Pivot To Waste

- November 9, 2011

After 1,023 Days In Office, Obama Decides It’s A Good Idea To Look Busy Eliminating Government “Swag” 


Politico Playbook – Today:  “This Morning, President Obama Will Sign An Executive Order That Will Cut Waste And Promote More Efficient Spending Across The Federal Government.” (Mike Allen, “362 Days Out - Obama Curtails Spending On Smartphones, Swag,” Politico’s “Playbook,” 11/9/11)

  • The President Is Directing Agencies To “Stop Using Taxpayer Dollars To Buy Swag …” “[T]he President is directing agencies to reduce spending on travel; limit the number of information technology devices (e.g. cell phones, smartphones, tablets, laptops) that can be issued to individual employees; stop unnecessarily printing documents that can be posted online; shrink the executive fleet of the federal government; and stop using taxpayer dollars to buy swag -- the plaques, clothing, and other unnecessary promotional items that agencies purchase.” (Mike Allen, “362 Days Out - Obama Curtails Spending On Smartphones, Swag,” Politico’s “Playbook,” 11/9/11)

Politico Playbook – June 13, 2011: “[T]he Big Rollout Today Is The Launch Of The Campaign To Cut Waste.” “[T]he big rollout today is the launch of the Campaign to Cut Waste. POTUS and the VP do the honors in a video as the President puts Sheriff Joe on the case to hold the Cabinet accountable for cutting waste in their agencies.” (Mike Allen, “Romney Hope To Soar Over GOP Rivals,” Politico’s “Playbook”, 6/13/11)

  • The Washington Post: “White House Launching New ‘Campaign To Cut Waste.’” “The federal government plans to close down or consolidate about 500 of its Web sites in the coming months and is scrapping plans for any new ones as part of a campaign to cut government overlap, according to senior administration officials.” (Ed O’Keefe, “White House Launching New ‘Campaign To Cut Waste’,” The Washington Post’s “Federal Eye”, 6/13/11)

Politico Playbook – December 21, 2009: “The Message Event Today Is On Cutting Government Waste And Improving Government Performance.” “The message event today is on cutting government waste and improving government performance. The big substantive news is that agencies have cut $19B in contracting costs on to the way to a $40B target. POTUS will be highlighting this after meeting with the SAVE Award winner, Nancy Fichtner of Loma, Colo. – a fiscal support clerk at the VA Medical Center in Grand Junction.” (Mike Allen, “Historic Senate Vote At 1:18 A.M.,” Politico’s “Playbook”, 12/21/09)


FY2011’s Budget Deficit Was The Third Highest In The Last 65 Years, Behind Obama’s Previous Two Record Deficits. “At 8.5 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), the $1.3 trillion budget deficit that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects for 2011 will be the third-largest shortfall in the past 65 years (exceeded only by the deficits of the preceding two years).” (“The Budget And Economic Outlook: An Update,” Congressional Budget Office, 8/24/11)

Since Obama Took Office, The National Debt Has Increased By Over $4.3 Trillion, An Increase Of Over 40 Percent. (Department Of The Treasury, “Debt To The Penny And Who Holds It,” Treasury Direct, Accessed 11/9/11)

  • Obama Is Responsible For “The Most Rapid Increase In The Debt Under Any U.S. President.” “(Mark Knoller, “National Debt Has Increased $4 Trillion Under Obama,” CBS News, 8/22/11)
  • Congressional Budget Office: “The Amount Of Federal Debt Held By The Public Has Skyrocketed In The Past Few Years …” (“The Budget And Economic Outlook: An Update,” Congressional Budget Office, 8/24/11)

And His Order Won’t Fulfill His Promise To Cut The Deficit In Half

PROMISE: Obama Pledged To Cut The Deficit In Half By The End Of His First Term. OBAMA: “And that's why today I'm pledging to cut the deficit we inherited by half by the end of my first term in office.” (President Barack Obama, Remarks At The Fiscal Responsibility Summit, Washington, D.C., 2/23/09)

  • “President Barack Obama Plans To Cut The U.S. Budget Deficit To $533 Billion By The End Of His First Term …” “President Barack Obama plans to cut the U.S. budget deficit to $533 billion by the end of his first term by increasing taxes on the wealthy and cutting spending for the war in Iraq, according to an administration official. Obama wants to reduce the deficit because he’s concerned that over time, federal borrowing will make it harder for the U.S. economy to grow and create jobs, said the official, speaking on the condition of anonymity.”  (Hans Nichols, “Obama Plans To Reduce Budget Deficit To $533 Billion By 2013,”Bloomberg, 2/21/09)

FAIL: Even If Every Part Of Obama’s Deficit Reduction Proposal Was Enacted, The Deficit At The End Of His First Term Would Still Be $1.33 Trillion, Over Double What He Promised. (“The President’s Plan For Economic Growth And Deficit Reduction; Table S-3,” Office Of Management And Budget, 9/19/11)


Obama Bought The Advice Of Economists Who Said Any Spending, “Even The Worst Kind Of Boondoggle” Was Stimulative. “For the Obama transition teams and their allies on the Hill, three questions loomed large in designing the package. The first was whether the proposed spending was economically stimulative: Did it save or create jobs, and thereby put money in people’s pockets? It turned out that economists believed almost any spending met this criterion. In a recession even the worst kind of boondoggle is stimulative, a fact that critics had a hard time comprehending.” (Jonathan Alter, The Promise, Simon & Shuster, 2010, p84)

  • In A Rush To Put Together A Stimulus Package The White House Sacrificed Impact, Creativity And Competence. “With precious little time for innovative policymaking, it became a trade-off of speed over impact, speed over creativity, and, no doubt, speed over competence. Obama believed there was a steep cost to delay; if talks on the stimulus dragged into the spring or summer the recession would get much worse.” (Jonathan Alter, The Promise, Simon & Shuster, 2010, p85)

Obama’s State Department Spent More Than $70,000 On Copies Of The President’s Book. “The story, first reported by the Washington Times, said the department had bought more than $70,000 worth of books by President Obama. Government records show the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, Egypt, spent more than $40,000 in 2009 on copies of Obama's "Dreams from my Father." The embassy in Greece paid more than $5,000 for ‘Dreams from my Father’ to be used for Christmas gratuities. In South Korea, the U.S. Embassy spent $6,061 for ‘Dreams from my Father’ for the same purpose.” (Jill Dougherty and Jamie Crawford, “Thosands Spent By Embassies To Buy Obama Books,” CNN, 10/26/11)

Taxpayers Lost $535 Million After The Obama White House “Tried To Rush Federal Reviewers” To Approve Loan For Now Bankrupt Solar Panel Company Solyndra. “The Obama White House tried to rush federal reviewers for a decision on a nearly half-billion-dollar loan to the solar-panel manufacturer Solyndra so Vice President Biden could announce the approval at a September 2009 groundbreaking for the company’s factory, newly obtained e-mails show.”(Joe Stephens and Carol D. Leonnig, “White House Pressed On $500 Million Loan To Solar Company Now Under Investigation,” The Washington Post, 9/13/11)

The Obama Administration Awarded $529 Million To Fisker Automotive So They Could Build Luxury Electric Cars In Finland. “With the approval of the Obama administration, an electric car company that received a $529 million federal government loan guarantee is assembling its first line of cars in Finland, saying it could not find a facility in the United States capable of doing the work.” (Matthew Mosk, Brian Ross And Ronnie Greene, “Car Company Gets U.S. Loan, Builds Cars In Finland,” ABC News, 10/20/11)

Nearly $2 Billion In Stimulus Funds Has Gone To Foreign Manufacturers Of Wind Turbines. “Nearly $2 billion in money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has been spent on wind power, funding the creation of enough new wind farms to power 2.4 million homes over the past year. But the study found that nearly 80 percent of that money has gone to foreign manufacturers of wind turbines.” (Jonathan Karl, “New Wind Farms In The U.S. Do Not Bring Jobs,” ABC News, 2/9/10)

$2.7 Billion In Stimulus Funds Went To Projects That Began Construction Before The Stimulus Was Passed. “Iberdrola was not alone in collecting stimulus funding for a development under way or completed when the program took effect. Of the 50 highest dollar grants awarded, 64 percent -- worth a combined $2.7 billion -- went to projects that began construction before the stimulus measures started, a Greenwire analysis of the program found. That portion represents more than half of the $5.2 billion total given so far under the renewable energy grant effort.” (Anne C. Mulkern “Stimulus Cash Flowed To Completed, Under-Way Renewable Energy Projects,” The New York Times, 10/14/10)

$2 Billion In High-Speed Rail Stimulus Funds Went To California Where No Track Has Been Laid And No Stations Opened. “A quarter of that money — a little more than $2 billion — went to California, where voters in 2008 approved a plan to build a 220-mph line between Los Angeles and San Francisco. The California High Speed Rail Authority promised voters that the line would open in 2020, at an overall price of about $33 billion. Since then, not a single segment of track has been laid and not a single station has opened.” (Alex Johnson, “Is Obama’s Rail Initiative A ‘Train To Nowhere’?” MSNBC, 11/7/11)

  • “That 2020 Ribbon-Cutting? It's Now Projected To Be No Earlier Than 2033 — At Least 13 Years Late. That $33 Billion Price Tag? It's Been Recalculated At $98.5 Billion — Nearly Three Times The Original Estimate.” (Alex Johnson, “Is Obama’s Rail Initiative A ‘Train To Nowhere’?” MSNBC, 11/7/11)

$1.5 Million To Be Sent To Indonesia To Discourage Air Pollution. “But a 5-year, $1.5 million project known as ‘Breath Easy Jakarta,’ which intends to help implement the city of Jakarta, Indonesia implement air-pollution prevention has raised the ire of House Republicans led by Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton. The EPA announced the ‘Breathe Jakarta’ program in February 2010 at a meeting between EPA Assistant Administrator Michelle DePass and the governor of Jakarta, and the administration has already pledged an initial investment of $250,000, according to an EPA request for proposal from earlier this year.” (John Rossomando, “EPA Stimulating Environmental Regulations Abroad,” The Daily Caller, 7/7/11)

Obama’s Stimulus Spent $7 Million Per Home To Extend Broadband Access In Montana. “Sadly, it’s actually worse than that. Take the Montana project. The area is not in any meaningful sense unserved or even underserved. As many as seven broadband providers, including wireless, operate in the area. Only 1.5% of all households in the region had no wireline access. And if you include 3G wireless, there were only seven households in the Montana region that could be considered without access. So the cost of extending access in the Montana case comes to about $7 million for each additional household served.” (Nick Schulz, “How Effective Was The 2009 Stimulus Program?,” Forbes’ “Economics 2.0”, 7/5/11)

Tennessee Truck Stop That Received $424,000 In Stimulus Money To Install Electric Battery Chargers Has Gone Bankrupt. “In July, Tennessee’s transportation commissioner applauded the opening of the state’s first truck- stop electrification terminal at TR Auto Truck Plaza in Dandridge, a project taxpayers paid for with a $424,000 federal stimulus fund grant. Thursday, the shiny new equipment languished uselessly as U.S. Bank took possession of the bankrupt business after an auction at the Jefferson County Courthouse failed to solicit a single bid.” (Barndon Gee, “E. Tenn. Truck Stop Got Stimulus Money Despite Bankruptcy,” The Tennessean, 10/3/11)

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