My recent paper on the rising cost of Social Security Disability Insurance is proving to be timely.
The possibility for a government shutdown should policymakers fail to reach an agreement on spending by October 1 is the topic du jour in Washington. The last time a government shutdown occurred over a budget impasse was fiscal year 1996 when Democratic President Bill Clinton went to the mat with a Republican-controlled Congress. There were actually two shutdowns that year, with the second one lasting a record 21 days. Prior to that, brief shutdowns were a fairly regular occurrence.
A Gallup poll released last week revealed good news: Americans’ confidence in the federal government’s ability to handle foreign and domestic problems has reached an all-time low. In both areas, a minority of those polled said that they had either a great deal or fair amount of confidence in Uncle Sam.
Farm bills traditionally contain both farm subsidies and food subsidies (e.g., food stamps). Unable to pass a traditional farm bill passed this year, the House Republican leadership separated the two components. The House passed a stand-alone farm subsidy bill in the summer and now it’s set to vote on a bill that would trim the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (a.k.a., food stamps) by $39 billion over ten years.
This is about as pathetic as it gets when it comes to congressional budget politics.
The current budget showdown in Washington has become so painful to watch that, were it a movie script, even M. Night Shyamalan would pass it up.
Bloomberg has a series out on the federal government’s crop insurance program, which cost taxpayers $14 billion in 2012. The articles, which reveal a textbook example of politicians and special interests teaming up to pilfer taxpayers, should be read in their entirety.
The U.S. Postal Service is structured to subsist on the revenues it generates from the sale of its products and services. In recent years, however, USPS expenses have exceeded revenues and the government agency now finds itself effectively broke having maxed out its $15 billion line of credit with the U.S. Treasury.
The following headlines were on a magazine cover I saw over the weekend:
The New York Times has another example of what could be considered a form of corporate welfare: excessive federal reimbursement rates for anti-anemia drugs used by dialysis centers.