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Author Topic: Government programs & regulations, spending, deficit, and budget process  (Read 76762 times)
DougMacG
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« Reply #850 on: December 13, 2013, 12:00:34 PM »

"military spending is like turning a big ocean going tanker-- it takes a LONG time to turn, start, or stop."  - True.

I'm REALLY not liking what I am reading about what the sequester cuts are doing and am glad to see them being lessened.
   - Point taken.

OTOH, defense spending 2013 was $821B, cut back to 2010 levels but more than years 2003-2009 with two wars going.  http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/federal_budget_estimate_vs_actual_2013_XXbs1n#usgs302
If it is being spent unwisely, increasing the total won't necessarily address that.

One might also say:  Domestic spending is like turning a big ocean going tanker-- it takes a LONG time to turn, start, or stop.
---------------

The (other) good news in the budget deal (give Paul Ryan credit for this) is that so-called tax loopholes were left untouched, leaving the closing of loopholes, exclusions and tax system gimmicks on the table for real tax reform that could lower the rates across the board and help grow the economy - if we ever become interested in that.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #851 on: January 08, 2014, 10:47:56 PM »

$20.7 trillion was spent on the war on poverty.  This graph shows (nearly) 50 years of data.  Looks like no improvement to me.


http://socialwork.columbia.edu/sites/default/files/file_manager/pdfs/News/Anchored%20SPM.December7.pdf
http://www.nationaljournal.com/all-powers/what-the-50-year-war-on-poverty-tells-us-about-government-20140107
« Last Edit: January 08, 2014, 11:00:34 PM by DougMacG » Logged
Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #852 on: January 09, 2014, 08:26:13 AM »

Obama will get that budget to you. . .eventually. Sometime. It's in the mail. 
Published by: Robert Laurie

He'll be 'at least' a month late, as usual.
He'll be 'at least' a month late, as usual

By law, the President must submit his budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year by the first Monday in February. Barack Obama doesn't care. You'll get his budget when he decides to give it to you. That attitude has so far resulted in four blown deadlines.  According to Congressional Quarterly, he's about to make it five.

The White House is said to be at least a month behind its own schedule for developing a fiscal 2015 budget, which by statute is supposed to be submitted to Congress on the first Monday in February. That will slow work on next year’s spending bills, even though the budget accord negotiated by House Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., and Senate Budget Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash., established overall discretionary spending levels. There is no penalty for a late presidential budget submission, but appropriators cannot hold hearings until they have a chance to review the administration’s proposals. Last year, Obama’s budget was released two months late, in early April, a delay that factored into Congress’ failure to clear any fiscal 2014 spending bills in 2013.

As Townhall points out, the three previous Presidents were late with their proposals a whopping 4 times in 20 years. Obama has now been late five of six times during his tenure. You can say that doesn't matter, since not even Democrats are willing to vote for the craziness his budgets contain, but it still means he's missed more of these deadlines that any President in almost a hundred years.

We're sure this is thrilling news for the left, since it will probably make it easier for Harry Reid to simply ignore the entire budget process -something he is often wont to do. CQ believes that Reid and the Dems will use the Paul Ryan / Patty Murray budget deal as cover, so they can dodge their legal budgetary duties.

The expectation is Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., will keep a Senate budget deal off the floor, arguing the Ryan-Murray pact makes it unnecessary. Senate debate on a budget resolution could open the door to numerous amendments that the chamber’s Republicans can use to force highly partisan votes just months before the elections.

Heaven forbid the Dems have to stand up for the things in which they believe - during an election year!

Chastise the President all you like, but he's a man who knows what his priorities are. Budget be damned, he has to hit the golf course, go snorkeling, grab some shave ice, play basketball, and take a few selfies.  If there's time, he'll host a Jay-Z concert in the White House. After that, maybe - if you're lucky - he'll deal with those pesky numbers.
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G M
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« Reply #853 on: January 09, 2014, 11:41:15 AM »

He came back from his  4 million dollar vacation so he could lecture America on a lack of economic equality. Say thank you, you bitter clingers.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #854 on: January 09, 2014, 11:04:09 PM »

The Chris Christie scandal in a nutshell, as explained in the media:  The Port Authority has a program to close lanes on a key bridge at busy times in order to study how much worse the congestion and traffic delays will be as compared to the usual lousy to horrible.  Some aide of Christie allegedly triggered this program for the wrong reasons, to retaliate against a Mayor who would not endorse the Governor for reelection. 

I disagree.  The scandal is the existence of such a program in the first place. 

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DougMacG
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« Reply #855 on: January 13, 2014, 11:43:21 AM »

Robert Samuelson, Washington Post:

"The War on Poverty's success at strengthening the social safety net... should not obscure its failure as an engine of self-improvement."

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2014/01/13/how_we_won_--_and_lost_--_the_war_on_poverty_121197.html
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #856 on: January 26, 2014, 09:00:53 AM »

http://www.lawfareblog.com/2014/01/a-guide-to-the-coming-onslaught-of-presidential-administration/
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #857 on: January 27, 2014, 06:34:11 AM »

Congress Handcuffs Pentagon Cost-Cutters
Bases that can't be closed, weapons that can't be retired, benefits that can't be touched. What's left? The essentials.
By Todd Harrison And Mark Gunzinger
Jan. 26, 2014 5:20 p.m. ET

While the budget battles in recent years have been difficult for many parts of the federal government, they have forced the Pentagon into a perpetual state of crisis management, limping from one budget showdown to the next. This fiscal chaos is not conducive to carrying out the nation's defense.

If military spending must decline as part of an overall reduction in federal spending, Congress should abide by three simple rules: (1) a gradual decline in military spending rather than a sharp drop; (2) a greater degree of budgetary certainty for the coming years; and (3) the flexibility necessary for the Pentagon to make smart, strategically informed reductions.

The Ryan-Murray budget agreement, passed by Congress late last year, conforms to two of these rules. It reduces the cuts required in 2014-15 so that spending reductions are phased in gradually. It also gives the Defense Department more certainty in its future funding because both the House and Senate passed the two-year deal in a bipartisan manner. While Congress must still pass appropriations bills that conform to the budget caps, Ryan-Murray allows Pentagon planners to do something they haven't done in several years—prepare a realistic defense budget that has a chance of passing.

One important task remains. Congress needs to give the Pentagon greater flexibility to make smart reductions informed by strategy. This requires more than passing an annual appropriations bill and avoiding sequestration. It means Congress must set aside parochial political interests and allow the Pentagon to make tough decisions that are likely to be unpopular with some constituencies.

For example, the Defense Department has repeatedly asked Congress for another Base Realignment and Closure Commission so it can shed excess bases and facilities, which the military estimates is about 20% of its existing infrastructure. Yet current law prohibits the Pentagon from closing these unneeded bases and facilities, forcing it to waste billions of dollars every year. While no private company would tolerate such waste, key members of Congress have blocked efforts to close bases because this wasteful spending supports jobs in their districts.

The Pentagon has also asked for sensible reforms to rein in its growing personnel costs, such as raising the fee working-age military retirees pay for health insurance by a few dollars per month. Congress has repeatedly blocked these reforms, and as a result the cost per service member for pay and benefits grew by 57% from 2001 to 2012 when adjusted for inflation and excluding war-related costs. This growth was due to a number of factors, including rising health-care costs, higher than requested pay raises, and new and expanded benefits such as Tricare for Life, a Medicare supplemental policy provided free of charge to military retirees 65 and older.

If Congress will not allow the Pentagon to change military compensation to slow this growth, it will have little choice but to cut the number of military personnel. And if compensation costs continue growing while the overall budget declines, the Pentagon will have to continue cutting people to the point where the military may be too small to protect all of our nation's global security interests.

The Pentagon also needs greater freedom to retire legacy weapons. The Air Force has said it needs to retire some older aircraft—including the A-10 ground-attack aircraft and the KC-10 aerial refueler—to fit within Congress's budget constraints. Both planes have been incredibly valuable in the past, and the A-10 in particular has proven its worth in Iraq and Afghanistan. If resources weren't constrained both aircraft would be worth keeping. But the budget is constrained, and the Air Force has determined it has other aircraft that can do the same jobs. Because the Defense Department is now more focused on countering threats in the Asian-Pacific region than preparing for major ground wars, the A-10, whose primary mission is providing close air support for ground forces, is understandably a lower priority.

Yet some members of Congress are already working to prevent the Air Force from making financially smart and strategically informed reductions. The other military services have similar issues, with Congress repeatedly blocking the Navy from retiring older ships and forcing the military to keep production lines open for legacy weapons it no longer wants to buy.

With all of these constraints layered on top of one another—not being able to close bases, reform compensation or retire legacy weapons—the Pentagon has few degrees of freedom left. If the nation wants effective and efficient government, it has to start making smart decisions. It is time for Congress to set aside politics and give the Defense Department the flexibility to do what is best for the nation, both fiscally and strategically.

Messrs. Harrison and Gunzinger are senior fellows at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments in Washington, D.C.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #858 on: February 09, 2014, 05:40:34 AM »

Debt Limit Reached

The federal government reaches its borrowing limit today, leaving Treasury
Secretary Jack Lew to resort to "extraordinary measures" to avoid default. He
can hold off until the end of February, he says. Republicans are still trying
to figure out what item to demand in exchange for raising the debt ceiling,
which doesn't exactly put them in a strong bargaining position. We expect them
to just concede to a "clean" hike in order to make a better election issue out
of it. Meanwhile, federal spending goes in the same direction it always does:
up.
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bigdog
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« Reply #859 on: February 11, 2014, 12:26:52 PM »

http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-money/budget/198044-house-gop-pulls-debt-plan-move-to-clean-bill

From the article:

The lack of consensus within the majority has sapped its leverage, leading to Boehner’s decision on Tuesday to hand control of the floor over to Democrats.

“We don’t have 218 votes, and when you don’t have 218 votes, you have nothing.”


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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #860 on: February 11, 2014, 12:51:41 PM »

Given how the play by Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Mike Lee worked out last time, to try it again would fit the definition of insanity: Doing the same thing and expecting a different result.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #861 on: February 19, 2014, 11:18:05 AM »


The federal government is wasting an astonishing hundred billion dollars a year in improper welfare payments to recipients not entitled to them. This is an amount of money greater than the GDP of most nations on earth, more than Morocco and within striking distance of Hungary. The figure comes from a study by Veronique de Rugy and Jason Fichtner [George Mason University / Cato], who produced the following chart based on the OMB's High-Error Programs Report:

http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2014/02/100_billion_in_improper_welfare_payments_per_year.html
http://www.paymentaccuracy.gov/high-priority-programs

    Medicare fee-for-service, Medicare Advantage, and Medicaid top the chart and combine for $61.9 billion in improper spending, which should surprise no one given their sheer size. But their relatively high rates of errors should especially worry us as the federal government is expanding its reach into the health-care market - does anyone think the Affordable Care Act will be any different from other federal health programs?

    Interestingly, though Medicare fee-for-service is the biggest drain in absolute terms - wasting nearly $30 billion in 2012 - it's far from the worst offender on a dollar-for-dollar basis. The Earned Income Tax Credit is responsible for $12.6 billion in improper payments, almost a quarter of what the program spent in 2012.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #862 on: April 01, 2014, 10:14:00 AM »

Paul Ryan Unveils GOP Plan to Balance Budget in 10 Years
Budget Blueprint Proposes Changes to Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps, Other Programs
By Damian Paletta and Kristina Peterson
April 1, 2014 10:30 a.m. ET

Paul Ryan speaks at the CPAC Conference last month in National Harbor, Maryland. Getty Images

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) Tuesday proposed eliminating the government's budget deficit in 10 years through major changes to Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps and other programs—and took the controversial step of counting in assumptions on how the plan would spur economic growth.

The fiscal year 2015 budget blueprint is a largely political document that establishes House Republicans' commitment to eliminating the deficit as a top priority. Mr. Ryan says it would cut $5.1 trillion in projected spending over a decade, with 40% of that coming from simply repealing the Affordable Care Act.

To replicate a point of pride in his budget blueprint last year — namely balancing the federal budget in 10 years--Mr. Ryan this year has opted to formally incorporate an estimated economic boost that he says would result from reducing the deficit, in turn lowering interest rates and spurring growth.

"The greater economic output that stems from a large deficit-reduction package would have a sizable impact on the federal budget," Mr. Ryan writes in his plan.

For example, Mr. Ryan estimates that in 2024, the government under his plan would spend $4.995 trillion and bring in $4.926 trillion in revenue. That would result in a deficit of $69 billion.

But the budget includes a new line item that didn't exist in his past proposals, which Mr. Ryan has labeled "macroeconomic fiscal impact" and which he says would further reduce the deficit by $74 billion that year. This would result in a $5 billion net surplus.

Building in assumptions about economic growth is a controversial part of budget math, and Mr. Ryan didn't include the same assumptions in prior proposals. This sort of analysis is popular with Republicans, who often cite it in proposals to cut taxes. . Steve Bell, a former top Senate budget aide now with the Bipartisan Policy Center, called Mr. Ryan's move "unconventional," but wouldn't expound further.

Mr. Ryan's budget also broadly calls for reining in the federal government and expanding the role of states and private companies in an effort to boost growth and lower costs for an array of programs, including food stamps and Medicaid. It would include deep cuts to domestic programs, far beyond the sequester-level reductions that some members of both parties have recently worked to reverse.

The GOP budget resolution stands no chance of passing the Democratic-controlled Senate, but budgets have long served as important markers of party priorities. In this year's midterm elections, Democrats are likely to seize on Republican proposals to cut spending and refashion Medicare, while GOP lawmakers will tout their commitment to reducing the deficit.

The government has roughly $17.5 trillion in debt. Lawmakers from both parties have said the debt will grow to unsustainable levels if policy makers don't take action.

The White House in March proposed reducing the deficit—but not eliminating it—through a combination of spending cuts and tax increases. Democrats and Republicans in recent years have taken steps to reduce the growth of the debt by restraining spending and allowing certain tax cuts to expire. The deficit has fallen sharply as a result, but it is expected to grow again due to a wave of worker retirements and projections of higher health care costs.

Mr. Ryan faces an extra political hurdle this year: Winning back the support of the 62 House Republicans who voted against a two-year spending deal that he reached with Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray (D., Wash.) in December. Because Democrats will oppose the plan from Mr. Ryan, he will need many of those GOP votes to win approval for his proposal in the House.

The GOP budget includes the overall spending level for fiscal year 2015 from that deal, which some Republicans opposed because it temporarily loosened spending caps. Republicans on the Budget Committee have said they hope balancing the budget in 10 years, in part by overhauling federal health and safety-net programs, will lure back GOP support.

Mr. Ryan's new budget would spend roughly $42.6 trillion over 10 years, compared to $47.8 trillion under current policies.

This year's House GOP budget includes greater savings than last year's plan from repealing the Affordable Care Act, the president's 2010 health care overhaul. It includes $2.066 trillion in savings over 10 years from scrapping the health law, compared to $1.783 trillion in last year's plan.

This element has long proven controversial, though, as the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has said repealing the law would actually make the deficit worse in the next decade. It wasn't immediately clear how this year's additional savings would materialize.

Mr. Ryan's budget also says that defense cuts proposed by the Obama administration are overzealous. The GOP budget, for instance, pushes back against Mr. Obama's proposed troop reduction, labeling the drawdown a "significant risk in an environment that, as has been noted, is extremely challenging and uncertain." It calls for more Army and Marine Corps. funding than the White House had requested.

Notably, Mr. Ryan's budget doesn't endorse the ambitious tax overhaul released by Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R., Mich.) in late February, which has drawn criticism as it seeks to take on special interests in the tax code. Mr. Camp on Monday announced he won't seek re-election to Congress.

Rather than include his tax plan, the GOP budget doesn't embrace any particular proposal but "calls for a tax code that is simpler, fairer and more competitive." Mr. Ryan is considered Mr. Camp's likely successor, since the Michigan lawmaker's chairmanship was set to expire under the GOP's term-limit rules.

The budget blueprint does mention Mr. Camp's plan, as well as proposals introduced by GOP Reps. Michael Burgess of Texas and Rob Woodall of Georgia, saying Congress should "should consider these and the full myriad of pro-growth plans."

Mr. Ryan's budget doesn't include new proposals to revamp anti-poverty programs, but Mr. Ryan has said he would offer new ideas sometime this year. It reiterates past proposals to turn over more control of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stamps, and Medicaid to states.

Mr. Ryan's proposal would create a new alternative to Medicare that would allow older Americans to choose private insurance plans and receive government support for premiums. They could also choose to stay in traditional Medicare.

People who are now aged 56 and older would be exempt from any changes, but younger people would automatically face the premium support choice going forward. Last year people aged 55 and older were exempt. Some Democrats have been receptive to this idea, but many others have said it would allow Republicans eventually to dismantle Medicare.

The plan also tweaked how to calculate the government's contribution so seniors in many private plans would see their costs go down, compared to current law, though some remaining in traditional Medicare might pay more.

Senate Democrats have signaled that they have no plans to vote on a budget resolution this year after reaching an agreement with Republicans several months ago on spending levels for the current and 2015 fiscal years.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #863 on: April 09, 2014, 09:05:59 PM »

Sorry I do not have a URL, but I gather Obama's budget just was voted down in the House 413-2.
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