Federal debt and deficit

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 »

Barack Obama’s Credit Card: Declined!

Featured image Democrats love to say that George Bush put two wars, Iraq and Afghanistan, on the nation’s credit card. That means he didn’t push for a tax increase. But what about Barack Obama? He put a trillion dollar stimulus program, multiple bailouts, Medicaid expansion, Obamacare and God knows what else on the credit card. And, oh–by the way–he also put two wars on the credit card. He wound down the Iraq »

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 »

With Debt Limit Raised, America Continues Its Headlong Descent Into Bankruptcy

Featured image Yesterday’s House vote to raise the debt ceiling was seen as a victory for President Obama and the Democrats. Nancy Pelosi reportedly told her caucus not to “gloat” over their big win. Well, no: increasing the nation’s debt by another trillion dollars is not something to gloat over. Commentary on yesterday’s vote (including mine) focused mostly on the political context. But with federal debt already well in excess of $17 »

House Votes to Raise Debt Ceiling, Restore Veterans’ Cuts

Featured image House Republicans gave up today on their effort to get something in exchange for raising the debt limit. The House passed a “clean” debt limit bill, with only 28 Republicans voting in favor. Separately the House voted to repeal the cuts to veterans’ benefits that were part of the Ryan-Murray deal; that vote was 326-90. Whether the veterans’ COLA cuts will actually be restored remains to be seen. The House »

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 »

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 »