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Tag Archives: budget

Where is the Republican Attack Machine on the Shutdown?

Democrats are always so much better at spinning their nonsense than Republicans are. They whine, attack, and rally the troops every time there’s a big battle to be fought, while Republicans think somehow people will come around to their point of view. And Democrats do it in an organized fashion guided by a well thought out, long-term plan that nevertheless seems spontaneous. Republicans focus solely on today’s news cycle and think they can win the PR war via President Trump’s tweets.

The newest battle — the growing struggle over funding for the government, which runs out in a week — is a perfect example of this communications incompetence.

Republicans and Democrats are trying to come to an agreement on new spending legislation that would fund the government through September, the end of the fiscal year. If they don’t, or if they can’t agree to simply fund things at current levels, the government shuts down.

Every single time there is a debate about shutting down the government, Republicans get blamed. But this debate is coming right after an election in which Republicans seized the White House and maintained their majorities in the House and the Senate. That is, voters have just affirmed their agenda. And now it is the Democrats, not Republicans, who are in reality blocking “progress” and “getting things done,” which is the mantra you hear from Democrats during these shutdown debates.

The newly elected president wants funding for the wall with Mexico, the issue that was the banner for his campaign. Democrats won’t give him a penny for it. They don’t even want to give him cash to enforce existing immigration law. He wants to increase defense spending, but Democrats are resisting. What’s more, despite having lost an election, they have demands. Americans voted to end Obamacare, but Democrats are insisting that subsidies not only continue but be enshrined forever as entitlements.

So why aren’t Republicans running around their districts and states and flooding cable TV, shrieking and close to tears about the prospect that “intransigent” and “ideological” Democrats want to “shut down the government” for their own “partisan political gain”? You know, the crap Democrats say all the frigging time.

See, here’s how this kind of BS is done, as demonstrated by a master you’ll recognize.

Yeah, it’s junk, but it’s effective.

Why aren’t Republicans accusing Democrats of potentially allowing garbage to pile up at the Korean War Memorial, or whatever, and forcing the closing of our beautiful and sacred National Parks. And why aren’t they repeating the same phrases over and over until the idea is drilled irrevocably beneath everyone’s skulls and into their grey matter so that even the MSM has to report what they are saying due to the deluge of breast-beating?

WHERE IS THE REPUBLICAN PLAN TO SPIN THIS FIGHT INTO A VICTORY FOR TRUMP AND GOP PRIORITIES?

I got no idea.

Utterly Irresponsible

The most astonishing thing about the budget President Obama submitted today is that he is not even pretending to try to do anything about the debt and the deficit. NOT EVEN FAKING IT. Okay, he’s faking it a bit. He’s pretending the deficit won’t go up. So let’s give credit where credit is due!

And credit, so to speak, is the name of the game here. You see, this is the first president I remember who proposes budgets and doesn’t even offer a path toward eliminating the deficit so our kids don’t have to finance our indulgence.

The deficit, Obama asserts this year, is okay. It’s all cool. What’s a mere deficit in comparison with the grand plans of great men? We’ll just run a deficit that rises in nominal terms but stays at about 2.5 percent of the economy, the “norm” over the last few decades.

EXCEPT THE NORM HAS RESULTED IN $18 TRILLION OF DEBT AND INCLUDES YEARS DURING WHICH THE DEFICIT SOARED OVER $1 TRILLION.

That’s okay? What type of ethic is it that says to go and be profligate and don’t worry about piling on debt?

Obama Oval child
Obama consulting with his chief budget advisor

The deficit will decline to $474 billion under the president’s plan, and then rise to nearly $700 billion over ten years, while staying at roughly the same high level as a percentage of GDP, while total debt also rises nominally but stays at about the same percentage of the economy.

But look at the assumptions. Obama thinks that somehow the economy will grow at 3 percent this year and in 2016, which it hasn’t done so far during his  term. He assumes unemployment declines to 4.8 percent. That we will allow soaring Medicare and Social Security costs to squeeze out other “investments” and that the economy can withstand the $1.44 trillion in new taxes Obama has planned for us.

But here’s the real kicker: The forecast assumes no future recessions of any significance and of course doesn’t work in a major terrorist attack or a new war, any of which would send the deficit soaring again. That is, we’re planning to be in bad shape, and when the inevitable catastrophe occurs, we’ll be in really bad shape.

This is irresponsible. It’s juvenile. And it’s dangerous. How can the leaders of a great nation make such plans?

Obama would do nothing – absolutely nothing – about the future entitlement meltdown. Leave it for someone else. This would be way to hard for someone who can barely lift the phone to call Capitol Hill.

If you want a sense of this – according to the budget documents produced by the OMB, outlays in the federal budget for Social Security and Medicare are expected to double over 11 years from $1.35 trillion in 2014 to $2.6 trillion in 2025. Where’s that money coming from? Current payroll taxes will pay for only a portion of it, and an increasingly small portion. You didn’t think Social Security and Medicare were self-financing, did you?

By delaying decisions on what to do about entitlements, Obama is making future solutions far more onerous. By failing to rein in the deficit, the president is putting America out on a tenuous, brittle limb.

But who cares? As long as we have free birth control and free community college, all is well in the land.

Obama Debt: Over 8 Percent of $1 Quadrillion

The longterm U.S. debt under President Obama’s latest spending plan is far worse than his budget suggests, reaching a total of about $84 trillion – that is, 8.4 percent of a quadrillion dollars, or $0.084 quadrillion.

Yes, it’s time to start using the quadrillion number, because with trillions getting added to the debt at an accelerating pace, the numbers are starting to become meaningless again unless put in the proper perspective.

The Obama budget forecasts a startling federal debt of just over $25 trillion. But that’s only the beginning of the frightening story of the government’s longterm obligations.

Over future decades, Medicare – before taking into account Obama’s “cuts” – has an unfunded liability of close to $43 trillion, according to the most recent Social Security and Medicare actuaries report. That is what the government is currently obligated to pay out to this and the next couple of generations – but for which it has no method on the books of raising money. It just owes that amount, and would currently have to borrow to pay it.

Similarly, the unfunded liability of Social Security is about $20 trillion. And the government has about $6 trillion in unfunded obligations for federal worker pensions. All told, we’re in the hole for about $94 trillion, or nearly $0.1 quadrillion.

Obama’s budget makes cuts to Medicare over the next decade totaling about $370 billion – as you can see, a minuscule portion of the total obligation. And the cuts are mainly to health care providers, which doesn’t amount to the type of serious “reform” needed to save the program. What’s more, the reductions are unlikely to be fully realized because of the lobbying muscle of doctors, hospitals, and other providers.

Obama’s call for chained CPI is, however, a serious proposal that could reduce Social Security’s imbalance by 20-25 percent. So let’s assume under Obama’s plan, Social Security would have an unfunded mandate of about $15 trillion. And let’s be generous and lop $5 trillion off the longterm obligations of Medicare, bringing its shortfall to about $38 trillion.

We’re still at $84 trillion, or $0.84 quadrillion, in total indebtedness.

Now you understand why Republicans are demanding Obama get serious about reducing the debt and enacting entitlement reform, and why his current plan doesn’t seem very serious at all.

Are Republicans Getting Smart?

I know this is hard to believe, but Republicans may be outmaneuvering President Obama on an important issue. According to Politico, Republican leaders in upcoming weeks will be drilling into your brain that they want to balance the budget, while Democrats do not. Because its true AND it polls well, they’ve found. In a weird… Continue Reading

White House: No Budget for Weeks

The White House today said it will not release a budget for weeks, delaying well beyond the legal due date the publication of the president’s annual tax and spending blueprint. White House Press Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest, who led the daily briefing today, said the release date was “weeks ahead.” The Hill is reporting… Continue Reading

Please Don’t Expect Anything Out of Today’s Meeting

Today’s meeting at 11 am between President Obama and the Congressional leadership is one of those Washington things in which nothing gets done but which is specifically designed to tell the public that something is getting done. It’s a photo-op, and not surprisingly, photographers will be invited in to take pictures, and a couple of… Continue Reading

White House Preaches Comity but Retains Sharp Rhetoric

The White House is rolling out a new rebuttal to the GOP proposal, authored by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), to cut Medicare spending by revamping the program, saying Ryan’s prescription is necessitated only by the need in the plan to pay for the extension of the Bush tax cuts for the rich. “[The Ryan plan]… Continue Reading

Obama’s Unscripted Moment

Here’s the CBS audio of remarks by President Obama last night that were accidentally transmitted over the White House feed and into the White House press room, where the indefatigable Mark Knoller was working, apparently alone. It appears Knoller alertly flipped a switch and recorded the comments, which Obama made to some donors at a… Continue Reading