President Barack Obama’s new budget proposes to spend $3.78 trillion in 2014, which would be 27 percent higher than spending in 2008. President Obama believes in expansive government, and he is proposing a range of new programs, including subsidies for infrastructure, preschool, and mental health care.
However, total federal outlays increased substantially faster under President George W. Bush than they have under Obama so far. It is true that Obama’s spending ambitions have been restrained by House Republicans. But looking at the raw data, it appears that the last Republican president was more profligate than the current Democratic one.
The figure shows total federal outlays, but the data is adjusted to exclude the TARP bailout amounts for all years. The Congressional Budget Office now says (page 15) that TARP will end up costing taxpayers just $22 billion overall. Yet the official federal outlay figure for 2009 included $151 billion in estimated TARP costs. That number has since been re-estimated and mainly reversed out of later-year spending totals. Therefore, TARP must be removed from federal spending totals to avoid a distorted picture of budget growth.
The figure indicates that spending jumped from $1.86 trillion in 2001 to $2.98 trillion in 2008. That’s a 60 percent jump in seven years under Bush, which works out to an annual average growth rate of 7.0 percent. (All data cited here are for fiscal years).
Then comes 2009. Usually this year would be assigned to the outgoing president because the new president comes in part way during the year and typically does not make substantial changes to the current-year budget. But Obama took steps to immediately boost spending in 2009, including pushing through the giant stimulus bill. The CBO has reported that stimulus outlays were $114 billion in 2009.
In Bush’s last budget, he proposed that 2009 spending be $177 billion above the 2008 level, but the actual increase ended up being a massive $386 billion. So you can see that Obama and Congress were mainly responsible for the huge spending leap in 2009, not Bush.
So let’s assign 2009 to Obama and measure his spending from a base in 2008 ($2.98 trillion) to his newly proposed spending for 2014 of $3.78 trillion. Spending increased 27 percent over those six years, or 4.0 percent annually. That’s far too much, but still substantially less than the 7.0 percent growth rate under Bush.
Here is another comparison:
- Spending growth in Bush’s first seven years: 4%, 8%, 7%, 6%, 8%, 7%, 3%, 9%.
- Spending growth in Obama’s six years: 13%, 6%, 2%, -3%, 5%, 2%.
Partisan Republicans are probably tired of fiscal conservatives and libertarians complaining about Bush’s big spending, especially when Obama has done so much damage to limited government. But Republicans are fooling themselves if they think that the overspending problem has been confined just to the other party. The sooner people understand that overspending it is a deep and chronic disease with bipartisan roots, the sooner we can start finding a lasting cure.
Yesterday the New York Times profiled a conservative group that is embracing higher federal infrastructure spending, apparently at the behest of pro-spending lobby groups. And here is another conservative group in favor of more federal spending on infrastructure, and indeed, more central planning of it. But there is nothing the slightest bit “conservative” about nationalizing spending activities that can be done—and would be done better—by state governments and the private sector.
- Obama’s new federal budget—spends way too much.
- Bush’s budgets—spent way too much and created a precedent for Obama.
- Some conservative groups—not conservative on spending.
- Believers in a small federal government—facing a huge challenge.
- Federal spending—reduces freedom, damages growth, harms the environment, destroys federalism and diversity, misallocates resources, undermines individual responsibility, and is often wasteful and bureaucratic.
- The Republic—threatened by a non-stop bipartisan spending spree.
- Solutions to all this—can be found at www.DownsizingGovernment.org.
View full post on Cato @ Liberty
Dan Balz writes in the Washington Post, as many reporters have this week,
In 2004, Republicans used ballot initiatives barring same-sex marriage to spur turnout among their conservative voters. That strategy helped then-President George W. Bush win reelection.
But did it? I argued in 2006 that it didn’t:
It’s true that states with such initiatives voted for Bush at higher rates than other states, but that’s mostly because the bans were proposed in conservative states. In fact, Bush’s share of the vote rose just slightly less in the marriage-ban states than in the other states: up 2.6 percent in the states with marriage bans on the ballot, up 2.9 percent in the other states.
Political scientist Simon Jackman of Stanford has more here (pdf). He concludes that the marriage referenda tended to increase turnout but not to increase Bush’s share of the vote. And in a county-by-county analysis of Ohio, he found no clear relationship between increased turnout, support for the marriage ban, and increased support for Bush.
Matthew Dowd made the same point yesterday:
Speaking from experience as the chief strategist in 2004 for President Bush, I saw in close detail how little gay marriage could influence turnout of conservatives or evangelicals. In 2003 and 2004, we did a series of public opinion tests on different messages related to the micro targeting project that would cause voter groups to turn out more in President Bush’s favor. We tested social issues as well as messages related to the economy, national security, taxes and the size of the federal government. Not a single social issue (which included gay marriage) fell on the effectiveness scale in the top eight messages.
Further, in analyzing the election returns in the aftermath of the 2004 presidential race an interesting set of data was revealed. In states that had gay marriage amendments on the ballot including key target states, there was no statistical difference in turnout of conservatives from states that did not have these amendments on the ballot. Gay marriage had no effect on turnout even among the most conservative potential voters in both the data before Election Day and the returns on Election Day.
Other senior officials from the 2004 Bush campaign confirm: It wasn’t gay marriage that brought social conservatives to the polls, it was national security and the war on terror.
At any rate, as Balz noted, the politics of gay marriage have changed for sure, in Ohio and elsewhere.
View full post on Cato @ Liberty
DAVID FRUM: FIREARM MANUFACTURERS SHOULD FACE TOBACCO INDUSTRY-LIKE SENATE HEARINGS
by AWR HAWKINS 18 Feb 2013
CNN Columnist David Frum is calling for Obama to bypass Congress and have the Surgeon General investigate the dangers of gun ownership and to have the Senate convene tobacco industry-style hearings (circa 1990s) on gun manufacturers.
Frum’s argument is that guns, like cigarettes, are dangerous, and that the gun lobby and gun manufacturers have blinded Americans to the truth of this in the same way that cigarette companies allegedly did in years gone by.
In a desperate attempt to bolster this thesis, Frum uses two things: 1. Anecdotal stories that can easily be countered by other anecdotal stories, and 2. Disinformation bordering on purposeful distortion concerning the way firearms are manufactured and the way they operate.
Regarding the anecdotal examples, he says that stories given to justify female ownership of AR-15s for home and self-defense are "Rambo-like" stories that "do not happen in real life." To prove this, he cites a firearm accident involving a father and his child in 1994. He also cites a road rage incident between two women in which one woman got out of the car, approached the other car, and was shot.
That’s it–a firearm accident in 1994 and a road rage incident and voila, gun manufacturers should be subjected to hearings and warning labels on the side of the firearms. (Oops, they already have warning labels on the side of firearms.)
What Frum conveniently overlooks is the story of the Loganville, GA mom who grabbed her children and crawled into an attic to escape a home invader on Jan. 4. Once the perpetrator chased the woman, found where she and the kids were hiding, and tried to get them, she unloaded a .38 Special revolver on him, but having only five shots, was not able to kill him.
Does that woman not posses the right to have more rounds at hand in a gun with a large magazine so she can protect herself and her children?
Frum also overlooked the incident in Miami, FL on Feb. 12, wherein an unarmed father being described as a "super dad" stood between his daughter and home intruders and was shot to death in the process. Could not the outcome have been quite different if the father had a semi-automatic handgun with 13 shots or an AR-15 with 30?
Note: Both the Loganville incident and the Miami incident are the kinds of home invasions Frum said "do not happen in real life."
Beyond this, Frum said gun manufacturers deserve to face scrutiny in hearings because "guns almost never indicate whether a bullet is in the chamber." This is an absolutely embarrassing statement that betrays more about Frum’s ignorance of firearms than it does about firearms themselves.
Among semi-auto handguns alone, loaded indicators are commonplace and have been for decades. They are normally right beside the extractor on any given semi-auto, and are frequently painted red for visibility.
But even if this weren’t true, one of the first rules of gun safety is that you always treat a gun as if it is loaded–always. This is a matter of personal responsibility, not firearm manufacturer liability.
Frum goes on to ask why firearm manufacturers can’t be required to make guns that won’t fire when dropped. Anyone who owns a Glock, Springfield XD, Smith & Wesson M&P, or any number of similar semi-autos knows that these guns are made with an internal disconnect to prevent them from firing when dropped. Moreover, for decades revolver manufacturers have been putting transfer bars in their revolvers to keep them from discharging if dropped.
Here’s the bottom line: Frum is upset that Obama’s ambitious gun control push has met stern resistance among the American people and their Reps. and Sens. in Washington DC, so he’s now grasping at straws.
Far from making the case for Surgeon General studies or Senate hearings, Frum has simply demonstrated he’s another inside-the-beltway commentator whose firearm knowledge could be greatly improved by a class on gun safety, followed by a day of shooting targets at the local gun range.
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Mon Feb 18, 2013 2:06 pm
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2012 GM Auto Sales Worse Than Any Bush Year
I know, I know. The bailout worked and all headlines today present GM as having its best year since this and that. But here is raw data that you won’t see in many places:
? GM sold 2,595, 717 units in the Unites States during 2012; this is an 11% drop of the almost 3,000,000 units GM in 2008.
? GM U.S. sales in 2012 is lower and worse than any of the eight years Bush was in office.
? In December 2008, when the world was collapsing, when we were at the boiling point of the crisis, when we needed to save GM no questions asked, GM sold 221,983 units. How bad was it? Well, in 2012 in the midst of the great recovery, when "the bailout worked" as per Obama ads, GM sold only 245,733 units. Yes, that’s correct: the difference between the worse times for GM vs "its best months in five years," is a mere 23,750 sales!
? If you replicate this 23,750 difference for a whole year, it still does not give GM enough sales to catch up to their 2008 level.
? Total 2012 sales of vehicles in the Unites States from all firms combined were 14.5 million units. Indeed, this is better than the 13.3M units sold in 2008, but the 2012 sales are worse than all other Bush years.
? These numbers will make your liberal friends go totally crazy: Total U.S. 2012 Auto Sales (all firms combined) are up 9% from 2008, but GM is down 11% in the same period. In plain Yiddish this means the firm that got most of the auto bailout, went the other direction from the industry overall. While the industry as a whole under Obama had one year better than Bush (2012 vs 2008), GM’s best year under Obama is worse than the worst year under Bush.
Perhaps now more people will take note that the bailout was about saving over-contracted unions who ran GM finances, not the firm itself, into the ground.
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Fri Jan 04, 2013 2:15 am
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3.6 Million Taxpayer Dollars Being Used To Support The Lavish Lifestyles Of Former Presidents Such As Bush And Clinton
You are not going to believe how much money is being spent on our former presidents. At a time when U.S. government spending is wildly out of control, a total of 3.6 million dollars is being used to support the lavish lifestyles of former presidents such as George W. Bush and Bill Clinton in 2012. For 2013, the plan is to increase that amount to 3.7 million dollars. But do any of them really need this kind of welfare? The truth is that all of them are very wealthy. So what justification is there for giving them so much money? You can see the GSA budget proposal for former presidents for 2013 right here. The 3.7 million dollars for 2013 does not even include the cost of Secret Service protection. Rather, it only covers expenses such as office rentals, travel, phone bills, postage, printing and pension benefits. Certainly it is not unreasonable to grant former presidents a small pension, but should we be showering them with millions of dollars each year? At a time when the federal government is drowning in so much debt, the fact that these former presidents are willing to take such huge amounts of taxpayer money really does make them look like parasites.
So why are these former presidents getting this money?
Congress passed The Former Presidents Act of 1958 because they didn’t want other presidents to end up as poor as Harry Truman did.
Well, these days former presidents are definitely not in danger of ending up poor. But this law does enable former presidents to stick the U.S. taxpayer with some absolutely outrageous bills.
For example, George W. Bush is scheduled to get $1,356,000 from U.S. taxpayers in 2013.
$85,000 of that will be for phone expenses.
He must have a really, really bad calling plan.
Bill Clinton is scheduled to get $1,019,000 from U.S. taxpayers in 2013.
A whopping $442,000 of that will be for office space.
That breaks down to more than $36,000 a month.
I hope that office space is nice.
Perhaps he needs a lot of office space to hide from Hillary.
George H.W. Bush is scheduled to get $879,000 from U.S. taxpayers in 2013.
$63,000 of that total will be going toward “equipment”.
How many iPads does he really need?
Even the old peanut farmer, Jimmy Carter, will be getting $518,000 from U.S. taxpayers in 2013.
But do they even need this money?
Exactly how wealthy are these former presidents?
Well, it turns out that they are very, very wealthy.
George W. Bush earned an estimated $15 million in speaking fees during just the first two years after he left office.
So why are we spending millions to support these guys?
Perhaps this is yet another question that we don’t have an answer to. We can add it to the list….
-Why do chimps throw poop?
The federal government has spent $592,527 to try to find the answer.
-Do unhappy people spend more time on Twitter or on Facebook?
The federal government has spent $198,000 in an attempt to get an answer.
-How do rats respond to jazz music when they are high on cocaine?
Your tax dollars are being spent to get to the bottom of it.
-Does cocaine cause Japanese quail to engage in sexually risky behavior?
The federal government has spent $175,587 to find out the truth.
Right now there are more than 100 million working age Americans that do not have jobs, and this is the kind of nonsense that the federal government is spending money on.
Shame on these former presidents for taking this money.
If our Congress critters are looking for a place to cut the federal budget, this would be a good place to start.
View full post on The Economic Collapse
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Rather than deal with the complexities of U.S. tax law, Americans living overseas are increasingly renouncing their citizenship in order to avoid paying their income taxes.
According to National Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Olson, approximately 4,000 people gave up their citizenship from fiscal year 2005 to FY 2010. Renunciations increased sharply within the past three years, from 146 in FY 2008 to 1,534 in FY 2010. And during the first two quarters of FY 2011 alone, 1,024 Americans ditched their citizenship.
The advocate’s report cites two reasons for the renunciations. First, many taxpayers abroad say they are confused “by the complex legal and reporting requirements they face and are overwhelmed by the prospect of having to comply with them.”
Second, others have accused the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of “bait and switch” tactics, telling Americans they can resolve their unpaid taxes under an “older voluntary disclosure programs with the promise of reduced penalties, only to find themselves subjected to steeper penalties.”
According to tax attorney Andrew Mitchel, another factor has been a change of law in 2008 that means “non-U.S. citizen, nonresidents can now annually visit the U.S. for 120 or more days without becoming taxed as U.S. residents (under the pre-2008 rules, visits to the U.S. for more than 30 days during any of the 10 years following expatriation caused the individual to be treated as a U.S. resident for that year).”
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Wed Jan 25, 2012 1:03 am
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