WASHINGTON (AP): The U.S. spent an average of $7,681 per person on health care in 2008, for an eye-popping total of $2.3 trillion -- even though spending actually slowed dramatically that year because of the recession, a new federal study says.
The folks who gave you Medicare and Medicaid, entitlement programs which are threatening to overwhelm government's capacity to print money and issue debt to foreign countries, are about to give birth to a new Ponzi scheme known as Health Care that could give government control of 1/6th of the US economy. While most Americans have been unengaged, that could soon change if mandatory health premiums kick in next year, however most of the benefits will not for another four! In order to secure 60 votes thus over riding the Republicans, Senate Democrats gave Florida Senator's state $3.5 billion, Vermont $600 million, Massachusetts $500 million, Lousiana $300 million, Nebraska & Michigan exemptions from various taxes, and other back door deals that will not be known for years. Where does Congress get the money to make such bribes considering nation is already in the hole by $12 trillion (a stack of $1 bills from earth to moon and back with a trillion to spare)? And why is the Health Care mandatory for taxpapyers but optional for Congress members?
Washington: The Senate voted Thursday to raise the ceiling on the government debt to $12.4 trillion, a massive increase over the current limit. The vote split mainly down party lines, with Democrats voting to raise the limit and Republicans voting against doing so. Democrats had originally planned to pass an unprecedented increase of almost $2 trillion to avoid another vote before next year's midterm elections. The government piled up a record $1.4 trillion deficit in 2009.
WSJ: Obama and Congress have been critial of large corporate bonuses, especially those that were bailed out. So it is ironical that the CEOs of government-run Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the suppliers of funding for home mortgages that have been bailed out to the tune of $112 billion dollars during the past year, will be paid as much as $6 million a year, including bonuses, well above their current terms. The real-estate bubble was in part due to government encouraging banks to give loans to less than qualified buyers in return for buying the bad mortages off their hands.
WallStreet Journal: A bill so reckless that it has to be rammed through on a partisan vote on Christmas eve.
Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader, has decided that the last few days before Christmas are the opportune moment for a narrow majority of Democrats to stuff ObamaCare through the Senate to meet an arbitrary White House deadline. Barring some extraordinary reversal, it now seems as if they have the 60 votes they need to jump off this cliff, with one-seventh of the economy in tow.
Mr. Obama promised a new era of transparent good government, yet on Saturday morning Mr. Reid threw out the 2,100-page bill that the world's greatest deliberative body spent just 17 days debating and replaced it with a new "manager's amendment" that was stapled together in covert partisan negotiations. Democrats are barely even bothering to pretend to care what's in it, not that any Senator had the chance to digest it in the 38 hours before the first cloture vote at 1 a.m. this morning. After procedural motions that allow for no amendments, the final vote could come at 9 p.m. on December 24.
The rushed, secretive way that a bill this destructive and unpopular is being forced on the country shows that "reform" has devolved into the raw exercise of political power for the single purpose of permanently expanding the American entitlement state. An increasing roll of leaders in health care and business are looking on aghast at a bill that is so large and convoluted that no one can truly understand it, as Finance Chairman Max Baucus admitted on the floor last week. The only goal is to ram it into law while the political window is still open, and clean up the mess later.
Who says there is no Santa? In a time when the US economy is suffering and national debt is soaring (recently raised by $2 trillion to $15 trillion), Congress is about to pass a bill with over 5,000 earmarks totaling $3.9 billion (while admonishing corporate bonuses). The bill, already passed by House Democrats, is expected to fly (like Rudolph) through the Senate and President Obama is expected to sign it without a peep. Arizona Senator, John McCain, was one of the few who will not slither in the porkfest.
Gannett Washington Bureau: The House approved a spending bill Thursday that include $3.9 billion in earmarks. The Senate is expected to approve the bill later this week. Republican House Minority Leader John Boehner, challenged President Barack Obama to go through the bill line by line and cut any excess spending. "It's got over 5,000 earmarks in it" Boehner complained. "I don't know how worthy any of these projects are, but I do have to ask a question: Are they more important than our kids and grandkids, who are going to have to pay the debt?"
FOXNews: Republicans and taxpayer watchdogs are railing against the thousands of earmarks included in the omnibus spending bill that passed the House Thursday and is awaiting a vote in the Senate. Mixed in are more than 5,000 earmarks totaling $3.9 billion, according to watchdog Taxpayers for Common Sense.
Pork-watchers are only just beginning to sort through the earmarks, which typically are goodies set aside for the districts of members of Congress. So far, they've uncovered gems ranging from $700,000 for a shrimp fishing project in Maryland to $30,000 for the Woodstock Film Festival Youth Initiative to $200,000 for a visitor's center in a Texas town with a population of about 8,000.
"Let's stop the madness," House Republican Leader John Boehner said, before the bill passed without any Republican support. Twenty-eight House Democrats also opposed it. Republican House Minority Whip, Eric Cantor, wrote to President Obama urging him to veto the bill, and pledging that Republicans would stand by him if he did. Obama in March waved off controversy over a $410 billion spending bill that also was riddled with earmarks, arguing that it represented "last year's business." This time around, Boehner said, the president needs to crack down on the pork under his watch.
Republicans have been on a tear over earmarks and excessive spending over the past week, particularly as Congress prepares to take up a new jobs-creation package and raise the debt ceiling by nearly $2 trillion. Republicans on Thursday named what they called the 11 most wasteful spending projects considered by Congress so far this year. Republican Senators McCain and Tom Coburn on Tuesday released a report on 100 "questionable" stimulus projects worth nearly $7 billion.
As of Dec 12, 2009:
$ 12,099,976,292,965 ($12.1 trillion dollars)
Debt per citizen is $39,356.
Debt per taxpayer is $111,111.
The National Debt has increased an average of $3.84 billion per day since September 28, 2007!