President Obama will release his budget blueprint for fiscal 2012 next week. If an op-ed penned by his budget director, Jacob Lew, in Sunday’s New York Times is any indication, the administration intends to continue fiddling while the government’s finances burn.
A new report from the Government Accountability Office finds that the National Archives and Records Administration’s Electronic Records Archive project is headed for major cost overruns. Initiated in 2001, the project was originally projected to cost $745 million but could end up costing $1.4 billion. The project’s development phase was supposed to be completed by September, but the GAO estimates that it won’t be completed until 2017.
The other day, The Wall Street Journal provided a public service by lambasting Newt Gingrich for his absurd speech to the ethanol lobby in Des Moines last month (money line: “Obviously big urban newspapers want to kill it because it’s working, and you wonder, ‘What are their values?’”). Today, Gingrich and fellow ethanol-maven James Woolsey struck back in those very same pages. In doing so, Gingrich provided yet more evidence that he’s intellectually unfit for office.
The Small Business Administration’s 8(a) program sets aside federal contracts for minority-owned or other “disadvantaged” small businesses. In his book on the “scandalous” history of the SBA, author Jonathan J. Bean sums of the program’s sordid legacy:
Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat, has decided to co-sponsor a bill with Senate Republicans that 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. To put this perspective, federal spending as a share of the economy will be close to 25 percent this year, and is projected to be even higher ten years from now.
That’s what the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s recently retired inspector general had to say in response to rampant malfeasance and mismanagement at public housing authorities uncovered by a joint investigation by ABC News and The Center for Public Integrity.
Freshman Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has raised the bar in Washington by releasing a bill that would make substantial, specific, and immediate cuts in federal spending. While policymakers on both sides of the aisle have largely paid lip service to stopping Washington’s record run of fiscal profligacy, Paul’s proposal makes good on his campaign promise to seriously tackle the federal government’s bloated budget.
The U.S. Postal Service, which lost $8.5 billion last year, wants to close about 2,000 retail postal outlets that are operating in the red. The USPS wanted to close 3,200 outlets in 2009, but the number was chopped to 162 following a congressional outcry. The USPS has over 36,000 postal outlets.
When it comes to reining in federal spending, House Republicans and the president have one idea in common: freezing nondefense discretionary spending. That category accounts for about 18 percent of total spending, so let’s see how such a freeze would affect the overall budget.