Tag Archives: Debt

CBO: national debt will rise to $30 trillion in the next decade

Democrats took control of government spending in 2007
Democrats took control of government spending in 2007

The Washington Times has a warning for all the young voters who are freaking out over the spending promises of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

Here it is:

The federal government will be flirting with $30 trillion in debt within a decade, the Congressional Budget Office reported Monday, blaming an aging population, new spending and tax cuts approved on Capitol Hill, and the growing burden from Obamacare for erasing the progress Washington had made over the past few years.

Analysts said Obamacare will chase more workers out of the labor force over the next five years, adding pressure to an economy still struggling to spring to life more than seven years into the Obama recovery.

The Affordable Care Act itself is still struggling to attract a customer base, the CBO said, lowering its estimate for the number of people who will sign up for the exchanges from 21 million to 13 million — a drop of nearly 40 percent in projections. Customers collecting taxpayer subsidies this year will be 11 million, down from the 15 million the CBO projected a year ago.

[…]Deficits will continue to rise over the next 10 years, topping $1 trillion again in 2022 and reaching $1.4 trillion in 2026, the analysts said.

Basically, we’ve dug ourselves into a whole with all this spending – taking money out of the productive private sector and giving it to the wasteful public sector.

How wasteful?

This wasteful:

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is spending $80,000 to see what effects space flight has on oral herpes.

The federal space agency has awarded multiple grants and contracts to a researcher at the University of Florida to determine the “Effect of Spaceflight on Herpes virus Genome Stability and Diversity,” beginning last summer. The project recently received an additional $15,000 in December.

“The goal of this study will be to determine the changes in the genomic and mutational diversity that is present in the Herpes virus virome present in astronaut saliva and urine samples collected before, during, and after space flight,” according to NASA’s description of the research. “Ground subjects will serve as the control group providing saliva and urine samples preflight and postflight during the same schedule as the astronauts.”

That $80,000 was taken from private sector businesses and individual families. They could have spent it on jobs, innovation or consumer spending. But instead the government took it and wasted it on garbage.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz
Texas Senator Ted Cruz

There is someone who has a plan to deal with these deficits. And his plan is to shut down or scale back many government departments.

Ted Cruz:

For the individual income tax under his tax reform, Cruz’s plan provides for one flat rate of 10% on everything – wages, capital gains, dividends, personal business income, rent, interest, and all other forms of individual income. The corporate income tax would be abolished, and replaced with a 16% Business Flat Tax, which applies to sales of goods and services, minus all purchases and expenses for inputs for production. It automatically provides for immediate “expensing,” or an immediate deduction for all purchases of plant and equipment, and all other capital investment, which inherently involves purchases of inputs from other businesses. It is essentially a consumption tax for business.

That net business tax, which also automatically abolishes all special-interest, corporate-welfare loopholes, raises an enormous amount of revenue, $25.4 trillion over the first 10 years alone. This enables the plan to include abolishing the Social Security and Medicare payroll tax, which is the highest tax most working people pay, with Social Security and Medicare financed in full. It also enables the plan to include abolishing the death tax, the Alternative Minimum Tax, and all Obamacare taxes, as well as the corporate income tax. With a standard deduction of $10,000 per adult, and a $4,000 personal exemption, the first $36,000 of income for a family of four would be exempt from all significant federal taxes.

Because such tax reform would be enormously pro-growth, the Tax Foundation scores it on a dynamic basis as a net tax cut of $768 billion over the first 10 years. The Tax Foundation, which has developed a formal, sophisticated, and thorough economic model of the economy, estimates Cruz’s tax reform would create nearly 5 million new jobs, increase wages by 12%, and increase real economic growth over the next decade by nearly 14% more than under current tax policies. The after tax income of all workers would increase by 21.3% on average, with those in the bottom 20% of the income ladder seeing income increases of 15.3%.

Cruz intends to pay for these tax cuts by reducing the size and scope of government – pushing many federal responsibilities down to the state level, where there is more accountability to the people.

The four agencies are the standard four that most conservatives want to abolish or streamline:

  • Department of Energy (raises energy prices for individuals and businesses)
  • Department of Commerce (hands our taxpayer money to businesses favored by big government)
  • Department of Education (indoctrinates children in big government dogma, e.g. – global warming)
  • Department of Housing and Urban Development (caused the housing bubble recession by forcing banks to loan money to unqualified individuals, then bailed them out with taxpayer money)

Many other smaller government departments would be streamlined or eliminated. There would be a hiring freeze in the federal government, and pay increases would be based on merit, not tenure. Cruz would also save a trillion dollars over 10 years by repealing Obamacare, and replacing it with a consumer-driven alternative.

Although young people are in love with the idea that government will give them things by taxing others, that’s not sustainable. They ought to be voting for someone who wants to cut spending and cut government.

Liberal Party has made Ontario’s economy a disastrous failure

Liberal Party has dominated Ontario since 2003
Liberal Party has dominated Ontario since 2003

I like to follow the economic situations in the most liberal Canadian provinces to see how bad things can get when liberals are in charge. This article is by Joe Oliver, who I have mentioned before on this blog.

Here’s the article from the Financial Post:

The numbers tell the story. Ontario is the largest sub-national debtor in the entire world, just one alarming distinction. Its debt is more than twice that of California, a state with three times the population and one that has its own severe fiscal problems. Its debt is $294 billion, or over $21,000 per capita. Net debt to GDP is up 48 per cent in the past 10 years to almost 40 per cent, second only to Quebec. Last year’s interest obligations totalled $11.4 billion, about the same as the cost of community and social services. I doubt many Ontarians realize how much they are paying just in interest on the provincial debt. It averages $840 per person every year and rising. Not surprisingly, Standard and Poor’s downgraded Ontario’s bond credit from AA- to A+, citing a very high debt burden and very weak budgetary performance

The energy sector is nationalized in Ontario – there is no free market competition, it’s all government-run. Consumers have one choice when they want to purchase electricity – the provincial government. How well has nationalizing the energy sector (“Ontario Hydro”) worked out?

Some of its biggest problems are self-inflicted. Recently, we received a stunning revelation from Bonnie Lysyk, the province’s Auditor-General. In the past eight years, electricity cost $37 billion above market price. Even more staggering, it will pay a further $132 billion above market by 2032. The by-now infamous Green Energy Act guaranteed the price for wind and solar, so that they cost double and 3.5 times the U.S. market price respectively. As a result, energy costs have skyrocketed by 70 per cent, a regressive tax that hurts lower income earners disproportionately and depresses personal consumption. Higher energy costs also render businesses less competitive, which discourages job-creating capital investment.

Surprise! Green energy doesn’t lower electricity bills. But that hasn’t stopped the Liberal government from jumping into it with both feet.

There is no respect for the taxpayer in Ontario… every dollar earned there is seen by the ruling elite as more fuel for her vote-buying schemes. They want to spend their way to prosperity, as if spending money in the right way will cause economic growth. Well, here’s the truth: the government can never cause the people who start businesses and create value to produce more by taking more from them. The more the government takes from job creators, the more job creators scale back their productivity.

We should learn from the failure of socialism in other countries so that we don’t repeat their mistakes here.

Related posts

Tad Hopp accumulates six figures of college debt, wants taxpayer bailout

Brain vs Heart, from: theawkwardyeti.com
Brain vs Heart, from: theawkwardyeti.com

Here’s an interesting editorial from a “Christian” left blog. (H/T Acton Institute via Lindsay)

The author, Tad Hopp is graduating a PCUSA seminary – an extremely liberal, left-wing denomination.

He writes:

I graduated college in 2007.

[…] I majored in English, not exactly what most people consider a ‘marketable’ or ‘practical’ degree…

[…]I went to a somewhat expensive private school…

[…]I did what many students in their last year of high school do: I went to the school where I felt I was being called…

[…]I do not regret my four years at my undergraduate institution one bit.

[….]When I graduated college, I owed nearly $50,000 in student loan debt and was unemployed for almost six months before I finally found a low-paying office job.

[…]“Can’t find a job? Well, you should have majored in something more ‘practical’, like economics or business or medicine.” Yeah, that would be great…if those were the subjects where my skills and passions lie. They’re not.

[…]I felt called to go to seminary.

[…]I will graduate seminary with close to six figures worth of student loan debt.

Let’s take stock of what he’s said so far:

  • he studied English, a language that he already spoke, which has one of the lowest employment rates
  • he was warned by people who knew something about earning and saving money not to study English
  • he went to a school he couldn’t afford to go to, and he graduated with $50,000 in debt
  • he went to seminary, another subject that doesn’t pay, and added another $50,000 or so of debt
  • he says that he doesn’t have to study subjects that lead to a career because he isn’t “passionate” about them
  • he “followed his heart” by going to the school that he had mystical, emotional, intuitions about = “calling”

My advice to Tad at this point would be for him to take the Bible seriously when it says this:

2 Thessalonians 3:10:

10 For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either.

And 1 Timothy 5:8:

8 But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

Now, for a Bible-believing Christian, these are inerrant and cannot be denied. But we have to go outside the Bible and learn how the world really works in order to figure out how to achieve those stated goals. Why should anyone hire us? What is working really about?

But even before looking at economics, Tad needs to push away all his friends who tell him to “follow his heart” and stick close by his friends who understand economics, who have jobs already, who have savings already, and so on. Don’t look for advice from dreamers, you look to advice from doers – people who can read the times, run the numbers and who have demonstrated the ability to create plans that work to achieve results that please God. When it comes to planning about the future, look at the past accomplishments. Weaving a happy narrative sounds nice, but judge future predictions based on past performance.

I would recommend that Tad read an economist like Thomas Sowell, especially on work, prices, etc., and realize that work means providing value to others. It then follows that he is obligated by the Bible to NOT “follow his heart”, but to instead do something that offers value to his fellow man. Prices are a way of determining what is most valued by your fellow man. And we know what careers have the highest starting salaries and mid-career salaries:

Starting and Mid-Career salaries by profession (click for larger image)
Starting and Mid-Career salaries by profession (click for larger image)

(Source)

Keep in mind that you also have to check to see what the unemployment rate for these fields is, but I think they are all very much in demand, hence the salaries.

I don’t mind if a woman studies English and seminary, but Tad is a man – he has the Biblical obligation to be the primary provider, as we saw in the verses above.

More Tad:

Is the PCUSA doing anything to address this crisis?

[…]What has our government done to address this issue?

[…]I, like so many in my generation, voted for Obama…

[…]It seems to me that we’ve bought into the lie that student loan debt is brought on by the individual person…

[…]You know what I think might stimulate the economy? Automatically cancelling every single outstanding student loan!

[…]If we can spend $640 billion dollars on defense spending, why can’t we find the money to better support public education?

It’s important to understand that an English degree and a seminary degree do not prepare a person to make statements on economics and government. Tad has never studied these things, has no experience in them. He cannot state what the impact of his suggestions would be to all groups, i.e. – he cannot answer “and then what happens?” for every impacted group. Thinking economically is a valuable skill, but as Tad’s personal life shows, it’s not an area he is really knowledgeable about. But he wants to shift money from defense spending (which he knows nothing about) so that he can have a personal bailout. I personally doubt that taxpayers would be better served by paying for his English degree and liberal seminary degree than they would be if a peace-loving democracy could project power abroad to deter aggression from countries like North Korea, Iran, Russia, China and Syria.

Here is the solution to Tad’s problems:

  • we need to put Tad to work in a minimum wage job and confiscate his entire salary, until his loans are paid off.
  • we need to put Tad on a watch list such that he is never allowed to borrow money from anyone ever again.
  • once Tad’s loans are paid off, he should be taxed on his future earnings at the top tax rate for the rest of his life. The money we tax from him can fund education – that’s what he said he wanted.
  • Tad and his household should all be barred from collecting any money for unemployment, welfare or other social programs.

That’s the only bailout Tad should get. It would actually be in his best interest that he encounter real life as quickly as possible, because the longer he waits, the harder it’s going to be for him to recover to independence. He needs to stop his crazy retreat from adult responsibilities, and start working and saving now. I would say that at this point, marriage and parenting is out of the question for him (in another post, he comes out as gay, so that also complicates things). And he can thank the politics of the secular left for marriage and family being less affordable now, thanks to laws like Obamacare, which raised the cost of health care by thousands of dollars. I found it interesting that he actually did work at some point but he mocked the job as a “dead-end job” – as if it was beneath him.

I know some of you will be thinking, “but God called him things and so of course God is going to bail him out with $100,000 for his student loans”. But the thing is, God doesn’t usually work like that. First, I don’t accept that he is a Christian at all. Second, just because you have feelings that your plan will work, that isn’t a calling. The truth is that you certainly can assess the feasibility of things that you feel “called” to do, and if the plan looks crazy, then don’t do it. If you find yourself at odds with wise, practical people when explaining your calling to them, then you’re probably doing it wrong.

Good news: Venezuela and Argentina eject socialist governments

Political Map of South America
Political Map of South America

Investors Business Daily has some good news for us. The Democrat Party of Venezuela has been CRUSHED in a recent election.

Excerpt:

Venezuela’s voters delivered a sledgehammer blow to the country’s ruling Chavista socialists Sunday, winning a likely supermajority in the National Assembly. It’s a great awakening from a 17-year nightmare.

Given the past two decades of near-victories, electoral fraud, chicanery and fractious political opposition mistakes, many Venezuelans are still in disbelief at the scale of the victory in the nation’s legislative elections, which have decisively handed one of Venezuela’s leading governing bodies over to the democratic, pro-free-market opposition.

As this was written, the opposition, known by its Spanish initials MUD, had declared a 112-seat, or two-thirds, supermajority in the National Assembly as a result of Sunday’s vote. The Chavistas won just 46 seats.

It’s total victory in legislative terms and will enable the legislature to throw out politicized Supreme Court justices and appoint honest ones.

The new Congress can also boot corrupt election officials and appoint fair ones. And they will even be able to declare President Nicolas Maduro — the late dictator Hugo Chavez’s hand-picked successor — mentally unstable and unfit for office, or remove him for incompetence. They can also stop his executive orders dead.

The Congress also will have the power to free the 71 or so political prisoners now rotting in Chavista dungeons without trial, including top opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez. And Venezuela’s central bank will stop destroying the country’s money, now nearly worthless.

[…]Most important, the leftist government’s mismanagement of the economy — through currency controls that prevented imports of spare parts, created shortages of basics such as toilet paper and devastated the health care system — and the central bank’s infamous money-printing spree, which has pushed Venezuelan inflation to near 700%, made ordinary life for Venezuelans hellish. There also was corruption, with as much as 1 trillion dollars in oil earnings stolen or misappropriated over the years by high-living Chavista elites, whose lavish lifestyles mocked ordinary, poor Venezuelans.

Top it with the monstrous infiltration of the country by the drug lords, and the likelihood of an electoral housecleaning was perfectly clear.

Still, an element of disbelief remains, given how dirty the Chavista rulers have played their democracy game.

They have broken election rules, violated ballot secrecy, shut voters out and banned popular candidates from running. Many of those dirty tricks were evident in this election, too — the Chavistas illegally extended voting hours and campaigned at polling stations, to cite just a couple of examples.

But the opposition won anyway — with turnout so high, at 74.5%, and margins of victory so wide that the election was impossible to steal.

It helped that the the opposition had the wind at its back with the disastrous result of socialism. But it also helped that MUD had improved its electoral game over the years, learning from each near-miss election.

It also helped that MUD had strong leaders such as Maria Corina Machado and put out strong candidates with a clear, unified message — often summed up as “Down with the left.” And with all the pain of 17 years, it helped most of all that they never lost heart.

There is literally no different between the socialists of Venezuela and the Democrat Party in the United States. They are in lock step on every issue. Should the Democrat Party continue to hold power in America, we can look forward to a reckoning like this one in the future.

Two socialists shake hands: Barack Obama and Hugo Chavez
Two socialists shake hands: Barack Obama and Hugo Chavez

The Wall Street Journal says that the whole country is basically in the grip of ignorant socialists at every level, so there is lots to do.

Excerpt:

Pulling out of that death spiral, economists say, will require a series of painful and unpopular adjustments, rolling back more than a decade of populist and statist policies. Among the measures needed is raising the price of the world’s cheapest gasoline—which goes for less than one U.S. penny a gallon—overhauling a cumbersome and inefficient foreign-exchange system, and cutting generous social programs on which Venezuela’s poor depend.

[…]The government still controls more than 20 governorships, hundreds of mayors, the judiciary, much of the press and all auditing agencies. It will be up to Mr. Maduro whether to take steps to stabilize the economy, like loosening currency or price controls.

It’s not just Venezuela that has hit bottom under socialism. Recently, the people of Argentina also threw out their socialists after years and years of disastrous leftist policies.

The Chicago Tribune reports on last month’s election in Argentina.

Excerpt:

Under the current president, Cristina Fernandez, Argentina has become an international financial pariah. The country defaulted on debt last year in a long-running feud with hedge funds — remarkably, that was the eighth default in Argentina’s history.

Fernandez refused to settle. That’s left the country to squeak by in isolation, using protectionism and capital controls in a quixotic battle with globalism. The economy is stagnant, foreign currency reserves are dwindling and the inflation rate is around 30 percent. Last week, American Airlines said it stopped accepting pesos for ticket sales because it was tired of collecting revenue it couldn’t convert to dollars.

At times Argentina has embraced trade and economic openness, only to slip back into bad habits thanks to populist Peronistas like Fernandez. Macri, a conservative, wants to re-establish free market principles, but there are a lot of details he didn’t fully explain before his November victory because they will require some short-term pain, and he wanted to win the election.

Everything Macri is talking about makes sense. He says he will lift the capital controls that have wrecked the peso’s credibility. Like other backwaters it shouldn’t resemble, Argentina has a thriving black market because the government insists the peso is worth a lot more than its actual value. Freeing the currency would devalue it, a first step toward making Argentina more competitive.

The next big step would be to negotiate a settlement with the hedge funds that bought up Argentina’s debt after its previous default in 2002 and demand repayment. Fernandez got political mileage from attacking the “vultures,” but Macri seems to understand Argentina can’t get unstuck when it’s essentially shut out of international capital markets. He sounds like he wants to do a deal.

Macri’s got a tremendous balancing act to pull off: He’ll need to cut spending and reduce taxes without destroying the country’s big social safety net, while walking the country through a devaluation.

This is how countries that are ruled for a prolonged period by the political left eventually end up. I know so many of you lose heart and think that there is no hope, but there is hope. Even in countries where the left is running everything from the universities, to the judiciaries, to the mainstream media, there is hope.

Over the last 7 years, Obama added $10 trillion to the national debt. And although few of his Democrat low-information voters know about that, they will be able to tell the difference between prosperity and poverty when the United States reaches the Venezuela / Argentina tipping point. There comes a time when there are no more bailouts for the economics deniers. Reality wins in the end.

Bernie Sanders says his spending proposals will tax everyone, not just the rich

Wall Street Journal calculates cost of Sanders spending plan
Wall Street Journal calculates the cost of Bernie Sanders’ spending plan

This story is from ABC News.

Excerpt:

Sanders is perhaps best known in political life for his efforts to champion the middle class, saying that in order to bridge the widening wealth and income inequality gap in America, the country needs a revamped tax policy that forces Wall Street, big corporations, millionaires and billionaires –like Trump – to pay up – and doesn’t impose further taxes on the middle and working class.

However, when pressed by Stephanopoulos about whether the proposed Senate tax legislation he backs, which would use a payroll tax to fund a mandate for 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave from all U.S. employers, Sander confirmed that the bill would require taxing all citizens -– not just the top 1 percent.

“[The payroll tax] would hit everyone –- yeah, it would. But it would mean we would join the rest of the industrialized world and make sure that when a mom has a baby she can in fact stay home with that baby for three months, rather than going back to work at the end of one week,” Sanders said.

What most Democrats (all?) don’t understand, is that when you tax the rich, the costs filter down to consumers and employees. If a company is making a 5% profit (and Wal-mart makes a 3% profit), then slapping even a 5% tax increase on them will cause layoffs, outsourcing and other repercussions. We have a serious problem in this country with economic illiteracy – a widespread lack of familiarity with how the private sector works, and how jobs are created. For one thing, the public thinks that the average profit margin of companies is over 32%, when it fact it is much lower.

Public perceptions of corporate profit margins
Public perceptions of corporate profit margins

So the real question is, how much does Bernie Sanders want to spend, and pass on to “the rich”? Because if it’s more than a 1% or 2% increase in corporate taxes, we are all – all of us – going to feel the burn. And it’s not going to a slight increase to our payroll taxes, it’s going to be a huge number of people losing their jobs, and the prices of consumer goods and services rising to pay for the new taxes.

How much does all this Bernie Sanders spending cost? 

The Wall Street Journal – which knows something about business and economics – has done an analysis of how much the socialist agenda of Bernie Sanders will cost. The final price tag? $18 trillion dollars!

Read it:

Sen. Bernie Sanders, whose liberal call to action has propelled his long-shot presidential campaign, is proposing an array of new programs that would amount to the largest peacetime expansion of government in modern American history.

In all, he backs at least $18 trillion in new spending over a decade, according to a tally by The Wall Street Journal, a sum that alarms conservatives and gives even many Democrats pause. Mr. Sanders sees the money as going to essential government services at a time of increasing strain on the middle class.

[…]To pay for it, Mr. Sanders, a Vermont independent running for the Democratic nomination, has so far detailed tax increases that could bring in as much as $6.5 trillion over 10 years, according to his staff.

A campaign aide said additional tax proposals would be offered to offset the cost of some, and possibly all, of his health program. A Democratic proposal for such a “single-payer” health plan, now in Congress, would be funded in part through a new payroll tax on employers and workers, with the trade-off being that employers would no longer have to pay for or arrange their workers’ insurance.

Investors Business Daily has more to say about Sanders’ proposals:

His “Medicare for All” single-payer health plan alone would cost roughly $15 trillion over a decade.

He wants the government to provide “universal” child care and pre-kindergarten programs, along with free tuition at any public college, and proposes spending an additional $1 trillion on infrastructure and expanding Social Security by $1.2 trillion. Add up just these and a few other items on Sanders’ list, and price tag tops $18 trillion over a decade.

[…]And this doesn’t count the massive costs of mandates and regulations Sanders wants to impose on businesses, such as a $15 minimum wage, plus mandatory paid medical leave, vacations and sick days.

He’d also make it far easier for unions to organize.

Keep in mind that when Obama became president, the national debt was about $8 trillion. Now it’s $18.5 trillion, thanks to the Democrats. And if Bernie Sanders is elected, it will go to over $36.5 trillion. This is what Bernie Sanders expects to solve by “taxing the rich”. And Hillary Clinton expects to get the money for her spending from “taxing the wealthy”, as she said in the CNN debate. Do the rich have enough money lying around for the Democrats to confiscate?

Can we pay for it by “taxing the rich”?

A while back, the libertarian Cato Institute had an article talking about who would pay for Obama’s $1 trillion health care plan. They asked whether Obama could pay for it by “taxing the rich”.

The answer is no:

Funding the new health-care plan on the backs of households making $200,000 or more per year would require permanently increasing their annual total tax payments by about 50 percent. So, for example, a household that currently pays $50,000 in federal income taxes would need to pay another $25,000. Remember, however, that Social Security and Medicare already face enormous shortfalls. Shoring up these programs — another Obama campaign promise — would require collecting 328 percent more tax revenue from the rich. No, we didn’t forget a decimal point: That is three hundred and twenty-eight percent.

And what follows from taxing the rich?

[…]A major tax increase causes the tax capacity of the rich to shrink gradually as two factors kick in. First, many of the households falling into Obama’s “rich” definition are married couples in which both partners are working professionals. When tax rates rise, the lower-earning spouses in these couples tend to work less. Often, they quit work entirely. Second, many of the “rich” are budding entrepreneurs and small-business owners. They finance their operations using their own after-tax income, or with after-tax resources from family and friends. Small-business innovation is the fuel for long-term economic growth. In fact, many of the largest companies in the United States today were either small or nonexistent just 25 years ago. Killing small business kills the American economy.

The rich in France abandoned France in droves when the socialist Francois Hollande passed a 75% top income tax rate. Why do Democrat voters think that this would not happen here? We have to learn economics by watching what happens after the policies are enacted, in other times and places. Higher taxes on the rich cause them to produce less, lowering tax revenues.

I myself have been planning to stop working within the next 5 years, exactly because I can see that the Democrat voters are taking us in the direction of massive taxes on employment. I don’t intend to be working when that happens. If enough people respond to higher tax rates like me, the Democrats are going to have an even bigger problem paying for their spending promises.