Tag Archives: U.S Budget
The U.S. Department of the Treasury formally announced this week that the United States budget deficit for the year 2011 was the second largest in U.S. history at $1.299 trillion dollars. The first place award for the irresponsible-spending-and pushing-America towards insolvency-award still belongs to…Barack Obama‘s first year in office of 2009. ($1.412 trillion was borrowed that year to pay for our over-spending, also known as the deficit) The 2011 budget deficit barely beat out Obama’s 2010 budget deficit of $1.293 trillion for second place on the all-time historically ludicrous budget deficit-spending charts during Obama’s regime. 3 years in office- over $4 trillion dollars of debt racked up.. to be slapped onto the backs of our children and grandchildren, while said kids are being encouraged to still chant “Four more years” at Obama rallies today. The question that should be asked of these kids today, should be more like, “Can America’s kids afford four more years of trillion-dollar-plus deficits? ”
To put this into proper perspective, G.W.bush ran up a total of approx. $1.49 trillion dollars of debt in his first three years in office, which Barack Obama did in his first year alone, while in office. Barack Obama has effectively tripled our yearly budget deficits since day one of taking over the White House. Deficits that we are borrowing money from other countries in order to to pay for.
Under the current debt-spending scenario of Obama and his irresponsible Liberal minions in Congress, “Four more years” will result in a total of around $10 trillion dollars of child-enslaving debt if Obama gets 8 total years in office. Here is a thought for our youth today: Instead of chanting “Four more years” at Obama rallies, why not try chanting the truth, as in “10 trillion dollars of more debt is what we want” because that is what you are going to get if you do not get your heads out of the sand and pay attention to what is going on in America today. The undefined “Hope and Change” some fools voted for in 2008 is now being exposed as “Choked by (big government) Chains” if you actually pay attention to Barack Hussein Obama’s big- government- debt-spending policies of the past three years.
2012 just can’t get here fast enough.
Senator Thune, a member on the Senate budget committee speaks to Fox News’ Bill Hemmer on what he believes is the most important responsibility the Senate has to tax payers.
From Standard and Poor’s official website:
Because the U.S. has, relative to its ‘AAA’ peers, what we consider to be
very large budget deficits and rising government indebtedness and the
path to addressing these is not clear to us, we have revised our outlook
on the long-term rating to negative from stable. (emphasis mine)
Of note there, is the recognition of our huge debt problem, and the failure of our Congress and President to seriously address this issue. The path to addressing our dangerous debt problem is not clear to the analysts at Standard and Poor’s, simply because the irresponsible spending that is responsible for trillion dollar deficits continues unabated. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that President Obama and the Liberal Democratic party in charge of the U.S. Senate refuse to cut back on a government so bloated that we will no longer be able to pay our bills on time in the very near future. The United States credit card is maxed out, and now the mathematically challenged tyrants in the Democratic party, along with Barack Obama want to raise the debt limit on the credit card drawn on the taxpayer’s account. The end result in this game will be more taxes slapped onto the backs of an already hurting working class in America.
Pictured at the left is former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. I provide the picture lest we forget just who she is, as she has been prettymuch missing in action during the recent massive budget battles in Congress. Gone are the times of her daily idiotic TV statements such as the infamous, ” We have to pass the Health-care bill to see what’s in it ” statements. So what is going on with the self-appointed San Fran Queen of the far left Liberals ? This woman is largely responsible for the last four years of crushing debt that got pushed onto the American people while she was ramrodding the leftist agenda through Congress unabated. With the debt ceiling fight looming in Congress that will prove to be a serious expose’ of just what Pelosi’s maniacal actions as Speaker have done to America, it now appears that Obama and company are shunning her and pushing her into irrelevance. Enter Pelosi’s long time House Democratic nemesis, one Steny Hoyer.
It now appears that when it comes to the budget/debt ceiling battles in Congress Steny Hoyer ( D-MD) is the person who is now leading the Democratic house minority, not Nancy Pelosi. With Obama in perpetual campaign mode today for the 2012 elections, this move appears to be an attempt to distance himself from the radical leftist Liberal agenda that he demanded from Congress the past two years. This is an obvious attempt to fool the voters into thinking Obama has moved to the center, and all we have to do is look at the trillion dollar deficits he continues to pile onto our children’s backs to see how disingenuoushe truly is there. Hoyer is playing the part of a Blue Dog, bipartisan-worshipping moderate perfectly today. This has to be just what the Obama handlers are demanding in keeping in line with his fake move to the center propaganda for reelection. Over at The Hill.com we see the following headline:
Obama-Hoyer bond forms as Pelosi rejects budget deal.
The informal alliance has propelled the minority whip into the spotlight of the spending debate, bolstered his reputation as a centrist deal-maker and even led some Democrats to suggest he should lead the caucus in the looming talks over raising the nation’s debt limit.
I find it quiet interesting that when, for four straight years, we watched as Steny Hoyer promoted the far left agenda that is largely responsible for our massive debt problem of today, yet all of a sudden he is being painted as some sort of centrist politician concerned with our debt problems. I find this similar to Charlie Sheen being made the CEO of the Betty Ford drug addiction enter. Hoyer has had a huge hand in America’s massive deficits for four straight years, and we are supposed to believe that he is some kind of savior? He voted in lockstep with Pelosi’s far left Liberal big government expansion agenda at every turn, yet we are being led to believe that he is all of a sudden some type of Blue-Dog Democrat who wants to cut back on big government and install some fiscal sanity into our government today? Get real folks, this is all a nasty game of trying to make Obama appear as a born again centrist while he destroys what’s left of America if he is reelected in 2012. I,m not buying it and apparently neither is the much-respected Standard and Poor’s rating index. Scroll back up there to the first paragraph, and then you decide if you believe this nonsense that Hoyer and Obama are actually working to cut spending and get our debt down to a manageable level.
It is with great pleasure that I dedicate this article to my Dad. I ask you to indulge me for just a moment as I give you some “behind-the-scene” information before I address the title issue of this article, the National Debt.
For many years, my Dad and I had a strained relationship. Over the years we have determined that there were two main factors that contributed to this:
1. I am like him in many different ways, yet it seemed as though we had very little in common;
2. As is typical with many fathers and daughters, he did not want to let me grow up, and I was anxious to grow up.
When I was about 34-years-old, there finally came a point in time where I sat him down for what I called a “come to Jesus meeting”. This meeting was the best thing that has ever happened in our relationship. I was very respectful to him, but told him he had to accept the fact that I was a grown woman, a wife, and a mother with my own thoughts and ways of doing things. I told him I never expected that he would agree with everything I did, thought or said, however, if we were ever going to have any semblance of a healthy relationship he was going to have to respect me as an adult, not just his daughter.
My Dad did not realize that he was making me feel this way in our relationship, and I am very grateful that he was receptive to what I had to say. One of my biggest regrets is that I did not have this talk with him many years before. We wasted many years of a very good relationship because I avoided having that difficult discussion with him.
I thought I had addressed the issues with him, and made my feelings known to him, but obviously I had not. Was it that I had an attitude with him that, “I’m a grown woman, you can’t tell me what to do”? Possibly. And that statement is true. However, looking back, I think I probably went about it in the wrong way. I had quite an attitude with him, trying to prove that I was an adult.
Before this conversation my dad and I would get into arguments frequently. I felt like I was walking on eggshells because I never knew what was going to set off the tinderbox between us. Because of this, phone conversations with him were very limited, and focused mainly on surface issues.
Now, my dad and I talk on the phone almost every single day, if not 2, 3, or 4 times a day. We talk about anything and everything. NOTHING, and I mean NOTHING is off limits when it comes to our conversations now. Things that I thought I would never be able to talk to my dad about we now have lengthy conversations on those topics.
One of the topics we talk about frequently is politics. This is unusual, in and of itself, because as I have mentioned in previous articles, I absolutely detest politics! I know, I know… very strange, since I am now writing for a Conservative Political news site.
I believe he enjoys the fact that this is actually something we can talk about a great deal more than I do, because he sees that I am taking an active interest in what is going on in this country and trying to do something to change it. This is also one of my greatest regrets- that previously I was like so many other people out there who could care less when it comes to politics. Because this attitude is so prevalent, we now have elected officials who have not been held accountable and feel they are the elite and should be able to make the rules for all of us “commoners”.
In discussing what is going on with our nation, one topic that is almost a daily part of our agenda is the National Debt.
He told me a couple of weeks ago that he has had enough of these politicians not listening to those who elect them, so he was going to write a letter to them to just lay the facts on the table. He told me he wanted me to help him get the letter out to every single member of Congress, and of course, I agreed. I am going to do something I absolutely hate, now- I am going to be “politically correct”. My dad is what we call “technologically challenged”.
He and my mom are actually visiting us this week, and he actually had the computer in front of him doing research! I was so proud of him! We have vowed to bring him into the 21st Century if it’s the last thing we do! But since we have not accomplished that goal with him, I am going to use the remainder of my article to post his “Common Sense Approach to the National Debt” here in my column. These are not my ideas, they are his. These are not my words, they are his. But with one very small exception, I agree a million percent with him!
THE NATIONAL DEBT CRISIS
Personal – You have a budget. You don’t spend more than you bring home or disaster!!!!!!
Locals, States and Federal Government need to do the same.
As to the Debt Commission Suggestions: Social Security recipients have paid their “Debt to Society”. Government officials need to live accordingly. We have not received Cost of Living Adjustments for the last 3 years but government officials have had salaries, budgets, and etc. raised.
*SSI needs to be trimmed deeply. Most of the people on this program could be retrained for a job that they could do, taken off the payment rolls.
*”Crazy Check” recipients need to be taken off the system. This part of the program is nothing but a joke!
*Welfare recipients should be drug tested and if they test positive then taken off the Welfare Rolls and they lose their checks.
Welfare recipients should do work in Environmental Services (cleaning offices, streets, parks, etc.) or child care for those that have children (which is most of them), therefore they are doing something for society to receive the money; food stamps, housing, etc. This would give them more incentive to get out and find a better job. The way it is now they are able to do whatever they want all day and depend on taxpayers to support them. A woman should not be allowed to have more than 2 children on welfare before having the option to sterilization or any other children would be paid for by them including birth; medical; food; WIC, etc. this from birth to age of 18. A baby under the age of 1 year should not be allowed Food Stamps if they are on the WIC Program. WIC provides everything that it would need for nutrition.
*Unemployment recipients only receive unemployment checks up to 6 months. This has been the standard in the past, and has worked, there is no reason to pay people to sit home, all the while they are turning down jobs because the job “does not pay as much as unemployment.”
Taxpayer money should be used for defense and government operations ONLY– NOT for: Grants; subsides; studies; projects groups; bailouts; unions; pensions, etc.
Our taxpaying money should stay in the United States and not giving foreign aid to almost every country in the world, since most of the countries don’t help us and some take our money then protest against us. We give aid to other countries for drilling when our drilling program is neglected.
*Redesign the Tax System:
Do away with the current tax system and tax 10% across the board – Welfare Recipients to government officials and tax corporations 15%.
*Do away with several government departments (i.e.; Education – our young people are not getting quality education due to modern education (math), etc., Political correctness, etc. Labor Department – Cost of Living adjustments don’t consider food and energy, so what does the taxpayer should survive on? Also, unemployment figures do not consider people not working but are off the unemployment rolls. These are very important factors but yet this Department does not consider these important, so we do not need the Department of Labor. These are just 2 examples of government departments not needed. All of the other departments and agencies need to meet the strict criteria’s, also.
*Do away with Obama’s: Czars, Commissions, etc.
*Limit Obama’s budget as to travel, etc. However if the mileage tax is made law then Obama could pay off the National Debt since he never spends any complete days at the White House.
The term “Tax the Rich” should never be spoken because: Tim Geithner; Charlie Rangel; Jeff Immelt; Jesse Jackson; Al Sharpton; Reverend Wright; Louis Farrakhan; Black Panthers; AARP; ACLU and Labor Unions have proved that the government tax people (IRS) do not go after the “big guys.”
*Do away with Obama Care since this was a very illegal transaction and was highly misrepresented; elected officials did not read before passing, etc., which is their JOB! Mortgage Foreclosures had to redo their procedures, so should not Obama Care have to the same?
*Do away with the Congressional Budget Office since they cannot be objective with figures (they are supposed to be neutral but have proven several times lately that the CBO is very tainted).
*Tax Payers Rights – not: ACLU; Labor Unions; Foreign Countries, etc. The ACLU, Labor Unions and other groups should not “trump” the average taxpayer of the United States. These groups have caused the United States to go from #1 in many fields of opportunity down toward the bottom of even some of the 3rd World countries. If these groups think they are needed in the United States then why don’t they go to the 3rd World countries and reform them. These groups should leave us taxpayers alone and go overseas with their idiotic ideas.
P. S. I personally challenge the Federal Government to try these mentioned measures and then tell me that I am wrong.
The points my Dad made are just basic, common sense. He is not college educated. He is life educated! Real world experience allows you to fail, which gives you the opportunity to pick yourself back up, allowing for success. It’s quite obvious that common sense is non-existent in Washington and State governments, or you would have seen these common sense, basic concepts implemented years ago!
I believe a lot could be accomplished if the things my Dad took a common sense approach to in his notes above were to be implemented in addressing our National Budget crisis. As my Dad stated in the beginning of his notes, in our personal budgets we do not spend more than we bring home or we have disaster! This is one of the first, basic lessons my parents taught me. I am very grateful that they did, because for me, this is just the way things are done.
If this concept would have been implemented in our National Budget, things would most certainly be different today. We have proof of this in the housing market. Many people signed papers to purchase a house that was way out of their price range, and now they cannot afford it. A very good friend of mine was pre-approved for a mortgage almost twice what they were comfortable paying. They planned their budget out, knew what they were comfortable paying, and were quite shocked to find out how much they were pre-approved for. Thankfully, they had common sense and did not get into a house that was way more than they could afford.
I also believe a lot could be learned from mine and my Dad’s relationship. If I had sat down with him years ago and addressed him matter-of-factly, with respect, rather than with a “know-it-all” attitude, maybe he would have realized how he was making me feel. On his part, it would have been a bit more difficult to sit down and address things, because this is one area where we clashed. But if he could have approached things with me from an adult approach rather than a Father-Daughter approach, I believe we could have “nipped things in the bud”, as Barney Fife used to say, a lot quicker! However, as a Mom I see how that could be quite difficult, especially if your child is not approaching things from a mature, respectful point of view. By both of us being stubborn in each of our approaches, rather than building on our relationship, we were both actively pushing each other further away.
Just one side-note, where his notes are concerned. The one small area I disagree with him on is where he says that a woman should be limited to just 2 children receiving benefits on welfare. You may be surprised to know that I believe that there should be a limit of 1 child on welfare. If you have another child when you are on welfare, you do not qualify for further assistance. If you are following my articles in the Broken System: Foster Care section on this website, you will start to see in my news few articles why I say this. Am I being heartless? When it comes to the irresponsibility of so-called parents, yes, I am heartless! These countless innocent children are the ones that are paying the price for the adults irresponsibility! Someone, somewhere, somehow, someway HAS to stand up for these children! It’s called tough love! My parents had to apply tough love to me when they were raising me- and even as a young adult- and at the risk of sounding conceited, I believe I turned out quite well!
Stockbridge, GA – Potential Republican presidential candidate and longtime corporate executive Herman Cain responded to President Obama’s speech at 1:45 p.m. Wednesday, April 13, 2011 regarding his budget proposal, saying:
President Obama’s address proved yet again that he values ideology over basic economics and leadership.
His budget employs his typical class warfare tactics, insisting on taxing America’s job creators into oblivion for what he deems “fairness.” In doing so, he makes clear his willingness to further cripple our economy in exchange for pushing his wealth redistribution agenda and abandonment of the free enterprise system.
President Obama also took the opportunity to blame everyone but his own administration for this economic disaster, shifting blame to the Bush administration, Congressional Republicans and America’s highest earners, neglecting his own administration’s reckless spending.
Instead of using this speech as an opportunity to preview a budget that could significantly pay down our mounting debt through meaningful spending cuts and entitlement reforms, he again insisted on saddling America’s job creators with an even heavier tax burden to pay down the debt. Meanwhile, Congressman Ryan proposed his own budget that reduces the national debt by $6 trillion without raising taxes on a single American family or business.
Most importantly, actions speak louder than words. President Obama claims that his budget proposal would cut $4 trillion in just 12 years. Can we really trust a man who vowed time and time again that his administration would cut the budget deficit in half, but instead, brought our budget deficits to record levels in just half a term in the White House?
Indeed, since President Obama just filed his re-election candidacy papers, Americans today got their first televised campaign speech for 2012: all talk, no leadership.
Obama explained his vision for the road to deficit reductions on Wednesday. In a speech that was light on details and heavy on the campaign rhetoric, he reminded Americans of the things most critical to his “progressive vision”.
Obama claims that his plan will cut $4 Trillion from budget deficits over 12 years. Where would that leave the total debt which now totals more than $14 trillion?
To sum it up, everything is on the table, except social security, and perhaps not transportation, education or clean energy. Tax hikes are definitely on the table, but only for the very rich. The video and full text is below for your perusal.
Good afternoon. It’s great to be back at GW. I want you to know that one of the reasons I kept the government open was so I could be here today with all of you. I wanted to make sure you had one more excuse to skip class. You’re welcome.
Of course, what we’ve been debating here in Washington for the last few weeks will affect your lives in ways that are potentially profound. This debate over budgets and deficits is about more than just numbers on a page, more than just cutting and spending. It’s about the kind of future we want. It’s about the kind of country we believe in. And that’s what I want to talk about today.
From our first days as a nation, we have put our faith in free markets and free enterprise as the engine of America’s wealth and prosperity. More than citizens of any other country, we are rugged individualists, a self-reliant people with a healthy skepticism of too much government.
But there has always been another thread running throughout our history – a belief that we are all connected; and that there are some things we can only do together, as a nation. We believe, in the words of our first Republican president, Abraham Lincoln, that through government, we should do together what we cannot do as well for ourselves. And so we’ve built a strong military to keep us secure, and public schools and universities to educate our citizens. We’ve laid down railroads and highways to facilitate travel and commerce. We’ve supported the work of scientists and researchers whose discoveries have saved lives, unleashed repeated technological revolutions, and led to countless new jobs and entire industries. Each of us has benefitted from these investments, and we are a more prosperous country as a result.
Part of this American belief that we are all connected also expresses itself in a conviction that each one of us deserves some basic measure of security. We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, hard times or bad luck, a crippling illness or a layoff, may strike any one of us. “There but for the grace of God go I,” we say to ourselves, and so we contribute to programs like Medicare and Social Security, which guarantee us health care and a measure of basic income after a lifetime of hard work; unemployment insurance, which protects us against unexpected job loss; and Medicaid, which provides care for millions of seniors in nursing homes, poor children, and those with disabilities. We are a better country because of these commitments. I’ll go further – we would not be a great country without those commitments.
For much of the last century, our nation found a way to afford these investments and priorities with the taxes paid by its citizens. As a country that values fairness, wealthier individuals have traditionally born a greater share of this burden than the middle class or those less fortunate. This is not because we begrudge those who’ve done well – we rightly celebrate their success. Rather, it is a basic reflection of our belief that those who have benefitted most from our way of life can afford to give a bit more back. Moreover, this belief has not hindered the success of those at the top of the income scale, who continue to do better and better with each passing year.
Now, at certain times – particularly during periods of war or recession – our nation has had to borrow money to pay for some of our priorities. And as most families understand, a little credit card debt isn’t going to hurt if it’s temporary.
But as far back as the 1980s, America started amassing debt at more alarming levels, and our leaders began to realize that a larger challenge was on the horizon. They knew that eventually, the Baby Boom generation would retire, which meant a much bigger portion of our citizens would be relying on programs like Medicare, Social Security, and possibly Medicaid. Like parents with young children who know they have to start saving for the college years, America had to start borrowing less and saving more to prepare for the retirement of an entire generation.
To meet this challenge, our leaders came together three times during the 1990s to reduce our nation’s deficit. They forged historic agreements that required tough decisions made by the first President Bush and President Clinton; by Democratic Congresses and a Republican Congress. All three agreements asked for shared responsibility and shared sacrifice, but they largely protected the middle class, our commitments to seniors, and key investments in our future.
As a result of these bipartisan efforts, America’s finances were in great shape by the year 2000. We went from deficit to surplus. America was actually on track to becoming completely debt-free, and we were prepared for the retirement of the Baby Boomers.
But after Democrats and Republicans committed to fiscal discipline during the 1990s, we lost our way in the decade that followed. We increased spending dramatically for two wars and an expensive prescription drug program – but we didn’t pay for any of this new spending. Instead, we made the problem worse with trillions of dollars in unpaid-for tax cuts – tax cuts that went to every millionaire and billionaire in the country; tax cuts that will force us to borrow an average of $500 billion every year over the next decade.
To give you an idea of how much damage this caused to our national checkbook, consider this: in the last decade, if we had simply found a way to pay for the tax cuts and the prescription drug benefit, our deficit would currently be at low historical levels in the coming years.
Of course, that’s not what happened. And so, by the time I took office, we once again found ourselves deeply in debt and unprepared for a Baby Boom retirement that is now starting to take place. When I took office, our projected deficit was more than $1 trillion. On top of that, we faced a terrible financial crisis and a recession that, like most recessions, led us to temporarily borrow even more. In this case, we took a series of emergency steps that saved millions of jobs, kept credit flowing, and provided working families extra money in their pockets. It was the right thing to do, but these steps were expensive, and added to our deficits in the short term.
So that’s how our fiscal challenge was created. This is how we got here. And now that our economic recovery is gaining strength, Democrats and Republicans must come together and restore the fiscal responsibility that served us so well in the 1990s. We have to live within our means, reduce our deficit, and get back on a path that will allow us to pay down our debt. And we have to do it in a way that protects the recovery, and protects the investments we need to grow, create jobs, and win the future.
Now, before I get into how we can achieve this goal, some of you might be wondering, “Why is this so important? Why does this matter to me?”
Here’s why. Even after our economy recovers, our government will still be on track to spend more money than it takes in throughout this decade and beyond. That means we’ll have to keep borrowing more from countries like China. And that means more of your tax dollars will go toward paying off the interest on all the loans we keep taking out. By the end of this decade, the interest we owe on our debt could rise to nearly $1 trillion. Just the interest payments.
Then, as the Baby Boomers start to retire and health care costs continue to rise, the situation will get even worse. By 2025, the amount of taxes we currently pay will only be enough to finance our health care programs, Social Security, and the interest we owe on our debt. That’s it. Every other national priority – education, transportation, even national security – will have to be paid for with borrowed money.
Ultimately, all this rising debt will cost us jobs and damage our economy. It will prevent us from making the investments we need to win the future. We won’t be able to afford good schools, new research, or the repair of roads and bridges – all the things that will create new jobs and businesses here in America. Businesses will be less likely to invest and open up shop in a country that seems unwilling or unable to balance its books. And if our creditors start worrying that we may be unable to pay back our debts, it could drive up interest rates for everyone who borrows money – making it harder for businesses to expand and hire, or families to take out a mortgage.
The good news is, this doesn’t have to be our future. This doesn’t have to be the country we leave to our children. We can solve this problem. We came together as Democrats and Republicans to meet this challenge before, and we can do it again.
But that starts by being honest about what’s causing our deficit. You see, most Americans tend to dislike government spending in the abstract, but they like the stuff it buys. Most of us, regardless of party affiliation, believe that we should have a strong military and a strong defense. Most Americans believe we should invest in education and medical research. Most Americans think we should protect commitments like Social Security and Medicare. And without even looking at a poll, my finely honed political skills tell me that almost no one believes they should be paying higher taxes.
Because all this spending is popular with both Republicans and Democrats alike, and because nobody wants to pay higher taxes, politicians are often eager to feed the impression that solving the problem is just a matter of eliminating waste and abuse –that tackling the deficit issue won’t require tough choices. Or they suggest that we can somehow close our entire deficit by eliminating things like foreign aid, even though foreign aid makes up about 1% of our entire budget.
So here’s the truth. Around two-thirds of our budget is spent on Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and national security. Programs like unemployment insurance, student loans, veterans’ benefits, and tax credits for working families take up another 20%. What’s left, after interest on the debt, is just 12 percent for everything else. That’s 12 percent for all of our other national priorities like education and clean energy; medical research and transportation; food safety and keeping our air and water clean.
Up until now, the cuts proposed by a lot of folks in Washington have focused almost exclusively on that 12%. But cuts to that 12% alone won’t solve the problem. So any serious plan to tackle our deficit will require us to put everything on the table, and take on excess spending wherever it exists in the budget. A serious plan doesn’t require us to balance our budget overnight – in fact, economists think that with the economy just starting to grow again, we will need a phased-in approach – but it does require tough decisions and support from leaders in both parties. And above all, it will require us to choose a vision of the America we want to see five and ten and twenty years down the road.
One vision has been championed by Republicans in the House of Representatives and embraced by several of their party’s presidential candidates. It’s a plan that aims to reduce our deficit by $4 trillion over the next ten years, and one that addresses the challenge of Medicare and Medicaid in the years after that.
Those are both worthy goals for us to achieve. But the way this plan achieves those goals would lead to a fundamentally different America than the one we’ve known throughout most of our history.
A 70% cut to clean energy. A 25% cut in education. A 30% cut in transportation. Cuts in college Pell Grants that will grow to more than $1,000 per year. That’s what they’re proposing. These aren’t the kind of cuts you make when you’re trying to get rid of some waste or find extra savings in the budget. These aren’t the kind of cuts that Republicans and Democrats on the Fiscal Commission proposed. These are the kind of cuts that tell us we can’t afford the America we believe in. And they paint a vision of our future that’s deeply pessimistic.
It’s a vision that says if our roads crumble and our bridges collapse, we can’t afford to fix them. If there are bright young Americans who have the drive and the will but not the money to go to college, we can’t afford to send them. Go to China and you’ll see businesses opening research labs and solar facilities. South Korean children are outpacing our kids in math and science. Brazil is investing billions in new infrastructure and can run half their cars not on high-priced gasoline, but biofuels. And yet, we are presented with a vision that says the United States of America – the greatest nation on Earth – can’t afford any of this.
It’s a vision that says America can’t afford to keep the promise we’ve made to care for our seniors. It says that ten years from now, if you’re a 65 year old who’s eligible for Medicare, you should have to pay nearly $6,400 more than you would today. It says instead of guaranteed health care, you will get a voucher. And if that voucher isn’t worth enough to buy insurance, tough luck – you’re on your own. Put simply, it ends Medicare as we know it.
This is a vision that says up to 50 million Americans have to lose their health insurance in order for us to reduce the deficit. And who are those 50 million Americans? Many are someone’s grandparents who wouldn’t be able afford nursing home care without Medicaid. Many are poor children. Some are middle-class families who have children with autism or Down’s syndrome. Some are kids with disabilities so severe that they require 24-hour care. These are the Americans we’d be telling to fend for themselves.
Worst of all, this is a vision that says even though America can’t afford to invest in education or clean energy; even though we can’t afford to care for seniors and poor children, we can somehow afford more than $1 trillion in new tax breaks for the wealthy. Think about it. In the last decade, the average income of the bottom 90% of all working Americans actually declined. The top 1% saw their income rise by an average of more than a quarter of a million dollars each. And that’s who needs to pay less taxes? They want to give people like me a two hundred thousand dollar tax cut that’s paid for by asking thirty three seniors to each pay six thousand dollars more in health costs? That’s not right, and it’s not going to happen as long as I’m President.
The fact is, their vision is less about reducing the deficit than it is about changing the basic social compact in America. As Ronald Reagan’s own budget director said, there’s nothing “serious” or “courageous” about this plan. There’s nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires. There’s nothing courageous about asking for sacrifice from those who can least afford it and don’t have any clout on Capitol Hill. And this is not a vision of the America I know.
The America I know is generous and compassionate; a land of opportunity and optimism. We take responsibility for ourselves and each other; for the country we want and the future we share. We are the nation that built a railroad across a continent and brought light to communities shrouded in darkness. We sent a generation to college on the GI bill and saved millions of seniors from poverty with Social Security and Medicare. We have led the world in scientific research and technological breakthroughs that have transformed millions of lives.
This is who we are. This is the America I know. We don’t have to choose between a future of spiraling debt and one where we forfeit investments in our people and our country. To meet our fiscal challenge, we will need to make reforms. We will all need to make sacrifices. But we do not have to sacrifice the America we believe in. And as long as I’m President, we won’t.
Today, I’m proposing a more balanced approach to achieve $4 trillion in deficit reduction over twelve years. It’s an approach that borrows from the recommendations of the bipartisan Fiscal Commission I appointed last year, and builds on the roughly $1 trillion in deficit reduction I already proposed in my 2012 budget. It’s an approach that puts every kind of spending on the table, but one that protects the middle-class, our promise to seniors, and our investments in the future.
The first step in our approach is to keep annual domestic spending low by building on the savings that both parties agreed to last week – a step that will save us about $750 billion over twelve years. We will make the tough cuts necessary to achieve these savings, including in programs I care about, but I will not sacrifice the core investments we need to grow and create jobs. We’ll invest in medical research and clean energy technology. We’ll invest in new roads and airports and broadband access. We will invest in education and job training. We will do what we need to compete and we will win the future.
The second step in our approach is to find additional savings in our defense budget. As Commander-in-Chief, I have no greater responsibility than protecting our national security, and I will never accept cuts that compromise our ability to defend our homeland or America’s interests around the world. But as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Mullen, has said, the greatest long-term threat to America’s national security is America’s debt.
Just as we must find more savings in domestic programs, we must do the same in defense. Over the last two years, Secretary Gates has courageously taken on wasteful spending, saving $400 billion in current and future spending. I believe we can do that again. We need to not only eliminate waste and improve efficiency and effectiveness, but conduct a fundamental review of America’s missions, capabilities, and our role in a changing world. I intend to work with Secretary Gates and the Joint Chiefs on this review, and I will make specific decisions about spending after it’s complete.
The third step in our approach is to further reduce health care spending in our budget. Here, the difference with the House Republican plan could not be clearer: their plan lowers the government’s health care bills by asking seniors and poor families to pay them instead. Our approach lowers the government’s health care bills by reducing the cost of health care itself.
Already, the reforms we passed in the health care law will reduce our deficit by $1 trillion. My approach would build on these reforms. We will reduce wasteful subsidies and erroneous payments. We will cut spending on prescription drugs by using Medicare’s purchasing power to drive greater efficiency and speed generic brands of medicine onto the market. We will work with governors of both parties to demand more efficiency and accountability from Medicaid. We will change the way we pay for health care – not by procedure or the number of days spent in a hospital, but with new incentives for doctors and hospitals to prevent injuries and improve results. And we will slow the growth of Medicare costs by strengthening an independent commission of doctors, nurses, medical experts and consumers who will look at all the evidence and recommend the best ways to reduce unnecessary spending while protecting access to the services seniors need.
Now, we believe the reforms we’ve proposed to strengthen Medicare and Medicaid will enable us to keep these commitments to our citizens while saving us $500 billion by 2023, and an additional one trillion dollars in the decade after that. And if we’re wrong, and Medicare costs rise faster than we expect, this approach will give the independent commission the authority to make additional savings by further improving Medicare.
But let me be absolutely clear: I will preserve these health care programs as a promise we make to each other in this society. I will not allow Medicare to become a voucher program that leaves seniors at the mercy of the insurance industry, with a shrinking benefit to pay for rising costs. I will not tell families with children who have disabilities that they have to fend for themselves. We will reform these programs, but we will not abandon the fundamental commitment this country has kept for generations.
That includes, by the way, our commitment to Social Security. While Social Security is not the cause of our deficit, it faces real long-term challenges in a country that is growing older. As I said in the State of the Union, both parties should work together now to strengthen Social Security for future generations. But we must do it without putting at risk current retirees, the most vulnerable, or people with disabilities; without slashing benefits for future generations; and without subjecting Americans’ guaranteed retirement income to the whims of the stock market.
The fourth step in our approach is to reduce spending in the tax code. In December, I agreed to extend the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans because it was the only way I could prevent a tax hike on middle-class Americans. But we cannot afford $1 trillion worth of tax cuts for every millionaire and billionaire in our society. And I refuse to renew them again.
Beyond that, the tax code is also loaded up with spending on things like itemized deductions. And while I agree with the goals of many of these deductions, like homeownership or charitable giving, we cannot ignore the fact that they provide millionaires an average tax break of $75,000 while doing nothing for the typical middle-class family that doesn’t itemize.
My budget calls for limiting itemized deductions for the wealthiest 2% of Americans – a reform that would reduce the deficit by $320 billion over ten years. But to reduce the deficit, I believe we should go further. That’s why I’m calling on Congress to reform our individual tax code so that it is fair and simple – so that the amount of taxes you pay isn’t determined by what kind of accountant you can afford. I believe reform should protect the middle class, promote economic growth, and build on the Fiscal Commission’s model of reducing tax expenditures so that there is enough savings to both lower rates and lower the deficit. And as I called for in the State of the Union, we should reform our corporate tax code as well, to make our businesses and our economy more competitive.
This is my approach to reduce the deficit by $4 trillion over the next twelve years. It’s an approach that achieves about $2 trillion in spending cuts across the budget. It will lower our interest payments on the debt by $1 trillion. It calls for tax reform to cut about $1 trillion in spending from the tax code. And it achieves these goals while protecting the middle class, our commitment to seniors, and our investments in the future.
In the coming years, if the recovery speeds up and our economy grows faster than our current projections, we can make even greater progress than I have pledged here. But just to hold Washington – and me – accountable and make sure that the debt burden continues to decline, my plan includes a debt failsafe. If, by 2014, our debt is not projected to fall as a share of the economy – or if Congress has failed to act – my plan will require us to come together and make up the additional savings with more spending cuts and more spending reductions in the tax code. That should be an incentive for us to act boldly now, instead of kicking our problems further down the road.
So this is our vision for America – a vision where we live within our means while still investing in our future; where everyone makes sacrifices but no one bears all the burden; where we provide a basic measure of security for our citizens and rising opportunity for our children.
Of course, there will be those who disagree with my approach. Some will argue we shouldn’t even consider raising taxes, even if only on the wealthiest Americans. It’s just an article of faith for them. I say that at a time when the tax burden on the wealthy is at its lowest level in half a century, the most fortunate among us can afford to pay a little more. I don’t need another tax cut. Warren Buffett doesn’t need another tax cut. Not if we have to pay for it by making seniors pay more for Medicare. Or by cutting kids from Head Start. Or by taking away college scholarships that I wouldn’t be here without. That some of you wouldn’t be here without. And I believe that most wealthy Americans would agree with me. They want to give back to the country that’s done so much for them. Washington just hasn’t asked them to.
Others will say that we shouldn’t even talk about cutting spending until the economy is fully recovered. I’m sympathetic to this view, which is one of the reasons I supported the payroll tax cuts we passed in December. It’s also why we have to use a scalpel and not a machete to reduce the deficit – so that we can keep making the investments that create jobs. But doing nothing on the deficit is just not an option. Our debt has grown so large that we could do real damage to the economy if we don’t begin a process now to get our fiscal house in order.
Finally, there are those who believe we shouldn’t make any reforms to Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security out of a fear that any talk of change to these programs will usher in the sort of radical steps that House Republicans have proposed. I understand these fears. But I guarantee that if we don’t make any changes at all, we won’t be able to keep our commitments to a retiring generation that will live longer and face higher health care costs than those who came before.
Indeed, to those in my own party, I say that if we truly believe in a progressive vision of our society, we have the obligation to prove that we can afford our commitments. If we believe that government can make a difference in people’s lives, we have the obligation to prove that it works – by making government smarter, leaner and more effective.
Of course, there are those who will simply say that there’s no way we can come together and agree on a solution to this challenge. They’ll say the politics of this city are just too broken; that the choices are just too hard; that the parties are just too far apart. And after a few years in this job, I certainly have some sympathy for this view.
But I also know that we’ve come together and met big challenges before. Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill came together to save Social Security for future generations. The first President Bush and a Democratic Congress came together to reduce the deficit. President Clinton and a Republican Congress battled each other ferociously and still found a way to balance the budget. In the last few months, both parties have come together to pass historic tax relief and spending cuts. And I know there are Republicans and Democrats in Congress who want to see a balanced approach to deficit reduction.
I believe we can and must come together again. This morning, I met with Democratic and Republican leaders in Congress to discuss the approach I laid out today. And in early May, the Vice President will begin regular meetings with leaders in both parties with the aim of reaching a final agreement on a plan to reduce the deficit by the end of June.
I don’t expect the details in any final agreement to look exactly like the approach I laid out today. I’m eager to hear other ideas from all ends of the political spectrum. And though I’m sure the criticism of what I’ve said here today will be fierce in some quarters, and my critique of the House Republican approach has been strong, Americans deserve and will demand that we all bridge our differences, and find common ground.
This larger debate we’re having, about the size and role of government, has been with us since our founding days. And during moments of great challenge and change, like the one we’re living through now, the debate gets sharper and more vigorous. That’s a good thing. As a country that prizes both our individual freedom and our obligations to one another, this is one of the most important debates we can have.
But no matter what we argue or where we stand, we’ve always held certain beliefs as Americans. We believe that in order to preserve our own freedoms and pursue our own happiness, we can’t just think about ourselves. We have to think about the country that made those liberties possible. We have to think about our fellow citizens with whom we share a community. And we have to think about what’s required to preserve the American Dream for future generations.
This sense of responsibility – to each other and to our country – this isn’t a partisan feeling. It isn’t a Democratic or Republican idea. It’s patriotism.
The other day I received a letter from a man in Florida. He started off by telling me he didn’t vote for me and he hasn’t always agreed with me. But even though he’s worried about our economy and the state of our politics, he said,
“I still believe. I believe in that great country that my grandfather told me about. I believe that somewhere lost in this quagmire of petty bickering on every news station, the ‘American Dream’ is still alive…
We need to use our dollars here rebuilding, refurbishing and restoring all that our ancestors struggled to create and maintain…We as a people must do this together, no matter the color of the state one comes from or the side of the aisle one might sit on.”
I still believe as well. And I know that if we can come together, and uphold our responsibilities to one another and to this larger enterprise that is America, we will keep the dream of our founding alive in our time, and pass on to our children the country we believe in. Thank you, God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America.
CBO issues report saying that a new Vehicle Mileage Tax, (VMT) is needed to increase funding for our transportation infastructure to offset a shortage of highway maintenance funding.
The picture to the left reminds me of a snapshot taken during the shooting of the Godfather movie, where all the made men are getting their marching orders from the Don. The shot exudes arrogance and a total lack of Presidential decorum, let alone a total disrespect for the historic desk The Chosen One has his Marxist feet propped up on. People rightfully say we should respect our President today, yet when I see things like this, I give the person behind the situation exactly what it calls out for: Disrespect. Contempt. Disgust. Ridicule. Exposure. If the shoe fits, wear it Mr. President. Respect is earned in my world, no matter what third world country comes before America when discussing your hyphenated heritage, such as *African-American*.
The VMT report has to have an origin, or as in the Godfather, someone had to give the order for such a report to be made, calling for more stealth taxation being hoisted upon the backs of American taxpayers. The simplistic puppet Ray Lahood, the Transportation Secretary, surely didn’t cook this rehash of an old money grab scheme up all by himself here. No, in fact this VMT scheme has the Marxist DNA of the Supreme Community Organiser in Chief drenched all over it. This is big government intrusion to the tenth degree folks, not to mention it is simply more taxation without representation. They want to track your vehicle every time you get into it, and to make is so expensive to drive your vehicle that everyone moves into the urban jungles that Obama loves to do his community organising in. This isn’t about economics, as the Don has ordered the CBO to use as a basis for this *report*. This report is more propaganda than it is actual statistics being used for a reality-based report. This *report* is simply another attempt at trying to “nudge” the dumbed-down sheep up in D.C., and the American public, to enhance the power and scope of big daddy government.
Transportation funding is tight right now according to Kent Conrad, the big spending, more taxation Democrat from North Dakota. who also happens to be the Senate Budget Committee Chairman. By the way Mr. Conrad, how is out budget resolution for 2011 coming along? Seems to me you could use some lessons in prioritising your work schedule and your actual duties in our Senate, instead of just working on ways to tax the people more. You see, while the current group of eco-friendly green energy fraudsters are trying to force everyone to drive electric cars, they forgot to figure in the loss of revenue that will be incurred from the decrease in gas-tax revenue. Oh what a tangled web we weave. Conrad himself said this in an article here.
Conrad said in response that federal funds are tight, and in asking for recommendations on how to raise that money, he noted the possibility of a VMT tax as a way to solve the problem of collecting less in taxes as people move to more fuel-efficient vehicles.
“Do we do gas tax?” Conrad asked. “Do we move to some kind of an assessment that is based on how many miles vehicles go, so that we capture revenue from those who are going to be using the roads who aren’t going to be paying any gas tax, or very little, with hybrids and electric cars?”
We can’t actually have Americans saving the money we promised then they would save when we pushed them to drive electric cars can we ? No, we have to find another way to tax them, thus the VMT scheme. If transportation funds are so tight, explain to the people why Ray LaHood, on marching orders from Don Obama tried to cram the high-speed rail down the throats of Floridians recently? When Governor Scott asked if he could use that Federal tax money, which belongs to the people by the way, not D.C. Tyrants, to fix existing roadways and/or bridges, he was told emphatically, NO! Oh what a tangled web we weave.
So, transportation funds are tight, yet instead of using existing funding to shore up our roadways, Don Obama is ordering Capo LaHood to use that transportation cash to push for high-speed rail boondoggles that will be an endless drain on taxpayer’s wallets for decades to come. High speed rail is not applicable to over 95% of America due to a little thing called population density. One way to “nudge” the people to live in the urban jungles that I call the over-populated ghettos of the inner-city, is to charge them for every single mile they drive, thus the VMT scheme. I also note that not one single government “expert” has had the guts to discuss whether the heavy gas tax would be done away with completely if this VMT scheme was to be implemented. The fact is, the government has a pattern of calling for an implementation period at the very least, where most people will be double-taxed to drive their vehicles. From the same article above here is the proof of that statement.
CBO’s report stressed it was making no recommendations but seemed to support a VMT tax as a more accurate way of having drivers pay for the costs of highway maintenance. The report said miles driven is a larger factor in highway repairs than fuel consumption and suggested that having drivers pay for the real costs of highways “would involve imposing a combination of fuel taxes and per-mile charges.
Notice the double taxation there being called a combination? No recommendations are being made by the CBO ? Then why the info-mercial report calling for the VMT ? As the Don said many times in the Godfather, “Just find a way to get it done without it being tracked back to me.”
Watch our for this VMT tax raise to come up in Congress very soon folks, as Don Obama sees it as a way to raise taxes that can’t be traced back to him. call and write your Representatives proactively, and tell them to stop this scheme before it steamrolls over us completely. Ask then
That infamous phrase once uttered by Joe Wilson still echoes through the halls of Congress and now.. the Congressional Budget Office.
The CBO Director’s blog included a post by Douglas Elmendorf that detailed some startling mis-truths – untruths for the Orwell fans – or is it minus minus truths?? The synopsis of the CBO’s analysis lays out some staggering deficit figures:
- Under the President’s proposals, the federal budget deficit would total $1.2 trillion in 2012 and smaller amounts in later years, averaging 4.8 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) over the 2012–2021 period.
- Deficits would total $9.5 trillion between 2012 and 2021 under the President’s budget, $2.7 trillion more than the amounts projected in CBO’s March baseline. Debt held by the public would rise from 69 percent of GDP in 2011 to 87 percent of GDP in 2021.
While the numbers are alarming, what’s interesting is that the CBO goes on to basically call Obama’s budget a lier:
Compared with the Administration’s estimates, CBO’s estimates of the deficit under the President’s budget are lower for 2011 (by $220 billion) but higher for each year thereafter (by a total of $2.3 trillion over the 2012–2021 period)
Obama’s budget will cost America $2.3 trillion more than his administration and he said it would. Then again, consider the kind of person coming into Jack Lew’s Office of Management and Budget:
In an article posted here at CDN on Feb. 14th titled, “Upcoming Budget: Nowhere to Run*, I explained how I could see that our current Congress would not be able to even come close to passing a responsible budget for 2011 fiscal year. Looking at today’s news headlines, this budget boondoggle is following along exactly as I stated it would. Today the House passed the sixth Continuing Resolution budget in a row to temporarily fund our government. Here we are approaching the half way point in fiscal year 2011, and we are still basically running our government on a blank check drawn on the taxpayers account! No accountability will ever come out of the last four and a half years of trillion dollar deficits within our government, all because the people are letting this farce of a budget battle continue to play out like a cheap failed soap opera of the 60’s. No budget basically means no way to keep spending in check and hold these tyrants in D.C. accountable for their actions.
We recently saw the complete overthrow of the government of Egypt because the people were damned tired of tyrannical rulers sitting on gold toilets while 3/4 of the country went hungry, to sum it up in a nutshell. Meanwhile here in America the exact same thing is being done on a much grander scale, yet the people are pretty much silent. Congress is paid to do a job, and that job is to basically run the Federal Government, to produce leglislation to protect the people and businesses fairly, and last but not least, is to ensure that the taxpayer’s money is spent fairly and wisely. Ask yourself one simple question, “Is Congress doing their job as it is laid out by our Constitution today?” Then why isn’t there a national calling to shut down the government and hold Congress accountable? The self-serving tyrants in D C will just keep on spending us into bankruptcy until the people stop giving them the money to do so. It is that simple.
No taxation without proper representation, period.
In 1974, Congress passed what was then called The Congressional Budget Act.* This also spawned what we now know as The Congressional Budget Office. The CBO was created as an unbiased accounting office to supply Congress with economic data to help them draw up budget resolutions, and compile economic data projections for other proposed legislation to be based upon. The original Congressional Budget Act of 1974 has been amended several times, including in 1985, 1990, and 1997. The basic budget process can be seen here from wordiq.com* which summarizes the process nicely: (emphasis mine)
The President’s Budget
The budget process begins in February with the submission of the President’s budget. According to the act, the budget is due on the first Monday in February. At this stage, the budget is not binding but merely constitutes an extensive proposal of the administration’s intended spending for the following fiscal year. In addition to the actual proposal, the President submits volumes of supporting the information intended to persuade Congress of the necessity and value of the budget provisions. In addition to the President, each independent agency also submits its own budget proposal which will be incorporated into the final version of the budget.
The next step is the drafting of a budget resolution. The resolution is drafted concurrently by the House and the Senate budget committees. Following the traditional calendar, by early April both committees finalize their drafts and submit it to the respective floors for consideration and adoption. ( today is march 16th 2011, right around the corner)
Once both houses pass the resolution, a conference report is drafted by members of the Senate and the House. The purpose of the conference report is to reconcile any differences that may exist between the House and the Senate versions. Usually, the conference report is adopted finalizing the budget resolution.
In contrast to most legislation passed by Congress, the budget resolution is a concurrent resolution and thus does not become law and does not require the signature of the President. As a result, no money has actually been appropriated at that point. The budget resolution then serves as a blue print for the actual appropriation process.
Fast forward to today, where the House GOP leadership has proposed their budget resolution with the very necessary cuts in government spending that will be needed to avoid raising our debt ceiling to over $15 trillion dollars. The house Democrats say no, we will not approve anyserious spending cuts, and threaten to let the government shut down if they are not allowed to keep on spending us into financial Armageddon. Meanwhile, the game goes on, with the basically illegal Continuing Resolutions being passed again and again to avoid any semblance of accountability in how our tax dollars are being spent. When do the people say enough is enough here? April 15th is tax day, when millions of Americans go to write out that big fat tax payment check to the IRS, they should stop for one second and ask themselves one simple question: ” Is this taxation without proper representation? ”
Our dysfunctional Congress just passed the sixth continuing budget resolution in a row, with no firm budget resolution in sight! I normally recommend that people call their representatives and demand some sanity at this point in my articles. The people spoke up loud and clear against big government, Egyption-style self servancy and tyrannical spending in the 2010 elections, and have been speaking up ever since. In reading the above information, does it look like our representatives are listening ? Think about that come April 15th, when you write that IRS payment check out soon. The way this is going, it will be double that amount next year and probably more.