Category Archives: Debt – Deficit

Budget Implications to Meals on Wheels

Updated below.

In short – virtually none.

The budget proposal Trump delivered did call for a reduction in the money that eventually makes its way to Meals on Wheels.

Here is the impact in Wake County:

A spokesperson for the administration said federal dollars only account for about 3 percent of funding for Meals on Wheels.

“For every dollar in public funding that we get from the federal, state and county government, we do raise about $2,” said Alan Winstead with Wake Meals on Wheels.

I get the idea that a ‘compassionate society’ doesn’t neglect the most at risk and vulnerable.  And I agree that a society Ought care for its own.   However, the nobility earned by such a sentiment is lost when such care is obtained by force.

Much better this:

Winstead said even though the official impact of the budget cuts on Meals on Wheels is unclear, they are using the time to advocate and raise money for the program.

UPDATE:

All of this doesn’t even mention the staggering fact that an organization can’t increase efficiency by 3%.

The Impact Of The Tea Party

Tea Party Spending

The debate is raging in Washington.  Can the government spending excess be reigned in.  On the one had we have an Obama administration that wants to spend and spend and spend.  There can be no doubt as to their desired policy – more government spending is better government spending.

And then you have the Tea Party.  Facing opposition not only from the democrats but also from the republican establishment.

And what have they accomplished in their short existence?  Look at the graph above.

They stopped the spending in its tracks.

Rage on little T, rage on!

Obama’s Press Conference

Barack Obama

I only caught a few minutes of the President’s press conference this afternoon but one thing I did hear that I found interesting is this:

Now, the good news is, over the past 3 1/2 years, our businesses have created 7 1/2 million new jobs. Our housing market is healing; we’ve cut the deficit in half. Since I took office, the deficit is coming down faster than any time in the last 50 years.

The irony is thick.  The whole reason the deficit is coming down so fast is due to House Republicans forcing the administration to accept cuts.

Obama is taking credit for republicans doing exactly what they’re doing now.

Boehner vs. Reid – II

Nickgb commented that Boehner backed off of his claim that he would forgo the Hastert Rule and allow a straight vote on raising the debt ceiling.

I called Reid out for being he more political partisan on issues like this.  Well, it turns out that Boehner has backed away from his claim and will no longer the straight up and down vote:

(Reuters) – U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner said on Sunday that there is “no way” Republican lawmakers will agree to a measure to raise the nation’s debt ceiling unless it includes conditions to rein in deficit spending.

I think that the government is too big.  And I think that our debt is a problem.  However, I agree that we cannot do normal business by threat of or actually shutting down the government.

The budget fight is one thing.  I think that a strong case can be  made that the budget comes before the individual programs that are in place.  If the budget isn’t big enough to contain those programs, then revenue needs to increase or expenditures need to decrease.

But the debt ceiling?  For some reason that seems different.

If I Were A Democrat….

Donkey

I know why the democrats haven’t submitted a budget in 4 years:

Its Democratic counterpart, from Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (Wash.), raises nearly $1 trillion in new taxes, adds new stimulus spending and does not project any date at which balance will be reached.

Murray, who released details but not a full document, also axed nine years of the sequester, meaning her budget would actually not cut spending compared to the Congressional Budget Office baseline.

 

What Does Compromise Look Like In The Budget Debate

Compromise

The headlines this week are going to focus on “compromise”.  What each party thinks that means, for themselves and for the other guys, is going to be interesting.  And will be at the heart of the conflict.

In the over-arching context, compromise refers to the effort to reduce the deficit so that we can begin to work on reducing the debt.  And the whole concept of compromise is the smaller individual effort to accomplish this goal by either increasing revenue or reducing spending.  Or, a third method, which is that the whole framing of the “problem” isn’t correct.  That is, while we do have a debt and a deficit, any conversation should be couched in our ability to carry, or repay, each.  However, I would suggest that such a take on the subject is awfully “inside baseball” and is even further removed from common understanding than such basic concepts as debt, deficit, baseline budgeting and “cuts”.

With the failure of Washington to stop the Sequestration, the conversation switches to:

  1. What can we do to prevent further cuts?
  2. How are we going to deal with the expiration of the continuing resolution on March 27?

And right now, the conflict between the democrats and the republicans is the whole idea of compromise.  One one side you will hear that any spending decrease will have to be matched by a conversation that discusses an increase of revenues through the tax code.  And on the other?  You’re gonna hear that revenues have already been addressed during the legislation that handled the expiration of the Bush Tax Cuts.

So, if I was the President of the United States or, if I was just a manager tasked with handling this budgetary effort, how would I guide the parties forward?

First, I would establish that for this effort, I was the President of the United States, not the President of the Democrat Party.  In other words, Obama has got to stop the party politics and blaming of the republicans.

I acknowledge that this is near impossible and why I would suck at politics.  Obama was elected because he is a democrat and he continues to receive the support he has because he’s expected to be a democrat president helping those same democrats take the House in 2014.  Which, by the way, puts him in a position that is firmly in his wheelhouse:  Campaigning.

I would approach the republicans and work on an idea that took two forms:

  1. We will reduce spending across the board; including and specifically the “entitlement” programs.
  2. We will increase revenues through tax reform – including a mix of ideas contained within Romney’s plan AND by ending tax subsidies to energy firms.

After speaking with the republicans I would approach the democrats and work on that same idea giving them:

  1. Tax benefits to oil and gas companies.
  2. Smart reforms to entitlements that ensure they continue to remain strong and viable.

In order to accomplish this plan, the main components of my plan would include:

  1. Let both sides claim victory.  Only in Washington can you INCREASE spending on programs and claim to cut them at the same time.  In other words, allow the entitlement programs to grow, but grow more slowly.
  2. Acknowledge that ALL forms of government must subscribe to the cuts, including defense and border protection.
  3. Remove “loopholes” for energy companies; oil, gas and coal BUT include alternative “green energy” firms in the legislation.  Again, this should be a win for both sides.
  4. Reduce the corporate tax in exchange for the removal of the energy legislation.
  5. Increase tax revenues by limiting deductions in exchange for a reduction in tax rates.

Items 1-4 above should be straight forward and relatively easy; the 5th is a tougher sell.   The republicans are against any revenue increase and the democrats can’t let go of the class warfare and are intransigent on the issue of tax rates; specifically on the wealthy.

 

 

Blantant Scaremongering

I’m not sure if she simply made a mistake, is truly that ignorant or is guilty of flat out scaring the living soul out of people:

An Impact Of Sequestration

Budget Cut

I’m more than a little annoyed that the whole sequestration process is refereed to as a cut in funding.  Washington is referring to the budget action in this manner and worse, the media is reporting as a cut in funding as well.  The truth is that spending will not be cut but will. in fact, increase.  The difference is that the level of increase is less than it might otherwise have been.

Only slightly less annoying than this detail is the rhetoric coming out of the White House regarding the impacts of these cuts.  Everything from having to mothball an aircraft carrier to the FBI losing agents to DHS releasing illegal immigrants to teachers and first responders getting fired.  Heck, even traveling is going to get harder with TSA agents facing shortages.

I suspect precious little of this will actually occur.  Take for example, teachers:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjS0Qp5JiNI

The good part is at 1:30.

The sequestration is SO bad that teachers are already receiving pink slips; they are already being fired.

But, is it true:

Near the very end, the Secretary gets into a little detail.  The teachers in jeopardy of losing their jobs are Title I teachers; folks who are funded through the federal government. But right after that, at about 1:50, he also mentions a teeny tiny piece of information:

The cuts may not be related to sequestration.

Further information:

When he was pressed in a White House briefing Wednesday to come up with an example, Duncan named a single county in West Virginia and acknowledged, “whether it’s all sequester-related, I don’t know.”

And, as it turns out, it isn’t.

Officials in Kanawha County, West Virginia say that the “transfer notices” sent to at least 104 educators had more to do with a separate matter that involves a change in the way West Virginia allocates federal dollars designated for poor children.

The transfer notices are required by state law and give teachers a warning that they may be moved to a different position next school year. They don’t necessarily mean a teacher has been laid off, said Pam Padon, director of federal programs and Title 1 for the Kanawha County public schools. “It’s not like we’re cutting people’s jobs at this point.”

She said those 104 notices will ultimately result in the elimination of about five to six teaching jobs, which were likely to be cut regardless of the sequester.

“The major impact is not so much sequestration,” she said. “Those five or six jobs would already be gone regardless of sequestration.”

So we have increases in spending referred to as cuts in spending.  Then you have cuts in services turning out not to be true.  I’m beginning to believe the reports that more frightening to the democrats than the actual sequestration is that the impact won’t even be noticed.  America is going to wake up on Friday and realize that we can cut $85 billion and not even know we did it.

 

Rand Paul: Values

Rand Paul

Look, you might like more government rather than less.  Perhaps you like more guns than less.  Taxes on the rich?  More money on the less fortunate?

Let’s debate that.  Earnestly and honestly.

But honestly.

And when you are living the line and walking the walk, walk it like this:

(CNN) – Sen. Rand Paul cut another six-figure check to the United States Treasury Wednesday, taking the money he said he didn’t need from his office’s budget to make a tiny dent in the nation’s massive federal debt.

“We watch every purchase,” Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, said at an event next to an oversized check for $600,000. “We watch what computers we buy, what paper we buy, the ink cartridges. We treat the money like it’s our money, or your money, and we look at every expenditure.”

The $600,000 reflects more than 20% of Paul’s annual office budget, according to a press release.

Last year Paul returned $500,000 to the Treasury, and said he hoped other members of Congress would follow his cost-cutting lead. In total, Paul’s office says they’ve returned $1.1 million that was unspent from his office’s operating budget.

Rand.  Ayn Rand.  A little weird, sure.  But the dude’s living the lesson.

Spending Cuts

Before the compromise that pushed the sequestration out 3 months, I was in favor of allowing the cuts to take place.  I know that the result would have been recession but it would have been short and only technically accurate.  In reality the cuts would strengthen the economy and we would find ourselves better off.

However, the compromise isn’t such a bad thing.  On the one hand it forces the senate to actually take up a budget AND we still can let the cuts take place.

But are we serious?

“I think the sequester is going to happen,” Representative Paul Ryan, chairman of the House budget panel and the party’s 2012 vice presidential nominee, told the NBC program “Meet The Press.”

House Republicans, most of whom had strongly opposed any tax rate increases in the “fiscal cliff” debate, have now started to shift their focus away the issue of tax increases and toward the spending cuts.

“We think these sequesters will happen because the Democrats have opposed our efforts to replace those cuts with others and they’ve offered no alternative,” Ryan said.

I hope that this means the republicans are serious.  It’s very clear that, whether Obama really has capital or not, he THINKS he does, and isn’t going to negotiate.

Fine.

Time to take our medicine.