When liberals make reference to U.S. economic history, they typically: 1) downplay the role of entrepreneurs, 2) suggest that bold government action has driven growth, and 3) fail to mention the scandals and screw-ups caused by federal interventions.
Cato has released a new study on infrastructure spending. The study discusses how federal involvement in infrastructure has many serious disadvantages, and few, if any, advantages.
Despite four years of annual budget deficits of over US$1 trillion and the most sluggish economic recovery since World War II, voters have rewarded President Barack Obama with a second term. The president has supported a huge growth in federal spending and deficits, believing it to be an economic stimulus. But while there is little evidence that such Keynesian policies actually work, electoral ratification of the president’s approach has further engrained the idea in Washington that higher spending is beneficial.
In a move that should surprise precisely no-one, the American Farm Bureau Federation, the nation’s largest lobby group for agriculture, this week endorsed an “everything for everyone, all the time” approach to farm policy.
Is nothing sacred? In Washington the answer is no. As the last Congress sought to avoid the “fiscal cliff” and raced toward adjournment, the House refused to vote on a pork-ridden bill sold as aid for the victims of Hurricane Sandy. That triggered a splenetic outburst from Rep. Peter King (R-NY), who complained that the GOP stuck a “knife in the back of New Yorkers and New Jerseyites.”
If the Senate confirms Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense, he will confront a set of challenges similar to those faced by Charles E. Wilson in 1953, James Schlesinger in 1973 and Dick Cheney in 1991. In each of those cases, recent long and costly wars were drawing to a close, and traditional enemies were disappearing or being replaced.
I see that I’m quoted in Annie Lowrey’s New York Times Magazine story, “Washington’s Economic Boom, Financed by You”:
A study [$] published in the winter edition of Political Science Quarterly considers two possible reasons for why the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) failed to sprinkle Uncle Sam’s magic dust onto those areas of the country that were being hardest hit by the recession.
The Federal Housing Administration (FHA)’s 2012 audit confirmed what has been obvious for some time: FHA is deeply underwater, with a negative economic value of $34 billion. With over $1 trillion in mortgages backed by FHA, even minor changes in the housing market could add tens of billions to that total. A taxpayer bailout is inevitable.
Speaker Boehner says that the House will not pass another increase in the debt ceiling unless the White House and congressional Democrats agree to cut spending by an equal or greater amount. That’s the same line in the sand that Boehner drew during the previous debt ceiling showdown in 2011.