Tag Archives: budget

The Creeping Crises


“A difficult or dangerous situation that needs serious attention.”
Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition of crisis

Crisis is a term not to be used lightly.

There are more crises confronting the country than there have been in decades. Far from hyperbole, “crisis” fits like a glove on the resurgence of COVID-19, the humanitarian debacle at our southern border, and the record number of homicides on our streets, too many of which have put teenagers and small children in the bullseye. We’ve had record floods, record fires, record heat, record drought, all crises when you consider the number of related deaths, lives and property destroyed, and damage to the environment.

But there are several other crises that are in urgent need of serious attention because their consequences can be just as devastating to millions. They’re insidious, not the kind that bring eyeballs and clicks to news stories. They creep up slowly and are dismissed because no one knows how to fix them.

A perfect example is the Federal budget, over which Congress and the President are engaging in age-old partisan one-upmanship. We haven’t adopted a legitimate Federal budget in decades.

Budgets are gargantuan political and fiscal monstrosities that reach into every aspect of American life. They’re like the Titanic. If not designed, built, and steered with the skill of a seasoned seafarer, they will sink functional fiscal policy. Continue reading

Bring Back the Gephardt Rule

Reprinted from TheFeeheryTheory.com

Ted Cruz, the freshman Senator from Texas and Tea Party firebrand, is channeling his inner Don Quixote and promising to filibuster the clean debt limit that was just passed by Democrats in the House.

By taking this worthless step, Cruz is taking a huge problem for the Democrats and making it a problem for the Republicans.

The debt limit vote is universally unpopular and it always has been unpopular. The American people aren’t comfortable with extending the limit on the national credit card. Continue reading

Can’t Always Get What You Want

Reprinted from Mullings.com

In 1969, the Rolling Stones – who have been touring since about 1343 – put out an album that had as one of its songs, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.”

The U.S. House and Senate should do a quorum call right after the prayer and have every Member sing that song, every day they’re in session – which is only about five days a month. Continue reading

Skilled White House, Aggressively On Message

Reprinted from Mullings.com

President Barack Obama, fresh from having his lunch money taken from him by Russia’s Vladimir Putin, is flailing about trying to find someone he can shift the public’s attention to.

He has chosen House Speaker John Boehner (R-Oh) as the person and the upcoming end of the U.S. government’s fiscal year on September 30 as his verbal weapon.

I think that is the wrong fight against the wrong guy.

The last time we were headed down the road to actually shutting down the federal government was in late 1995 and early1996 . Two main players – and this is important – were President Bill Clinton and Speaker Newt Gingrich. Continue reading

Deficit Reduction, President Gets His Way

Reprinted from TheFeeheryTheory.com

Congress and the President are on holiday, resting up for the next round of budget wars that will resume after Labor Day. The issues they will face when they return are familiar: the federal government is about to lose authority to do what it does best (or, at least, most naturally) – borrow and spend.

Absent a fresh appropriation of funds, government agencies will close October 1; and unless Congress agrees to raise the government’s credit card limit, Treasury will default on its debt at a yet-to-be-determined date in October or November.

The positions taken by the two parties also are familiar. The President wants a straight increase in the debt ceiling, while Republicans insist on pairing new borrowing with spending reductions. The President says that he will not negotiate with Republicans on this point. On appropriations, House Republicans favor steep cuts in domestic spending Continue reading

Take Religion Out of Economics

Reprinted from Mullings.com

I had lunch yesterday with one of the smartest guys I know, Steve Bell. Steve is a long-time Hill budget and tax expert.

I am, as you may know, arithmetically challenged.

This was largely a one-way conversation. Steve talked and I nodded, pretending to understand what he was saying. The part of the conversation I did get was this: The two parties no longer consider each other to be political opponents – each aiming for the same goal but choosing differing paths to get there.

Each of the two parties now considers the other to be not just a political enemy, but an enemy of everything the other believes in. We have traded political ideology for political religiosity. Continue reading

The Imperfect Storm

Reprinted from TheFeeheryTheory.com

As members of Congress prepare to depart for the August break at the end of the week, they will be packing talking points from their caucus messaging packets that seek to explain why Congress hasn’t accomplished very much since the last time they went home.

With congressional ratings bouncing around at an all-time low, it is hard to imagine that whatever they have to say will have any resonance with voters.

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) tried to put a unique spin on congressional inaction when he said that politicians should be measured not by how many laws are passed, but by how many laws were repealed.

Continue reading

How to Pay What We Owe

Reprinted from TelemachusLeaps.com

Inflation. Pure and simple.

Inflating the national currency is the tried-and-true way that governments have used for centuries and millennium to get their way out of budget problems caused by excessive debt.

But it is a dangerous bet and one that would not be necessary had we been responsible adults about our budgets and not run much debt, or any at all, over the past 40 years.

No budget deficits, no national debt. No need to borrow…from anyone. Case closed.

Inflation hit the stratospheric level of 12% per year in 1980-81. Interest rates spiked up to 21%. President Jimmy Carter’s anti-inflation policies were an abysmal, absolute, abject and total failure. Continue reading

$248 Million Medicaid ‘Mistake’

Reprinted from TelemachusLeaps.com

The Governor of North Carolina, Pat McCrory, announced another ‘mistake’ in the Medicaid projections made by the Administration of former Governor Bev Perdue last fall before the elections. Wonder if these underestimations were deliberate in the hopes of helping the Democrat candidate in the gubernatorial race?

Nah, that never happens. Right? ‘Nothing to see here, ladies and gentlemen. Move right along’.

This time, the ‘underestimation’ accounted for $135 million in the state’s largest health care program, Medicaid, for the indigent and infirm. That was on top of another $113 million or so announced earlier this year. Continue reading

Can Government ‘Fix’ the Economy?

Reprinted from TelemachusLeaps.com

There’s several great scenes in the classic ‘A Fish Called Wanda’ where Kevin Kline as the dim-witted narcissistic con-man gets riled up when someone calls him ‘stupid.’

Generally, we have found in life that we won’t follow the lead of someone who calls us ‘stupid’. On the other hand, we have also found that it is very difficult to get people to follow our lead or to even like us when we call them ‘stupid’.

Life just doesn’t lend itself to calling people ‘stupid’ and getting away with it.

Unless you are Nobel Prize-winning Paul Krugman who somehow has kept his job writing for the New York Times and his Nobel Prize despite having none of Continue reading

Underlying Problems in Medicare

Reprinted from TelemachusLeaps.com

One of the problems about dealing with and debating an issue as big and as complicated as Medicare is that most people simply don’t care what it costs to take care of senior citizens.

Certainly not the senior citizens currently on Medicare. It is the best deal in the nation they are ever going to get in terms of buying health insurance for around $310-$360/month. Many self-employed people now paying close to $1000/month would give their eyes and teeth and other certain parts of their body to be able to find ANY comprehensive health care insurance for anything near $350/month. Continue reading

Greg Walden

Reprinted from TheFeeheryTheory.com

Greg Walden condemns an unpopular proposal in the President’s budget and gets attacked by the right-wing.

What is up with that?

Walden is the popular, smart, hard-working head of the National Congressional Campaign Committee. His job is to elect Republicans, or more precisely make certain that Republicans stay in control of the House.

He attacked the Obama budget for its inclusion of a proposal to recalibrate Social Security’s cost of living adjustments to be more in line with actual Continue reading

Doesn’t Matter Which Way You Go

Reprinted from TelemachusLeaps.com

We were talking to a friend yesterday about the stock market recovering to exceed its peak of 2007, right before it fell to its valley when the banking system nearly evaporated in 2008.

Remember? That was not that long ago, you know.

‘There’s something that just seems ‘odd’ about it all’, he said.

The current state of affairs in America reminds us of that great Socratic philosopher in ‘Alice in Wonderland’, the Cheshire Cat when he counsels Alice Continue reading

Empty Votes, Dangerous Promises

Reprinted from TheFeeheryTheory.com

It was a good thing that the Senate finally passed a budget last week. I guess.

The Senate budget resolution was unique in that the Upper Body passed a budget resolution before the President actually proposed his own budget, probably for the first time in history.

And the fact that the Senate passed a budget seemed like a novelty because the world’s most deliberative body has been so deliberative that it hadn’t bothered to take this action required by law for almost a half a decade. Continue reading

Big Government vs. Small Government

Reprinted from TelemachusLeaps.com

When we find things that are better-written, more clear and to the point than anything we can write on a subject, we try to reprint it for your edification. Such is the case with most things Chuck Blahous writes. See for yourself:

Last week House Republicans, under the leadership of Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, unveiled their draft budget for the coming fiscal year. Senate Budget Committee Democrats also released their budget blueprint assembled by Chairman Patty Murray. Continue reading

Power of a Balanced Budget

Reprinted from TheFeeheryTheory.com

In 1995, at Xerox Document University, Newt Gingrich and John Kasich convinced the revolutionary class of 1994 and reluctant old-timers to work together to produce the first balanced budget in a generation.

Kasich’s budget included a pro-growth tax reform agenda and some painful cuts to some entitlement programs, chiefly Medicare and Medicaid.

Republicans passed that first balanced budget, and through some luck and some unforeseen economic growth, the budget magically balanced three years later. Continue reading

Fun in Functional

Reprinted from TheFeeheryTheory.com

Last night, as I welcomed a group of executives from the American Public Transportation Association, I said the following:  “Welcome to Washington, where we put the fun in dysfunction.  Well, at least it is fun for us.”

I then pointed out, “most economists think that the best thing you can do for the American people is to come up with a short-term plan to boost economic growth and a long-term plan to deal with our long-term fiscal crisis. What did the politicians do? They came up with short-term plan that could stall Continue reading

You Can’t Spend What You Can’t See

Reprinted from Mullings.com

America Held Hostage: Sequester Day 11

Although it hasn’t made much news, what with the world missing a Pope, the Senate missing an on-the-floor bathroom, Venezuela missing a President, and President Hamid Karzai missing a press conference with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel; but President Barack Obama has missed the deadline for producing a budget document for the United States.

It’s not as if the whole government spending thing hasn’t been a big deal in Washington. You might have been following along as Republicans and Continue reading


Reprinted from Mullings.com

America Held Hostage: Sequester Day 6

President Barack Obama has shut the White House to visitors. A notice went out yesterday saying that due to the personnel reductions required by the sequester, there will be no public tours after Friday. According to USA Today a recording on the White House tour line was as follows: “Due to staffing reductions resulting from sequestration, we regret to inform you that White House Tours will be canceled effective Saturday, March 9, 2013, until further notice. Unfortunately, we will not be able to reschedule affected tours …”

In case anyone was too dense to get to the “baby puppies, calves, lambs, and kittens will die” part of the announcement, this: “We very much regret having to take this action, particularly during the popular spring tour season.” Continue reading

Most Conservative POTUS in American History?

Reprinted from Telemachus.com

Think about the things ‘very conservative’, ‘far right-wing’, ‘ultra-conservatives’ have wanted to achieve in Congress over the past 40 years.

We’ll give you two hints:
– Long-term, permanent lower tax rates.
– Spending cuts in many bloated federal programs.

Just try to remember the headlines in the liberal media, both electronic and in print, whenever Presidents Reagan, Bush 41, Bush 43 or Speaker Newt Gingrich tried to cut taxes or spending since 1980: Continue reading