Archive for the ‘Budgets’ Category

it can’t continue

June 21, 2016

Despite the problem being ignored for the past several years, the looming fiscal crisis in this country is inevitable, and it’s going to lead to a lot of problems because so many will be caught completely off-guard and unprepared to cope.

This is an overview from a few years ago: “A Tsunami Approaches

This is a specific illustration from Illinois: “Illinois on the Fiscal Brink

The public is going to be set in opposition to the government at all levels, and it won’t look good for either side.

A looming problem all but ignored

March 15, 2016

Anyone who looks can see this disaster coming, but it’s getting next to zero attention in public policy discussions. That’s probably because government policies have created it, and no elected official wants to risk trying to address it. Scott Walker’s experience in Wisconsin is instructive.

h/t to Professor Glenn Reynolds, who reminds us, “Something that can’t go on forever, won’t. Debts that can’t be repaid, won’t be. Promises that can’t be kept, won’t be. Plan accordingly.”

Refunding unpaid taxes to illegal immigrants

February 15, 2015

How can the federal government afford such a thing?

Oh, this is how. The IRS steals it from small business owners.

IRS under a spotlight for freezing assets

FDR was right

January 13, 2015

Government employees should not be able to bargain collectively for wages and benefits. It has led to the pension crisis in this country that is going to cause enormous amounts of upheaval and civil disruption. Stephen Moore’s account of what’s going on in Scranton, Penn., is one example, though the number of examples from California make the point more vivid.

My current hometown, Omaha, Neb., for all its midwestern sensibility, has allowed its public employee pensions to get out of control, becoming what Warren Buffett described as a “gigantic financial tapeworm” eating up the resources of its host, the city government, funded of course by the taxpaying private citizens. There does seem to be signs of hopeful progress, as at least one of the unions has agreed to a new contract with pension reforms starting in January 2015. But nationwide, it doesn’t seem the problem is generally improving as a function of government reforms; recent stock market returns have helped, but that’s not a very reliable plan.

The question that nags at me as a citizen, of course, is what happens when the next crash comes and cities start failing?

“Poverty” and reality

May 8, 2011

Victor Davis Hansen is one of the most trenchant observers writing widely today. He’s always worth reading. Yesterday’s column at Pajamas Media starts with an observation that isn’t startling, that in America today the people who are at the bottom of the economic scale enjoy a lifestyle reserved for the fairly well-off in much of the rest of the world. It’s a lifestyle that would have been inaccessible to the upper middle class a few years ago. Many people have noticed this, it’s so obvious and odd.

The key idea he’s drawing to our attention, though, is the attitudes that exist among the class of activists and agitators on behalf of the lower income group (they are often not among that group themselves). Here’s a pull quote as he begins his conclusion:

Perceived relative inequality rather than absolute poverty is the engine of revolution. These are strange and dangerous times.

It’s a warning that unfortunately is likely to go unheeded.

Quote of the day

April 9, 2011

Mark Steyn in this column:

“Another ten years of this, and large tracts of America will be Third World. Not Somalia-scale Third World, but certainly the more decrepit parts of Latin America. There will still be men with motorcades, but they’ll have heavier security and the compounds they shuttle between will be more heavily protected. For them and their cronies, the guys plugged in, the guys who still know who to call to figure out a workaround through the bureaucratic sclerosis, life will be manageable, and they’ll still be wondering why you loser schlubs are forever whining about gas prices, and electricity prices, and food prices.”

of budgets and Big Macs

March 19, 2011

PowerLine Blog does the math on the Washington Post’s notion that the GOP is seeking to “slash” the federal budget with its $6 billion in cuts.

on morality and government

March 15, 2011

One of the intellectual trends in Christianity today I find particularly curious is the general tendency to regard government as completely benign when it is expending revenues on social welfare projects and as completely corrupt when it is expending revenues on national security or on the development of business enterprises. Unless those businesses are receiving development funds for favored endeavors, in which case it is the sort of enlightened subsidy of business government should expend revenues on.

This has been captured in recent years by a variety of slogans and concepts about what Christians should support in government action and what they should oppose. What I find curious is the extent to which those slogans and concepts align along party lines in the United States. This seems remarkably improbable, if Christian thinking stands over against earthly entities and powers.

More likely, in my opinion, is that this sort of sloganeering and advocacy represents the result of a way of thinking about the world that privileges a specific set of concerns to the exclusion of considering anything else. The concept of the moral is restricted to what advances a particular set of concerns. Concepts of morality that would lead to a different course of action are ignored or disregarded. The problem makes itself clear in short-sided considerations to the detriment of the long-term.

It is admittedly difficult to make decisions based on the fullest set of conditions and considerations as possible. Timothy Dalrymple begins to explore this complexity in this post. It’s a useful corrective to so much over-simplified commentary on how to understand the U.S. Federal Government budget, deficit spending, and debt load.

on taxation in the United States

March 14, 2011

The government budget problem in the United States is not on the side of revenue. The amount of wealth available for a government to use is finite, but at every level in the U.S. for the past few decades politicians have been implementing programs as if it were infinite. The promises implied by those policies are now being shown to be impossible.

More on California

November 9, 2010

California as the Lindsey Lohan of the states? That’s clever, if a bit harsh toward Ms. Lohan. How long until the state takes the next step and becomes the Charlie Sheen of the states?