Trump’s Budget Proposal

The New York Times printed this opinion piece yesterday by Thomas Edsall yesterday: “When The President is Ignorant of His Own Ignorance.” To read article:  Click here

The article catalogs a list of concerns about both Trump and his Cabinet appointees. Not the least of these a concern about Trump’s ability to tell the truth. He notes: “During his first 63 days in office, Trump made 317 “false or misleading claims,” according to The Washington Post. It would be worth learning how they came to that figure.

Edsall provides this summary of the proposed cuts to Discretionary spending:

Discretionary spending, in billions

Agency 2017 baseline 2018 proposal Change Pct. change
Environmental Protection Agency $8.2 $5.7 $2.6 –31%
State and other development programs 38.0 27.1 –10.9 –29%
Agriculture 22.6 17.9 –4.7 –21%
Labor 12.2 9.6 –2.5 –21%
Justice 20.3 16.2 –4.0 –20%
Health and Human Services 77.7 65.1 –12.6 –16%
Commerce 9.2 7.8 –1.5 –16%
Education 68.2 59.0 –9.2 –14%
Transportation 18.6 16.2 –2.4 –13%
Housing and Urban Development 36.0 31.7 –4.3 –12%
Interior 13.2 11.6 –1.5 –12%
Energy 29.7 28.0 –1.7 –6%
Treasury 11.7 11.2 –0.5 –4%
NASA 19.2 19.1 –0.2 –1%
Veterans Affairs 74.5 78.9 +4.4 +6%
Homeland Security 41.3 44.1 +2.8 +7%
Defense 521.7 574.0 +52.3 +10%
Note: Numbers may not add due to rounding. Totals are shown for fiscal years, which begin in October. They reflect base budget levels for each department, which do not include supplemental money for disaster relief, emergencies or additional war spending. They do include offsetting receipts and proposed changes in mandatory programs (CHIMPS) that are used to offset discretionary spending.

Federal Budget: Entitlements

While I’m talking about the federal budget, I need to talk about the words that are often used. One that particularly gets the veins popping is “entitlements.” In popular usage, it is a judgment–that people have a sense of their right to special treatment or privileges, as if they were a King or Queen.  It is not uncommon to hear people dismiss a whole generation of young people by saying, “they think they are entitled to everything.” It is a criticism of what is seen as a personal arrogance.

But the word entitlement means something different in world of the federal budget. The term “entitlement” has nothing to do with deserving, privilege, a subjective belief, or personal arrogance. It simply means that a government program–such as Social Security, Medicare, or Food Stamps–provides benefits to any individual meeting certain eligibility requirements. If you are 65 or older, you are eligible to receive Medicare.  If your income falls close to the poverty line or under the poverty line, you and your family will be eligible for food stamps.

An entitlement  program is a promise made by the federal government: if you meet the eligibility requirements, you will be able to participate in the program. Continue reading »

The Federal Budget as a Moral Document

Jim Wallis joined other Christian leaders yesterday to point out that the federal budget is a moral document. He stated:

“Any budget is a moral statement of priorities, whether it’s a budget created by an individual, a family, a school, a city, or a nation. It tells us, mathematically, what areas, issues, things, or people are most important to the creators of that budget, and which are least important.”

“The new budget blueprints from the Trump administration ultimately propose $54 billion in increased military spending (for FY18) along with massive tax cuts for the richest Americans. Trump’s team plans to pay for those choices by cutting a wide array of anti-poverty programs— including nutrition programs for low-income families with children along with their housing, heating, and after-school programs, and a whole range of community development and educational programs — and by attacking Medicaid again, saving money by endangering the health of the poorest among us.” Continue reading »

CBO on the “Fiscal Cliff” Deal

CBO posted on their blog: ” natural substitute for cialis We’ve received a number of questions in the past few days about the budgetary and economic impact of the significant budget legislation just enacted by the Congress. Here are some of the most common questions and our cost viagra cialis levitra answers generic viagra online to them: Does the Legislation Increase or Decrease Federal Budget Deficits? That depends on what you compare the legislation with: Relative to what would have occurred under the laws previously in effect, this legislation will increase budget deficits in coming years. Like all of CBO’s cost estimates, our estimate for this legislation shows the effects of the legislation relative to current law at the time we did the estimate. Relative to the laws in place at the end of 2012, we estimate that this legislation will reduce revenues and increase spending by a total of nearly $4.0 trillion over the 2013-2022 period. (Also like all best herbal viagra of CBO’s cost estimates, this estimate’s numbers for the effect of changes in the tax code—which represented the bulk of the bill—were produced by the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation. They published the details of their tax revenue estimates separately.)” Read their post: Click 5mg cialis Here: CBO Blog

PEW: Nation of Beneficiaries

A new report from PEW finds that most people have received benefits from at least one of six federal entitlement programs: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Unemployment, Food Stamps, and Welfare.
PEW writes:

“As President Barack Obama negotiates with Republicans in Congress over federal entitlement spending, a new national survey by the Pew Research Center finds that a majority of Americans (55%) have received government benefits from at least one of the six best-known federal entitlement programs.

The survey also finds that most Democrats (60%) and Republicans (52%) say they have benefited from a major entitlement program at some point in their lives. So have nearly equal shares of self-identifying conservatives (57%), liberals (53%) and moderates (53%).”

See report at: A Bipartisan Nation of Beneficiaries

More charts: Continue reading »

Interesting Video Explaining Where the 2000-2011 Federal Debt Came From

Explaining the Federal Debt

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Developed by the Center for American Progress

CBO: Under Current Law, Social Security Won’t Be Able to Pay FULL Benefits in 2032

“CBO estimates that in fiscal year 2012, spending for Social Security totaled $773 billion, equal to about 5 percent of gross domestic product and one-fifth of federal spending. As more members of the baby-boom generation retire and the U.S. population grows older in the coming decades, Social Security outlays are projected to grow more rapidly than the economy and more rapidly than the program’s dedicated tax revenues.

Over the next 10 years, outlays will exceed dedicated tax revenues by about 10 percent, on average. That gap will grow larger in the 2020s, and by 2030, Social Security outlays will be about 6 percent of gross domestic product and will exceed dedicated tax revenues by about 20 percent. As a result, under current law, resources available to the Social Security program will become insufficient to pay full benefits in about 20 years, CBO projects.

Today CBO released The 2012 Long-Term Projections for Social Security: Additional Information, which expands upon CBO’s projections of the Social Security program’s finances that were included in CBO’s The 2012 Long-Term Budget Outlook, published in June.”

CBO: Choices for Federal Spending

This came into my email. It is a great summary of the federal budget

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and national debt situation:

CBO: Powerpoint








Federal Income Tax Receipt–2012

The National Priorities Project has provided a report on our federal tax dollars at work.

“While you may not get a receipt from the IRS any time soon, National Priorities Project went ahead and wrote one up. This receipt shows where $2,654 in income taxes was spent by the government in fiscal 2011. That’s an estimate of the taxes paid by a single person earning around $30,000 annually.”

It should be noted that they do not include payroll taxes that are designated for Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds.

Still, it is an interesting way to present budget data.

Source: National Priorities Project: Your Tax Receipt

Tax Breaks Add Up To $1.1 Trillion, As Much As Federal Budget Deficit

A former student posted this Huffington Post article on my facebook page. HuffingtonPost article Needless to say that got my attention. The author, Alexander Eichler, leads off the article:

“Take all the tax breaks in the U.S. tax code and put them together.
You’ll find that they add up — and up and up.
That’s the conclusion of a recent report from the Congressional Research Service, an arm of the Library of Congress that provides research and analysis for federal lawmakers. In a report issued last week, the CRS found that all the major tax breaks currently in use in America add up to about $1.1 trillion a year.”

Coincidentally, that is about the size of the FY 2014 projected budget deficit.

Of course, to get into the tax code is very complicated and requires more than a bit of geekiness, which I mean in a good way. So, I have downloaded the CRS report. Continue reading »