Despite Obama Promise, Stimulus Funds Blown on Beltway Dog Parks
The White House hasn’t said much this week to celebrate the five year anniversary of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and it is no wonder. While some projects weren’t exactly “shovel ready,” two dog parks in tony DC neighborhoods were deemed pooper-scooper ready, a violation of President Obama’s promise in March 2009 to do “everything in our power” to prevent stimulus money from going to dog parks.
One dog park in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, Marion Park, was given $90,825 in stimulus funds. The park has been deemed one of the “Best Places to Hang With Your Dog in the DC Area” by the local CBS news affiliate. According to the Chicago Tribune the money was used for “repainting the existing fence, sidewalk repair, and purchasing new benches and trash cans for the park.”
Pictured: Stimulus sign in Capitol Hill dog park. The park was named one of the “Best Places to Hang With Your Dog in the DC Area.” Stimulus signs were posted prominently on both ends of the park.
The other dog park receiving stimulus funds is the S Street Dog Park located in the Dupont Circle neighborhood. The park is now equipped with a new cutting-edge AstroTurf that wicks away dog waste and keeps precious little Muffin’s paws clean. The park was also fitted with a water fountain in case Muffin’s owners forgot their bottle of Voss.
Pictured: Massive stimulus sign in DC’s S Street Dog Park
One dog owner in the neighborhood raved on Yelp about the AstroTurf, the free poop bags and the water fountains. She also claims that her dog refuses to run on any other type of surface:
“The best thing about this dog park is the surface... instead of the harsh gravel surfaces that the other dog parks in the city have, and that Emma the Wonderdog refuses to run on, this park has Astroturf! And Emma the Wonderdog loves to run on Astroturf!
The only downside of this park is that it is really small... too small to let Emma the Wonderdog hit her full stride. It is, however, a GREAT use of space by the city, and it is great they have a doggy water fountain and plenty of poop bags for all.”
While President Obama and his Democratic allies launch a political war on “inequality”, taxpaying families throughout the country will surely be thrilled to know their hard earned money went to support not only dog parks, but dog parks possibly used by the very well-heeled lobbyists and Obama administration staff who pushed for the stimulus in the first place. As noted recently by the Washington Post, the DC area has more than one third of the nation’s “super zips.” To qualify as a Super Zip, the average household income must be $120,000 or higher. Both the Capitol Hill and Dupont Circle dog parks fall into this category.
In a speech made to the National Conference of State Legislatures in March 2009, President Obama made a promise to “do everything in our power” to prevent stimulus funds from paying for dog parks:
“Now, no plan is perfect. And I can't stand here and promise you that not one single dollar will slip through the cracks. But what I can promise you is that we will do everything in our power to prevent that from happening, which is why we're building on the provisions in the Recovery Act to forbid the use of these funds to build things like dog parks.”
Nothing says jumpstarting the economy like a fancy dog park. The stimulus is now 33 years old in dog years. To all the taxpayers in the hinterlands, beltway residents and their dogs would like to extend a hearty thank you.
“Poop bag. Stat.”
“Tell me more about these free poop bags.”
Grover Norquist shares insight and sarcastic wit on Varney and Co
This morning Grover Norquist appeared on Fox Business Network’s Varney and Company. Grover discussed the CBO’s report that 1,000,000 jobs would be killed under President Obama proposed minimum wage increase.
“I think the President is trying to lengthen the period of puberty and teenage opportunities to go to the beach and not get tied down to a job until you are 25 or 26 perhaps. It’s really a blow for recreation and letting kids be kids until maybe their early 30s.”
Stuart Varney, host: “Sarcasm is a low form of wit, Grover Norquist.”
Grover also discussed the worker victory over the UAW in the Chattanooga Volkswagen plant. He said that all they did was present the facts and explained that what happened in Detroit could happen in Chattanooga:
“It’s like before and after when the locusts show up in a neighborhood and just eat everything. When you have parasites that do damage to the host, you want to look at what happened to the last guy the parasites went after before you invite them into your house. And the United Auto Workers killed jobs, killed neighborhoods, and destroyed the city of Detroit. And I think the people of Tennessee and Chattanooga and other southern cities that are being targeted by the United Auto Workers are looking and saying ‘Hey. Not here. Take your plague of locusts and go bother Cleveland.’”
Grover’s entire segment can be viewed below:
37 Governors declare February 6 as "Ronald Reagan Day"
Daily Media Spotlight for February 4, 2014
Recently Grover Norquist sat down with the Orlando Sentinal editorial board to discuss the Taxpayer Protection Pledge and other issues. Below is an excerpt from the interview.
“Q: Most people know you from the pledge. Former Wyoming Republican Sen. Alan Simpson has called it a "no taxes under any situation even if your country goes to hell" pledge. Do you think that's fair?
A: It's kind of inaccurate in several ways. It's not no taxes. [It's] no increases in taxes. No net increases in taxes. The pledge has led the Republican Party to dominance in the House, to a much stronger position nationally and to much more successful governors and state legislators. Those people who have walked away from the pledge, or in the case of [President George H. W. Bush] broken it, have found out that it is bad policy — Bush hurt the economy when he raised taxes — and it's bad politics to raise taxes. The pledge has tremendously strengthened the modern Republican Party. We haven't had a Republican in Washington vote for an income-tax increase since 1990.”
Chloe Morrison of the Nooga.com wrote an article entitled “Volkswagen neutrality questioned as union election is fast-tracked.” The article featured Center for Worker Freedom’s Executive Director, Matt Patterson.
“Although (Mike) Burton is a VW employee and said he is representing about 600 other employees, some outside groups, such as Matt Patterson—executive director for the Washington, D.C.-based Americans for Tax Reform's Center for Worker Freedom—have been active in the discussion.”
The Tennessean published an article entitled “Six Issues for Haslam’s State of the State Address.” One of the issues is Tennessee’s Hall Tax. ATR has been very active in pushing to eliminate the tax.
New Multi-Million Dollar Obamacare Ad Targets Young Women
Enroll America is at it again, this time using your pets to get you to sign up for Obamacare. According to USA Today a multimillion-dollar campaign was launched today that targets young women by using singing pets. Enroll America claims that 81% of the public doesn’t know about the March 31 deadline and that 69% of people don’t know about the financial help that is available through Obamacare.
Anne Filipic, President of Enroll America, says that using cats, dogs, and birds in the ads “helps break through the clutter.” But didn’t something like this happen before? Adorable Care Act, anyone? Cute mice on swings and puppies in wheelbarrows didn’t help the embarrassing enrollment numbers before now they are adding music to the ads to try and lure young women in. Filipic quoted a statistic that said more than 60% of homes have pets and more than half of female pet owners would risk their life for their pet.
According to consumer psychologist Kit Yarrow the Enroll America campaign should help enroll young women. But Obamacare does more harm than good for young women. Below are five taxes that harm women the most:
1. Obamacare Flexible Spending Account Tax: The 30 - 35 million Americans who use a pre-tax Flexible Spending Account (FSA) at work to pay for a woman’s basic medical needs face a new Obamacare cap of $2,500. This will squeeze $13 billion of tax money from Americans over the next ten years. (Before Obamacare, the accounts were unlimited under federal law, though employers were allowed to set a cap.)
2. Obamacare High Medical Bills Tax: Before Obamacare, Americans facing high medical expenses were allowed a deduction to the extent that those expenses exceeded 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income (AGI). Obamacare now imposes a threshold of 10 percent of AGI. Therefore, Obamacare not only makes it more difficult to claim this deduction, it widens the net of taxable income.
To learn more about this tax, click here.
3. Medicine Cabinet Tax. This tax increase is already in effect. Since January of 2011, Americans have not been able to purchase non-prescription, over-the-counter medicines from their Flexible Spending Accounts or Health Savings Accounts. Women often rely on over-the-counter medicines to get themselves through the colds, fevers, and aches and pains of daily life.
4. Obamacare Individual Mandate Non-Compliance Tax: Starting in 2014, anyone not buying “qualifying” health insurance – as defined by President Obama’s Department of Health and Human Services -- must pay an income surtax to the IRS. In addition, 100 percent of Americans filing a tax return (140 million filers) will be forced to submit paperwork to the IRS showing they either had “qualifying” health insurance for every month of the tax year or they obtained an exemption to the mandate.
Americans liable for the surtax will pay according to the following schedule:
Making matters worse: According to a Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration report, the Obama IRS didn’t bother to issue compliance guidelines until three quarterly filing deadlines had passed: “By the time [IRS] notices were issued, tanning excise tax returns had been due for three quarters." This is yet another sign that the Obama administration is ill-prepared for Obamacare implementation.
5. Obamacare 10 Percent Excise Tax on Indoor Tanning: This Obamacare tax increase has the distinction of being the first to go into effect (July 2010). Slipped into the bill by Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) behind closed doors in the middle of the night, this tax hike replaced the planned Obamacare “Botax” on cosmetic surgery. This petty, burdensome, nanny-state tax affects both the business owner and the end user. Industry estimates from the Indoor Tanning Association show that 30 million Americans visit an indoor tanning facility in a given year, and over 50 percent of salon owners are women. There is no exception granted for those making less than $250,000 meaning it is yet another tax that violates Obama’s “firm pledge” not to raise “any form” of tax on Americans making less than this amount.
Daily Media Spotlight for February 3, 2014
Patrick Gleason, Director of State Affairs, wrote a feature piece for National Review Online entitled “Lone Star Insurgent: There’s a rising star in Texas, and it’s not Wendy Davis or Ted Cruz.”
“Scott Turner, age 42, is a skilled public speaker who knows how to captivate an audience. In his Austin speech, Turner’s central message was that Texas “should not be content with just being better than other states.” Turner implored his colleagues in the legislature not to settle for being the best in some rankings, but to strive to make Texas number one in all metrics of economic success and competitiveness.
Not only did Turner impress the crowd in Austin with his speech, he made news with his recent announcement that he will challenge the powerful Representative Joe Straus for the Texas House speakership.”
Matt Patterson, Executive Director of the Center for Worker Freedom, wrote an op-ed for the Washington Examiner entitled “UAW imports anti-worker thuggery to Tennessee.”
“Late Friday, the Center for Worker Freedom reported that some Chattanooga VW employees were alarmed that representatives from the Volkswagen Works Council had been granted permission to meet with workers on company property to spread pro-union propaganda.
These concerned workers delivered a letter to upper management requesting equal access to company facilities to discuss alternatives to UAW representation.
They also requested access to the same employee contact list the union will have in the event of an election, so that the workers could hear both sides.
Both requests were denied. The workers were told that they could not have access to those facilities — which were paid for in part by tax dollars — and contacts because they are not an “entity.””
Chris Prandoni, Federal Affairs manager, wrote an op-ed for Forbes.com entitled “Did an EPA Report Just Kill 30,000 Jobs?”:
“Conservatives looking to affirm the old adage that regulatory uncertainty kills jobs have new evidence: the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Region 10 Bristol Bay, Alaska Mining Assessment. So powerful is the EPA that an obscure report can threaten 30,000 jobs and a billion dollar mining project.”
Grover Norquist did an interview with Carlos Watson ozy.com. Grover talked about a variety of topics including the State of the Union, his picks for 2016 Presidential candidates, and his endeavors in film and TV.
“When asked of his assessment of the State of the Union, Norquist said:
You know when judges put on a little black hat and they pronounce a death sentence on people? That’s usually a short conversation. This was a 65-minute death sentence of the Democratic Senate. He basically said, “You guys are on your own.” It was a very interesting, self-absorbed effort. There was nothing in there to help any House or Senate guy get re-elected. At a time when he might have made a play to capture the House or not to lose the Senate, it was all about, “I’ve always been right.” So that’s one thing. Two: With the exception of MyRA and a call for Paid Promotion Authority — which are two new ideas, and two good ideas — everything else in there was a retread of five years ago. There wasn’t anything on his list that he could not have passed either by executive order or by law in 2009 or 2010 when he had supermajorities in the House and Senate. If he thought raising the minimum wage would help the economy, he would have done it right away — but he knows it will slow down the economy. And of course, he was trying to change the subject. He didn’t want to talk about Obamacare. Or jobs.”
Daily Media Spotlight for January 30, 2014
On January 29, Grover Norquist appeared on Fox Business Network’s Cavuto. Grover discussed the President's State of the Union address and how the American people are going to foot the bill for all the “investing” the President wants to do.
On January 29th, Mattie Duppler, Budget and Regulatory Policy Director at Americans for Tax Reform, joined CNBC's The Kudlow Report to discuss President Obama's corporate tax reform.
DC's Obamacare Exchange Wants to Ruin Your Super Bowl, Too
After receiving over $133 million of taxpayer dollars, the DC Health Link is launching a head first tackle into your social media timeline this “super” Sunday. The ad campaign is meant to engage and target “young invincibles” to sign up for Obamacare. Assist DC is going into “beast mode” on major social media platforms, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, by using hashtags “#ScoreASafety” and “#GetCovered.”
DC has become so desperate for Obamacare enrollees that they are now throwing a “hail mary” play and bothering people during the Big Game.
Daily Media Spotlight for January 29, 2014
Patrick Gleason wrote an op-ed for Forbes.com entitled “For a Model of Inequality, Look to Democratic Governors.”
“A look at the policies signed into law in recent years by Democrats who run some of the largest states in the union shows that unequal treatment is the name of the game when it comes to fiscal policy. Prominent Democratic governors, some of whom are 2016 contenders, have passed laws that raise taxes and costs for ordinary individuals, families, and small businesses, only to then exempt the politically-connected.”
Matt Patterson, Executive Director of the Center for Worker Freedom, wrote an op-ed for The Daily Caller entitled “The UAW targets Tennessee, with an assist from the NLRB.”
“Late last week the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) dismissed complaints from Chattanooga VW workers that the union had illegally used misrepresentation to gain signatures on union authorization cards.
After the NLRB news broke, word spread like wildfire in the community that the long-threatened union election was imminent. Union officials would love for the process to unfold quickly — they don’t want pro-company employees to have the time to make their case to coworkers — and Obama’s NLRB is falling over itself to oblige.”
Matt Patterson was featured in an article by Steven Greenhouse of the New York Times entitled “Outsiders, Not Auto Plant, Battle U.A.W. in Tennessee.”
“Matt Patterson, who heads the new Center for Worker Freedom, an arm of Mr. Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform, has promoted an anti-union agenda here, writing opinion articles and forming an anti-union coalition. “When the cost of government goes up, Americans for Tax Reform isn’t happy about it,” he said. “Unions are a big driver of government. Unions are very political, the U.A.W. is one of the most political. If they help elect politicians who pass huge government programs, that requires taxes.””
Tuesday night Grover Norquist appeared on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360. Grover Norquist joined a panel that included Paul Krugman and Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Mayor of Baltimore, where they gave their insight on the State of the Union address.
Daily Media Spotlight for January 28, 2014
Grover Norquist and Patrick Gleason co-wrote an op-ed for Reuters entitled “Pennsylvania as the new Wisconsin in union fights.”
"The “paycheck protection” bills pending in state Senate and House of Representatives committees, propose to prohibit government employers from deducting from a public employee’s salary “any funds which inure to the benefit of a private organization.”
If enacted, this legislation would end this use of state resources for political activity. Currently, the state uses taxpayer resources to collect union dues from government workers and these funds are used for political purposes by union lobbyists and political action committees.”
Grover Norquist wrote an op-ed for CNN entitled “Changing the subject: The misdirection of a president.”
“After all that [“Stimulus”] spending, the United States had the weakest recovery since World War II. The percentage of Americans of working age who are actually working was 66% when the recession began, stood at 65.8% when Obama was inaugurated and actually fell to 62.8% today. The only reason the unemployment number has appeared to fall from 7.3% since Obama took office to 6.7% now is that 10 million Americans of working age have left the workforce out of frustration at not finding work.
So creating jobs would be a rather unpleasant topic for the President.
And America has just marked the 50-year milestone in the "War on Poverty," announced by President Johnson in 1964. After $15 trillion in government spending, poverty remains as high as when the war was declared. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have been shorter and less expensive in dollars.”
Grover Norquist was featured in a video montage featuring nonprofit groups from both sides of the aisle on Time.com entitled “What Lobbyists Want From Obama’s State of the Union?”