Biden Sends $540 Million Worth of U.S. Oil Overseas as Prices Exceed $5 Per Gallon
July 25, 2022
As drivers all over the country continue to pay around $5 per gallon for gasoline, President Joe Biden sent Europe and Asia more than 5 million barrels of oil in June.
At $108 per barrel, the 5 million barrels represent $540 million worth of oil.
The fuel was part of a reserves release sent overseas even as U.S. gasoline and diesel prices hit record highs, Reuters reported. The surprising move came as Biden has taken steps to lower record pump prices, including asking Congress to suspend the federal gas tax for three months, a request that’s unlikely to be answered.
As Reuters reported that the president sent oil overseas, Biden renewed a call for gasoline suppliers to cut their prices. The Energy Department’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve is releasing about 1 million barrels per day through October, draining the reserve, which last month fell to the lowest since 1986, Reuters reported.
While U.S. crude futures exceed $100 per barrel and gasoline prices are above $5 a gallon in 20 percent of the country, American officials say those prices could be higher if the reserve hadn’t been tapped. Now, China, India, Italy, France, and The Netherlands are getting American oil.
Fox News’ Tucker Carlson recently lambasted Biden for giving our oil to China, calling China “our main enemy in the middle of a gas shortage.”
“We’re giving it away to a government whose whole goal is to displace us on the global stage and crush us,” he said.
NYC’s Covid Policies Drove Wealthy Residents — And Their $21B — to Other States
July 26, 2022
In the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic, people hunkered down and waited for the virus to pass. Americans were told to stay home for a few weeks “to flatten the curve” of Covid cases. Some municipalities are just now lifting restrictions. One such place is New York City, where Mayor Eric Adams lifted the mask mandate for toddlers on June 13.
In addition to the Covid fears, restrictions, and mandates in 2020, the death of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer in Minneapolis set off riots and looting in cities all over the country, including New York City.
The Big Apple’s district attorneys dropped the charges against the violent people who created chaos amid so-called “looting dance parties.”
Police were outnumbered and some were attacked by rioters. The combination of riots and Covid restrictions led many New Yorkers to leave the city permanently.
The IRS reported last month that about 300,000 of the city’s wealthiest residents fled during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. Those residents collectively earned $21 billion in total income in 2019, the New York Post reported.
That’s $21 billion that went to other states — Florida, New Jersey, Connecticut, Hawaii, Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming. Many fled to these states with the hopes of more space, fewer restrictions, and less violent crime.
These wealthy New York City residents paid on average 6.5 percent of their earnings to New York State income tax and 4 percent to NYC payroll tax. At about 10.5 percent, the city and state lost out on potentially $2 billion in income tax revenue alone.
That figure that doesn’t account for the 8.875 percent sales tax split between NYC and the state, nor does it account for property tax paid to NYC.
Once again, we see how policies in some states during the pandemic have repercussions that will reverberate for years.
U.S. Study Spends Almost $295K to Stop Smokers in China, Vietnam
July 27, 2022
There are more than 480,000 smoking-related deaths in the United States annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
So it makes sense for the federal government to spend $282,863 on a study to stop people from smoking. Except that money was spent in China and Vietnam.
While almost half a million Americans die every year from cigarette use, the National Institutes of Health’s John E. Fogarty International Center awarded Georgia State University $282,863 last year for a multi-year study of smokers in China and Vietnam.
Both countries have disproportionate high tobacco users, the researchers state, so they aim to develop “evidence-based, culturally appropriate” mobile health technology for smoking cessation.
“Determining how to provide effective smoking cessation services to smokers in China and Vietnam represents one of the biggest challenges in global tobacco control efforts today,” the research abstract states.
“If scaled to population level, these interventions have the potential to help millions of smokers to quit smoking in China and Vietnam.”
Everyone can agree that smoking is unhealthy and people should stop. No new data is needed to show that it can lead to cancer and death.
The United States giving $282,863 to study the effectiveness of mobile health technology in China and Vietnam seems like a wasteful use of taxpayer money.
Throwback Thursday: In 1975, White House Goes on Spending Spree
July 28, 2022
In 1975, the White House was acting with such privilege in spending about $5,849,200 additional in taxpayer money — $31.8 million in 2022 dollars — that it earned a Golden Fleece Award from Sen. William Proxmire. Proxmire, a Democrat from Wisconsin, gave awards to wasteful and nonsensical spending, eventually handing out 168 Golden Fleece Awards between 1975 and 1988.
The White House had proposed or received funds for hiring more consultants from $250,000 in 1968 to $3.85 million in 1975, and had requested a 100 percent increase for the discretionary contingency fund called “unanticipated needs,” from $500,000 in 1975 to $1 million in 1976.
In 1975, the White House also increased its travel funds for staff from $40,000 to $100,000, a 150 percent increase.
The White House also in 1975 had 54 aides earning between $37,800 and $44,600 a year — between $205,367 and $242,312 in 2022 figures — and requested authority from Congress to hire an unlimited amount of these high-paid staff.
While Congress denied the request, it allowed a total of 95, an increase of 41 positions, a 76 percent increase. “While the White House may not add to the total number of employees, there is every reason to believe they will push 95 of their staff to fill fat supergrade salary status jobs as fast as they can,” Proxmire wrote in awarding the dishonor.
To make matters worse, the White House proposed a bill that travel funds, funds for official receptions, entertainment and more would be exempt from audit by the General Accounting Office.
It also insisted on amending the Hatch Act to exempt all office of White House personnel from the provision in the bill that prohibits government employees from engaging in political activity while on duty, in a government building or wearing a uniform.
“What we have here is a burgeoning proportion of the big shots at the Office of the White House, whose travel and entertainment is exempt from audit by the GAO, and for whom the White House is now seeking freedom to engage in unlimited political activity.”
$2M for Oregon Teachers to Reject the "Eurocentric Worldview" of Individualism
July 29, 2022
Oregon’s Department of Education is spending $2 million to train K-12 teachers from diverse backgrounds to reject the "eurocentric worldview" of "individualism," Fox News reported.
The funds will pay for a 23-month fellowship for 600 educators to learn how to create "racially affirming environments" in their classrooms so that the teachers' identities are "seen" and "honored" in classrooms, Oregon’s Department of Education told Fox News Digital.
The goal is to “decenter,” including pushing back against the "euro-centric worldview" on "individualism."
"We are more than our titles and more than the roles we’ve been assigned; this arc will create space for each fellow to identify and unpack their multiple identities of self," the funding summary stated.
Another focus will be on "unlearning" where fellows will learn to "practice understanding themselves as a grounded bridge between curriculum and their students."
The fellowship will "deepen educators' understanding… of the individual, the institutional and the systemic impacts of racism on schools and communities," the summary states. Fellows will create their own project "that disrupts a racist pattern/practice/policy, or works towards liberation/equity/decolonization."
This is as Oregon schools are facing a “historic staffing crisis,” according to a report put out by Oregon Education Association, the union that represents about 41,000 educators working in pre-kindergarten through grade 12 public schools and community colleges.
Schools throughout the state lack adequate staffing, forcing existing staff to function “through long working hours and sheer will … to stay open at all costs,” something that “is not sustainable” the report stated.
Based on teacher surveys, “Most educators say it is impossible to get their work done during the day no matter how hard they work, that they have more stress on the job than ever before and a significant number of educators say they are seriously considering leaving the profession altogether.”
Spending $2 million on removing the "eurocentric worldview" of "individualism" likely won't alleviate these stresses.
The #WasteOfTheDay is presented by the forensic auditors at OpenTheBooks.com.