Projection As An Art Form

“President Trump is a threat to our democracy” is the cry of those panicked on the political left. First of all, we don’t have a democracy–we have a representative republic. Second of all, President Trump is not the one limiting free speech and jailing his political opponents. But there are some other current lies that need to be debunked.

On Sunday, The New York Post reported:

Projection is blaming someone else for your own bad behavior.

We saw a classic case of projection in Thursday’s presidential debate, when President Biden — who is overseeing annual budget deficits of $2 trillion — asserted that his predecessor, Donald Trump, added more to the federal debt than anyone else.

It’s part of the latest leftist argument: that if Trump wins the election, he will run deficits twice as large as Biden would.

Debate moderator Jake Tapper joined the chorus of federal finance falsehoods when he claimed Trump had “approved $8.4 trillion in new debt,” while Biden’s actions will increase the debt by (merely) $4.3 trillion over a decade.

Those numbers are based on the predictions of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB). This group opposed the Trump tax cuts which increased federal revenue.

The article continues:

The fundamental flaw of the CRFB analysis is revealed if we examine the projections of the Congressional Budget Office.

The CBO’s projection for 2021, the last fiscal year of the Trump administration, forecast the federal debt to reach about $35.3 trillion by 2031, that is, over the next decade.

Today, 3½ years into the Biden administration, the latest estimates from the CBO project the debt will hit over $42.5 trillion by 2031.

The article concludes:

Biden wanted to spend $2 trillion more in the last year and a half, but conservatives in the House blocked the added bloat. 

You can bet the farm that if the radical left wins the White House and Congress in 2024, that $2 trillion outlay will be first on their legislative agenda. 

Biden’s other big lie, backed by the CRFB analysis, is that extending Trump’s tax reform will drown the economy in debt.

Yet federal tax revenues have increased since that tax reform was enacted — and federal revenues as a share of GDP have not fallen.

All of the increase in today’s debt has been due to massive, out-of-control federal spending — by both parties.

Trump spent and borrowed too much, full stop.

But with a debt headed to $50 trillion if reelected and a political agenda that stifles economic growth, Biden has set America on an unsustainable fiscal path that will lead to financial oblivion.

It’s the spending, stupid.

 

Tying The Next President’s Hands

The following was posted on Twitter on Sunday:

This is an attempt to tie the hands of any President who tries to cut off aid to Ukraine in the next ten years. If that is not already illegal, it should be. We should also remember that federal spending is supposed to originate in the House of Representatives–not from the President or from the Senate.

It’s The Spending, Stupid!

On Tuesday, The Daily Caller posted an article about federal spending. If the average American family spent money the way the government does, they would be bankrupt within six months.

The article reports:

The U.S.’ national deficit surged in February as income declined and expenses rose, resulting in the federal government spending more than double what it collected in the month, according to a release from the Treasury Department.

The federal government collected $271 billion in February, mostly through taxes and social insurance and retirement payments, but spent $567 billion, a difference of $296 billion that was funded by an increase in the national debt, according to the Treasury Department. The gain in February brings the total national debt increase in fiscal year 2024 to $828 billion, which began in October 2023.

Remember–we have to pay interest on that debt.

The article continues:

At the end of February, the national debt totaled $34.71 trillion, with $27.38 trillion of that being held by the public and $7.09 trillion being held by other government organizations, according to the Treasury. The federal government recently passed the $34 trillion debt mark right before the start of 2023.

The government has already paid $433 billion in gross interest expenses in fiscal year 2024, far higher than the $306 billion that had been paid at this point in the last fiscal year, according to the Treasury. For the current fiscal year, the Treasury anticipates that it will pay over $1 trillion in just interest costs.

The article concludes:

A Biden administration official claimed that 90% of the non-emergency increase in the debt-to-GDP ratio since 2001 has been the result of tax cuts, the official told the Daily Caller News Foundation in response to a request to comment. The official argued that Biden’s recently proposed budget would reduce the national deficit by $3 trillion through taxing wealthy individuals and big corporations.

If President Joe Biden’s budget proposal is enacted, it is estimated that the debt would increase to $42.5 trillion by the end of fiscal year 2028, around the time his presumptive second term would end.

Can we please have a President who understand the Laffer Curve and economics!

At Least One Committee Is Moving In The Right Direction

On Sunday, Townhall reported that the House Budget Committee passed three bills out of committee with bi-partisan support. That is good news. Now if we could just close the border, we would have it made.

The article reports:

The Fiscal State of the Nation Act (H.R. 6952) was passed with strong bipartisan support on a voice vote and without amendments. That bill will require the Comptroller General of the United States, a position I held from 1998-2008, to provide an in-person annual report on the country’s financial condition and fiscal outlook of the country to a joint session of Congress. 

The Debt to GDP Transparency and Stabilization Act (HR 6957) passed without amendment with a 22-12 bipartisan vote. That bill will require the President’s annual budget submission to provide information on the current state and projected outlook of federal debt/GDP based on the President’s proposed budget.

The Fiscal Commission Act (H.R. 5779) was the most important piece of legislation and was the subject of a vast majority of the markup session. It would establish a sixteen-person statutory commission that would, among other things, educate and engage the American people on our nation’s financial and fiscal challenges. Twelve of the commission members would be sitting members of Congress equally divided between the House and Senate and each major party. These twelve would be the voting members. Four of the commission members would be fiscal experts who would not have a vote. After receiving input and deliberating various options, the commission would make a package of fiscal reform recommendations designed to stabilize debt/GDP at no more than 100% within ten years and ensure the long-term solvency of various trust funds. Everything would be on the table – discretionary, mandatory, and revenues. If a majority of the commission’s voting members recommend a package of reforms with bipartisan support, it would receive an expedited vote in both houses of Congress and only require a simple majority vote in both houses for passage. The commission would issue its report in December 2024 or, depending on the final passage of the Fiscal Commission Act, no later than May 2025. 

Fiscal responsibility should be a bi-partisan effort. The inflation cased by our bloated federal spending impacts all of us either directly or indirectly. The plan proposed years ago to take one penny away from every dollar spent by the federal government still has validity. Someone simply has to have the courage to stand up and demand budget cuts.

Something To Consider

Decisions that impact national security should be made on the basis of what is best for America. Unfortunately that has not been the case as of late.

On January 10th, The Washington Times reported:

President Trump has proposed spending $18 billion over the next decade to construct a new and improved border wall between the U.S. and Mexico. While some lawmakers have criticized the both the cost and the plan, a new analysis reveals the expenditure is relatively small compared to other federal spending.

“That $18 billion would equal just 0.0338 percent of the $53.128 trillion the Congressional Budget Office currently estimates the federal government will spend over that same 10-year period,” wrote Terence P. Jeffrey, editor-in-chief of CNSNews.com.

It also equals only 2.7 percent of the money the federal government will spend on the food stamp program, Mr. Jeffrey wrote. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program will eat up $679 billion in the 10 fiscal years from 2018 through 2027, according to budget office’s estimate.

He figured that this is 37.7 times as much as the $18 billion which would go to Mr.Trump’s proposed border wall.

The cost of the wall is also 0.34 percent of the $5.232 trillion which the federal government will spend on Medicaid over the next 10 years, and 0.26 percent of the $6.838 trillion allotted to national defense in the next decade.

So this battle is obviously not about money. We also have to realize that if either the Democrats or the Republicans were serious about border security, the wall would have been built by now. So why don’t we have a wall?

Carroll Quigley one wrote:

“The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and policies, one, perhaps, of the Right and the other of the Left, is a foolish idea acceptable only to doctrinaire and academic thinkers. Instead, the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can throw the rascals out at any election without leading to any profound or extensive shifts in policy. Then it should be possible to replace it, every four years if necessary, by the other party, which will be none of these things but will still pursue, with new vigor, approximately the same basic policies.” ~ Carroll Quigley

The Democrats and the establishment Republicans have a shared policy on open borders–they support them. The Democrats want voters and the Republicans want cheap labor. Until someone wants the safety of the American public, we have a problem.

The Numbers Tell The Story

Yesterday Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial about the growing federal deficit. The numbers in the editorial tell the story of what is actually happening:

Each month the Treasury Department releases its tally of federal spending and revenues. The most recent data are through the month of August. Since the federal government starts its fiscal year in October, the latest report includes all but one month of the 2018 fiscal year.

What do the data show?

Through August, the federal deficit topped $898 billion. Over the same period last year the deficit was $674 billion.

So, the deficit is running $224 billion higher this fiscal year compared with last.

But the Treasury data also show that federal revenues through August totaled $2.985 trillion. That’s an increase of $19 billion over the previous year.

In other words, despite Trump’s massive tax cuts, federal revenues are running higher this year than last.

The problem is that federal spending has climbed even faster. Through August, outlays totaled $3.88 trillion. That’s $243 billion more than the prior fiscal year.

…The Treasury data show that while corporate income tax receipts are down, individual income tax revenue is up by $100 billion — a 7% gain — over last year. Payroll taxes are up by $5 billion. Revenues from excise taxes and customs duties are also up.

So, while corporations are paying fewer taxes, they’re hiring more workers and paying them more, which is generating additional income and payroll taxes. This is exactly what advocates of the tax cuts predicted would happen.

As Kudlow explained in his remarks, increased growth has “just about paid for two thirds of the total tax cuts.”

The article goes on to illustrate that government spending is totally out of control. Until the spending drops, the deficit will not decrease. Those of us who voted for Republicans expected them to stop the runaway spending. If they continue to spend like drunken sailors, they will lose their majority.

Teaching A Work Ethic

America‘s welfare programs have lost their way. They have become a bureaucracy that leaves people in poverty instead of helping them achieve success. There is no incentive for either the recipient of welfare or the welfare administrator to help the recipient end their dependency on the government. The welfare recipient is supported by a check from the government, the welfare administrator is supported in her job by the necessity of overseeing the distribution of that check. That is a simplification, but essentially the recipient and the administrator are mutually dependent upon each other. Neither has an incentive to change the system. However, because welfare is one of the budget busters in federal spending, the system needs to change.

On Tuesday, The Daily Signal posted an article offering a proven solution to helping people escape government dependency.

The article reports:

Most Americans believe able-bodied adults receiving welfare should be required to at least seriously look for work.

A new piece of legislation in the House promises to advance that majority view in federal law.

Rep. Garret Graves, R-La., recently introduced the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Reform Act of 2017 (H.R. 2996), which would provide a much-needed reform to the food stamp program (SNAP). The bill would strengthen work requirements for able-bodied adults without dependent children.

H.R. 2996 would establish the principle that welfare assistance should not be a one-way handout. Assistance should definitely be given to those in need, but recipients should be required in exchange to take steps to support themselves.

The article reminds us that SNAP already has work requirements for adults without dependent children, but there is a way for counties to obtain waivers to opt out of the work requirement. In this bill, those waivers would be eliminated.

The article cites what happened in Maine when work requirements were added to welfare programs:

For example, in July 2014, Maine announced that it would no longer grant waivers from the work requirements for able-bodied adults without dependent children.

In order to receive benefits, they would thus have to work, participate in a work program for 20 hours per week, or do community service for about six hours per week.

It is important to note that this policy did not arbitrarily cut food stamp recipients from the program rolls. Able-bodied adults without dependent children in Maine were removed from the rolls only if they refused to participate in modest activities.

In fact, most of these individuals in Maine chose to leave the program rather than participate in training or community service, despite the strong outreach efforts of government caseworkers. This indicates that these individuals had other means of supporting themselves.

As a result of the new policy, the Maine caseload for able-bodied adults without dependent children dropped 80 percent in just a few months, falling from 13,332 in December 2014 to 2,678 recipients in March 2015.

The article states:

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Reform Act of 2017 establishes a federal work requirement for this same category of individuals, similar to the one established in Maine.

If enacted, this policy would save taxpayers around $90 billion over the next 10 years, or roughly 13 percent of the program’s 2018-2027 projected spending.

No one wants to deny help to those who need it, but we have reached the point where there are two many Americans riding in the wagon and too few Americans pulling it. A work requirement is one way to slash the SNAP program by 13 percent and still provide help to those people who need it.

It’s Not The Income–It’s The Spending

CNS News posted an article today about the tax revenue the government has received in the first six months of fiscal 2017 (Oct. 1, 2016 through the end of March). The government has collected $7,387,280,000 more in income tax revenue in the first six months of fiscal 2017 than were collected in the first six months of fiscal 2016.

The article reports:

The federal government also collected $547,491,000,000 in Social Security and other payroll taxes during the first six months of fiscal 2017. That is about $2,731,820,000 more than the $544,491,000,000 in Social Security and other payroll taxes (in constant 2017 dollars) that the government collected in the first six months of fiscal 2016.

Despite collecting record amounts of individual income taxes and payroll taxes, the Treasury still ran a deficit of $526,855,000,000 in the first six months of fiscal 2017. (The emphasis is mine)

No matter how much money we give them, it will never be enough. We need a budget (not continuing resolutions) that does the things that are constitutional for the federal government. All other functions need to be left for the states (as stated in the Tenth Amendment). Spending cuts are needed.

The Problem Is Not The Income

The Wall Street Journal posted an article yesterday about the amount of tax revenue the federal government collected for fiscal 2015. The good news is that the government collected a record amount of money–$3.249 trillion. That is an 8 percent increase in revenues for the year. The bad news is that the government still managed to spend more than it took in. The budget deficit was $435 billion–a decline of $48 billion. The article notes that although the decline is small, it is huge for the seventh year of what the government claims is an expansion. The article also notes that inflation is growing by less than 2 percent.

The article reports:

The reason for the small decline is that spending for the fiscal year climbed 5.2% to $3.685 trillion. That increase came even though defense spending fell $16 billion, or 2.7%, thanks to the drawdown in Afghanistan.

The spending burst included a 16.1%, or $49 billion, increase in Medicaid for the first full year of ObamaCare. Medicaid spending has climbed $85 billion to $350 billion in two years, and that’s with 19 states declining to join.

The Congressional Budget Office also cites a $30 billion, or 51%, spending increase for the Department of Education—“mostly because of an $18 billion upward revision in the estimated net subsidy costs of student loans and loan guarantees issued in past years.” Translation: Mr. Obama’s takeover of the student-loan business is costing far more money than advertised, probably due to growing defaults.

Let’s put these numbers together. Inflation is less than 2 percent. There was an 8 percent increase in revenues collected by the federal government. There was a $435 billion deficit. These numbers are unsustainable. They will assure the destruction of America. We need to elect people to Congress and the White House who will cut government spending. It is a national disgrace to have an 8 percent increase in revenues and still have a deficit. It is time for any rational members of Congress to demand a spending cut.

The Circle Of Money

Why is the federal government giving money to groups that lobby the federal government? This defies common sense. It is, however, a neat deal for those involved–legislators get money for their political campaigns in return for channeling federal money to the organizations that sponsor the Political Action Committees (PAC) that give them the money. It’s a good deal if you are part of it, and a bad deal for America and American taxpayers.

Investor’s Business Daily posted an article yesterday about this practice.

The article points out the insanity of what is going on:

Latest lobbying disclosure documents indicate Planned Parenthood spends at least $2 million a year directly lobbying Congress and state legislatures. And this year, as PP fights to retain its umbilical cord — no pun intended — to the Federal Treasury, the number’s going way up.

But the official lobbying expenditures don’t include tens of millions of other political spending. According to a recent analysis by Conservative News Service, “Planned Parenthood’s affiliates spent $26 million on public policy this past year, while the national office spent $31.3 million on building ‘advocacy capacity.'”

The mission of all this spending? The answer is obvious: to persuade Congress to continue to provide the organization with federal tax dollars.

So what we have here is an organization that receives at least half a billion dollars a year from taxpayers, and some of that money is used to lobby Congress to give them more taxpayer money.

The icing on the cake is that the money is borrowed from Japan and China. We have to pay interest on it.

The article details the problem:

Is it any surprise that under this racket it has become almost impossible to cut the budget or to balance receipts with expenditures? This is a common practice. The unions do it. The legal public aid community does it. Welfare organizations do it.

To be fair, it isn’t just left-wing groups that receive taxpayer dollars and lobby. So do corporations. Defense contractors run lobbying campaigns year-round to persuade Congress to spend more money on this weapon or that. Companies that have received the bulk of the funding for the Export Import Bank are bankrolling the PR campaign to keep the institution from closing down.

We will never curb government spending as long as we allow this kind of abuse of our system. The problem is not lobbying–that is and should remain legal. The problem is government-supported lobbying. That is ridiculous.

Curbing Runaway Spending In Washington

Investor’s Business Daily posted an article today about spending in Washington. The article included the following chart:

The chart shows the impact that the spending caps have had on the federal budget. The decline in spending is due to the Budget Control Act of 2011. The caps limit both domestic non-entitlement spending and national defense spending. However, it is becoming obvious that the President wants to be free of those restraints.

The article reports:

The White House plan would increase discretionary spending to $1.091 trillion from $1.017 trillion. This $74 billion increase would be split evenly between defense and domestic spending. The 7% hike in 2016 would dish out plums to unions, foreign aid groups, the education blob, government contractors, federal employees, the climate change lobby and other tax guzzlers.

Our Senate sources tell us that Minority Leader Harry Reid is threatening in private that if Republicans don’t give Democrats the raise they want, there will be fiscal paralysis in the Senate and another government shutdown Oct. 1 — which, of course, they will blame on the GOP.

Many Republicans are inclined to go along with the great fiscal escape plan. Some have legitimate concerns about more money needed for our military in times of growing national security threats. Already 60% of the cuts are in defense, even though military spending is less than 20% of the budget. But many GOP appropriators just want more domestic pork for their own districts.

I would like to remind every Republican Congressman now serving in Congress. You were elected to bring the spending under control. If you are not able to do that, we need to elect someone who can. End of story.

Ghouls On Parade

The crash of an Amtrak train on Tuesday night was a tragedy. It was also an accident. Sometimes accidents can be avoided; sometimes they cannot. However, it is truly disgusting to see the death of American citizens innocently riding a train used for political purposes. While authorities were still rescuing the injured from the crash scene, Democrats in Washington went to work blaming the accident on Republican spending cuts. First of all, I would like to point out that President Obama has been in office since January 2009. If Amtrak spending were a priority for him, would the President have asked for more spending while the Democrat party had full control of the House and Senate? Would he have asked while the Democrat party had majorities in both the House and the Senate? To blame anyone before investigators have had a chance to begin their search for a cause is simply ghoulish political opportunism. Also, just for the record, where has spending been cut?

The Heritage Foundation posted the following graph of federal spending:

Federal Government Has a Spending, Not Revenue, Problem

There have been no serious budget cuts.

It also posted the chart below:

Where Does All the Money Go?

I don’t believe our problem is that we are not spending enough–our problem is that the politicians in Washington have used taxpayer money to buy so many votes that they don’t have very much left over. I would also like to know where in the U.S. Constitution it states that the taxpayers should be funding Amtrak.

It is a tragedy that people died in a train accident on Tuesday night. It is also really sad that some politicians sought to gain political points through the death of their fellow citizens.

Changing The Subject To Win The Debate

America is safe now–all the politicians have gone home for Christmas. They can do no further damage.

We are headed for the fiscal cliff. That will be at least a short-term problem, but let’s back up a bit and look at what has happened to the discussion. Two years ago we were talking about cutting spending. Government spending is running close to 25 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Traditionally, it runs about 18 or 19 percent. That is a major reason for the rapid growth of the federal deficit. Plan B, as submitted by the Speaker of the House, was about taxes. The debate has been almost entirely about taxes–raising them–not cutting spending. Somehow, when taxes are raised, spending increases–it very rarely goes down.

Dick Morris points out the change in the debate in an article he posted at DickMorris.com yesterday. The thing that we need to remember here is that President Obama is a very gifted politician. He knows how to play the game without taking any responsibility for the results. I have the feeling that about twenty years from now the generation that will have to pay for all this foolishness is going to look around and say, “How did our parents let this happen? How did this man get re-elected?” Unfortunately, the current voters are not there yet.

Dick Morris’ article concludes:

Take the tax issue off the table and Americans will see the real game going on here: Obama’s commitment to deficit spending which is driving the economy into ruin. No longer will he be able to avoid the blame for the coming economic collapse because he will have had his way on taxes.

Politically, if the Republicans agree on a tax increase but demand spending cuts in return — and Obama refuses to come across with spending reductions (which he will) — then the blame will fall squarely on the president for the ensuing economic breakdown.

Call Obama’s bluff! Make him face up to the need to cut spending and show Americans how he won’t do it.

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Twisting The Numbers To Change The Story

Yesterday the Daily Caller posted a story about Bloomberg News and its reporting of a poll it conducted last week. The poll was taken by an Iowa-based firm and asked Americans how they felt about the coming ‘fiscal cliff.’

The article states:

A poll conducted last week by an Iowa-based firm showed Americans are conflicted about whether or not to support raising tax rates on wealthy Americans to avert the so-called “fiscal cliff.” But that’s not how Bloomberg News, which commissioned the poll, reported the results Thursday.

Somehow, when the story was reported, the headline read, “Americans Back Obama Tax-Rate Boost Tied to Entitlements.” So what did the poll actually show? The article reported that fifty-eight percent of the people polled thought President Obama was right to insist on raising taxes on the wealthy as a precondition for talks about the fiscal cliff. However, when you take a closer look at the numbers, you find that fifty-two percent responded that they preferred limited tax breaks to a tax-rate hike. Thirty nine percent said that they wanted to see tax rates on the wealthy increase, and nine percent said they were not sure.

Please follow the link above to read the entire story. There is also an attempt in the story to convince the reader that raising taxes to increase government spending is a solution to our current economic problems.

Bloomberg news is a respected financial news source. They do a disservice to themselves and the American people when they do not accurately report the news..

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