Budget


New Priorities Network
The GOP presidential candidates' budget plans are riddled with such fantastic assumptions that no neutral observer could come away with any reaction other than that Republicans are so math-challenged they could not manage a lemonade stand, let alone the finances of a nation of 310 million people whose government spends $3.5 trillion a year. The Party is Over: Mike Lofgren
According to the New York Times, Ryan's budget would cut $3.3 trillion from low-income programs over 10 years and “leave millions of struggling families desperate for food, shelter and health care.” In all, more than 60 percent of the cuts would come from low-income programs. Roger Bybee (6/26/2012)
Health care is only one of the large and difficult problems America needs to deal with, ranging from infrastructure to climate change, all of which demand that we engage in a lot of hard thinking. Yet what we have instead is a political culture in which one side sneers at knowledge and exalts ignorance, while the other side hunkers down and pretends to halfway agree. Paul Krugman, New York Times 3/11/2011
if you want to balance the budget in 10 years, you pretty much must do it largely by cutting defense and raising taxes; you can’t make huge cuts in the rest of the budget without inflicting extreme pain on millions of Americans. Paul Krugman, New York Times 4/22/2011)

Sense and Nonsense: The Budget Battle In The House (4/7/2014)

11 Ways The Ryan Budget Goes Against What Public Wants (4/2/2014)

Paul Ryan Gets It Backwards On Families and Poverty (3/6/2014)

Next GOP Job-Killing Budget Is A Chance To Offer A Real Jobs Agenda (3/3/2014)

Bernie Sanders Progessive Budget

What is the Point of Budget Reporting ? (7/19/2013)

Americans Views on Spending Vs Federal Budget Plans (4/2/2013)

Politics of Disposability in Paul Ryan's World (3/14/2013)

As Sequester Deadline Looms, Little Support For Cutting Most Programs (2/22/2013)

An Unserious man (8/19/2012)

National Priorities ProjectMajorities in Both Red and Blue Districts Favor Deep Cuts in Defense Spending (7/2012)

Majority of Americans Willing to make defense cuts (5/10/2012)

Paul Ryan Budget Challenged by Georgetown Faculty (4/24/2012)

Catholic Bishops Say Ryan Budget Fails Moral Test (4/18/2012)

The Most Important Thing The President Said About The Republican Budget (4/4/2012)

Tax Cuts For The Rich On The Backs Of The Middle Class (4/7/2012)

House Passes Ryan Budget, Calls It "Vision" of GOP in Charge (3/29/2012)

2012 House Passed GOP Budget

Who Voted For the Most Radical Right-Wing Budget in American History ? (3/29/2012)

The Ryan Tax Plan Isn't A Plan (3/25/2012)

The Ryan Budget: A GOP Suicide Pact (3/19/2012)

Why Republicans Need Remedial Math: Their Budget Plans Explode the Deficit (3/13/2012)

Balanced Budget Amendment is a Terrible Idea, Bruce Bartlett  (11/15/2011)

Paul Ryan ? Seriously ? (8/9/2012)

Joseph Stiglitz on the Budget (4/7/2011)

The Federal budget is probably the strongest statement of US priorities that we have. In a democracy, It should reflect the wishes of the people, but, according to polls, it doesn't.   When most people do not agree with the opinions of the affluent, studies show that the wealthy prevail. Much better results would result from the People's Budget, which has been endorsed by Paul Krugman, Dean Baker, Jeffrey Sachs and even Forbes magazine.

Republicans, in their misguided austerity, are determined to make it smaller while benefiting their corporate backers. They intend to gut those programs that they do not like anyway: Health Care reform, Public Broadcasting, the EPA, Planned Parenthood, poverty programs, and, going against overwhelming public opinion, Social Security, and Medicare. They object to new spending for infrastructure...which we need to stay safe and competitive. They oppose net neutrality. They seem determined also to lay off public employees, and they are openly hostile to unions. (The right to join a union is one promised by the UN declaration of Human Rights.) So will layoffs, cuts to public programs, union busting, improve the number of available jobs, or the well-being of people ?  No, it will punish the vulnerable, weaken the economy but, arguably, enhance election prospects for Republicans.  Also they are for a flat tax, which will give large tax cuts to oligarchs.

The deficit that we now have is in large part due to Bush's two wars that were off the books and large tax cuts for the wealthy.  So is austerity a good idea ?  Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman, Joe Stiglitz and 300 other economists signed a petition opposing budget cuts for now. Because the Republican cuts are unwise and are accompanied by tax cuts for the very comfortable, there will be little deficit reduction. Cheney famously said deficits don't matter, and Republicans aren't really trying to reduce them. Country club Republicans favorite sport is dodging taxes... even if it costs us our civilization and even the planet.

Since Reagan, working families have been sinking: wages flat, pensions disappeared, healthcare (when they could get it) unaffordable. They don't take vacations, and they often have no sick time. They need two incomes, two cars, expensive child care, and the cost of higher education is skyrocketing. They are in debt with little or no savings. (1) During the same time corporations reaped the benefit of higher productivity, and they got the rewards that formerly might have gone to workers. A large percentage of corporations paid no taxes, or even got refunds. Republicans deregulated, rolled back new deal financial stabilizers. The financial sector went out of control and the market crashed. 

We have come to a new gilded age. The vast majority are just scraping by, but the one vibrant part of the economy is for luxury items. Since most people are maxed out, there is no broad based demand. There will be little job creation. We are back to the condition of the great depression.

So what are Republicans doing about this ? They are ready to cut Social Security, Healthcare, head start, higher education funding, and remove the right to collective bargaining. If private employees have lost benefits, then, according to Republican logic, so should public employees. In short, they want to kick them while they're down. They insist on tax cuts for the rich. The US has a host of new problems associated with income inequality. Welcome to the plantation. (2)

We might have repaired some of our decrepit infrastructure and, at the same time, put some of the many unemployed back to work, but Republicans said no. Republican governors refused money for improved transportation. Instead, knowing that it will kill jobs, they insist on budget cuts.

Republicans, in their push for States rights, held hearings so troubled States can declare bankruptcy, the better to renege on pensions and other obligations that they have dodged for a long time. They are keen to avoid new taxes, because they are deadbeats unwilling to pay the bills. They are all about the money, not the real condition of the country. The cuts being considered now will produce even more expensive side effects down the road: crumbling bridges, unaffordable education and healthcare, and social unrest.

Republicans like Paul Ryan are fully ready to spend for a new generation of nuclear weapons though. Republicans ARE the party of the military-industrial complex.

Officially, the National Security budget is around twenty percent of the total, but that is but a fig leaf for the real number. In a lead editorial about the federal budget, the Day newspaper pointed out that the amount allocated for national security is about 20 percent. That could be the official number, but it is more like a third of the actual amount: upward of $1.2 trillion. Republicans took that part of the budget off the table.

There is the looming possibility of a Government shutdown, particularly if there is no agreement to raise the debt limit. That can cause a financial meltdown, especially if the bond market decides that Federal and State governments are no longer credit worthy.  

Republicans have thrown a wrench into our formerly functioning government. (It would help a lot if we had range-voting to mitigate the problem, but that is not going to happen because the two-party duopoly is determined to wreck us before they give up their ideologies.) Republican Federal and State budget cuts, as envisioned now, will doom the economic recovery.  A failed US economy could win elections for Republicans. That seems to be their plan.

 We cannot have excellent infrastructure, top-notch education, and a strong social safety net because we continue to squander our now almost exhausted resources on the world's largest military and a failed attempt at a world-wide empire. In a real democracy, with a fully-disclosed budget that reflects our values, we would reverse the importance of military spending and spending for the well-being of our people.

Republicans want to shred the social contract, punish the vulnerable, kill jobs, increase poverty, reward the wealthy, contribute to economic instability, kill net neutrality, neglect crumbling infrastructure,  ignore environmental degradation, perpetuate the world's largest military, deeply cut foreign assistance, and not reduce the deficit as much as simply staying the course: letting the Bush tax cuts expire.

Republicans don't care if they crash the economy because their one clear goal is to assure that President Obama accomplishes nothing. If they shut down the Federal government, people should call for a Constitutional Convention. (3) Here's why you should veto their agenda.

How are Republicans like Jim Jones ?

P S Thank W again.

Federal Budget Priorities

The Federal budget is probably the strongest statement of US priorities that we have. In a democracy, It should reflect the wishes of the people, but, according to polls, it doesn't.  Much better results would result from the People's Budget, which has been endorsed by Paul Krugman, Dean Baker, Jeffrey Sachs and even Forbes magazine.

Here's what we have:
  • Percentage of US discretionary budget spent for military: 57% (since the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan are funded in supplementary budget requests, they must be added to that!)
  • US Military Budget as a percent of World total military expenditures: 49%
  • Percentage of US discretionary budget spent on education and other social services: 8%
  • Number of Americans classified as "food insecure" in 2004: 38 million
  • Number of Americans without health insurance: 45 million
  • Total direct aid to Israel 1948-2006: $255 billion
  • Total Cost of US Support for Israel: $1.688 trillion (not counting money and lives lost in Israel propelled wars like Iraq, not counting loss of $trillions in business with the rest of the world because of US support for Israel etc)
  • Federal aid for each resident in Louisiana in 2002 (from their taxes): $1,500
  • Direct U.S. aid for each Israeli citizen in 2003 (per capita income in Israel-$16,710; they do not pay taxes to the US): $581
  • Direct U.S. aid for each Ethiopian citizen in 2004 (per capita income in Ethiopia - $110): $2.50
  • Percentage of U.S. foreign aid that goes to Israel: 27%
  • Population of Israel as percentage of total world population: 0.1%
  • Number of Palestinian minors killed by Israeli security forces (2000-2007): 814
  • Total number of Palestinians injured or killed (September 2000-April 2007): 31,296
  • Number of bullets fired by Israeli security forces in the first week of the second Intifada: 1,300,000
  • Number of unexploded Israeli bombs strewn across South Lebanon after the 2006 war: 1,000,000 or 1.4 per resident
Slightly modified from the 1040 ez tax form available at http://www.archive.org/details/1040WAR. See this piechart also.

 

Related

The Shadow Budget (Matt Taibbi)

US Uncut

Austerity For Whom ? (pdf)

American Poll on the Budget

Lawrence Lessig at NCMR 2011

What we spent for Christmas for Republicans

What's Wrong With Republicans ?

Top 10 Worst Things about the Republicans' Immoral Budget

The Monstrous Ryan Manifesto (pdf)  (1/26/2011)

See the forecast.

Links

FCNL on the Budget

National Priorities

WRL Pie Chart

OMB

Notes

(1) See this Elizabeth Warren video (about an hour, though well spent): http://www.brasschecktv.com/page/642.html

(2) The Spirit Level, Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger: Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett

(3) Why We Need A Constitutional Convention: http://www.seconnecticut.com/constitutional_convention.htm

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