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NEWS and OPINIONS by BILL STANLEY

VA Medical Center Near Denver Will Cost Over 5 Times Original Value

(18 July 2015) What was originally estimated in 2005 to cost just $328 million with a cap of $880 million, has grown to an incredible $1.73 billion. (Sources: Dept. of Veterans Affairs, American Prosperity)

Dumb Washington Politicians Handed Boeing $8.7 Billion Tax Break With No Strings Attached

(6 July 2015) In 2013, the state of Washington gave Boeing the biggest tax break in history, $8.7 billion through 2040. Since then, Boeing has moved more than 3,500 jobs to other states (South Carolina, California, Missouri and Oklahoma) and another 2,000 transfers are in the works. The Washington legislature did not make the taxpayers' gift contingent on any Boeing action. (Source: 20 May 2015 Fox News)

Teamsters Spend Members' Dues To Lobby Bill To Allow Cuts In Retiree Benefits

(6 July 2015) In 2014, the Teamsters and its affiliates spent nearly $5.9 million on lobbying and political contributions. One of its main legislative targets was passage of the pension reform law that allowed the Teamsters to start reducing benefits. The law allows multiemployer pension funds to cut benefits to employees and retirees if the plan is underfunded by at least 20%. The Teamsters has begun informing employees and retirees that their pension benefits may soon be cut. (Source: 21 May 2015 Washington Times)

Will Liberal Politicians Jump In Bed With Unions?

(6 July 2015) Los Angeles recently hiked its minimum wage to $15 an hour and unions strongly support the ordinance. Now, the unions are lobbying the city council to exempt unionized companies from the higher rate. If they get their way, only unionized companies could pay less than the new minimum wage. An exemption would enable unions to offer businesses lower wages in exchange for unionizing. (Source: 29 May 2015 Daily Signal)

If You Are A Low-Income Earner In Puerto Rico, Why Work?

(5 July 2015) A household of 3 eligible for food stamps, AFDC, Medicaid and utilities subsidies could receive $1,743 per month, compared to a minimum-wage earner's after-tax pay of $1,159. It is no surprise only 40% of the adult population is employed or looking for work. The population declined for the first time in 2006, and has decreased from more than 3.8 million to less than 3.6 million. (Source: 29 June 2015 Puerto Rico - A Way Forward)

Solar Plant Producing Only 40% Of Design Value

(5 July 2015) The $2.2 billion Ivanpah solar power project in California's Mojave Desert is supposed to generate more than a million megawatt-hours of electricity each year. After 15 months, the plant is producing just 40% of that amount. (Source: U.S. Energy Dept., 15 June 2015 National Center for Policy Analysis)

Sotomayor Claims Property Rights Not Violated If Only Some Of Your Property Is Confiscated

(25 June 2015) A 1937 law that allows the Dept. of Agriculture to manipulate the prices of crops by controlling the supply that reaches the marketplace resulted in a 1949 marketing order that allows raisin farmers to form a committee that decides how much of the crop must be turned over to the government each year. The Supreme Court ruled 8-1 that it is unconstitutional for the government to force raisin farmers to give up part of their annual crop for less than it's worth. The Court rejected the government's argument that the plaintiff voluntarily chose to participate in the raisin marketing order when he decided not to grow a different crop. Justice Sotomayor, chosen by Czar Obama, was the lone dissenter. Her support for a more authoritarian government was evident when she argued the raisin supply control program was constitutional because it did not deprive the plaintiff of all property rights, it just limited the amount of potential income the plaintiff could earn from part of his raisin crop. (Source: 23 June 2015 Associated Press)

21.3% Of People Get Assistance Based On Their Low Income

(25 June 2015) In 2012, an average 21.3% participated in major government assistance programs for low-income people. Medicaid had the highest participation rate … 15.3%. Food stamps was 13.4%. The black participation rate was 41.6% … Hispanics 36.4% … Asians / Pacific Islanders 17.8% … non-Hispanic whites 13.2% … female head-of-households 50% … did not graduate from high school 37.3%. (Source: 28 May 2015 Census Bureau)

Chicago's Municipal Bonds Are "Junk"

(25 May 2015) Chicago's credit rating was reduced 2 notches, leaving municipal bonds at "junk" status. Government-employee pensions are so underfunded, the shortfall will be nearly 6 times the city's annual budget. The pension debt, quadruple what it was 10 years ago, is $60,000 per household. The Illinois Supreme Court said pensions are sacred, so defaulting is not an option. (Sources: Illinois Policy Institute, 12 May 2015 Moody's, 19 May Fox News)

Farm Yields Drop Without Fertilizer And Prices Increase

(25 June 2015) A production study of all 14,450 organic farms reported that organic corn, rice, spring wheat and lettuce yields were respectively 30, 41, 53 and 70% lower than respective conventional yields. (Source: 2008 Dept. of Agriculture)

Diversity (More Blacks) More Important Than Air Traffic Safety

(25 May 2015) National Black Coalition of Federal Aviation Employees (NBCFAE) executive Shelton Snow (also an air traffic controller) sent a lengthy audio message to members of the NBCFAE who hoped to pass the personality test known as the "Biographical Questionnaire" that is required by the FAA. It instructed FAA job applicants how to cheat on the exam. "There is some valuable pieces of information that I have taken a screen shot of and I am going to send that to you via email ... as you progress through the stages refer to those images so you will know which icons you should select." (Source: 22 May 2015 FOX Business)

$100 Billion Was Spent On Food Assistance Last Year

(25 May 2015) The federal government has 18 food assistance programs administered by 3 agencies that benefit 109.9 million people (individuals who participate in more than 1 program are counted multiple times). Food Stamps (SNAP) were provided to 46 million at a cost of $74.6 billion. The school lunch program cost $11.3 billion ... the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) cost $7.1 billion ... nutrition assistance for Puerto Rico cost $1.9 billion. (Source: Government Accountability Office (GAO))

Cost Nearly Tripled Per Student, Employees Nearly Doubled ... Test Scores Remained The Same

(25 May 2015) The total cost (adjusted for inflation) per government-school student for a K-12 education graduating in a given year increased more than 180% from 1970 to 2010. The number of school employees increased more than 90%. The number of students increased less than 10%. Science test scores decreased slightly, and reading and math scores stayed the same. (Sources: Cato Institute, 21 Mar 2015 Townhall)

Amtrak Is Just Another Welfare Program

(22 May 2015) In 1970, the hybrid government-private National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) was created. Since then, Amtrak has received $45 billion from federal taxpayers. In 2012, 40 of the 44 routes lost money. This year, 74% of the $1.9 billion of costs will be paid by the taxpayers. (Sources: 1 Mar 2013 Brookings, 13 Nov 2013 Congressional Budget Office (CBO))

Hawaii Health Care Exchange Closing Due To Insufficient Enrollees

(22 May 2015) Hawaii is shutting down its struggling state-based health care exchange (Hawaii Health Connector (HHC)). It has 37,000 enrollees, far short of the roughly 70,000 needed to raise enough money to sustain it. In March, Obama Care told HHC the exchange was out of compliance because it was not financially self-sustainable. New enrollments were halted on May 15. HHC will transfer to a temporary system by Sept. 30 and enrollees will have to sign up in healthcare.gov for 2016. HHC, established by Obama Care, has received $204.3 million in federal grants to build and sustain the exchange it is closing. (Source: 9 May 2015 Honolulu Star)

Food Czar Michelle Obama Has A New Friend

(18 May 2015) Dairy Queen became politically correct and a hypocrite at the same time. It is going to delete soda from its kids’ menu. However, the kids’ vanilla ice cream cone has more calories (170, 150), more fat (4.5, 0 g), more sodium (75, 30 mg) and more cholesterol (15, 0 mg) than a kids’ Pepsi (Source: Dairy Queen).

Out-Of-Pocket Health Care Cost Percentage Increasing With Obama Care

(18 May 2015) In 1961, 43% of money spent on health care was out-of-pocket. By 2010, it had declined to 12%. With Obama Care, it rose to 14.8% in 2012 and to 15.2% in 2013. (Sources: 27 Mar 2012 George Mason Univ. Mercatus Center, Feb 2015 Health Care Cost Institute)

Taxpayers Buy Their Food, They Become Obese And Unhealthy, Taxpayers Provide Their Health Care

(18 May 2015) 30% of people who have too much income to qualify for food stamps (SNAP) are obese. 32% who are eligible but do not receive food stamps are obese. 40% who receive food stamps are obese … many of them receive Medicaid. (Sources: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) for 2007-2010, Dept. of Agriculture (USDA))

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