budget

Borrow from Peter to Pay Peter

Decrying “a decade of deficits” on Monday, President Obama declared that “my budget lays out a path for how we can pay down these debts.” It is hard to see how that can be true, since his plan would add $6.7 trillion to the national debt during the next decade. Obama thus begins his fourth … Read more

Big Government Cannot Pay Its Bills, Again

  Since Barack Obama became president on Jan. 20, 2009, the federal government has not had a budget. It did not have one for the first two years of his presidency, when Democrats controlled both houses of Congress, and it did not have one for 2011, when the Democrats controlled the Senate and the Republicans … Read more

The Loneliness of the Non-Mainstream Swimmer

  “I don’t think Ron Paul represents the mainstream,” says Mitt Romney. Newt Gingrich, another of the Texas congressman’s opponents in the contest for the Republican presidential nomination, uses stronger terms, declaring, “Ron Paul’s views are totally outside the mainstream of virtually every decent American.” As the results in Iowa suggest, the “mainstream” to which … Read more

Ron Paul Challenges His Party’s Mindless Militarism

  Reporters routinely describe Ron Paul’s foreign policy views as “isolationist” because he opposes the promiscuous use of military force. This is like calling him a recluse because he tries to avoid fistfights. The implicit assumption that violence is the only way to interact with the world reflects the oddly circumscribed nature of foreign policy … Read more

An Amendment Isn’t the Answer

  When I graduated from college in 1976, I got a job in Washington with the National Taxpayers Union, which was working to get a constitutional amendment to require a balanced federal budget. Someone graduating today could sign up there and pursue the same goal. The balanced-budget amendment has never gone away and never come … Read more

Romney’s Low-Content Campaign

  DAVENPORT, Iowa — As a crowd of more than 100 waits patiently for Mitt Romney’s late arrival, the sound system blares country singer Alan Jackson: “You must be the dream I’ve been dreamin’ of/Oh, what a feelin’, it must be love.” That selection suggests it’s Romney who is dreaming. He’s been running for president … Read more

Borrowing from Paul

Next month, the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, a 12-member subset of Congress that Congress created to make the hard fiscal choices Congress itself has failed to make, is expected to propose $1.2 trillion in cuts from projected spending during the next decade. This week, Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, who is seeking the Republican … Read more

Obama and His Rivals Duck the Entitlement Crisis

Some of society’s most intractable problems come not from its failures but from its successes. Often you can’t get a good thing without paying a bad price. A prime example is our public old-age pension system, Social Security. It has been completely successful in wiping out poverty among the elderly. Old ladies no longer have … Read more

Greece, and What Comes Next

  Greece is a microcosm for most of the developed world. It is mired in debt and at the mercy of forces beyond its financial control. The downward spiral is accelerating. As a condition for granting the May, 2010 rescue package, the IMF imposed severe austerity measures which included reductions in government social spending and … Read more

Solutions for the ‘Tax Gap’

In 2010, there was a “tax gap” — i.e., the difference between federal taxes owed and those actually paid — of $410-$500 billion. Some of the gap stems from the complexity of the tax code. Much of it, though, is deliberate­­: self-employed individuals working for cash, table-servers under-reporting tips, taxpayers claiming unauthorized credits and deductions. … Read more

What the Debt Limit Battle Is All About

It’s hard to keep up with all the arguments and proposals in the debt limit struggle. But what’s at stake is fundamental. The bedrock issue is whether we should have a larger and more expensive federal government. Over many years, federal spending has averaged about 20 percent of gross domestic product. The Obama Democrats have … Read more

The Overhyped Defense Cuts

Politicians often rail against government spending, except when it goes to the military. Conservatives believe there is no such thing as too much defense spending, and liberals don’t argue, for fear of being labeled appeasers. So when there is talk of the two parties agreeing to cut the Pentagon budget, it sounds like a monumental … Read more

My Congressman’s Impossible Job

Being a congressman can be a great job. It can be attractive for someone who relishes the ersatz virtue of playing Santa Claus with other people’s money, who finds a year-round routine of fund-raising social events enjoyable, and who covets receiving one of the most generous pensions on the planet. It can also be a … Read more

Obama Is Just ‘Being There’

  Which past leader does Barack Obama most closely resemble? His admirers, not all of them liberals, used to compare him to Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt. Well, Obama announced his candidacy in Lincoln’s hometown two days before Abe’s birthday, and he did expand the size and scope of government. But no one seriously compares … Read more

Obama and Business: Irreconcilable Differences

Last week, I noted that various forms of the word “unexpected” almost inevitably appeared in news stories about unfavorable economic developments. You can find them again in stories about Friday’s shocking news, that only 54,000 net new jobs were created in the month of May and that unemployment rose to 9.1 percent. But with news … Read more

Do We Deserve Our Fate?

The latest Social Security Trustees Report tells us that the program will be insolvent by the year 2037. The combined unfunded liability of Social Security and Medicare has reached nearly $107 trillion in today’s dollars. That is about seven times the size of the U.S. economy and 10 times the size of the national debt. … Read more

What Would Jesus Cut?

  That is the question asked by the left-leaning Christian organization, Sojourners, in its campaign of the same name. It is a most appropriate question given the battle over the budget and given this time of year, not long after the most holy holiday of the year for Christians. Sojourners claims that, despite record budget … Read more

President Whatever Finds Things Not Going His Way

Barack Obama is a politician who likes to follow through on long-term strategies and avoid making course corrections. That’s how he believes he won in 2008, and since then he’s shown that he’s not much into details. So he was happy to let congressional appropriators fill in the blanks in the 2009 stimulus package, and … Read more

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