A new Cato Policy Analysis from Michael Tanner examines so-called “entitlement programs” – chiefly Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid – and how they will push the government’s finances to the brink if they’re not reined in. As he notes in the introduction, if politicians continue to duck the issue, they “will condemn our children and our grandchildren to a world of mounting debt and higher taxes.”
An op-ed in the Wall Street Journal written by the American Council for Capital Formation’s Margo Thorning makes a good case for “pulling the plug” on subsidies for electric vehicles. Subsidies for alternative energy vehicles have been popular with both Democrat and Republican administrations, but the Obama administration has been a particularly enthusiastic supporter of industrial planning.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), the chairman of the conservative House Republican Study Committee, recently introduced “The Welfare Reform Act of 2011.” The legislation’s two key components are the imposition of work requirements on food stamps recipients and the capping of total spending for 77 welfare programs at 2007 levels (adjusted for inflation going forward) when unemployment drops below 6.5 percent.
It is often said that silence is golden. But not when you’re trying to land a passenger plane at Reagan National Airport. Last night the control tower at Reagan went silent, which forced the pilots of two airliners to land on their own. According to the Washington Post, the same situation occurred last year when the lone controller on duty locked himself out.
Last year I noted that the White House Office of Management and Budget homepage featured a call from the president to “invest in our people without leaving them a mountain of debt.” Yet, the Congressional Budget Office’s analysis of his then-current budget proposal showed that publicly held debt as a share of GDP would rise like the steep slope of a mountain under his policies.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has released a detailed plan that would balance the federal budget in five years. Paul’s plan would achieve balance by halting and reversing the historic rise in federal spending. Taxes would not be increased, but revenues would steadily increase as the economy recovers.
Everybody likes a free lunch. Local government officials really like a free lunch, particularly when that lunch is paid for by federal taxpayers. Spend other people’s money on projects that you don’t have to tax your constituents to pay for? What a deal!
The U.S. Postal Service is in financial trouble. Undermined by advances in electronic communication, weighed down by excessive labor costs and operationally straight-jacketed by Congress, the government’s mail monopoly is running on fumes and faces large unfunded liabilities. Socialism apparently has its limits.
As Congress and the White House continue to debate the future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, one of the oft heard concerns is that if we eliminate all the various mortgage subsidies in our system, then the cost of a mortgage will increase. There certainly is a basic logic to that concern. After all, why have subsidies if they don't lower the price of the subsidized good. Of course some, if not all, of said subsidy could be eaten up by the providers/producers of that good.
The American Action Forum will host a conference on Capitol Hill this afternoon to discuss budget reform (details here). Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) will discuss his “Commitment to American Prosperity Act,” which would cap federal spending at a declining percentage of GDP over ten years. Spending as a percentage of GDP would eventually be reduced to 20.6 percent, which is equal to the average from 1970 to 2008.