Archive

Posts Tagged ‘federal spending’
March 10th, 2014 at 9:16 am
Ramirez Cartoon: The Obama Budget
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

November 7th, 2013 at 8:04 am
Podcast: Farm Bill Fight in Congress
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

Andrew Moylan, Outreach Director at R Street Institute, discusses why Congress is missing a prime opportunity to cut spending and make commonsense reforms with the Farm Bill, and how unfortunately for taxpayers, consumers and farmers it will result in keeping the status quo and rewarding special interests.

Listen to the interview here.

July 12th, 2013 at 9:05 am
Video: Sequester for Thee, But Not For Me
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

In this week’s Freedom Minute, CFIF’s Renee Giachino discusses how the political class in Washington continues to avoid the pain of sequester spending cuts while the rest of America is getting squeezed.

February 22nd, 2013 at 11:09 am
Sequester Kabuki
Posted by Troy Senik Print

There’s no question that the forthcoming federal spending cuts under the sequester aren’t ideal, particularly given the indiscriminate way in which they’ll be applied. Republicans in Congress, however, have rightly determined that indelicate cuts are a better option than a compromise that does little or nothing to arrest the trajectory of our debt crisis (even if they haven’t quite worked out the messaging yet).

Standing firm on that principle means accepting some pretty large cuts to defense, but as Byron York notes in a must-read column for the Washington Examiner, the Pentagon is going out of its way to make the situation seem much worse than it really is:

Over many decades of defense budget battles, the Pentagon has often used a tactic known as a “gold watch.” It means to answer a budget cut proposal by selecting for elimination a program so important and valued — a gold watch — that Pentagon chiefs know political leaders will restore funding rather than go through with the cut.

So now, with sequestration approaching, the Pentagon has announced that the possibility of budget cuts has forced the Navy to delay deployment of the carrier USS Harry S. Truman to the Persian Gulf. With tensions with Iran as high as they’ve ever been, that would leave the U.S. with just one carrier, instead of the preferred two, in that deeply troubled region.

“Already, the threat of these cuts has forced the Navy to delay an aircraft carrier that was supposed to deploy to the Persian Gulf,” Obama said at a White House appearance on Tuesday, in case anyone missed the news.

Some military analysts were immediately suspicious. “A total gold watch,” said one retired general officer who asked not to be named. Military commentator and retired Army Lt. Col. Ralph Peters called the Navy’s move “ostentatious,” comparing it to “Donald Trump claiming he can’t afford a cab.”

… Meanwhile, with a budget higher than it was even at the peak of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the Pentagon is resisting attempts to force it to audit its own finances. Congress passed a law back in 1990 requiring such an audit, to no avail. Last year, Sens. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., introduced the Audit the Pentagon Act, which would try again to force a look inside the maze of Pentagon spending.

Now, with the Defense Department sounding the alarm about sequestration, some budget hawks on Capitol Hill are doubtful. “It’s difficult to take these doomsday scenarios seriously when the Pentagon can’t even audit its own books,” says a spokesman for Coburn. “We would argue that the Defense Department has the authority to reprioritize funding toward vital needs and away from less vital spending. As Sen. Coburn has detailed, the department spends nearly $70 billion each year on ‘nondefense’ defense spending that has nothing to do with our national security.”

Yes, the Pentagon does represent some of the most vital spending that takes place in Washington. But conservatives especially should remember that it remains, on many levels, a conventional bureaucracy, prone to defend well-established power centers and jealous of every dollar that comes its way.

The goals of cutting spending and preserving national security are not mutually exclusive.

January 11th, 2013 at 9:08 am
Ramirez Cartoon: The $1 Trillion Wooden Nickel
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez. 

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

December 14th, 2012 at 8:37 am
Podcast: Challenging Washington to Spend One Dollar Less
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

In an interview with CFIF, Alex Cortes, Executive Director of Let Freedom Ring, discusses his organization’s effort to influence the fiscal cliff negotiations, called “One Dollar Less,” and why it is important to move the debate from the imaginary spending cuts to actually spending less.

Listen to the interview here.

December 11th, 2012 at 6:07 pm
Ramirez Cartoon: Answers to the Debt Crisis
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez. 

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

June 20th, 2012 at 1:45 pm
Federal Government Creating Green Jobs … at $12 Million a Pop
Posted by Troy Senik Print

Further evidence that the Obama Administration’s green jobs fetish defies all logic, economic or otherwise, comes from this report from CNS News:

An Obama administration green jobs grant program that spent $11 billion lacks a verifiable job-counting system and likely created only a fraction of the jobs it claims, according to a staff report by the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

While Energy Secretary Steven Chu said the grants “created tens of thousands of jobs,” the government’s own National Renewal Energy Laboratory estimates it created 910 direct jobs.

The House report criticized even those numbers, saying: “The job creation numbers that exist for Section 1603 are based on models, not actual data from completed projects. Neither Treasury nor DOE have turned over actual jobs data on the Section 1603 grants program to the committee.”

In the spirit of generosity, let’s assume the 910 number is correct. At $11 billion, that comes out to well over $12 million per job. A ludicrous amount to be sure, but also one that comes with an enormous opportunity cost. Scroll down the page to Ashton’s post on the cost-effectiveness of Washington D.C.’s Opportunity Scholarship program and you’ll find that the whole thing (which the Obama Administration has consistently targeted for elimination) could be funded at the cost of less than two of those green jobs.

The character of this administration can be defined by its priorities. Does anything more need to be said than that they would rather slip millions of taxpayer dollars to tech firms who haven’t so much as worked up a business model than to poor children in the inner city? Hope indeed.

May 23rd, 2012 at 10:07 am
Is America Headed Toward Bankruptcy? CFIF’s Quin Hillyer Discusses the Nation’s Debt Crisis on CBN News
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

CFIF’s Quin Hillyer discusses America’s debt crisis on CBN News.

 

April 18th, 2012 at 9:10 am
A Federal Budget That Ignores the Constitution
Posted by Troy Senik Print

Writing in the Washington Times, Richard Rahn — Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute and Chairman of the Institute for Global Economic Growth — puts the current state of federal spending in rather horrid relief:

The federal government is spending about 24 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). Most of it goes for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other entitlement programs. The “discretionary” portion of the budget equals about 9 percent of GDP, with about half going for defense. Until 1930, the federal government normally spent less than 4 percent of GDP, except for the periods during World War I and the Civil War. The Constitution gives the federal government very few tasks for which it is required to spend money — the big item being the “common defense.” Again, up until 1930, the courts forced the federal government to live largely within the confines of the Constitution. Deducting defense spending from the federal budgets before 1930 shows that the federal government lived perfectly well on 2 percent to 3 percent of GDP for the first 140 years of the republic.

What all of this means is that approximately three-quarters of all federal government spending is not required by — and often is contrary to — the Constitution.

Conventional wisdom in Washington increasingly holds that those who wish to see the federal government pare back its expenditures rather than increase the tax burden on the American people are delusional, if not antediluvian. Yet for the majority of American history, the federal government was only a fraction of what it is today — and the Republic did quite well for itself.

Are we really to believe today that spending cuts that would still leave the federal government’s share of GDP several multiples higher than it was less than a century ago mark some civilizational rot? Because by all indicators (Europe comes to mind), the failure to prune seems to be the more perilous course.

March 2nd, 2012 at 11:55 am
Ramirez Cartoon: Gitmo Unveils $744,000 Soccer Field For Inmates
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

February 21st, 2012 at 7:49 pm
Mitt Romney, Crypto-Keynesian
Posted by Troy Senik Print

Mitt Romney has at least one thing in common with every other member of the Republican presidential field: his worst enemy is Mitt Romney.

At a speech in Shelby Township, Michigan earlier today Romney’s answer to a question about the Simpson-Bowles fiscal commision ended up in this intellectual cul-de-sac:

If you just cut, if all you’re thinking about doing is cutting spending, as you cut spending you’ll slow down the economy. So you have to, at the same time, create pro-growth tax policies.

Romney, of course, is correct about the broader question of tax policy, but his understanding of public spending makes him sound like a logical candidate to succeed Timothy Geithner as President Obama’s Secretary of the Treasury.

Federal spending doesn’t generate economic growth — all it does is repurpose money from the private sector. In some cases where government is performing essential functions, such as law enforcement or national defense, that’s a necessary sacrifice. In virtually all others — from green energy boondoggles to stimulus giveaways — it’s a net drain on the economy. And, as Milton Friedman would remind Romney, the rate of spending is the effective rate of taxation.

Over the past few weeks, a wide variety of conservative pundits have counseled Romney to more aggressively address his “authenticity” problem, showing the public a little more of his true personality. But as today’s little slip-up reveals, the only candidate less palatable to conservatives than the phony Romney is his authentic counterpart.

January 23rd, 2012 at 4:35 pm
1,000 Days Without a Budget
Posted by Troy Senik Print

Believe it or not, that’s the remarkable reality we’ll be facing when Barack Obama takes to the podium to deliver his State of the Union address tomorrow night: nearly three years wherein the federal government — the largest distributor of funds on the planet — has operated without a budget. That’s a failure that deserves widespread public attention. Happily, the GOP — which usually can be counted on to bobble these kinds of communications opportunities — is doing a serviceable job of highlighting this ignominious milestone:

January 2nd, 2012 at 9:04 am
Ramirez Cartoon: The National Debt Co-Signers
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

November 22nd, 2011 at 1:32 am
Super Committee: Able to Kick the Can Down the Road in a Single Bound
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

November 16th, 2011 at 2:45 pm
Supercommittee One Week Away From Implosion
Posted by Troy Senik Print

Begin the countdown. November 23 — one week from today — is the deadline for the bipartisan, bicameral congressional “supercommittee” to deliver its plan to cut $1.2 trillion from the federal deficit. Only problem? No one expects it to happen. From today’s Washington Post:

White House officials are quietly bracing for “supercommittee” failure, with advisers privately saying they are pessimistic that the 12-member Congressional panel will find a way to cut $1.2 trillion from the deficit as required…

Obama has stopped short of issuing a blanket veto threat if the committee tries to undo the severe cuts that would take effect in 2013 if an agreement is not reached. Obama has simply said that Congress “must not shirk its responsibilities” and, in a news conference from Hawaii, said he would not comment on the potential for a veto.

Oh, so now it’s Congress that’s shirking its responsibilities? Where was President Obama’s veto pen when more than $4.2 trillion was being added to the federal debt under his watch (more than the total federal debt from George Washington to George H.W. Bush)? And if the role of Congress is so important, why leave the task of debt reduction to a dozen congressmen out of a body of 535? And why keep members from being able to so much as amend the proposal, making the compromise that will be necessary for such a grand bargain that much harder to ascertain?

The answer, of course, is that this process has been intended all along to grease the skids for tax increases. And by threatening the welfare of the men and women of the U.S. military (failing to pass a plan would result in automatic cuts to the Pentagon’s budget that could add up to over $1 trillion), liberals are hoping they can force conservatives’ hand.

The supecommittee process deserves to end in failure. The automatic spending cuts deserve to be overridden by Congress, as does any veto that President Obama may subsequently issue. And every member of the legislative branch who helped midwife the president’s record-breaking debt deserves a one-way ticket home.

October 27th, 2011 at 9:43 am
Ramirez Cartoon – Attn. Air Force One Passengers: Taxpayers’ Wallets Can Be Used As a Flotation Device
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

October 17th, 2011 at 9:29 pm
Ron Paul is Making Sense
Posted by Troy Senik Print

I’ve posted before on the difficulty that Texas Congressman Ron Paul’s presidential candidacy presents: while Paul is utterly at sea on foreign policy issues and too philosophically pure to countenance the type of compromise that real political progress requires, his libertarian beliefs also make him one of the best candidates in the Republican race on economic issues. Thankfully, Paul has no hope of being the nominee, but let’s hope that his “Restore America” economic plan, unveiled earlier today, has an influence on the GOP field. This is solid stuff, as the Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire blog reports:

Mr. Paul does get specific when he calls for a 10% reduction in the federal work force, while pledging to limit his presidential salary to $39,336, which his campaign says is “approximately equal to the median personal income of the American worker.”  The current pay rate for commander in chief is $400,000 a year.

The Paul plan would also lower the corporate tax rate to 15% from 35%, though it is silent on personal income tax rates, which Mr. Paul would like to abolish. The congressman would end taxes on personal savings and extend “all Bush tax cuts…”

While promising to cut $1 trillion in spending during his first year, Mr. Paul would eliminate the Departments of Education, Commerce, Energy, Interior and Housing and Urban Development…

Mr. Paul would also push for the repeal of the new health-care law, last year’s Wall Street regulations law and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the 2002 corporate governance law passed in response to a number of corporate scandals, including Enron.

What’s most remarkable is that Paul — long considered an ideological outlier — is now in line with the majority of the Republican establishment (the movement was on their end, not his). With the exception of his call to abolish the federal income tax and a few of his cabinet department eliminations, these are all priorities that a Republican congress could support coming from a GOP president. That man won’t be Ron Paul … but let’s hope he’s read his plan.

September 15th, 2011 at 9:23 am
Ramirez Cartoon: Obama Jobs Plan…Deposit Money Here
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

August 24th, 2011 at 9:30 am
Ramirez Cartoon: Just Minutes Before the D.C. Earthquake
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.