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.
Desparately trying to get back in a groove after a rough end to last week, President Barack Obama visited Cleveland, Ohio yesterday where he relaunched his economic message with familar themes and talking points:
Framing his re-election bid as a stark choice between government action to lift the middle class and a return to Republican economic policies that he said had caused a deep, on Thursday called the presidential decision facing Americans a clear-cut one that will determine the long-term trajectory of the economy.
“This November is your chance to render a verdict on the debate over how to grow the economy, how to create good jobs, how to pay down our deficit,” Mr. Obama told enthusiastic supporters at Cuyahoga Community College here. “Your vote will finally determine the path that we take as a nation — not just tomorrow, but for years to come.”
In his remarks, the president acknowledged that divergent views between him and Mr. Romney on how to revive the economy would define the election.
“There is one place I stand in complete agreement with Mr. Romney,” Mr. Obama said. “This election is about our economic future.”
Not only is President Barack Obama dealing with his recent comments about the private-sector and slowing job growth, more bad news came down yesterday. Sadly, Reuters reported yesterday that the monthly budget deficit for May — $125 billion — was up from the previous year (emphasis mine):
The U.S. government posted a budget deficit of $125 billion in May, more than twice the level registered in the same month last year.
So far this fiscal year, the budget deficit stands at $844.5 billion, narrower than at the same time a year ago.
Under the government’s accounting system, October is the opening month of fiscal 2012. During fiscal 2011 which ended Sept. 30, the budget deficit totaled $1.296 trillion.
Remember that Obama said during his 2008 campaign against Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) that he would deliver a “net-spending cut” during his first term. Here we are now more than three years into his presidency and the national debt has increased by $5 trillion. When George W. Bush ran up spending by $4 trillion over eight years, then-Sen. Obama slammed his “unpatriotic” spending from the Senate floor.
There is not denying that Bush was a spend-thrift, which is why I shdder when Republicans say they “miss” him. However, Obama almost makes his predecessor look reasonable by comparison.
If you’re a conservative and you followed the rhetoric over President Barack Obama’s push to raise taxes, then you know that he liked to invoke Ronald Reagan’s name whenever possible. Obama said that Reagan was willing to raise taxes on the rich and compromised on tax hikes nearly a dozen times.
Those of us that look up to Reagan know his record. Over the course of his two-terms in office, Reagan, who was well versed in the works of F.A. Hayek and other free market economists, cut the top marginal tax rate from 70% to 28% and taxpayers saw a net-tax cut. Unfortunately, Reagan did sign several tax hikes into law, though they’re not what many make them out to be, Matt Lewis explains:
[T]he notion that Reagan was a tax-hiker has persisted. In recent years, Republicans ranging from former Sen. Alan Simpson to Reagan aide Bruce Bartlett have been cited noting that Reagan raised taxes (he did.) But their statements are often taken out of context — as if to muddy the waters — to make it appear that Reagan was a fan of tax hikes.
While the claim has been thoroughly debunked, his campaign and the White House continue to insist that Barack Obama has been fiscally responsible during his first term in office. On his website, Obama’s team says:
The truth is, the President’s supposed ‘spending binge’ is nothing but a myth, repeatedly debunked by independent fact checkers. Federal spending growth has actually been slower under President Obama than under any other president since Dwight Eisenhower.
Obama’s team once again points to the MarketWatch opinion column by Rex Nutting as its “proof.” But taxpayers have seen $1+ trillion budget deficits for four years running, $5+ trillion added to the national debt, and a 25% increase in federal spending since Obama took office. If that doesn’t speak for Obama’s fiscal mess, than I don’t know what does. Nevertheless, the Washington Post’s fact-checker looked at the campaign and, once again, tore Obama down:
[H]ow have the truly independent fact checkers evaluated Nutting’s analysis? The big question is how much of 2009 spending should be attributed to Obama’s policies. There is no easy or simple answer, and different people can come to slightly different conclusions. But no one ended up in the same place as Nutting.
Here’s a summary, with some editing for clarity:
What should you do if you’re running for office against a politician that won’t show up for a debate? If you’re Dan Liljenquist, who is running to unseat Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), you debate a cardboard cut out:
Senate hopeful Dan Liljenquist intends to debate a cardboard cutout of Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, on Thursday night.
Liljenquist’s campaign manager, Holly Richardson, confirmed to the Daily Herald on Monday that Liljenquist plans on holding a debate at the Sons of Utah Pioneers Museum in Salt Lake City on Thursday evening where he will debate the cardboard representation of Utah’s senior senator.
“We are going to have a large TV screen there and play Sen. Hatch’s answers,” said Richardson, noting that Hatch’s voice will still be heard at the debate.
Richardson claimed the move is not new to Utah politics as she said Hatch also held debates against cardboard cutouts of his primary opponent when he ran for the Senate in 1976. Richardson stated that Hatch said at his cardboard debate that his opponent seemed like he had decided he doesn’t have to run a race. She called Hatch’s past statement ironic.
Hatch’s campaign manager Dave Hansen called the Thursday night debate a gimmick by the Liljenquist team to try to drum up press coverage for their candidate.
“They are trying to do everything with bells and whistles to get some attention,” Hansen said. “The senator is trying to get out and listen to the voters and talk with them.”
If you listen to President Barack Obama, he’d have you believe that he has been fiscally reponsible and that his stimulus plan got the economy moving again. However, those of us looking at the river of red ink flowing from Washington and stagnant employment numbers seen an entirely different picture.
Indeed, the facts show that Obama has been fiscally profligate by dramatically increasing spending and passing a wasteful stimulus bill, which hasn’t really helped the economy more than three years after becoming law. In fact, the Congressional Budget Office recently noted that the stimulus bill could have a net-negative impact on the economy.
But in a new ad buy, American Crossroads explains that Obama’s spending binge has been problematic for the economy, noting that by the time the 30-second ad ends, the national debt will have grown $1.4 million:
Yesterday, I was grabbing a cup of coffee while browsing through Twitter when I saw a headline that literally made me spit my drink out of my mouth. President Barack Obama will apparently attempt to paint Mitt Romney, who has mathematically secured enough delegates to win the GOP nomination, as a libertarian (note Obama doesn’t actually use that term to describe Romney, but the beliefs describe are libertarian in nature):
President Barack Obama is previewing his next strategy in the 2012 campaign — an audacious effort to paint former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and the majority GOP as radical libertarians that have abandoned mainstream American politics.
Since 2000, “we [Democrats] haven’t moved that much. … What’s changed is the Republican Party,” Obama told a group of wealthy donors gathered Monday night at a New York town-house owned by Marc Lasry. Lasry is a billionaire equity-capitalist who runs a $20 billion fund that buys up the shaky assets of failing companies.
Republicans “have gone from a preference for market-based solutions to an absolutism … [to] a belief that all regulations are bad; that government has no role to play,” said Obama, who has presided over record unemployment of at least 8.1 percent, record deficits of more than $1 trillion per year, and a record $5 trillion increase in the national debt.
The president’s divisive strategy is designed to persuade swing-voters that the former governor of Massachusetts is a radical libertarian, even though Obama has repeatedly said his health-sector law is modeled on Romney’s Massachusetts law.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released the Long-Term Budget Outlook yesterday that has no doubt raised some eyebrows on the Hill as well as among Americans concerned about our fiscal future. To say the paints a pessimistic view of our long-term budget issues is an understatement:
The Congressional Budget Office on Tuesday painted a stark picture of the country’s fiscal future, which will be determined in part by tough choices lawmakers face in the coming months on the federal budget.
The CBO, the nonpartisan official beancounter in Washington, painted two scenarios for Congress.
The first assumes laws currently in place rule the day. That means lawmakers do nothing to lessen the effects of the so-called fiscal cliff and allow $7 trillion in tax hikes and spending cuts start to take effect in January.
Under that scenario over the long run, debt falls to 53% of the size of the economy by 2037 from more than 70% today. Tax revenue would rise to 24% of GDP in 25 years and keep growing. That would be well above the 18.3% historical average
Then there’s the second scenario analyzed by CBO — the one many consider to be a more realistic outlook.
In that scenario, Congress largely leaves many of today’s policies in place. Among them: The Bush tax cuts. Protection for the middle class against the Alternative Minimum Tax. A rollback of scheduled payment cuts for Medicare doctors.
The agency also assumes lawmakers cancel the nearly $1 trillion in spending cuts set to take effect next year.
During the fall of 2010, Republicans promised Americans that they would work to bring the country back on a sustainable fiscal path, promising spending cuts and, eventually, a balanced budget. But the results of House Republican rule have been less than pleasing. CNS News reports that since they took control last year, the national debt has increased by $1.59 trillion:
The Republican-controlled House of Representatives, which took office in January 2011, has enacted federal spending bills under which the national debt has increased more in less than one term of Congress than in the first 97 Congresses combined.
In the fifteen months that the Republican-controlled House of Representatives—led by Speaker John Boehner—has effectively enjoyed a constitutional veto over federal spending, the federal government’s debt has increased by about $1.59 trillion.
The approximately $1.59 trillion in new debt accumulated since the Republican-controlled House gained a veto over federal spending legislation is more than the total increase in the federal debt between 1789, when the first Congress convened, and October 1984, when the 98th Congress was nearing the end of its second session.
Rep. Frederick Muhlenberg of Pennsylvania served as speaker in the first Congress. Rep. Tip O’Neill of Massachusetts served his third term as speaker in the 98th Congress.
When Boehner became speaker on Jan. 5, 2011, the federal government was operating under a continuing resolution that had been passed on Dec. 21, 2010 by a lame-duck Congress. That CR expired on March 4, 2011.