Archive for the ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Category

Captain Rick: The Senate and House passed a short-term spending bill that prevented a government shutdown at the end of the week. It has White House backing.

This legislation allows Congress to ‘kick the can down the road’ until after America elects a new President and new members of Congress. With a bunch of ‘lame ducks’ residing in congress at that time, you can bet they will again ‘kick the can down the road’ with another short-term spending bill to fund the government until after a new President and Congress take office in January. That’s when the excitement begins …

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Fights over raising the debt limit broke out between the Obama White House and ruling Republicans in Congress in 2011 and 2013, unsettling Wall Street and foreign investors. The two sides struck a deal in 2015 to suspend the debt limit until Obama left office. The federal debt limit has been suspended since late 2015, but the law is set to be reinstated on March 16, 2017. The current debt limit of $20.1 trillion will be breached and another funding emergency will be at hand to prevent another U.S. government shutdown.

Government shutdowns in the past have become a ‘joke’ in that certain federal employees are told to stay home without pay, until Congress passed legislation to fund the government, which often included increasing the national debt and awarded compensation for all lost pay … meaning their time off was really an extra paid vacation; an insult to hard working employees of ‘Main Street’ America. The ‘Shutdown Game’ can not continue much longer because America is coming ever so close to falling off of the real and pending ‘Fiscal Cliff’. Many federal programs like Obamacare, Medicaid, Medicare and even Social Security are projected to implode in coming years without serious spending/taxation reform.

The U.S. National Debt has more than doubled since President Obama took office; from $9 trillion to $19.5 today. It is exploding at rate of $1.35 trillion each year. More than $10 trillion of ‘red ink debt dollars’ have been spent to keep the federal government functioning during the Obama Administration.

About 15% of money spent by the federal government has no revenue to support the expenditure and thus adds to the national debt. Much of this debt spending goes to states and cities in the form of federal grants. Our states and cities ‘drink up’ the grants like it is ‘free money coming from heaven’. Their philosophy is ‘if we don’t get the grant, some other city or state will’. What an awesomely greedy and fiscally reckless way to think. Shame on every city and state in America for slurping up these slush grants which add to the mushrooming U.S. National Debt. Our cities and states are a main contributors to the growing problem of America’s National Debt … debt which will be placed upon future generations to pay back … including our children and grand children. It’s a serious matter to think about.

I hope the next President and Congress will begin to balance the budget and curtail deficit spending. Saving America from falling off of the real and pending ‘Fiscal Cliff’, will not be easy. It will require ‘belt tightening’ by people, cities and states across America and most importantly by the U.S. Federal Government and our elected representatives in the U.S. Congress.

Captain Rick: The U.S. Senate gave its approval to raise the nation’s debt ceiling to $17.2 Trillion, allowing the government to continue spending like ‘drunkards’ by borrowing more money to pay its bills through March 2015.

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The politically charged issue cleared the chamber 55-43 after winning House approval Tuesday. The measure now goes to ‘debt loving’ President Barack Obama for his guaranteed signature. Approval removes the prospect of another protracted political fight over fiscal policy as Democrats and Republicans gear up for November’s midterm elections. How politically convenient is this?
It was a ‘clean’ bill…meaning there were no strings attached that would mandate new spending cuts. It gives approval to continue spending like ‘there is no tomorrow’. Our representatives in DC have kicked America’s ‘debt can’ down the road again for the N’th time. How much farther can it be kicked? I suspect…not much.

I wonder with dismay as to how Americans can stand for this total disregard of fiscal common sense? How can Americans continue to elect such fiscally reckless representatives to the U.S. Legislature. I see this tragic event bringing America one step closer to the edge of the real ‘fiscal cliff’. At the bottom…I envision America as a ‘third world country.’

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Interesting ATRIDIM NEWS JOURNAL Report Categories:

U.S. Debt Crisis

Fed Financial Policy

Economy

Captain Rick’s Fiscal Cliff Course 101

President Obama

Captain Rick: The Budget Act of 2013 kicks the ‘U.S. Debt Can’ down the road yet again. Passed by the U.S. House and expected to be passed by the U.S. Senate next week, I sense renewed concern for the fiscal demise of America. This act does not stop Americas insatiable thirst for debt spending. Debt will continue to rise at a reckless pace. The U.S. debt ceiling will again be reached in February 2014. I would wager it will again be raised. I would also wager that America’s train will plunge over the real fiscal cliff in the coming years. At the bottom lies America as a third world nation. The frustration I feel is well summed up by Matt Salmon, my Arizona representative in the U.S. Congress. Matt is a person that uses intelligence and wisdom to speak and vote … a very rare find in Washington DC these days.

ATRIDIM NEWS JOURNAL Guest Report

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Salmon Statement on the Budget Act of 2013

Washington—Today, Rep. Matt Salmon (AZ-05) released the following statement on the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 (Amendment to H.J. Res. 59):

“I applaud Chairman Ryan and our Republican Budget Conferees for working under difficult circumstances to negotiate a compromise with Senate Democrats, and I appreciate that this deal offers some positive items, such as helping to bring back regular order for the appropriations process, approving the Transboundary Hydrocarbon Agreement, restoring badly needed resources for our military, and making small changes to some mandatory spending programs.

“However, for me and most of the constituents I have heard from in my district, this deal falls short of something I could support.

“Unfortunately, this deal fails to even make modest reforms to our nearly bankrupted entitlement programs and it, once again, increases government spending  in the short-term with only a promise to make spending cuts in the long-term.

“If we are not willing to make tough choices now, then how can we expect future Congresses to stop kicking the can down the road?

“This was a grand opportunity for our nation’s leaders to reform and preserve the fiscal longevity of our entitlement programs, and this deal does not rise to that challenge.

“Furthermore, I have never believed that Congress should raise taxes or increase fees to justify more government spending. Sadly, this deal does exactly this by raising fees on air travelers.

“As we move forward under these new spending caps, my hope is that Congress and President Obama will finally recognize that our fiscal problems are not solved by raising more revenue and increasing spending, but by cutting spending and addressing our biggest crisis – unsustainable entitlement spending.

“We must make do with less government or our children and grandchildren will pay the heavy price as we continue to see a skyrocketing debt and runaway government spending.

“We must make big strides in the direction of a smaller and more efficient government in order to get our country back on the right path.”

Rep. Matt Salmon (AZ-05) serves on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs as Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere. He is also a member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.
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Interesting ATRIDIM NEWS JOURNAL Report Categories:

U.S. Debt Crisis

U.S. Government Shutdown

Captain Rick’s Fiscal Cliff Course 101

Economy

Guest Commentary

Captain Rick: A shutdown of the U.S. Government will most likely begin on October 1, 2013, the beginning of the new fiscal year. There is currently no budget agreement to fund the U.S. Government for the coming year. The Democrat led Senate and the the Republican led House are in a stalemate that does not appear likely will be rectified by October 1. The real showdown will come on or before October 17, when the U.S. Government reaches the debt ceiling of $16.699 trillion and will begin defaulting on its financial obligations, an event that has never before occurred.

The last threat of shutdown occurred on March 27, 2013. It was averted by an agreement to allow Sequester spending cut’s (part of the ‘Fiscal Cliff’ legislation that became effective on January 1, 2013) to gain some flexibility regarding where to make spending cuts, in lieu of the mandatory across the board cuts.

My goal is to help increase understanding of the extremely important events that are unfolding…

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U.S. Government Shutdown … What will happen? Non essential elements of the government will begin shutting down. These are things like National Parks and Monuments and the federal employees and contractors that support them. The employees would be furloughed. Contractors would have their payments delayed. At no time in the past has a shutdown lasted for more than a month. In every case the contractors eventually got paid and the furloughed employees were awarded back pay, so in essence, they received a nice long paid vacation, compliments of the U.S. taxpayers. In every previous case of shutdown, it ended up costing tax payers more than if the government had remained open.

What does a shutdown accomplish? Nothing, except increased cost. It is however, a necessary reminder that our government needs spending to remain less than revenue. In reality the U.S. has been spending far more than it receives in revenue, especially in recent years.

U.S annual spending: $3.52 trillion

U.S. annual revenue: $2.69 trillion

U.S. annual deficit: $825 billion

Total U.S. National debt: $16.95 trillion

U.S. GDP: $15.91 trillion (U.S. Debt exceeds GDP…a wake up call to get the fiscal house in order…or prepare for economic destruction)

Who is to blame? First and foremost to blame is President Obama. He is our president, elected to lead our nation in a positive direction…yet he has demonstrated the most reckless spending in American history, especially with his Fed’s continuation of pumping $85 billion per month of ‘Quantitative Easing’ debt dollars into the American Economy (adding directly to the U.S. National Debt) in an effort to make an economically sick nation look just anemic. It is all ‘smoke and mirrors’ that is doing nothing more than increasing America’s debt at an astronomic expense and burden to future generations.  Second to blame is the entire U.S. Legislature, including the Senate and House, Republicans and Democrats. None of them impress me as having the intelligence or ability to agree on a plan to withdraw America from its insatiable addiction for debt spending far beyond its revenue. I believe most of them have their ‘pockets’ fed by ‘big money’.

Obama passes blame and creates fear in news conference: Today I listened to President Obama speak in a news conference casting fear upon Americans by placing blame for his reckless spending on the shoulders of the U.S. House:
“If Congress chooses not to pass a budget by Monday, the end of the fiscal year, they will shut down the government along with many vital services that the American people depend on,” The Senate “acted responsibly” by passing its bill, and “now it’s up to the Republicans in the House of Representatives to do the same.”
He asked Republicans “to think about who you’re hurting” by letting the government shut down, and said “it would throw a wrench into the gears of our economy at a time when those gears have gained some traction.”
He also made clear that a government shutdown wouldn’t stop the Affordable Care Act from being implemented. “That’s not going to happen. More than 100 million Americans currently already have new benefits and protections under the law. On Tuesday, about 40 million more Americans will be able to finally buy quality affordable health care just like anybody else.”

Reality Check. What really happened: This was one of the most disgusting, fear-causing set of statements I have heard President Obama make recently. What really happened is that the House sent a bill to the Senate that included defunding Obamacare (a program with an enormous cost that America can not afford at this time of financial crisis). The Senate revised the bill to remove the Obamacare defunding and sent it back to the House. In opposition to Obama’s statement, I believe the Senate did not act responsibly. If the House does not pass the bill on Monday (which it should not), it will not be the House that causes the shutdown as Obama warns. It will be the result of the failure of the President and the entire U.S. Legislature combined. Obama said that a shutdown will stop many vital services. This is not true, unless the shutdown lasted for a long period of time…or Obama chooses to focus on certain entities for political gain. Obama’s scare tactics of asking Republicans to ‘think of who they are hurting’ by the government shutdown are absolutely despicable. President Obama should ask himself who he is hurting by spreading such fear and lies. This shutdown does throw a ‘wrench’ into Obamas ‘gears’ to make the economy look ok, when it is really sucking badly. Obama is fixated on Obamacare, a mark he hopes the world will remember him by. He will push it, even if it contributes to the financial destruction of America.  In reality, 40 million Americans are going to find out that ‘affordable health care’ is not really affordable and the majority of them will pay (or evade) the penalty to avoid it. The resultant unexpected, massive costs will lie firmly on the backs of American tax payers and add directly to the U.S. national debt.  I have this on my list of future blog reports. It sounds to me like Obama is running scared and is choosing to hide his fear by casting false fear on Americans. That scares me. Does it scare you?

View the comments (below) for ongoing updates of important happenings at the U.S. Capitol concerning this unfolding story.

I have done my very best to chronicle the events that contributed to this first U.S. government shutdown in nearly 18 years…as displayed in my comment updates below. This report could be among the best chronicles on the web. I am honored that Google and other search engines have picked up on this report.  The views for this report have exceeded those of all other ANJ reports by a factor of 10X+. The view stats from the past week far surpass any previous week. It tells me that there are lots of people that are tuning into this blog post to get the real facts…not the hype found on virtually all web news sites and especially TV news casts.

I welcome your comments, likes, shares and following of my blog! (If not visible, click the red title above)

Associated ATRIDIM NEWS JOURNAL Report Categories:

U.S. Government Shutdown

Obamacare

U.S. Debt Crisis

Fed Financial Policy

Captain Rick’s Fiscal Cliff Course 101

Economy

Captain Rick: California has published prices for its ‘Silver Plan’ for ‘Obamacare’ in compliance with the Affordable Care Act. Some potential participants may be surprised at the figures: $2,000 deductibles, $45 primary care visit co-pays, and $250 emergency room tabs.

Those are just some of the charges enrollees will incur in a silver-level plan in California, which recently unveiled an overview of the benefits and charges associated with its exchange.
That’s on top of the $321 average monthly premium.

For some, this will be great news since it will allow them to see the doctor without breaking the bank. But others may not want to shell out a few thousand bucks in addition to a monthly premium.

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Obamacare Refresher

People who don’t have ‘affordable health insurance’ through their employers will be able to sign up for coverage through state-based exchanges.
Enrollment is set to begin in October, with coverage taking effect in January.
You must have some form of coverage next year, or you will face annual penalties of $95 or 1% of family income (whichever is greater) initially and more in subsequent years.

Each state will offer four levels of coverage: platinum, gold, silver and bronze. Platinum plans come with the highest premiums, but lowest out-of-pocket expenses, while bronze plans carry lower monthly charges but require more cost-sharing. Gold and silver fall in the middle.

The federal government will offer premium subsidies to those with incomes of up to four times the federal poverty level. This year, that’s $45,960 for an individual or $94,200 for a family of four.
There will be additional help to cover out-of-pocket expenses for those earning less than 250% of the poverty line: $28,725 for a single person and $58,875 for a family of four. The subsidies are tied to the cost of the state’s silver level plans.

A 40-year-old enrolling in the Bronze Plan, the least expensive, could pay as little as $219 a month. But, if he did get sick, he’d get socked with a $5,000 deductible, $60 co-pays for primary care visits and a $300 emergency room charge.

Obamacare provides protection for those who need a lot of care by placing a cap on out-of-pocket expenses.
The maximum a person in an individual platinum plan will spend a year is $4,000, while those in the other tiers will shell out no more than $6,400.

Whether potential enrollees find these plans affordable will depend on how healthy they are and whether they are currently insured. Those currently insured will experience significant increases in their contribution levels to their healthcare costs in the future as their employers look to offset their added costs. 

Obamacare is on a course to destroy America 

Obamacare is a program that is being financed by debt dollars. Its costs are adding to the U.S. National Debt which now stands a staggering $17 trillion.
Obamacare is a program that will soon explode and help push America over the real ‘Fiscal Cliff’…on a journey to become a third world country. 

I welcome your comments, likes, shares and following of my blog! (If not visible, click the red title above)

Associated ATRIDIM NEWS JOURNAL Report Categories:

Obamacare: https://atridim.wordpress.com/category/obamacare/

U.S. Debt Crisis: https://atridim.wordpress.com/category/u-s-debt-crisis/

Captain Rick’s Fiscal Cliff Course 101: https://atridim.wordpress.com/category/fiscal-cliff-course-101/

Captain Rick: The U.S. Legislature has failed to balance America’s budget almost forever. If it compromised by using the economic common sense rule of 20% of GDP for both revenue and spending, its budget crisis would end and a much brighter future would await the children of our world.

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Record Tax Revenue: I am glad to see we have hit a new record of $2.7T in revenues, just a tick above the previous record of $2.6T in 2007. As population grows, we better hope our tax revenue keeps going up every year. Things went far astray during the ‘Bush War and Tax Cut’ era, the Great Recession that followed and ‘Obamas Record Spending Spree’ to try to fix it, including a reckless 2 point payroll tax cut. Thankfully, it and some other irresponsible tax cuts vanished on Jan 1 as a result of the Fiscal Cliff and helped bring us closer to sanity. Unfortunately this new revenue record leaves America with a very anemic tax revenue of only 16.9% of GDP. The 40 year average is 18%. A healthy economy achieves revenue equal to 20% of GDP…so America is still far short of needed revenue…and part of the reason why America’s finances are in such terrible shape.

Record Spending: The other part of the reason America’s finances are in such terrible shape is because America’s spending is too high. America is currently spending $3.55T or 22.2% of GDP. That percentage is higher than almost every year since 1986. A healthy economy limits  spending equal to 20% of GDP…so America is still far over the limit for spending…the other part of the reason why America’s finances are in such terrible shape.

Republicans, Democrats, Conservatives and Liberals debate: Republicans and conservatives argue that taxes are too high and do not agree to any further increases. They say the entire answer lies in cutting spending. Democrats and liberals argue that spending levels should be held. They say the entire answer lies in tax increases. Its easy for me to see why our legislature is in gridlock. Both sides are stubborn and illogical. Neither side possesses the the solution. The solution resides in compromise. 

Captain Rick’s proposal of compromise: I propose that the U.S. Legislature uses the economical common sense guideline of 20% of GDP as a target for revenue and spending to achieve a balanced budget. 20% has proven to be workable figure for successful governments in the past. The figure can be argued…19 v 21…but 20% is a good starting point. Diminishing America’s national debt is a story for another day. It would require the balance to shift to more revenue and less spending…perhaps 21% of GDP revenue and 19% of GDP spending. Real compromise needs to begin soon … in order to protect the future of our children.  

I welcome your comments, likes, shares and following of my blog! (If not visible, click the red title above)

Info from previous reports:

Fiscal Cliff: https://atridim.wordpress.com/category/fiscal-cliff-course-101/

U.S. Debt Crisis: https://atridim.wordpress.com/category/u-s-debt-crisis/

GDP: https://atridim.wordpress.com/category/gdp/

Captain Rick: The object of this game is to try and save American capitalism before the government takes over everything. To date, there is no known player who has won. The government wins every time. 

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The game board looks interesting. It reminds me of the fun times I had as a kid playing Monopoly for hours and even days before finally taking over everything…or loosing everything.

I don’t think Bamopoly would be very much fun to play…because no one likes to loose all of the time. It also reminds me very much of real life in America. Its people play this game every day to try and get ahead and promote capitalism… but it seems like big government is always there to take over everything.

I have a strong feeling that one of these days, the government is going to loose this game…because of the way it has been cheating its players…the citizens of America. Unfortunately when it looses the game, there will be no winners.

I welcome your comments, likes, shares and following of my blog! (If not visible, click the red title above)

Previous reports:

Fiscal Cliff: https://atridim.wordpress.com/category/fiscal-cliff-course-101/

U.S. Debt Crisis: https://atridim.wordpress.com/category/u-s-debt-crisis/