Tag Archives: government spending

Mnuchin urges Congress to raise debt limit

Source: The Hill

"Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is urging Congress to increase the debt ceiling 'at the first opportunity,' in light of the fact that the U.S. will hit the limit next week. … Congress passed legislation in 2015 to suspend the limit through March 15 of this year, so it will be reinstated on March 16." (03/10/17)


The first step toward fiscal discipline: Cut up the credit card

Source: Garrison Center
by Thomas L. Knapp

"In 2015, Congress temporarily did away with the US government's fictional 'debt limit.' I call that limit fictional because it's not really a limit. Every time the government gets close to it, Congress raises it. It's as if signs on the highway changed to display a number five miles higher every time you got within a mile of the existing 'speed limit.' So anyway, Congress decided to stop pretending the limit actually exists, through March 15 of this year. After that? The Congressional Budget Office forecasts that the government can continue to operate until this fall without busting the new debt limit, but US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is already asking Congress to raise it ASAP. I've got a better idea: This time, Congress should refuse to increase the debt limit, and in fact should provide for that limit to automatically decrease as the existing debt (now closing in on $20 trillion) is paid down." (03/10/17)


Trump plan "pays for" immigration police state boost with cuts to Coast Guard, TSA

Source: Politico

"The Trump administration wants to gut the Coast Guard and make deep cuts in airport and rail security to help pay for its crackdown on illegal immigration [sic], according to internal budget documents reviewed by POLITICO — a move that lawmakers and security experts say defies logic if the White House is serious about defending against terrorism and keeping out undocumented foreigners. The Office of Management and Budget is seeking a 14 percent cut to the Coast Guard's $9.1 billion budget, the draft documents show, even as it proposes major increases to other Department of Homeland Security agencies to hire more border agents and immigration officers and construct a physical barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border. … the administration would slice the budget of the Coast Guard and cut 11 percent in spending from the TSA — reductions that critics say would weaken safeguards against threats arriving by sea or air." [editor's note: Very wise cuts on their own; too bad he wants to use them to "pay for" other stuff that's at least as evil – TLK] (03/07/17)


Budgest, taxes, deficits and debt: Or, Mulvaney versus the math

Source: Garrison Center
by Thomas L Knapp

"On one hand, in addition to the increased defense spending, Trump wants a $1 trillion infrastructure program and he's pledged not to touch Social Security or Medicare spending. On the other hand, he's promised to cut taxes. Even if his hands weren't so famously small, they'd have trouble holding on to both sets of promises while juggling two more in the air: He's promised to reduce the federal government's annual spending deficit and pay down its gigantic debt." (03/03/17)


Trump's proposed budget would throw $54 billion extra down the "defense" corporate welfare rathole

Source: CNBC

"President Donald Trump's first budget will call for a $54 billion increase to defense [sic] spending and an equal cut in what his administration deems lower priority programs, White House budget officials told reporters Monday. The defense buildup that Trump repeatedly promised on the campaign trail would mark about a 10 percent spending boost. Under Trump's proposal, most federal agencies would face budget reductions, an Office of Management and Budget official said. Foreign aid spending would also drop. … Trump will give more details on his budget priorities in an address to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday night." (02/27/17)


The Congressional Budget Office can't count

Source: Foundation for Economic Education
by Antony Davies & James R Harrigan

"The Congressional Budget Office just released their national debt prediction for the upcoming decade, and it's not good. Assuming the government does not add any new costs, the CBO is expecting another $10 trillion to be added to the current debt, raising the total to $30 trillion. But as bad as that is, the reality will likely be even worse. The CBO has historically underestimated future debt by a huge margin. Judging by their past optimistic errors, the real debt in 2027 will likely not be $30 trillion, but $75 trillion." (02/22/17)


Reagan redux? The federal budget battle shapes up

Source: Garrison Center
by Thomas L Knapp

"The developing Trump plan is the usual tinkering around the edges, searching for 'waste, fraud and abuse' in 'discretionary spending.' Baby steps like that will never bring the budget into balance, but they're still too much for Congress. 'Discretionary spending' is politicianese for 'spending Congress uses to buy votes back home.' … Some Republicans point out that a balanced budget is impossible without reforming 'non-discretionary' spending — Social Security, Medicare and so forth. They're right. But they're also making excuses: They won't cut the spending that it's easy to cut unless they can also cut the spending that it's hard to cut, and come hell or high water they’ll find a way to lose the latter fight. We've been here before." (01/23/17)


Are "deficit hawks" prepared for Trump's proposed spending cuts?

Source: National Center for Policy Analysis
by Pam Villareal

"[T]o his credit, Trump is taking a proactive approach and proposing spending cuts of about $10.5 trillion over 10 years. While newly-evolved deficit hawks are clutching their pearls over his wish list of cuts such as eliminating the National Endowment for the Arts and privatizing the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, these ideas are nothing new. Many a taxpayer has questioned the need for government to subsidize art and educational programming. Also on the list are reductions in some duplicative programs from the State Department, the Department of Justice and the Department of Transportation. These are actual recommendations from the Government Accountability Office'’s 2016 Annual Report, which was produced under the Obama administration. It will be a tough road to pass any spending reductions in Congress, but it is worth a try." [editor's note: As Villareal notes, Trump's plan would balloon deficits, and therefore debt. Any "cuts" would be more than offset by spending increases – TLK] (01/19/17)


National debt is our biggest security threat

Source: Independent Institute
by Ivan Eland

"President-elect Donald Trump’s recent public rebuff on social media of his own party’s secretive actions to gut the Congressional ethics board was a breath of fresh air. But that is not the only issue he should push back on with Congressional Republicans. Under a Republican budget resolution, the national debt will explode by a third from an already staggering $19 billion to $29 trillion over the next ten years. Although counterintuitive, Democratic presidents, at least those after World War II, have reduced deficits as a portion of the value of the national economy (GDP) while Republican presidents have increased them—thus accumulating less public debt as a percentage of GDP. Yet neither political party has paid enough attention to this burgeoning national security problem." (01/16/17)


Runaway deficits forever

Source: Reason
by Steve Chapman

"Upon becoming House speaker in 1995, Newt Gingrich decided it was crucial to adopt a plan to eliminate the federal deficit. In a meeting of House Republicans, Budget Committee Chairman John Kasich balked: 'Where is it in stone that we have to balance the budget in seven years?' Gingrich had a quick answer: 'Let's put it to a vote. Who wants to put it in stone?' Everyone but Kasich voted yes. The Republicans had made a commitment they would have to keep. Contrast that show of determination with the vote last week by Senate Republicans for a budget resolution that projects an increase in the public debt of $9 trillion over the next decade." (01/12/17)