Category Archives: Budget

The deeply dishonest Republican Budget

I’m  currently making my way to a trauma conference. I have internet access – sort of. Currently, I’m “enjoying” in-flight internet access which is kind of like getting access to the internet and kinda not. What makes the internet great is access to content – videos, original documents and the like. With this in-flight thing, I really can’t download big files and uploading smaller files to Dropbox has proven problematic. So, I’m not going to be able to get the work done that I had planned on doing. This means that I can (should be able to), I hope, post to my blog. 

The House and Senate Republican budget plans are so deeply dishonest that they are laughable. Sure, Democrats have pushed “pie in the sky” budgets but anyone could look at the budget and understand the nuts and bolts of the budget. The GOP has decided that we need more mystery in our lives. So, this budget, like several before, doesn’t spell out where a lot of the budget cuts are coming from. One of the most laughable items in the budget has to do with repealing ObamaCare. It seems that Republicans not only want to kill ObamaCare, but they want to cut Medicare on top of that. All of the revenue generators that were added to ObamaCare in order to control costs would be cut, of course.

More from CBPP:

  • Balance the budget in ten years through massive cuts in domestic programs, with no revenue contribution;
  • Hit programs for low- and moderate-income Americans exceptionally hard, with about two-thirds of its budget cuts likely coming from programs for the less fortunate, thereby exacerbating poverty and inequality;
  • Repeal health reform and cut Medicaid deeply on top of that, likely causing tens of millions of people to become uninsured or underinsured;
  • Essentially balance the budget only on paper, with the help of two huge “magic asterisks” that are as large as Chairman Price’s — about $1.2 trillion in entitlement cuts over ten years that are left essentially unspecified, and about $1 trillion from the repeal of health reform’s revenue-raising measures without any identified replacement (as explained below);
  • Cut funding below the already-damaging sequestration levels in the years after 2016 for non-defense discretionary programs — the part of the budget that funds education, job training, early intervention programs for children, basic scientific and medical research, and transportation, all of which are important to increasing opportunity, raising productivity, and boosting long-term economic growth;
  • Shrink federal spending to stunningly low levels, measured as a share of gross domestic product (GDP), that are unprecedented in modern America and far below the levels in recent decades, including the Reagan years; and
  • Eliminate a 2007 Senate rule that creates a point of order against budget reconciliation bills that increase deficits over the coming ten years, such as the 2001 and 2003 reconciliation bills that included huge tax cuts without any measures to offset the costs.

Come on. I’m happy to debate conservatives on supply-side economics. This is not debateable. This is a half-budget or maybe not even that much. Oh, this kind of craziness is new. This isn’t a “they all do it” kind of thing. If you take our democracy seriously then this can’t be tolerated. (Dear GOP, please complete this budget. Insert the magic numbers and tell us what you are planning on doing. If you can’t do that, can you simply admit that you hate the poor and most of the middle class and be done with it?)

News Roundup – Racism Exists, Another Republican budget, State Dept

First of all, I must smile. Several friends have sent out messages to check on me. I haven’t posted on this blog in over 10 days. Several years ago, I posted at least 3 times per day. Although I have stuff to say most of it isn’t interesting. So, I bore my wife with my rants. 🙂 I’m good. I’m just working hard and trying to get some sleep. Oh and remember that my grandkids were here. Kaleb and I saved the universe. Morgan and I cooked burgers. Well, I cooked she danced!!!

Several days ago, some students from University of Oklahoma were filmed singing a racist song. Black, Hispanics, Asians and others have heard these songs for years. Now, there is nothing new of young men getting together and drinking themselves into stupidity. Frats have been the home of this type of behavior for centuries. The only difference is that these young men were caught on video. Look we do not live in a post-racial world. Race is as confusing and influential has it has ever been.  People are aware of race now because we are more interactive with other races than ever before. There isn’t a white or black haven. I don’t think that OU is any more or less racist than any other American college campus. I don’t think that any student should have been expelled but I also understand that NCAA sports are an important source of moolah for colleges. The college president had to “prove” that OU was welcoming to current and future football and basketball players. If you want to dug into an issue, dig into SAE. They are special frat.

Every year for the past 4 or 5 years or more, the Republicans will put together a budget that reflects their values. They take from the poor and give the rich. The last several budgets have not even tried to be balanced. They all have some mystery factor (taxes or budget cuts) which aren’t spelled out. This budget is no different. Paul Krugman has more.

Conservatives are pushing a story in which the State Department was funding a group that supported the opposition leader in Israel. Here’s the story. You decide.  As I look at it, I can’t make heads or tails out of this story. Several conservative web sites have pushed the same story. There really isn’t good sources. No major news outlet has picked up the story (except Fox News). I can’t see an upside for the US to pour money into a foreign election of an ally.

 

News Roundup – Vitamins, Budget Deal, McCain

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Over the last several years, more and more evidence suggests that vitamin supplements are a waste of money. Today another study has come out saying the same thing. Vitamins don’t appear to be harmful. They just don’t seem to be helpful. This shouldn’t be a surprise. We eat plenty well in our society. Many of our foods are enriched with vitamins. My recommendation? Unless there is something special going on in your life, like training for the Olympics, or you have had gastric bypass surgery, you probably don’t need supplemental vitamins.

I’m still kind of shocked that we got a budget deal done in a normal way. The House and Senate sat down and figured out what they could agree on and passed that. Compromise. Who would have thought? The budget deal just passed the Senate. It should go to the president, who thanked Congress, later on this week. I think that the GOP was weakened by the government shutdown. This is why they decided not to go down Crazy Avenue yet again.

Speaking of crazy, let’s talk about John McCain. In 2000, I was really looking at John McCain seriously. I thought that he made a ton of sense. I thought that he was on the right track. That was a long time ago. He took an unknown governor and threw her onto the national stage. She wasn’t ready. He stopped his campaign in order to come to Washington and do, really, nothing. So, now, three years after ObamaCare became law, Senator John McCain has an idea of how to fix Healthcare. Now, remember that John McCain had an idea of how to fix immigration. When he was running for president he ran away from his own bill.

Because I’m on the topic of crazy, you really can’t say “crazy” without mentioning Rick Santorum. He is all sorts of crazy – “If we have a system where the government is going to be the principal provider of health care for the country, we’re done. Because then, you are dependent on the government for your life and your health… When Thatcher ran for prime minister she said—remember this, this is the Iron Lady—she said, ‘The British national health care system is safe in my hands.’ She wasn’t going to take on health care, because she knew once you have people getting free health care from the government, you can’t take it away from them. And the reason is because most people don’t get sick, and so free health care is just that, free health care, until you get sick. Then, if you get sick and you don’t get health care, you die and you don’t vote. It’s actually a pretty clever system. Take care of the people who can vote and people who can’t vote, get rid of them as quickly as possible by not giving them care so they can’t vote against you. That’s how it works.”