Tag Archives: budget deficit

The Hypocrisy of Tax & Spend Culture Warfare

“My stance is that the Bush-era tax cuts contributed to the deficit, did not create any jobs and that they should be repealed,” Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said at her weekly briefing. House of Representatives leader Nancy Pelosi said on Thursday she backs letting lower tax rates for high-income earners expire at year-end, despite opposition by several Senate Democrats who argue the economy is too fragile for higher taxes.

Source – Real Clear Politics – 7/22/10

It’s sort of like when you are a teenager and came home drunk after a party.  Your Dad was waiting at the door and caught you off guard.  You know you need a story, and you know that the story you come up with sober the next morning is going to be much better.  But its game time. You have to say something, so you say something that makes no sense, and hope that Mom is in a better mood in the AM, and Dad has already left for work.

That’s kind of how the House Leadership sounds as they walk back 10 years of rhetoric on the Bush tax cuts.  Democrats have been talking for years about how bad the Bush tax cuts have been for the economy.  They increased the deficit (very true) and they only benefited the wealthy (very untrue).  But now all of a sudden, in an election year, these tax cuts seem to have benefits to the middle class, though just a few months ago they only benefited wealthy Americans.

Extending the tax cuts for top wage earners would keep an additional $676B over 10 years in the hands of citizens and in the public sector.  For an administration whose stimulus has failed to create jobs, for an administration whose borrowing money from China to pay for unemployment benefits, you would think they would want those American dollars out in the American economy.

And to think that the reason not to do this is that wealthy American’s save too much.  As if savings were a bad thing.  Saving to the affluent means putting money in the stock market or real estate, it doesn’t just go into a mattress.  Both create momentum in the economy.  Remember also that wealthy Americans are generally small business owners who create jobs.

I would support not extending the tax cuts because the right thing to do is to raise revenue and borrow less from China.  I can’t be a hypocrite now about reducing the deficit.

I would also support extending the tax cuts across the board based on the reasoning that we need to pump stimulus into the economy.

What I cannot support is the concept of the government choosing who gets taxed based on ability to pay, and expanding the entitlement and wealth re-distribution state.

My opinion – we should let the tax cuts expire for all Americans and keep the AMT – we have to pay for our past and future sins of overspending.

We the people must understand there is a price to pay for expanded government services.  That price is higher taxes. Maybe if we feel the pain of higher taxes, we will be willing to part with the services and the associated dependency that comes with expanded government.

What do you think?

Guest Blogger Jeff


I Will Gladly Pay You in 2014 For A Hamburger Today

The choices we face today range from bad to horrific.  For those naysayers who believe there is no sovereign debt crisis looming, you are just not paying attention.

This week the House will vote on a federal spending bill that will add $26B to the deficit?

But wait Guest Blogger Jeff! – I heard about a jobs bill the House was voting on today to save 300,000 jobs?  And I heard that it was paid for?  Is that what you are talking about?

OK – flip on the Rachael Maddow show, go back to sleep, and just believe that there is a magical money tree growing in the capital atrium.

The bill being voted on is to plug budget gaps in State & Local spending that may lead to cuts in employment in the public sector.  The bill will not create a single job.  It will in fact save jobs, but it will also add to the deficit and let states off the hook in making the tough choices to balance their budgets.  Inevitably we will be voting on another bill like this every 6-9 months over the next 2-3 years just like we keep voting to extend unemployment benefits.  That will add hundreds of $billions to the deficit.

But wait again I say!!!  It’s paid for! – that’s what you conservative scumbags wanted in order to save our heroic teachers and firefighters from having to go on 99 weeks of unemployment benefits!!!!!

Well – not really.  Nearly half the money for the “offset” is coming from proposed cuts to the food stamp programs, which will go into effect in 2014.  Is there anyone who actually believes that in 2014 – about when the 2016 Presidential campaigns will begin, that Congress will actually make the decision on cutting food stamps to pay for these saved jobs?

Of course they wont!

So – does that mean we shouldn’t pass this bill – well – I’m torn.  It will hurt the economy not having these folks able to pump lots of pointless consumer spending into the system.  But by the same token – I know when someone is pulling the wool over my eyes.

Can we get some courage? Can we make a real cut to spending? – How about a pay roll back on government workers of 5%?  That would be a nice sacrifice for the taxpayers continuing to pay their salaries.  What a heroic act for public unions to volunteer pay cuts to keep their jobs!

Did I mention the $16B in Medicaid spending in this bill?  How’s that Healthcare Bill Deficit Reduction Thingy going?

I know where the remains of Jimmy Hoffa are!  They are buried under the capital atrium providing nutrient rich food for the money tree growing there.  And his spirit is fueling the new most powerful force in America.  The public sector workers unions!

What do you think?  Guest Blogger Jeff


Mystery of Government Incompetence Solved!

This month, a library book was returned to the New Bedford Public Library in Massachusetts. The book was 99 years overdue. The title of the book “Facts I Ought to Know About the Government of My Country”.

Had only we the electorate had access to this book for the past century; we might not be in our current predicament. A more informed electorate certainly would have elected more effective and prudent representation.

I took this title to heart and figured there were plenty of things about my government that I did not know. In fact as I looked over a composite of the US budget by department, I recognized the agency names, but what the department really did was a mystery. I chose the US Dept. of Agriculture a.k.a USDA, with one of the heftier budgets, and dove into their yearly filing of how they use their budget and measure success.

First observation, it was a really well put together document. They clearly wanted people to know how they spent their money, why it was important, and how they were going to measure effectiveness.

The amount of the budget was surprising to me. About $97B in 2009. That seemed like an awful lot to protect the integrity of our food supply. But as I thought of all the food we consume and our population size, it occurred to me how enormous the task must be to make sure it’s all safe.

Then I noticed something that surprised me. About 2/3 of the budget, or $62B, was a government entitlement program for nutritional assistance. Also known as Food Stamps.

Let me be clear. Civilized nations should not let their citizens go hungry. All communities should make basic nutritional assistance available leveraging public and private sector resources to feed people in need. But it is staggering to me that there is $62B worth of hunger in the US?

For a cynical on govt. guy like me, it’s was a red flag of inefficiency. No way do we have a $62B hunger problem in America. And if we did, is giving away $62B of free food the best way to solve the problem? How about hiring folks directly to do something valuable for others? I know its very FDR but its better for everyone. Pay them, and they can buy their own food. How about hiring community organizers to match up restaurants and other food services that have extra food, with soup kitchens and faith based orgs so they can distribute existing food without waste? I refuse to believe that we could not solve this problem for much less money, in a better way.

Anyway, I learned that our government takes the easy way out, always. We give people fish because it’s easy, it only cost tax dollars. We don’t teach people to fish because that’s hard work, and takes outside the box thinking. We don’t keep our budget balanced because that’s even harder. Pass the problem along to the next guy.

Whether you agree with my comments or not, I encourage you to dive into the budgets of our government agencies. Its time we all learned the things we ought to know about our government, and started solving problems like hunger, healthcare, and education in ways that don’t involve borrowing more money from China.

Guest Blogger – Jeff Hine


Did I Hear That Right?

In all the noise and anger over TARP, Recovery, and Healthcare reform, we as a nation discovered something far more acidic and corrosive to our democracy than any of the so called “socialist” agenda of government control.

It was late one night, and I was half watching, and half not, switching between the Yankees, CNN, Fox, and Discovery Channel, when I heard something that stopped me in my tracks. Thank goodness for Tivo, I stop; I rewind, and listen again, thinking I must have heard it wrong.  But I hadn’t….

What was it you ask that I heard, and we as a nation discovered?  Our Senators and Congressmen don’t actual read bills before they vote on them.

It’s difficult to do in a blog, but this would be the scene of the movie where there’s a long uncomfortable pause of disbelieve.  The characters would just look at each other and say “did that really happen?”  “Did he just say that they never actually read the bills that they vote on”?

Am I the only one who had a “you’ve got to be kidding me” moment?  The sad part is that I, like the rest of America, got sucked into the next sound bite, completely forgetting about the fact that billions of dollars of taxpayer money have been spent in government programs in the past 12 months, detailed in documents that our elected representatives don’t even understand themselves.  It was not until I was thinking of ideas for this post that I recalled the horror of learning how irresponsible government had become.

Sadder still was the fact that the press is not talking about this.

If an employee of a company entered into a contract with a supplier without reading the agreement, they’d call it something like “fired for cause”.

If it was the Military, and a General did not read a rules of engagement pact put together with a local authority, it might be called something like “gross dereliction of duty”.

So what do we call it when the officials that we elect to make decisions for us, and allocate our tax dollars, have no idea what they are signing up for when they vote?

In defense of this quirk in our system of government, insiders tell me that the legislative staff reads the bills.  Or more accurately the staff is briefed on the bill by lobbyist who wrote the bill, and then the staff briefs the lawmaker. Did I really just write that?  It does not seem it could be true?

So I leave it to you, the online politicos. What do we call it when our Senators and Congressmen act like sub prime mortgage buyers with no money, and don’t bother to read the fine print?

What are your thoughts?

Guest Blogger – Jeff Hine

Don’t Forget the Deficit…

I am a progressive. I want a leaner, more efficient, more effective progressive government. My liberal tendencies don’t preclude me from being a traditional Yankee — and fiscally conservative at that, despite the “progressive” label and popular beliefs. As we have discussed on our show, I’m also a huge proponent of health care reform. But the thing I fear the most right now is that our deficit is growing out of control and nobody is really focusing on it. Sure, there’s talk about it, but there isn’t action yet in the form of legislation. The best article I’ve read on this? From the Brookings Institution. Yeah, that’s right, the so-called liberal Brookings Institution. Here it is, and kudos to them. Everyone should read this article, which is why I’m posting it on the site. — Jeff