It’s no secret that Howard Dean, the former Vermont government who served as DNC chair, isn’t a fan of Obamacare. He’s frequently criticized the law, once calling it a bailout for insurance companies.
But during an appearance last week on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Dean expressed concern that the subsidies available for some who purchase coverage on the exchanges will increase federal spending. The comments came in an exchange with David Gregory about whether young people need to sign-up for coverage to make the math behind law’s promise of “affordable” coverage work.
“But, governor,” Gregory told Dean, “the White House officials who work most closely with this say what’s key to making it successful is to get the risk pools right.”
“David, I know they say that. I thought they were wrong from the beginning. This is the same consultants that put together Romneycare,” Dean replied. “They believed that, I don’t believe it. And I don’t believe it because I have 20 years experience in making this work. We can go into that another time.”
“The bottom line though is the next crisis here, assuming we get through all this is the tax subsidies,” Dean said. “It is going to make the federal budget more expensive.”
The already small chance of Congress passing any sort of entitlement reform in a budget agreement before the mid-December deadline may have gotten a little smaller thanks to a prominent labor leader.
In a speech before the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans on Monday, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka promised that Big Labor would “never stop working” to end the careers of congressional Democrats who support entitlement reform.
“Let me just say this one for the record. No politician — I don’t care the political party — will get away with cutting Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid benefits. Don’t try it. And this warning goes double for Democrats,” said Trumka, according to the Washington Examiner. “We will never forget. We will never forgive. And we will never stop working to end your career.”
For all the Democrats’ complaints about conservative groups and organizations making it difficult for Congress to get anything done, labor unions have long had a stranglehold on the party. Since 1990, Big Labor has given $751.8 million to Democratic candidates, which is 92% of their contributions. And in 2008, they worked heavily for then-candidate Barack Obama, who promised them their long-desired legislative goal, card check.
The government shutdown may have come to an end and the debt ceiling may have been raised, but that doesn’t mean that the fight to rein in the United States’ runaway budget deficits and national debt are over.
Citizens Against Government Waste, a DC-based organization focused on reducing spending, has launched a series of edgy videos this week that they hope will raise awareness to the river of red ink still flowing from nation’s capital and the $17 trillion — and growing — national debt.
The first video, released on Tuesday, shows a salacious, perhaps indecent text message conversation between two people, before noting that the “size of government debt is shocking”:
The second video, released on Wednesday, shows reactions of shocked and appalled people, leading one to believe that bewilderment is because they’re discovering the size of the national debt for the very first time:
Yesterday’s video showed a bunch of filthy pigs feeding at the trough, a comparison to cronyism and greed of interests groups who far too often lobby Congress for a piece of the budgetary swill:
“The sequester is quite possibly the greatest thing to have happened to the fiscal conservative cause, at least in quite some time as far as I can remember.” — Jonathan Bydlak
It’s that time of year when spending battles come to the forefront of political discussion in Washington. Various congressional committees are currently debating appropriations measures that will divvy up taxpayer dollars to fund the federal government and a litany of government programs.
Most free market groups place heavy emphasis on taxes and regulatory concerns. But the Coalition to Reduce Spending, as their name suggests, seeks to focus its efforts on spending and budget deficits.
United Liberty recently talked with Jonathan Bydlak, president of the Coalition to Reduce Spending, about his organization’s very specific focus on the river of red ink that has been flowing from Washington.
“When you think about which groups in DC tend to be the most effective, it usually, in my experience, are those that have a very focused mission and execute on that mission very effectively,” Bydlak told United Liberty. “So there’s a reason why people pay attention to the NRA or the ACLU — because their mission is very focused and they build an interest group and they are very successful at accomplishing that mission. Nobody’s really done that for the issue of spending.”
Written by Chris Edwards, Director of Tax Policy Studies at the Cato Institute. Posted with permission from Cato @ Liberty.
It’s widely accepted that George W. Bush was a big-spending president. He was a social conservative, but not a fiscal one. To his credit, however, even Bush recognized how wasteful and unfair farm subsidies are, and he vetoed the last major farm bill in 2008.
That bill “would needlessly expand the size and scope of government,” he said in his veto message. Unfortunately, Congress overrode Bush’s veto and the 2008 farm bill became law at an estimated taxpayer cost of $640 billion over 10 years.
Congress is moving ahead on another farm bill this year, with the Senate recently passing its version and the House to take up a bill shortly. The Senate-passed bill would spend $955 billion over 10 years—49 percent more than the 2008 bill that was too expensive even for Bush.
Four-fifths of the spending in this year’s farm bill is for food stamps, yet 18 Republican senators still voted for it. Perhaps those members hadn’t noticed that the cost of food stamps has quadrupled over the last decade. Perhaps they hadn’t noticed that federal government debt has doubled since 2008. To members who see themselves as fiscal conservatives, it should be obvious that a less expensive bill this time around is appropriate, rather than one that is far more expensive.
There has been some squabbling in the Senate over the appointment of members to a conference committee with the House try to iron out the differences between the chambers over their separate version of the FY 2014 budget. Conservative members of the Senate — led by Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Mike Lee (R-UT) — have objected to the appointment of conferees over concern that a budget agreement would be used for a backdoor national debt increase.
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) once again attacked these fiscal conservatives. “What we’re saying here on this side of the aisle is we don’t trust our colleagues on the other side of the Capitol who are in the majority,” said McCain, according to Bloomberg.
Cruz responded to McCain yesterday on the floor of the Senate, noting that the fiscal mess in which the United States finds itself is the creation of both parties.
“Madam President, [McCain] urged the body to trust the Republicans,” said Cruz. “Let me be clear — I don’t trust the Republicans. And I don’t trust the Democrats. And I think a whole lot of Americans likewise don’t trust the Republicans and the Democrats, because it is leadership in both parties that has gotten us in this mess.”
“You know, my wife and I have two little girls at home, they’re 5 and 2. When Caroline was born, our national debt was $10 trillion,” he noted. “Today, it’s nearly $17 trillion. In her short five years of life, the national debt has grown by over 60%. Madame President, what we are doing to our kids and grandkids, I think, is immoral.”
Watch the full video of Cruz’s response to McCain below:
Many on the Left are praising a new report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) showing that President Barack Obama’s budget, which was submitted two months late, would lower deficits by $1.1 trillion over the next 10 years:
President Obama’s most recent budget request would reduce borrowing by $1.1 trillion over the next decade compared with current law — almost entirely through higher taxes on the rich, large estates and smokers, congressional budget analysts said Friday.
In addition to raising nearly $1 trillion in new taxes, the president’s blueprint would also cut spending modestly, according to the analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
So…more tax hikes, which seems to be the end-all, be-all for this White House. Remember, the $1 trillion in new taxes that President Obama wants would come after a tax hike earlier this year that raised taxes on 77% of American households.And President Obama wants to raise your taxes again.
Jeff Zients, who serves as Presidebt Obama’s budget director, apparently doesn’t know how much debt is in the budget the White House just sent to Congress.
During an appearance before the Senate Budget Committee, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) asked Zients about the $7.1 trillion in increased debt in President Obama’s budget proposal ($5.7 of that is new public debt, excluding governmental transfers). Zients tried to shift the narrative, but Sessions pressed him on the numbers. Zients replied, “I don’t…I need to check the numbers.”
“You don’t know your numbers?” retorted Sessions, to which Zients responded, “There are a lot of numbers there.”
Sessions’ office notes that the national debt will climb to $25.3 trillion over the next 10 years — $19 trillion (or 73% of gross domestic product) of that is debt held by the public. In other words, the You can see those numbers below (click to enlarge into a PDF):
During his first presidential campaign in 2008, Barack Obama unloaded on then-President George W. Bush for his excessive spending. Obama said that running up $4 trillion in debt in eight years, as Bush did, was “irresponsible” and “unpatriotic.” Obama made the deficit into a big part of his messaging during this campaign, telling Americans that they would see a net-spending cut in his first term.
It’s no secret that Obama has been terrible on spending, despite his tough talk and promises, but the price tag on his presidency has hit another sobering figure. According to CBS News via The Weekly Standard, $6 trillion has been added to the national debt on Obama’s watch:
Since President Barack Obama took office in January 2009, more than $6 trillion dollars has been added to the national debt.
“Without fanfare, the Bureau of Public Debt at the Treasury Department quietly posted its daily debt report showing the total public debt of the U.S. government topped $16.687 trillion. (To be exact: $16,687,289,180,215.37),” reports Mark Knoller of CBS.
“On January 20, 2009, the day Mr. Obama took office, the debt stood at $10.626 trillion. The latest posting reflects an increase of over $6 trillion.”
Facing a backlash from grassroots activists just a few days after saying denouncing the pledge he once made to protect Georgians from tax hikes, Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) and staffers tried to play damage control yesterday.
Just before Thanksgiving, Chambliss filled in a Georgia-based television station on some of the “fiscal cliff” negotiations. When asked if he was worried that violating Americans for Tax Reform’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge may be used against him in a potential primary, Chambliss responded, “I care more about my country than I do about a 20-year-old pledge.” Chambliss also took aim at Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, saying, “If we do it his way, then we’ll continue in debt, and I just have a disagreement with him about that.”