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Tag Archives: Deficit


Debt v. Spending

tax reform government spending moneyby Gordon S. Jones

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


Cash the biggest crop in this farm bill

Farm Bill Corn MoneyWe find remarkable that the Senate approved Monday a so-called “farm bill” that calls for nearly $1 trillion in questionable spending and hardly a discouraging word has been heard on Capitol Hill.

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.

Anyway, the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs of Act of 2013 cleared the Senate floor by a comfortable 66-27 vote. The spending bill will cost the taxpayers $955 billion. That’s 60 percent more than the previous farm bill, in 2008. Continue reading

“Pay-up, or you’ll regret it!”

by George LandrithObama Mob

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


The buck still stops with the president

by Nolan Finley  The Buck Stops with Bush, Not Obama

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


The manufactured crisis of sequester

by George F. Willobama sequester

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


When Big Deficits Became Good

“The problem now is that there are not enough millionaires and billionaires to make up for the shortfall. And if interest rates rise just a bit, the debt will bury us all — fat cats and thin cats alike.”

Deficitby Victor Davis Hanson

As a senator and presidential candidate, Barack Obama said that he detested budget deficits. In 2006, when the aggregate national debt was almost $8 trillion less than it is today, he blasted George W. Bush’s chronic borrowing and refused to vote for upping the debt ceiling: “Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that ‘the buck stops here.’” Continue reading


Norquist: Fight Against President Obama’s Overspending Is Winnable

“There is great anger that Obama could force higher tax rates on small businesses simply by saying no.”

by Grover Norquist

The 2001 and 2003 “Bush tax cuts” were enacted with an expiration date because 60 votes are required in the Senate to make a tax cut permanent. Other tax cuts such as the “patch” limiting the Alternative Minimum Tax and the Research and Development Tax Credit would lapse every two years giving politicians an opportunity to “sell the same horse” again and again to voters and campaign contributors. Continue reading


Stossel: It’s the Spending, Stupid!

“Given our growing debt, can’t they even slow the growth of government to the rate of inflation? Or inflation plus 1 percent? . . . That might balance the budget within a decade. But the spenders won’t even give me that. They want more. Always more.”

by John Stossel

Spending cap

Listening to progressive media pundits, I’d think the most evil man in the universe is Grover Norquist, head of Americans for Tax Reform. His crime? He heads a movement that asks political candidates to pledge not to raise taxes.I think Grover accomplished a lot. But I wish he’d convinced politicians to pledge not to increase spending.

President Obama says raising taxes to cut the deficit is a “balanced” approach.

Balanced …

But what’s “balanced” about raising taxes after vast increases in spending? Trillions for war, Medicare, “stimulus” and solar panels. Tax receipts rose — after tax-rate cuts — from $1.9 billion in 2003 to $2.3 billion in 2008, the year the recession started. That increase couldn’t keep up with the spending. The deficit doubled — actually, more than doubled — as politicians increased spending to nearly $4 trillion! Our debt, at more than $16 trillion, now exceeds our gross domestic product. Continue reading


Federal Spending Up 78% After Inflation Since 1998

“If we had kept government spending down to just increases for inflation and population growth, we wouldn’t be in the trouble we’re in now.”

by David Hogberg

Spending chartPresident Obama says he wants a “balanced” approach to the fiscal cliff. But critics argue the real problem is spending, which has far outstripped rising tax revenue as well as economic growth.

Federal government revenue rose from $1.7 trillion to $2.4 trillion from fiscal 1998 to 2012, slightly exceeding inflation. Revenue growth averaged 2.9% annually, despite two recessions, bear markets — and tax cuts.

But federal spending rose nearly twice as fast — 5.7% per year — surging from $1.6 trillion to $3.5 trillion over that same span.

The spending spike also exceeds growth in the population. Continue reading


White House Data Debunk Myth Bush Cuts Built Deficit

“After President Bush in late May 2003 signed the largest tax cut since President Reagan . . . government receipts from individual income taxes rose from $793.7 billion to a peak of $1.16 trillion in 2007, when the mortgage crisis began, a 47% jump.”

by Paul Sperry

While President Obama insists the Bush tax cuts caused the recession and record deficits, his own economists say otherwise.

He might want to consult their data for the truth.

Kicking off fiscal cliff negotiations last month, Obama said: “What I’m not going to do is extend Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% that we can’t afford and, according to economists, will have the least positive impact on our economy.”

During the White House press conference, he added, “If we’re going to be serious about deficit reduction, we’ve got to do it in a balanced way.” Obama argued voters made it clear in the election that they don’t want to go back to Republican policies that “cost” the Treasury revenues and “blew up the deficit,” as he told them repeatedly during the campaign.

The Washington media by and large share these assumptions. And they’re driving the debate over what to do about the federal budget crisis before Jan. 1, when the tax cuts and spending programs are set to expire. Continue reading


Federal Spending is the Problem: Defense is Not!

defense spendingby George Landrith

With a long history of federal overspending and the recent explosion of more federal debt, it is obvious that the federal budget must be cut back to a reasonable size. We need an intervention. But the Budget Control Act — which would force an “automatic sequester” of $500 billion in across-the-board defense spending cuts over the next decade, in addition to the $487 billion in defense cuts already scheduled — is not a good solution to our spending crisis.  Continue reading


The Real Fiscal Cliff

“After the phony cliff, we face the terrifying one.”

by Conrad Black

Last week, Fareed Zakaria and Charles Krauthammer appeared in Toronto (where I live much of the time), and while I did not go to their main debate, I went to a tasting of it at a luncheon. There was, I regret to write, as a longstanding friend of both of them, a surreal aspect to the exchange. After the usual compliments one exchanges (as I know from my time on that circuit), they embarked on a dialogue of the deaf, and a mutual flight, joined at the wingtip like Jurassic pterodactyls, soaring above the mighty chasm of American fiscal problems below. The otherworldly discussion of whether the Republican leaders in Congress will reach an agreement with the president about the automatic expiration of the Bush tax cuts of a decade ago vastly overshadowed the issue of reinserting spontaneous growth into the U.S. economy and grappling with the deficit at last. Continue reading


Clinton Era Taxes and Clinton Era Spending

by George Landrith

With the budget and fiscal crisis facing the United States and difficult economic times surely ahead for the foreseeable future, President Barack Obama has vociferously argued that Republicans must agree to tax increases. He argues for what he terms are modest tax increases on the wealthiest Americans that are equal to the tax rates during President Bill Clinton’s time in office. Why is Obama only interested in Clinton era tax rates, but not Clinton era federal spending rates? Continue reading


Fiscal Crisis: Failing the Details, Math and Leadership Tests

fiscal cliffby George Landrith

President Barack Obama repeatedly chided Mitt Romney’s budget plan during the presidential campaign on at least two grounds: (1) it lacked detail, and (2) the math didn’t add up. Perhaps, we should use these two standards to see how Barack Obama’s plan stacks up. There is more than a little irony in Barack Obama criticizing others for not providing details or for their math not adding up. Obama has always been short on details and his math has almost never passed even the straight face test, much less actually adding up.

Nonetheless, let’s apply these two standards — (1) are there sufficient details? and (2) does the math add up? — to evaluate Barack Obama’s proposals for solving the so-called fiscal cliff. Continue reading


Ronald Reagan on Tax Cutting Legislation (The “whole controversy”)

“This whole controversy: Are you entitled to the fruits of your own labor or does government have some presumptive right to spend and spend and spend?” 

by Scott L. Vanatter

Ronald Reagan is well known for his multi-decade devotion America’s purpose and promise. By returning to these lofty ideas America would fulfill its destiny.

His July 27, 1981 speech was President Reagan’s main public effort to educate the nation on the benefits of a bipartisan bill to cut taxes and spending. He taught America, once again, how and why cutting taxes and spending (cutting the rate of growth of government spending) would make for a stronger economy — and help restore America’s latent greatness.

It was Reagan’s habit to speak on large themes. In this particular case he used a two-letter word to illustrate one of the largest of political themes. He stated that the people in electing him wanted to make a change from ‘by’ to ‘of.’ Succinctly put, “It doesn’t sound like much, but it sure can make a difference changing by government,’ ‘control by government’ to ‘control of government.’” Continue reading


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