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Washington Fiddles While The Budget Deficit Continues To Burn


Continuing a trend that stretches back nearly two years, the monthly federal budget deficit hit another record in April: The Treasury Department said Wednesday that the federal deficit for April soared to $82.7 billion, the largest imbalance for that month on record. That was significantly higher than last year’s April deficit of $20 billion and […]

Bad Year For Powerful Congressmen?

Bob Bennett Utah Republican Convention

Has clout become the kiss of death? Politico‘s Jonathan Allen and Manu Raju think so. The back-to-back primary defeats of two powerful appropriators have sent an unmistakable message to lawmakers: The trappings of power can be a trap. On Wednesday night, West Virginia Democrats eighty-sixed Rep. Alan Mollohan, making him the first House appropriator to […]

Bob Bennett Loses in Republican Fight: Purge of the RINOs?


In the leading edge of what is expected to be a minor wave, Utah Senator Bob Bennett was defeated in the Republican nominating process last evening. Republican U.S. Sen. Bob Bennett of Utah has lost his bid to serve a fourth term after failing to advance past the GOP state convention. Attorney Mike Lee and […]

DNC Romney Attack Ad


I’ve noted repeatedly over the past few weeks my sense that Mitt Romney is the Republican frontrunner for 2012. Apparently, the Democratic National Committee agrees. Politico’s Mike Allen: DNC TARGETS ROMNEY with a video titled, “Wall Street’s Best Friend.” A Dem. official: “We’re not waiting until this fall to make a campaign issue out of […]

Reagan’s Tax Increases

Ronald Reagan Thumbs Up

Conservative renegade Bruce Bartlett agrees with Alan Simpson and me that today’s doctrinaire tax-cutters misunderstand or distort Ronald Reagan’s record. I think it’s reasonable to assume that Simpson, like almost all Republicans in the Senate in the 1980s, probably voted for the many tax increases supported and signed into law by Ronald Reagan, which eventually […]

Alan Simpson: Best Damn Record of No Taxes of any Son-of-a-Bitch

Alan Simpson 2007

Alan Simpson’s wit, candor, and integrity made him one of my favorite senators of all time. And now he’s fighting back against the interest groups that are killing our party. Former Sen. Alan Simpson is none too pleased with conservatives who say he lacks sufficient antitax fervor.  “I got the best damn record on no […]

Reconciliation, Health Care, and History


Political scientists  Thomas Mann and Norm Ornstein argues that, contrary to Republican claims,   the reconciliation process is neither illegitimate nor rare. Reconciliation was intended to be a narrow procedure to bring revenues and spending into conformity with the levels set in the annual budget resolution. But it quickly became much more. The 22 reconciliation bills […]

Perry Trounces Hutchison in Texas Republican Primary


Kay Bailey Hutchison’s bizarre campaign to beat incumbent Texas Governor Rick Perry in the Republican primary has ended in embarrassing defeat. Gov. Rick Perry won a decisive victory over Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison in the Texas GOP primary for governor Tuesday night, bringing a bruising fight between two of the state’s most popular Republicans to […]

Bunning ‘Furlough’ Wasting Millions in Name of Fiscal Responsibility


Remember Jim Bunning blocking unemployment extension and playing chicken with dozens of projects?  Well, they’re now coming home to roost: The Department of Transportation said Monday that Republican Sen. Jim Bunning’s blockage of legislation designed to keep a host of federal programs operating forced the agency to furlough nearly 2,000 employees without pay, temporarily shut […]

Campaign Contributions as Free Speech


A recent Gallup poll shows that the American public agrees with the Supreme Court that campaign contributions are free speech but that most nonetheless want to limit said speech. Fifty-seven percent of Americans consider campaign donations to be a protected form of free speech, and 55% say corporate and union donations should be treated the […]

College Education: You Don’t Get What You Pay For


King Banaian studies the most recent literature and finds that students are leaving college with record debt levels and that, paradoxically, those attending more selective institutions not only get far more for their money but pay less. Because students are now willing and able to select higher education in a national rather than regional market, […]

National Debt Hysteria?


In a front piece story in today’s NYT, Edmund Andrews warns that the bill is about to come due on the massive borrowing the federal government has engaged in. Treasury officials now face a trifecta of headaches: a mountain of new debt, a balloon of short-term borrowings that come due in the months ahead, and […]

Glenn Beck, Community Organizer


Glenn Beck has a plan.  Actually, the Plan.  Which he reveals on his website. Today, I have stopped looking for a leader to show us the way out because I have come to realize that the only one who can truly save our country…is us. To change America’s course we need to change ourselves, our […]

National Debt Hits $12 Trillion, Will Double By 2019


Barack Obama has been president for just under 10 months but he’s added two trillion to the national debt and will double it by the end of the decade.  CBS’ Mark Knoller: This latest milestone in the ever-rising journey of the National Debt comes less than eight months after it hit $11 trillion for the […]

Health Care: Better, Faster, Cheaper!

health care costs bed

In a much discussed post, Ezra Klein produced a series of graphs showing that Americans pay more for office visits, scans and imaging, drugs, and other aspects of health care — often, far more — than is the case in Canada or Western Europe. There is a simple explanation for why American health care costs […]

Reich: Government Should Spend Even More


Robert Reich sees a grim future  on the jobs front: Unemployment will almost certainly in double-digits next year — and may remain there for some time. And for every person who shows up as unemployed in the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ household survey, you can bet there’s another either too discouraged to look for work […]

9/12 Protests

9-12 protest NYT

Yesterday, somewhere between “tens of thousands” and “two million” people flooded the nation’s capital to protest somethingoranother. Thousands Rally in Capital to Protest Big Government (Jeff Zeleny, NYT) A sea of protesters filled the west lawn of the Capitol and spilled onto the National Mall on Saturday in the largest rally against President Obama since […]

Taxing Our Way to Good Health

Health Care Costs

A bit over a year ago, Brad DeLong (who is a doctor but not a medical doctor) proposed “An Unrealistic, Impractical, Utopian Plan for Dealing with the Health Care Opportunity,” the crux of which is: 20% Deductible/Out of Pocket Cap: The IRS snarfs 20% of your family economic income. 5% of it is an increase […]

Obama: Watch the Spending Except for Health Care


These two stories indicate that Obama just isn’t serious about limiting spending and deficits. The first is about how President is trying to earn some credibility for fiscal responsibility. President Barack Obama sought on Tuesday to show he was serious about improving the U.S. budget picture as he called on Congress to pass new limits […]

Bernanke Turns On His Turn Signal


One theme in the monetary theory literature is that central bankers can signal their intentions in regards to inflation. The ideal is that the central banker will set the inflation rate very low or at zero. Today in a Congressional hearing Bernanke tried to send a signal. “In recent weeks, yields on longer-term Treasury securities […]

The Tea Parties and Spending


Ross Douthat points out the similarity between the Tea Party protests and the anti-Iraq War protests–in a depressing way: [I]t’s awfully hard to see the Tea Parties doing much to change that reality in the short run; if anything, they’re far more likely to reconfirm the majority in its opinion that American conservatism is increasingly […]

Tea Bagging Requires a Dick Armey


Several bloggers are pointing to MSNBC’s David Shuster’s quip that “[I]f you are planning simultaneous tea bagging all around the country, you’re going to need a Dick Armey.” This is amusing on a number of levels. First, it’s a very good line. Second, the Left is applauding Left-leaning MSNBC for going after Right-leaning FOX for […]

Obama Gutting the Military?


Andrew Exum has “a policy whereby when someone is criticized by name, they have the right to post a response.”  Having yesterday taken exception to a WSJ editorial by AEI’s Thomas Donnelly and Gary Schmitt arguing that Obama and Gates are “gutting the military” and received a lengthy email response from Donnelly, he reprints it […]

U.S. Defense Spending Too High?


Robert Farley thinks the United States spends far too much on defense. Absent supplementals, the United States currently runs a defense budget of just over half a trillion dollars, a number which does not include defense-related spending in other departments. By the kindest calculations, this means that the U.S. spends roughly four to six times […]

Do Zeroes Cure Inumeracy?


Janet Beihoffer has a modest proposal for cutting federal spending and generally restoring some sanity to our financial life. A simple but effective approach may be to include all the zeroes in these bills, current and future. Far too many people hear “million” and “billion” and “trillion” and simply don’t understand the magnitude of these […]

Obama’s Irreversible Agenda


Ross Douthat has discovered Barack Obama’s evil genius: What Obama does have, though, is an atmosphere of crisis and a massively-unpopular opposition party, which grants him an unparalleled political opportunity to pass whatever spending the Democratic Party likes, and damn the short-term cost. And what you see in his budgeting proposals, I think, is the […]

Obama the Big Spender: Who Knew?


Christopher Buckley, who announced to great fanfare last October that he was voting for Obama, took to the same forum yesterday to announce his misgivings about Obama’s spending. Government is getting bigger and will stay bigger. Just remember the apothegm that a government that is big enough to give you everything you want is also […]

Newt Gingrich at CPAC

Newt Gingrich CPAC 2009 Photo

I attended a breakfast this morning with Newt Gingrich as part of the rollout for the American Solutions Winning the Future effort.  As usual, he was an extremely forceful speaker and passionate strategist. He opened by saying that he is an optimist and that “President Obama is doing us a huge favor” by showing how […]

Obama Slashes Spending, Increasing Massively!


I can’t help but be bemused by the YahooNews headline “Obama promises to slash spending by $2 trillion,” which accompanies an AP story quite contrary to that. President Barack Obama unveiled a multi-trillion-dollar spending plan Thursday that would boost taxes on the wealthy, curtail Medicare, lay the groundwork for universal health care and leave a […]

If We Build Three Really Large Pyramids…


This is the thinking of many when it comes to the stimulus spending. What we spend it one doesn’t really matter so long as we spend the money. Consider this argument for the stimulus spending from Prof. Brad DeLong. Implicit in Prof. DeLong’s argument is that it doesn’t really matter what the money is spent […]

Five Year Balanced Budget

balanced budget

Patrick Ruffini thinks one way out of our national fiscal nightmare is to adopt, like 49 of the 50 states, a balanced budget amendment. Recognizing that this has had the perverse effect of profligate spending in flush years and irresponsible cuts in lean years, he suggests a five year cycle: In bad times, states could […]

How Things Could Get Really Bad


I have argued that the current recession, while bad, isn’t as bad as President Obama and others have claimed. I still think this is the case, but I would change my mind based on new evidence. However, I think the current situation could end up leading to a really bad situation. As I’ve noted in […]