Cato has published a new section on www.downsizinggovernment.org that examines the Department of the Interior.
The changes announced in the Pentagon’s new budget guidance are, from my perspective, mostly good news, but woefully insufficient. They show how even limited austerity encourages prioritization among weapons systems that suddenly have to compete. A few more budgets like this and we’ll be getting somewhere.
CBO has released a study comparing the wages and benefits of private sector and federal non-military workers. The study uses statistical techniques to make comparisons with adjustments for education level, experience, and other factors.
In his State of the Union address, President Obama let us know that he will be “sending this Congress a plan that gives every responsible homeowner the chance to save about $3,000 a year on their mortgage, by refinancing at historically low interest rates.”
College prices truly are ridiculous. But someone needs to tell President Obama that the root problem isn’t the colleges, which he is expected to announce today will be the targets of proposed sanctions should they raise prices too fast. No, the problem, Mr. President, is a federal government that wants to play Santa Claus by giving everybody, no matter how poorly qualified or unmotivated, money for college.
I don’t recall ever agreeing with the left-liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), but their new paper on the drawbacks of the federal government switching to biennial budgeting is a good read. Congressional Republicans, including House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senate Budget Committee ranking member Jeff Sessions (R-AL), are the chief proponents of switching to a biennial budget cycle. By providing (qualified) support to the CBPP paper, I’m hoping to demonstrate to would-be GOP naysayers that criticism of biennial budgeting isn’t confined to one area of the ideological spectrum.
Shortly after President Obama was elected, NBC News interviewed a young woman from Detroit named Peggy Joseph. She explained that she was excited about Obama’s election because “I won’t have to worry about putting the gas in my car. I won’t have to worry about paying my mortgage.”
The president’s fiscal 2013 budget proposal is scheduled to be released on February 13th. State officials are predictably sounding the alarm on the coming “deep cuts” to federal subsidies now that stimulus funds are running out and Washington is being forced to confront its mounting red ink.
The recently released Federal Reserve White Paper on the Housing Market has received considerable attention, at least for its policy proposals. I found one of the more interesting pieces of data in the paper to be the number of mortgages with negative equity, reproduced below (Figure 3 in the Fed paper).