Archive for the ‘Government Spending’ Category

The federal government is now shrinking as a percentage of GDP, thanks to House Republicans

This chart illustrates some interesting facts.

First, note how federal spending has flat-lined and has even started to dip slightly since Republicans took control of Congress in 2010.

Second, note federal tax revenue has been increasingly steadily since we’ve started to see some economic growth — tepid though this growth is.  Tax revenues are spiking up sharply without substantial tax increases.  Yes, some ObamaCare taxes are starting to kick in.  But this is not substantially affecting the revenue picture.

What does this prove?

It proves that Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp were right.  If you really want to increase tax revenue to the government , grow the economy. That’s “supply side” economics.

Economic growth produces more revenue for the government because people and businesses pay more taxes when they have more income and bigger profits.

Now, we could and should be doing much better than this.

The so-called economic recovery we are in now is slogging along at half the growth rate of the average economic recovery in America following a recession.  The Reagan economic recovery was three times as robust as the sluggish growth we are seeing now.  The U.S. economy was growing at a 6 percent annualized rate during the Reagan recovery compared to less than 2 percent for this so-called recovery.

The big reason this recovery is so sluggish is ObamaCare.  Businesses have no idea what ObamaCare will cost them, have no idea how much it will cost to add a new employee.  So businesses are setting up their factories overseas where the labor is cheap, or they are waiting to see what the implications of ObamaCare really are.

Third, look at how much federal spending went up under President George W. Bush.  Spending under Bush was increasing at almost the same rate as spending increased during the first two years of the Obama Administration, when Democrats controlled both champers of Congress.  So Bush, it turns out, was one of the biggest spenders in history.

In other words, George W. Bush was a disaster in just about every conceivable way.

He was a rampant spender.  He spent about $2 trillion on the Iraq War, a war we never should have gotten into.  We found no weapons of mass-destruction (which was the supposed reason we went to war).  Saddam Hussein, though certainly a very bad guy, was a bulwark against the even-worse Iran.  He also hated al Qaeda and the radical Islamic terrorist groups.  He killed a lot of terrorists.

So we spent $2 trillion on Iraq to get rid of this guy, and we’re worse off for it.

The result of Bush’s Presidency is that we now have eight years of Barack Obama and a $17 trillion debt, plus a lot of dead and wounded American soldiers.

Wouldn’t you like to have that $2 trillion back?

But the good news is the Republican leaders in the House have managed to control spending.    I’d certainly like to see much more substantial spending cuts — not just hold the line against more spending, which is what’s happening now.

But even if all we do is hold the line against future spending increases, the increased tax revenues produced by economic growth will eliminate the annual budget deficit in a few years.  Of course, then we’ll have to start paying down the $17 trillion (soon to be $20 trillion) national debt.  At least we’ll be heading in the right direction.

Here’s another interesting chart — federal spending as a percent of GDP:


What’s interesting about this chart is that federal spending as a share of GDP is now going down sharply — thanks to a growing economy, sluggish though it is.  After federal spending hit a high of 25 percent of GDP in late 2009, it’s been heading down steadily and now stands at 22 percent of GDP, just one percent higher than the 21 percent of GDP the federal government was spending at the end of the President Reagan’s eight years. (Of course, the cost of ObamaCare hasn’t kicked in yet).

Government spending as a share of GDP reached its low point in modern history of 18 percent under the Presidency of Bill Clinton.

The economy was booming under Clinton and the Republican-controlled Congress — which curbed Bill Clinton’s desire to spend.

Reagan likely would have brought federal spending down to the 18 percent it was at the end of the Clinton Presidency, but Reagan had a Cold War against the Soviets to win.

So what’s the lesson here?

It could be that the formula for success is for Republicans to control the Congress and Democrats to control the Presidency.

Why might this be the case?

Because Congress spends the money, not the President. As long as Republicans control Congress (the purse strings), we should be able to keep spending in check and grow our way out of the deficit.

That’s what happened during the Clinton years. And it’s happening again now.

Democrat Presidents also like to take credit for bringing spending under control, even when they have nothing to do with spending.  Even Obama is touting himself as a fiscal conservative and similar to Reagan.  Of course, that’s a laugh.  There’s no limit to what Obama would spend if he could.

But the Republican House won’t let Obama spend more. So Obama is happy to take the credit for bringing spending under control, just as Bill Clinton took credit when he was forced by Congress to rein in spending.

But when Republicans win the Presidency, their tendency is to want to spend like Democrats . . . because they want to please the media and get along with the ruling class. This was certainly the case with both George H.W. Bush (remember “compassionate conservatism”), when spending spiked up dramatically, and George W. Bush, when spending spiked up even more.

I can’t remember which Bush said he wanted to be the “Education President.”  I think both Bushes said that, both misunderstanding the role of the federal government.

Now the Republican Establishment is falling in love with electing a third Bush to the Presidency, Jeb Bush.

No thanks.  Frankly, I’d rather just continue with what we have now.


CHARTS: Here’s what Obama is calling “catastrophic” cuts imposed by the sequester

You heard President Obama’s hysterical press conference yesterday about “catastrophic” spending cuts imposed by the sequester.

Now for some perspective . . .

Note that federal spending still goes up every year under the sequester, even while household incomes continue to decline.

January posted the sharpest decline in personal incomes for Americans in 20 years, and the worst decline in after-tax incomes since 1959. American households have lost nearly $5,000 in annual income under Obama. But the federal government continues to grow and spend more regardless.

The federal government is now borrowing 46 cents out of every dollar it spends. If Obama were really concerned about the “children,” as he always claims, he’d be concerned about the mountain of debt he’s piling onto their backs.

Every baby born today in America owes $55,000 on the national debt debt. This number doubles every seven years at the current rate of spending.

If Republicans in Congress cave on this modest spending restraint mechanism known as the sequester, there really is no hope for the country.

Here was Obama’s presser on the sequester . . .

Why America is probably over

The low-information voter has triumphed.

Here’s a new Pew poll that should depress anyone who knows how to balance their checkbook. The poll shows Americans oppose spending cuts for government  . . . in every area — even for foreign aid.

48 percent support cuts for foreign aid. So almost half think foreign aid should be cut.  That’s the lone ray of hope in this poll. But with that lone exception, support for spending cuts doesn’t reach 35 percent . . . for anything else.

So all these people who oppose any and all spending cuts must include a lot of people who regularly vote Republican, voted for Romney. Go figure.

Only 20 percent support cuts for farm subsidies (which mostly go to giant agribusiness). Just 21 percent support cuts for Solyndra-style energy subsidies and the U.S. Department of Energy — which should be renamed the Department of Energy Prevention.

The U.S. Department of Energy produces zero energy, just prevents energy from being produced.

Similarly, the U.S. Department of Education should be renamed the Department of Education Prevention.

Does anyone think the quality of education in America has improved since the U.S. Department of
Education was formed under President Jimmy Carter in 1979?

The national debt stands at $16.6 TRILLION. We have trillion-dollar annual deficits as far as the eye can see. The federal government now borrows 40 cents of every dollar it spends.

Every baby born in America today now owes $52,834 on the national debt.

We’ve just added a gigantic new entitlement  program (the largest entitlement program of all time for America) with ObamaCare.

So government spending is just going to get even more out-of-control, if that’s even imaginable.

In terms of our national debt, we’re already in worse shape than Greece. Our only advantage is we can just print up more money, like confetti. Greece can’t because it’s part of the European Union.

But the American people see no problem with any of this. They want to spend more, not less . . . just like Obama.

Americans overwhelmingly support the Lindsay Lohan approach to fiscal discipline.

How well do you think this story is likely to turn out?

Why House Republicans Should Let Obama Go Over the “Fiscal Cliff”

It’s both good economics and good politics. There’s absolutely no reason to strike a deal with Obama on this. Just let the Fiscal Cliff happen.

Republican House Speaker John Boehner doesn’t know it. But he hold all the cards in the negotiations over the so-called Fiscal Cliff.

On January 1, 2013, automatic spending cuts plus Taxmageddon kick in — unless President Obama can strike a deal with House Republicans over spending cuts and taxes.

Obama wants to increase taxes, but doesn’t want to cut spending, with the possible exception of military spending. He certainly doesn’t want to cut or even limit spending on entitlements and welfare programs. He wants those expanded. Obama always wants to spend more. Obama always wants to grow government.

The Fiscal Cliff stops his spending spree.

I’m not the least bit concerned about the automatic spending cuts.

Remember, the Fiscal Cliff is not a Fiscal Cliff for you or me.  It’s a Fiscal Cliff for the federal government. It requires the federal government to cut spending across-the-board if Congress and President Obama fail to hit spending cut targets they all agreed to. It requires the federal government to go on a diet.

Isn’t this exactly what we want — mandatory spending cuts?

So this is only a crisis for liberals and Leftists who want no restraints on spending.

Yes, the military will be hit by this. But, frankly, it’s high time we started scaling back our military. Not that I’m against having a huge military if we can afford it. But we can’t.

Right now, 43 percent of the entire world’s military spending is, well, us. We are spending six times more
on our military than #2 China. We are spending 14 times more than Russia. Both Britain and France spend more on their military than Russia.

Russia is really just a Third World country, no longer much to worry about.

There’s no Hitler on the horizon and aircraft carriers are not needed to kill terrorists.

Surely the 11 aircraft carriers we now have are enough.

No other country in the world has more than two aircraft carriers. China and Russia each have one aircraft carrier.

So I’m not losing much sleep over the prospect of scaling back our military some if it also means we have to cut government spending everywhere else by the same proportion.

We need to do this.

The U.S. government now has a $16.3 TRILLION debt and is borrowing 40 cents out of every dollar it spends. We need to cut and we need to cut now. If that means we go from 11 aircraft carriers to six, so be it.

Then we’d only be spending three times more on our military than #2 China.

While we’re at it, let’s also end all foreign aid. We can’t afford that either.

But what about Taxmageddon?

Starting on January 1, 2013, American households will see an estimated average tax increase of $4,223 per year.

Not only will the Bush tax cuts expire, but the patch on the dreaded Alternative Minimum Tax also expires. This will rope another 20,000,000 middle income households into paying the AMT who were never supposed to pay this brutal tax. The FICA payroll tax holiday will also expire on January 1.

The expiration of the Bush tax cuts produces about one-third of Taxmageddon’s tax increases. It’s a myth that the Bush tax cuts only reduced taxes on the wealthy. They also reduced the marriage penalty, increased the Child Tax Credit and the adoption credit, and increased tax breaks for education costs and dependent care costs.

But there’s more, much more.

Taxes on capital gains will go up to 20 percent from 15 percent. Taxes on dividend income will triple for many Americans. Instead of a top rate of 15 percent on dividend income, you’ll be paying whatever your income tax rate is on dividends. So that could be 39 percent under the new rates. And the “death tax” exclusion drops from $5,000,000 to $1,000,000 — with a mind-boggling 55 percent tax rate.

So goodbye family farm, and goodbye family business.

Then, perhaps most crushing of all, most of the 21 tax increases that are embedded in the ObamaCare legislation kick in.

So a tax increase nightmare awaits us January 1.

I say, so what?

If Americans want a gigantic social welfare and entitlement state, they need to start paying for it.

Now, I would certainly prefer there be no Taxmageddon on January 1. But I’m willing to live with it if we also get all those mandatory across-the-board spending cuts.

It would be far better just to have the spending cuts and no tax increases.  The tax increases will certainly hurt the economy, probably plunge us into another recession — a double dip.

But I’ll take Taxmageddon if we get all the immediate mandatory across-the-board spending cuts.

I’ve always believed that if Americans had to actually pay for the government they are getting, they would not want this much government.

But politicians have found a way to increase government spending (especially entitlements) without requiring voters to pay the tab. They do this through deficit spending, and letting future generations pay for it — when the current crop of politicians have long since left office.

But that’s immoral.  That’s stealing from future generations to pay for today’s government benefits.

It’s time to end this generational theft.  It’s criminal that we are saddling babies who haven’t even been born yet with the tab for our benefits. Right now, every baby born in America owes $81,000 on the national debt. It’s time we pay the piper.

This will require brutal fiscal austerity.

But there’s also a big political benefit to going over the Fiscal Cliff and allowing all these automatic spending cuts and tax increases go into effect.

Barack Obama will get the blame.

Taxmageddon will likely push America back into another recession. But that’s, frankly, what America needs. What recessions do is blast the fat out of the economy. We then emerge stronger.

We need to get our fiscal house in order. And that’s painful.

Most Americans won’t like it and will take their anger out on Democrats in the 2014 mid-term elections and the 2016 Presidential Election.

But that’s just a side benefit. It’s also the correct economic prescription.

If you run up your credit card debt so you can live beyond your means, that eventually catches up with you.  Then comes the hangover. There comes a point when you have no choice but to dramatically cut back your spending (perhaps even live like a pauper) until you can pay off your credit cards. You must learn to live with less.

That’s what America must do now.

Why not use this opportunity of the Fiscal Cliff to do these two wonderful things:

1) Put America’s fiscal house in order with across-the-board mandatory cuts in government spending; and . . .

2) Let Obama and the Democrats pay the political price for the pain.

There’s really no need to fear the Fiscal Cliff. It’s the tough medicine America needs.  We have a $16.3 TRILLION national debt, for Pete’s sake. Soon the debt will be $20 TRILLION. And then we’ll be Greece.

The mandatory spending cuts will make us stronger in the long run.

The House GOP position should be no more increases to the debt ceiling.  There’s nothing to negotiate.  The debt ceiling should not go up again, period, ever.  There’s really no reason to meet with Obama to talk over any of this.  Just let it happen.

DURBIN: Obama’s “Jobs Bill” Can’t Get Through Dem-Controlled Senate

But Obama continues to blame Republicans for not passing his “Jobs Bill” (really another “Porkulus” Bill) “right now”

THE HILL: Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said, at the moment, Democrats in Congress don’t have the votes to pass President Obama’s jobs bill, but Durbin added that that situation would change.

“Not at the moment, I don’t think we do, but, uh, we can work on it,” Durbin said, according to Chicago radio station WLS.

President Obama has been calling for Congress to pass his American Jobs Act since legislators returned from their August recess. The jobs plan is made up of a combination of tax increases on the wealthy, new infrastructure spending, an extension of the employee payroll-tax cut and additional funding for unemployment insurance benefits.

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Bill Clinton says no new taxes

POLITICO: Former President Bill Clinton says now is not the time to hike taxes.

“I personally don’t believe we ought to be raising taxes or cutting spending, either one, until we get this economy off the ground,” Clinton told Newsmax in an interview Tuesday. “This has been a dead flat economy.”

Clinton, who is hosting the Clinton Global Initiative’s annual meeting in New York City this week, said that until the country’s debt is reduced, he doesn’t believe cutting or raising taxes or boosting spending are the solution to bringing the country to a full employment economy.

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Failed Solyndra spent $1.9 million lobbying Obama

NEW YORK TIMES: The 1,100 full- and part-time employees who were abruptly laid off two weeks ago aren’t the only ones whose paychecks have been affected by the sudden and dramatic failure of bankrupt solar energy company, Solyndra Inc.

Because for its brief lifespan, Solyndra proved to be pretty good for the lobbying community.

According to records filed with the Clerk of the House and a search of disclosure forms compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics, Solyndra spent nearly $1.9 million on lobbying activities over a period of 43 months from 2008 to 2011.

About $1 million of that was earned by the company’s two in-house lobbyists, Joseph Pasetti and Victoria Sanville, over an 18-month period from 2010 until this year. But Solyndra has also had several big-name lobbying shops on its payroll, including established powerhouses Dutko Worldwide and Holland and Knight, which began representing the then-fledgling company in 2008.

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UNSUSTAINABLE: There are now only 1.75 full-time workers for every Social Security recipient

CNS: There were only 1.75 full-time private-sector workers in the United States last year for each person receiving benefits from Social Security, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Social Security board of trustees.

That means that for each husband and wife who worked full-time in the private sector last year there was a Social Security recipient somewhere in the country taking benefits from the federal government.

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Obama doubles down on stupid with big Jobs Speech. Wants another $450 billion to fritter away

Threatens “Pass My Jobs Plan Now,” or else. Then says we have to wait until next week to see his plan.

Most of the $450 billion he wants will go to his union cronies.

RON FOURNIER-NATIONAL JOURNAL: Pass this jobs bill, and we can put people to work. Pass this jobs bill, and thousands of teachers in every state will go back to work. Pass this job bill, and we’ll cure cancer, sprout wings, and fly.

OK, that last quote wasn’t really Obama’s. But the first two promises—and many more poll-tested pledges—adorned his address to a joint session of Congress on Thursday night. It was a reelection campaign speech that may go a long way toward convincing dubious voters that Obama “gets it”—that he understands how tough life is for middle-class and unemployed Americans.

First, the president opened with an I-feel-your-pain homage that echoed former President Clinton’s 1992 campaign against George H.W. Bush, a one-term president saddled with the impression that he lacked empathy. Second, Obama offered a creative collection of economic ideas—none of them blockbuster—that were better targeted economically and politically than his 2009 stimulus plan.

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The GOP response to Obama’s Job’s Plan should go something like this . . .

S&P: 1 in 3 chance U.S. credit rating will be taken down another notch

ASSOCIATED PRESS: A Standard & Poor’s official says there is a 1 in 3 chance that the U.S. credit rating could be downgraded another notch if conditions erode over the next six to 24 months.

The credit rating agency’s managing director, John Chambers, tells ABC’s “This Week” that if the fiscal position of the U.S. deteriorates further, or if political gridlock tightens even more, a further downgrade is possible.

Chambers also said Sunday that it would take “stabilization and eventual decline” of the federal debt as a share of the economy as well as more consensus in Washington for the U.S. to win back a top rating.

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