Category Archives: National Debt/Deficit

President Trump’s Budget: Neither Great nor Terrible

A reader asked me to post something on President Trump’s proposed budget to Congress.  Opinions have varied as to whether this budget is the apocalypse on one end or the second coming on the other, and pretty much every nuance in between.  As with most budgets–though you may not remember the last one, since it has been some time–this one is only a prospective declaration of a vision embodied in numbers.  There is no likelihood it will be adopted as… Continue Reading ››

Amazing how honest politicians are when they are no longer in office!

Earlier this week we heard with great candor from former Democratic presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Bob Kerrey, expressing dismay at the Trump budget.  Why?  Cuts in the EPA?  Cuts for Big Bird and PBS?  No.  Senator Kerrey is concerned about Mr. Trump’s unwillingness to do something about our biggest budget challenge–the runaway growth of entitlements, specifically Medicare and Social Security.  Sen Kerry laments that we’re on track to increase those two programs by $80B next year.  As Kerry says,… Continue Reading ››

The Pernicious Income Inequality of Federal Employees

In an article from CNS News dated December 16, 2016, we have the new but predictable Census Bureau statistics on median income for households in counties of the United States.  The first four richest counties are, …, you guessed it, all in the Washington, DC area, and range from about $99,000 per year to $122, 000 per year (see http://www.census.gov/did/www/saipe/data/highlights/2015.html).  That is more that twice the United States Average of around $55,000.  Nine of the top twenty counties are in… Continue Reading ››

Stock Market Trumpian Euphoria. Is this irrational exuberance?

Yesterday saw all three of the major U.S. stock indexes reach new all time highs, and today the Dow is over 19000 for the first time ever.   The post-election Trump bull continues to run, but for how long? Almost all economic prognosticators expected the market to go down after the election, albeit for different reasons.  Some thought Mr. Trump’s anti-free trade policies would tank the market, while others (including me) thought that the Fed stimulus of the market was… Continue Reading ››

Earmarks, Pork and the Meat Axe: Time for Action

Today Representative John Culbertson (R-Texas) pulled (that is, withdrew) a bill that would have made changes to the earmark ban the House imposed earlier.  An earmark is basically an addition to a bill that includes some kind of project or spending for the congressman’s home district.   It is a rider.  And normally, it constitutes “pork barreling” designed to get that representative re-elected.   So when I first read the headline that the bill was proposed by Culbertson, I thought, well, here… Continue Reading ››

Dueling Economic Proposals: Will They Sway Anyone?

I have so far avoided taking any position on the two main candidates for president.  For my colleague Mark Smith, don’t worry, I will.  I intend to continue the path of avoidance in this blog.  Today I would like to examine and evaluate each candidate’s economic program.  I say nothing about their personal morality, or personality, or anything except economic program as articulated formally.  Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have both now laid out their plans.  I will look first… Continue Reading ››

The United States of Insolvency

This past week my macroeconomics classes finished their review of the national debt.  I assign it in the vain hopes that perhaps my small efforts will awaken at least our students from the slumber of wishful thinking and denial of reality.  One of the best parts of being at a Christ-centered university is to be able to bring one of my fellow profs who is in the School of Biblical and Theological Studies over to review some of the public… Continue Reading ››

Taxes Versus Spending

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a DC group, had this to say about Ted Cruz’s campaign proposals: “Republican presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) has, by our count, put forward seven sets of policy proposals on his campaign website covering areas such as immigration, military spending, and tax reform. By our very rough and initial estimates, these major initiatives could add anywhere from $3 to $21 trillion to the debt over the next decade, with our central cost… Continue Reading ››

How Big Should Government Be? Not Big Enough for Many.

Have we reached a critical mass of voters?  On what issue you might ask.  On whether big government is bad on the whole.  I have read a couple of articles recently, addressing that question.  I don’t honestly know whether or to what extent people may believe big government is basically good.  But here is a quote from the author of the article, Jim Geraghty, writing in National Review, January 21, 2016 (read it at http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/430104/many-americans-dont-seem-all-upset-about-big-government).  He quotes from research by… Continue Reading ››

“Dark Matter” in the Federal Universe

I regret I cannot compete with my colleague Mark Smith for sheer humor.  In fact, talking about Federal regulations can be really boring.  But what they lack in pizzaz, they make up for in importance–unfortunately in a negative way. I read a very illuminating study by Clyde Crews, entitled “Mapping Washington’s Lawlessness: A Preliminary Inventory of ‘Regulatory Dark Matter,’” published by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (see Issue Analysis 2015, no. 6).  You can read the entire study at https://cei.org/sites/default/files/Wayne%20Crews%20-%20Mapping%20Washington%27s%20Lawlessness.pdf.   One… Continue Reading ››