Federal debt and deficit

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 »

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 »

Ryan denies selling out Senate Republicans

Featured image The office of Rep. Paul Ryan has denied the report by NRO’s Jonathan Strong that the budget deal Ryan negotiated with Sen. Patty Murray limits the ability of Republican Senators to block tax increases. I linked to Strong’s report last night and criticized the deal on that basis. You can read here about Ryan’s pushback and the pushback to that pushback from Strong’s sources. To me it seems clear that »

Boehner’s weak attack on Conservative “outside” groups

Featured image Speaker Boehner has blasted conservative outside groups for their opposition to the Ryan-Murray budget deal. Presumably, his attack is aimed at such groups as Heritage Action, Freedom Works, and the Club for Growth. Boehner claims that such groups “have lost all credibility.” Asked whether these groups should stand down, the Speaker responded, “I don’t care what they do.” The House leadership has also suggested that the outside groups are fighting »

Paul Ryan then and now

Featured image In 2011, Rep. Paul Ryan put forth a bold plan to reform Medicare. His plan had no chance of passing the Democrat-controlled Senate, much less being signed into law by President Obama. But, as one of Ryan’s aides told me, the Congressman felt that the current entitlement system is a time bomb waiting to explode and bring down America. Thus, he perceived a duty to propose legislation that would fix »

Paul Ryan sells out Senate Republicans

Featured image Did Paul Ryan sell out conservatives by agreeing to a compromise budget deal with ultra-liberal Patty Murray? I wouldn’t go that far. In my view, reasonable conservatives can disagree on the overall merit of the deal. I tend to agree with »

Today’s Budget Agreement: Good Politics, Maybe, But Not Good Policy [Updated]

Featured image The current continuing resolution on federal spending expires in January, and Paul Ryan (on behalf of the Republican House) has been negotiating with Patty Murray (on behalf of the Democratic Senate) for an agreement to set spending levels for the remainder of FY 2014. It is not hard to understand the political considerations that drive House Republicans: the Democrats have been threatening to shut down the government again, as a »

The Can Kicks Back

Featured image The Can Kicks Back is a web site, and a campaign, run by a group of millenials. The group has embarked on a national tour in support of generational equity, which is described here. This video provides a quick introduction: The group’s theme is generational equity: young people are being shafted by the Obama administration and everyone else in Washington who refuses to do anything about the federal debt. This »


Featured image President Obama was triumphant yesterday, following the collapse of the Republican House’s ill-advised attempt to use the threat of a shutdown to block Obamacare. From the Democrats’ perspective, being threatened with a shutdown is like being threatened with a second helping of dessert. So the result was predictable. So what are we left with? A burgeoning debt, and no effort on the horizon to get it under control. Obama’s “victory” »

“We must increase our debt limit so that we can pay our bills.”

Featured image As Tyler Durden notes, this is the “most disturbing sentence uttered during the debt ceiling debate/government shut down.” America is now going on $17 trillion in debt, a level of insolvency that would already be regarded as catastrophic if the Fed were not keeping interest rates close to zero. The federal deficit declined in FY 2013, which ended on September 30. Final numbers are not yet available, but it is »

The High Cost of High Cost

Featured image I’ve been waiting for this: the New York Times whinging about the high cost of the faux-government shutdown.  With so many of the government statistical bureuax closed down as “non-essential,” how would we know? One of my rabbis on economic matters, Brian Wesbury of First Trust, wrote two days ago that “The bottom line on the economy right now is that there is no sign the partial shutdown, or anything »

Dershowitz Versus Cruz (and J. Madison)

Featured image While we wait for the dust to settle to get a clear view of the damage from the budget and debt deal currently hanging fire in Washington, I thought it worth taking note of Alan Dershowitz on CNN last night, who, while praising Ted Cruz as one of the best and brightest students he ever had at Harvard Law School nonetheless goes on to make a terrible argument that Cruz’s »

Raise the Debt Ceiling. Because, Remy

Featured image We ran this GoRemy video a couple of years ago when it came out during the last debt ceiling fight, but given how little has changed (to the contrary–things are worse), it is worth running again: »

Democrats have the whip hand and use it

Featured image Earlier this weekend, a compromise proposal by Sen. Collins to end, or at least postpone, the fiscal showdown failed to gain traction due to lack of support from Democrats. Collins is the quintessential “moderate Republican,” the alleged disappearance of whom from the Senate causes such hand-wringing in MSM circles. Collins’ proposal would have extended government funding for six months and boosted the debt ceiling through the end of January. By »

Assessing the Government Shutdown: The Long View

Featured image The conventional wisdom right now is that the government shutdown ranks somewhere between a debacle and a catastrophe for Republicans, and their abject surrender is expected before too much longer.  I’m not so sure.  While I thought the shutdown was a dubious and unwise tactic, I think taking a longer view may cast a different light on the scene. First of all, like the sequester, have the majority of Americans »