One thousand, four hundred and twenty four…that’s the number of days that have passed since the Democrat-controlled Senate performed their constitutional duty to pass a budget, more than a year before the ubiquitous iPad was invented. Judging by the contents of that budget, we can see why Democrats were scared to reveal their plans before Obama was safely re-elected and no longer accountable to the voters. It is unbridled recklessness that passes for the Democrat budgeting process.
Such sheer irresponsibility reminds me of P.J. O’Rourke, the civil libertarian who once said “Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.” Admittedly, it is not fair to compare elected Democrats to drunken teenage boys who, even with a fleet of cars and a swimming pool filled with whiskey could not hope to achieve as much damage as is being done by Democrats right now.
The Senate budget demands nearly one trillion dollars in new tax increases, on top of the nearly $700 billion already conceded by Republicans just a few months ago in the “Fiscal Cliff” deal. An almost equal amount would supposedly be cut from spending, but considering the bait-and-switch tactics that have become the modus operandi for Democrats, it is hard to believe that those cuts would ever come to fruition.
Written by Daniel J. Mitchell, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. Posted with permission from Cato @ Liberty.
I’ve repeatedly tried to expose pervasive fiscal dishonesty in Washington.
In these John Stossel and Judge Napolitano interviews, for instance, I explain that the crooks in DC have created a system that allows them to claim they’re cutting the budget when the burden of government spending actually is rising.
This sleazy system is designed in part to deceive the American people, and the current squabbling over the fiscal cliff is a good example. The President claims he has a “balanced approach” that involves budget cuts, but look at the second chart at this link and you will see that he’s really proposing bigger government.
This dishonest approach also was used by the President’s Fiscal Commission and last year’s crummy debt limit deal was based on this form of fiscal prevarication.
Now that new numbers have been released by the Congressional Budget Office, it’s time once again for me to show how easy it is to balance the budget with modest spending restraint (though please remember our goal should be smaller government, not fiscal balance).
Our friends at FreedomWorks had hoped yesterday to release the findings of the Tea Party Debt Commission at the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington. Despite being sponsored by Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), Senate Democrats shut down the event, forcing them move to nearby Hillsdale College.
Congress has not passed a budget — one of its most basic functions — in 933 days, including two years of overwhelming Democratic Party majorities in both chambers while also controlling the presidency. FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe and Sen. Lee were understandably frustrated by the actions of Senate Democrats, but were undeterred (as you can see in the video above).
In a statement from FreedomWorks, Kibbe said:
“The Senate hasn’t been able to pass a budget resolution three years running. They have been unable to do their job, and now the Rules Committee is trying to prevent the American people from doing it for them,” said Matt Kibbe, president of FreedomWorks
If a deal hasn’t been reached by the time this is posted (the agreement reached by congressional leaders and the White House over the weekend is pending caucus approval), then tomorrow will be a day of infamy. According to public consensus, our credit rating will be downgraded, our borrowing rates will skyrocket, Social Security checks won’t go out, we’ll have to lay off millions of government workers (oh hyperbole), China will get mad, and our cost of living will sharply increase while the quality of living decreases dramatically. The sky will fall, the world economy will collapse, unemployment will make what we have now look like a cakewalk. It will be Disaster;.
Except it will be none of these things.
August 2nd, if a deal is not reached, will not spell the end of the world. Even if S&P and Moody’s try and downgrade the United States. Why? Three reasons: One, if the markets thought we were going to be screwed, they would have done it before. Second, the credit rating agencies are utterly superfluous and worthless when it come to US debt. Third, even if we hit the debt ceiling, Turbo Tax Geithner will be permitted to prioritize interest payments on the debt and send out Social Security checks, meaning we won’t have a default (and Grandma can still buy the ingredients for her damned fruitcake.)
Taken together, these three things illustrate a picture where August 2nd isn’t the end of the world, and that we should really slow down, take a deep breath, and then have a shot of whiskey. Preferably rye, but that’s just me.
For this entry, we will go outside his aforementioned email. Don’t worry; we’ll be returning to it very soon.After taking another look at the debate between Congressman Price and Dr. Lawson, his “Keeping in Touch” newsletter that he sent to the 4th District voters (at taxpayer expense), and his Vote Smart page, there’s a particular claim that Congressman Price likes to make (or at least imply) that his recent record shows to be a bowl of mush.
This claim is that he is some sort of a principled fiscal conservative who works tirelessly for balanced budgets.
Despite all the talk about draconian spending cuts due to the sequester, President Barack Obama has, as part of his FY 2014 budget, asked Congress for $100 million to map the human brain, which is trying to sell as a job creation initiative:
President Obama today proposed $100 million in spending to map the human brain in hopes of unlocking “this enormous mystery” and curing diseases and traumatic injuries.
“As humans, we can identify galaxies light years away, we can studies particles smaller than an atom, but we still haven’t unlocked the mystery of the 3 pounds of matter that sits between our ears,” the president said as he announced the new BRAIN Initiative in the East Room of the White House.
The president said the program, which he first proposed in his State of the Union address, could create jobs and potentially lead to cures for diseases such Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s or autism.
“We can’t afford to miss these opportunities while the rest of the world races ahead,” Obama warned. “We have to seize them. I don’t want the next job-creating discoveries to happen in China or India or Germany. I want them to happen right here, in the United States of America. And that’s part of what this BRAIN initiative’s about.”
Let’s make this clear right now — while researching diseases like those President Obama named is laudable, the United States is flat broke and taxpayers cannot continue to afford paying for it. We just don’t have the money. Also, there is another aspect of continuing to poor federal dollars in scientific research.
Republicans in South Carolina’s First Congressional District will once again head to the polls a week from today to determine their nominee.
Mark Sanford, who represented the district from 1995 to 2001 and served as governor from 2003 to 2011, is well-known and has a solid record when it comes to fighting government spending. His opponent, however, has been running a platform, but he’s not doing much to sway voters on substance.
Curtis Bostic, who will face Sanford in the runoff, hasn’t offered much in the way of details on spending. He devotes a page to the issue on his website with handy charts from the Heritage Foundation, but doesn’t say what he would cut nor does he mention anything about entitlement reform. In fact, half of the page is about taxes.
Bostic has signed Americans for Tax Reform’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge, which is important. However, spending is just as much of an issue — one that deserves more than just rhetoric. And despite all his talk about cutting the budget, Bostic was one of two candidates in the primary who didn’t sign the Coalition to Reduce Spending’s Reject the Debt pledge.
This isn’t a tough pledge. It simply states:
I, [candidate name], pledge to the citizens of my state and to the American people that, except when related to a congressional authorization of force, I will:
ONE, consider all spending open for reduction and vote only for budgets that present a path to balance; and
We’ve heard it before — Republicans have an image problem. There aren’t many who deny this, after a brutal election last year, and continued messaging problems this year. But with the fight over the FY 2014 budget still far from over and an important mid-term election next year, Republicans clearly have their work cut out for them.
And the problem Republicans have isn’t because of their ideas on fiscal matters. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Early last week, The Hill released a poll showing that voters actually responded well to the Republican budget message…as long as they didn’t know that it came from Republicans:
Respondents in The Hill Poll were asked to choose which of two approaches they would prefer on the budget, but the question’s phrasing included no cues as to which party advocated for which option.
Presented in that way, 55 percent of likely voters opted for a plan that would slash $5 trillion in government spending, provide for no additional tax revenue and balance the budget within 10 years — in essence, the path recommended by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) last week.
Only 28 percent of voters preferred this option, which reflects the proposal put forth by Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) last week.
An even stronger majority of respondents, 65 percent, said U.S. budget deficits should be reduced mostly by cutting spending rather than by raising taxes. Just 24 percent said the budget should be balanced mostly by increasing revenue.
For the first time since April 29, 2009, the United States Senate has passed a budget. Early this morning, the Senate finished voting on dozens of amendments and gave final passage to its version of the budget — which never balances and raises taxes by $1 trillion — by a vote of 50 to 49.
It was mostly a party-line vote, 48 Democrats and two Independents, both of whom caucus with the party in power, voted for passage. Four Democrats — Sens. Max Baucus (D-MT), Mark Begich (D-AK), Kay Hagan (D-NC), and Mark Pryor (D-AR) — joined all 45 Republicans in opposition. It just so happens that every Democrat who voted against the budget is up for re-election next year.
Sens. Tim Johnson (D-SD), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Mark Udall (D-CO), and Mark Warner (D-ND) are also up for re-election next year. Their votes in favor of the budget will no doubt be brought up by their opponents.
Negotiators from the House, which passed its budget proposal on Thursday, and Senate will soon meet in a conference committee to try to reconcile their vast differences. Because they’re so far apart — with the House wanting a balanced budget in 10 years, tax reform, and entitlement reform and the Senate pushing $1 trillion in tax hikes and an perpetually unbalanced budget — agreement on a budget for FY 2014 looks unlikely.