Responsibility

Despite endless talk of spending cuts and fiscal restraint in Washington over the past year, lawmakers continued to act as though the government doesn’t spend nearly enough.

They introduced 874 bills in the House and Senate that would have boosted annual federal spending by more than $1 trillion if they’d all been signed into law, according to an analysis done for IBD by the National Taxpayers Union Foundation.

In contrast, lawmakers offered up just 215 bills to cut spending last year that would have reduced federal outlays by about half a trillion had they all been signed into law.

The analysis also found that for every dollar in cuts, lawmakers in the House proposed nearly $3 in spending hikes, and in the Senate $1.40 in hikes.

“Even at a time of massive deficits, Congress is still mostly occupied with pushing ideas to expand government spending,” said Demian Brady, senior policy analyst at the NTUF, which has been tracking spending bills for more than 20 years through its BillTally project.

Brady notes that a big chunk of the spending tab comes from proposals by liberals in Congress that would transform the nation’s health care into an entirely government-run “single payer” system. Absent those single-payer bills, the net effect of all the legislation introduced would be close to a wash.

The analysis also found a shift, at least, toward more spending cuts. “We are seeing more and bigger cut bills,” said Brady, “and a smaller ratio of increase to cut bills than in last Congress.”

That could change, however, should Democrats succeed in winning back control of the House in November.

The NTUF analysis found that congressional Democrats are by far the biggest spenders. Last year, 692 spending-hike bills had either all or majority Democratic sponsorship. Republicans, in contrast, sponsored just 126 such bills.

At the other end of the spectrum, GOP lawmakers introduced 172 bills that would have cut federal spending, compared with just 33 such bills offered up by Democrats.

Even if few of these bills were likely to make it all the way to the president’s desk, they are a sign of the ongoing pressure in Congress to boost spending, budget experts say, since there is far more time and energy spent on proposals to expand government than to shrink it.

It’s one reason budget caps have typically failed to hold in the past, and why proposed spending cuts often fail to materialize, these experts note.

For example, presidents routinely offer up dozens if not hundreds of programs they think should get the axe — President Clinton’s 1995 budget had 115 of them — but few ever got acted upon and many show up on target lists year after year.

And in the past 50 years, annual inflation-adjusted spending on domestic programs — education, transportation, the environment, etc. — has declined just six times; and five of those years occurred during the Reagan administration.

(and in California they want to spend $100 Billion dollars on a High Speed Rail that is a pure boondoggle–it used to be $10 billion when proposed- in a state with Budget deferrals, required reimbursements and related debt now total nearly $40 billion.)

As a result, spending on these programs as a share of GDP has climbed by more than 26% since 1962. That doesn’t include spending on entitlement programs, which has seen its share of the economy nearly triple over those years.

Defense spending, in contrast, is not nearly as immune to spending cuts — the Pentagon’s annual budget was cut in 19 of the past 50 years. And even with the recent buildup, defense spending as a share of the economy is about half what it was in 1962.

When President Obama introduced his budget last year, he made it clear that spending cuts were a critical part of getting federal deficits under control.

“All of us agree,” he said referring to Democratic and Republican congressional leaders, “that we have to cut spending, and all of us agree that we have to get our deficits under control and our debt under control.”

But unless that message sinks in on Capitol Hill, it’s not clear that real, deep spending cuts will ever actually materialize. (IBD)

Because the lead Drug dealers (the drug: money) won’t cut themselves off. They have to pimp themselves and pimp others to keep their supply going.

And the others want to be pimped.

So the drug addict pimps the drug dependent and the drug dependent pimp the drug addict.

Cut the other guys “greed” but don’t you dare cut mine!

My drug dealer is ok, it the other guys jerks that need to be defeated.

And people like me who want to the whole thing to stop are shut out as “whackos” “racists” “morons” “stupid”.

Disparity Part II By Thomas Sowell

One of the ways of trying to reduce the vast disparities in economic success, which are common in countries around the world, is by making higher education more widely available, even for people without the money to pay for it.

This can be both a generous investment and a wise investment for a society to make. But, depending on how it is done, it can also be a foolish and even dangerous investment, as many societies around the world have learned the hard way.

When institutions of higher learning turn out highly qualified doctors, scientists, engineers and others with skills that can raise the standard of living of a whole society and make possible a better and longer life, the benefits are obvious.

What is not so obvious, but is painfully true nonetheless, is that colleges and universities can also turn out vast numbers of people with credentials, but with no marketable skills with which to fulfill their expectations. There is nothing magic about simply being in ivy-covered buildings for four years.

Statistics are often thrown around in the media, showing that people with college degrees earn higher average salaries than people without them. But such statistics lump together apples and oranges — and lemons.

A decade after graduation, people whose degrees were in a hard field like engineering earned twice as much as people whose degrees were in the ultimate soft field, education. Nor is a degree from a prestigious institution a guarantee of a big pay-off, especially not for those who failed to specialize in subjects that would give them skills valued in the real world.

But that is not even half the story. In countries around the world, people with credentials but no marketable skills have been a major source of political turmoil, social polarization and ideologically driven violence, sometimes escalating into civil war.

People with degrees in soft subjects, which impart neither skills nor a realistic understanding of the world, have been the driving forces behind many extremist movements with disastrous consequences.

These include what a noted historian called the “well-educated but underemployed” Czech young men who promoted ethnic identity politics in the 19th century, which led ultimately to historic tragedies for both Czechs and Germans in 20th century Czechoslovakia. It was much the same story of soft-subject “educated” but unsuccessful young men who promoted pro-fascist and anti-Semitic movements in Romania in the 1930s.

The targets have been different in different countries but the basic story has been much the same. Those who cannot compete in the marketplace, despite their degrees, not only resent those who have succeeded where they have failed, but push demands for preferential treatment, in order to negate the “unfair” advantages that others have.

Similar attempts to substitute political favoritism for developing one’s own skills and achievements have been common as well in India, Nigeria, Malaysia, Fiji, Sri Lanka and throughout Central Europe and Eastern Europe between the two World Wars.

Such political movements cannot promote their agendas without demonizing others, thereby polarizing whole societies. Time and again, their targets have been those who have the skills and achievements that they lack. When they achieve their ultimate success, forcing such people out of the country, as in Uganda in the 1970s or Zimbabwe more recently, the whole economy can collapse.

Against this international background, the current class warfare rhetoric in American politics and ethnic grievance ideology in our schools and colleges, can be seen as the dangerous things they are. Those who are pushing such things may be seeking nothing more than votes for themselves or some unearned group benefits at other people’s expense. But they are playing with dynamite.

The semi-literate sloganizing of our own Occupy Wall Street mobs recalls the distinction that Milton Friedman often made between those who are educated and those who have simply been in schools. Generating more such people, in the name of expanding education, may serve the interests of the Obama administration but hardly the interests of America.

Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past. —George Orwell

If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever. —George Orwell

In a time of universal deceit – telling the truth is a revolutionary act.
—George Orwell

War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.
—George Orwell

And my own Contribution: FEAR IS HOPE 🙂

Political Cartoons by Lisa Benson

Political Cartoons by Gary Varvel

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