COMMENTARY . . .
Lawmakers Say ‘No’ to Opening Illinois’ Books
That’s how Democrat state reps Keith Farnham and Jack Franks “voted” on the forensic audit resolution they sponsored. In spite of their supercilious backing of the resolution, Farnham voted against it and Franks “went to the bathroom”. Michael Madigan and Illinois Democrats voted down a measure that would have meant accountability in Illinois’ spending and would have gone a long way to preventing Governor Quinn’s proposed 33% tax hike.
Prior to voting down HR 1057, the Illinois General Assembly passed a forensic audit of Medicaid, which represents $13 billion in state spending. The bill passed both legislative chambers without any opposition (House, 113-00, Senate 59-00). According to the New York Times and the FBI 10% of state Medicaid spending is fraud. Based on this estimate, Illinois taxpayers will save $1.3 billion thanks to the audit.
Unanimous passage of the Medicaid audit confirms two things 1) an audit is sound policy, and 2) the political will to audit doctors, hospitals and the poor for fraud certainly exists.
If it’s a good idea to audit 25% of state spending, why not audit the remaining 75%?
When it came time to vote on an audit of all state spending, the vote split down party lines. Republicans voted for it. Democrats voted against it. In effect, Democrats are using misdirection to focus voter attention on Medicaid spending, while they hide waste, fraud and corruption in the remaining $39 billion of “political” spending.
Republican Leader Tom Cross, lead sponsor Patty Bellock and the entire House Republican caucus stood in stark contrast to Speaker Michael Madigan and House Democrats. Illinois Democrats are now on-the-record opposing a corrective audit of the entire budget while our state careens toward insolvency.
What’s at stake, Illinois?
As a chief advocate spearheading the campaign for a forensic audit of all state spending and author of this Illinois Forensic Audit Act, I think it is critical for citizens to understand what’s at stake:
- preventing a 33% tax hike, which will cost Illinois families an additional $500;
- cutting wasteful spending, that has resulted in a $13 billion budget deficit;
- ending corruption that has resulted in the conviction of roughly 1,000 individuals over the last three decades; and
- restoring confidence in our great state of Illinois, which last year alone lost 700 manufacturing companies and 735,000 individuals over the last ten years.
Yesterday’s (May 26) vote only confirms our belief that we can’t rely on machine politicians to put an end to waste, fraud and corruption. They are determined to continue the legislative shell game in order to line their pockets. We must take matters into our own hands.
In June, we are re-launching For the Good of Illinois. Our mission: promoting self-governance in Illinois by engaging, educating, and empowering citizens to demand limited, accountable, and transparent government of, by, and for the people.
We may have been delayed, but we have not been denied. Stay tuned.
“We are using the visa card to pay off the discover card,” those prophetic words were spoken by one very skilled legislator and my good friend Dennis Reboletti (R-Elmhurst), as he addressed Senate Bill 3514, authorizing the issuance of up to $4 billion in borrowing to allow us to keep the ship of state afloat. What an abomination!
It was just one of several budget bills debated for hours on the House floor that kept us in session past 9:00pm on Tuesday, April 25th. Governor Quinn was on the floor talking with legislators, myself included, attempting to get the 71 “yes” votes required to pass the bill by a super-majority. It failed the first time by one vote.
House Republicans went to caucus to discuss a strategy to get released from the Rules Committee some of the 60-plus bills we have offered for job creation, government sunshine, accountability, and state savings. Sadly, the second vote on the pension borrowing gave the Governor the 71 votes he needed and kept some great legislation from moving forward. I will reserve my personal anger at the situation for a more appropriate venue.
My good friend Jack Franks (D-Woodstock), whom I have written about in the past, took his usual gutsy stand speaking about Senate Bill 3660, the “Emergency Budget Act of FY 11”. Jack stated that our new state motto should be “If you thought our problems were bad you should see our solutions.” Jack went on to say that if we were a bank we would be closed. Amen! The bill consisted of eighteen floor amendments and among them was legislation reducing our (legislators’) reimbursement for lodging, meals and mileage which I certainly see as a positive. The rest, though, is scary. As I write this early Wednesday morning there is little doubt a budget will be passed by both chambers. Rest assured it will stink, it will not solve our problems, and it will bury us deeper financially.
One good bill that passed Tuesday was Senate Bill 377 to generate revenue through tax amnesty which I think makes good sense. It provides an “amnesty” period for delinquent taxpayers to pay up without paying fines. The “amnesty” will be in effect from September 13, 2010 through October 18, 2010. It’s expected to bring in up to $250 million.
Here are some cold realities. As we work through our final days at the Capitol this spring, we are not solving our budget crisis. We are not creating jobs. We are not addressing entitlements that are out of control. (One example of many here is that a recent audit of the All Kids Health Insurance Program found that of the $70 million spent on the program, $55 million went to cover “undocumented” enrollees – not Illinois residents.
What we are doing is postponing an inevitable catastrophe. My good friend Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet) said it so well “Stop digging the hole. Please, stop digging the hole.”
I rest my case.
As always, you can reach me, Sally or Barb at 815/232-0774 or e-mail us at email@example.com. You can also visit my website at www.jimsacia.com. It’s always a pleasure to hear from you.