Whether or you agree with them or not, Republicans in both chambers of Congress have put forward bold and innovative budgets that look for ways to bring the nation back on a path to sustainability.
While Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Pat Toomney (R-PA) have offered their own separate proposals, the budget put forward by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), which has already passed the House, is the vehicle that most Republicans are choosing to reform spending, entitlements, and taxes. What are Senate Democrats pushing? Well, nothing:
April 29 will mark three years since Senate Democrats passed a budget. This dereliction of duty flagrantly violates the 1974 Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act.
“On or before April 15 of each year, the Congress shall complete action on a concurrent resolution on the budget for the fiscal year,” this statute states. Senate Democrats could not care less about this federal law.
This is a milestone in human sloth. While it has taken Majority “Leader” Harry Reid of Nevada and Senate Democrats 36 months to conceive zero budgets, House Republicans have delivered two - one for each year they governed.
Nonetheless, Mr. Reid said on Feb. 3: “We do not need to bring a budget to the floor this year. It’s done. We don’t need to do it.”
“This is the wrong time to vote on the floor,” Senate Budget Chairman Kent Conrad, North Dakota Democrat, declared Tuesday. “I don’t think we will be prepared to vote before the election.”
Are you pro-peace or pro-war? This is a question not only every politician should have to answer but also every American should ask themselves.
Most Americans would answer that question by saying that in their daily lives they are Pro-Peace and as a corollary they would agree that Force should only be used to defend a person’s life or Property. Why is it then when these same Americans, whose daily lives are built upon Peaceful interactions with their fellow human beings vote for politicians who are decidedly Pro-War?
Everyone around the world is just trying to live the best they can. That includes those folks in this country who not only advocate for Collectivism but also advocate for war. In this country the citizens who advocate for war overseas and “Obamacare” at home really believe that this is the best way to better their own lives and the lives of their families.
“To subsist to better one’s condition to bring up a family are not affairs of time, or place, or taste, or opinion, or choice, they are the daily constant and unavoidable concerns of all men at all times and in all countries” Frederic Bastiat
There are only two ways to gain what you desire in this world, that is from free and voluntary exchange or by appropriating it from others by force. Those who are Pro-Peace believe hat the best way for them and everyone else in the world is to improve their lot in life is through peaceful Free Trade. Those who are Pro-War believe in forcibly taking what another has produced by force or as Bastiat called it “spoliation” or “plunder”.
By now you’ve heard that a company spent $200,000 from the federal “stimulus” to move a one shrub in the way of a $1 billion highway project near San Francisco. This sort one recent example is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to wasteful spending flowing out of Washington.
If not for a few watchdogs, this would have flown under the radar. Thankfully, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) has published its annual Pig Book, which serves as a guide for taxpayers to wasteful spending their representatives and Senators vote for in appropriations bills.
Many will no doubt take issue with what is or isn’t an earmark. Some members of Congress or supporters of a specific project may say that it’s needed in whatever way and shouldn’t be scrutinized. However, CAGW defines an earmark as any project:
- Requested by only one chamber of Congress;
- Not specifically authorized;
- Not competitively awarded;
- Not requested by the President;
- Greatly exceeds the President’s budget request or the previous year’s funding;
- Not the subject of congressional hearings; or
- Serves only a local or special interest.
The report brings a rare bit of good news this year. According to CAWG, the number of earmarks passed by Congress “has dropped by 98.3 percent, from 9,129 in FY 2010 to 152 in FY 2012” and the cost “has decreased by 80 percent, from $16.5 billion in FY 2010 to $3.3 billion in FY 2012, which is the lowest amount since 1992.”
As you have seen here and in the news, President Barack Obama has started a war against House Republicans over Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget, claiming the the spending cuts being proposed to domestic programs is “social darwinism.” Over at Cato @ Liberty, David Boaz takes Obama to task for the level of discourse he’s using to bash Republicans:
[H]eadlines this week report that President Obama accused the Republicans of “social Darwinism,” and I don’t see anyone exercised about that. A New York Times editorial endorses the attack.
Is “social Darwinist” within some bound of propriety that “socialist” violates? I don’t think so. After all, plenty of people call themselves socialists — not President Obama, to be sure, but estimable figures such as Tony Blair and Sen. Bernie Sanders. Members of the British Labour Party have been known to sing the socialist anthem “The Red Flag” on the floor of Parliament.
But no one calls himself a social Darwinist. Not now, not ever. Not Herbert Spencer. The term is always used to label one’s opponents. In that sense it’s clearly a more abusive term than “socialist,” a term that millions of people have proudly claimed.
Earlier this year, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the White House both predicted in separate reports that taxpayers could expect to see $1+ trillion budget deficit for the fourth consecutive year. Even though it’s to be expected that we’re going to see yet more red ink this year, the latest numbers from the CBO on the first half of the fiscal year are still astounding (emphasis mine):
The federal government racked up a deficit of $777 billion in the first half of fiscal 2012, the Congressional Budget Office said in an estimate released Friday.
The shortfall is the latest sign that the government is well on its way to compiling at least a $1 trillion deficit for the fourth consecutive year.
But as CBO noted on Friday, the deficit is also a $53 billion reduction from the same period in fiscal 2011.
The budget scorekeeper said that most of the $46 billion jump in revenues — a 4.5 percent increase — was due to corporations making higher tax payments or receiving a smaller refund.
CBO also said that spending in a variety of areas — Medicaid, education and unemployment insurance, among others — also fell during the first six months of the fiscal year.
The budget office’s release comes as budget deficits are poised to play a key role in this year’s election, and weeks after CBO estimated that the 2012 deficit would be roughly $1.2 trillion.
The 2012 deficit is now expected to be some $93 billion higher than earlier expected, in large part because of the extension of the payroll tax cut for workers.
The National Taxpayers Union, one of the few great organizations willing to criticize both parties for fiscal profligacy, has released its congressional ratings for 2011. These ratings give voters concerned about fiscal issues an idea as to whether or not their representatives are being responsible with their tax dollars. And while there are certainly several members in each chamber devoted to protecting their interests, the overall view isn’t that great — though it did get better between 2010 and 2011:
Between 2010 and 2011, the average “Taxpayer Score” in the House rose from 42 percent to a rounded level of 50 percent. This is the first time the House mean has managed to reach the halfway mark since 1996. The Senate’s average inched up from 45 percent to 46 percent. The Senate had an all-time low of 28 percent in 1988, and the House hit bottom that same year, at 27 percent. The highest marks were reached in 1995, when House and Senate averages were 58 percent and 57 percent, respectively.
In the latest Congress, 53 lawmakers attained scores sufficient for an “A” grade (a minimum score of 85 percent in the House and 90 percent the Senate) and therefore won the “Taxpayers’ Friend Award” – representing a decline from the 79 who achieved the honor in 2010. Typically, between 50 and 60 Members of Congress receive the Award.
On the other hand, slightly over 200 Senators and Representatives were tagged with the title of “Big Spender” for posting “F” grades (20 percent or less in the House and 19 percent or less in the Senate). Perhaps the only encouraging aspect of this development for taxpayers is that for the past four years, at least 250 Big Spenders had been lurking in Congress (the record of 267 was tallied in both 2008 and 2009).
In the latest video from Learn Liberty, Prof. Antony Davies explains that the federal government spendings about $434 million an hour, over $10 billion a day. Davies notes that, at the current rate of spending, the federal government runs out of money on July 31st; meaning that in order to balance the budget, Congress would need to cut five months of spending:
While President Barack Obama’s budget went down in flames in the House on Wednesday evening — though introduced by Republicans since no Democrat apparently would carry it, Rep. Paul Ryan’s proposal cleared the House yesterday:
By a mostly party-line vote, the House of Representatives approved Paul Ryan’s “Path to Prosperity” budget resolution today by a count of 228-191, slashing trillions of dollars in federal spending over the next decade, but inflaming Congressional Democrats for proposing controversial reforms to programs like Medicare.
Ryan’s budget blueprint claims less than $5 trillion relative to the president’s budget proposal, and spends $3.5 trillion less over 10 years than the current spending levels. It also brings deficits below 3 percent of GDP by 2015. It would raise $2.73 trillion in tax revenue in 2013, leaving a $800 billion projected deficit for 2013 compared to $3.53 trillion in budget outlays.
Zero Democrats supported the proposal while 10 Republicans voted against it.
You can view the vote here.
As you know, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) presented his budget last week. While there are some positives in his proposal, it doesn’t do enough to get the country back on a sustainable path. This is why conservatives in Congress, including Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and the House Republican Study Committee, have rolled out their own separate proposals to deal with the long-term fiscal issues that pose a real threat to our future prosperity.
So, let’s say you’re a conservative or libertarian and you’re trying to figure out what budget to get behind. Well, our friends over at FreedomWorks have put together a handy budget report card (click on the chart below to open the PDF) that will help compare and contrast the various options on the table:
So-called “progressives” in Congress have also rolled out their own budget, which is worse than what President Barack Obama has submitted, raising taxes by 40% and increasing the deficit by some $6 trillion.
Over the last few days, there has been a lot of talk about Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget proposal for FY 2013. Democrats are, as you might imagine, slamming it at every turn they get, claiming the spending cuts are too deep. However, many conservatives and Tea Party activists are skeptical over it because it doesn’t cut spending enough to bring the country back on a sustainable path quickly enough.
Veronique de Rudy, a research fellow at the Mercatus Center, compares both Ryan’s budget and the spending proposed by President Barack Obama and finds a marginal difference:
At $3.53 trillion in total spending, the Ryan plan is only 5 percent less than the president’s. Where the Ryan plan projects an annual average growth of projected spending from 2013 to 2022 at 4 percent, the president’s plan projects it at 5 percent.
Of the $5 trillion in savings in the Ryan plan’s 10-year spending projections, compared to Obama’s, $352 billion would come from discretionary programs, $2.5 trillion from so-called entitlements, and $514 billion from interest costs.
Apart from a modest reduction in spending for Medicare and Medicaid, the only significant difference between the two plans is the anticipated repeal of the 2010 health care law. Social Security ($10.5 trillion) and funds for the “global war on terrorism” ($500 billion) are left untouched in both plans.
Cumulative spending over the next 10 years under both the Ryan plan ($40 trillion) and the White House plan ($45 trillion) pale in comparison to the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate of $47 trillion—an estimate based on historical spending patterns and realistic assumptions about laws that are set to expire.