Well, now that the Stuporcommittee has spent many long nights having fine dinners on the taxpayer dime and accomplished absolutely nothing, it’s time for the whole of congress to do the same.
In theory, they are “under the gun” of something called “Sequestration”. The prior “law” these Sausage Kings made which created the stupid, vapid, and probably illegal Stuporcommittee (are a FEW congress critters REALLY constitutionally empowered to make laws for everyone, or does my representative have a mandate from ME to be involved?); also called for an automatic “cut” (or is that just a ‘reduction in the growth’?) in the budget if nothing else were done. That “cut” is supposed to be $1.2 Trillion. Half from the DOD.
OK, clearly they are lying. The question is: How is the lie embroidered?
How do I know they are lying? Well, lets take a look at the 2012 budget (that started in October of 2011… guess they are not so good with dates either…)
The 2012 United States federal budget is the United States federal budget to fund government operations for the fiscal year 2012, which is October 2011–September 2012. The budget is the subject of a spending request by President Barack Obama, while the Republican-held House of Representatives, coming off of a major victory in the 2010 Congressional elections associated with the Tea Party movement, announced a competing plan for the 2012 budget. The budget plans are intended to focus on deficit reduction, but differ in their changes to taxation, entitlement programs, defense spending, and research funding. The budget was greatly effected by the Budget Control Act of 2011, which was passed in August 2011 as a resolution to the debt-ceiling crisis, which mandated budget cuts over the subsequent ten years beginning with Fiscal Year 2012. The actual appropriations for Fiscal Year 2012 must be authorized by the full Congress before the budget can take effect, according to the United States budget process.
So this is the Obama budget, not the Republican suggestion, and despite our already being in it’s operational year, is still up for grabs… Guess it’s easier to “plan” things that have already happened.
So what does this current sort of a budget hope post-diction political football ploy propose as the Mandatory Spending and the Defense Spending level?
Mandatory spending: $2.382 trillion (-3.2%) Item February 2011 Obama administration request Social Security $761 billion (+2.6%) Medicare $485 billion (-0.6%) Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) $269 billion (-2.5%) Unemployment/Welfare/Other mandatory spending $612 billion (-14.0%) Interest on National Debt $242 billion (+17.1%) Troubled Asset Relief Program $13.0 billion (-54.0%)
Again we have the entirely discretionary welfare state programs described as “mandatory” (when the truth is that they are simply ‘pre-authorized’ and can be changed at will by congress – but who ever expected them to use words honestly). TARP is on a ramp down, interest is on a giant ramp up (soon to explode whenever the economy starts to recover and interest rates roughly double from 2% to the more normal 4% range). Unemployment is finally dropping some (and would plunge if they stopped handing out perpetual unemployment payments as a form of welfare payments).
But of the $1.2 Trillion to be “cut”, it is to be done as 1/2 DOD and 1/2 other stuff. You can pretty much bank on the idea that $600 Billion will not be taken out of Granny and The Kids as that would just look too bad on a reelecton bumpersnicker… Can’t touch interest, and TARP is pretty much something we’re stuck with as it runs down.
How about the “discretionary” side, and that $600 Billion from Defense?
Discretionary spending: $1.344 trillion (-3.1%) Item February 2011 Obama administration request April 2011 House Republican proposal Enacted Department of Defense $553.0 billion (+0.7%) Overseas Contingency Operations $118.0 billion (-26.0%) Department of Health and Human Services $79.9 billion (-1.8%) Department of Education $77.4 billion (+6.2%) Department of Veterans Affairs $58.8 billion (+3.1%) Department of Housing and Urban Development $49.8 billion (+0.5%) Department of State and Other International Programs $50.1 billion (-0.9%) Department of Homeland Security $43.2 billion (-0.9%) Department of Energy $29.6 billion (+4.2%) Department of Justice $28.2 billion (-7.2%) Department of Agriculture $23.8 billion (-7.1%) National Aeronautics and Space Administration $18.2 billion (-6.7%) Department of Transportation $13.4 billion (-4.1%) Department of the Treasury $14.0 billion (+0.8%) Department of the Interior $12.1 billion (+0.3%) Department of Labor $12.8 billion (-8.3%) Department of Commerce $8.8 billion (-2.3%) Army Corps of Engineers $4.6 billion (-6.2%) Environmental Protection Agency $9.0 billion (-10.3%) National Science Foundation $7.8 billion (+4.6%) Small Business Administration $1.0 billion (-1.0%) Corporation for National and Community Service $1.3 billion (-11.1%) Disaster costs $6.0 billion (+200%) Other On-budget Discretionary Spending $44.9 billion (-3.9%)
Well, there’s your second clue that the politicians are lying. (The first, of course, being the fact that their mouth is moving…)
The whole shebang is only $1.344 Trillion. I can pretty much guarantee that they are not going to be taking $1.2 T out of $1.3 T, so there is another “gimmick” in play here.
Also, look at the DOD budget. $553 Billion. Not going to get $600 Billion out of that, either.
Nope, now it is a Slam Dunk that their is a Big Fat Lie in the notion that we’re going to “cut” “THE Budget” by $1.2 Trillion. When they spent a couple of $Trillion on things like TARP and bailing out their friends, that was spent as hard cash and immediately. (But, strangely, as ‘emergency spending’ didn’t raise the budget…)
Even the rather left wing “Times” is not amused:
Sequestration. So Far…
Posted by Mark Thompson Tuesday, November 22, 2011 at 8:28 am
The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction’s failure to come up with a dime – never mind $1.2 trillion – in deficit reduction over the coming decade has set the stage for both tragedy – if you’re a defense secretary given to supersonic flights of rhetoric – and farce, if you’re an American taxpayer.
Now here we have the next clue (which is also in the description of the budget at Wiki).
Over a decade.
We’re going into the hole at about $1 T / year, so it sounds like a $1.2 T ‘cut’ is supposed to fix that, but it is “over a decade”, so all they are really saying is “not going to do a thing about the bulk of the $1 Trillion added debt each year, just going to fight over the error band.”
So we’re not looking for $1.2 Trillion out of this budget. We’re looking for $120 Billion. The DOD Share to be $60 Billion. Oh.
Also realize that the 2012 Budget is NOT what was spent in the last budget. They are not starting from the same starting gate. It’s a total fiction made up new with whatever folks wanted in their Christmas stockings. Ignoring for the moment that what is actually spent may be more than the budget; and ignoring that many things are funded ‘ex-budget’ or ‘off budget’ (little things, like a few $Hundred Billions in war adventures in various countries…): What was the 2011 budget? (Real managers think of a ‘cut’ as being less than you spent last time, rather than just a diminution of your wildest dreams of avarice…)
Well, the wiki for 2011 is a bit unsure (but aren’t we all rather unsure what the hell congress is doing?), having no nice listing by department as we have for 2010 and 2012. Even the total is a bit, er, vague:
In the Obama administration’s initial spending request, the federal budget for 2011 was originally projected at $3.69 trillion in total spending.
Total requested spending is $3.83 trillion and the federal deficit is forecast to be $1.56 trillion in 2010 and $1.27 trillion in 2011.
So there’s about $140 Billion of “slop” just in the guesses about what we might have already spent…
Compare that to 2012: “The President’s budget for 2012 totals $3.729 trillion.”
It is either more, or less, maybe… but what’s $100 Billion among friends?
(Which just leads me wondering how do I become a “Friend”? Clearly it’s more lucrative than actually working for a living…)
But lets assume that the “request” for 2012 ought to be compared with the “request” for 2011 and 2012 will have about the same amount of actual over run. $3.729 – $3.69 = $0.03 Trillion, or about $30 Billion of “Hope For More” in the budget request. As we’re (supposedly) looking for $120 Billion of “cuts”, we can see that $30 Billion of it are “hope”… leaving $90 Billion in actual “cuts” in 2012. Well inside the error band of actual spending last year.
Gee… $90 Billion is looking a whole lot smaller than $1,200 Billion. Guess it’s that Special Congressional Math they use…
Now, cut that $90 Billion in half, you get $45 Billion for the DOD share and $45 Billion for the rest of the budget.
I make that less than 10% of the Defense budget. Even less for the rest (especially if some of the ‘non-discretionary’, like TARP and Unemployment benefits get the axe too… you know, that unemployment that was supposed to run out about 2 years ago but was continued as ‘social welfare bribe money’ to buy votes for Obama and the Dims?) At $13 B and $612 B it looks like they have room for a few Billion of ‘cuts’ to their aspirations. Heck, just bumping off “Housing and Urban Development” covers the whole tab. I think it’s pretty clear that whatever they have been doing with housing it has not been very effective…
So all this noise and nonsense, all the histrionics, Kabuki theatre, hair pulling, character assassinations, and wailing, and all the lies and deception are all over nearly nothing. Less than a few percent. Something the average person or corporation does without even noticing. No bonus this year? OK, skip the new car.
Our family is dealing with “furlough days”. Days that the local school district does not pay you to work. (They have a budget issue too). So the spouses paycheck took a hit. I had a contract that ended earlier than expected, a significant cut in expected pay. No big deal, we do what all families do, we adjust.
But the monster we call The Federal Government? Ask it to eat just one less Ice Cream Bon Bon and it acts like you are a child abuser about to hit it with a baseball bat. Wailing, gnashing teeth and wringing hands, screaming and having a royal tantrum.
THEN has the gall to tell bald faced lies as a matter of course. Spending $1 Trillion can happen in a week with a bill that “we have to pass it to see what is in it” and the money evaporates without a trace into the maw of the beast. “Cutting” a $Trillion is really cutting $120 Billion this year that’s really only $90 Billion of money, the rest being aspirational spending. For THAT the Dimocrats wanted changes to the tax code to “soak the rich” and want to add a variety of other taxes as available? For THAT the Republicrims are talking about doing things like adding a National Sales Tax? (I’m sorry, Herman, your 9-9-9 sounds good at first, but after seeing what the Sale Tax part would be wasted on, I think you need to look again. Make it a 9-9-0 tax and you might have something. 9% flat tax on corporations and individuals.)
Were it not for the fact that the collapse of the private economy is already causing a 10% or so cut in people working, so slapping The Beast with a 10% loss of income taxes, I’d be advocating a “take a few days off” slowdown in economic participation to get the point across to these loons that we’re more than a little bit P.O.d. As it is, natural economic forces are acting to kick them in the deficit. This is the inevitable consequence of THEIR policies that send industry to lower tax locations and that think “government spending” can either create jobs or create wealth to tax (as income taxes or otherwise). All it can do is cause one person to lose a job so someone ELSE gets a government job. The end result of which is the loss of the tax base to pay for that government job. What we are seeing now. (California has it in spades. Greece only a little more so.)
IMHO, we’re in the ‘end game’ of this particular game. Our political masters have promised $Hundreds of Trillions of “free” medical care and other goodies including welfare and unemployment payments that they can not fund. They have entered into about a $Trillion of military adventures (much of it ‘off budget’ so not even in the numbers above) to play Cop To The World (all of it unsustainable and unfunded). They have passed laws – signed by Clinton and foisted on us by Barney Frank – to make sure everyone could get a subsidized mortgage home and causing a housing bubble / collapse. And so much more…
Like all ‘sugar highs’ you feel excited for a moment during the rush. Then comes the crash. Not only is there no money with which to pay those “mandatory” welfare benefits, there is none to pay the even larger public pensions that have been promised and none to pay the overseas adventures. The collapse of the housing bubble has taken with it all the home construction jobs (and resulted in a massive drop of transfer payments to Mexico from all the Mexicans it employed. What? You thought all those folks speaking Spanish in the construction trades were US Workers? Silly person…) but all the tax take dropped with them.
But it is even worse than that. There is a Demographic Bomb for income, too.
The Income Side
I’ve talked about the Demographic Bomb in terms of retirement and medicare payments. But there is another side to it as well. Look at the income side of the 2012 Federal Budget:
Total receipts Estimated receipts for fiscal year 2012 are $2.627 trillion. Item February 2011 Obama administration request Individual income tax $1.141 trillion Corporate income tax $329 billion Social Security and other payroll tax $925 billion Excise tax $103 billion Customs duties $30.0 billion Estate and gift taxes $14.0 billion Deposits of earnings and Federal Reserve System $66.0 billion Other miscellaneous receipts $20.0 billion
Individual Income Tax and Social Security come from people working. I make that about $2 Trillion total. Out of $2.6 Trillion.
What happens when the Baby Boom leaves their highest paid and most productive work years and retire?
I’m sorry, but our kids are just not making the same amount of money we did. A “boomer” at peak earnings is being replaced by a “20 something” selling retail goods for cheap.
Even if the economy were to recover (a prospect highly in doubt as long as our Congress Critters keep doing exactly the wrong things and believing their own bullshit, telling each other sweet lies they choose to embrace) it is recovering right into a national income curve reduction built into the demographics of our nation.
Not only are the boomers a bolus of demand to Medicare, Social Security, and Retirement Plans, they are also a bolus exiting the working wage earner tax payer cohort who make up the bulk of Federal Revenues.
But since that happens during some other guy’s term, nobody cares.
The Feds have an incurable problem. Several, actually. They have no foresight and can not even see the actual size of their problem.
There is little hope they could do anything sane about it, even if they DID have the foresight and will.
Their present actions speak loudly and say that not only are they not looking at the problems to come, not only are they ignoring the problems directly in front of them, but they are proposing fantasy solutions based on believing their own lies about what is happening.
They are indulging in Theater at best, delusions at worst. They could cut any one of several substantially worthless departments and do much more to help the nation. As an example, the Department of Education at $77 Billion. Did not exist prior to Carter and we had much better education systems then. The entire history of Federal meddling in education has been one long downhill slide in educational quality with ever more time wasted on stupidity. (My wife spends most of her time now filling out forms and doing mandated testing rather than actually teaching kids and has expressed a desire to exit the field as it’s not doing anything for the kids – her reason for teaching and entering Special Ed in particular.) I’m sure there are many other departments that would also create positive results in their demise, but I’m most familiar with the Education Department and it is one of the newest, so easiest to show that things were better without it, and not that long ago. It’s also a ‘bi-partisan screw-up’ as NCLB Nickle-Be is a Baby Bush catastrophe that can be trashed with it.
But no, it is not in the DNA of The Beast to remove any stupidity what-so-ever once it is a line item in the budget. Maybe “trim the growth” in one year or other, but only if it is the darling of the opposition.
IMHO this insanity will not end without a major calamity of some sort providing the sword with which to do the chopping. I would suggest a major war and the attendant war effort, but the last couple of those were exploited by Progressives to give us much of the albatross we have today. “Never let a disaster go to waste”… No, I’m pretty sure that war will be the broom that sweeps parts of Eurasia, but here not so much. Here I suspect it will need to be a different process. Perhaps a collapse of the State Budgets such that they finally get off their asses and use their collective States Rights to reform THEIR government. The Federal Government is a creation of The States. At any time they can take it back and discipline it. Perhaps they will realize that sending money to D.C. in the hopes of getting some of it back as ‘block grants’ is just stupid. Perhaps they will decide to put themselves back in charge of any non-defense things. Perhaps…
One can hope… “But hope is not a strategy. -E.M.Smith”
The fear, of course, is that we continue on with ‘business as usual’ down the Progressive Path we’ve been on since Nixon or so. (Yes, Nixon was a progressive. He gave us such things as the EPA, OSHA, and Environmental Impact Statements and was on board with Obama Care… Don’t think so?
“In 1971, Senator Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts proposed a plan for universal federally run health insurance, partly motivated by dramatic rises in public and private health care expenditures. In response, Nixon proposed a health care plan which would provide insurance for low-income families, and require that all employees be provided with health care. As this still would have left some forty million people uncovered, Kennedy and the other Democrats declined to support it, and the measure failed, though a Nixon proposal for increased use of health maintenance organizations passed Congress in 1973.”
A mandate for all employees to have healthcare and poor folks too. Just not quite socialist enough for Teddy Kennedy who wanted 100% universal Federally Run or nothing… and got nothing.
So I’d suggest that the Republicans are just as bad as the Democrats in getting us into this “mandated mess” and heading down the progressive road to economic hell (handbaskets optional…)
From the “Nixon Wiki”
In talking about his domestic initiatives with me, Nixon insisted that all of them reflected his own background and association with the progressive wing of the Republican party
Nixon closest aides usually placed revenue sharing and environmental and land-use policies higher on the list of his domestic achievements than the former president did himself. According to John Ehrlichman, this continuing difference of opinion arose from the fact that Nixon paid more personal attention during his first term to those domestic issues with “political juice,” such as cancer research, labor legislation, drugs, crime, taxes, desegregation, and welfare, than he did to economic matters involving revenue sharing, housing, hunger, transportation, and consumer protection, or environmental and general health concerns.
So the issue is about to which of the Progressive issues he gave the most attention, not getting conservative issues advanced.
The problem here is pretty simple. BOTH Democrats and Republicans are infected with The Progressive Disease. They dress it up in different doll cloths and give it different names, but each side is just fighting over WHICH progressive football they advance down the field. Baby Bush gave us a national Medicare Drug Plan and National NCLB Federal control of local teachers daily work products (tests, not teaching). Obama gives us Obamacare and Endless Unemployment Welfare. You can make matching sets from just about every president with the possible exception of Ronald Reagan, back to before Roosevelt (the first one. Wilson, who followed him, was dramatically “Progressive”). Even Harding (while generally for cutting government budgets) gave a call for Federal regulation of radio and transocean cable. He also freed some Socialists from prison:
On December 23, 1921 Harding calmed the 1919–20 Bolshevik scare and released election opponent, socialist leader Eugene Debs, from prison. This was done as an effort to get the United States returned to “normalcy” after the Great War. Debs, a forceful World War I antiwar activist, had been convicted under sedition charges brought by the Wilson administration for his opposition to the draft during World War I. Despite many political differences between the two candidates Harding commuted Debs’ sentence to time served; however, not granted an official Presidential pardon. Debs’ failing health was a contributing factor for the release. Harding granted a general amnesty to 23 prisoners, alleged anarchists and socialists, active in the Red Scare.
No, we’ve had this Progressive Disease for a very long time now, on both sides of the isle.
The Progressive Movement began in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in cities with settlement workers and reformers who were interested in helping those facing harsh conditions at home and at work.
The term progressivism emerged in reference to a more general response to the vast changes brought by industrialization: an alternative to the traditional conservative response to social and economic issues and, despite being associated with left-wing politics, to the various more radical streams of communism or anarchism.
So, not quite as bad as communism or anarchism. “Communism lite” I suppose? Today we would call it some form of Socialism (but the American Progressives don’t like to be called that as they seem afraid of the truth, never approaching it if at all possible in any venue, as near as I can tell… )
Political parties, such as the Progressive Party, organized at the start of the 20th century, and progressivism made great strides under American presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Lyndon Baines Johnson.
Which gives you the ‘early’ shopping list of policies and departments to eliminate. I’d add Nixon to the list with his legacy departments and clearly Carter belongs (along with The Clintons who are self avowed Progressives).
Do I think we can ‘walk back’ 100 years of presidential “legacy” any time soon? Nope, not at all. If we could, things would be solved in no time flat.
Unfortunately, I think it will take a collapse into rather hideous hardship before folks will toss out the legacy departments and Progressive functions of government. I can only hope that the collapse phase either comes after I am gone, or happens very very fast… So far we’ve run up to the wall, then stepped back just a bit each time. Just enough to not auger in. The election of Reagan is a good example. Bought us a couple of decades of prosperity and growth again. But with each cycle the pendulum has swung with less vigor and the recovery less strong; the added parasitic agencies grow larger and more numerous. I’m pretty sure that the next Conservative Hope will do even less to rescind the Progressive Agenda. The present budget mess only confirms that impression.
So I’m left to conclude that the lemmings will continue their march into the ice cold ocean of Progressivism, ever more numb with each icy step… dragging the rest of us with them. So march on, Greece and Italy. Perhaps you can serve as a signpost that “Here There Be Dragons!”. And remember, we’ve ‘got your back’ as we’re marching right behind you…