Paul Chesser from NLPC, has recently published the following article concerning a recent investigation done by DoE Inspector General Gregory Friedman, revealing that a consulting firm owned by former Republican Rep. Heather Wilson was paid for work that has little evidence of being done. All the ‘work’ was agreed upon under a vague contract.
“Our testing revealed that the four facility contractors paid approximately $450,000 to (Wilson) even though they did not receive evidence that work performed under the agreements had been completed,” Friedman wrote
Mark Modica from the National League and Policy Center has written the following article concerning General Motors and its Chevy Volt Incentives. The Chevy Volt was conceived by GM to be a company savior car but it has been a huge disappointment. With the lack of demand for the Volt, GM is trying to stimulate demand through extra incentives to buyers including a $4000 rebate. This is in addition to the $7500 federal tax credit plus existing state subsidies.
Adding insult to injury, much of the taxpayer-supplied subsidies for the Volt will go towards leases (also supplied by government-owned Ally Financial) that put drivers on the road for as short a period as two years. I have previously calculated that taxpayers are paying about $10 per each gallon of gas saved in these scenarios. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has reported that overall plug-in electric car subsidies are estimated to cost taxpayers about $7.5 billion over the next few years for little or no benefit.
Greg Scandlen from the National Center for Policy Analysis has written about an under-reported story.
While most of the media are fixated on Benghazi, the IRS abuses, and the DOJ’s interest in reporters’ phone calls, the biggest scandal of all may be Kathleen Sebelius’ shakedown of health care companies to pay for activities Congress has refused to fund.
The Senate recently decided to continue subsidizing the sugar industry. Consider: the federal government’s sugar subsidies create higher prices through import quotas and likely contribute to the decline of American confectionery jobs. What’s more, the USDA occasionally has to bail the sugar producers out, costing anywhere from tens to hundreds of millions of dollars. How long will these subsidies continue?
Close (apparently close means nearly 40 miles) to a SUNY campus? Can your business theoretically contribute to the educational mission of the surrounding colleges that are “near” you? Well, New York has a proposal just for you — no taxes! Check it out below:
The program, introduced two weeks ago during a promotional tour throughout New York state by Cuomo and legislative leaders, would allow for businesses within 200,000 feet of SUNY campuses to live, breath and work completely tax-free for years.
Daniel Martin Gray has written the following piece for Watchdogwire, which talks about the new Farm Bill.
Heritage Action presented well-researched facts about the current pending legislation known as the farm bill, an omnibus vehicle that encompasses a veritable slew of entitlement entanglements and sweetheart deals, so dear to the “progressives” who currently control our national purse-strings. There is so much “there” there, that it would take 1,000 pages to detail all the pork contained, packaged to sound boring and avoid the peoples’ attention.
In brief: the Congressional Budget Office’s “scoring” of the farm bill comes to $940 billion over ten years. The last farm bill of 2008, was supposed to cost $604 billion based on initial scoring, so this new one represents an increase of 56 percent. That bill ended up costing more. But it’s worse than that.
Romina Boccia from The Foundry has recently posted this article explaining how the Treasury Department is using “extraordinary measures” to increase their spending and legally avoid the debt limit.
The extraordinary measures will provide about $260 billion in borrowing capacity, which should last beyond at least Labor Day, according to a letter from Secretary Lew. These cash-management measures really aren’t extraordinary anymore; they have become a common occurrence in Washington. After hitting the debt limit in 2011, Treasury employed its extraordinary measures to create about $240 billion in additional borrowing capacity from May 16 through August 1. It tapped into the measures again just this January for $60 billion.
The Acton Institute has a Q&A with Peter Schweizer, a major critic of cronyism. The discussion largely revolves around the incentives created by big government: where there’s a lot of money floating around, there’s room for Washington to help favorites and for special interests to carve out their niche.
Crony capitalism, insider training, utilizing influence to enrich yourself in America is as old as the republic itself. I’m sure you’ve heard that argument. Is it really significantly different today?
I think it’s significantly different for a couple of reasons. Yes, it has always been a historical problem. This is a human nature problem. It’s not a Democrat or a Republican problem and it’s not a modern problem, but I think it’s grown for a couple of reasons. One is the amount of money that is available. Two hundred years ago, they might try to get a railroad going through their land and they might buy up the land beforehand. That sort of thing goes on, but in an area where literally the federal government is handing out tens of billions of dollars in loans and grants, the amount of money that can be made and the opportunities are just so much greater than they’ve ever been historically, and that relates to the size of the budget and the amount of money that’s being passed around.
Read the whole interview here.
Mercatus Scholar Veronique de Rugy has written the following opinion piece concerning Tesla Motors and the repayment of their loan to the Department of Energy (DOE). Tesla repaid their loan before schedule, which is a good thing for the taxpayers; however, Tesla should have never received money from the government in the first place.
“I believe that the government shouldn’t be in the business of lending money to private companies or encouraging banks to lend money to companies – whether the money will be repaid or not. That’s absolutely not the role of the federal government. Besides, there is something unseemly when so much in government subsidies goes to produce a car that only a few Americans can afford. (So far, Tesla’s main product ranges in price from $62,400 to $87,400 — including a $7,500 federal tax credit, and depending on the states other tax credits can apply).
But more important, the government meddling in the lending business introduce serious distortions and also destroys the level playing field by creating unfair competition for the companies that are not getting a federal guarantee.”
Niall Ferguson, Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History at Harvard University, discusses the erosion of the institutions that once made America so great. Cronyism, an expensive tort system, and the growing difficulty of starting and owning a business are just a few of the reasons:
Who benefits from the growth of complex and cumbersome regulation? The answer is: lawyers, not forgetting lobbyists and compliance departments. For complexity is not the friend of the little man. It is the friend of the deep pocket. It is the friend of cronyism.