Chris Edwards

Spending in the Tax Code

The IRS made payments of $4.2 billion last year in refundable tax credits to illegal aliens, according to an audit by the Treasury’s Inspector General. “Refundable” tax credits are cash subsidies — federal outlays — given to people who don’t pay any income tax.

Infrastructure Spending: Yuma Desalting Plant

President Obama is planning to deliver a big speech on jobs and the economy. His wish list for Congress will likely include more government infrastructure spending. So that citizens know what the president is talking about, they should review the success of the government’s past infrastructure projects.

Federal Spending Hits $4.1 Trillion

If you looked at the new CBO report on the budget, you may have noticed that federal spending this year will be $3.6 trillion.

In fact, federal spending this year will top $4 trillion. But virtually all reporters and budget wonks (including me) routinely use the lower number when discussing total federal spending. I don’t think the higher $4 trillion number even appears anywhere in the CBO report.

Private Wage Growth Outpaces Federal

Average private sector wages in the United States rose 3.1 percent in 2010, slightly more than the 2.5 percent increase in average wages of federal civilian government workers. The growth in federal wages was the slowest in at least two decades, and it coincided with a rebound in private wages after the recession, according to new Bureau of Economic Analysis data (see Table 6.6D).

Maddow’s Big Thoughts on Infrastructure

Is Rachel Maddow sure she wants the government to “think big,” as she says here standing in front of the Hoover Dam?

Rick Perry's Spending Record

In his run for the Republican nomination, Texas Governor Rick Perry is positioning himself as a staunch fiscal conservative. Does his spending record match his recent campaign language in favor of smaller government?

Can Washington Find the Jobs?

Since 2008, we’ve had the largest macroeconomic “stimulus” since World War II, but the slowest economic recovery. The government’s stimulus has been much larger than just the $800 billion spending bill passed in 2009. In Keynesian theory, the stimulus has included a total of almost $5 trillion of federal deficit spending since 2008. Despite that colossal stimulus, we’ve had a horrible jobs market and very sluggish growth.

Solve the FAA Problem by Privatization

Everyone agrees that it’s rather stupid for a federal funding dispute to idle about 70,000 workers on airport-related construction. Just as absurd, there have been 20 stop-gap funding bills passed for the FAA since 2007. News stories are digging into the political disputes surrounding the FAA, but they aren’t addressing the root problem.

Budget Deals and Tax Increases

Centrist and liberal columnists are lamenting the lack of tax increases in the debt deal. But the hollowness of the deal itself provides a good justification for Republicans to oppose all tax increases in such bipartisan deals.

Debt Deal to Slow the Economy?

The Washington Post reports that spending cuts in the budget deal threaten to slow the economy. The article quotes a number of economists who seem to harbor a rather extreme Keynesian bias in their thinking.

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