Federal tax revenues continue to run at a record pace in fiscal 2014, as the federal government’s total receipts for the fiscal year closed April at $1,735,030,000,000, according to the Monthly Treasury Statement.
Despite this record revenue, the federal government still ran a deficit of $306.411 billion in the first seven months of the fiscal year, which began on Oct. 1, 2013 and will end on Sept. 30, 2014.
In the month of April itself, which usually sees the peak tax revenues for the year, the federal government ran a surplus of $106.853 billion. While taking in $414.237 billion in total receipts during the month, the government spent $307.383 billion.
In fiscal 2013, the federal government also ran a one-month surplus in April, taking in $406.723 billion during the month and spending $293.834 billion, leaving a surplus of $112.889 billion. Continue reading
On Feb. 17, 2009, President Obama promised the sun and the moon and the stars. That was the day, five years ago, when he signed the $800 billion “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.” President Modesty called it “the most sweeping economic recovery package in our history.” He promised “unprecedented transparency and accountability.” He claimed the spending would lift “two million Americans from poverty.” Ready for the reality smackdown?
The actual cost of the $800 billion pork-laden stimulus has ballooned to nearly $2 trillion. At the time of the law’s signing, the unemployment rate hovered near 8 percent. Obama’s egghead economists projected that the jobless rate would never rise above 8 percent and would plunge to 5 percent by December 2013. The actual jobless rate in January was 6.6 percent, with an abysmal labor force participation rate of 63 percent (a teeny uptick from December, but still at a four-decade low). Continue reading
The debt of the federal government, which is normally subject to a legal limit, jumped by $409 billion in the month of October, according to the U.S. Treasury.
That equals approximately $3,567 for each household in the United States, and is the second-largest one month jump in the debt in the history of the country.
In the continuing resolution deal sealed by President Barack Obama and the Republican congressional leadership last month, the legal limit on the federal debt was suspended until February 7 of next year. Continue reading
I have been broadcasting for 31 years and writing for longer than that. I do not recall ever saying on radio or in print that a president is doing lasting damage to our country. I did not like the presidencies of Jimmy Carter (the last Democrat I voted for) or Bill Clinton. Nor did I care for the “compassionate conservatism” of George W. Bush. In modern political parlance “compassionate” is a euphemism for ever-expanding government.
But I have never written or broadcast that our country was being seriously damaged by a president. So it is with great sadness that I write that President Barack Obama has done and continues to do major damage to America. The only question is whether this can ever be undone. Continue reading
The recent wrangling in Washington over the debt ceiling, with both sides promising to return to battle early next year, never got around to considering this proposition: Maybe debt ceilings are a bad idea, because they may lead to increased spending.
A debt ceiling may seem like a good way to constrain out-of-control government, by focusing attention on the federal deficit and the resulting debt increase. (For the record, the United States debt recently surpassed $17 trillion.) But that focus draws attention from the underlying problem: too much spending.
Debt ceilings also provide a false sense of security. Borrowing will never get too far out of hand, the thinking goes, because the ceiling will cap it. Yet the U.S. debt hits the debt ceiling time and again because the federal government runs chronic deficits. This addiction to overspending has forced Congress to raise the debt ceiling more than 90 times during the past 70 years, and 15 times since 1993 alone. Continue reading
During the shutdown, 85 percent of government stayed open despite the hoopla reported in the media. Government is now 100 percent open. Debt-ceiling deadlines have been averted, but the real problem remains: a $17 trillion debt and a president who continues to pile on new debt at a rate of $1 million a minute.
The government shutdown occurred because Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid allows the Senate to lurch from deadline to deadline without passing a single appropriations bill. Had he done his job and passed each of the 12 appropriations bills, the government could have stayed open.
Opening government has not resolved the big picture — a debt problem so large that it dwarfs all deadlines and threatens the very fabric of the nation. What remains is an unsustainable debt, precisely the problem that motivated me to run for office. Continue reading
It’s all-shutdown-all-the-time in Washington these days. But all that talk has obscured the far bigger challenge facing the nation next week, when the government runs out of room to borrow more money to cover its expenses as it hits the congressionally imposed “debt ceiling.” It would be a disaster for the global economy to see America default on its debts. While it is true America can continue to pay the obligations on its debt and most of its other outlays each month with the tax dollars that are collected, that is only a stop-gap solution. As a nation we must find a sustainable long-term solution to run away debt and eventual insolvency.
Therefore, it is incumbent on all parties to work to work to find a practical and workable long-term solution. Thankfully, we have a recent precedent from the last debt ceiling debate. The result was sequestration. It worked in curbing spending growth, but was a blunt tool, applied across the board. The current shutdown gives us much better information about where the next sequestration should be targeted. Continue reading
For furloughed workers, the federal government shutdown has clearly had an impact. But for most citizens, the shutdown has been notable for largely going unnoticed. That’s not because federal officials aren’t doing their best to make it appear otherwise. In fact, federal officials often seem to be working harder to inconvenience Americans during the shutdown than they worked to serve Americans when the government was in full operation.
For months now, the GOP has been held hostage by a faction of its party that deluded itself into believing President Obama might be rolled on his signature health-care law. Witness now an equally grand delusion on the Democratic side, one that President Obama nurtures at his peril.
According to Democrats, their steadfast refusal to negotiate on the government shutdown or the debt ceiling is rooted in a belief that now is the moment to “break” the GOP “fever.” Democrats are furious that Republicans today use every Washington deadline to extract a spending concession—and insist they must be broken of that habit. Continue reading
One remarkable aspect of the shutdown/debt limit battle is the irresponsibility (on the part of the Obama administration) and incompetence (on the part of the news media) concerning the claim that the federal government will default on its debt obligations if Congress fails to raise the debt limit. President Obama and his minions have clearly suggested that default is a real possibility:
“As reckless as a government shutdown is … an economic shutdown that results from default would be dramatically worse,” Obama said on Thursday. Clearly targeting Republicans, he said a default would be “the height of irresponsibility.”
Then, on the same day, Obama’s Treasury Department released a brutal statement that said a default would prove catastrophic, causing credit markets to freeze and leading to “a financial crisis and recession that could echo the events of 2008 or worse.” Continue reading
Since getting the boot from the United States Senate, Bob Bennett has been writing a weekly column in the Deseret News, one of Utah’s two daily newspapers (and the only one that doesn’t periodically chastise its readers for being too stupid to understand its editorial positions). Occasionally ex-Senator Bennett reminds us that he is a very smart man with many good ideas. Occasionally he reminds us why the voters got rid of him. He does so in his op-ed of Monday, 7 October.
In his short essay, which you can read yourself here, Bennett tells us why it is important not to default on commitments made to those who have lent the U.S. money, and indeed it is. He neglects to mention the spending that made this borrowing necessary – spending to which he was a major contributor. When Bennett took office, the national debt stood at about $6 trillion. By the time he left it had grown to about $14 trillion. During his 18 years in the Senate, Bob Bennett voted for 132 out of 133 appropriations bills on final passage in the Senate. Appropriations bills are the bills that actually spend the money. The size of this debt and its growth trend is what should concern us far more than today’s fight. The Congressional Budget Office projects that by 2038, public debt will reach 100% of GDP. Continue reading
Chalk that up to still-fresh outrage over revelations of the Obama administration’s monitoring of Americans’ phone records, Internet accounts and credit card transactions, and still-simmering concerns about Internal Revenue Service abuses and Justice Department abrogation of press freedom.
Dr. Thomas Sowell, the Stanford University based economist, wrote this week that when he was teaching he would ask his students to consider this: “Imagine a government agency with only two tasks: (1) building statues of Benedict Arnold and (2) providing life-saving medications to children. If this agency’s budget were cut, what would it do?” Sowell posits that the agency would naturally cut back on medications for children. He explains that is the only result that would lead to getting the budget cuts restored. And he pointedly explains why the government wouldn’t cut back on the silly statues: “If they cut back on building statues of Benedict Arnold, people might ask why they were building statues of Benedict Arnold in the first place.”
Dr. Sowell is absolutely correct! Years ago, when I served on a local school board I witnessed this almost reflexive response every year the budget was tight. The most absurd things were never offered for cuts. They always threatened to cut the things that would most outrage the public. They talked about cutting bus routes for kids that lived far away from schools. They talked about crowded classrooms. Continue reading
Playing the crisis card won’t work forever for President Barack Obama. At some point, the people will expect their leader to lead.
And the president hasn’t yet demonstrated the will to do so. Instead, he answers monumental moments such as the upcoming sequestration deadline with brinksmanship and blame-gaming.
For now, the approach is working. A Pew/USA Today poll last week found decisively more voters blame Continue reading
Even during this desultory economic recovery, one industry thrives — the manufacture of synthetic hysteria. It is, however, inaccurate to accuse the Hysteric in Chief of crying “Wolf!” about spending cuts under the sequester. He is actually crying “Hamster!”
As in: Batten down the hatches — the sequester will cut $85 billion from this year’s $3.6 trillion budget! Or: Head for the storm cellar — spending will be cut 2.3 percent! Or: Washington chain-saw massacre — we must scrape by on 97.7 percent of current spending! Or: Chaos is coming because the sequester will cut a sum $25 billion larger than was just shoveled out the door (supposedly, but not actually) for victims of Hurricane Sandy! Or: Heaven forfend, the sequester will cut 47 percent as much as was spent on the AIG bailout! Or: Famine, pestilence and locusts will come when the sequester causes federal spending over 10 years to plummet from $46 trillion all the way down to $44.8 trillion! Or: Grass will grow in the streets of America’s cities if the domestic agencies whose budgets have increased 17 percent under President Obama must endure a 5 percent cut! Continue reading