Tag Archives: budget

I am so tired of Republicans getting away with this shit . . .

Since he was only a “chief economic policy adviser” to Reagan, what Bruce Bartlett says probably doesn’t count. In fact, these days that credential makes him suspect; he might be a Muslim-Kenyan liberal. Just like David Stockman. And David Frum*. You know, yesterday’s conservatives.

Republicans assert that Barack Obama assumed sole responsibility for the budget on Jan. 20, 2009. From that date, all increases in the debt or deficit are his responsibility and no one else’s, they say. This is, of course, nonsense – and the American people know it.

. . . Contrary to Republican assertions, there were no additional revenues from legislated tax increases.

. . . On the spending side, legislated increases during the Bush administration added $2.4 trillion to deficits and the debt through 2008.

The projected surplus when George Bush took over from The Big Dog:

was primarily the result of two factors. . . first, a big tax increase in 1993 that every Republican in Congress voted against, saying that it would tank the economy. This belief was wrong. The economy boomed in 1994, growing 4.1 percent that year and strongly throughout the Clinton administration . . .

During the 2000 campaign, Mr. Bush warned that budget surpluses were dangerous because Congress might spend them, even though Paygo rules prevented this from happening. . . .[he] reiterated this point and [said] . . .  future surpluses were likely to be even larger than projected due principally to anticipated strong revenue growth.

The 2001 tax cut did nothing to stimulate the economy, yet Republicans pushed for additional tax cuts in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006 and 2008. The economy continued to languish even as the Treasury hemorrhaged revenue, which fell to 17.5 percent of the gross domestic product in 2008 from 20.6 percent in 2000. Republicans abolished Paygo in 2002, and spending rose to 20.7 percent of G.D.P. in 2008 from 18.2 percent in 2001.

. . . Putting all the numbers in the C.B.O. report together, we see that continuation of tax and budget policies and economic conditions in place at the end of the Clinton administration would have led to a cumulative budget surplus of $5.6 trillion through 2011 enough to pay off the $5.6 trillion national debt at the end of 2000.

. . . Republicans would have us believe that somehow we could have avoided the recession and balanced the budget in 2009 if only they had been in charge. This would be a neat trick considering that the recession began in December 2007.

. . .  they continually imply that one of the least popular spending increases of recent years, the Troubled Asset Relief Program [TARP], was an Obama administration program, when in fact it was a Bush administration initiative proposed by the Treasury Department that was signed into law by Mr. Bush on Oct. 3, 2008.

Lastly, Republicans continue to insist that tax cuts are highly stimulative, often saying that they add nothing to the debt, when this is obviously ridiculous.

Like I said though, Bartlett’s probably a commie by now, so no one should pay attention to him.

David Frum in 2012: Imagine, if you will, someone who read only the Wall Street Journal editorial page between 2000 and 2011, and someone in the same period who read only the collected columns of Paul Krugman. Which reader would have been better informed about the realities of the current economic crisis? The answer, I think, should give us pause.

Walker attack spreads to public education

POSTED BY ORHAN

On Sunday Wisconsin Gov. “Chainsaw” Scott Walker signed into law a state budget cutting $800 million from public education, while insisting state school districts will be better off after the cuts. Milwaukee public schools will be the hardest hit, with 988 full-time layoffs coming this week.

In an interview Monday Walker said, “The tools we gave them allow them to more than offset, and in some cases, actually net more revenue than they would have otherwise with the state budget. Now, those are changes you may agree or disagree with how we got there, but in the end, they’re going to fare better.”

The budget expands the state’s “school choice” voucher program, providing more public funds for private schools, and permitting Milwaukee parents to send their children to any private school in the state.

Lobbying group The American Federation for Monetizing Children, which pumped resources into the legislative effort, praised the expansion, as well as the “Once In, Always In” provision that will ensure, according to economist John Lott, that “once a student gets a voucher, that student will always be able to keep it, regardless of their family’s future income. In previous years, a student who received a voucher could lose eligibility for the program because his or her parents happened to increase their income in a given year.”

The idea of students being so harshly penalized for a simple reversal of their parents’ fortunes must have been more than the legislators could bear to contemplate.  And no doubt school district workers are bursting with gratitude for the “tools” Walker gave them.

The adults have left the room.

Okay, so our one-story-at-a-time-all-the-time news media are obsessed with the play by play of ‘will they or won’t they?’. Will they pass the 2010-11 budget? Will they pass a continuing resolution? 

Whatever they pass – and they’ll pass something – it takes us to October. So the work on the  2011-12 budget needs to be underway now. And in July we have the matter of raising the debt limit, which is something I believe we have done pretty much every time.

So something will resolve today’s cliff hanger. What’s the next one?  And the next one?

It has occurred to me that maybe all the Republicans  really want is to keep the government shut down long enough to see Grover Norquist smile. Just once.

Feeding kids doesn’t bring in those campaign contributions

Here’s a concise expression of our misplaced governmental priorities. We need to ask, as Orhan did in a comment thread, what’s a country for anyway?

From a recent Robert Greenwald column:

“the entire alleged shortfall in Wisconsin could be covered by bringing just 180 troops home from Afghanistan.” How about that.

While we’re at it, let’s note that today is the 161st day of the tenth year of the war in Afghanistan.