One reason I’m so bullish on Australia is that the nation has a privatized Social Security system called “Superannuation,” with workers setting aside 9 percent of their income in personal retirement accounts (rising to 12 percent by 2020).
The federal food stamp program—now called SNAP—is attracting a lot of media coverage. One reason for thus is that the program’s costs have exploded—spending more than quadrupled during the Bush-Obama years to $82 billion in 2013 (see here and here p. 16). The Clinton, Bush, and Obama administrations all took steps to loosen the purse strings on food stamp eligibility, and those changes have led to the ballooning costs of recent years during the stagnant economy.
If this is how reauthorization of the Higher Education Act is going to go, Congress shouldn’t even bother.
An article in Politico reports that some policymakers are already using the tragedy in Boston to criticize the sequestration spending cuts that went into effect in March. With the nation’s nerves frayed, policymakers should choose their words more carefully.
The Sunlight Foundation blogs today about the 6,503 registered tax lobbyists in Washington, and they provide 11 examples of the changes that these folks are pushing for.
Perhaps President Obama has been reading about Margaret Thatcher’s policy successes. He is apparently considering selling off the federal government’s Tennessee Valley Authority. This is a great idea. As this story notes, it would allow the struggling electric utility more flexibility in dealing with the many challenges it faces.
The Government Accountability Office has released its third annual report on fragmented, overlapping, or duplicative federal programs and activities. Proponents of making the government more efficient view the findings as an opportunity to achieve cost savings. While there’s obviously nothing wrong with the government spending less money than it has to, the goal should be to permanently shut the trains down – not just try to get them to run on time.
When the previous Bush administration released its fiscal 2006 budget proposal, it included a separate document listing specific spending cuts and other reforms. The idea was too little and too late, and it’s likely that the Bush administration included it as part of a feeble attempt to answer critics of the Republican spending binge.
President Barack Obama’s new budget proposes to spend $3.78 trillion in 2014, which would be 27 percent higher than spending in 2008. President Obama believes in expansive government, and he is proposing a range of new programs, including subsidies for infrastructure, preschool, and mental health care.
Another government-subsidized solar energy company is headed to bankruptcy. The latest casualty is Flabeg Solar U.S. Corp, a subsidiary of a German company. Flabeg’s Pittsburgh plant has been shuttered and its employees laid off.