Posts Tagged ‘budget’

12th April
2017
written by Sean Noble

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Neil Gorsuch being sworn in as a Supreme Court justice guarantees President Donald Trump will be forever known as appointing one of the most qualified, strict constitutionalist to the bench in modern history.

Gorsuch is every bit as an originalist as Justice Antonin Scalia, and at the young age of 49, he could have forty years of influence on the court. Just as Reagan’s legacy was solidified with Scalia’s appointment (following his appointment of the first woman to the Supreme Court, Arizona’s own Sandra Day O’Connor) Trump will enjoy kudos for this selection until he dies.

While I had suggested that Trump consider selecting Senator Ted Cruz, Gorsuch is a great pick. And given that he was confirmed to the federal bench unanimously, the hypocrisy of Senate Democrats in filibustering him is almost too easy to criticize. For one thing, by forcing McConnell to return to the pre-2003 standard of nominees being confirmed by simple majority, the Democrats have given up any leverage for future nominees. It’s almost certain that if Trump wins a second term he could get at least three and maybe as many as five picks.

If any of those picks are anywhere close to as solid as Gorsuch, Trump will do more to save this republic than any single person has done since Lincoln.  Yes, that sounds like hyperbole, but it is, in fact, true. The invasion of government into the everyday lives of the American people over the last few decades is astounding when you really stop and think about it.  There is no aspect of your own life that doesn’t have government fingerprints on it.

When you wake up in the morning and turn on your lights, you are paying fees to subsidize “green energy.” When you take a shower, you are paying extra for your water so your municipality can conduct water conservation programs. When you cook your breakfast, your butter, your jam, and your toast are more expensive because of regulations requiring nutritional information to be printed on the packaging.

You drive to work and you are paying gas taxes that pay for a lot of things that have nothing to do with roads and bridges (think light rail, bike paths, even hiking trails), and your car cost significantly more than it needs to because of government imposed miles-per-gallon requirements placed on car manufacturers.

When you work, you don’t earn your full paycheck, you pay income taxes, Medicaid taxes, Social Security taxes, state income taxes (in most states), to the tune of taking upwards of 40% of your paycheck before you even see the money.

And for what? What do you personally get for all that money that is taken?

As recently as 2000, the annual federal budget was $2.2 TRILLION and the debt was $5.6 TRILLION. Today, the federal budget is $3.9 TRILLION and the debt is an eye-popping $19.8 TRILLION! The share of the current debt is more than $61,000 for every single person in the U.S.

And yet, Democrats, and some Republicans want to spend more and more – the numbers are so out of sight even comparing it to monopoly money doesn’t do justice.

While Gorsuch may not have an immediate impact on reducing federal spending, there is no doubt that his influence on the court will help slow down and eventually turn back the invasion of government in our daily lives.  It may take time, but it needs to start now.

 

 

10th April
2013
written by Sean Noble

In the late 90’s I staffed then-Congressman John Shadegg on his Budget Committee assignment. Now-Governor of Ohio, John Kasich was the Chairman of the committee.

At the beginning of each February, there was a buzz of anticipation as we waited for the President to release his annual budget – which was delivered to the Hill packaged in three or four separate books.  We would pull all-nighters combing through tables and language to see what trickery President Clinton was using to try to mask deficits for as far as the eye could see.

Alas, it is April 10, and Obama is just now getting around to releasing his budget.  It says something about a person – who voluntarily ran for election to a job that has legal requirements – but ignores laws and rules.  The President is, by law, required to release a budget in early February.  But Obama thumbed his nose at the law, and our nation, and decided that getting a March Madness bracket done and shutting down the White House to visitors was much, much more important.

How can we expect Obama to get serious about fiscal restraint when he doesn’t respect the process enough to do the basics of his job?

Republicans in the House should set up working conference room, put Obama’s budget on the table, and invite the President over to go through the budget line-by-line, like he promised he would.

“And when I’m president, I will go line by line to make sure that we are not spending money unwisely.” (Presidential Debate, Sept. 28, 2008)

Of course, they’d be waiting there, by themselves, for a long time…

22nd March
2013
written by Sean Noble

 March Madness commenced yesterday and President Barack-toligist huddled with ESPN to enlighten America on his picks for the NCAA men’s basketball tourney. Funny how he can entertain ESPN in the Oval Office yet thousands of school children from across the country are currently banished from the “People’s House.”

While the President was able to submit his NCAA bracket on time this year his respect for budgetary deadlines continues to be elastic. This is nothing new; it’s the fourth out of five years Obama has broken the law with regards to getting his budget proposal to Congress. By law the President is required to submit a federal budget the first Monday in February – Congress is still waiting.

The bracket fest with ESPN was completed prior to his departure to Israel on his ‘do you love me?’ tour. Interestingly, this year our Commander-in-Chief has selected his winners conservatively—something rare for the White House.

Take a closer look at the President’s bracket and three of the states of Obama’s Final Four picks (Louisville, Florida, and Indiana) have unemployment rates higher than the national average.

The President has Indiana University taking the championship home. Not sure they are happy about him jinxing their chances.

It’s a shame that politics has to enter March Madness, but to the President everything is political — even gracing us with his expertise in college basketball. Maybe he should stick to the Easter Egg Roll at the White House. Is that still on?

 

10th August
2012
written by Sean Noble

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since I wrote the Case for Paul Ryan post, I have whipped myself into a blind frenzy that Romney really must pick Paul Ryan and hoping that he will pick Paul Ryan.

I don’t know whether Romney will pick Ryan, but it really makes a ton of sense from both a policy standpoint and a political standpoint.

First, let’s think about the long-term reasons to pick Ryan.  The most pressing issue facing our country is the out of control spending and ever increasing debt – coupled with the entitlement disaster as more and more baby boomers retire.

When Obama talks about voters facing a big choice in November, he is right.  But he has punted on the big choices, never taking serious the looming fiscal crisis.  This the guy who promised he would cut the deficit in half in his first term and yet pushed an $800 billion stimulus bill and what will turn out to be a nearly $2 trillion health care bill.  This, among other things, has led to our national debt going from $10 trillion when Obama took office to $15.9 trillion today.

The remedy?  Paul Ryan.  He thinks big.  He has vision.  He has real answers to the problems.

And guess what?  What makes Paul Ryan the right pick from a policy standpoint is exactly what makes him the right pick politically.  In tough economic times, with government spending off the charts, a health care law that injects bureaucrats in between doctors and their patients, and systemic corruption within the administration and their cronies on Wall Street and green energy, the cure is the simple plan Paul Ryan has laid out.  Simplify the tax code, reduce spending and provide choice in Medicare.

Paul Ryan for Vice President is Joe Biden’s worst nightmare and America’s dream come true.

3rd June
2012
written by Sean Noble

 

 

 

 

 

If you follow politics at all, you know that Wisconsin has been the epicenter of the battle between Left and Right for more than a year.

It all started after the 2010 elections when Wisconsin went from blue to red in dramatic fashion with Republicans defeating Democrats in the U.S. Senate seat, the Governor’s seat, both houses of the legislature, and two Congressional districts.

In early 2011, newly elected Governor, Scott Walker, proposed a “budget repair bill” to address the fiscal mess he inherited (sound familiar?).  Rather than passing even more government spending to “stimulate” Wisconsin’s economy, Walker proposed real budget cuts, reforms to public employee union benefits (asking them to pay a little bit more for their health care and retirement, but not as much as the average private sector employee) and collective bargaining reforms (although he exempted police and fire fighters).

The response?  A dozen Democrat legislators literally left the state and hid out in Illinois to prevent a quorum; public employee union members – mostly teachers – staged massive protests at the state capital day in and day out, with doctors volunteering to write them “sick notes” to prevent taking a loss of pay.  (One has to wonder what type of hypocrisy must be employed by teachers who question students’ sick notes after that.)

After weeks of these circus antics, legislative leadership figured out a way to pass the Walker legislation even while Democrat legislators were shirking their responsibility (but still cashing their per diem checks) out of state.

This led to “outrage” and the Left was going to send a message by defeating Supreme Court Justice Prosser, who was up for re-election in April, because then they could challenge Walker’s policies up to the Supreme Court and overturn his right-wing agenda.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the Supreme Court race.  Prosser won.

Undeterred, the unions and their minions decided that they would recall four state senators and recapture the State Senate and block Walker’s radical agenda.

But, alas, they failed again, and did not recall the requisite number of Senators to give the Democrats the majority.

So they turned their guns to the big dog – Scott Walker – to send a message to all Republican Governors across the land: you mess with the unions, you get the horns.

Well, we’ll see how that turns out for them on Tuesday.  If I were a betting man, I’d say that Walker wins by near double-digits and Wisconsin becomes a major battleground state for the Presidential election.

Think about that. Wisconsin.  The birthplace of modern-day American liberalism.

God does love America.

 

30th March
2012
written by Sean Noble

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Budget wunderkind Paul Ryan has endorsed Mitt Romney for President.  With this get, Romney has picked up the endorsement of the two top rising stars in the Republican Party – Ryan and Marco Rubio.

Ryan’s endorsement demonstrates that the conservative intellectual wing of the GOP is now firmly ensconced with Romney.

Tuesday’s primary elections in Wisconsin (Ryan’s home state), Maryland and D.C. will likely be the end of Gingrich’s campaign and should, for all intents and purposes, be the end of Santorum’s campaign.

 

20th March
2012
written by Sean Noble

U.S. House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan is the most serious person in Washington when it comes to taking on the real challenges of government spending and debt.  Washington Democrats will howl at the budget he releases today, which should be proof enough that it is something we need.

Here is a great video introduction of Paul Ryan’s Path to Prosperity Budget.

28th May
2009
written by Sean Noble

Wow!

The Arizona budget battle is about to go nuclear.   Various news outlets are reporting on a strategy memo prepared by Gov. Brewer confidant Chuck Coughlin at Highground that lays out a $225K campaign to target 18 legislative districts to pressure legislators to support a yet to be released budget from Gov. Brewer.

Team,

Attached is the legislative strategy docs that were handed out and discussed briefly at the meeting. This strategy is based on the launching of a budget next week that the coalition would be able to support. We would like your input on the strategy as well as the targeted legislators who should be part of our outreach efforts. If you have any questions, please let us know.

As we near the end of the fiscal year (June 30) the pressure is ramping up to get a budget done to fix the structural deficit that has become the legacy of former Gov. Janet Napolitano. The rub is that Brewer wants a billion dollar tax hike and the legislature wants to balance the budget without raising taxes.

 

There are two fascinating points.  One, it’s obvious that Gov. Brewer and her team do not expect a serious primary opponent.  (The only other explanation for her to target fellow Republicans is that she is not running for election in 2010, but that is dismissed by nearly everyone in town).  This may change that dynamic.

 

Two, look at the folks who are a part of this pro-Brewer, anti-legislator effort.  The name that jumps out the most is Republican Party Chairman Randy Pullen.  It is stunning that Pullen is participating in a campaign that literally goes after incumbent Republican legislators when we are going into an election year that is critical to maintaining Republican majorities in the House and Senate.

 

How does the party, on one hand, support the effort to criticize and pressure Republican members, while on the other hand claim to be the vehicle for legislators to help them get re-elected?

 

It makes reason stare.

 

My guess is that the legislature is not going to take this laying down.  They will fight back, and the irony is that many of the legislators closest to Pullen are on the target list.

 

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any more strange…

18th March
2009
written by Sean Noble

Politico.com has a story that is just downright depressing.  Our nation’s debt is about to hit $11 TRILLION.  That is a staggering sum.  It was half that size in 1996.  In 13 years we have added as much debt as it took us to accumulate in the more than 200 years prior.

Back when I was a budget associate in the U.S. House, I always went straight to the appendix of the President’s budget to look at a couple figures: Government spending as a percentage of GDP and deficit as a percentage of GDP.  Obviously, if the economy continues to grow, we can absorb some increases in government spending and debt.

For example, in FY 1983 federal spending was 23.5% of GDP.  That reflected both weak economic growth and increased defense spending by Reagan. The deficit was 6% of GDP (a post-WWII high).  By FY 1988 the percentage of federal spending was 21.3% and the deficit was 3.1%.

In Clinton’s first budget, FY 1994, the percentage of federal spending was 21% and the deficit was 2.9%.  The budget following the Republican take-over of Congress dropped to 20.3% and the deficit was 1.4%.

Bush’s budgets tended to be on par with Clinton’s budgets (as a percentage, remember) with the FY 2007 budget at 20% of GDP and the deficit at 1.2%

How does Obama’s first budget stack up?   Federal spending as a percentage of GDP will be a whopping 27.2%.  And the deficit as a percentage of GDP?  Buckle up… 8.3%, which shatters the previous high of 6% in 1983.  To make matters worse, that 8.3% is BEFORE taking into account the stimulus package passed earlier in the year.

This is ugly.

21st February
2009
written by Sean Noble

With the financial crisis and the so-called solutions of the stimulus bill and the housing bill, it’s easy to forget that Obama is obligated to submit a budget to Congress. He’ll provide an outline next week, with a full budget to follow in April.  The Washington Post reports this morning that Obama’s budget will be “ambitious” and that he will seek to cut the deficit in half in the next four years.

I know what you’re thinking.  How in the world, given the massive spending that he has already signed into law, is he going to reduce the deficit?

He’s going to stick it to the “rich.”

Obama also seeks to increase tax collections, primarily by making good on his promise to eliminate the temporary tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003 for wealthy taxpayers, whom Obama defined during the campaign as those earning more than $250,000 a year. Those tax breaks would be permitted to expire on schedule for the 2011 tax year, when the top tax rate would rise from 35 percent to more than 39 percent.

Obama also proposes to maintain the tax on estates worth more than $3.5 million, instead of letting it expire next year. And he proposes “a fairly aggressive effort on tax enforcement” that would target tax havens and corporate loopholes, among other provisions, the official said.

Overall, tax collections under the plan would rise from about 16 percent of the economy this year to 19 percent in 2013, while federal spending would drop from about 26 percent of the economy, another post-war high, to 22 percent.

This was an especially “rich” statement from Obama advisor, David Axelrod:

“This is consistent with what the president talked about throughout the campaign,” and “restores some balance to the tax code in a way that protects the middle class,” Axelrod said. “Most Americans will come out very well here.”

Pardon me if I don’t believe the spin that most Americans will come out very well here.  The engine of our economy is the capital that “rich” people spend to hire people, grow their business and become a success.  Allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire will stifle that success and will make the recession even deeper and longer than it would otherwise be, and unemployment will continue to increase.  That doesn’t sound like most Americans coming out very well.

2010 is looking better and better for Republicans.

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