Posts Tagged ‘Budget’

The sequestration is a failure

The sequestration was always a stupid idea. Faced with a leaky roof, Congress declared “either we fix the roof or we blow it up!” Congress even in its most functional times is not a paragon of wisdom and efficiency, but this was extra ridiculous. Nevertheless, we were told, the whole point of the endeavor was to pass a bill so stupid it would never be carried out. It calls to mind that certain scene from “Blazing Saddles”.

Read the rest of this entry »

Budgeting for families and superpowers

Wonkblog has a good piece about all the reasons that people hate budget deficits, and all of the reasons why they are incorrect. It’s a great piece, but it does overlook one of my favorite reasons trotted out by politicians as to why we need to balance the budget: “Families have to balance their budget, so does the government!” But do they? No.

Read the rest of this entry »

Negotiating with yourself

President Obama has put forward a budget that includes cuts to Social Security in the hopes of getting a grand budget bargain with Congressional Republicans. The goal was to show seriousness in cutting entitlements in order to get Republicans to show seriousness in raising revenue. Republicans have already panned it, liberals are not happy, and the end result is, well, more of the same. So what was the goal here?

Read the rest of this entry »

The Unkindest Cut

There are a lot of things that bother me about the “sequester”, not the least of which is the fact that it is completed unnecessary and could be fixed with a quick repeal of the law. But another thing I hate, which I hated just as much when it was used at the state level, is the across-the-board cut. It’s akin to cutting out ten percent every organ in your body when you have a diagnosis of lung cancer to see if that works.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Deal II

So I finished reading the The Deal (it took a couple hours at most), and the result was a fleshing out of pretty much everything that was in the original blog post. The long-term deficit isn’t hard to understand: it’s caused by health-care benefits that are out of whack with taxes. It’s really that simple. Medicare is not paid for. And if we don’t raise taxes, we will have to cut benefits for the elderly.

So what’s it going to be? Higher taxes or Medicare cuts? Your move, America.

  • Current Mood: Monday

The Deal

I saw this article a couple of days ago and it piqued my interest so much, I had to buy the e-book (it’s only 1.99!). I haven’t yet read it, so I’ll give my full review later, but the top 10 takeaways from Ezra Klein were true enough to make me want to comment already…

Read the rest of this entry »

A few thoughts

A few random thoughts and links from the past couple weeks:

  • Obama the Communist has presided over a shrinking of the government workforce. You don’t see that reported very often.
  • Once again, more proof that we need to disassociate health insurance coverage from employment entirely (a personal story along these lines will be posted later…)
  • As Kevin Drum correctly points out, we don’t have a spending problem. We have a revenue problem: Popular programs are popular and need to be paid for.
  • John Kline didn’t vote to raise taxes. Everybody in Congress voted to cut taxes. The issue is that taxes weren’t cut as much as some people like. Boo-hoo. See bullet #3.
  • The debt ceiling vote gives a vocal extremist group in Congress the ability to say “Nice country you’ve got there; it would be a shame if something happened to it.” Get rid of it. Because otherwise, we’ll be in crises forever.

Happy New Year, America!

Austerity Bombe

A few facts about the budget:

1. Tax revenue as a percent of GDP is incredibly low. Lower than even the lowest of the Reagan years. Lower by far than the Clinton years.

2. Popular programs are popular.

3. Raising taxes on those making more than $250,000 a year is popular.

4. People who want to cut spending honestly don’t want to cut things they like.

5. Everybody can sit on their hands and taxes will go up automatically.

So really, can we pretend that a serious budget proposal is something that doesn’t involve tax increases? Taxes are going to go up. They have to in order to afford the kind of government Americans want. The sooner we all acknowledge this, the sooner we can figure out how to design our tax system to raise revenue in fair and distortion-reducing ways. That’s the debate to have. Those who refuse to raise taxes are literally shooting the hostage. These are not serious people, unless by “serious” you mean “willing to destroy billions of dollars of wealth to prove a point”.

  • Current Mood: Monday

Squaring the Circle

Surprise, surprise: the Romney tax plan to cut taxes for the richest Americans can only be paid for if you raise taxes on the other 95% of people. Predictably, Romney is saying that the study is “biased”, because it doesn’t count for the massive economic boom that would result. So who is right? Let me suggest to you a journey through the facts as they are largely agreed to on both sides, and when that journey is complete, there really is no conclusion other than Romney’s numbers don’t add up.

Read the rest of this entry »

From The “Duh” Files

The “Supercongress” failed today, as pretty much anybody with an existing EEG could have told you. Who would have thought that after a Congress full of people with vastly different ideas about how to fix the budget failed, a smaller group of Congressional leaders with vastly different ideas about how to fix the deficit would also fail. The only real way that the Supercongress could have worked is if the goal were to get the number of people down to such a small amount that the brain scramblers from Men In Black would work.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Current Mood: Monday

« Older Entries