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OPINION

Not a Pretty Sight

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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In Oscar Wilde’s Portrait of Dorian Gray, the subject of that infamous painting sells his soul to pursue a libertine life. He can live forever in debauchery without aging, as only his portrait ages. It’s a story of arrogance and indifference. I wonder how many members of Congress have read the book.

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Friday saw Congress pass a pork-laden spending bill that would make Dorian Gray blush. Ironically, one of the only good parts of the spending bill halts the practice of government officials having their portraits painted on the taxpayer dime; remember Lisa Jackson, the former EPA Czar?

Her portrait cost taxpayers $40,000.

Don’t worry, their narcissistic arrogance lives on in many ways, including increasing the amount mega-donors can contribute- up to $776,000 a year.

Two-hundred-forty-two years ago this week, a political protest by the Sons of Liberty threw the chest of an entire shipment of tea sent from the East India Company into the Boston Harbor.

That act became known as the Boston Tea Party, representing the tyranny of government.

In 2009, the same type of tyranny sparked the creation of the modern day Tea Party as a movement that derided government spending and the dismantling of American foundations. Interlopers, including washed-up politicians looking for relevance and a free ride, usurped that movement to an extent; it’s back, if not in name, then certainly in spirit.

Now, it seems that all Americans are angry and disappointed with government failures, but that hasn’t stopped both political parties from raiding the coffers, leaving future generations in debt and IOUs, they can never payback.

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On Friday, a spending bill will pass that will include tax breaks for the following:

  • Film industry
  • Racehorse owners
  • Unions
  • Solar industry

The bill makes permanent emergency measures from the stimulus bill, including:

  • Child tax credit $1,000
  • Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
  • American Opportunity Tax for College

Wall Street will roll back certain provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act, which is like changing tires while a car is in motion, from old to new and old again. In a nutshell, this spending bill ignores the pleas of the American people. It’s a disgrace if this bill is passed without any major changes.

There’s a loophole that I hope will be closed that would quadruple the number of low-skilled workers allowed into the country to 264,000. This, in addition to the continued funding of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and sanctuary cities or adjustments on programs for refugees’ means that this is a huge mess that demands more of the same. (Even Democratic members of the Congressional Black Caucus are upset about flooding the nation with so many workers willing to work for nothing-I am not sure they’ll vote in the best interest of constituents).

Thanks, Speaker Ryan.

There is good stuff such as lifting the 40-year-old ban on exporting crude oil; however, the bill is largely about bringing home the bacon. The military gets a measly 1% pay raise, and $300 million to cover shortfalls in housing allowances.

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First responders to the 9-11 terror attacks will be compensated through 2090, with a fund of $3.5 billion. In addition, there’s a $4.5 billion victims’ compensation fund set up as well.

At the beginning of the week, the spending bill was 1,600 pages by Wednesday; it is 2,200 now…I bet it will become over 3,000 pages when all the looting is said and done.

The bottom line is that profligate spending will never stop without a revolutionary movement in the United States that goes beyond folks on grass with signs.

The Republicans got the tax portion of the overall budget package by the Democrats by a 318-109 vote. Now, the House votes on the $1.14 trillion spending measure, to fund every Cabinet agency's operation. The House and Senate are hurrying to get the enormous budget package to fund the government through the end of September 2016 to President Obama's desk for signature. We will have more details on this later.

The Market

It was an ugly session. Stocks and gold were down, and commodities crushed. In fact, commodities probably got the ball rolling. Global deflation covers the planet in a dark cloud that threatens to swallow prosperity as it becomes denser and formidable.

Bond yields dropped; once again, it is proven to be a lone safe haven despite arguably being the biggest of the few actual bubbles out there.

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The Boston Tea party was just the beginning and it evolved into the birth of a nation. This is as close as the nation has been since then, to wanting a similar albeit bloodless coup against government tyranny. However, will all those goodies placate the angry masses?

All that Glitters

Gold was supposed to go to $2,600 an ounce as governments around the world printed money, but the more governments printed, the weaker the price of gold became. Despite China hoarding tons of gold, it has tumbled almost in a straight line. There is no technical reason for gold to hold now, but $1,000 is a big psychological support point.

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