Federal debt and deficit

Shutdown theater: How is it playing?

Featured image Over the past week we have witnessed the impressive shutdown theater engineered by the Obama administration. By shutdown theater I am referring to the closing or Barrycading of such landmarks as the WWII memorial, Jefferson Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial and the Iwo Jima Memorial. What is to be learned? This is political hardball, intended to induce unconditional surrender in the current and prospective budget/debt showdowns. Obama asserts a maximalist position »

On To the Debt Ceiling?

Featured image One way or another, the debt ceiling will soon be front and center. Perhaps raising the debt limit will be part of a “grand bargain”–for reasons I stated yesterday, I hope not–or a package deal with a continuing resolution to fund the federal government for the next few months. Regardless, it is important to understand that much of the reporting on the debt ceiling is wrong. It is not true »

Dime’s Worth of Difference Dept.

Featured image I’m very glad Tom DeLay’s bogus conviction was overturned last week, but I still can’t help but recall the moment, back in 2005, when we could tell that the jig was up for the GOP House majority: it was the moment DeLay said that “after 11 years of Republican majority we’ve pared [spending] down pretty good,” and separately that the federal budget had been “cut to the bone.” Cue Nancy Pelosi »

Memo to IRS: Here’s How It’s Done

Featured image The good folks at BankruptingAmerica.org have a new video series under way that spoofs “The Office,” called, sensibly, “The Government.”  It is set in the office of DEBT (Department of Every Bureaucratic Transaction), and while the actors in these vids might not yet be ready for Broadway or Hollywood, these are a whole lot better than the IRS videos–another example of how the private sector outcompetes the government for quality. »

CRB: The bucks start here

Featured image The new issue of the Claremont Review of Books has arrived, once again full of incisive essays and reviews attractively set off by the artistry of Elliott Banfield. As I have said once or twice before here, it’s my favorite magazine. You can subscribe here for the absurdly low price of $19.95 and get immediate online access thrown in to boot. I spent last week poring over the new issue »

The Wealth Tax Revisited

Featured image Back in February I mused about the idea of a “wealth tax” as a way of exposing the fact that so many of the rich liberals (Buffett, Gates, the Hollywood and Silicon Valley crowd) who support higher income taxes do so because higher income tax rates do not touch any of their vast fortunes, accumulated not in the form of taxable income, but in the form of non-taxed asset value »

Is the United States the Brokest Nation on Earth?

Featured image One of the problems with an administration as comprehensively awful as Barack Obama’s is that people can’t keep track of all the crises. His foreign policy has collapsed, the economy is on life support, unemployment and poverty are at record-breaking levels, scandals pile one upon another. And–oh yes, don’t forget–the country is $17 trillion in debt. Mark Steyn refers to the U.S. as the brokest nation in history, and in »

The Uncivil Mr. Krugman

Featured image Decades ago, Paul Krugman did useful work as an academic economist in the area of international trade. But those days are gone: Krugman long ago gave up any pretense of academic seriousness and became a partisan, left-wing hack. We are proud of the role we have played (along with many others) in exposing Krugman’s mendacity and laziness; you can find a summary of our efforts here. Nevertheless, Krugman continues to »

The Stupid Party Strikes Again

Featured image It’s not enough that Washington Republicans seem bent on signing onto any immigration deal that supposedly helps them with their “image” problem, but why do so many of them want to bash one of Obama’s better ideas in his budget: privatizing the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA)? Let’s see: Barry Goldwater was for this before it was cool, and Ronald Reagan broached the idea in 1981, and was beaten back.  Now »

Defense spending cuts — a “paradox” for the left; a conundrum for the right

Featured image The Washington Post reports that the defense cuts mandated by the sequester are proving to be a “paradox” for the left. Keith Ellison, the ultra-leftist congressman from Minnesota, says he “feels torn” by the cuts because they further his goal of reducing the money available to the military, but contradict his goal of maximizing government spending. When in doubt, the left these days will tend to opt for government spending, »

A history of Zientism

Featured image As we have noted many times, Jeff Sessions has become the Senate’s indispensable man on the our ruinous federal debt and deficit. In January Senator Sessions took a look at the role played by then OMB Director Jack Lew in the Obama administration’s stage management of the related public relations issues. Not pretty. Lew is not a man constrained by hidebound notions of veracity. Lew proved his worth to President »

Humor About the President’s Budget, Intentional and Unintentional

Featured image One of these days I will get around to writing about President Obama’s proposed budget; Paul has already done so here. In the meantime, here is a humorous video produced by the Free Enterprise Alliance titled “You May Already Be a Loser.” I think that if people really understood what the federal government is doing to them, there would be a run on tar and feathers: Now for the unintentional »

Dems Say: Balanced Budget? We Were Just Kidding!

Featured image The Senate continues to debate the Democrats’ budget, which features massive deficits as far as the eye can see. Tonight Jeff Sessions moved to recommit the budget in order to produce a budget that balances sometime in the next ten years. This is the language of Sessions’ motion: Mr. Sessions moves to commit S. Con. Res. 8 back to the Committee on the Budget with instructions to report back no »

The Democrats’ Job-Destroying, Wealth-Destroying Budget

Featured image Today the Senate passed a mammoth spending bill that will fund the federal government until September, and that locks in the Republicans’ sequestration victory. The Senate also debated the Democrats’ budget–the first they have proposed after four long years. We have written extensively about the Democrats’ budget proposal. It would increase taxes by $1.5 trillion, accelerate federal spending and add $7 trillion to the federal deficit. It is, in other »

Modern Day Xenophon Wanted: The Education of Cyprus?

Featured image This semester I taught Xenophon’s neglected treatise The Education of Cyrus, which many observers have compared to Machiavelli’s Prince.  Seems now we could use a modern-day financial Xenophon to update it as The Education of Cyprus, where, according to news out within the hour, there is going to be a four-day “bank holiday” to prevent a total run.  We keep being reassured that this is a one-off event; that surely »

Do We Have a Debt Crisis?

Featured image After four years, Congressional Democrats have finally produced a budget. The process has proved revealing: the Democrats’ budget never balances, increases spending by 62% over ten years, and adds $7 trillion to the national debt despite raising taxes by $1.5 trillion. So Senate Democrats must agree with President Obama that the nation does not face a debt crisis. In an interview yesterday on ABC, Obama repeatedly expressed this conviction: [W]e »

Senate Democrats Finally Unveil Budget

Featured image After four long years, the Senate Democrats finally produced a budget this afternoon. They put it off as long as possible, but finally had to make the document public. What is striking about the budget is that it contains absolutely nothing that is new. It calls for more spending, higher taxes, more debt. It never comes close to balancing. It reforms nothing and changes nothing. It simply demands more money »