That’s when you know spending is truly out of control. From the article,
In both the House and Senate versions of the legislation, defense lawmakers have inserted $74 billion toward a number of weapons programs “those that have outlived their usefulness” to the department, Panetta said in a speech at the National Press Club in Washington.
Here we go again: Boehner says any increase in the debt limit must come with a greater amount of spending cuts.
Speaker John Boehner is once again promising that any increase in the nation’s borrowing limit will have to be accompanied by a greater amount of spending cuts.
The Ohio Republican’s position, which will be announced at the Peter G. Peterson Fiscal Summit Tuesday in D.C., seems to mirror his stance during last year’s all-consuming debt ceiling standoff.
“When the time comes, I will again insist on my simple principle of cuts and reforms greater than the debt limit increase,” Boehner plans to say, according to excerpts released by his office. “This is the only avenue I see right now to force the elected leadership of this country to solve our structural fiscal imbalance. If that means we have to do a series of stop-gap measures, so be it – but that’s not the ideal. Let’s start solving the problem. We can make the bold cuts and reforms necessary to meet this principle, and we must.”
Didn’t we JUST go through this, what, six months ago? Only to have the republicans turn around and back out of their side of the deal.
(AP/The Huffington Post) The Obama administration saw its first monthly budget surplus in April, with the federal government recording $58 billion, according to figures released by the Congressional Budget Office.
The surplus — the first of Barack Obama’s presidency — was the result of both increased tax collection and lower government spending.
Prior to April, the federal government’s last surplus dates back to September 2008.
Pressuring Congress, President Barack Obama is laying out an election year “to do” list Tuesday that urges lawmakers to take another look at economic proposals to promote job creation and help families refinance their mortgages.
The White House said Obama planned to discuss the list during a stop at college science complex in Albany, N.Y. It’s the president’s latest attempt to portray congressional Republicans as obstructing his economic agenda at a time when millions of Americans are out of work. Obama has sought to tie Republican Mitt Romney to GOP leaders in Congress, arguing that the likely GOP presidential nominee would simply rubber-stamp their policies.
The Politics of Science: Cutting NASA’s budget also means cutting key sensing platforms for global climate monitoring.
Earth-observing satellites have completely changed our understanding of our planet and ourselves. But the ability of U.S. scientists to track tornadoes, volcanoes, tsunamis, and climate change from space is now in a steep decline.
“The nation’s Earth observing capability from space is beginning to wane as older missions fail and are not replaced,” according to a new National Research Council report, released May 2 as an update to a 2007 decadal report on Earth-observing capabilities.
While roughly 22 satellite or satellite systems run by NASA, NOAA, and the USGS are currently in orbit, that number could drop to only six by 2020. Of the 18 missions recommended in the original 2007 report, only two have specific launch dates.
This is a dire situation, considering that the U.S. relies on this network of satellites for weather forecasting, climate change data, and important geologic and oceanographic information – not to mention the thousands of amazing pictures of our home planet. Weather-related damage from wildfires, flooding, tornadoes, and heat waves resulted in nearly 600 fatalities and cost the economy approximately $50 billion in 2011, but this number would have been even greater without satellite observations.
Many factors have contributed to this situation, including delays, launch failures, and changes in mission design and scope. But the primary reason is a lack of funding.
House Republicans recently proposed cuts to nutrition assistance that will kick 280,000 low-income children off automatic enrollment in the Free School Lunch and Breakfast Program. Those same kids and 1.5 million other people will also lose their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly food stamp benefits) that help them afford food at home.
Ten years’ worth of these nutrition cuts could be prevented for the price of one year of tax cuts on 3,340 multimillion dollar estates that House Republicans are protecting in their budget.
On April 18 the House Agriculture Committee passed a bill cutting over $33 billion from SNAPover the next decade. About one-third of these cuts ($11.5 billion) comes from putting restrictions on “categorical eligibility,” a provision that enables states to better coordinate between programs and improves access to assistance for low-income families.
By restricting this provision, the bill would kick an average of 1.8 million low-income people a year off of food aid and end automatic enrollment in free school meals for 280,000 children in struggling families.
Religious Leaders Slam Paul Ryan For Using Catholic Faith To Justify Cutting Programs That Help The Poor
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) told Christian Broadcast Network earlier this week that the House GOP’s budget, which he wrote, was driven by his Catholic faith. “A person’s faith is central to how they conduct themselves in public and in private,” Ryan said, and Catholic principles are what led him to cut programs for the poor so as to keep people from becoming “dependent on government.”
As ThinkProgress noted Tuesday, Ryan’s budget seems toignore Catholic social teaching that calls for protecting the poor and improving access to food, jobs, health care, housing, and the social safety net. And now religious leaders are making the same case. The founder of the PICO National Network, the largest national coalition of religious congregations, slammed Ryan’s claim of adherence to Catholic teaching as “the height of hypocrisy” in a release circulated Wednesday:
“It’s the height of hypocrisy for Rep. Ryan to claim that his approach to the budget is shaped by Catholic teaching and values,” said Fr. John Baumann, S.J., founder of PICO National Network. […] “A central moral measure of any budget proposal is how it affects “the least of these” (Matthew 25). The needs of those who are hungry and homeless, without work or in poverty should come first.”
“By these measures,” the release says, “the Ryan budget is a severe failure,” noting that it cutsMedicare, Medicaid, Pell Grants, food stamps, and “other programs that help vulnerable working families make it through tough times and live better lives,” while giving massive tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans and corporations. Overall, 62 percent of Ryan’s budget cuts come from programs that benefit the poor. “The mission of the Church is to ‘bring good news to the poor’ and to protect the vulnerable, not to justify the impoverishment of the very young, the very old and the sick in order to enrich the wealthy,” the release says.
On Thursday Republicans in the House of Representatives passed what was surely the most fraudulent budget in American history.
The big bad event of last week was, of course, the Supreme Court hearing on health reform. In the course of that hearing it became clear that several of the justices, and possibly a majority, are political creatures pure and simple, willing to embrace any argument, no matter how absurd, that serves the interests of Team Republican.
But we should not allow events in the court to completely overshadow another, almost equally disturbing spectacle. For on Thursday Republicans in the House of Representatives passed what was surely the most fraudulent budget in American history.
And when I say fraudulent, I mean just that. The trouble with the budget devised by Paul Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, isn’t just its almost inconceivably cruel priorities, the way it slashes taxes for corporations and the rich while drastically cutting food and medical aid to the needy. Even aside from all that, the Ryan budget purports to reduce the deficit — but the alleged deficit reduction depends on the completely unsupported assertion that trillions of dollars in revenue can be found by closing tax loopholes.
And we’re talking about a lot of loophole-closing. As Howard Gleckman of the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center points out, to make his numbers work Mr. Ryan would, by 2022, have to close enough loopholes to yield an extra $700 billion in revenue every year. That’s a lot of money, even in an economy as big as ours. So which specific loopholes has Mr. Ryan, who issued a 98-page manifesto on behalf of his budget, said he would close?
None. Not one. He has, however, categorically ruled out any move to close the major loophole that benefits the rich, namely the ultra-low tax rates on income from capital.
To protect poor Americans from being demeaned, Ryan is cutting their anti-poverty programs and using the proceeds to give the wealthiest Americans a six-figure tax cut.
Paul Ryan, outlining his latest budget proposal in the House TV studio Tuesday morning, said the policies of the Republican presidential nominees “perfectly jibe” with his plan, which slashes the safety net to pay for tax cuts mostly for wealthy Americans.
“Do you wholeheartedly believe they will accept your budget?” NBC’s Luke Russert called from the audience.
“Absolutely,” the House Budget Committee chairman replied without hesitation. “I’m confident.”
Makes perfect sense, in a way. Mitt Romney, the likely Republican nominee, is on record as saying, “I’m not concerned about the very poor.” And Ryan has just written a budget that supports Romney’s boast.
Ryan would cut $770 billion over 10 years from Medicaid and other health programs for the poor, compared with President Obama’s budget. He takes an additional $205 billion from Medicare, $1.6 trillion from the Obama health-care legislation and $1.9 trillion from a category simply labeled “other mandatory.” Pressed to explain this magic asterisk, Ryan allowed that the bulk of those “other mandatory” cuts come from food stamps, welfare, federal employee pensions and support for farmers.
Taken together, Ryan would cut spending on such programs by $5.3 trillion, much of which currently goes to the have-nots. He would then give that money to America’s haves: some $4.3 trillion in tax cuts, compared with current policies, according toCitizens for Tax Justice.
Read the rest of this article, this rhetoric amazes me. It’s like he thinks (or wants his supporters to think) that he is doing some kind of “moral duty” by taking safety nets away from poor Americans.
During the Dec. 15, 2011, Republican presidential debate in Sioux City, Iowa, Newt Gingrich touted his record when he was speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Gingrich’s comment came after moderator Bret Baier said that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney “just yesterday said you’re an unreliable conservative. Now, obviously, he’s your opponent. … But even Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad said today he respects you greatly, but he openly questioned whether you had the discipline and focus to be president.”
Gingrich responded, “Well, those are two different questions. …. I have a 90 percent American Conservative Union voting record for 20 years. I balanced the budget for four straight years, paid off $405 billion in debt. Pretty conservative. … I think on the conservative thing, it’s sort of laughable to suggest that somebody who campaigned with Ronald Reagan and with Jack Kemp and has had a 30-year record of conservatism, is somehow not a conservative?”
The claim that Gingrich “balanced the budget for four straight years (and) paid off $405 billion in debt” sounded familiar. It turns out that we originally fact-checked it when Gingrich made it on May 11, 2011, when he released a video to launch his presidential campaign.
In that video, he said, “for four years, we balanced the budget and paid off $405 billion in debt.” With soft music in the background, Gingrich said with a smile, “We’ve done it before. We can do it again.”
Gingrich was speaker from January 1995 to January 1999, when he was a Republican congressman from Atlanta’s suburbs.
First, the balanced budget.
The federal budget runs on a fiscal year calendar that begins October 1 and ends September 30. During fiscal years 1996 and 1997 — the first two that Gingrich helped shape as speaker — there were deficits: $107 billion in 1996 and about $22 billion in 1997.
By fiscal year 1998, the federal budget did reach a surplus of $69 billion. And in fiscal year 1999 — which Gingrich can claim some responsibility for, even though he was out as speaker for most of the fiscal year — it was in surplus as well, to the tune of $126 billion.
But that’s only two balanced budgets he can claim credit for. The federal government did run four consecutive surpluses, but for the last two of those — fiscal years 2000 and 2001 — Gingrich was no longer serving in the House.
Now for Gingrich’s comments about the debt.
The national debt was slightly above $4.8 trillion when Gingrich became House speaker in January 1995. By the time he left the position in January 1999, the debt was more than $5.6 trillion. That’s an increase, not a decrease.
If you look just at the two years Gingrich can claim credit for where the federal government was in surplus — fiscal years 1998 and 1999 — the government did pay down about $200 billion in debt. But that would be cherry-picking, because over the full four years of his speakership, the debt rose by about $800 billion.
A final note: It’s PolitiFact’s policy not to focus solely on the accuracy of the numbers in political attacks (or, as in this case, efforts to claim political credit) but also to determine whether blame or credit for the results is justified.
With this statement, even if Gingrich’s numbers had been correct, his language suggested that he deserved sole credit for the achievement, when in fact it was a collective accomplishment with a Democratic president, Bill Clinton, and the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate. That further downgrades the accuracy of his claim.
Gingrich was off on both claims concerning the budget. The budget was indeed balanced for four years, but it’s a stretch for him to take credit for more than two of those years. As for paying off $405 billion in debt, the data we found shows the debt actually increased during Gingrich’s four-year tenure as speaker by more than $800 billion. We rate Gingrich’s claim False.
Anyone surprised by the extremism and irresponsibility now on display [by the GOP] either hasn’t been paying attention, or has been deliberately turning a blind eye.
A number of commentators seem shocked at how unreasonable Republicans are being. “Has the G.O.P. gone insane?” they ask.
Why, yes, it has. But this isn’t something that just happened, it’s the culmination of a process that has been going on for decades. Anyone surprised by the extremism and irresponsibility now on display either hasn’t been paying attention, or has been deliberately turning a blind eye.
And may I say to those suddenly agonizing over the mental health of one of our two major parties: People like you bear some responsibility for that party’s current state.
Let’s talk for a minute about what Republican leaders are rejecting.
President Obama has made it clear that he’s willing to sign on to a deficit-reduction deal that consists overwhelmingly of spending cuts, and includes draconian cuts in key social programs, up to and including a rise in the age of Medicare eligibility. These are extraordinary concessions. As The Times’s Nate Silver points out, the president has offered deals that are far to the right of what the average American voter prefers — in fact, if anything, they’re a bit to the right of what the average Republican voter prefers!
Yet Republicans are saying no… [FULL STORY]
And yet, people will continue to vote for these asshats based on “social issues” and the fact that they are supposedly “good god fearing Americans”.
You have been duped public… palm meet face.
Barack Obama: Would Ronald Reagan be sitting here? I’ve reached my limit. This may bring my presidency down, but I will not yield on this.
Now THIS is the man I voted for!!!
Obama: “I’m not going to do that, I’m not going to take money from old people and screw students not without some compromise on the tax-increase side”
Honestly, I feel like the president needs to push back a lot harder, I’m not sure why he’s not being more aggressive about this crap.
The House majority leader, who did most of the talking for the Republican side, said those taking out student loans should start paying interest right away, rather than being able to defer payments until after graduation. It is a big-ticket item that would save $40 billion over 10 years.
At one point, sources say, President Obama pushed back against the mounting menu of spending cuts while the tax column on the negotiating sheets remained blank. He asked the Republican leaders how they expected him to take their proposals seriously.
“I’m not going to do that,” Obama said. “I’m not going to take money from old people and screw students,” not without some compromise on the tax-increase side.
The talks made little progress, which comes as no surprise given the dueling press conferences that preceded the afternoon session. But the impasse brings the federal government one day closer to the August 2 deadline, when it would plunge into default if Congress doesn’t lift the debt ceiling.
There is a mounting sense of frustration at the White House, as the two sides seem to be talking past each other. Most insiders believe that at best the two parties will have to cobble together a modest deal that avoids default but falls far short of the large-scale agreement that Obama and House Speaker John Boehner briefly thought they could achieve.
If the Top 25 Hedge Fund Managers Paid Taxes Like You and Me, We’d Cut 44 Billion of the National Deficit
To see where the Republicans’ priorities are, just look at how they treat 25 people—the top 25 hedge fund managers in the country.
Republicans are perpetrating a fraud. They say they’re concerned about reducing government deficits. But you don’t need to look at how they treat all of the country’s biggest corporations (which is extremely well) or even how they kowtow to its richest 400 families, who now have 6900 times as much income as the average household.
You only need to look at the way they treat 25 people.
The top 25 hedge fund managers in the United States collectively earned $22 billion last year, and yet they have their own cushy set of tax rules. If they operated under the same rules that apply to other people — police officers, for example, or teachers — the country could cut its national deficit by as much as $44 billion in the next ten years.
All they are worried about is keeping taxes low on the people who fund them. They don’t care about the rest of us.
Yet they use fronts about “social issues” and blame the left for all the budget issues caused by the ridiculous amount of tax cuts to earners receive.