Debt

IMF Says: By the Way, There’s a Debt Crisis

Featured image Two summers ago, we ran the Power Line Prize contest to try to focus attention on the exploding national debt. The contest was successful, in that it incentivized the production of many high-quality videos, songs, pictures, and other media that highlighted the debt crisis, which were viewed millions of times. But like all other efforts to call attention to the debt crisis, it had limited effect, if any. Periodically the »

Three Pinnochios for Glenn Kessler?

Featured image Washington Post Fact Checker Glenn Kessler gave United States Senator Tom Coburn the treatment yesterday. He awarded Senator Coburn three Pinocchios for Senator Coburn’s assertion that the United States has $128 trillion in unfunded liabilities. You may have caught the Wall Street Journal’s Saturday Interview with Stanley Druckenmiller; Druckenmiller actually provides a higher number (more here). I reached out yesterday to Senator Coburn’s office for a response. Coburn spokesman John »

John Thune, live from Gate 21

Featured image Returning from a business trip to Washington, D.C., tonight I was delighted to find Senator John Thune waiting to board the 7:15 p.m. flight to Minneapolis-St. Paul at Reagan National Gate 21. As I said hello, Senator Thune could not have been warmer. I asked him about his trip home. If I understand correctly, he said he was going home for the induction of his father, age 93, to the »

The president’s farcical budget

Featured image Yesterday, the White House finally released its proposed budget. The media promptly touted it as a major step forward, one that can produce a grand bargain on deficit reduction if only Republicans will respond in kind. The gushing first paragraph’s of the Washington Post’s story (by Lori Montgomery) are typical. But Obama’s proposal cannot serve as the basis for a grand bargain. Although it contains some useful steps forward on »

A Simple Solution, Favored the World Over

Featured image The big news in the upcoming Italian election is the rise of former comedian Beppe Grillo, whose party may finish as high as second in the voting. There is a lot about Grillo at The Corner. He sounds like a pretty typical bad-government populist; normally you would think it would be a disaster if he took power, but this is Italy, so things may or may not get worse. What »

Obama seeks to avoid going over half of the fiscal cliff

Featured image Throughout the “fiscal cliff” drama, I argued that once the middle class tax increase was called off (as seemed almost inevitable), Republicans would have the upper hand because President Obama fears sequestration more than Republicans do (or should). The key, then, was to keep sequestration on the table or, as I put it, “to go over half of the fiscal cliff.” Now that we are about to take that plunge, »

Why Is the Debt Limit Important?

Featured image Can’t the government, at the end of the day, just print money, with the unfortunate downside being inflation? It turns out that it isn’t actually that simple, because the framers of our financial system were pretty farsighted. And that, in turn, sheds light on why the debt ceiling is non-trivial. The Grumpy Economist, John Cochrane of the University of Chicago and the Hoover Institution, explains: First, just to be clear, »

Doing It For the Children

Featured image I share Scott’s deep outrage at Barack Obama’s exploitation of children to advance his cynical political agenda. Obama’s misuse of children is doubly contemptible, since his administration has done more than any in our history to sell the younger generation’s future down the river–a river of debt. Michael Ramirez manages to find a glimmer of humor in Obama’s hypocrisy: »

Want to Preserve Your Children’s Future? Slow the Growth of Welfare Spending

Featured image Our children are slated to drown under a tsunami of debt. Do they have any hope? Maybe, as the Republicans on the Senate Budget Committee explain: Currently, almost 95 percent of spending on means-tested poverty assistance falls into four categories: cash assistance, health assistance, housing assistance, and social and family services. Welfare spending has increased on a year-over-year basis regardless of whether the economy has improved or unemployment has declined, »

What Happens If We Don’t Raise the Debt Limit?

Featured image Much of the debt limit discussion is dishonest, like this statement from the Obama White House: There are only two options to deal with the debt limit: Congress can pay its bills or it can fail to act and put the nation into default. This is wrong: under the 14th Amendment, the US cannot default on its bond obligations, and there is no need to do so. Federal revenues are »

In Which I Apologize For Writing About Guns

Featured image I had never been interested in guns until a little over a year ago, when I fired a handgun for the first time. To make a long story short, it turned into a hobby–the first I have ever had, as my wife points out. So when, by sheer coincidence, gun issues suddenly emerged in the same moment when I happened to know something about guns, the result was inevitable: I »

That Was Then, This Is Now: Debt Limit Edition

Featured image Yesterday four Democratic senators–Harry Reid, Dick Durbin, Patty Murray and Chuck Schumer–wrote a letter to President Obama urging him to take all “lawful steps” to increase the debt limit, with or without the Republicans. Byron York points out that all four of these Democrats voted against increasing the debt limit in 2006. At that time, the Democrats pretended to be outraged by the deficits of the Bush administration, which were »

The Coming Avalanche of Debt

Featured image The United States is over $16 trillion in debt. The point is rapidly approaching where our young people cannot look forward to a prosperous future, and in November voters chose to make matters worse rather than better. Michael Ramirez depicts the avalanche that is about to descend on our heads: »

Will We Finally Get a Budget?

Featured image The current federal debt ceiling will be reached next month, and Democrats have been furiously posturing to limit the gains that Republicans can make in exchange for the House’s agreement to raise it. President Obama insists that he will not negotiate over the debt ceiling–not ever, not for anything–and Republicans should agree to raise it without getting anything in return. (This is much the same as his position on taxes.) »

Krugman’s Trillion-Dollar Fantasy

Featured image If you doubt whether the Left has gone around the bend, all you have to do is read Paul Krugman. Today, on the New York Times web site, Krugman argued that President Obama should circumvent the debt ceiling by having the Treasury Department mint a trillion-dollar coin, which would then be handed over to the Federal Reserve, thereby freeing up a trillion dollars in additional borrowing. Apparently this was a »

A “grand bargain,” Burns and Allen style

Featured image The White House reportedly is interested in a “grand bargain” with Republicans as a means of avoiding the sequester and getting out from under the debt-ceiling. The bargain would involve raising revenue by ending or limiting certain deductions and cutting some spending, or at least pretending to. The White House’s strategy sounds like a variation on a very old George Burns and Gracie Allen routine. George holds four cigars and »

Both sides lost because the public rejects their diets

Featured image Yuval Levin argues that the left should be disappointed by the “fiscal cliff” deal. Why? Because “their best opportunity in a generation for increasing tax rates (which is the only fiscal reform they seem to want)” has come and gone with only a minimal increase in tax revenue achieved: This deal is projected to yield $620 billion in revenue over a decade — increasing projected federal revenue by about 1.7 »