Federal Budget

As our military commitments expand, the military shrinks

Featured image President Obama has found uses for the U.S. military in spite of himself. Max Boot points out that he has just sent 3,000 troops to Liberia to “fight” Ebola; 1,500–and counting–to Iraq to counter ISIS; and hundreds, possibly thousands, more to Eastern Europe to deter Russia. In addition, Obama sent more than 150 troops to Africa to fight Joseph Kony. And he keeps sending troops to carry out various Special »

Dueling Budgets In the House: Which One Is Extreme?

Featured image Today the House of Representatives voted on the budget that came out of its Budget Committee–the Paul Ryan Budget, as it is often known in the press. The budget, which would put the United States on a path toward fiscal sustainability, passed by a vote of 219-205. No Democrats voted to move toward a balanced budget and start dealing with our $17 trillion debt. On the other hand, a few »

Where America Went Wrong, and How We Can Get Back on the Track

Featured image This morning, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew appeared at a Senate Budget Committee hearing on President Obama’s FY 2015 budget proposal. Not a lot of attention has been paid to Obama’s budget, probably because, to an even greater extent than usual, it is dead on arrival. There is zero chance of it being the basis for federal spending next year, let alone the next ten years. Still, it has significance as »

Obama Administration Can’t Describe Its Own Budget Honestly

Featured image This morning Cynthia Burwell, Director of the White House Office of Management And Budget, testified before the Senate Budget Committee on President Obama’s just-submitted FY 2015 budget. Currently, federal discretionary spending is capped by the Ryan-Murray compromise spending bill that Obama signed just 10 weeks ago. Yet Obama’s budget ignores that compromise entirely, and proposes to spend an additional $56 billion in the discretionary category, above and beyond the current »

Obama Delivers Dead-On-Arrival Budget, Lies About It

Featured image President Obama offered his FY 2015 budget proposal today. There were not a lot of surprises, as the key elements of the budget had been leaked over the last week or two. This is how Obama characterized the document in his appearance at an elementary school: [I]t enables us to meet our obligations to future generations without a mountain of debt. This is mystifying. Currently the federal government is more »

Obama Says: No More Austerity!

Featured image President Obama’s budget for the next fiscal year is slated to be released on March 4. While the budget is not yet public, the administration leaked a description of it to the Washington Post: “With 2015 budget request, Obama will call for an end to era of austerity:” President Obama’s forthcoming budget request will seek tens of billions of dollars in fresh spending for domestic priorities while abandoning a compromise »

The Galling Galston

Featured image I wonder sometimes how the reasonably sensible Bill Galston can remain in today’s Democratic Party, whose obsession with equality has elided into pure, envy-filled resentment of the successful.  There’s a reason why envy was long considered one of the seven deadly sins, and to give voice to this in punitive redistributive policy, as Democrats now so clearly wish to do, may well prove deadly to American society. Writing in the »

Now That Congress Has Passed the Omnibus Spending Bill, What’s In It?

Featured image The $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill that was rammed through Congress last week is the latest in a series of massive federal laws that are negotiated in secret, debated scarcely at all, and voted on without being read. Republicans on the Senate Budget Committee were studying the spending bill even as it was being enacted, and have published an excellent top-line analysis of the legislation here. If, like most voters, »

House Republicans About to Vote on Trillion-Dollar Spending Bill They Haven’t Read

Featured image Last month, the Paul Ryan-Patty Murray discretionary spending bill was unveiled. Sort of unveiled, anyway: it didn’t actually exist, but was summarized in a series of bullet points. Now the bill has taken tangible form. Here it is, all 2,860 pages, including explanatory statements: The House is expected to vote on the omnibus spending bill tomorrow, less than 48 hours after copies became available. No one will have read the »

Downsizing Washington: The Series!

Featured image Forget House of Cards! The good folks at the Cato Institute have begun producing a series of short videos about downsizing the ultimate (fiscal) house of cards, the federal government.  Sounds like an overdue idea.  We’ll run a few of them here on Power Line, starting with the one below examining the Department of Agriculture (about 3 minutes long), but if you can’t wait to take in the whole series, »

Return of the Golden Fleece

Featured image The late Wisconsin Senator William Proxmire issued a monthly Golden Fleece Award to public officials who bestowed taxpayers’ funds on risible projects. Senator Proxmire issued the award for more than a decade until he retired from the Senate in 1989. Proxmire was a vanishing breed of Democrat who purported to oppose government waste while supporting all the Great Society programs that really opened the spigots, yet the spirit of his »

Murray to veterans victimized by her budget deal: Ryan’s bad

Featured image As John and others have pointed out, the Murray-Ryan budget compromise cuts spending by reducing cost of living increases in military pensions. The reduction even applies to disabled veterans. Naturally, there has been a backlash against these cuts. So naturally, Patty Murray (but apparently not Paul Ryan) is trying to distance herself from them. Murray’s people are blaming Ryan. But these cuts could not have seen the light of day »

Democrats Prioritize Illegal Aliens Over Veterans

Featured image The Ryan-Murray budget deal cuts spending by reducing cost of living increases in military pensions. This provision was troubling to Senator Jeff Sessions, who is a spending hawk but thinks there are lots of items in the federal budget that should be cut before veterans’ benefits. As usual, I think Sessions is right. Harry Reid runs the Senate with an autocratic hand. One of his favorite tricks is called “filling »

Senate votes to cut-off debate over budget compromise

Featured image By a vote of 67-33, the Senate has invoked cloture on the Murray-Ryan budget compromise, thus ending debate and paving the way for passing the bill. As I understand it, all 55 Senate Democrats voted for cloture and were joined by 12 Republicans. The 12 Republicans are: Lamar Alexander, Roy Blunt, Saxby Chambliss, Susan Collins, Jeff Flake, Orrin Hatch, John Hoeven, Johnny Isakson, Ron Johnson, John McCain, Lisa Murkowski, and »

Paul Ryan — the new center of the Republican establishment

Featured image Marc Thiessen disputes the conventional wisdom that Republicans should accept the Murray-Ryan budget compromise because if they don’t, they will be blamed for an ensuing government shutdown. He notes that unlike with the October shutdown over Obamacare, this time it would be the Democrats who are trying to force a change to established law. I made the same point last week: Republicans received most of the blame for the recent »

Murray-Ryan deal heads towards finish line

Featured image The Murray-Ryan budget deal almost surely will pass the Senate, but Republicans are making supporters of the compromise sweat a little: “The struggle is still on in the United States Senate; we will need about eight Republicans to come our way. I feel we’ll have a good, strong showing from the Democratic side. But we need bipartisan support to pass it,” Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) said on CBS’s “Face »

Paul Ryan’s illusory boast

Featured image In an interview on MSNBC, Paul Ryan blasted Marco Rubio for opposing the Murray-Ryan budget deal before reading it. Ryan’s criticism is largely specious. Where, as here, a legislator deals in secret and then hopes to ram the product through Congress before opposition has a chance to jell, the natural response by potential opponents is to gather as much information as possible about the bargain before it is sprung. If »