Archive for October, 2013

USPS Stamps Itself a Loser

Wednesday October 16th, 2013   •   Posted by K. Lloyd Billingsley at 9:18am PDT   •   0 Comments

The United States Postal Service (USPS) lost nearly $16 billion last year, and attempts at reform have proved futile. USPS bosses, who continued to get raises during the recession, want to end Saturday delivery. Trouble is, Congress won’t let them do it, prohibiting a return to a five-day delivery schedule. The USPS expects to…
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The Federal Non-Essentiality Rule

Monday October 14th, 2013   •   Posted by K. Lloyd Billingsley at 9:31am PDT   •   2 Comments

Nobody should be surprised that the federal government is doing a poor job shutting itself down. The attempt is providing plenty of drama and long-winded speeches, but some the best lines are coming from comics, not politicians. David Letterman, for example, observed that too many non-essential government workers would seem to be the problem….
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The Risks of Default, Technical Default, and Business as Usual

Monday October 14th, 2013   •   Posted by Craig Eyermann at 7:09am PDT   •   1 Comment

About 17% of the U.S. federal government has been shut down since October 1, 2013, and later this week, on October 17, 2013, the U.S. Treasury reports that it won’t be able to continue play its shell game in keeping the U.S. national debt officially below the legal debt ceiling. In terms of negative…
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Green-Shirted Thugs

Thursday October 10th, 2013   •   Posted by Craig Eyermann at 7:11am PDT   •   0 Comments

In post–World War I Italy, the rise of fascism in that country was marked by Benito Mussolini’s thugs, who made a point of visually distinguishing themselves by wearing black shirts as they engaged in intimidating tactics against Mussolini’s political opposition. Germany’s Adolph Hitler liked that idea so much that he copied it for his…
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Government Hostile to Accountability — and Whistleblowers

Wednesday October 9th, 2013   •   Posted by K. Lloyd Billingsley at 10:27am PDT   •   0 Comments

Things are getting tougher for those who believe the federal government can trim spending. Consider the case of the Alaska-based Denali Commission, a 1998 project of Senator Ted Stevens aimed at helping rural Alaskans by building power plants and providing job training and health care. As the Washington Post noted, the Denali Commission, “became…
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Fraud Fakes Out EPA

Monday October 7th, 2013   •   Posted by K. Lloyd Billingsley at 9:30am PDT   •   6 Comments

The federal Environmental Protection Agency wields enormous power but also displays, “an absence of even basic internal controls,” as an inspector general testified during October 1 hearings in the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on the EPA’s “secret agent.” When he applied with the EPA in 1989, John Beale claimed he had worked…
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Not So Non-Essential Government Workers

Monday October 7th, 2013   •   Posted by Craig Eyermann at 6:57am PDT   •   0 Comments

When the Obama administration acted to furlough 815,239 federal government employees as part of the partial shutdown of the U.S. government in the absence of having passed a budget or a continuing resolution to continue funding government operations, just under half of that number, 400,000, came from the Department of Defense’s civilian labor force….
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Dateline Beijing

Sunday October 6th, 2013   •   Posted by Burt Abrams at 8:53pm PDT   •   0 Comments

China Daily, China’s English language newspaper, is not the most objective of sources, but a pairing of recent headlines on October 3 tells much. “Xi [China’s President] pledges to boost ties with Indonesia. Countries ink deals on fisheries, defense as well as aerospace,” was next to “Obama cancels trip to Malaysia. U.S. President trims…
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The Annual Federal Spending Free-for-All, Part 2

Saturday October 5th, 2013   •   Posted by Craig Eyermann at 10:03am PDT   •   0 Comments

In Part 1, we focused on the sheer amount of spending that the U.S. government bureaucrats do in the final week of the federal government’s fiscal year. Today, we’re going to look at what they spent on the last day of the federal government’s 2013 fiscal year and on the first day of the…
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Cigarette Tax Hike a Smokin’ Deal for Smugglers

Friday October 4th, 2013   •   Posted by K. Lloyd Billingsley at 9:08am PDT   •   0 Comments

SB 768, by California state senator Kevin de Leon, would raise the tax on a pack of cigarettes from 87 cents a pack to $2. The increase, which comes on top of federal taxes, would raise the price of a pack of cigarettes to more than $8. Backers of the bill say the tax…
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