Posts Tagged ‘federal deficit’

No budget? No problem!

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

If you listen to the POTUS, you’d be thinking that because he’ll just keep raising taxes.

However, if you look at the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the situation’s different:
CBO: Tax Increase Fails to Solve Spending and Debt Crisis

  • With economic growth and President Obama’s two tax increases, the $1 trillion tax hike in Obamacare, and the $618 billion fiscal cliff increase, revenues will surge to 19.1 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2015, and will remain well above the historical average of 18.5 percent for the rest of the decade. These figures offer conclusive proof that—notwithstanding the assertions of the President and Senate Democrats—there is plenty of revenue flowing into Washington.
  • Yet even all this new revenue fails to solve the government’s fiscal problems. Starting at $845 billion this year, deficits shrink somewhat through 2016, but then start rising again, returning to near the trillion-dollar range by 2023. The pattern proves that higher taxes cannot solve the deficit problem—only spending restraint can.

Read the whole thing.

Tuesday debt ceiling roundup

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

It’s gray outdoors, the Angelenos are freaking out over cold weather,

and us taxpayers are paying for Bill Clinton’s Cinemax and Jimmy Carter’s Dish Network (neither of which this taxpayer indulges on).

Obama, “a pretty friendly guy“, gave a press conference that The Other McCain called a festival of lies. The message of the press conference was that a debate over the debt limit was already harming the economy and could push the U.S. into a recession, and Obama didn’t bother explain the position he took as senator.

Does that mean that Obama owns the debt now?

Nope.

No matter what the facts are – that Federal outlays exploded after 2009 -

two things are happening:

  1. The notion of a POTUS held accountable for disastrous spending went out of fashion on Tuesday, January 20, 2009, and
  2. ‘You Kids are So Damn Screwed’

But the Wall Street Journal indulges in wishful thinking,

The next time Mr. Obama holds a press conference, somebody should ask him to identify by name those who want to repeal Social Security, steal food from orphans and cancel science funding. We’d like to meet these Visigoths. Otherwise, if the fiscal negotiations are going nowhere, perhaps it is because the President simply won’t make an honest argument.

For now, the White House has informed House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) that it will miss the legal deadline for sending a budget to Congress.

Do we have an imperial president?

In other news, Inauguration fund coming up $8 million short? Or is it $10 million?

But hey, if we get to pay for Bill’s Cinemax, we may get to pay for O’s inaugural! It’s the perfect time to wear black.


Our taxes just went up; O heads to Hawaii

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

Feel the squeeze,

According to the bill, Americans at all income levels would see a two-percentage-point jump in the employee portion of the Social Security tax. It will return to 6.2% in 2013 after a stimulus rate of 4.2% expires.

And then there are the Obamacare tax increases,

As for small business, the overall tax increase this year is substantial. The new listed top rate of 39.6% doesn’t include the phaseout of deductions that will take the actual rate to 41% or so for many taxpayers. Add the ObamaCare surtaxes on investment income (3.8%) and Medicare (0.9%), as well as the current Medicare tax of 1.45% (employee share), and the real top marginal tax rate on a dollar of investment income from a bank savings or money-market account will be about 46%. Throw in state taxes, and the marginal rates in many places will be in the mid-50%-or-higher-range.

Meanwhile, even as Democrats claim these tax rates won’t matter to investment, Senators stuffed their bill full of tax subsidies for special business interests. The wind tax credit survived (cost: $12.1 billion), and so did the tax breaks for cellulosic ethanol ($59 million) and the impoverished producers of Hollywood ($248 million).

But I digress. The fiscal cliff carries $4 trillion price tag over next decade. Here are 6 Things You Won’t Believe That Are In The Fiscal Cliff Bill That The Senate Passed At 2 AM While Most Americans Were Drunk. So you’re OK if you’re in the Puerto Rican rum, asparagus, or biodiesel businesses.

The rest of us can rejoice in the fact that we’re paying for Obama’s $7million Hawaiian vacation, to which he returned less than an hour after Congress and the White House resolved the fiscal cliff.

Budgets are for little people.

Related:
HERE IT IS: Full Text Of The 157 Page Bill To Avert The Fiscal Cliff

UPDATE,
FISCAL CLIFF DEAL: $1 IN SPENDING CUTS FOR EVERY $41 IN TAX INCREASES


What about the fiscal cliff?

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

Before the election, it was never mentioned. Now they’re even talking about it on the Weather Channel.

Steven Hayward sums my feelings in one sentence: DUMB AND DUMBER: THE STUPID PARTY MARCHES ON.

Go read the whole thing.

So here’s Obama’s no-deal deal:

Friday, November 30th, 2012

The White House plan:

  • $1.6 trillion in tax increases over 10 years,
  • more spending right now: $50 billion in immediate stimulus spending, CORRECTION: $200 billion in stimulus
  • home mortgage refinancing and
  • a permanent end to Congressional control over statutory borrowing limits.

In exchange for locking in the $1.6 trillion in added revenues, President Obama embraced the goal of finding $400 billion in savings from Medicare and other social programs to be worked out next year, with no guarantees.

No wonder McConnell ‘Burst Into Laughter’ as Geithner Outlined Obama’s Plan

Paul Mirengoff:

The decision to present this absurdly one-sided proposal comes straight from the Obama playbook. Recall that the president has presented budgets so ridiculous that they could not garner even one Democratic vote in Congress. Republicans then presented detailed budgets that, unlike the president’s, actually address the debt crisis. Obama responding by demagoguing the Republican cuts.

Republicans shouldn’t play this game again. They should tell the White House to eliminate the stimulus spending and the proposal to end Congressional control over statutory borrowing limits, and to propose detailed and significant spending cuts. If the White House declines to do so, Republicans should walk away.

Making the Senate present a budget for the first time in 3 years would be a good start, too.

UPDATE,
Ezra Klein thinks the Republicans should now propose their own. Ezra, where’s the Dems’ budget?

Kimberly Strassel:

Don’t forget: The man now engaged with Congress to work out a grand deal is the same one who could not pull over to his side a single Republican vote for his stimulus legislation, who had to ram through ObamaCare with procedural tricks, and whose inept handling of last year’s debt-ceiling talks ultimately led his fellow Democrat, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, to isolate him from the final negotiations. This is not a history to inspire confidence.

Mr. Obama’s tendency to campaign rather than lead, to speechify rather than negotiate, has already defined this lame-duck session. The president has wasted weeks during which a framework for a deal has been in place.

Within two days of the election, Mr. Boehner had offered an enormous compromise, committing the GOP to provide new tax revenue, through limits on deductions for the wealthy. Mr. Obama campaigned on making “the rich” pay more—and that is exactly what Mr. Boehner agreed to give him.

All that was left for the president to do was accept this peace offering, pair it with necessary spending cuts, and take credit for averting a crisis. Mr. Obama has instead spent the past weeks campaigning for tax-rate hikes. He wants the revenue, but collected only the way he chooses. And on the basis of that ideological insistence alone, the nation is much closer to a crisis.

Then again, the most frightening aspect of the White House proposal is that it wasn’t an error. Perhaps the proposal was thoroughly calculated. This suggests a president who doesn’t care about the outcome of the cliff negotiations—who thinks that he wins politically no matter what. He’s betting that either the GOP will be far more responsible than he is and do anything to avert a crisis, or that the cliff gives him the tax hikes his partisans are demanding. Win-win, save for the enormous pain to average families across the country.

Not that Obama gives a rat’s behind. He’s going on vacation. Besides, the Democrats are completely convinced that if no deal is reached, the Bush tax cuts expire, and sequestration takes effect, Republicans will get most of the blame.

The out-of-touch State of the Union

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

If you read or watched the SOTU, all you can conclude is that the words spoken are out of touch with reality.

Fact Checking the SOTU: Corporate Taxes

Let’s do some fact checking on President Obama’s corporate tax comments in last night’s State of the Union.

Claim: “Right now, companies get tax breaks for moving jobs and profits overseas.”

False: There are no such breaks. Instead, we punish U.S. and foreign businesses for investing and creating jobs here.

Claim: “If you’re a business that wants to outsource jobs, you shouldn’t get a tax deduction for doing it.”

False: There is no such tax deduction.

Claim: “No American company should be able to avoid paying its fair share of taxes by moving jobs and profits overseas.”

False: America is not a prison camp. Besides, imposing a 40-percent tax rate on corporations that invest here is not a “fair share.”

Claim: “From now on, every multinational company should have to pay a basic minimum tax.”

False: We’ve already got a corporate “alternative minimum tax,” and it’s an idiotic waste of accounting resources that ought to be repealed.

Clearly, Obama can not run on his record,

And more,

And that doesn’t count the recycling,

So he’ll blame Congress, even when This President has been “obstructed” less than anyone since LBJ.

The fact is,

People are hurting, and badly. The official unemployment rate may have fallen, slightly, but the real unemployment rate — the number of working-age Americans who aren’t working — rose from about 12% before the 2008 crisis, to about 23%, and hasn’t come down. That includes people who have retired early because they can’t find work, spouses who used to earn a second income but have gone back to homemaking because work isn’t available, self-employed people whose businesses have collapsed, young people who live in their parents’ basement because they can’t afford tuition and can’t find work.

(h/t Instapundit)

As for the energy part, check out what the Institute for Energy Research has to say.

While you’re at it, Warren Buffett profited from the Obama administration’s decision to deny the Keystone Pipeline. Guess whose secretary was sitting next to the First Lady?

UPDATE,
TigerHawk put the SOTU through the shredder. Go read it all


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The rich, the debt, the Ikea hell, and the roundup

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

Spain’s Duchess of Alba, one of the world’s richest women, is remarrying at age 85. The Will of the Duchess of Alba: All for Love and Money. All, except good judgement, at least when it comes to plastic surgery:

Maybe she’ll buy herself some eyebrows for the wedding.

UPDATE,
From my Facebook thread,

Todd wrote: “If I were going to marry a babboon, I’d pick a much younger one.”

Now, now, Todd…

—————————-

National debt has increased $4 trillion under Obama: Currently the National Debt stands at roughly 97% of Gross Domestic Product. Does anyone want to pretend that the ratio will be the same when we’re talking about $25 trillion in debt?

How about an outline?

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The last time I went to Ikea Bill Clinton was President; Charles Martin reminded me why: Dante’s IKEA.

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What’s next for Moammar Gadhafi?
Nobody seems to know where the embattled Libyan leader is hiding, or where he’s headed. Here, 5 predictions
.

I very much doubt that Muammar will be welcome in Caracas until Hugo’s moved the gold and is not worried about sanctions.

—————————-

Which brings me to the next item,

How to get $12 billion of gold to Venezuela

It’s not much of a precedent, but it’s the only precedent we’ve got; my gut feeling is that Venezuela would be do well to get away with paying 3.3% of the total value of the gold in total expenses. Given that the gold is worth some $12.3 billion, the cost of Chávez’s gesture politics might reasonably be put at $400 million or so.

It seems to me that Chávez has four main choices here. He can go the FT’s route, and just fly the gold to Caracas while insuring each shipment for its market value. He can go the Spanish route, and try to transport the gold himself, perhaps making use of the Venezuelan navy. He could attempt the mother of all repo transactions. Or he could get clever.

In the first instance, the main cost would be paid by Venezuela to a big insurance company. I have no idea how many insurers there are in the world who would be willing to take on this job, but it can’t be very many, and it might well be zero. If Venezuela wanted just one five-ton shipment flown to Caracas in conditions of great secrecy, that would be one thing. But Chávez’s intentions have been well telegraphed at this point, making secrecy all but impossible. And even if the insurer got the first shipment through intact, there would be another, and another, and another — each one surely the target of criminally-inclined elements both inside and outside the Venezuelan government. Gold is the perfect heist: anonymous, untraceable, hugely valuable. Successfully intercepting just one of the shipments would yield a haul of more than $300 million, making it one of the greatest robberies of all time. And you’d have 39 chances to repeat the feat.

Would any insurer voluntarily hang a “come get me” sign around its neck like that? They’d have to be very well paid to do so. So maybe Chávez intends to take matters into his own hands, and just sail the booty back to Venezuela on one of his own naval ships. Again, the theft risk is obvious — seamen can be greedy too — and this time there would be no insurance. Chávez is pretty crazy, but I don’t think he’d risk $12 billion that way.

Chavez Credits Castro, Jesus for Recovery

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Former Tiananmen Square Student Leader Urges Joe Biden to Call for an End to China’s One-Child Policy, after Biden says he “fully understands” the one-child policy.

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Soros, what a guy!

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

A roundup of trivial news in the periphery of serious issues,

George Soros sued by ex-girlfriend for reneging on real estate promise to buy her a $2 million NYC apartment. George told her he’d given the apartment to another woman. Probably a younger woman, that is. No word on whether he had anything to do with the downgrade.
UPDATE:
Don Surber:

Dr. Evil had the same problem with Frau Farbissina.

Amy Winehouse’s home robbed, not by looters, but by someone looking for her unreleased songs, lyric books and letters.

One Place That Didn’t Get Looted In The UK. Situational Awareness: How Everyday Citizens Can Help Make a Nation Safe. Defend yourself and be a vigilante (h.t Instapundit).

Hugo Chavez’s hair fell off. Argentina Preps for World Tango Championships

Pivot to jobs, jobs, jobs getting to you? Vacay, vacay, vacay! But first, let us pray.

Felonious Monk is not happy at all (*LANGUAGE WARNING: DEFINITELY NOT SUITABLE FOR WORK*)

Here’s Thelonious Monk, not Felonious,

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“There’s not much further we can cut”?

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

Yes we can,

“Not much further we can cut” seems like a hanging curve ball, an open invitation for ongoing ridicule–the sort of naive assertion that might come easily to someone who had never worked in the federal government, who only realized after promoting his half-trillion-dollar public works-based stimulus plan that there was “no such thing as shovel-ready projects.” Or someone who doesn’t want to know. Or who wants to act as if he doesn’t know.

Here is the official list of federal job openings. They are still hiring. Sure, big enterprises keep hiring essential employees even in tough times. But these aren’t essential jobs. Many of them seem like the sort of job a private firm, in a financial crisis like the feds are in, would consolidate with another job or leave unfilled. (The first one that jumps out is the “Associate Administrator for Administration” at the Department of Transportation, which pays $119,554 to $179,700. It seems that this person will do administrative work to maintain the layer of bureaucracy that “coordinates” the DOTs research programs. The new hire will also give “advice and assistance in directing, coordinating, controlling” etc. this little fiefdom. You don’t have to be Peter Drucker to realize that this position does not have to exist.)

Part of the problem, of course, is that since it is virtually impossible to fire an actual underperforming federal employee, conscientious administrators have to hire new people (or consultants) to actually do the work the unfireable employees aren’t doing.

But there’s no sense, reading through this list, that the federal bureaucracy knows it is in crisis

Ace pipes in,

Let me note the dog that didn’t bark.

Have you heard any stories of older, more expensive federal employees losing their jobs during this budget crisis — as corporations typically do when they are hemorrhaging money?

Have you read any stories about departments drastically cutting back and looking for money-saving solutions — doing more with less, as they say, or “working smarter, not harder”?

Has the media been full of stories by weary bureaucrats complaining, like teachers are apparently instructed by their unions to claim, that they have to buy their own supplies to properly do their jobs?

Has there been any grousing that federal employees are missing expected pay raises and promotions, being forced to work at their old salaries through this crisis?

The answer is no.

The pivot to jobs, jobs, jobs, appears to be laser-focused on federal bureaucracy jobs. One of Kaus’s commenters points out,

Non-postal federal employment — about 10 percent of all
government employment — increased over the same period by 139,000
workers, or 6.7 percent.

(more…)

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Compare and contrast:

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

Obama:

“We’ve always been, and always will be, a AAA country”

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Compare and contrast that speech with what a guy on the floor of the exchange has to say:

Santelli:

“We would have been rated BBB!”

Who do you believe?

As of the writing of this post, the Dow is down 106 points, after Friday’s and Monday’s precipitous fall.

Indeed, this is A crisis of confidence in economy — and Obama

The stock market, already falling before Obama spoke, saw selling accelerate as Obama made it clear he had no new ideas to offer. And he certainly gave no hint that he’s ready to adopt Republican ideas such as cutting business taxes or slashing regulation. Instead of a pivot, Obama stayed firmly planted in the anti-growth policies of the past two-and-a-half years. He’s even keeping Tim Geithner as Treasury secretary, practically begging the poor guy to stay. (Indeed, it was almost exactly a year ago that Geithner penned his “Welcome to the Recovery” op-ed.)

Americans have seen this movie before.

And the movie is on a continuous-repeat loop.

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