It’s no secret that Washington is addicted to spending. Though, it’s true that the budget deficit is expected to decline this year, after four consecutive years of $1+ trillion deficits, the decline is spending isn’t because of any actual spending restraint, it’s a result of gridlock in government.
But declining budget deficits don’t reflect the desires of many members of Congress. According to a new report from the National Taxpayers Union Foundation (NTUF), the net-cost of legislation introduced in 112th Congress (proposed increases less proposed cuts) would have increased the federal budget by $1.3 trillion.
Despite the large increase in federal spending proposed last year, the “BillTally” report has some encouraging findings. Demian Brady, director of research at NTUF, noted that there was a increase in legislation to cut spending.
“The 112th Congress saw a sharp rise in the number of bills to reduce federal spending, with 221 introduced in the House and 127 in the Senate,” wrote Brady. “This is the highest number of spending-cut bills NTUF has recorded since the 105th Congress (1997-1998) when there were 265.” The report also found that legislation to increase federal spending is “being introduced at a much slower pace than in the previous Congress.”
On Wednesday night, Americans were treated to the first of three presidential debates, focusing primarily on the economy. For many Americans, this was their first opportunity to see an unbiased, objective view of Governor Mitt Romney, one untainted by the press, which has discarded all pretense of journalistic integrity and instead rabid Obamamaniacs (some of this is subtle, like the stories the media choose to cover and how they cover them, and others are more blatant, as when MSNBC was busted recently editing video to make it appear Romney was pleading with a crowd to cheer for him, in order to make him look weak and pathetic). For Obama, having the media on your team is like being an NFL team where the referees make all the calls in your favor.
To date, Governor Romney has failed to take advantage of a plethora of evidence supporting the argument against the re-election of the president; high and sustained unemployment, slowing GDP growth, chaos in the Middle East as his foreign policy goes up in flames. Likewise, Romney has largely failed to make the case for his own election by touting his success in private enterprise, as a governor, and as a humanitarian. His failure to do so has been inexplicable. However, on Wednesday he went on the attack from the first moment, respectfully but firmly challenging the Obama narrative that the pliant media has dutifully parroted. The effect was noticeable, with Obama rarely looking at Romney, often smirking and sighing, and just looking irritated that anyone would challenge his greatness.
Earlier this week, as the Democratic National Convention was getting underway, the U.S. national debt hit $16 trillion. Politicians – particularly the Republicans – went crazy online posting on social networks about how we should resist the Democrats and their desire to run the debt up even higher.
As if Republicans in Washington are much different.
The irony, of course, is that so many of the Republicans screaming about the debt are big contributors to (and causes of) it. But while we should definitely be concerned about debt, focusing primarily on it as our problem opens the door for raising taxes. Our national debt isn’t our primary problem; it’s just a symptom of a much, much bigger problem: spending.
If we control spending, we control debt. For far too long, spending has been out of control, and the result is an out of control debt.
We have an annual deficit (because of excessive spending), and the fight in Washington is over a fraction of that deficit. Republicans push for huge deficits, but their huge deficits are slightly smaller than what the Democrats want.
Dan Mitchell recently asked the question, “Does the $16 trillion debt really matter?” That’s a great article from Dan, well worth your time for a thorough read. In short, yes, it does. But focusing on the debt as the disease isn’t the answer.
President Barack Obama, who has overseen four consecutive years of $1 trillion budget deficits and $6 trillion added to the national debt in a little more than four years, issued a proclamation last week designating April as “National Financial Capability Month”:
President Barack Obama, who has increased the national debt by $53,377 per household, has proclaimed April “National Financial Capability Month,” during which his administration will do things such as teach young people “how to budget responsibly.”
“I call upon all Americans to observe this month with programs and activities to improve their understanding of financial principles and practices,” Obama said in an official proclamation released Friday.
“Together, we can prepare young people to tackle financial challenges—from learning how to budget responsibly to saving for college, starting a business, or opening a retirement account,” he said.
Washington doesn’t have a spending problem, according to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). During an interview yesterday on Fox News Sunday, the former Speaker of the House told Chris Wallace that Congress has already cut spending and called for more tax revenue to flow to Washington:
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says the tens of billions of dollars of spending cuts under sequestration that kicks in on March 1 can be avoided through eliminating tax subsidies for oil companies.
“The fact is we’ve had plenty of spending cuts, $1.6 trillion in the Budget Control Act. What we need is growth,” Pelosi said in an interview on “Fox News Sunday.” Slashing spending indiscriminately, she said, would hurt growth prospects for the U.S. economy.
“It is almost a false argument to say we have a spending problem,” the California Democrat asserted.
As you can see in the chart below from the Heritage Foundation, there is still a river of red ink following from Washington, Despite what Pelosi said yesterday:
What planet is Pelosi living on?
We’re starting the year right where we left off — in the red. After four consecutive years of $1 trillion budget deficits, the Treasury Department announced that the budget deficit for the first month of the 2013 fiscal year was $120 billion:
The Treasury said on Tuesday the October deficit was $120 billion, larger than economist forecasts for a $114 billion gap and up from $98 billion in October of 2011.
Growth in expenditures outpaced rising receipts, deepening the deficit. Outlays grew to $304 billion from around $262 billion in the same month last year while receipts rose to $184 billion from $163 billion.
The budget deficit for FY 2013 is expected to be just below $1 trillion, which still isn’t very encouraging. The national debt currently stands at $16.244 trillion dollars, up by $5.619 trillion since Barack Obama took office. This is the same guy who promised a net-spending cut in his first term and called his predecessor, who was horrible on spending, “unpatriotic” because he ran the national debt up by $4 trillion in eight years.
During the 2010 mid-term election, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) ran what was called the “ad of the cycle,” as it focused on the debt issues facing the United States in a very sobering, powerful way.
Set in 2030, the ad featured a Chinese-speaking professor explaining to his students that the United States had tried stimulus spending and got into so much debt that “now they work for us.”
With spending and crippling entitlements posing a real threat to the long-term prosperity of the country and the national debt considered to be a national security issue to military leaders, the ad struck a chord with many voters as they headed to the polls two years ago.
It appears that we haven’t seen the last of this memorable ad. According to a release yesterday, CAGW has teamed up with the Americans for Prosperity Foundation for the “Defeat the Debt” campaign, running the ad on networks across the country through the end of the presidential election cycle:
When politicians talk about budget deficits and spending cuts, it’s typically within a very short-term view. And with federal budget deficit quickly approaching the $1 trillion mark for the fourth consecutive year and it being an election year, the national debt has once again become an issue.
According to a recent Gallup poll, Americans listed reining in the budget deficit as one of the their top concerns. But a new report from the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) shows that the river of red ink flowing from Washington won’t be ending anytime soon as the national debt will hit $25 trillion by 2022:
The Obama administration quietly released a new budget report Friday afternoon at a time calculated to make sure it received minimal attention.
As reported over the weekend, the new Obama budget document lowers growth estimates for the current year to a (still) high 2.6 percent and estimates this years’ deficit at $1.2 trillion. That will bring our national debt to $16.2 trillion by the end of the fiscal year.
The more worrisome number in the new report is the estimated national debt at the end of the current 10-year budget widow. Senator Sessions, ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee posted this chart of the anticipated growth of our debt. As you can see, we’ll be looking at over $25 trillion in debt by 2022:
The Washington Times reported on Monday that, thanks to gridlock in government, federal spending has been lower than anticipated. While there was a $125 billion budget deficit for May, the federal government only ran a $60 billion deficit last month. But even with that silver-lining, the budget deficit for the current fiscal year is currently stands at $900 billion, putting us close to a trillion budget deficit fourth consecutive year:
The Congressional Budget Office estimates the U.S. will report nearly a trillion dollar deficit for the first nine months of fiscal year 2012.
In its “monthly budget review,” the CBO reports that the Treasury Department has accrued a $905 billion deficit throughout the first three quarters of the fiscal year, which began on Oct. 1, 2011. The deficit was $66 billion less than the $971 billion deficit incurred over the same period of fiscal 2011.
The deficit was lower because spending was about one percent higher than 2011, while revenues were five percent higher than at this point last year.
Spending decreased in programs like Medicaid and unemployment benefits. Education program spending fell by $27 billion, or 36 percent, while defense spending saw a decrease of $16 billion, or about 4 percent.
Programs that got increased spending were Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), Social Security, Medicare and veterans’ programs.