Another day, another news article supportive of raising the federal gas tax. This time it’s theWall Street Journal. The article notes that there is strong public opposition to raising gas taxes, but then proceeds to give us the arguments in favor of it, but none against.
The House of Representatives voted this week to establish rules for the 114th Congress. One rule change requires that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) dynamically score legislation. The change is a much-needed reform to the federal budgeting process.
The current legislative scoring process completed by CBO and JCT is generally called static scoring. It currently incorporates some microeconomic behaviorial responses to projected changes in federal spending and taxes.
The Washington Post reported that NASA spent $349 million on a rocket test facility that is completely unused. It is an impressive structure, a handsome monument to congressional folly, as the photo shows.
The story made me ponder an idea I’ve had for a while. Why not collect similar stories of federal waste and present them in a Museum of Government Failure in Washington?
One the best U.S. senators of recent decades is leaving.
Over the weekend, the Senate approved the $1.1 trillion Cromnibus spending package, which funds parts of the government through September 2015.
The ink isn’t even dry on this spending bill, and already big spenders in Congress are gearing up to increase next year’s spending above agreed upon limits. The Wall Street Journaldescribes the situation:
Federal employees are generally overpaid. Federal, civilian employees made $81,076 in 2013 in wages, on average, compared to $55,424 in the private sector. Their benefit packages are particularly out of line with the private sector. Total compensation including wages and benefits for federal, civilian employees was $115,524 in 2013, on average, compared to $66,357 in the private sector.
Last night, House and Senate negotiators released the legislative text for the government’s newest spending bill, dubbed the “Cromnibus.” The bill authorizes the government to spend $1.1 trillion on discretionary programs between now and September 30, 2015. The total spending level honors last year’s Ryan-Murray budget deal, but also makes a number of important changes to federal law.
Earlier this week, I noted that some Inspectors General provide insufficient oversight of federal government activities. They should be more aggressive in uncovering waste and abuse in federal agencies.
Nonetheless, many Inspectors General issue helpful reports that alert Congress and the public to wrongdoing. Here is a sampling of recent reports showing the widespread mishandling of federal tax dollars:
The federal government has a long history of “green energy” failures. Many states have also foolishly subsidized green energy, including Mississippi.
In his new book, Saving Congress from Itself, James Buckley argues that Congress should abolish the entire federal aid-to-state system to save money and improve American governance. A recent Cato study shows that there is substantial public support for reforms in that direction.