I testified to the House Budget Committee yesterday on the history of federal debt and reasons to balance the budget. John Taylor, Jared Bernstein, and Ryan Silvey also testified.
The ratio of federal debt to the size of the economy has never been anywhere near as high during peacetime as it is today. Federal debt has often spiked during wars, but has always been reduced afterwards.
The federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program provides income to low-income, disabled individuals, including children. In 2014, SSI paid benefits totaling $56 billion to 8 million people. A new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report suggests that a substantial share of that money was spent improperly.
Environmentalists often assume that free markets work against their goals. But the market is the best friend of the natural world because it generates constant pressure to innovate, to cut costs, and to use resources efficiently. The price system prompts consumers and businesses to minimize consumption of dwindling resources. To ease California’s water problems, for example, we need markets not regulatory controls.
Rick Perry, former governor of Texas, will announce his second White House run. Perry served as Texas governor from December 2000, following the election of George W. Bush, until January of this year. During his long tenure, Perry showed reasonable fiscal restraint. Perry did not shrink the size of Texas’ government, but he limited its growth both in terms of spending and tax revenue.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has another failure on its hands. In recent tests, undercover investigators smuggled mock explosives and banned weapons through U.S. airport checkpoints 96 percent of the time. According to ABC, “In one case, agents failed to detect a fake explosive taped to an agent’s back, even after performing a pat down that was prompted after the agent set off the magnetometer alarm.”
Lincoln Chafee, former U.S. Senator and Governor of Rhode Island, will announce his presidential run this week. Chafee’s fiscal record as governor was moderately liberal, but much more centrist than Maryland’s Martin O’Malley.
It has been 800 years since English barons negotiated a written peace agreement with King John. The original June 1215 agreement was revised and reissued numerous times, with the1217 version gaining the title Magna Carta (“Great Charter”). Over the centuries, the document has had a powerful influence of the evolving British legal system and government.
I’ve argued that the centralization of government spending in Washington over the past century has severely undermined good governance.
Across my desk this morning: James Bennett’s new book, Corporate Welfare: Crony Capitalism That Enriches the Rich.