Federal debt and deficit

The House Does Not Have Many Manchins

Featured image Scott has noted that Sen. Joe Manchin has “named his price point” on the spendapalooza bill: $1.5 trillion. Scott is right that this is still very bad, but it requires the progressives to shrink their wish list by more than half—by a full $2 trillion. I’d love to be a fly on the wall in the House Democratic caucus meetings and sub-meetings right now, because if there is no honor »

Dems Blame Potential Shutdown on GOP

Featured image It is a basic rule of politics that if there is a government shutdown, it is the Republicans’ fault. If a Republican president or governor vetoes Democratic spending bills and portions of the government are briefly shuttered, it is the Republicans’ fault. Conversely, if a Republican Congress or legislature passes spending bills that a Democratic president or governor vetoes because they are not large enough, it is also the Republicans’ »

Weimar? It’s Us

Featured image Modern Monetary Theory has officially arrived. That theory, embraced by ignoramuses like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez but by no economists, to my knowledge, holds that a government can just print money and distribute it to taxpayers Democratic Party constituencies, with no ill effects. And it will be real money, representing wealth, that will raise everyone’s standard of living. It is hard to imagine anyone being dumb enough to fall for such nonsense »

Manchin’s red line

Featured image Joe Manchin reportedly has told the White House that he won’t support a reconciliation spending bill that exceeds $1.5 trillion. He might not even support one that exceeds $1 trillion, according to the same report. Without Manchin’s support, there can be no reconciliation package. Add $1.5 trillion to the roughly $1 trillion in the bipartisan infrastructure, and the price tag for Republicans losing the Senate comes to around $2.5 trillion. »

Inside the COVID Pork Bill

Featured image Did you know that today is National Bacon Day? I didn’t—but then I tend to think that every day is national bacon day. Or at least ought to be. Maybe when Homer Simpson is president. In any case, our mind is on pork a lot at the moment because of the 5,593-page COVID relief and omnibus spending mashup Congress passed and President Trump reluctantly signed a couple days ago. There »

Wasteful Spending: An Issue From the Past?

Featured image Josef Stalin famously said that one death is a tragedy, while a million deaths are a statistic. The same holds true for spending: most people’s eyes glaze over at the thought of a billion dollars, but we get outraged over the idea of a $400 hammer. The $400 hammer won one of Senator William Proxmire’s Golden Fleece awards, decades ago. Proxmire did a more effective job than just about anyone »

Art of the Steal?

Featured image Yesterday the stock market soared on the news of Trump’s improving health, and the thought that another round of robust fiscal stimulus would be forthcoming from Congress. Add to this accommodating monetary remarks from the Federal Reserve, and this morning it appeared the stock market would add on to yesterday’s decent gains—until President Trump abruptly pulled out of negotiations over COVID relief and new economic stimulus spending until after the »

Can Federal Spending Be Cut?

Featured image Federal revenues are booming, yet deficits are rising again because spending is booming even more. President Trump, unhappy about growing deficits, says he will ask all cabinet officers to find five percent in spending cuts for next year. Sounds like a good proposal, but the linked USA Today story is devoted entirely to ridiculing it. You can’t cut federal spending, the reporters say: Congress spends money, not the president (true); »

Trump Fought the Swamp, and the Swamp Won [with comment by Paul]

Featured image If you are of a certain age, you may remember a song by the Bobby Fuller Four called “I Fought the Law.” It was not one of the top cultural milestones of the 1960s, but it was catchy. The refrain went, “I fought the law, and the law won.” That refrain has been going through my head, in a different form, ever since President Trump signed the omnibus spending bill »

You Can Vote For Conservatism, But You Can’t Get It

Featured image I first made that observation–you can vote for conservatism, but you can’t get it–quite a few years ago. Sadly, it remains true, as exemplified by the $1.3 trillion spending monstrosity that President Trump signed today. How bad is the bill? Rand Paul tweeted in real time as he read the bill–or as much of it as he could read through in the hours available. He produced a number of tweets, »

Trump should veto the omnibus, but not for the reasons he cites [UPDATE, he signed it]

Featured image After signaling to Congress that he supports the omnibus spending bill it was about to pass, President Trump is now threatening to veto the bill. He complains that it does nothing for the DACA population and virtually nothing to build his wall. In my view, these are not good reasons to veto the omnibus. Doing something for the DACA population should not be a priority, and certainly not to the »

Congress approves spending bill

Featured image This morning at around 5:30 a.m., the House approved a budget deal that will add hundreds of billions of dollars in federal spending, not just for the military but also for domestic programs. The vote was 240-186. The Senate had already passed the deal by a vote of 71-28 (John McCain did not vote). In both chambers, the dissenters were a mix of hard core leftists who objected to not »

Another problem with the spending deal

Featured image The editors of National Review point to a problem with the spending deal that I hadn’t considered: it may end the chance for a conservative legislative achievement in 2018. Here’s why: A two-year spending deal means Republicans probably won’t go to the trouble of passing a formal budget for 2019. That would mean no chance for a so-called reconciliation process that could allow them to enact meaningful legislation with only »

McConnell puts big government freight train back on track

Featured image Skepticism is always in order on the substance of any agreement between Senate Republicans and Senate Democrats, especially if the subject is spending. When it comes to the spending deal Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer reached, skepticism should probably give way to alarm. The deal raises spending caps on discretionary spending by nearly $300 billion over two years. According to Tom Schatz, president of Citizens Against Government Waste, this means »

The “Government Shutdown” Fraud

Featured image The press is starting to beat the usual drums about the horror of a possible “government shutdown” Friday night if Congress can’t pass a budget or a stopgap spending bill. This does seems slightly unusual in that Republicans control both Congress and the executive branch, so what is there to fight about, unlike previous showdowns that pitted a Republican Congress against a Democratic president. I guess the Senate needs some »

Tax Cuts and Liberal Hysteria

Featured image Power Line is pleased to welcome Kurt Eichenwald to its readership, though should I be worried or pleased that our most mild of provocations indicates that he keeps a cardiologist fully and anxiously employed? All it took was a nod to this overwrought tweet to provoke a tantrum: One hardly expects an elite journalist to lose all perspective in the manner of a Hollywood star like Patton Oswalt, who offered »

The Case for Spending Caps

Featured image The Budget Control Act of 2011 resolved the purported “debt ceiling crisis” of that year, when it was widely (but falsely) alleged that the U.S. would go into default if the debt ceiling were not increased. Hardly anyone liked the sequestration that resulted from that budget compromise, but I did. It was the only effective check on federal spending in my lifetime. This video by the Center for Freedom and »