Question For Bob

Hi Bob,

My name is Rick Schumacher and I have been enjoying your newsletter now for about six years. I really appreciate your insights and since I trust you I need to ask for some advice. Do you have any advice for me on how to go about getting an idea/product patented? Right now I only have the idea and haven’t made the product. I want to make sure that I don’t get ripped off and maximize profits.

Thank you,
Rick Schumacher

Dear Rick Schumacher,

You should document all the information you can about your idea/product, then have it notarized in order to establish that the idea is yours and fix a date on it. This will help you in the event someone tries to steal your idea and you have to go to court. You can obtain information about the process and the necessary paperwork to patent your idea/product at the United States Patent and Trademark Office. If the process seems overwhelming to you, I suggest you obtain the services of a good patent attorney. You can find one through your local bar association.

Best wishes,

Make Your Own Emergency Car Kit And 72 Hour Pack

Emergency kits are very important because they can save your life.

To be properly prepared you should make two kits, one goes in your car and the other goes in your house to be kept somewhere handy, so you could grab it and go if necessary. These kits are a challenge to make because you want to pack everything necessary for survival, yet make it as lightweight as possible so it is easy to carry.

The Car Kit
I got stranded one time in the middle of the night on a freeway. My friend and I had to walk about a mile. We found a flashlight that was very weak. It was frightening to walk that far in the dark, and it was very cold. At that moment I decided that I would get a car kit and be prepared in case that ever happened again.

A car kit can be put together with items from around the house, or you can purchase the items needed. Gather in one place all items that you have and place them in a container that can be kept in the trunk of the vehicle or the back of a truck. A container with a tight-fitting lid is important so no moisture gets into the kit. You will need to add to this list for personal items that you and your family may need.

The following items should be in a car kit. It contains a list of items to get you started, but the list should be tailored to fit your needs:

  • Three-day supply of water.
  • Lightweight wool blanket and emergency reflective blanket
  • Three-day supply of emergency food and snacks for several people.
  • A small stove such as a Jetboil® with fuel if your kit contains meals that need to be cooked. (Such as the eFoods meals I talk about in the article.) Mountain House® pre-packaged meals and MRE’s (meals ready to eat) are good for the kit.
  • Waterproof matches.
  • Sharp pocket or multipurpose knife.
  • Flashlight with extra batteries.
  • 100-Hour Candle.
  • Road flares or light sticks.
  • Reflectors.
  • Extra car fuses.
  • Tire chains (if you live in a region that sees snow).
  • Tools and a small shovel.
  • Hand and body warmers.
  • First aid kit.
  • Waterproof ponchos.
  • Toilet paper and baby wipes.
  • Emergency Money — $20 in quarters and small change.
  • Extra money in small bills like $10s, $5s and $1s.

Tip: Did you know that if you get stranded in a snowstorm or stuck somewhere cold, you can cut up the seats in your vehicle and take out the foam padding and wrap it around your feet, hands, head and other places that lose most body heat the fastest? You can then tie it up the wraps with a shoelace or other fabric of some sort. It could save your life.

72-Hour Emergency Kit
A 72-hour emergency kit is designed to contain the items that you would need to survive for a three-day period. This kit should be tailored to fit your families’ needs.

Each family member should have his own kit. This could also be called a “Bugout Kit” or a “Grab and Go Kit.” During many types of disasters it is common to ask people to evacuate their homes quickly. Many times people live in temporary quarters such as public schools or emergency evacuation sites. You may only have one minute to grab your belongings and go. You need to think very seriously about what you would need. Store the 72-hour kits so you can get to them quickly and easily.

You can purchase a pre-made 72-hour kit with a lot of great products in it at my Website or you can make your own kit by going around your house and accumulating the items that would be most helpful in an emergency. In many instances you already have these items in your home. It’s just a matter of collecting them into a plastic tote, suitcase with rollers or a backpack.

Think about an emergency situation in your community. If you were left without water, lights or heat and no way to cook or stay warm, what would you need to survive in your home? If you were forced to evacuate your home, what would you need to take with you? Make your list. What you choose must be easy to carry and as lightweight as possible in case you have to walk.

As you make your list, you might be surprised that you have most of what’s needed. All you have to do is get it together, put it in a plastic tote, suitcase with rollers or backpack and keep it in a closet or somewhere easy to get to in an emergency. You must tailor make this 72-hour kit for each individual person. Don’t forget important medications, warm socks, hats, gloves, warm clothing, a coat and a lightweight blanket. These things are all on the list. Having this 72-hour kit ready will give you a great deal of peace of mind. The following list will give you ideas. Assemble one kit per person:

  • Backpack, suitcase with rollers or plastic tote (to put the kit in).
  • Personal medication (extra supply).
  • One gallon of water per person or 12 water pouches.
  • Water purification tablets or ION water treatment.
  • Battery powered or hand crank radio.
  • Lightweight wool blanket or space blanket.
  • Waterproof matches.
  • Can opener (if needed).
  • Flashlight with batteries.
  • Multipurpose pocket knife.
  • 50 feet of nylon cord.
  • Tube tent shelter.
  • Wet wipes.
  • Small first aid kit.
  • Candles.
  • Emergency light source or light stick.
  • Warm socks and clothing.
  • Warm gloves and hat.
  • Warm coat.
  • Paper plates and cups.
  • Plastic utensils.
  • Small cook stove with fuel (Preferably the Jetboil®).
  • Pens and small notebook.
  • Money in coins and small bills (enough for three days).
  • Hand warmers.
  • Personal sanitary items.
  • Lightweight poncho.
  • Toilet paper.
  • Two (at least) plastic garbage bags.
  • Whistle.
  • Hard tack candy.
  • Food that is easy to cook or ready to eat, non-perishable and lightweight, three days per person. I especially like the eFoods Global meals because they are ready to go. Just add water, boil for 15 minutes and eat. These foods can be purchased here.

Tailor the kits for each person. If you are making it for an elderly person, child or animal, you need to really think it through and add all necessary items that that are needed.

I like to keep a bottle of ION water treatment in my 72-hour pack and my purse at all times. If food or water is questionable, it can be treated with eight drops of ION per cup. It will kill all harmful bacteria.

For Children, add these extra things to a child’s pack

  • Books to read.
  • Games or puzzles.
  • Coloring book.
  • Small stuffed animal.
  • Comfort foods.
  • Warm clothing, hats, gloves and a warm coat.
  • Warm blanket (lightweight)

For Babies, add these extra things:

  • Baby carrier, such as a backpack or front pack.
  • Diapers.
  • Wet wipes.
  • Water.
  • Juices.
  • Formula.
  • Baby food.
  • Rice cereal.
  • Bottles.
  • Toys.
  • Spoon.
  • Blanket.
  • Extra clothing
  • Warm coat, hat and gloves

For the family pet, add these things:

  • Pet carrier if necessary.
  • Pet food for three days.
  • Water.
  • Warm Blanket.

The most difficult thing to carry is water because of its weight. Purified water pouches are available and easy to carry in a backpack (12 per person) or a heavy plastic bottle full of water can be easily carried (the 2-liter soda bottles are the best).

Space blankets are lightweight and will keep you warm. A lightweight wool blanket is the best.

Making your own 72-hour kit or car kit can save you money because it is just a matter of gathering supplies into one location. Take an inventory of what you have and what you need. Purchase the items that you need and keep your 72-hour kit in a place where you can grab it and go if necessary. All of the information in this article was taken from my book, Emergency Food Storage and Survival Handbook.

If you need pre-made 72-hour kits or other preparedness supplies, and books on the subject of food storage and survival you can visit my website here.

Emergency Food For Short Term And Long Term Storage

If you need food that is easy to prepare by just adding water, click here and watch the three-minute video. Then you can purchase the food online in two different packages: A Variety Pack or an Essentials Package. The variety pack has 72 servings of 18 different soups, entrees, and breakfasts. The Essentials package includes three cartons of the prepackaged meals which includes 380 servings of 27 soups, 24 entrees, six breakfasts, and four baked goods. You can also sign up for the once a month Variety Pack.

This will auto-ship food to you each month. After one year you will have a stockpile of 15 boxes with 1,152 servings of good quality food. That comes out to about .91 cents per serving. If you can boil water, you can make an eFoods meal. They were designed to be simple enough for a child to make.

I am very impressed with their food. It is dehydrated, not freeze-dried, so the prices are very reasonable. Each package of food is ready to go with everything except the water. It only takes 15-20 minutes to cook and it’s done. The food is delicious. The packages feed two to four people and come packed in Mylar® bags for long-term storage of up to 15 years. The cooking instructions are on each package.

I use this food every day and it really helps me save money at the grocery store because I don’t impulse-buy any more. You can use it every day, store it for an emergency or share it with others.

Please call me if you have any questions about the program. I can be reached at 435-835-0311 or cell 435-851-0777 in Utah. The Website explains the entire program and has photos of the food. To check it out, simply click here. Email me here. To purchase my books or any of the other preparedness items I sell go to my website.

Nullification Of UnConstitutional Laws

Nullification, the idea that States don’t have to follow laws that are unConstitutional, is a growing movement in the United States. Legislators in as many as 11 or 12 states have either introduced nullification measures or plan to once their State legislatures are in session.

Many of these states are among the 25 that have sued the Federal government over the mandates in Obamacare — the unConstitutional and farcical legislation that would require Americans to purchase healthcare insurance whether they want it or not.

Now the zombie talking heads and pundits in the mainstream media are using lies and tired arguments to try and “educate” the populace that nullification is a losing proposition. (Watch the video to see a response to the zombies and their mindless questions.) Their points? The Federal government is supreme. Nullification equals racism. Nullification equals slavery. Only Neo-Confederates would get behind such a thing. Say it enough and the sheeple will believe it… and comply.


From a Jan. 26 story by The Associated Press:

“The efforts are completely unconstitutional in the eyes of most legal scholars because the U.S. Constitution deems federal laws ‘the supreme law of the land.’ The Idaho attorney general has weighed in as well, branding nullification unconstitutional.”


“‘There’s nothing in the Constitution to suggest that the states are superior to the federal government," [David Gray] Adler [a Constitutional scholar who directs the University of Idaho’s McClure Center for Public Policy Research] said. ‘We have a long string of Supreme Court decisions that reject their theory.'”


“Nullification has been invoked several times over the years — to no avail.”

Lies, lies, lies.

Nullification has a long and storied history in the country, and it stems from the idea that “the United States consists not of a single, aggregated people, but of particular people, organized into distinct states,” writes Thomas E. Woods Jr., in his book Nullification: How to Resist Federal Tyranny in the 21st Century.

This idea, called the compact theory, is supported by the very fact that the states voted separately to ratify the Constitution, and that the Constitution was not ratified by a single, consolidated vote of all individuals in the original 13 states, according to Woods.

This, of course, is the opposite of what most children — educated in public schools that propagandize the supremacy of the Federal Government and centralized authority — are taught. They are taught the nationalist theory.

Woods writes that the nationalist theory stemmed from the arguments made by Joseph Story in his Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, published in 1833. In this view, the U.S. is just another modern unitary state, in which a monopolistic central authority is the source of all power, and any lesser bodies (in this case, the states) derive their own power and privileges from this central authority.

That’s the pabulum foisted on our children in government re-education education camps. It is designed to promote fealty to almighty government.

Neither Thomas Jefferson nor, more importantly James Madison, subscribed to the nationalist theory. And they made their point early on — in the “Principals of ’98.”

In 1798 the second president, John Adams, signed legislation that made it a treasonable activity to publish “any false, scandalous and malicious writing.” This was one of the laws that became part of the Alien and Sedition Acts. As a result, 25 men, most of them Republican supporters of Thomas Jefferson, were arrested and their newspapers forced to shut down.

One of those arrested was Benjamin Franklin’s grandson, Benjamin Franklin Bache, editor of the Philadelphia Democrat-Republican Aurora.

In response, Jefferson, then the vice president, secretly wrote the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798. In them he argued that the Alien and Sedition Acts were acts of usurpation — that the Federal government had overstepped its bounds and was exercising powers which belonged to the States.

After all, the 10th Amendment states: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

He saw the Constitution not as a document that restrained the people, but as one that restrained the Federal government. And he believed that was a good thing. As an aside: Obama has stated just the opposite. He has said he finds it unfortunate that the Constitution contains the restrictions on Government that it does.

Jefferson corresponded with James Madison (known as the father of the Constitution) about the Kentucky Resolutions and Madison drafted similar Resolutions for Virginia.

Both Kentucky and Virginia adopted the resolutions which essentially said that when the Federal government assumes undelegated powers — those not enumerated in the Constitution — those acts are “unauthoritative, void, and of no force.”

In subsequent years, nullification was employed by the New England states to oppose everything from an embargo on exports to tariffs to military conscriptions to opposition of the fugitive slave act. And nullification continues today.

It was Connecticut Governor Jonathan Trumbull who said in 1809, “Whenever our national legislature is led to overleap the prescribed bounds of their constitutional powers, on the State Legislatures, in great emergencies, devolves the arduous task — it is their right — it becomes their duty, to interpose their protecting shield between the right and liberty of the people, and the assumed power of the General Government.”

And nullification continues today, as evident by California’s defiance of Federal drug laws, laws that restrict Federal law enforcement agencies from making arrests without first informing local sheriffs and measures passed by States that exempt firearms and ammunition from Federal oversight as long as it is sold in-state.

Yes, rogue U.S. Supreme Courts have ruled that Federal law supersedes State law. But that is because Supreme Court justices are employees of the Federal government — just as Congresspeople are employees of the Federal government — and they have long shown a proclivity to rule in favor of more government. They have become the despotic judicial oligarchy Jefferson feared when he wrote, “You seem… to consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions; a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy.”

Finally, the idea that “There’s nothing in the Constitution to suggest that the states are superior to the federal government” completely disregards the 10th Amendment — an amendment as important to those approving the original Constitution as the other nine.

Many went to the polls in November seeking to remove progressives from Congress. And in many cases, the effort was a successful first step in slowing the growing leviathan of Marxism that has pervaded both the Democrat and Republican parties. Unfortunately, the idea that the Federal government is supreme is too entrenched throughout the three branches of government and the populace to depend on elections as the final remedy.

Nullification of unConstitutional laws, and a return to the Constitution and the America envisioned by the Founders, is the only way for Americans to take their government back. And it’s got to happen one state at a time.

House Votes To Remove Taxpayer-Funded Program For Presidential Campaigns

House votes to remove taxpayer-funded program for presidential campaignsThe House of Representatives has voted to eliminate the Federal public financing system that helps fund presidential campaigns and political conventions.

The chamber approved the measure by a vote of 239-160 on Jan. 26, the same day that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) introduced a similar bill. An estimate from the Congressional Budget Office reveals that ending the program would save taxpayers approximately $617 million over the next decade.

The voluntary public financing system was created in 1976 following the Watergate scandal in an effort to lessen corporate influence on political campaigns. Americans can check a box on their tax returns, which directs $3 to the program.

Representative Tom Cole (R-Okla.), who sponsored the bill, said that even though the contribution is optional, it is obsolete. According to Bloomberg, Internal Revenue Statistics show that the percentage of taxpayers who contributed to the fund in 2007 was 8.3 percent, down from 28.7 percent in 1980.

In 2008, President Barack Obama became the first major-party candidate to turn down money from the public election fund. However, Obama and many Democrats strongly oppose the GOP's efforts to eliminate the fund because they believe that it will boost the presence of special interest groups.

"The bottom line is the system isn't now much used," Thomas Mann, a congressional scholar, told ABC News. "It's not workable. It's outdated."

GOP Legislators Support Work-Site Raids On Undocumented Immigrants

GOP legislators support work-site raids on undocumented immigrantsRepublican lawmakers are calling for more aggressive measures in an attempt to preserve American jobs.

The Immigration Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee (HJC) held its first hearing under GOP leadership on Jan. 26. Republican members called on President Barack Obama's administration to reinforce workplace raids on undocumented employees, which was an aggressive approach adopted by George W. Bush in the final years of his presidency.

According to the Los Angeles Times, work-site raids for immigration-related offenses have decreased by about 70 percent since Obama took office. Representative Lamar Smith (R-Texas), the chairman of the HJC, said that this practice should not be ignored with the national unemployment rate exceeding 9 percent.

"It is hard to imagine a worse time to cut work-site enforcement efforts by more than half," said Smith, quoted by the news provider. "Citizens and legal immigrants should not be forced to compete with illegal workers for jobs."

According to United States Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE), it costs taxpayers about $12,500 to deport each illegal immigrant. Frank Sharry, executive director of the America's Voice Education Fund, said that lawmakers should focus their efforts on getting these undocumented workers to register with the government and pay taxes, as opposed to charging Americans millions of dollars for mass deportations.

Obama Administration To Tackle Gun Control In Coming Weeks

Obama administration to tackle gun control in coming weeksWhite House officials have confirmed that President Barack Obama will address gun control policies soon. However, some critics believe that he should have used the State of the Union platform to address the hotly-debated topic.

According to media reports, the President intentionally omitted gun control from his nationally-televised address in order to focus on the topics of job creation and the economy. Administration officials said that the White House will unveil its plans to strengthen current laws, which allow some mentally unstable individuals to obtain certain weapons.

Gun control advocacy groups have pressured Obama and Federal lawmakers to implement more thorough background checks for firearm purchases following the Jan. 8 shooting in Tucson, Ariz. that left six people dead, including a 9-year-old girl.

The National Rifle Association (NRA), an influential lobbying group, has warned that an overreaction to an isolated incident may lead to a violation of the 2nd Amendment rights.

"Once again, you and your freedoms are being blamed for the acts of a deranged madman, who sent signal after signal that he was dangerous," NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre said in an email to the group's members, quoted by The Washington Post

Antioxidants May Help Couples Conceive

Antioxidants May Help Couples ConceiveA new review that was published in The Cochrane Library may suggest that males with subfertility could benefit from taking oral antioxidants when trying to conceive.

The paper looked at 34 clinical studies involving 2,876 couples and found that men taking supplements like vitamin E, L-carnitine, zinc and magnesium supplements had a better chance of impregnating their wives and increased sperm motility.

The results may come as good news to the one in 20 men who suffer from subfertility and wish to conceive.

Researchers noted that the subject needs to be explored further since many of the studies had small group sizes and no tests were done to see if one antioxidant was more effective than another.

The National Institutes of Health has reported that antioxidants can be useful in flushing radicals from the body. Such molecules include pollution, smoke and byproducts from food digestion that can damage cells and possibly cause cancer and other diseases. Free radicals can also have a detrimental effect on sperm count and effectiveness, among other things. 

How To Protect Your Family And Wealth From The End Of America

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates the 20 largest industrial nations (known as the G20) are on course to see their combined government debt exceed 100 percent of their combined gross domestic product (GDP) within three years.

Debts of this size simply cannot be financed, let alone repaid. The first step in this great unraveling is underway — the collapse of the euro.  

In March 2010, I wrote:

Like dominoes, the highly indebted economies of Europe are going to topple. Greece was first. But plenty more problems are coming. Italy has no way to meet its obligations. Nor do Portugal or Spain

Events over the past two weeks in Greece should give you plenty of warning governments all over the world have too much debt.

What will the U.S. do when a major European financial institution fails? If the resulting contagion causes one of America’s major banks to fail, what will the U.S. government do?

The answer, my friends, is simple: It will print, print, print, and print. Here’s the important fact to remember…

The United States is the only government in the world that can actually afford to underwrite the world’s banking system. That’s not because we have any real savings, but because we control the world’s reserve currency. It’s a paper standard, which means we can always print more of it.

The U.S. announced exactly that in November 2010, setting up an enormous $1 trillion bailout fund for the euro via the International Monetary Fund and beginning a new round of quantitative easing — this time $600 billion of new dollar reserves will be injected into the U.S. Treasury market.

Despite the enormous buying of Treasuries by the Fed, long-term Treasury bond rates have soared on these announcements. Investors have begun to flee the U.S. dollar into all other forms of savings:

  • Coal and oil are trading at two-year highs.
  • Corn, soybeans, wheat, cotton, and sugar are trading near multi-year highs.
  • Gold and copper are trading just shy of record highs.
  • Silver is trading near a 30-year high.
  • Even long-depressed natural gas is now rallying.

This list sums up the arguments and warnings we’ve been giving for years. We are not going to have a crisis. We are in a crisis right now

What’s the best way to protect yourself?

Well, if you had done nothing this year but buy real money (gold) and short U.S. Treasury bonds, you would be sitting on a significant profit.

Take a look at the chart below. Gold (the blue line) is up about 16 percent in the last year. The Treasury bond fund (the black line) is flat.

The credit of the U.S., which backs every bankrupt government in the Western world, must soon collapse. Our ongoing debts and deficits are too big to be financed in sound money. Thus, the Fed is turning on the printing presses and they will be running for a long time.

The time to act is now.

It’s critical you orient your investments so you’re long on real money and real assets and short on bad credits — starting with the U.S. government. Buy the things people need — food, energy and money. Sell things that are vastly encumbered — especially the stocks of corporations that are deeply in debt.

As you look through your portfolio, the first thing you ought to consider adding is silver. Silver is the best hedge against paper money for one simple reason: When it’s not used as money, there’s very little demand for it. When it is used as money, there’s a tremendous demand for it.

I expect gold will continue to move higher, too… much higher. If you wanted to put the U.S. dollar on a 10 percent gold-reserve standard, the price of gold would have to reach nearly $10,000 an ounce to back all the outstanding money of zero maturity. Assuming gold reaches this price, the price of silver at its full monetary value (at a 15:1 ratio to gold) would be around $650 an ounce.

I know these prices seem ludicrous today… but those numbers are real.

Remember, we’re a long way from the end of this crisis. Most people don’t even own any gold or silver yet. So now is the best time to hedge your portfolio… before the rest of the world realizes a massive inflation is underway.

Good investing,
Porter Stansberry

–Porter Stansberry with Braden Copeland

P.S. What most Americans don’t realize is this crisis is already well underway. I’m sure you don’t believe me, but please let me show you just a tiny fraction of the evidence that surrounds us. Take a look at these simple facts in the presentation I’ve posted here. I know you will be surprised. Then, you can make up your mind for yourself.

Choosing Water Over Soda Shown To Significantly Reduce Childhood Tooth Decay

Choosing water over soda shown to significantly reduce childhood tooth decayA study of four American Indian communities has revealed that the active promotion of water over soda leads to significantly lower instances of tooth decay in children.

The study, published in the journal Ethnicity & Disease, showed a reduction in childhood cavities in communities where fresh drinking water was supplied and consumption was encouraged. Additionally, the conductors of the study removed soda from stores and educated families on proper nutrition.

Researchers compared the occurrence of cavities in three such communities with the amount of cavities in children of one group that was not given those advantages.

For early stages of tooth decay, the study reports a 30 percent to 63 percent decrease for children with intervention. The occurrence of more advanced tooth decay was lessened by up to 44 percent in those groups.

Researchers reported that before intervention, it was not uncommon to find soda and other sugary drinks in baby bottles and sippy cups as the beverages were cheap and readily available. They said tribe elders were appreciative of the change back to water, as it more accurately reflects their original cultural values. 

Senate Tea Party Group Holds First Meeting

Senate Tea Party group holds first meetingThe Senate Tea Party Caucus held its first official gathering on Jan. 27, welcoming supporters of the grassroots organization from around the country and fielding their questions.

Senators Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) are currently the only members of the caucus. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) attended the event and said that he would be joining the group soon. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) are backed by the Tea Party, but they did not attend the gathering on Capitol Hill.

"What we're trying to do … is to make sure all the activists know that we're still listening," DeMint told CNN. "We want to get their input; we want to keep them up to date with what we're doing. So it's more a forum than a caucus to keep that interaction going."

Paul, a freshman Senator, told the group that the Tea Party's presence has already made an impact, referring to President Barack Obama speaking out against earmarks during his State of the Union address. According to the Los Angeles Times, Paul touted his budget proposal, which would cut $500 billion in a year by eliminating the Department of Commerce as well as cutting spending on defense and education.

Barack Obama’s Lying Liars

No, I am not talking about the President’s State of the Union speech from this past Tuesday. Thanks to the deadline demands at Personal Liberty Digest, I had to finish this column the day before that oration. I will comment next week on Obama’s performance (which I expect to be filled with platitudes and promises that the media will love — and the White House won’t keep).

My topic today is the great debate over raising — for the 81st time since 1940 — the ceiling on how deeply in debt the Federal government can go. Right now, Washington is not allowed to borrow a dollar over $14.29 trillion. And they’re already within $300 billion of that limit, give or take a few billion bucks.

To hear our officials tell it, if Congress doesn’t vote to let the Treasury borrow more billions, and do it now, the U.S. will face the biggest calamity since women started wearing slacks.

I’ll have more to say about our Treasury Secretary’s blustering baloney in a moment. As everyone knows who’s been paying attention, Timothy Geithner is one of the biggest lying liars to ever hold high office, to use Sen. Al Franken’s inimitable phrase. He is without a doubt one of the slickest, smoothest-talking apologists for massive, irresponsible government spending I’ve heard, second only to his boss.

But our boy Tim is a mild-mannered milquetoast compared to Austan Goolsbee. If you’ve never heard of Goolsbee, I’m not surprised. Even though he carries a very prestigious title as chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, he mostly toils in the obscurity his incompetence so richly merits.

To say Goolsbee is a mouthpiece for President Barack Obama’s White House is like saying McDonald’s likes to sell hamburgers. Of course he is. He would never have been given his present job if he weren’t. So when he says things like “the impact on the economy would be catastrophic” if Congress doesn’t once again raise the debt ceiling, you know the message is coming straight from the Oval Office. He is the Charlie McCarthy to Obama’s Edgar Bergen. (Kids, ask your grandparents what that means.)

Normally, when some high government mucky-muck issues a pronouncement that should make his nose grow longer than Pinocchio’s, I just yawn and move on. But this gem from goofy Goolsbee really got my goat: “If we get to the point where we damage the full faith and credit of the United States, that would surely be the first default in history caused purely by insanity.”

Get that? If Congress doesn’t raise the debt ceiling, it can only be because those of us who insist the spigot be turned off are nuts. Not raising the debt ceiling will be a calamity of unimaginable proportions.

Geithner says it a little smoother, but his message is the same. In a four-page letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Geithner said, “Never in our history has Congress failed to increase the debt limit when necessary. Failure to raise the limit would precipitate a default by the United States.”

Geithner then goes on to list all of the horrendous consequences such a lapse would bring — no Medicaid payments to the states, no student loans, no salaries and retirement benefits for our military, no income-tax refunds, no veterans’ benefits. And just in case you aren’t already shaking in your boots, no Social Security or Medicare benefits.

Wowser. I can already hear the weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth at the prospect of such a disaster.

There’s just one thing wrong with Geithner’s and Goolsbee’s horrifying scenario: It isn’t true. In fact, it’s a total, 100 percent fabrication. Or to be blunt, it’s a lie. And both distinguished public servants know it.

Here’s the truth: “If Congress refuses to raise the debt ceiling, the Federal government will still have far more than enough money to fully service our debt.” I put that statement in quotation marks because it wasn’t me who said it; it was Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.).

Now before you conclude that Toomey has been inhaling too much medical marijuana, let me explain. It’s true that interest payments on our national debt cost a hefty amount — around $1.3 billion a day, in fact. But that sum, staggering as it is, represents only 6.5 percent of all projected Federal expenditures. Uncle Sam receives more than 10 times that amount in tax revenue. So Toomey wants Congress to pass a bill that will require the Treasury to make interest payments on our debt its first priority.

How do you like them apples? Just agree to pay our debts first and there can be no default on them. With the stroke of a pen, the problem is solved.

Well, not completely solved. There’s still that pesky matter of Obama wanting to spend a trillion dollars or so more than the Treasury will take in. What can you do about that?

I guess it’s pretty ridiculous to ask a few of Obama’s favorite billionaires to make up the difference. There will be no passing the hat in Hollywood; no fund-raisers sponsored by George Soros, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet or their buddies.

So what can we do? How about cutting spending?

How about doing what every responsible family in America learned long ago to do: Match expenditures to income. Don’t borrow more than you can afford, just because you want some shiny new toys.

With $14.29 trillion in debt, I will argue, ladies and gentlemen, that we have already borrowed way more than we can afford. We have already put enormous burdens on our children and grandchildren — and probably their children and grandchildren as well.

You know what? A lot of people agree with me. Let me call one of them to the witness stand now. This is what then-Senator Barack Obama said in 2006, when he wanted to embarrass then-President George W. Bush about raising the debt ceiling back then:

“The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. Leadership means that ‘the buck stops here.’ Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better. I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America’s debt limit.”

Wouldn’t you like to see the same commitment to “our children and grandchildren” from Obama today?

By the way, Senator Obama wasn’t the only person on the left-hand side of the aisle to oppose raising the debt ceiling four years ago. Nevada’s Harry Reid declared that “my Republican friends… should explain why they think more debt is good for the economy.” The soon-to-be Majority Leader then promised, “Democrats won’t be making arguments to support this legislation, which will weaken our country.”

I wish I could tell you that the Republican leadership in Washington today can be counted on to stand strong on this issue. Unfortunately, I’m afraid the opposite is true; I suspect they will cave and compromise, as they have so often in the past.

Already, House Speaker John Boehner has gone on record saying that he’ll support raising the debt ceiling because “we have to be adults (about the problem).” Even author and economist Art Laffer, who has toed a pretty tough line in the past, says the “prudent” thing to do today is to raise the debt ceiling — but demand something in return.

How can we possibly reduce spending enough to live within our means? For one possible answer, please go to This is where you’ll find a page-by-page, line-by-line review of the Federal budget by one of my favorite Washington organizations, the Cato Institute. They provide a detailed and convincing analysis of how to reduce spending by $1.375 trillion.

Yes, it can be done. Now the crucial question is, will it?

Please do your part by demanding that your Congressman vote no on raising the debt ceiling. And then get as many friends and relatives as you can to do the same. For a start, how about sending them this column? And asking them to send it a dozen other people?

We don’t have to lose this battle. We don’t have to spend ourselves into bankruptcy. And no, we don’t have to default on a single dollar of our national debt.

We do have to stop listening to lying liars such as Timothy Geithner and Austan Goolsbee. And the sooner the better.

Until next time, keep some powder dry.

–Chip Wood

GOP Says Obama’s Deficit Plans Fall Short

GOP says Obama's deficit plans fall shortPresident Barack Obama proposed a five-year spending freeze on Federal discretionary spending during his State of the Union (SOTU) address, which he said will save the government approximately $400 billion over a decade.

Representative Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who delivered the GOP response to the President's speech, and other Republicans claim that Obama's ideas are not nearly enough to slash the national deficit.

"The days of business as usual must come to an end. We hold to a couple of simple convictions: Endless borrowing is not a strategy; spending cuts have to come first," Ryan said during the televised speech, quoted by FOX News.

Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, is known as one of the most fiscally conservative members of his chamber. For example, his "Roadmap for America" proposal — which includes turning Medicare into a voucher program, revamping Social Security benefits and significantly slashing most areas of Federal spending — is so drastic that some GOP lawmakers have shied away from publicly supporting it.

Regardless, most Republicans agree that Obama's proposals won't be enough to reduce the deficit. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), the ranking member on the Senate Budget Committee, said that the President's plans were examples of "deficit preservation," according to FOX News. He added that the SOTU speech was littered with denial and timidity instead of leadership and a clear vision. 

The Latest Birther, Facebook, The Border Fence And Paul Volker

*Show me your papers, Mr. President. In case you missed it, Rush Limbaugh has joined the debate about where Barack Obama was born. Rush took to the airwaves on his hugely popular radio show last Friday and declared, “It’s stunning to me… Where’s the President’s vow to end the debate over his birth? We’re going on four years on this… So much of this is difficult to fathom, to believe.” Stay tuned, folks. We may finally find out if our President really does have a Hawaiian birth certificate.

*Sorry, all you Facebook fans. Pity that no one in this country is allowed to purchase any stock in the company, no matter how much you are willing to pay. You can thank the regulators in Washington who see it as their mission to protect you from your own stupid investment decisions. Even if you think you still live in the land of the brave, here’s more proof it ain’t the land of the free anymore.

*There goes the border fence. The Department of Homeland Security — yes, the same organization that says groping your grandma is necessary for national security — has abandoned plans to complete the border fence between Mexico and Arizona. I don’t how much of the billion-dollar budget had already been spent. But I do know that Secretary Janet Napolitano and her buddies have no real interest in protecting our borders. Heck, those illegal aliens may be voters some day.

*Paul Volcker joins the bailout brigade. I don’t mean that the former Federal Reserve chairman is promoting yet another bailout of yet another industry. No, it’s Volcker himself who is bailing out, as head of Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board. Think it might be because no one, emphatically including the President, listened to any of his recommendations?

–Chip Wood

Republicans Make Big Gains In Gallup Poll

Republicans make big gains in Gallup pollAmericans have a more favorable than unfavorable view of Republicans for the first time in six years, according to a new Gallup poll.

The survey, which was conducted from Jan. 14 to Jan. 16, revealed that 47 percent of respondents had a positive impression of the GOP, compared to 43 percent who had a negative opinion. The last time a Gallup poll recorded a positive net score for Republicans was in 2005, when George W. Bush was in office and his party controlled both chambers of Congress.

The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the ongoing war in Iraq and rising gas prices caused many Americans to turn on the GOP in subsequent years. After the 2006 midterm elections, in which Democrats gained control of Congress, a Gallup poll showed that 58 percent of respondents had an unfavorable view of Republicans.

The party hit an all-time low in popularity following the election of President Barack Obama in 2008, when 61 percent gave Republicans negative marks, compared to only 34 percent favorable. Obama's controversial healthcare law, a persistently high unemployment rates and a national deficit approaching $1.5 trillion has prompted many Americans to change their stance.

The GOP has also caught up to Democrats in regards to their use of the Internet. According to new research from the Pew Internet and American Life Project, Republicans were just as likely as Democrats to be active on social networking websites in 2010. This is a stark contrast from the months leading up to the 2008 presidential election, when only 28 percent of followers of Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) used these sites, compared to 44 percent of Obama voters.

The Associated Press Scrutinizes Obama’s Speech

The Associated Press Scrutinizes Obama's SpeechPresident Barack Obama's State of the Union address appears to have won over Democratic supporters, but a prominent news agency has scrutinized many aspects of the nationally televised speech.

Shortly after Obama's address on Capitol Hill, a CBS News poll revealed that 91 percent of viewers who participated in the survey approved of the proposals put forth by the commander-in-chief. However, the news provider acknowledged that many people who watched the speech and participated in the poll were Democrats.

The Associated Press conducted a fact check on Obama's proposals and found several discrepancies. For example, the President said that he will veto any bills that include earmarks. The media outlet reported that, in early 2009, Obama took a different stance on pork barrel spending.

"Done right, earmarks have given legislators the opportunity to direct Federal money to worthy projects that benefit people in their districts, and that's why I've opposed their outright elimination," Obama said then, quoted by the news source.

Furthermore the AP pointed out that Obama pledged to freeze government spending while also investing in America's future, but he did not provide many credible suggestions for budget cuts. Last year, he said he wanted to raise approximately $36.5 billion in tax increases on oil and gas companies, yet a Democratic-led Congress failed to approve the measure. During Tuesday night's State of the Union, Obama made a similar proposal, which is unlikely to pass in a GOP-led House of Representatives.

Told By A Foreign Power

China holds much of the United States’ debt, and the U.S. trade deficit with China stands at about $240 billion. So it’s not surprising that fiscal issues would be one of the main topics of discussion between Chinese President Hu Jintao and President Barack Obama during their meetings Jan. 19.

After listening to Obama drone about how Hu had indicated a desire to move toward a market-based exchange rate system, the Chinese president avoided the topic. He did emphasize the Group of 20’s role in tackling financial matters. According to an analysis by Reuters’ Alister Bull, Hu’s remarks were “a subtle rebuke to Washington for presuming to lecture China about the global economy.”

So, the gist of their discussion is this: Hu told Obama to back off. Don’t talk about the trade deficit, don’t talk about devaluing the yuan and don’t talk about human rights.

In a letter to Alexander Hamilton, George Washington wrote: "But if we are to be told by a foreign power … what we shall do, and what we shall not do, we have independence yet to seek, and have contended hitherto for very little."

It seems we’ve traveled too far down this road to turn back.

No Thank You, Mr. President

When I talked to Mr. Livingston on Tuesday morning, I suggested that today’s edition of Outside the Asylum could be a stream-of-consciousness look at the State of the Union address and its attendant hoopla. “Sort of a ‘Twitter feed with verbs‘ thing;” I offered. Bob was thrilled with the concept. (Well, he didn’t specifically say “no.”) When I looked at my first draft, it was longer than a Democrat mayor’s rap sheet. Bob did say he wanted it to be shorter than, say, the State of the Union.

The State of the Union took 62 minutes. This should only take you about three minutes (I checked):

6:45 p.m. Eastern Standard Time: I’m settling in for the annual Presidential Dog and Pony show. I have a big cup of water and some cookies. Given the entertainment value of past States of the Union, I’d probably be better off with a fifth of Scotland’s finest and a brick to throw at the TV. However, this effort needs to be marginally coherent, and the Super Bowl is coming up; so — no scotch, no brick.

7:01: MSNBC. Chris “Tingle-boy” Matthews is calling Representative Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) stupid. He’s totally non-partisan, of course. He’s got White House spokesmodel Robert Gibbs on. Gibbs is smirking while Matthews rants about Bachmann.

7:10: Switching to Fox. Carl Cameron is talking to Shepherd Smith about bipartisan seating. MSNBC. Matthews still hates Bachmann. Fox. The Moscow airport bombing. MSNBC. Matthews STILL hates Bachmann. Why do his ratings suck?

7:16: MSNBC. Representative Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) wants to talk about the SOTU. Matthews still wants to talk about how much he hates Bachmann. Israel looks like he’d rather be anywhere else. Awkward.

7:22: Matthews is talking education with Pat Buchanan. Wait for it… wait for it… Matthews says Bachmann is stupid. Where’s that brick?

7:31: John King on CNN. King just asked David Gergen about the impact of Twitter. Gergen looks perplexed. I’ll bet his Betamax still flashes 12:00.

7:42: Quick MSNBC check. Matthews still hates Bachmann. He’s got some harpy on with him who — shocker — also hates Bachmann. *sigh*

8:00: Lawrence O’Donnell on MSNBC. President Barack Obama and black actors have it tough in this racist country, according to Larry. It’s rich white people decrying the plight of rich black people. Is it me, or does Larry look a lot like the Sony PlayStation® 3 guy?

8:32: MSNBC emptied the clown car: O’Donnell, Rachel Maddow, Matthews and Ed Schultz. Schultz just blamed the I-35 bridge collapse on the Republicans. Michele Bachmann is from Minnesota. Where was she that day?

8:50: Fox. The Senate is filling the chamber. I’m calling for a moratorium on “prom date” references to this bipartisan seating plan.

8:59: The Supreme Court and the Cabinet are filing in. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner looks uncomfortable; but I can’t tell if that’s because he’s about eight inches shorter than Attorney General Eric Holder, or if he’s thinking about this year’s 1040.

9:03: Hello, Mr. President.

The State of the Union:

  • Obama congratulates House Speaker John Boehner. Where’s Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi?
  • Obama wants a return to civility. Representative Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) must be hiding under his chair.
  • Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) is sitting with Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.). Chambliss has the patience of Job. Either that, or all the hot Senators were taken.
  • Obama just cited the stock market as proof of an economic recovery in progress. What happened to Democrats saying “that’s Wall Street, not Main Street?”
  • Now, Obama is proud of the tax cuts he opposed. The “hostages” have been freed, folks.
  • Obama laments that China and India are ahead in science and math education. Yeah, but OUR kids are way better at putting on condoms — USA, BABY!
  • Obama cites the Internet revolution. Vice President Joe Biden, sitting right behind Obama, looks confused. I think Boehner just whispered: “In-ter-net. I’ll tell you after.”
  • The “Sputnik moment.” Obama calls for investment in… he didn’t say, exactly. “Technology.” Uh-oh. His big rhetorical bomb, and he cites a 54-year-old achievement by a country that doesn’t exist anymore. Brilliant.
  • Obama points out the Allen brothers. They’re roofers who got a government loan to make solar shingles. Obama doesn’t mention that we’d have to pave the Midwest in solar panels to light up Chicago.
  • 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2015. And 1 million doorstops by 2016.
  • Obama wants to pull subsidies from oil companies and give them to… the Allen brothers? He took the same shot at the oil industry last year and a Democrat-run Congress did nothing. Take THAT, stupid proven technology!
  • By 2035, Obama wants 80 percent of America’s energy to come from clean energy sources. The Allen brothers look ecstatic!
  • Switching gears to education. Obama wants 100,000 new science and math teachers. I’m thinking, we don’t have that many now.
  • Did he just say “We’ll show you the money?” Yes, he did.
  • Children of “undocumented workers” deserve to stay. The President of the United States just endorsed amnesty for anchor babies.
  • Transportation and infrastructure. Oh, joy; more “high-speed rail” babble. So now, instead of driving to Atlanta in four hours, I can… let someone else drive me to Atlanta in… four hours. But there is no functional high-speed rail here. Crap. I hate driving to Atlanta.
  • He’s calling for a Works Project Administration-sized public works project; all without laying out how we’ll fund it. How do you spell “Boondoggle?”
  • “A patient…can have a face-to-face video conference with their doctor.” Under Obamacare, it might be with someone whose first name is “Doctor.”
  • He just compared Representative Jim Jordan’s (R-Ohio) $2.5 trillion cuts plan to making an airplane lighter by removing the engine. Plane crash jokes? Who wrote that, Franken?
  • Obama says, “screw the millionaires.” Those jerks, they’re only paying 40 percent of the tax bill.
  • Cutting duplication and waste. This was supposed to be Al Gore’s job during the Clinton years. Al was too busy inventing the Internet, or global warming.
  • He’s going to veto every bill with earmarks. That’s a win — presuming he’s not lying.
  • “The Iraq war is coming to an end.” Still.
  • “We’re going to deny al-Qaida the stronghold which served as the launching pad for 9/11.” Saudi Arabia just peed in its dishdasha.
  • “We stand with the people of Tunisia.” Half the chamber is on their handhelds, trying to figure out where the hell Tunisia is.
  • “No American will be forbidden from serving the country they love because of who they love.” The end of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. I’m all right with this, although I know I’m going to get flamed for it in the comments section.

Charles Krauthammer said he thought the speech was “flat.” It was more — and less — than that. It was hollow, contrived and often self-contradictory. Obama said “We do big things.” And we will again in 2012, Mr. President.

Big Budget Bingo!

By the time you read this, President Barack Obama will have delivered what may well have been his penultimate State of the Union address. While my deadline fell before this year’s Presidential Kennel Club Dog (and Pony) Show, I have no doubt that it was the usual running of the proverbial bull. (For Ben’s analysis of the SOTU, check out his Outside the Asylum column below).

Empty promises, veiled threats, and meaningless calls for civility from a Congress which is as likely to behave as I am to earn a spot in the Mets’ bullpen… let me amend that — I can reach the plate on the fly. Indubitably, the President will also tip his cap to the newly elected Republican House majority by sprinkling a few table scraps of budgetary sanity amongst his equally predictable calls for expansion of… every harebrained social program he and his liberal allies have unleashed upon us during his tenure.

Last week, the 165 members of the Republican Study Committee, led by Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, threw the gauntlet of fiscal responsibility at the President’s feet. Jordan introduced a bill in the House which would — if passed — lop $2.5 trillion from the Federal budget over 10 years. That’s a 13-digit bill for surgery. Even Obamacare won’t cover that.

To be sure, a review of the programs and spending targeted by Jordan’s bill reveals a Chinese phone book of wasteful spending. However, Jordan, along with his Senate counterpart Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), are going to find that the old-line GOP is about as excited about real budget trimming as Obama is about Hawaii Governor Abercrombie working “birth certificate” into every other sentence.

To the average taxpayer, most details regarding the Federal budget are as entertaining as listening to Paul Krugman explain Keynesian economics and the value of active public policy responses to macroeconomic systemic crises and blah, blah, blah…

(zzzz…”And this year’s Nobel Prize for reminding us why the Soviet Union is history goes to…”)

Nonetheless, some of this stuff is easy to figure. After all, how many of you really think $75,000 for the “Totally Teen Zone” in Albany, Ga. is a worthwhile expenditure of taxpayer dollars? No teen worth his baggy, ill-fitting pants would be caught dead in a place called “The Totally Teen Zone.” They’d rather compare nose rings with Paul Krugman.

Studying the entire Federal budget is a fool’s errand; like trying to figure out Al Franken’s appeal to Minnesota voters. You would think they learned their lesson from that whole Jesse Ventura disaster. But being the helpful sort of evil conservative, I thought I would demonstrate how trimming the budget can be at least as fun as meeting your daughter’s new boyfriend; the one with the nose ring and the baggy pants who quotes Krugman. It’s a project the whole family can enjoy!

Grab your scissors, kids! (Yep, they still print this monster out on old-fashioned paper.) Let the cutting begin:

Obviously, Obamacare deserves the ax. Although the House already saw to that; their repeal vote is going to fly like a stone balloon in the Senate. Democrat mouthpieces at The Associated Press claim the job-killer numbers are overstated, culminating in their fabulous “fact-check” piece which stated the GOP was taking a Congressional Budget Office study indicating a loss of nearly 700,000 jobs out of context.

The ultimate point of the piece was to advance the claim that there won’t be fewer jobs, just fewer people working. That’s like saying the victims of Obamacare’s death panels are not dead, just “less vital.” More unemployment means more people on the government dole — which would be good for the Democrats, except that the newly unemployed are professionals, not career parasites. They’ll remember who put them on the street.

Add to that the fact that the Secretary of Health and Human Services has issued a waiver to every union lout and heavyweight Democrat donor like mediaeval papal indulgences, and the price tag rises like the ratings of a Fox News program scheduled opposite Ed Schultz. The elimination of Obamacare represents a savings of up to $1 trillion over the next decade.

But taking Obamacare to the butcher’s block is easy. There are plenty of other areas of the Federal budget which deserve a spot in the blender.

The Department of Education gets a big, fat, red “F.” Flushing this Brobdingnagian budgetary behemoth means everyone keeps their money, and the kids learn math, instead of proper condom application. Of course, the kids will be more likely to know how much they need to steal from mom’s purse to buy more condoms, but now they won’t know how to put them on — meaning more kids. We’ll send them a check for $69 billion annually from the teachers’ unions; post-dated, of course.

Tune in to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. I know, the liberals will raise an unholy hue and cry about “Sesame Street.” Bad luck, I don’t have kids. Besides, Disney has entertained legions of children for most of the past century without dining at the taxpayer trough. As for the less kiddie-centric programming, if Garrison Keillor was that interesting to people who don’t close their eyes when they talk, he’d be sorting through offers from the outlets which actually turn a profit. Sending NPR and its ilk into the private sector will save nearly $500 million.

Let’s also send a Dear John letter to the Post Office. Of course, we’ll have to send it FedEx if we want a guarantee that it will arrive as requested. I understand that we’ll all have to spend a little more to send a letter, provided the cost of a first-class stamp doesn’t continue to rise. But it will cost more than that to explain to everyone under the age of 18 what a “letter” is. And your chances of it arriving on time will triple. That will be right about the time the letter gets there. Or, in the case of the USPS, not get there. Wait a minute, Mr. Postman — the USPS is projecting a nearly $250 billion budget deficit for the next decade. Signed, sealed, delivered — you’re gone.

All aboard AMTRAK. Subsidizing the vastly under-traveled national passenger rail lines has brought the taxpayers the pride of knowing they’re paying for a system which is just as much of a joy as traveling aboard a moving fraternity house, only without the sanitation. After nearly $20 billion in taxpayer subsidies, AMTRAK represents less than 1 percent of intercity travel nationally. That’s a subsidy of more than $100 per passenger, per trip. If someone rides the rails across the country, that number jumps above $1,000. We’d be better off buying passengers round-trip airfare.

On that note, consider those multi-billion dollar airline subsidies which have eclipsed $20 billion in the last decade. That’s been a real treat for the taxpayers; and airlines have rewarded their largesse with outstanding performance — as long as you’re not particular about whether you and your luggage (for which you paid extra) vacation on the same continent.

The real joke is on us. By subsidizing both AMTRAK AND the airlines, the government is using our money to prop up two industrial black holes which are in competition with each other; and evidently battling to lose the game. Eliminating both will carve away a potential 11 figures from the taxpayers’ bill.

Many of you will take great issue with these suggestions. You’re welcome to do so — and will doubtless make your feelings known in the attendant comment section. Keep in mind, I managed to slice away nearly $150 billion per year, nearly equaling Jordan’s $2.5 trillion over a decade, and I did it in fewer than 1,500 words, while only looking at six outlays. I never even addressed the endless rogue’s gallery of politically idiotic subsidies (ACORN? REALLY?), duplicate programs and outright waste (true story: Katrina relief funds were used to pay for a SEX CHANGE OPERATION. This one’s for you, then… ma’am… sir… you there.)

The Federal budget is like a wedding, or better yet, those Sweet 16 parties you can watch on cable in which some uber-rich euro trash-type authorizes the budget of a small country for his whiny little princess to ring in her momentous 17th year (because the 16th was such a milestone for humanity).

To be fair, there are areas in which Federal expenditures are not only necessary, but laudable. We need the Federal prisons, the Interstate Highway system (whoops, might have spoken too soon on that one), and the U.S. Army; to cite a few examples. However, far too much of our money goes to programs and projects which deserve nothing more than to be dragged by the 10th Mountain Division down I-70 to Leavenworth.

I’ll tell you what: The next time you find yourself with nothing better to do — say, during the next episode of “My Super Sweet 16″ — think of a use of taxpayer money which is essentially useless. Then, grab the proverbial scissors. You’re welcome to borrow mine — and it won’t cost you thing.

GOP Lands Two Counterpunches Following State Of The Union

GOP lands two counterpunches following State of the Union The Republican Party had two opportunities to address a national audience following President Barack Obama's State of the Union address on Jan. 25.

Representative Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) gave the official GOP response to the President's speech, followed by Representative Michele Bachmann's (R-Minn.) stance on behalf of the Tea Party. While both lawmakers challenged Obama on several key issues, such as healthcare reform and out-of-control government spending, their style was drastically different.

Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, spoke in a straightforward language that focused on the dangers of a growing national deficit.

"Our nation is approaching a tipping point. We are at a moment, where if government's growth is left unchecked and unchallenged, America's best century will be considered our past century," Ryan said in his televised response.

Bachmann, who chairs the House Tea Party caucus, opted for metaphors and visual aids. During her response, which aired on CNN, Bachmann pointed to the famous World War II photo of United States soldiers hoisting the American flag at Iwo Jima. She said that the picture symbolizes how the U.S. came together to "beat back a totalitarian aggressor," which is the type of effort needed today to overcome the nation's debt crisis. 

Americans Cover Millions In Legal Bills For Fired Fannie And Freddie Execs

Americans cover millions in legal bills for fired Fannie and Freddie execs American taxpayers have unknowingly spent more than $160 million to help provide legal defense for former executives of mortgage lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, according to The New York Times.

Information about these costs was closely guarded until Representative Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas) requested the figures from the Federal Housing Finance Agency last year. The taxpayer-funded expenditures, which were released last week, show that about $132 million has been spent to defend Fannie Mae and its officials against various lawsuits and investigations.

In 2008, the Federal government took over Fannie and Freddie in the midst of the subprime lending crisis, which resulted in a sharp decline of the companies' stock market value. Former execs with both companies have since been barraged by lawsuits and probes regarding accounting irregularities that allegedly occurred in the years preceding the housing crisis.

"The question I think that doesn't pass the smell test is: Why are we paying the legal fees for former employees?" Neugebauer, who is now the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, told FOX News. "What kind of litigation is pending that would cause us to think we need to continue to put taxpayers' money in legal fees for people that actually got fired?"

According to the news provider, the controversy comes just a few weeks before President Barack Obama's administration is set to present its future plans for overhauling Fannie and Freddie. 

Obama’s Top Climate Adviser To Step Down

Obama's top climate adviser to step downPresident Barack Obama's top energy and climate adviser, Carol Browner, is the latest in a series of White House staff departures.

On Jan. 24, government officials confirmed that Browner, who served as an administrator with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under former President Bill Clinton, will step down from her post. Although White House sources would not confirm if her position would be filled, Browner is expected to remain on staff for several weeks to ensure a smooth transition during Obama's reorganization efforts.

Browner was instrumental in pushing certain elements of Obama's eco-friendly agenda, such as new fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions standards with automakers. However, comprehensive legislation to address climate change stalled in Congress last year, and a new GOP-led House of Representatives makes it unlikely that the 112th Congress will approve legislation that establishes a firm limit on greenhouse gas emissions.

According to The Hill, Republicans and some centrist Democrats are gearing up to strip the EPA of some of its power — granted by the Clean Air Act — to set climate change goals. Leading up to Obama's State of the Union speech, several environmental agencies and liberal Democrats voiced their hopes that the President would address these issues.

"From a political point of view, it is very important that [Obama] signal Republicans early that if they try and stop EPA via a debt-ceiling bill or a spending bill, he will veto it," an environmentalist told the news provider.