I testified to the congressional Joint Economic Committee on Wednesday regarding infrastructure, which means roads, bridges, pipelines, railroads, and other such assets. Here are some of the points I raised:
The Associated Press’s Pauline Jelinek has a story on the wires/Interwebs today that pokes holes in Leon Panetta’s claim that Pentagon budget cuts on the order of those contemplated under the debt deal’s sequestration provisions would be “devastating to the department.” Jelinek quoted me, as well as the Center for American Progress’s Larry Korb, and the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessment’s Todd Harrison.
Sen. Tom Coburn’s (R-OK) new report on the various federal subsidies being collected by millionaires deserves applause for not resorting to class warfare rhetoric in making the point that it’s silly for wealthy folks to receive taxpayer handouts:
In the Washington Post, Steven Mufson does a nice job describing how Solyndra is just one of many energy subsidy failures of recent decades.
By the time I stopped working for Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), I had concluded that the pursuance of so-called “government efficiency” was largely a misguided waste of time for a politician who was interested in achieving smaller government. (I’ve been pleased to see my old boss spend more time trying to cut and eliminate programs since my departure.)
There has been much written recently about the so-called shallow loss proposals to provide subsidies for farms in cases when farm revenues fall slightly below the record high levels of the past few years.
The Drudge Report’s headlining of a Heritage Foundation story titled “Obama Couldn’t Wait: His New Christmas Tree Tax” has created quite a stir. In fact, it is being reported that the administration is now going to delay its implementation due to the outcry. Conservatives and Republicans are particularly incensed. However, it appears that they might want to rethink their Obama-as-Grinch narrative.
The words “bipartisan” and “commission” usually send a chill down my spine. I felt such a chill when I learned that the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) had formed a Housing Commission to “address the long-term challenges facing a struggling housing sector.” My initial reaction was confirmed when I read that it would be chaired by former government officials and politicians of the establishment type:
I’ll have more to say later on Mitt Romney’s speech on federal spending, but his banal call for making government more “efficient” gave me an opportunity to share some good commentary on the subject. In a recent piece criticizing Indiana’s Republican-led state government for not doing “anything substantive to improve Indiana’s budgetary, fiscal or economic position,” Craig Ladwig, editor of the Indiana Policy Review, nails it:
Desperate to fend off cuts in military spending, the defenders of the status quo are claiming that potential reductions included in the debt ceiling deal’s sequestration provision would result in huge job losses. In September, Leon Panetta suggested that cuts of up to $1 trillion would increase the nation’s unemployment rate by a full percentage point, and put up to 1.5 million people out of work.