Blog Archives

Cartoon(s) of the Week – Budget Questions

Clay Bennett in the Chattanooga Times Free Press:

What if a proposed budget was created from fear?

– and –

Pat Bagley in the Salt Lake Tribune:

… and what if the proposed budget was accomplished on the backs of the middle class?

– and –

R.J. Matson in the St. Louis Post Dispatch:

… and what if the Republicans really BELIEVED their budget was balanced?

– and –

Jim Morin in the Miami Herald:

…then think about how wonderful our culture will be.

Quote of the Day – Russ Feingold, former Wisconsin Senator, to Scott Walker, Wisconsin Governor

“This is not about the budget at all… this is about trying to destroy people’s right to collectively bargain. If you begin with a dishonest approach…and begin making threats…it’s a really an assault on Wisconsin‘s traditions. It’s really something a new governor shouldn’t be doing.”

“I call on him tonight to pull back, to drop this issue of collective bargaining and get back to budgeting

NEA Budget Increase Approved In Committee… time to get it through Congress.

Yesterday evening, the U.S. House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, which sets the initial funding level for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), approved a $2.5 million increase for the NEA in its FY 2011 spending bill. Chairman Jim Moran (D-VA), a longtime champion of arts and culture, presided over his first Interior spending bill as chairman of the subcommittee. It is significant that Chairman Moran has proposed an increase for the agency in light of a spending freeze on federal discretionary funds and a lower budget request by the administration. Please send a message to your members of Congress telling them to support this funding increase that Chairman Moran made in subcommittee!

Currently funded at $167.5 million, this increase would bring the NEA’s budget to $170 million. In his statement, Chairman Moran acknowledged that, “the increase recognizes the value we place, as a nation, on our artistic and cultural heritage.”

James Kwak wrote a great article, Budget Sense And Nonsense, in the Huffington Post.

Kwak, co-author of The Baseline Scenario, a leading blog on economics and public policy, has written a really good explanation of the Obama budget and how the GOP created the Deficit Crisis. I’ve taken this clip out of the article, but it is really worth reading the whole thing.
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Speaking of taxes, how did we get into this deficit mess in the first place?

You’ve no doubt seen this chart from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities or something similar before, but that doesn’t make it any less true. And what is it in the president’s proposed budget that the Republicans are aiming at? The plan to let the Bush tax cuts lapse for people making more than $250,000 per year. In other words, the problem with the Obama budget is that the deficits are too high, and the solution is to cut taxes. Huh?
Sam Stein pointed out the same issues in December. Yet since Ronald Reagan, a large proportion of the electorate has become wired to believe that deficits are always the product of excess government spending, so the facts bear repeating.
The fiscal situation is actually very simple. The budget was in surplus when President Clinton left office, although there was already the prospect of budget-busting Medicare deficits in the long-term future.
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MIT Analyst says Obama is Right… Health Plan Will Save Americans Money…

…so you can listen to Mitch MConnell, whose budgetary background is suspect at best, or you can listen to an expert.

Here is a clip from the article at Politico:

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A new analysis by a leading MIT economist provides new ammunition for Democrats as the Senate begins formally debating the historic health-reform bill being pushed by President Barack Obama.

The report concludes that under the Senate’s health-reform bill, Americans buying individual coverage will pay less than they do for today’s typical individual market coverage, and would be protected from high out-of-pocket costs.

The new document arms Democrats with a response to the contention of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) that the bill would mean “higher premiums, higher taxes, and massive cuts to Medicare.”

The “microsimulation” analysis is by Jonathan Gruber, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Treasury Department official under President Bill Clinton. Gruber used data from the Congressional Budget Office.

Gruber concludes that people purchasing individual insurance would save an annual $200 (singles) to $500 (families) in 2009 dollars.
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Did you know the Deficit has come down $400 Billion already?

We don’t hear a lot about the controls coming from the Obama Administration, but this article in Roll Call caught my attention. Here’s a small clip… but read i all to see why things could get worse in 2011:
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Far less prominent but no less important was another CBO report released that day — the monthly budget review with revised numbers for fiscal 2009. The bottom line: The deficit was about $1.4 trillion.

Before this deficit is demonized to the point where it’s considered something appropriate for HBO’s “True Blood,” several things need to be explained.
First, the new figure is much smaller than the $1.8 trillion estimate produced earlier in the year by the CBO.
Big swings in deficit projections are often due to dramatic changes in economic conditions, but that wasn’t the case this time.
Depending on what makes you happy, you can call this either a rejection of a spending increase or a reduction from what was proposed.
Either way, not only was federal spending in 2009 much lower than projected earlier in the year, this also is one of the largest one-year spending changes in recent federal budget history.

The real problem is coming in 2011 and beyond
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