The House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held a hearing yesterday on President Obama’s pledge to go “page by page, line by line” through the federal budget to eliminate programs “we don’t need.” I testified with an ideologically diverse group of budget experts.
An op-ed in the Washington Post discusses why federal farm subsidies don’t even make sense from an activist government point of view. Most farm subsidies go for animal-feed crops, which can be viewed as a subsidy for meat production. At the same time, the government propagandizes the public to follow healthy habits and eat lots of fruit and vegetables, but not so much meat.
A reporter asked me about the rise in entitlement programs and the problems created with so many people suckling on the federal teet. I’ve reported that the federal government has more than 2,000 different subsidy programs.
We’re ten years past 9/11, and over the last decade we’ve shed a number of our liberties and spent wildly to counter a terrorist threat that, as the recent model airplane plot demonstrated, isn’t existential. The bureaucratic legacy of 9/11, the Department of Homeland Security, has proven an unwieldy and pork-laden nightmare. It’s time to abolish it.
Today the POTUS — in this case, Principal of the United States — will give his third annual, national back-to-school speech, to be televised live by MSNBC. The immediate target, of course, is the kids, but I doubt it would be viewed negatively by the President if lots of adults saw or heard the speech and thought, “Wow, this guy really cares about kids. I really like him.” And who knows, maybe footage of inspiring the children will make it into a campaign ad or two.
The Wall Street Journal reports on rising state and federal unemployment taxes at a time when unemployment remains high. Keynesian economists keep telling us that unemployment benefits have a stimulative “multiplier effect” on the economy. Unfortunately, that sticky little problem of the government having to suck resources out of the economy to pay for this alleged stimulus keeps getting in the way:
The New York Times weighs in this morning with a timely and sensible editorial on military spending. The main focus is on the increasingly outdated pay and benefits system for the nation’s troops. Some choice excerpts:
The Institute for Research on the Economics of Taxation’s Michael Schuyler has written an interesting paper that compares the federal government’s bleak financial situation to that of the U.S. Postal Service. The entire paper is a good read, but here are a few key points:
An audit released this week by the Department of Justice’s inspector general details wasteful and extravagant spending at DOJ conferences under both the Bush and Obama administrations. Stories about waste in government programs are as common as ants, but this one appears to have struck a nerve across the country—perhaps because the president is trying to convince us that Washington needs more money.