Hey Big Spender!

We all know what some people think about Obama and the Dems….they are all about spending cash….they are Big Spenders….Am I right?

We also know, why because we are beat about the head with it everyday, that the deficit is the highest it has been in centuries….am I right?

I know that the big spender tag and the so-called growing deficit are great campaign slogans and bumper stickers…….but the next time you hear such drivel ask one simple question……

If the prez is such a spender, how can we explain this turn of the screw?

The federal budget deficit for fiscal 2013 has plunged by more than $400 billion, the biggest drop since the end of World War II, the Treasury Department says. It comes in at $680 billion—not exactly pocket change, but a lot better than the trillion-plus deficits of the last five years. The deficit is now at its smallest level since 2008, and while growing tax revenues from the healthier economy account for most of the drops, budget cuts and tax rises also helped, the New York Times reports. Revenue jumped by $324 billion to $2.8 trillion, the Treasury says, while government spending edged up to $3.9 trillion from $3.8 trillion. “Thanks to the tenacity of the American people and the determination of the private sector we are moving in the right direction,” says Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew. “The United States has recovered faster than any other advanced economy, and our deficit today is less than half of what it was when President Obama first took office.” The Senate Budget Committee says the outlook for future deficit reduction is good, with an estimated reduction of $3.3 trillion over the next decade because of the cuts and tax rises that came from the fiscal-cliff battles, the Washington Post finds.

I realize the truth hurts….but sometime in history one must let go of BS and return to reality…..but how long will it shrink if we keep giving away billions every time there is a situation that we get nervous about…….throw money at it and it will go away…..just like the surplus we had back in the day……our politicians will find a way to solve that problem…..

What’s That Sound?

While I was otherwise distracted with gathering my wits for the legal battle I had yesterday……there was a story blowing in the wind…….

Sounds like a heavy sigh to me…….after many months of speculation on the approaching debt limit….there were all too many opinions on how it would play out……and Tuesday it played out in a way that few could have foreseen…….

House Republicans backed away from a battle over the government’s debt cap today and permitted Democrats to drive quick passage of a measure to increase the government’s borrowing cap without any concessions from the White House. The 221-201 vote came hours after Speaker John Boehner announced that his fractured party would relent and not seek to add other items to the must-pass legislation. Twenty-eight Republicans voted yes. The bill would permit Treasury to borrow normally for another 13 months; the Senate is expected to pass it tomorrow.

Here’s a look at how it’s being played:

  • New York Times: “It effectively ended a three-year, Tea Party-fueled era when a series of budget showdowns raised the threat of debt defaults and government shutdowns, rattled economic confidence and brought serious scrutiny from an international community questioning Washington’s ability to govern.”
  • Wall Street Journal: It’s “a tactical retreat by Republicans stymied by their internal divisions.”
  • The Hill: “Boehner’s decision drew heavy criticism from conservative groups, many of whom said Boehner needs to be replaced. Many noted that the so-called ‘Boehner rule’ now appears dead—that was the informal name for Boehner’s effort to extract spending cuts in exchange for debt ceiling hikes.”
  • Politico: “It’s also a clear sign of the House Republican Conference’s inability to move beyond fiscal fights and lays in plain view the leadership’s inability—or unwillingness—to corral votes for their priorities.”

Step back and think about what happened Tuesday……could this be a dawn of a new day in DC?  Or was this just a momentary lull…..time to decide on the next fight to pursue?

John Boehner ended the debt ceiling wars, but his fellow Republicans didn’t exactly throw him a parade. The Washington Post today has an excruciatingly awkward account of how Boehner broke the news to his caucus at a private breakfast yesterday morning. “Listen—we’re going to move forward,” he said, standing before a room of drowsy Republicans. “We’re going to get this done.” He said he wouldn’t even consider floating another proposal—he had made up his mind to go with a clean bill. The Republicans sat up, stunned, and silently stared at him. No one booed. No one cheered. Boehner stood waiting for any reaction at all, then finally shook his head and walked to his seat. “I’m getting this monkey off your back, and you’re not going to even clap?” he said as he went, after which one House veteran says there was “how do I say it, a polite golf clap.” Meanwhile, at a private lunch yesterday, Senate Republican leaders were urging their members to drop any filibuster attempts and let a vote take place today, Politico reports. One GOP senator said that most at the lunch were more concerned about “getting the hell out of town” before the coming snowstorm arrived. The response from the right has mostly been muted. The Wall Street Journal today ran an editorial urging Republicans to repeal the debt ceiling entirely and “finally end this periodic self-torture.”

Thoughts?

How cutting government spending can increase the deficit – The Week

I spend an inordinate amount of time reading news from…well just about everywhere.

I read this one and thought I would pass it on…..amazing info but I am still a bit skeptical…..a pretty good piece nonetheless….

How cutting government spending can increase the deficit – The Week.

Why don’t Americans realize the deficit is falling? – The Week

Of course the usual talking points will be in full bloom this year…after all in is an election year….and of course the opposition will keep harping on the deficit and how out of control it is and how if they are elected all will somehow to alright….

But did you know……of course you didn’t because it is not something that they want you to know…kinda craps on their BS……

Why don’t Americans realize the deficit is falling? – The Week.

CBO Scores the Immigration Reform Bill and Finds…(wait for it)…It Reduces the Deficit | Jared Bernstein | On the Economy

The CBO will not cut the GOP a break…..it seems the deficit is going down without much help from the clowns in the GOP……let freedom ring!

 

CBO Scores the Immigration Reform Bill and Finds…(wait for it)…It Reduces the Deficit | Jared Bernstein | On the Economy.

Send In The Clowns

I have noticed that the Righties that follow my blog, and there are a good many, seldom comment on any post that is not the talking point du jour for the Right, which is sad because, believe it or not, I would enjoy an exchange of ideas with them…….so far the only exchanges I get are the talking points I could get from FUX or Drudge……

The Clowns I am referring to this time is not the politicians we elect….no this time it is the overpaid news anchors that pretend that they are all about the news…..a bigger LIE has never been told…..

Recently, the CBO issued a report that was almost totally ignored ny the cracker jack news channels we are all exposed to daily…….the Hill was the first report that I saw on the subject……

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) on Tuesday said the federal budget deficit this year will shrink to $642 billion — the smallest since before President Obama took office and more than $200 billion less than the agency projected in February.

The deficit in fiscal 2012, which ended Sept. 30, was $1.1 trillion, the fourth time it was above $1 trillion under Obama’s administration.

The improvement from a $845 billion deficit this year is due to higher tax revenue than expected and payments from government-backed mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the CBO said.

The office said the revenue increases are temporary.

The CBO had assumed in February that Congress would allow $80 billion in funds to be sequestered from this year’s discretionary budget. The cuts went into effect March 1 as scheduled.

Over the next 10 years, the budget office predicts the government will add $6.3 trillion in new deficits. That is $618 billion less than was predicted in February, and the change is primarily due to lower healthcare and Social Security costs.

Another way it was reported…….

CBO: “The Budget Deficit Will Shrink This Year To $642 Billion.” According to the Congressional Budget Office’s most recent analysis, assuming current law remains unchanged, “the budget deficit will shrink this year to $642 billion … the smallest shortfall since 2008″:

If the current laws that govern federal taxes and spending do not change, the budget deficit will shrink this year to $642 billion, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates, the smallest shortfall since 2008. Relative to the size of the economy, the deficit this year–at 4.0 percent of gross domestic product (GDP)–will be less than half as large as the shortfall in 2009, which was 10.1 percent of GDP. Because revenues, under current law, are projected to rise more rapidly than spending in the next two years, deficits in CBO’s baseline projections continue to shrink, falling to 2.1 percent of GDP by 2015. [Congressional Budget Office, May 2013]

Okay we now have the report……does anyone see the several pieces of good news in the statement?  Granted it is not excellent news but a far cry from the crap your local GOP dipsticks are telling you…..

Good News and the media ignored it to cover morons spouting lies and misinformation……and you wonder why nothing is getting done to make your life better…..the small amount of good news will not do much to help the ever vanishing middle class….but at least it was some good news on the deficit.

I ask again…….what did you see as the good news?

So You Want To Save The Nation’s Money?

By now even a deaf homeless guy in Peoria knows the debate on the deficit and all the worthless plans to save some cash…..most of the savings will come on the backs of the poor and middle class……now there is a good idea if you truly want a two class system…….but I got to looking around for some savings that would not add to the woes of the working people in this country…..the very people that the government says they are protecting, at least the next generation……and if you believe that…..I have a bridge in Brooklyn that is for sale….any takers?

My short search on-line came up with two possible savings programs…..

(Newser) – The Abrams tank sounded pretty remarkable in reports chronicling its arrival in Afghanistan more than two years ago: The 68-ton machine is propelled by jet engines and has a main gun that can destroy a house from more than a mile away. But since its debut, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have been pushing to upgrade the tank, devoting $436 million to the cause. Except as the AP explains, senior Army officials keep telling Congress they’re not interested. “If we had our choice, we would use that money in a different way,” says the Army’s chief of staff.

The Army says it doesn’t need to buy more tanks until 2017; Congress wants the Army to buy earlier models that have been upgraded with things like better microprocessors and color flat panel displays, at a cost of about $7.5 million each. “The Army is on record saying we do not require any additional M1A2s,” said the deputy director of the Army budget office this month. And while tank-proponents Rep. Jim Jordan and Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio insist our safety is at the root of it all—”we are supposed to spend taxpayer money in defense of the country,” says Jordan—the AP notes the country’s only tank plant happens to be located in Lima, Ohio. Such a pet project is nothing new, but the Abrams example is notable due to the certainty of the Army’s position. “When an institution as risk-averse as the Defense Department says they have enough tanks, we can probably believe them,” says a director with Citizens Against Government Waste.

And the next possible savings is in the international realm……..

Source: All Gov.

U.S. officials have long complained about corruption in Afghanistan’s government—and now it’s come out that one of the biggest contributors to said corruption was the United States itself.

In one of the most disturbing tales yet of payoffs, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) spent more than a decade delivering tens of millions of dollars in cash to the office of President Hamid Karzai, according to an investigation led by Matthew Rosenberg of The New York Times.

The newspaper learned that American dollars—what one former Afghan official called “ghost money”—were put into suitcases, backpacks and even plastic shopping bags and dropped off in secret in the hopes it would buy influence with Karzai and warlords.

Instead, the payments undermined U.S. efforts to help Afghanistan develop a legitimate, democratic government.

“The biggest source of corruption in Afghanistan,” one American official told the Times, “was the United States.”

Mohammed Zia Salehi, the administrative chief of the Afghan National Security Office in charge of distributing the CIA cash, was arrested in July 2010, accused, among other transgressions, of smuggling cash out of the country. He made a call to Hamid Karzai and was instantly released.

According to Matthew Rosenberg, Salehi, referring to the contradiction of the U.S. government trying to fight corruption in Afghanistan, while at the same time forking over millions of dollars of cash, said, called himself, “an enemy of the FBI and a hero to the CIA.”

In a follow-up story, Karzai acknowledged the CIA payments, claiming the money was used for “various purposes.” Those close to Karzai said the cash went to pay off warlords, lawmakers and others whom the president courted for support. Karzai shrugged off the controversy, noting that his Office of National Security still receives monthly cash payments from the CIA. Later, his office issued a statement that some of the money was used to treat wounded soldiers, but others suggested that it wasn’t wounded soldiers who were receiving “treats.”

Granted these two programs will not solve our deficit problem, but any savings will help and these two we can live without….now ask yourself why these types of expenditures are seldom mentioned when looking for solutions……

Here’s a flash for you deficit hawks…….food stamps is NOT wasteful spending……buying tanks nobody wants IS!

How about my readers….any ideas on how to lessen the deficit?

Dangerous targets: Why setting a specific deficit reduction target would worsen the economic and fiscal situation | Economic Policy Institute

It is not important now but as soon as they have milked all the PR they can out of Benghazi, IRS and AP then we will return to the BS of the budget deficit…..you might want to keep up because the airways will be filled with false information very soon……..help fight bullsh*t with facts….

 

Dangerous targets: Why setting a specific deficit reduction target would worsen the economic and fiscal situation | Economic Policy Institute.

GOP Math Is Just Plain Wrong!

Now that I have the Syrian stuff out of my system I will return to righting the wrongs put forth by the lunatics on the Right…..and now I bet you think this will be some rambling about the IRS or the DOJ and AP…..SURPRISE!  I will those for lesser minds!

Later this year the circus will return to the budget and the deficit and there is something you need to know………

This is an economic post….I give warning because when it is talked about too many people glaze over and move on…..why?  They get all their info from BS sources……but to pretend that one knows all about politics without a knowledge of economics is just plain stupid…..and there are those that will not let facts change their position.

If you are smart enough to turn on your TV then you know all about the budget deficit and the debate around the issue…….if you are paying attention then you have heard all the flap about the debt as percent of GDP….how this is killing jobs and bankrupting the country……right?  But there is a problem with this rhetoric……with all this choking debt the nation’s GDP is still rising, slowly but rising, 2.5% for the 1st quarter of 2013….now if the toilet math of the GOP were correct would not the GDP be dropping?

Well the GOP talking point that debt is 90% of GDP and economic growth will cease and may even start to decline…….they got this information from a report by two economists, Reinhart and Rogoff……..a good piece was written and cited on any given day but Repubs time after time…….the problem is…..it is WRONG!

Yes I said WRONG!  Not mistaken but outright WRONG!

I will bet you think since you believe me a liberal that I will go about quoting economists like Krugman…..am I right?

Well, just like the Reinhart/Rogoff paper, you and your friends in the conserv movement…..would be WRONG!  Yes, I emphasized the word WRONG!

Why?

………….the most recent period of 2000-2009, which in almost all cases will be the most relevant set of experiences with respect to current policy debates, average GDP growth when public debt is above 90 percent of GDP is higher than when the public debt/GDP ratio  is between 60 and 90 percent.    The findings in our paper are clearly not consistent with the notion that we consistently observe a sharp fall-off in economic growth when the public debt/GDP ratio exceeds 90 percent.   As for the misconceptions concerning causality, I encourage people to read the contribution by my professor Arin Dube. His treatment of the topic is highly readable and offers strong evidence that causality runs from slow growth to high debt.

There is not one word in our paper which suggests that a high level of government indebtedness is never a problem.  It would be absurd to think that governments never have to worry about their level of indebtedness.  The aim of our paper was much more narrowly focused.  We show that, contrary to R&R, there is no definitive threshold for the public debt/GDP ratio, beyond which countries will invariably suffer a major decline in GDP growth. The implication for policy is that, under particular circumstances, public debt can play a key role in overcoming a recession. The current historical moment, with historically high rates of mass unemployment in both the U.S. and Europe   and with interest rates on U.S. Treasury bonds at historic lows,   is precisely the set of circumstances under which we would expect public borrowing to have large positive effects, with comparably fewer costs. Moreover, it is precisely the set of circumstances under which we expect austerity to have substantial negative effects.

Click here to read Herndon’s full paper >

But do not take my word for this……..the PhD candidate’s findings are linked above……read it and decide……..I will also post this article in full in a latter post today….read it……

I realize that the mindless regurgitation on the right will not read this or embrace it….and most likely will not understand anything that is not boiled down to a slogan….I would like to believe that Conservs are not idiots just misinformed…..I said I would like to believe it….but I have seen nothing about them that would lead me to think better of them…..

Oh Crap! Another Simpson-Bowles Plan

A couple years back two dudes, Simpson and Bowles, got together with a group of guys and had a commission that was suppose to be an alternative to the bullsh*t of the budget debate…….it was a complete failure!  Even the prez who created the commission did not take any of their advice for the argument on the deficit….I other words it was a complete waste of time and energy……(go figure….a waste coming out of Washington)…….

Their first plan was a bust ….so what to do next?    How about another budget plan?

The former chairmen of President Obama’s 2010 fiscal commission, Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, on Friday will release a new deficit reduction plan in the hopes of reviving a debt grand bargain this year.

The two-step plan has about $800 billion more in spending cuts than President Obama is seeking and $1.1 trillion more than Senate Democrats have proposed, while adopting roughly the same amount of new taxes from tax reform called for in Obama’s 2014 budget.

The new Bowles-Simpson plan calls for $585 billion in tax revenue from a reform process that starts by eliminating all deductions — then adds back in only those most needed — adopts a territorial tax system and maintains progressive tax rates. This is less than the $975 billion in tax increases in the Senate budget.

By their measure, the newest Bowles-Simpson plan will achieve $5.2 trillion in deficit reduction including laws enacted since 2010, compared to $4.3 trillion in reductions in the Senate-passed budget and Obama budget. Both of these calculations assume that $1.2 trillion in automatic sequester cuts are going to be turned off.

Bowles and Simpson say that their plan will bring the national debt down from 78 percent of the economy to 69 percent of gross domestic product. This compares to 70 percent for Senate Budget, 73 percent for Obama and 55 percent for the House-passed budget authored by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).

The Ryan plan balances without raising taxes by cutting $4.6 trillion in spending, while keeping the $1.2 trillion sequester in place.

The vast majority of the cuts would come from Medicare. Medicaid is largely insulated, except for a plan to eliminate a tax that some states use to drive up the federal government’s share of Medicaid payments.

The new plan would expand Medicare’s means testing — charging wealthier seniors a higher premium — an area where Republicans and the White House agree.

There you have a synopsis of the ‘new’ plan…..but will it be as worthless as tits on a boar…..kinda like their first attempt?