Pro-growth Or No-growth

Guy Benson posted an article at Townhall today about the impact of the Trump Tax Cuts on the American economy. As has been pointed out by anyone with a brain, any deficits in Washington are caused by a spending problem–not by a lack of tax revenue.

The article includes a chart showing revised economic growth estimates based on the growth that has already occurred because of the tax cuts:

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) now projects 156.8 million jobs in America by year-end 2027—2.6 million more jobs than in its June 2017 Budget and Economic Outlook. CBO attributes an average of 1.1 million additional jobs over the next 10 years to the recently enacted Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

On April 10, I posted an article detailing the Democrats plan to roll back the tax cuts and increase both personal and corporate taxes. That will bring us back to the slow economic growth we experienced under President Obama. The Republicans need to make sure that the American voters understand that–a vote for a Democratic Congressman is a vote for economic slowdown.

Economic policies do have consequences. That has become very obvious in the past year or so.

The Cost Of The Wall

One of the recent talking points used against those people who actually want to control our borders is the cost of building a wall. Obviously, Mexico will not directly pay for a wall–they enjoy having people come here illegally and send money back to Mexico. There is no incentive for them to put a stop to that behavior. So how do we pay for the wall?

Paul Sperry posted an article at The New York Post on Saturday that offers one possible solution.

The article reports:

Mexico won’t have to pay for the wall, after all. US taxpayers won’t have to pick up the tab, either. The controversial barrier, rather, will cover its own cost just by closing the border to illegal immigrants who tend to go on the federal dole.

That’s the finding of recent immigration studies showing the $18 billion wall President Trump plans to build along the southern border will pay for itself by curbing the importation of not only crime and drugs, but poverty.

“The wall could pay for itself even if it only modestly reduced illegal crossings and drug smuggling,” Steven A. Camarota, director of research at the Center for Immigration Studies, told The Post.

Federal data shows that a wall would work. A two-story corrugated metal fence in El Paso, Texas, first erected under the Bush administration has already curtailed illegal border crossings there by more than 89 percent over the five-year period during which it was built.

The problem is not only illegal immigrants–it’s drug smuggling. How much money and how many lives do the illegal drugs coming into America cost?

The article concludes:

While Democrats complain the $18 billion price tag for the Trump wall is too high, the “Dreamers” amnesty bill they want Trump and Republicans to pass in exchange for funding the wall (or ideally in spite of the wall) would cost US taxpayers even more than the construction of the border partition over 10 years.

“The cost of the DREAM Act has been estimated as very large — a $26 billion net cost in the first 10 years,” Camarota noted.

Indeed, the Congressional Budget Office recently estimated that 3 million DREAM Act recipients would receive an estimated $12 billion-plus in ObamaCare subsidies, more than $5.5 billion in Medicaid benefits, $5.5 billion in earned-income and child-tax credits and more than $2 billion in food stamps.

A bipartisan bill incorporating the deal was defeated in the Senate last month by a vote of 54-45. Trump rejected the proposal in favor of a tougher border bill introduced by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), which limits the number of DACA beneficiaries to 1.8 million, curbs family visas, or so-called chain migration, and phases out the diversity visa lottery, while earmarking $25 billion in funding for the wall and other border security.

The problem is not the money–the problem is the spending priorities.

This Is Not A New Idea

On Friday, The Daily Signal posted an article about a proposal before Congress asking taxpayers to make loans to private, union-run pension plans. This is a really bad idea. We have seen what has happened to the college loan program since the government took it over. Just in case you think the idea of the government bailing out union pension plans is far-fetched, I posted an article about this idea in October of 2010.

The article reports:

The Butch Lewis Act—a proposal to bail out private-sector pensions through loans as well as direct cash assistance—acknowledges the high probability of default by stipulating that pension plans that have trouble repaying their loans after 30 years of interest-only payments will be eligible for forgiveness or alternative repayment plans.

A loan with a zero-consequence default option for the borrower is not a loan—it’s a bailout.

But it’s not just defaults that taxpayers need to be concerned about. There’s also the cost of providing highly subsidized, low- or no-interest loans for 15 to 30 years, as well as the risk that plans will increase—rather than decrease—their unfunded liabilities over the course of their loans.

These features could lead to loans to insolvent pension plans costing taxpayers more than direct cash bailouts.

But those costs won’t be apparent in the official government score because the Congressional Budget Office is required to score loans under the assumption that insolvent pension plans are essentially riskless borrowers.

In reality, loans to insolvent pension plans could cost taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars. The most liberal proposals—which supplement loans with direct cash assistance—could cost more than the entirety of multiemployer pensions’ half-trillion-dollar shortfall.

Does anyone really believe that these loans will be paid back? Union membership is down, and various courts are hearing cases that will make the mandatory payment of union dues by non-union members who work in a union shop illegal. Both of these factors will make the union retirement plans (actually a true Ponzi scheme) unsustainable.

The article concludes:

Coping with roughly $500 billion in private union pensions’ unfunded promises will not be easy. There are ways to minimize losses to workers who have earned pension benefits and protect taxpayers from paying for private pensions’ broken promises.

Policymakers should look to improve the solvency of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.’s multiemployer program through premium increases and other reforms; end union pensions’ preferential treatment; enact and enforce sound funding rules; hold pension trustees liable for financial decisions; act sooner rather than later to enact needed reforms, including benefit reductions; and explicitly prohibit federal pension bailouts.

None of these actions provide a costless cure-all, but they offer more fair and rational solutions that don’t treat taxpayers as guarantors of private-sector promises or set the stage for even more mismanagement and reckless behavior.

There is no reason every American should pay for the fact that the unions have not sufficiently funded their retirement plans!

Losing Health Insurance Because You Want To

Yesterday National Review posted an article about the claims the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is making regarding the number of people who would lose their health insurance if ObamaCare were repealed.

The article states:

Do you want to repeal every word of Obamacare and replace it with nothing? CBO says 22 million fewer people would have health insurance. Do you prefer replacing Obamacare with a system of flat tax credits, in which you get the same amount of assistance regardless of your financial need? CBO says 23 million fewer people would have health insurance. Do you prefer replacing Obamacare with means-tested tax credits, like the Senate bill does, in which the majority of the assistance is directed to those near or below the poverty line? CBO says 22 million fewer people would have health insurance.

22 million, 23 million, 22 million—these numbers are remarkably similar even though the three policies I describe above are significantly different. Why is that?

Thanks to information that was leaked to me by a congressional staffer, we now have the answer.

Nearly three-fourths of the difference in coverage between Obamacare and the various GOP plans derives from a single feature of the Republican bills: their repeal of Obamacare’s individual mandate. But the CBO has never published a year-by-year breakout of the impact of the individual mandate on its coverage estimates.

So actually, a large percentage of the people who would lose insurance coverage if ObamaCare is repealed would choose to lose coverage because they would no longer be penalized for not having insurance. Basically, the CBO report is spin! There is also the matter of ObamaCare requiring people to pay for coverage they don’t need. Generally speaking senior citizens do not need maternity coverage or pediatric dental coverage. They should not be asked to pay for it!