Posts Tagged ‘budget’

Advice from Rand Paul

April 18, 2013

Rand Paul has written a column for rare.us which I think is full of good advice for the Republicans, that is if they would like to start winning elections again.

 Many are saying that the Republican Party must change if we want to remain a viable national party. The advice from some is to become less conservative. These critics believe that the GOP will somehow do better if we become more like the Democratic Party. But why would anyone vote for a lesser version of the Democrats when you can vote for the real thing? It doesn’t make sense and defeats the entire purpose of having two parties.

It is true that Republicans will continue to lose if changes are not made. But some of those changes will require us to become more conservative, especially when it comes to economics. Other changes might not neatly fit into what we currently think of as left or right.

The Republicans will never be able to outspend or outpander the Democrats and they shouldn’t even try. One party, at least, ought to stand for fiscal sanity and keeping the country together instead of trying to divide Americans along racial and class lines.

The GOP is supposed to be the party of limited government but it has not done a very good job of proving it. If Republicans can become the party of balanced budgets and fiscal responsibility, we can appeal to millions from all walks of life who genuinely fear for the burden we’re placing on our children.

“Limited government” doesn’t mean no government. It means $2.6 trillion worth of government—the amount of revenue we currently bring in. Over the past number of years, Americans have had to learn to live within their means. Government must do the same and Republicans should be the party that shows how it can be done.

The Republicans have talked a lot about limited government and balanced budgets but have certainly not acted on these beliefs whenever they have had control of the government in recent years. I hope that with the rise of the Tea Party this will change.

We need a strong national defense, but perhaps this does not mean having an overly aggressive foreign policy that puts American troops all over the globe, all the time. After nearly a decade in Iraq and well over a decade in Afghanistan, no one wants to now see a misguided intervention in Syria or Iran, as some from both parties have suggested. A foreign policy that does not try to police the world, does not try to dole out welfare to the world through foreign aid, and that recognizes fiscal limits will be better for our military, our national security and the Republican Party.

The problem here is that somebody is going to have to act as the world’s policeman and like it or not, we are the only ones with the capacity to do so. Besides, would anyone prefer to live in a world dominated by China, or Russia, or the UN? Of course, we do not have to intervene everywhere there is a problem. We can and should pick our battles and there are some situations we should just stay out of. The civil war in Syria is a good example. We probably are going to have to intervene to keep Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. It would have been a whole lot easier, and cheaper to take determined (not necessarily military) action against the Iranians years ago, but our leaders have just kept putting the problem off until it has grown.

We need to recognize that the rising generation does not want people put in jail for unduly long sentences for non-violent offenses. No one supports the use of drugs or encourages that kind of behavior, but too many lives have been ruined due to our unfair and unjust mandatory minimum laws. It doesn’t make sense to put someone who has made one mistake in prison with rapists and murderers—sometimes for sentences longer than rapists and murderers. Under our current laws, both George W. Bush and Barack Obama could have been served jail time due to their youthful drug use, and once released from jail, these two men wouldn’t have been employable, much less capable of winning the presidency.

Mandatory minimum sentencing also disproportionately affects those lacking the means to fight back, particularly minorities. This needs to change and Republicans should lead the way.

I am not for legalizing drugs but I think it is obvious to everyone that the War on Drugs has not been very effective. There is a real opportunity for the Republicans to develop effective and just policies here. I should add that many of the more egregious government violations of civil rights have been done in the name of the war on drugs and perhaps we need to seek a better balance between minimizing drug use and respecting civil liberties.

The GOP needs to be the party that embraces immigration while also demanding strong border security. Nobody wants a party that is perceived as wanting to round-up people. We can move the ball forward by offering an immigration policy that humanely deals with the 12 million undocumented immigrants already in the country, but puts the proper security measures in place so that we don’t have to keep revisiting this issue every few decades.

The problem I have with illegal immigrants is that they are here illegally. I do not like the idea of rewarding people who break the law with citizenship. A lot of the discussion on this issue seems to be fairly muddled on that one point. You may call these people “undocumented” but the simple fact of the matter is that they are in violation of the law. If immigration laws are too harsh or if they are unjust, than the laws should be changed, by an act of Congress. As long as the present laws are in place they should be enforced, and the Executive does not, or ought not, have the options of simply deciding not to enforce laws it finds inconvenient.

Fiscal conservatism, a more prudent foreign policy, ending mandatory minimums and immigration reform coupled with border security are but a few issues Republicans can lead on if we want to build the necessary coalitions that will allow us to remain a governing national party.

If we’re going to start winning on the West Coast and in New England, and if we’re going to attract the young, we must change. If we don’t evolve and adapt, the Republican Party will die.

The GOP of old, stale and moss-covered, is largely responsible for our party’s current quandary. Only a new breed of Republican—bold, innovative and dedicated to liberty—can get us out of it.

I hope the Republicans will listen to what Senator Paul has to say. Being the stupid party, they likely will not.

Sarah Palin is Not an Idiot

March 3, 2013

 

The conventional wisdom about Sarah Palin is that she is an ignorant snowbilly, too stupid to be trusted with any responsible position. John McCain’s choice of her as his running mate was such an obvious blunder that it cost him the election.

English: Sarah Palin speaking at a rally in El...

Well, if Sarah Palin is really so stupid, how is it that she understands the necessity of the federal government putting its fiscal house in order better than anyone who is actually in Washington D.C. ?

          D.C.: Cut the Drama. Do Your Job.Americans are sick and tired of yet another ginned-up crisis. D.C. needs to grow up, get to work, and live within its means. The real economic Armageddon looming before us is our runaway debt, not the sequester, which the President advocated for and signed into law and is now running around denouncing because he never had any genuine intention of reining in his reckless spending.

Remember that this sequestration deal came about because of the long debt ceiling standoff in the summer of 2011. It wasn’t the ideal outcome for anyone, but it did at least include real deficit reduction of about $110 billion per year for 10 years, which is still nowhere near enough to close our massive deficit. Keep in mind that since the sequester passed, the President has already hit American families and small business owners with his tax increases, or “more revenue” as he likes to call it. The American public doesn’t want tax increases; we want government to rein in its overspending.

If we can’t stomach modest cuts that would lower federal spending by a mere 0.3% per year out of a current federal budget of $3.6 trillion, then we might as well signal to the whole world that we have no serious intention of dealing with our debt problem.

If we are going to wet our proverbial pants over 0.3% in annual spending cuts when we’re running up trillion dollar annual deficits, then we’re done. Put a fork in us. We’re finished. We’re going to default eventually and that’s why the feds are stockpiling bullets in case of civil unrest.

If we ARE serious about putting our fiscal house in order, then let’s stop the hysterics, tighten our belts, and take our medicine.

– Sarah Palin

I have to make one small correction here. The 0.3% spending cuts are not cuts at all, at least not in the way that normal people would understand cuts, they are simply cuts in rate of growth.

 

I guess that Sarah Palin lacks the superior intelligence and budgetary management skills of Joe Biden.

 

 

 

 

Thanks to Samizdata for posting Sarah Palin’s comments first.

 

 

ThereThey Go Again

February 27, 2013

Obama and the Democrats continue to use demagoguery and fear mongering over the upcoming budget cuts, which are not really cuts at all but minute cuts in the rate of increase. Here are the latest emails they have sent me.

David —

If Republicans in Congress don’t act by Friday to stop the so-called sequester, there will be far-reaching consequences on our economy.

These disastrous consequences are completely avoidable, and the President has a balanced plan to stop the sequester.

Share the graphic below to make sure your friends know we need to stop the sequester — the more people who spread this information, the better chance we have of convincing Republicans in Congress to avoid these harmful spending cuts:

Here is the graphic.

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20130226-seq-share-2

20130226-seq-share-3

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First point; as I have explained before, it does not matter in the slightest how many people support what plan. Just because 70% or 19% or 99% support a stupid plan, it does not change the fact that the plan is stupid. Also, it is all too easy for pollsters to get the desired results by manipulating the wording of the questions asked. Second point: President Obama has never shown the slightest interest in cutting spending in any department. He has increased spending more than any other president and seems determined to raise taxes on the undeserving rich, no matter what the consequences to the faltering economy. Third point: Head Start has been shown to be ineffective over and over. If we cannot cut Head Start,or PBS, or cowboy poetry festivals, what can we cut? Fourth point; what can we cut, if according to the president the slightest cut in the rate of spending will have devestating results. At some point we are going to have to cut spending somewhere. Where?

Actually, if we just rolled spending back to 2005 we wouldn’t balance the budget, but at least the problem would be more managable. I do not think that the need for government programs has increased all that much in the last eight years, despite the continuing recessionary economy, and a decrease in the yearly deficit might serve to restore confidence in the economy and spur more investment.

We could also repeal Obamacare and reform entitlements such as Social Security before we are overwhelmed by an aging population. We could encourage the production of oil and natural gas on public lands and have the government benefit through taxes from the US becoming a net exporter of energy. All of this would require leadership and hard work. It is much easier just to frighten people.

David —

Prepare yourself for job layoffs, reduced access to early education, slower emergency response, slashed health care, and more people living on the street.

This Friday is the final deadline for congressional Republicans to stop disastrous automatic spending cuts (known as the “sequester”) that will hurt everyday Americans — including you.

These budget cuts will take a sledgehammer to the budget, and indiscriminately cut critical programs vital to economic growth and middle class families.

If Congress fails to act, we’d see budget cuts pretty much across the board to critical services that teachers, first responders, seniors, children, and our men and women in uniform rely on every day.

It sounds bad because it is. And with all these cuts on the line, why are congressional Republicans refusing to budge?

Because to do so, they’d have to close tax loopholes for millionaires and billionaires, oil companies, vacation homes, and private jet owners. I’m not kidding.

It’s on each of us to speak up. Share what these budget cuts could mean to you — or someone you know — today. Congress needs to hear it.

President Obama has offered a balanced plan to reduce our deficit, asking the wealthy to pay their fair share so that we can protect programs that are incredibly important for working and middle-class Americans.

But congressional Republicans so far are refusing to compromise.

Here are some of the consequences if Congress fails to act by Friday:

— 10,000 teachers would be laid off, $400 million would be cut from Head Start, the program that makes sure at-risk preschoolers are ready for kindergarten, and 70,000 kids would be kicked out of the early-education program completely.

— The budget for firemen and other first responders to react when natural disasters strike would be cut by $35 million.

— Nutrition programs that help make sure seniors don’t go hungry would be cut by $43 million.

— A program that helps provide housing for the formerly homeless, including many veterans, would be shuttered, putting them at risk of going back on the street.

— A number of programs that help the most vulnerable families and children would be slashed — including the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children dropping 600,000 women alone.

Right now, each of us has a responsibility to step up and make sure Congress hears our voices.

Whether you’d be directly affected by these sequester cuts, or whether they’d affect a senior, veteran, or teacher you know, please share what they mean to you:

Again, all of these thing are going to have to be cut anyway. We cannot keep spending a trillion dollars more

English: This is just like File:US Federal Out...

This can’t continue forever.      (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

than we have every single year. It is simply not sustainable. We can either begin the process of cutting

spending responsibly, or we can go right off the cliff. What is going to happen to all of those people who rely on the federal government when the money is simply no longer there and no one is willing or able to lend it to us? Does the person who wrote this email really believe that even if we closed every single loophole that it would even begin to offset the increased spending of the Obama administration? Well, there is no sign that

anyone in the White House knows or cares about the budget.

Meat Cleaver

February 25, 2013

According to the Democrats, the round of mandatory spending cuts required by the sequester are like a meat cleaver slashing away at needed programs.

David —

If you didn’t do your job, you’d be fired.

But when Eric Cantor and John Boehner don’t do their jobs, two million Americans get handed pink slips.

Right now, House Republicans are refusing to even vote on the sequester. If they do nothing, a meat-cleaver will chop away, almost indiscriminately, at essential domestic programs and make life even harder for millions of Americans.

We can’t let that happen.

If we go over the sequester cliff on March 1st, two million jobs could be lost — including law enforcement, first responders and teachers. Essential programs for pregnant women, children and domestic abuse victims could shut their doors. And the economy could be thrown back into a recession.

President Obama made it clear: “This is not an abstraction — people will lose their jobs.”

Join the DCCC, Democratic Governors, and proud Democrats all across the country calling out Boehner and Cantor before the sequester deadline:

http://dccc.org/Stop-The-Sequester

Thanks,

Brandon

Brandon English
DCCC Digital Director

I only wish they were using a meat cleaver to cut the budget. We badly need to take a cleaver to cut spending. As it happens, the deep sequester cuts are really only cuts in the rate of spending, not actual cuts in spending. Even so, the cuts are hardly deep at all, as Veronique de Rugy explains.

Changes in spending from sequestration result in new budget projections below the CBO’s baseline projection of spending based on current law. The federal government would spend $3.62 trillion in the first year with sequestration versus the $3.69 trillion projected by CBO. By 2021, the government would spend $5.26 trillion versus the $5.41 trillion projected. Overall, without a sequester, federal spending would increase $1.7 trillion (blue line). With a sequester, federal spending would increase by $1.6 trillion (red line).

A further breakdown of the percentage of budget programs reveals that sequestration provides relatively small reductions in spending rates across the board. With sequestration, defense increases 18% (vs. 20%); nondefense discretionary increases 12% (vs. 14%); Medicare roughly increases at the same rate; and net interest increases 136% (vs. 152%).

While the sequester projections are nominal spending increases, most budget plans count them as cuts. Referring to decreases in the rate of growth of spending as “cuts” influences public perceptions about the budget. When the public hears “cut,” it thinks that spending has been significantly reduced below current levels, not that spending has increased. Thus, calling a reduced growth rate of projected spending a “cut” leads to confusion, a growing deficit, and an ever-larger burden for future generations.

Here is the graph that went with that article.

verochart500px

The so-called deep cuts that will endanger the country and put millions out of work are hardly more than a statistical error. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that Obama and the Democrats are simply lying when they describe the spending cuts as indiscriminate. If anything they are not nearly deep enough. There seems to be a certain unreality in both parties of our political class. The Republicans know there is a problem and that we cannot continue to run up astronomical deficits every single year. They are so afraid of being cast as the villains who want to cut the budget to hurt the poor and provide their rich friends with tax cuts that they are afraid to make anything more than symbolic cuts in the rate of increase of spending. They are right to be wary since that is precisely what the Democrats, with their allies in the media will do, regardless of the Republican position. The Democrats, for their part, refuse to admit that there is any problem with spending that raising taxes on the 1% won’t solve. President Obama is not in the least interested in cutting spending. He seems to be more interested in redistributing the wealth of the country in ways that he considers fair than in maximizing revenue. In fact, it may not be too cynical to imagine that Obama has been deliberately increasing the deficit in order to justify the higher, fairer taxes he craves.

Since no one in Washington cares to do their job, managing the resources of the government in a responsible fashion, then I think the best bet is simply to let the sequestration cuts go ahead. There may well be people hurt by the “cuts” but we have to start cutting the budget sometime. There will be a lot more people hurt if the federal government has to start defaulting on its debts or the dollar loses its value. As far as I am concerned the blame for anyone being hurt by spending cuts lies on the people who encouraged dependency with no regard for how unsustainable this sort of spending would be in the long, or even medium term.

 

The Grownup

August 14, 2012

 

Here is a clip of that dangerous Tea Party extremist Paul Ryan explaining to Barack Obama that given the fact that we can’t afford our current entitlements, adding a huge new entitlement program like Obamacare might not be a good idea.

 

Obama clearly doesn’t like what he is hearing. It is a strange world we live in if asserting that 2 plus 2 does always equal 4 gets you labeled as an extremist.

On that note, the latest edition of the Truth Team deals with the lies that Paul Ryan has been saying.

#1 Ending Medicare as we know it
Romney and Ryan are committed to a plan that would end Medicare as we know it. They would create a voucher system that would increase seniors’ health costs. Ryan even proposed a plan, which Romney endorsed, that would increase costs for seniors by $6,350 a year. To cover for their own plan, they have been distorting the President’s record. They have labeled the $700 billion that Obamacare saved from trimming excessive payments to corporate insurance companies as “Medicare cuts.” That’s false, as Paul Ryan should know — he includes these savings in his own budget. Check out this video of Florida voters responding to the Romney-Ryan plan to end Medicare as we know it to pay for a tax break for millionaires and billionaires, and share it with others:

Medicare is going to have to be ended as we know it or it won’t be there at all. Right now the program is unsustainable in the long term and even in the medium term. If action is not taken soon the money to fund it just won’t be there. The Chinese have problems of their own and won’t be willing or able to lend us money we can’t pay back forever. If the Democrats don’t like Paul Ryan’s plan, then where is their plan? At least he has a plan. The Democrat controlled Senate hasn’t even passed a budget in three years. There are few Republicans willing to face the fact that we are headed toward the abyss. So far, I haven’t seen any Democrats at all who are willing to acknowledge the problem and act like adults to solve it. Instead, they just make commercials showing Paul Ryan throwing an old woman off a cliff.

It would be nice to have two parties trying to solve our problems.

 

Our Leader Speaks

July 22, 2011

USA Today ran a piece by President Obama today titled “Go ‘big’ on debt deal”, in which he discusses our fiscal situation. I just want to say that I am beginning to fear for his mental health. I honestly think he has lost touch with reality.

He begins well enough,

For years now, America has been spending more money than we take in. The result is that we have too much debt on our nation’s credit card — debt that will ultimately weaken our economy, lead to higher interest rates for all Americans, and leave us unable to invest in things like education, or protect vital programs like Medicare.

Neither party is blameless for the decisions that led to this debt, but both parties have a responsibility to come together and solve the problem. That’s what the American people expect of us. Every day, families are figuring out how to stretch their paychecks a little further, sacrifice what they can’t afford, and budget only for what’s truly important. It’s time for Washington to do the same.

Both parties are, of course, to blame. Both Democrats and Republicans have been spending our money like so many drunken sailors. But I really wish that Mr. Obama would take the blame for the unprecedented amount of “stimulus spending” that his administration has been responsible for these last two years

But over the last few months, I’ve also said that I’m willing to cut historic amounts of spending in order to reduce our long-term deficits. I’m willing to cut spending on domestic programs to the lowest level in half a century. I’m willing to cut defense spending by hundreds of billions of dollars. I’m willing to take on the rising costs of health care programs like Medicare and Medicaid, so we can meet our obligations to an aging population.

Some of these cuts would eliminate wasteful spending, weapons we don’t need, or fraud and abuse in our health care system. Still, some of the cuts would target worthwhile programs that do a lot of good for our country. They’re cuts that some people in my own party aren’t too happy about, and frankly, I wouldn’t make them if we didn’t have so much debt.

But the American people deserve the truth from their leaders. And the truth is, you can’t get rid of the deficit by simply eliminating waste and fraud, or getting rid of pet projects and foreign aid, like some have suggested. Those things represent only a tiny fraction of what we spend our money on.

But he doesn’t give any specifics on what he thinks we should cut. So far, I have not heard him even consider cutting spending on any of his pet projects like Obamacare, or all of that stimulus. But next he get what he’s really after.

At the same time, it’s also true that if we tackle our deficit with spending cuts alone, it will likely end up costing seniors and middle-class families a great deal. Retired Americans will have to pay a lot more for their health care. Students will have to pay a lot more for college. A worker who gets laid off might not have any temporary help or job training to fall back on. At a time of high gas prices, we’ll have to stop much of the clean energy research that will help free us from our dependence on oil.

That’s why people in both parties have suggested that the best way to take on our deficit is with a more balanced approach. Yes, we should make serious spending cuts. But we should also ask the wealthiest individuals and biggest corporations to pay their fair share through fundamental tax reform. Before we stop funding clean energy research, we should ask oil companies and corporate jet owners to give up the tax breaks that other companies don’t get. Before we ask college students to pay more, we should ask hedge fund managers to stop paying taxes at a lower rate than their secretaries. Before we ask seniors to pay more for Medicare, we should ask people like me to give up tax breaks they don’t need and never asked for.

The middle class hasn’t just borne the brunt of this recession; they’ve been dealing with higher costs and stagnant wages for more than a decade now. It’s just not right to ask them to pay the whole tab — especially when they’re not the ones who caused this mess in the first place.

That’s right. Raise the taxes on those evil rich who caused the mess we are in. He doesn’t want to cut any of his projects like “clean energy research” that is going nowhere. Of course he has to throw that bit in about corporate jets. That facts of the matter are that eliminating tax breaks for oil companies and corporate jets wouldn’t even begin to pay for the increased spending that has occurred on his watch. Confiscating the wealth of every millionaire wouldn’t make a dent on our national debt. Our problems come not because the government is not getting enough revenue but because our leaders can’t stop spending, even if their lives depended on it. Either Obama knows this and is the biggest liar we have ever had in the White House, or he believes what he is saying and has lost it.

Indiana Has One of the Largest State Budget Surpluses

July 20, 2011
The Great Seal of the State of Indiana

Image via Wikipedia

Yay Indiana!!. The story is here at the Washington Times.

As Washington stares at rising national debt and projected deficits for years to come, many states are faced with the opposite problem: whether to spend their budget surpluses and, if so, on what.

At least a dozen states ended fiscal 2011 with surpluses. Indiana reported one of the largest, with an extra $1.2 billion in its accounts. Gov. Mitch Daniels, a Republican, on Friday authorized bonus payments of up to $1,000 for state employees. An employee who “meets expectations” will get $500, those who “exceed expectations” will receive $750 and “outstanding workers” will see an extra $1,000 in their August paychecks.

“No state anywhere comes close to Indiana’s record of spending tax dollars carefully, with total savings over the last six years in the billions. Your spending efficiency has enabled us to stay in the black even as revenues plummeted,” said Mr. Daniels, who recently flirted with a run for the White House but ultimately stayed out of the race.

While Indiana decided to reward its employees, other states are redirecting surplus funds into cash-strapped areas such as education. Idaho ended the year with an $85 million surplus, the majority of which will be funneled to public schools and colleges, Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter, a Republican, said in a statement last week.

I thought I read somewhere that we actually had largest surplus but I can’t find that anywhere. I must say though, that I do not really approve of Governor Daniel’s decision to give out bonuses to state workers. I would rather the money be put away somewhere for a rainy day, like when the federal government goes bankrupt and can’t give out money to the states anymore.


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