A newsletter covering budget reform and the latest news and views on the federal budget, published by The National Center for Public Policy Research, 501 Capitol Court, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20002 (202) 543-4110, Fax (202) 543-5975, and the Small Business Survival Foundation, 1320 18th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20036 (202) 785-0238, Fax (202) 822-8118.
Issue # 14 - October 13, 1995 * David A. Ridenour and Karen Kerrigan, Editors
Are You a Spendaholic? Nine Questions for Members to Ponder During Budget Reconciliation
Are you a "spendaholic?" The National Center for Public Policy Research has devised a survey so that Members of Congress can determine whether or not they are "spendaholics" -- people with an uncontrollable urge to spend the money of others. The questions are identical to those used by groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous in determining alcoholism risk except the words "drink" and "drinking" have been replaced with "spend" and "spending." Respondents may be a "spendaholic" if they answer "yes" to any one of the following questions; are likely to be a "spendaholic" if they answer "yes" to any two questions; and are definitely a "spendaholic" if they answer "yes" to any three or more questions. 1.) Have you gotten into financial difficulties because of your spending? 2.) Do you associate with disreputable people (like lobbyists) and turn to an inferior environment when you spend? 3.) Is spending affecting your reputation? 4.) Do you spend to build your self-confidence? 5.) Has your spending caused trouble at home (in your district)? 6.) Do you envy people who can spend without getting into trouble? 7.) Do you tell yourself you can stop spending any time you want to, even though you spend when you don't mean to? 8.) Have you ever had a complete loss of memory after spending? 9.) Do you crave spending at a definite time daily? Contact The National Center for Public Policy Research at (202) 543-4110.
House Double Standard Cuts Against Conservatives
Conservative freshman Representative Mark Neumann (R-WI) was recently ousted from the House Appropriations Committee's National Security Subcommittee in retribution for his vote last month against the $243 billion Pentagon bill. Neumann voted against the measure because it would not place sufficient restrictions on future deployments of U.S. troops in Bosnia and because it would not provide sufficient protection to the unborn at U.S. military medical facilities. But it seems the House leadership has a double standard. Liberal Representative Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) who bucked the House leadership by leading the fight against the Clean Water Act Amendments and the EPA riders has retained his chairmanship of the House Transportation and Infrastructure's Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee.
Budget Reconciliation Summary Released
The House Budget Committee has released a 16-page summary of the budget reconciliation that will be brought to the House floor the week of October 23. Among the highlights: The Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, the U.S. Information Agency and the Agency for International Development would be abolished and their functions transferred to a reorganized State Department; deductions would be established to permit Medical Savings Accounts; and a Taxpayer Bill of Rights would be established to protect citizens against IRS abuses. Contact the Budget Committee at (202)226-7270.
Archer Daniels Midland: Super Welfare Recipient of the World
The Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) Corporation -- which boasts that it is the "supermarket to the world" -- is also one of the biggest corporate welfare recipients in the world.
According to a recent study by the CATO Institute, 43% of ADM's annual profits -- or $320 million last year -- are derived from markets that are propped up by government subsidies. The CATO study, authored by James Bovard, estimates that taxpayers are bilked $30 for every $1 in profits that ADM makes off the ethanol program -- a wasteful program House Speaker Newt Gingrich recently endorsed. Adopted ostensibly to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil and to promote a cleaner environment, the ethanol program does neither. According to the Department of Energy, it takes 85,000-91,000 British Thermal Units (BTUs) of energy to produce one gallon of ethanol. But ethanol has an energy content of only 76,000 BTUs -- a net loss of 9,000-15,000 BTUs. There is also increasing evidence that ethanol hurts rather than helps the environment. Gasoline blends using ethanol (such as Gasohol) produce greater evaporative emissions than standard gasoline while increasing hydrocarbon emissions by as much as 50% and nitrogen oxide emissions by 15%. The National Academy of Sciences has concluded, "...ethanol as a blending agent in gasoline... would not achieve significant air-quality benefits and, in fact, would likely be detrimental." What the ethanol program does produce is higher consumer prices for corn -- the primary ingredient in ethanol. Since the program was approved in 1978, corn subsidies have risen dramatically (see chart). Contact the Cato Institute at (202)789-5293.
Small Business Survival Foundation
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The National Center for Public Policy Research
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Nothing written here should be construed as an attempt to help or hinder legislation before the U.S. Congress.
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