The government spent lavishly in fiscal 2011, especially on federal welfare programs, doling out more than $1 trillion on 83 means-tested programs — the year’s largest expenditure and a startling 32-percent increase since President Obama entered the White House. According to new data released by the Senate Budget Committee, compiled based on a new Congressional Research Service (CRS) study, the combination of state and federal welfare spending is more than the government spends on Medicare, Social Security, or non-war defense.
Through a series of training and awareness programs, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is embarking on a $1.2-million expedition to offer “asthma-friendly homes” training and outreach programs to curb exposure to indoor contaminants. Focusing primarily on homes and schools, the EPA announced earlier this year 32 assistant agreements to state and local governments and non-profit groups for the air pollution-abatement project.
A recent report charged federal agencies under the Obama administration for spending $1.1 million on souvenirs and promotional items.
The expanding use of ethanol in U.S. oil production, prompted by government mandates that require the use of biofuel in gasoline, is escalating the price of corn while plaguing poor countries with rising food prices. Critics worldwide are now questioning the federal government’s ethanol mandates, as the use of American-produced corn for biofuel has added more than $6.5 billion to the food import bills of developing countries, particularly in North Africa and Central America.
A financially strapped Massachusetts-based firm that manufactures batteries for electric cars, which reaped some $240 million in federal stimulus money, is being rescued by a Chinese manufacturing behemoth, owned by renowned Chinese billionaire Lu Guanqiu. A123 Systems, which was awarded a $241.1-million grant from the Obama administration and more than $125 million in state of Michigan tax credits, was once touted for its purported commitment to create thousands of jobs, while helping curb the use of conventional gas-powered vehicles and transitioning to a more “green” energy environment.
But according to a company press release, the lithium battery maker is handing its operational reins over to Wanxiang Group Corporation, China’s largest automotive components manufacturer and one of the country’s largest non-government-owned firms.
U.S. unemployment slid from 8.1 percent to 7.8 percent in September, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), giving the Obama campaign ammunition to tout job growth right before the November election. But as soon as the numbers were released, critics asserted a slew of criticisms over the BLS report, claiming the numbers were cooked to favor the president’s plot for reelection.
Branded as the “violence tax,” Cook County officials in Illinois are proposing a tax increase on guns and ammo, with the intent to curb violent crime and help close its expansive budget gap. Homicides in Chicago have boosted a staggering 25 percent this year, according to MyFoxChicago.com, and some officials are using the tragedy as a pretense to dilute the number of guns and ammunition in circulation.
A lengthy and rather damning new report released by the Washington Post has revealed that 73 members of Congress have in some capacity backed legislation that stands to benefit businesses or industries in which either they or their relatives are invested. The analysis stems from an investigation by the Post of financial disclosure and public records for all 535 members of both congressional chambers.
Gasoline prices in California have escalated to record highs, spiking 50 cents a gallon in a week and prompting Governor Jerry Brown to advocate laxer smog rules so oil refineries can boost supplies of less expensive fuel blends. Regular gasoline in the state has soared to an average of $4.67 a gallon, a staggering 22 percent higher than the national average, according to AAA’s nationwide fuel price survey.
According to a new GAO audit, 35 percent of federal contracting dollars have been awarded to businesses owned by minorities.