The origins of the federal government’s statutory debt limit can be traced back to 1917. Congress has voted to increase the limit numerous times over the decades, including 10 times since 2001.
A top agenda item for the incoming House Republicans is to immediately start cutting spending. The GOP promised to reduce “nondefense” (or alternatively “nonsecurity”) spending for 2011 to the 2008 level, representing a $100 billion cut. GOP leaders are now being accused of backsliding on that promise, so let’s take a look at the numbers.
Federal taxpayers helping foot the tab for renovations to a local wine bar? It sounds crazy, but that’s par for the course with HUD’s Community Development Block Grant program.
In 2006, Chris Edwards discussed FEMA’s “deep-seated and long-standing” record of wasteful spending on Bill O’Reilly’s radio show. At the time, a government auditor’s report found that at least $1 billion out of $6 billion in one FEMA aid program for Hurricane Katrina was paid out fraudulently, including money spent on a Girls Gone Wild video.
The Washington Post is reporting that the U.S. Postal Service is delaying the scheduled closure of some of its postal outlets. The USPS, which lost $8.5 billion last year, originally sought the elimination of 3,200 of its 36,000 outlets. However, following an outcry from members of Congress whose districts would be affected by the closures, the number under consideration was reduced to a paltry 162.
An article in the Washington Post provides another example of how the Washington metro area has become virtually recession-proof:
As a former advisor to one of Congress’s most ardent foes of earmarking, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), I’ve served time on the front-lines of the battle to end the corruptive practice. Yet, I never felt quite comfortable about the mission. At the same time I was assisting the senator in his floor battles against the likes of ex-Sen. Ted Stevens (Porker-AK), some of my other colleagues had been instructed to help Oklahomans get “their fair share” of subsidies from various federal grant programs.
That’s the question posed by the Orlando Sentinel’s Robert Block in an article comparing NASA with SpaceX, which is a private space transport company:
Bloomberg is reporting more bad news for the nation’s air traffic control system, which is run by the Federal Aviation Administration. The FAA is $500 million overbudget and six years behind schedule on a $2.1 billion technology upgrade project.
Former President George W. Bush’s book Decision Points is apparently selling quite well. The book includes a defense of the president’s fiscal record, and a table on page 447 compares Bush to prior presidents on spending and debt (you can see the table on Amazon’s search inside feature).