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  • federal budget

    Closing the Deficit Requires an Open Mind, Not an Open Wallet

    The typically staid pages of the Washington Post Business Section were graced this morning with subtle humor from the virtual pen of the ever-sober, oft sagacious Steven Pearlstein. In a piece titled “Keeping an open mind on solutions to the budget deficit”, Pearlstein neatly lays out the argument one typically … More

    Corrected VAT Lessons From Canada

    Marty Sullivan, a frequent commentator on tax policy, has now apparently decided the United States needs a value-added tax (VAT). To advance the cause, he penned a brief column on “VAT Lessons from Canada” [“VAT Lessons From Canada”, Martin A. Sullivan, Tax Notes, May 3, 2010.] However, in trying to … More

    Two Cheers for Dueling Earmark Reform Proposals in House

    After enacting 93,000 earmarks at a cost of $200 billion over the past decade, lawmakers are finally taking the first steps to rein them in. First, House Democrats hinted they may announce a moratorium on earmarks to for-profit companies (while retaining them for non-profit organizations and state and local governments). … More

    Senate Rejects Spending Caps, and Reality

    Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HI), chairman of the Appropriations Committee, took to the floor yesterday to protest an effort led by Senators Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) to place a relatively modest cap on discretionary spending. Before raising a budget point of order (which requires 60 votes to overcome), … More

    A Second Chance for Fiscal Responsibility

    Last January, Senators Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) introduced an amendment which would have taken the first steps toward restoring fiscal responsibility in Washington. While the amendment failed to attain the necessary 60 votes for passage, it did gain strong bipartisan support, with 16 Democrats joining all but … More

    Obama Pushes U.S. Credit Rating Below France

    On Tuesday, February 2, President Obama released his budget forecasting a deficit for 2010 of $1.6 trillion for the year and $9.1 trillion from 2010 through 2020. The next day the Moody’s credit rating agency announced Obama’s budget policies were so profligate and irresponsible as to risk the credit rating … More

    Is Obama's Underwhelming Spending Freeze A Fakeroo?

    The President has the right idea with his proposal to freeze spending.  Unfortunately, after driving spending to a record $3.7 trillion—nearly 26% of GDP—last year with the accompanying $1.4 trillion deficit, the proposal is at best a bit….underwhelming. According to the administration, only $447 billion in spending would be subject to … More

    Discretionary Spending Caps, A Good First Step

    After quietly increasing the federal debt limit from $12.1 trillion to $12.4 on Christmas Eve, the US Senate is beginning debate today on yet another increase. Hoping to avoid making the skyrocketing debt levels an election issue; this time around they want to pass an increase large enough to feed their … More

    Honest Medicare Budgeting in Health Care Reform

    The health care reform wallowing through Congress includes a ploy reminiscent of the “liar loans” prominent during the recent real estate bubble before its collapse. The bill cuts imaginary Medicare spending and uses the funds for real spending elsewhere. Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH) has blown the whistle on this charade. … More

    Continuing Resolution Only Delays Federal Spending Spree

    Today, the House of Representatives passed the $32.2 billion Interior-Environment Appropriations conference report, including a continuing resolution to fund the remaining portions of the federal government at FY2009 levels until December 18th. This bill, a 17 percent increase over last years levels, represents Congress’s continued disregard for mounting federal debt … More