Gross federal debt just hit $14 trillion and will soon reach the legal limit of $14.3 trillion. House Republicans are wondering what spending reforms they can extract from the Democrats for their support of a debt-limit increase.
A top agenda item for the incoming House Republicans is to immediately start cutting spending. The GOP promised to reduce “nondefense” (or alternatively “nonsecurity”) spending for 2011 to the 2008 level, representing a $100 billion cut. GOP leaders are now being accused of backsliding on that promise, so let’s take a look at the numbers.
Bloomberg is reporting more bad news for the nation’s air traffic control system, which is run by the Federal Aviation Administration. The FAA is $500 million overbudget and six years behind schedule on a $2.1 billion technology upgrade project.
Former President George W. Bush’s book Decision Points is apparently selling quite well. The book includes a defense of the president’s fiscal record, and a table on page 447 compares Bush to prior presidents on spending and debt (you can see the table on Amazon’s search inside feature).
Who said: “A government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth.”?
The media is reporting on a new study that finds long-term benefits to kids of breastfeeding.
Japan has announced that it will cut its corporate tax rate by five percentage points. Japan and the United States had been the global laggards on corporate tax reform, so this leaves America with the highest corporate rate among the 34 wealthy nations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
President Obama’s Fiscal Commission has produced a serious and sobering analysis of the government’s budget mess, and it provides some of the needed solutions. Three of the report’s main themes are on target: the need to make government leaner, the need to cut business taxes to generate economic growth, and the need to impose tighter budget rules to discipline spending.
The Obama administration is supporting a two-year freeze on federal pay. I haven’t seen the details yet, but this appears to be a good start at getting excessive government pay under control.
The Obama fiscal commission’s draft report suggested that federal spending be reduced from 25.1% of GDP today to 22% by 2020, and lower after that. That’s a reasonable goal for a centrist kind of commission, but let’s remember that spending was just 18.2% in President Clinton’s last two fiscal years, 2000 and 2001.