Posts tagged budget
Black Budget Spending with CAFR Expert WALTER BURIEN
Produced by NextNewsNetwork
Published on Mar 6, 2014
Every year, the Federal Government spends trillions of dollars. Budgets of states, counties and cities also put out vast sums of money for goods and services. Official agencies are required to document their spending, so these expenses can be viewed by the public. One of the statements used to fill this requirement are called Comprehensive annual financial reports, or CAFR’s.
Although designed to deliver information to the public, these reports are usually so large and confusing, they can not be understood by most people. It takes years to learn how to properly interpret one of these massive statements.
Walter Burien is an expert on CAFR reports. He is a former Navy veteran and has worked trading commodity futures.
Burien is our guest on the show today. He is here to talk to us about CAFR’s, and what they mean to ordinary Americans. We will discuss black-budget spending, as well as the causes behind greater levels of spending.
Download your free Next News “Heroes & Villains” Poster here: http://nextnewsnetwork.com/the-2013-h…
By David Howden
Outlawing “Bankruptcy” in Europe
Apparently there is a stigma attached to going bankrupt. It leaves people thinking that perhaps you are not credit worthy and that they should think twice about lending you money. To stop
people governments from being unduly harmed by the use of this word, the EU wants to replace it with the more neutral “debt adjustment.”
Of course this is not the EU’s first salvo against the English language. It has already banned its lawmakers from using the words “‘Miss” and “Mrs”. By forcing all men to be referred to as “Mr” and women as “Ms”, European legislators will stamp out all remnants of sexism. Or at least, that’s the plan.
What EU politicians are missing is that words are not inherently good or bad. They are just the combination of letters used to refer to an idea. A woman will no longer be unmarried (a Miss) or married (a Mrs), just because the use of the appropriate identifier is removed. Likewise, European officials could well outlaw all nation state demonyms, and force all citizens to refer to themselves as “European”. This would not erase the fact that there are Germans, Frenchmen, and Luxembourgers, all in need of some term of reference.
By legislating away use of a term such as “bankruptcy”, all these officials are doing is needlessly complicating the affairs of those bound by the law. There is a state of affairs that exists when one’s cash flow is insufficient to pay off his debts. Whether one calls such a state “bankruptcy” or “debt adjusted” is immaterial.
If the EU thinks that bankruptcy is such a bad thing, why doesn’t it strike the root? Outlaw bankruptcy. Since the largest offenders are governments, this would amount to legislating balanced budgets and forcing governments to drastically reign in their spendthrift ways. Of course, methinks that asking politicians to draft a law that hampers the way they go about their own affairs to be an unpopular proposal in Brussels.
About the Author
Image credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ALa2-euro.jpg
Pentagon ‘big winner’ in $1T omnibus bill (Defense contractors too, Taxpayers lose)
Everyone is dancing around up in DC today. The defense contractors, the Pentagon, the members of Congress with boondoggle weapon system projects in their districts. (Which is to say nearly every member of Congress.) Happy days are hear again! Down with the sequester say the Republicans.
Small government? Are you kidding? Look at us. We LOVE to spend the taxpayer’s money. Just as much as the Democrats. We just forced the taxpayers to buy a whole bunch of Abrams tanks. (Which happen to be made in Speaker Boehner’s district.) Abrams tanks! Can you believe it? We have no idea where we will use these tanks mind you. They make no sense at all frankly. But hey, here comes the pork America.
And guess what? This is the best part. You know who’s going to pay for these tanks engineered to fight on the plains of Poland? You’re kids! They are the ones who will pay for it! This is a sweet deal America. – I mean not for the kids, but what do they know?
Money for the military is how the GOP plays the same games it accuses the Democrats of playing. The military is the vehicle by which your tax dollars are disseminated to favored groups of people. It’s how the GOP gives out goodies (payed for by you.)
The tired argument is that defense is at least an enumerated power in the Constitution, in contrast with say, food stamps. But it is DEFENSE which is enumerated, not a world wide global police and expeditionary force.
We have no business with a military as large as we have now. And I say this as the son of a military officer and one who has great respect for the military. How are we ever going to get our house in order if the supposedly small government inclined in Congress keep appropriating our tax dollars for a military which is far too large already?
The truth is anyone who says that they favor small government but cheers increased spending on the military (at this point for sure) should ask themselves if they are actually for small government at all. The Pentagon is big big big government.
The lobbyists are dancing a jig in Gucci Gulch today. Is that what you want?
(From The Hill)
“The big winner is the Defense Department. They should be breaking out champagne in the Pentagon,” said Gordon Adams, a defense budget expert and former Clinton official.
The omnibus spending bill provides about $497 billion for the Defense Department in 2014 — about the same as in 2013. But the Pentagon also received $85.2 billion in overseas contingency operations (OCO) for the war in Afghanistan, roughly $5 billion more than it requested for 2014.
Before last month’s budget deal that relieved $22.4 billion in sequestration cuts, the 2014 defense budget would have been around $475 billion.
The OCO funding, which Adams said is the “cherry on top of the dessert,”
Image credit: http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org
About Nick Sorrentino
Nick Sorrentino is the co-founder and editor of AgainstCronyCapitalism.org. A political and communications consultant with clients across the political spectrum, he lives just outside of Washington DC where he can keep an eye on Leviathan.
Santelli and Stockman: The budget deal “Is a joke and a betrayal. It’s the final surrender of the House Republican leadership.” (Video)0
Santelli and Stockman: The budget deal “Is a joke and a betrayal. It’s the final surrender of the House Republican leadership.” (Video)
“(The Tea Party) ought to go after every incumbent Republican who voted for this abomination.”
We agree Mr. Stockman. Like we said 2014 is lining up to be a battle for the ages within the Republican Party. On one side is Boehner, Mitch McConnell, Cantor, Paul Ryan and the GOP establishment. On the other side of the pitch are the small government people, some of whom have made their way to DC in the past couple years, but most of whom have yet to breach the city gates. But they are coming.
Rising interest rates are going to explode the budget. No joke. There will be fiscal carnage.
The GOP leadership betrayed the American people. Simple as that.
By Daisy Luther
How to Survive a Personal Economic Collapse
With all that is being written about the national economic collapse, people seem to be waiting for some huge event.
However, for many North Americans, the collapse is here. This isn’t relegated to only lower income neighborhoods. As an article from a Cinncinnati new station stated, “Hunger doesn’t know a zipcode.”
For many people who were formerly financially comfortable, the economic collapse has already happened, in the form of a job loss, hours that have been cut back due to Obamacare requirements for employers, an exorbitant medical bill or other crushing debt, or simply an inflation rate that has outstripped your pay increases. Despite all of the warnings, many people are still going to be absolutely blindsided.
For many families, personal finances have reached a catastrophic level – they are left to make terrible choices:
- Which utility can I live without?
- Should I walk away from my mortgage?
- Should I eat something so I can work harder or should I skip meals so my kids have food?
- Should I use the grocery money to take my child to the doctor or should I wait and hope he/she improves without medical intervention?
- Do I risk the IRS-enforced penalties by forgoing enrollment in Obamacare or should I skip that whole grocery shopping thing so I can pay the monthly premiums and enormous deductibles in order to stay in the government’s good graces?
These are the kind of decisions that people across the nation are grappling with every day.
I’m talking about good people, hardworking men and women who have always been employed and paid their bills. A personal financial crisis does not just strike those stereotypical “welfare queens” with the long manicured nails, Gucci knock-off purse, and a grocery cart full of EBT-funded lobster.
I’m talking about the person next door, who seems to have it all together. I’m talking about that quiet family that sits two rows in front of you at church. I’m talking about that two-income family with two children and a car in the driveway that takes them to work and school 5 days a week. I’m talking about people just like you and me.
What is a personal economic collapse?
A personal economic collapse is a little different than the major crises you see all over Europe right now, where huge segments of the population can’t feed their children or stay employed. It is a crisis that just hits your family due to a given set of circumstances. (In actuality North Americans are on the brink of the kind of collapse that is occurring in Europe, but because of easy access to credit and a buy-now, pay-later society, many of us still have the appearance of prosperity.)
Here are some signs that you may be in the midst of a personal economic collapse:
- You can only afford to pay the minimum payment on most of your bills.
- The same dollar amount you used to spend on groceries doesn’t buy enough food to feed your family for the week.
- You can’t afford to go to the doctor when you’re sick.
- You are taking dangerous steps to “stretch” needed medications because you can’t afford the prescriptions.
- Your utility bills are past due and your power is in danger of being cut off.
- You skip meals in order to save money or to have enough food for your kids.
- You’ve lost your job or had your hours cut.
- You have lost property due to foreclosure or repossession (such as your home or your vehicle).
Surviving the crisis
Times are tough but you can survive this.
1.) First you have to see exactly where you are.
It’s time for a brutally honest assessment of your finances. If you use your debit card or credit card for most expenditures, you’ll easily be able to see what you’re spending and bringing in.
Print off your bank account statements for the past 2 months. On a piece of paper, track where your money is going. List the following
- Car payments
- Vehicle operating expenses (fuel, repairs)
- Credit card and other debt payments
- Telephone/Cell phone
- Extracurricular activities for the kids
- Extracurricular activities for the adults
- Dining out
- School expenses
- Recreational spending
- Miscellaneous (anything that doesn’t fall into the above categories gets it’s own category or goes here)
Don’t say to yourself, “Well, I usually don’t spend $400 on clothing so that isn’t realistic.” If you spent it, then it’s realistic. You are averaging together two months, which should account for those less common expenses. Brutal honesty isn’t fun, but it’s vital for this exercise.
So….what do you see when you look at your piece of paper with your average monthly expenditures for the past two months? Are there any surprises? Did you actually realize how much you’ve been spending? Most of us will immediately see places that we can trim the budget. Those $1-$5 purchases can really add up. Reining them in may just allow you to take care of an important need that you thought you could not meet.
It can’t continue like this. The economy will not withstand it. Step one is to see where you can cut things out right now from the above expenditures. Can you reduce your grocery bill? Slash meals out? Budget more carefully for gift-giving and school clothes?
2.) Rethink necessities.
If your finances are out of control, the best possible reality check is a stark look at what necessities really are. It is not necessary to life to have an iPhone, a vehicle in both stalls of your two-car garage, or for your children to all have separate bedrooms. People in Southern and Eastern Europe right now will tell you, as they scramble for food, basic over the counter medications like aspirin, and shelter, that necessities are those things essential to life:
- Food (and the ability to cook it)
- Medicine and medical supplies
- Basic hygiene supplies
- Shelter (including sanitation, lights, heat)
- Simple tools
- Defense Items
Absolutely everything above those basic necessities is a luxury.
So, by this definition, what luxuries do you have?
3.) Reduce your monthly output
Reduce your monthly payments by cutting frivolous expenses. Look at every single monthly payment that comes out of your bank account and slash relentlessly. Consider cutting the following:
- Cell phones
- Home phones
- Gym memberships
- Restaurant meals
- Unnecessary driving
- Entertainment such as trips to the movies, the skating rink, or the mall
4.) Waste not, want not.
We live in a disposable society. Food comes in throw-away containers. People replace things instead of repairing them. If you throw out more than a couple of bags of garbage each week, that’s a very good sign that you may be wasting resources.
Before throwing anything away, pause and think about how it might be able to be reused.
- Food: Many times small amounts of leftovers can be recycled into a brand new meal. Meat bones can be used to make broth or stock. Small amounts of veggies or grains can be frozen and added to a future soup or casserole. Leftovers can be frozen in meal-sized portions to take to work for a brown-bag lunch. (Learn more about repurposing leftovers HERE.)
- Clothing: Clothing that is torn or damaged can often be repaired with only rudimentary sewing skills. If it has been outgrown or cannot be repaired, often the fabric or yarn can be reused for other purposes, from cleaning rags to fashionable accessories like scarves and headbands, or home items like throw pillows, potholders or rag rugs. When all else fails, the fabric can be used for cleaning rags or patches to repair other items. Keep jars full of buttons, elastic, and other notions that can easily be removed before you throw a clothing item away or relegate it to the rag bag.
- Electronics: Obviously, initially you should attempt to repair (or have repaired) electronic items that are not working. If this is not feasible, are there components of the item that can be reused, either now or in the future? What about hardware such as screws or fasteners?
- Containers: Most food comes in a container of some sort. Before throwing the container away, consider whether or not it might be useful. Glass jars, plastic tubs, and plastic bags can often be reused to store food in your refrigerator or to contain food in brown bag lunches. Clean aluminum cans can hold all manner of items, from hardware and tools in a workshop to sewing and craft supplies. Use your imagination.
5.) Take control of your food budget.
The price of food is skyrocketing. Who hasn’t been to the grocery store recently and been shocked at the high price of that cart full of groceries or at the mysterious shrinking food packages that are the same price as yesterday’s larger ones?
- Stockpile: Create a stockpile of nutritious, healthy staples at today’s prices to enjoy when the cost goes even higher tomorrow. (Learn how to create a frugal food stockpile HERE.)
- Preserve: Learn to preserve food yourself when you come across a windfall. Pressure canning, waterbath canning, freezing, and dehydrating can allow you to take advantage of great sales or end-of-season scores.
- Eat less: This suggestion isn’t for everyone, but many of us could stand to shed a few pounds. Perhaps now would be a good time to cut back a little and shrink both your waistline and your weekly food bill. Lots of people eat for the sheer entertainment of it or out of habit. Next time you’re watching TV, grab some mending or a crossword puzzle instead of a bag of potato chips. Dish out slightly smaller servings at dinnertime to leave enough to stretch the leftovers for a brown bag meal the next day.
- Drink water: Skip the beverages and drink water instead. At less than $1 per gallon for purchased water you simply can’t beat the price. It’s better for you, also, than sugar-y drinks. If you are lucky enough to have well water or access to spring water, your drinks don’t have to cost you a penny.
- Focus on nutrition instead of convenience: Buy the best quality of food you can, and skip the processed, nutritionless convenience foods.
- Grow your own. In the summer, grow the biggest garden you can. In the winter, or if you are an apartment dweller, put some sprouts and greens in a sunny windowsill to add some fresh produce for pennies.
6.) Reduce your dependence on utilities.
Energy rates are skyrocketing. As the prices begin to rise, more and more people will be unable to pay their bills and eventually their power will be shut off. Check your bill each month and as prices increase, use less power. Try some of these ideas to reduce your reliance and drop your bills.
- Hand wash your clothing
- Hang clothes to dry
- Cook on a woodstove or outdoor grill
- Can foods to preserve them instead of relying on a large chest freezer
- Turn the heat down a few degrees and use non-grid methods to keep warm
- Use rain barrels to collect water
- Direct the gray water from your washing machines to reservoirs
- Turn off the lights and open the blinds
- Use solar lighting whenever possible
How do you intend to weather the storm?
There are bleak days ahead. Have you planned for this? What strategies do you intend to use to weather the financial crisis that is coming for all of us?
Daisy Luther is a freelance writer and editor. Her website, The Organic Prepper, offers information on healthy prepping, including premium nutritional choices, general wellness and non-tech solutions. You can follow Daisy on Facebook and Twitter, and you can email her at email@example.com
Image credit: http://www.theorganicprepper.ca
By RPI Staff
Judge Andrew Napolitano: Congress Can Cut the NSA Budget
Judge Andrew Napolitano, an RPI Advisory Board member, explains on Fox News last week that the US Congress can restrain the National Security Agency’s mass spying by cutting the NSA’s budget. “The recourse is to persuade Congress to clip the NSA’s wings by taking some of its budget away from it—and that almost happened a few months ago, and it may happen after the first of the year,” says Napolitano.
Watch the three minutes news segment here:
Fox News interview with Judge Napolitano video capture added to original post.
McDonalds Latest Advice to its Peasant Employees: “Quit Complaining” and “Sing a Song”
Back in July, I highlighted a ridiculous and insulting campaign that McDonalds ran with Visa in which the company tried to help its impoverished employees plan a budget. The only thing the campaign did was embarrass the company by proving that you can’t survive working there.
Well the company is right back at it in time for the holidays, with several pieces of advice for its legions of serf employees through its ”McResource” website. Three of the more insulting pieces of wisdom include:
“Sing away stress: Singing along to your favorite songs can lower your blood pressure.”
“Break it up: Breaking food into pieces often results in eating less and still feeling full.”
I saved the best for last…
“Quit complaining: Stress hormone levels rise by 15% after ten minutes of complaining.”
Are you “lovin’ it” yet? Video below:
Follow Mike on Twitter.
Video capture added to Mike’s original post.
Derrick Crowe Discusses the Government Shutdown
Published by NextNewsNetwork
Gary Franchi interviews Derrick Crowe regarding the current government shutdown and the possible affects. Congress may be feuding to create the shutdown, but of course Congress members is still drawing a check.
Where does your tax dollar go? (An infographic)
Watch the “net interest” percentage going forward as interest rates rise. That’s going to put a cramp in our lifestyle.
Image credit: http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org
Lobbying Effort Keeps Flawed Drone Flying
WASHINGTON – Despite budget sequesters, weekly furloughs of civilian Defense Department employees, and the prospect of budget-imposed reductions in the number of active-duty and reserve personnel, the Pentagon has still found money to fund the underperforming Global Hawk drone system.
A report compiled by the Pentagon’s testing department in 2011 described the $223 million Global Hawk as “not operationally effective, and predicted that cancelling orders for the drone would save $2.5 billion over a period of five years. This led the manufacturer, California-based military contractor Northup Grumman, to mount a high-pressure lobbying campaign to preserve the slow, ponderous, under-performing Global Hawk.
RT News points out that the effort – which was led by three former high-ranking Republican congressional aides — included nearly a million dollars in campaign contributions to key members of Congressional committees. That campaign paid off when the 2013 Defense authorization bill included more than $260 million a year to keep the current fleet of Global Hawk drones in the air, plus another $443 to order three additional Global Hawks.