Have nothing to do with the [evil] things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light... [For] when all things are brought out into the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed...

-Ephesians 5:11-13

Tag Archives: Balanced Budget

Trump’s Budget a Mixture of Hope, Optimistic Assumptions, and Statistics

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, February 14, 2018: 

Mark Twain attributed his quote about statistics to British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli: “Figures often beguile me, particularly when I have the [freedom] of arranging them myself … there are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”

Mark Mulvaney, Trump’s OMB director, must feel the same way. There’s enough statistical smoke and mirrors in the president’s “An American Budget” to, in the words of Tevye [the dairyman in Fiddler on the Roof] “cross a Rabbi’s eyes.”

First, Mulvaney admits that this MAGA budget won’t balance, ever. The government is too big and growing too fast for the economy that funds it ever to catch up. So he and the president decided to ignore a balanced budget and go for the next best thing: show the economy growing faster than the government is growing and someday, eventually, the deficits will start to shrink when compared to the economy itself.

The numbers “prove” the conclusion: for fiscal year 2018 (which ends this coming September 30), government revenues of $3.3 trillion compared to government spending of $4.2 trillion will leave a gap – a deficit – of $873 billion, equivalent to 4.4 percent of the country’s gross domestic product. In the following years that annual deficit is projected to grow to $987 trillion in 2020, equivalent to 4.5 percent of the country’s GDP. Only by 2022 does that percentage begin to decline based on the assumption that government spending is only $4.9 trillion while tax receipts would hopefully be $4.1 trillion.

That is the crux of the new math in Trump’s budget:

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Sen. Hatch’s Retirement Paves Way for Romney: One RINO Replacing Another

, member of the United States Senate.

Utah RINO Orrin Hatch

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, January 3, 2018:

If Mitt Romney ends up in Orrin Hatch’s Senate seat, that would mean one RINO (Republican In Name Only) replacing another.

A boxer in his youth, Republican Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah announced on Tuesday that he was hanging up his gloves for good. After 40 years in the Senate, he said that he had been fighting the good fight but that it was time for him to make his exit:

When the president visited Utah last month, he said I was a fighter. I’ve always been a fighter. I was an amateur boxer in my youth, and I brought that fighting spirit with me to Washington.

But every good fighter knows when to hang up the gloves.

He said he will leave the Senate when his current term ends at the end of this year.

It was unclear exactly what “fight” the 83-year-old senator was referring to.

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LOL Illinois: Corporate Group Works to Keep State From Becoming a Laughingstock

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, December 28, 2016:  

English: 1987 Illinois license plate

The name of the group LOL Illinois can taken two ways: Land of Lincoln, or Laughing Out Loud. As Scott Santi, chairman of Illinois Tool Works, which employs 48,000 workers around the world, noted:

There’s a crisis of confidence in terms of a plan to address some pretty significant structural problems in the state. It’s challenging for Illinois to be competitive given the uncertainty around the fiscal crisis.

“Crisis of confidence”? “Challenging”? “Uncertainty”? Illinois was headed into oblivion until Bruce Rauner, the first Republican governor in 12 years, faced reality.

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U.S. Financial Outlook has “Worsened Dramatically”

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, June 17, 2015: 

English:

This graph is outdated but revealing

 

In its just-released report “The 2015 Long-Term Budget Outlook,” the Congressional Budget Office stated bluntly:

The long-term outlook for the federal budget has worsened dramatically over the past several years, in the wake of the 2007-2009 recession and slow recovery…. If current law remained generally unchanged in the future … growing budget deficits … would push [the national] debt above its current high level.

It’s all about government spending that’s baked into the cake:

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Wisconsin Governor Walker to Substantially Reduce University Spending

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, February 4, 2015: 

On Tuesday, as part of his continuing quest to bring Wisconsin’s government spending under control, Governor Scott Walker announced a 13-percent cut to the University of Wisconsin’s $2.3 billion annual budget. In addition, his plan includes a two-year tuition freeze and the severance of state control over the university, passing it over to an autonomous authority. It also includes drug testing for people applying for public assistance, the merging of several state agencies, and the elimination of 400 state jobs. Walker explained: “Our plan will use common-sense reforms to create a government that is limited in scope and ultimately more effective, more efficient and more accountable.”

He also made clear in a radio interview that professors are going to have to ante up as well: 

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Birch Society smeared for opposing the Article V convention push

Joe Wolverton is one of the leading lights among the gifted writers and investigative journalists regularly having his articles appear in The New American magazine and its companion website, TheNewAmerican.com.

A constitutionalist attorney who not only writes but speaks around the country for the John Birch Society (the publisher of The New American), Wolverton saw the dangers inherent in efforts by Mark Levin to promote a constitutional convention – a “con-con” – in order to rein in out-of-control government spending. Levin’s book, The Liberty Amendments: Restoring the American Republic, has formed the basis for a movement to call a convention of the states that would be limited in scope to addressing just the issue of spending.

Wolverton disagreed and

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Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn Releases His Annual “Wastebook”

This article was first published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, December 20th, 2013:

In his press release announcing the publication of his annual “Wastebook” summarizing 100 examples of egregious, wasteful, and outrageous government spending, Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn tried to make himself appear “holier than thou” by

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Senator Tom Coburn’s “Holier-than-Thou” release of his 2013 “Wastebook”

In Tuesday’s press release Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) announced the publication of his annual “Wastebook” which highlights Congress’ “most egregious spending” while at the same time distancing himself from the big spenders and earmarkers in Congress who provided fodder for his book:

While politicians in Washington spent much of 2013 complaining about sequestration’s impact on domestic programs and our national defense, we still managed to provide benefits to the Fort Hood shooter, study romance novels, help the State Department buy Facebook fans and even help NASA study Congress…

What’s lacking is the common sense and courage in Washington to make those choices – and passage of fiscally-responsible bills – possible.

Coburn then provided some teasers out of the 100 examples in his Wastebook:

The Popular Romance Project has received nearly $1 million from the National Endowment of the Humanities (NEH) since 2010 to “explore the fascinating, often contradictory origins and influences of popular romance as told in novels, films, comics, advice books, songs and internet fan fiction…

The military has destroyed more than 170 million pounds worth of useable vehicles and other military equipment [in Afghanistan] … rather than sell it or ship it back home…

In January, 2013, Congress passed a bill to provide $60.4 billion for [victims of] Hurricane Sandy. However, instead of rushing aid to the people who need it most, state-level officials … spent [$65 million of it] on tourism-related TV ads…

Since NASA is no longer conducting space flights, they have plenty of time and money to fund … the “Green Ninja” in which a man dressed in a Green Ninja costume teaches children about global warming.

While promoting his book recently on CBS News, Coburn tried to distance himself from any responsibility for such “egregious spending” by asking rhetorically: “Where was the adult in the room when this was going on?” Interviewer Nancy Cordes then asked if any of his previous editions of Wastebook had made any impact or had reduced or eliminated any of the more outrageous examples of waste:

Cordes: Have you ever gotten any traction in Congress, where members say “We’re actually going to get rid of this?”

Coburn: No. They don’t pay attention to it. It’s hard work to get rid of junk, it’s hard work to do oversight, it’s hard word to hold agencies accountable. And so what they would rather do is look good at home, get re-elected, and continue to spend money, and that’s Republican and Democrat alike.

What Cordes failed to ask at that moment would have been the perfect follow-on question:

How does your effort, then, and your voting record, separate you from them? Doesn’t this Wastebook of yours cost a lot of taxpayer money? Isn’t this part of your attempt to look good at home while providing cover for your own votes for some of these projects? Isn’t this part of your attempt to continue to get reelected?

Unfortunately there is no record of Cordes asking, or of Coburn’s response. But in July 2007 when Coburn criticized pork-barrel spending by Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson that would benefit Nelson’s son’s employer with millions of dollars of taxpayer money, newspapers in both Nebraska and Oklahoma noted that Coburn himself failed to criticize similar earmarks that he voted for that benefited his own state of Oklahoma.

In May, 2012 Coburn voted for H.R. 2072, to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank with increased lending limits backed by taxpayer monies from $100 billion to $140 billion. According to analysts assessing his vote, the federal government has no constitutional authority to risk taxpayers’ money “to provide loans the private sector considers too risky to provide.” Those analysts added:

Indeed, U.S. government-backed export financing is a form of corporate welfare, and if the Ex-Im Bank goes bust (as happened to Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae), the taxpayers will get stuck holding the bag.

Perhaps Coburn can be forgiven for not knowing that such wasteful spending is part of a plan to reduce America’s influence in the world, first clearly laid out when Coburn was just 10 years old, in 1958 in Indianapolis, Indiana. At a meeting in December, candy maker Robert Welch spoke for three days to some friends about the direction the country was headed, claiming it was part of a plan to “surrender American sovereignty, piece-by-piece and step-by-step, to various international organizations…”. Part one of that plan was:

Greatly expanded government spending for every conceivable means of getting rid of ever larger sums of American money as wastefully as possible.

Other parts included:

Higher and then much higher taxes…

An increasingly unbalanced budget despite the higher taxes…

Greatly increased socialistic controls over every operation of our economy and every activity of our daily lives. This is to be accompanied naturally and automatically by a correspondingly huge increase in the size of our bureaucracy and in both the cost and reach of our domestic government.

Coburn’s report illustrates the success of that plan to which he himself is contributing. The man has feet of clay. He not only is the author of Wastebook but a contributor to it as well.

 

 

 

 

 

Lessons from the Republican Loss

This article first appeared at the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, October 18th, 2013:

The liberal media could scarcely contain themselves over the Democrat win and Republican loss regarding the budget battle, the debt ceiling, Obamacare, and government spending. The capitulation by the establishment Republicans was stunning. As expected.

The vote to preserve the status quo in the Senate was bad enough (81-18) but the collapse in the House made the earth move:

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Mixed Reactions to New Law Reopening Government

Once the 11th-hour vote to avoid the potential default was passed by the Senate and the House and signed into law by President Obama, key players in the game of fiscal chicken just ended began issuing their justifications and frustrations. That game, variously called “political brinkmanship”, a “temporary fix”, “a temporary ceasefire” and “a political achievement for Obama”, does everything the president wanted while

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Deficit down, national debt up, more taxes needed say two “nonpartisan” groups

Two government reports issued in the last few days show that despite higher tax revenues, thanks to the tax increases signed into law by the president earlier this year, deficits are still sky-high and the national debt continues its inexorable climb into the stratosphere.

Although the deficit for the first eleven months of the 2013 fiscal year was down slightly compared to last year at this time, real progress towards a balanced budget remains elusive. Through August the federal government spent

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What about a “Balanced Budget Amendment” to rein in spending?

George Will is hard-pressed to make a cogent and persuasive argument in favor of a balanced budget amendment. Perhaps he had a deadline to meet and had to write something, even if it turned out incoherent. He starts off by

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More Dreams from Washington

It’s hard not to be cynical when something like this happens. The House just passed “The Require A Plan Act” – H.R.444 – which “compels” the president to

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Boehner Burns Down His Own House

Rep. John Boehner, Blocking Position

Rep. John Boehner, Blocking Position (Photo credit: DonkeyHotey)

This has received a lot of attention, and well it should: Speaker of the House John Boehner has fired some conservatives because they didn’t want to play ball – Republican ball, that is:

A GOP leadership aide told NBC News that the four members [who were fired from their positions] – Michigan‘s Justin Amash [Freedom Index 92], Tim Heulskamp of Kansas [FI 82], Walter Jones of North Carolina [FI 97] and Arizona’s David Schweikert [FI 85] – were “clearly not team players.”

Rep. Ron Paul [FI 100] couldn’t believe Boehner would do something so stupid:

They’re going to punish freshmen legislators? If you’re looking for dissension, then you’re going to get it. These congressmen will never cave. They’re going to get the support of the people … They will become heroes.

It will also serve to clear up any confusion about which side of the fence Boehner is on.

Mark Horne, the writer of the article at Last Resistance, doesn’t understand Boehner. He thinks

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Economics and the Elite

I carefully considered whether or not to disagree (publicly) with Dan Mitchell, who is nearly always correct on so many things. But here goes.

In his latest article at Townhall.com, Mitchell is trying to say that the Washington Post has finally admitted something they haven’t been willing, at least before the election anyway, to say: the economy stinks, and it’s Obama’s fault:

Well, now that the election is over, even the Washington Post is willing to admit that Obama’s economic performance is dismal. Here’s a remarkable chart showing that growth is far below the average.

Mitchell reiterates the obvious: the economy hasn’t recovered from the Great Recession, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to any time soon. In fact, he thinks the stinky economy is going to

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Romney Exposes Himself (Politically, That Is)

Romney Ryan Plan for Student Loans

Romney Ryan Plan (Photo credit: DonkeyHotey)

John Hawkins has, unintentionally I’m sure, done Romney skeptics like me a world of good. By taking snippets from the three “debates” of Romney’s comments, Hawkins has put to rest any idea that Romney is a conservative, or even coherent.

Try this one:

If I become president, I’ll get America working again. I will get us on track to a balanced budget. The president hasn’t. I will.

I’ll make sure we can reform Medicare and Social Security to preserve them for coming generations. The president said he would. He didn’t.

Clever wordplay. I don’t believe a word of it.

First, the balanced budget. Let’s see: the government is currently spending $3.7 trillion a year, and running deficits of $1 trillion. A balanced budget, to me at least, means Romney intends to

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Labor Unions Are Sinking Cities

Mish: Union Pay, Benefits Create Zombie Cities

Miami City Manager Johnny Martinez declared a state of financial urgency Friday for the fourth year in a row.

The move gives the city commission authority to restructure its existing contracts with police, general employee, and fire unions.

San Bernardino City Logo

San Bernardino City Logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mish looks at four cities that are failing, although he says there are hundreds that he could examine to prove his point: labor unions and thieves are sinking them.

The labor unions aren’t cooperating and so are increasingly being shown the exit door. This from Miami:

The unions are not cooperating with the process,” Mayor Tomas Regalado told the Miami Herald. “We need to have a balanced budget.”

[Miami City Manager Johnny] Martinez said in a statement that the city will be contacting union representatives to start up two weeks of negotiations.

The declaration of urgency has likely incensed police and fire officials; according to Reuters, the latter group argued before city officials Thursday night that their pay has been cut 35 percent in the last 3 years already.

Perhaps that’s because their pay and benefits were already 35 percent too high? Just asking.

Detroit is in such a sorry state that bodies of murdered victims are being dumped there, often for days before being discovered. Professor of urban planning at the University of Michigan says it’s happening because it’s allowed to happen:

There is no one to watch. There is no capacity to enforce laws about dumping. There is a perception you can dump and no one will report it.

And then there’s Stockton, California’s police chief who stayed just eight months and left with an annual pension of $204,000.

In San Bernardino the city council lowered the retirement age for public-safety workers to 50 from its already generous age 55, knowing full well that it would bankrupt the city. But expediency and stupidity ruled the day. This from one of those city council members:

“I knew it was going to be costly in the long run,” San Bernardino City Councilwoman Wendy McCammack said of the lower retirement age. “However, this city is one of the toughest to police. In order to attract and retain the kind of officers that it takes to police a city like this, that was a benefit that we had to negotiate.”

And so how’s that workin’ out for ya there, Wendy?

Finally, there’s Oakland (it’s interesting that of the four cities Mish selected, three are in California) which made pension promises in 1976 and failed to fund them and now has to borrow to pay for them. Says Mish: Oakland is headed for bankruptcy.

Cities cannot survive labor unions and corruption. Or is that a redundancy?

Recalcitrant Unions Force Cities to Suspend Labor Agreements

Seal of the City of North Las VegasLast Friday the City Council of North Las Vegas, Nevada’s fourth largest city just north and east of Las Vegas, voted unanimously to suspend part of its union agreement in order to balance its budget. With property tax and general tax revenues down by more than 30 percent in just the last three years, North Las Vegas was facing a shortfall of $30 million in its $500 million budget.

Under state law it must submit a balanced budget by June 1. Negotiations with three public employee unions, the North Las Vegas Police Officers Association (POA), the North Las Vegas Police Supervisors Association (PSA), and the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF), began in January but the unions refused to make the concessions necessary to keep the city solvent. So the council went ahead and suspended the terms of the agreement without the unions’ approvals. The vote by the council ended cost of

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Eurozone Teetering on the Edge of Recession

The economic growth of Portugal, Italy, Irelan...

With economists predicting the start of an official recession in Europe, the latest numbers from the European Union’s statistics agency, Eurostat, show that the recession hasn’t been confirmed, at least not yet.

Without Germany’s slightly better economic performance in the first quarter, however, the recession would be official. Two quarters of “negative growth”—or rather shrinkage—is the usual definition of a recession, and it appears that the official declaration will have to wait until July. Germany was expected to grow at a paltry annualized rate of 0.1%—barely perceptible—but instead grew by a modest 0.5% in the first quarter, which followed a 0.3% contraction in the last quarter of last year. Some economists had the audacity to call this a “strong economic performance” by Europe’s powerhouse, but a closer look at the real numbers reveals how close a call it was and that it’s just a matter of time before the economists finally recognize the reality that

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Is Ryan’s Budget Plan Headed in the Right Direction?

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 05:  U.S. Rep. Paul Rya...

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) announced on Tuesday the Republican budget plan to take into the election debate; it is in sharp contrast to the Obama administration’s budget announced last month. Two key differences stand out: reducing the number of income tax brackets from the current six to just two (10 percent and 25 percent), and cutting corporate income tax rates from 35 percent currently to 25 percent. The Obama administration wants to raise taxes instead.

There were other features to Ryan’s proposal, of course: vouchers for Medicare recipients, and spending cuts to balance the budget by the year 2040. And of course, Ryan’s bill has no chance of passage. Said Ryan: “We don’t expect to make law this year, but we expect to give the country an alternative choice for the future.” Ryan’s plan echoes proposals by Republican presidential candidates Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney, who also want to reduce and simplify the tax code, but is a far cry from the initial first-year $1 trillion cuts proposed by candidate Ron Paul (with a balanced budget in the second year of his first term).

The Heritage Foundation gave Ryan’s proposal an initial approval, saying that it largely met its own criteria for what needs to be done to rein in the government:

  • Does it cut spending sharply and quickly?
  • Does it begin decisive entitlement reform?
  • Does it avoid any tax hikes?
  • Does it ensure a strong national defense?
  • Does it contain pro-growth tax reforms?
  • Does it move swiftly and surely to a balanced budget?

No, says the Heritage Foundation, but it comes close: “It should be bolder in implementing entitlement reforms [and] it should strive for more aggressive

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Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.