Posts Tagged ‘Spending cuts’

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.

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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: That “debt can” that President Obama kicked down the road on January 1 by signing of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, in an effort to avoid the Fiscal Cliff, revisits on March 27, 2013 when the federal government again faces a shutdown because it has again reached the debt ceiling, now set at $16.4 trillion.

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Funding for the U.S. government expires on March 27, 2013 unless Congress acts. If they fail, the federal government will shut down on March 28. All government operations would cease, except for essential services.

Since lawmakers will not agree to a real budget by this date, they will have to agree on temporarily funding the government for a few weeks or a few months … again. The Republicans are presenting a plan on Thursday to extending funding to the end of the fiscal years which ends is September, but it includes a $7 billion restoration of defense funds in exchange for cuts elsewhere. A big question remains…will Democrats go along with this? It will all unfold in coming days.

Boehner’s comments on NBC’s “Meet the Press”

It is evident that the Republicans will allow no more tax increases…made very clear by House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) who said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he discussed the need to avoid a shutdown with President Obama at a meeting Friday between the president and congressional leaders.

Boehner said the House will vote this week to keep the federal government operating through September, when the fiscal year ends, and avoid a potentially politically damaging shutdown.

The move would be the second time since the election that Boehner has avoided a fight, desired by some House conservatives, in order to keep the GOP from possible blame. He led House Republicans to raise the debt ceiling in January to fend off a repeat of the 2011 conflict that led to the sequester.

“The president this morning agreed that we should not have any talk of a government shutdown,” Boehner said. “So I’m hopeful that the House and Senate will be able to work through this.”

“I’m going to say it one more time,” Boehner said. “The president got his tax hikes on January the first. The issue here is spending. Spending is out of control. There are smarter ways to cut spending than this silly sequester that the president demanded. And so, we need to address the long-term spending problem. But we can’t cut our way to prosperity.”

“We had a very pleasant meeting, but it was also a very frank meeting,” Boehner said. “I made it clear to the president that again, a trillion dollars worth of tax hikes in Obamacare. And you have another $650 billion worth of tax hikes on January the first. You can’t tax our way out of this problem. We’ve got to deal with the spending side, just like every American family has to.”

Listen, every American knows Washington has a spending problem. Every American, in these tough economic times, has to find a way to balance their budget.”

Boehner said Republicans were done raising taxes after agreeing to the “fiscal cliff” deal in January that raised more than $600 billion in revenue. Any new revenue gained from closing tax loopholes, he said, should be put into lowering tax rates.

“The president got $650 billion of higher taxes on the American people on January the 1st,” Boehner said. “How much more does he want? When is the president going to address the spending side of this?”

Captain Rick’s closing thoughts …  will Washington avert shutdown again”?

I think most Americans are with me in expecting that Washington will pull off a circus act just prior to the closing curtain as it always manages to do. However, this showdown is not a done deal…especially concerning the defense appropriations. I think the Defense Department should endure the same cuts as as all others. I don’t think it needs special treatment. I believe many Americans believe the U.S. Defense Department could easily be cut without sacrificing America’s safety. I think many will agree that it is time for America to stop playing “Police of the World” …at American taxpayer expense.

I welcome your comments, likes and shares!

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/

Captain Rick: The U.S. Federal Budget has grown 40% larger since Obama became president. America’s thirst for deficit spending has has quadrupled since. Deficit spending has grown from under 6% of the Federal Budget in 2007 to a whopping almost 24% in 2013. At the rate President Obama is increasing the U.S. National Debt, deficit spending will consume nearly 50% of the Federal Budget by the time he leaves office. It is obvious he is leading America on a suicide journey to the edge of the Fiscal Cliff.

The Sequester Cuts, that begin to go into effect today, represent only a tiny reduction of America’s deficit spending as demonstrated by the pie crumbs left after a nearly quarter-sized hunk of pie was removed. The Sequester cuts represent only 2% of the Federal Budget and less than 10% of deficit spending.

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The Sequester Cuts are tiny contribution to begin to harness President Obama’s debt spending binge. Actually, the cuts will achieve little if deficit spending keep increasing during the next year at the same rate as the past four. A year from now deficit spending will have gone up by a much larger percentage than the tiny reduction realized from the Sequester Cuts. America is in serious fiscal trouble. The Sequester cuts are a start. Far more needs to be done to save America from fiscal destruction in a few short years.

It would have been better if Congress and the President could have agreed on which cuts should be made, but they could not, thus the previously agreed Sequester, signed by President Obama, went into effect today. I believe I speak for many Americans when I say that President Obama’s choice to free thousands of illegal aliens under the guise of Sequester cuts was politically motivated and used very poor judgment.

When will the Washington Circus end?

Americans are getting sick and tired of it … but then they are the ones responsible for electing the incompetents representing us in Washington. Perhaps the real problem lies on the shoulders of our voters … but then again … we often face ‘crappy’ choices at the poll. Intelligent voters in America are becoming a minority. I am doing my very best to help reverse that trend! I hope you will follow my blog and share it with your friends via the many social network buttons I have provided for you below. And please…don’t be bashful…share your comment with ANJ’s rapidly growing audience across America and around the world. Your voice is important!

I welcome your comments, likes and shares … below!

More 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/

Captain Rick: On March 1, 2013 President Obama becomes the owner of the “Sequester”. He will shoulder the blame for this travesty of American government breakdown as a result of the Budget Control Act he signed into law on August 2, 2011.

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The U.S. Senate failed to pass both Republican and Democratic alternatives to head off across-the-board spending cuts, further ensuring Washington will blow past a Friday deadline to avoid or replace $85 billion in cuts that threaten economic growth, military readiness and jobs.

The Democratic alternative would have replaced the cuts, known as the sequester, through 2013 with a combination of a minimum 30% tax on millionaires and cuts to defense and farm programs. It failed 51-49.

The Republican alternative would have transferred sweeping authority to President Obama to force him to determine how to implement $85 billion in cuts instead of the across-the-board spending cut affecting most reaches of the federal government. The sequester exempts military personnel accounts and the social safety net including Social Security and Medicare. The GOP measure also failed, 38-62.

Both proposals needed a 60-vote super majority to pass, but either vehicle was dead from the start. The GOP-controlled House opposes the Senate Democrats’ proposal because it raises taxes. GOP lawmakers do not support using new taxes to turn off the sequester; rather they are seeking alternative spending cuts and entitlement reforms.

After a two-month sequester delay agreed to in a January tax deal, the cuts are scheduled to start kicking in March 1. There is about $85 billion in cuts scheduled through Sept. 30, the end of the federal fiscal year. In total, the sequester will trim $1.2 trillion in spending across the federal government over the next decade if left untouched.

The cutting mechanism is an unpopular budget tool that was included as a fail-safe in a 2011 budget law that required Congress to find $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction on their own. When they failed to do so in December 2011, they started a one-year countdown to the automatic cuts. In the past year, Congress and the White House have been unable to come up with an alternative to the sequester, or reach a long-term budget deal that would allow them to turn it off.

The president and congressional leaders will make a final attempt at a pre-deadline compromise at a White House meeting Friday morning, but top lawmakers conceded the prospects were dim for a deal in the short-term.

Captain Rick’s closing thoughts

I believe I speak for most Americans by saying … our government in Washington is totally broken. I welcome your comments below.  

More 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/

Captain Rick: Republicans are calling it the “Obamaquester” … $1.2 trillion in spending cuts over 10 years. $85 billion in 2013. Defense will be cut 13%. Everything else 9%. Officially called the “sequester”, its part of the “Fiscal Cliff” that was postponed on January 1, 2013.

The forced budget cuts were created during the 2011 debt ceiling debacle, passed by Congress and signed by the Whitehouse. It was a worst-case scenario, so bad that it would force lawmakers to make a deal. But, no deal was ever made and thus its become a poison pill that Americans will most likely have to swallow on March 1, 2013. The sequester was put in place 18 months ago to be a hammer, not a policy. On March 1, that hammer slams down.

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Sequester Spending Cuts taking effect after March 1 (partial list)

Head Start programs will be scaled back

Fewer meat inspections

Homeland Security cuts will mean longer lines at airports and scaled back cyber security

Furloughs and layoffs would effect civilian workers in the defense industry

IRS cuts will mean fewer tax return reviews and longer waits for tax refunds

Emergency housing for the homeless will be scaled back

Extended benefits for unemployed will be scaled back

National Parks may close campgrounds or reduce open periods

Little hope of compromise by March 1

Washington continues to play the “blame game.” Democrats are blaming Republicans for proposing devastating spending cuts.  Republicans blame the Democrats for getting used to being bailed out for their own lack of fiscal responsibility.

Optimism for a last-minute deal averting massive spending cuts is scarce. The buzz in Washington is that both sides actually want to let the sequester happen. Washington seems to be mainly squabbling over who will be to blame for the “meat cleaver” budget slashing set to take effect on March 1.

The latest national poles show America is leaning slightly towards letting the sequester happen…that it is time America stops “kicking its debt can down the road”.

The sequester is only a tiny contribution to reduce deficit spending. Those reading my earlier reports know that America must come to grips with its gigantic thirst for wild deficit spending beyond its means in order to save America from future financial ruin.

More 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/

Captain Rick: Gross domestic product (GDP), the broadest measure of the nation’s economic health, grew at an annual rate of 3.1% from July to September (Q3). That’s more than double the sluggish 1.3% rate in the second quarter, however it only measures even with the break-even line. 3% economic growth, represented by the red line in the chart below, is necessary to provide enough jobs and wages to keep pace with U.S. population growth. America has fallen short of the line in all but three quarters during the past four years. A GDP growth rate of 5% for 4 quarters is required to reduce the unemployment rate by 1%.

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Consumer spending, which typically accounts for more than two-thirds of the U.S. economy, was the single largest driver of economic growth between July and September. U.S. households bought more motor vehicles and health care services, leading consumer spending to rise at a 1.6% annual rate in the quarter.

Government defense spending was another large driver, rising 12.9% in the third quarter. And home sales picked up, also contributing to economic growth.

Meanwhile, businesses built up their stockpile of goods and were hesitant to make new investments. Business spending contracted at a 1.8% annual rate in the quarter, dragging on overall economic growth. The largest cuts in business spending were on equipment and software.

Economists point to uncertainty about 2013 taxes and government spending cuts as the culprit that’s weighing on business investment decisions. The uncertainty generated by fiscal ineptitude has basically shut down investment spending. 

Economic Outlook: Overall, economic recovery remains sluggish. On average, the U.S. economy has grown about 2% a year for the last three years. Essentially this means the economy has actually going backwards at a rate of about 1%. Major portions of the fiscal cliff remain unresolved. The fiscal cliff and the pending debt ceiling will have to be addressed by about March 1 to prevent government default. The manner in which they are addressed will play a role in whether America dips into another recession next year.

Captain Rick: In Lesson 4 we examine the Chemistry of the “Fiscal Cliff”… the composition of the $600 billion of tax revenue increases and spending cuts that will automatically take place by law on January 1, 2013, unless the U.S. Congress agrees to revised legislation and President Obama signs it into law before then. Agreement does not appear to be very likely as the two sides are currently far apart. The Democrats are for minimizing spending cuts and maximizing tax revenue increases, while the Republicans are for the opposite.

As large as $600 billion sounds … we learned in the “Fiscal Cliff” Math of Lesson 2 … it will only eliminate half of America’s deficit (the extra amount that is spends every year over that which it receives in revenue). In simple terms, it would take two “Fiscal Cliffs” to fix America’s deficit problem. That would balance the budget but do nothing to reduce America’s staggering $16 trillion national debt (the accumulation of all of deficit spending in past years). Even with the “Fiscal Cliff” spending cuts and tax revenue increases, Americas National Debt will continue to grow by $600 billion a year.

Congress and the President are currently trying to find ways to agree to cut the size of the “Fiscal Cliff” spending cuts and tax increases … ways to “water it down” and “kick the can” down the road for future generations to solve the U.S. Debt Crisis. It would require over 26 “Fiscal Cliffs” to eliminate the U.S. National Debt. In perspective, the “Fiscal Cliff” more closely resembles the slope of an ant hill.

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“Fiscal Cliff” Spending Cuts that take effect on January 1, 2013

Defense will be cut $55 billion in 2013 from projected levels of discretionary defense spending. That translates into at least a 10% cut to every program, project and activity that’s not explicitly exempt.

Non-defense will be cut $55 billion in 2013 from projected levels of nondefense spending, which includes things like education, Medicaid, food inspections and air travel safety. Budget experts estimate the cuts will result in at least an 8% cut to programs, projects and activities. These cuts include:

Medicare Doc Fix expires. Payment to care providers will drop 2%.

Unemployment benefits extension expires. Unemployment benefits will revert back to the old norm of 26 weeks, down form the current 99. That means workers who lose their jobs after July 1, 2012, will only receive up to 26 weeks in state unemployment benefits, down from as many as 99 weeks in state and federal benefits that had been available until recently. By one estimate, more than 2 million claimants will lose their benefits by January.

“Fiscal Cliff” Tax Revenue Increases

Bush era tax cuts will end on December 31, 2012. As a result:

Income tax rates: Rise to 15%, 28%, 31%, 36% and 39.6%, up from 10%, 15%, 25%, 28%, 33% and 35%.

Capital gains rate: Rises to 20% from 15% for most filers.

PEP/Pease limitations: Restored. High-income households may not be able to take some itemized deductions and personal exemptions in full.

Child tax credit: Falls to $500 per child from $1,000. The refundable portion also reduced.

American Opportunity Tax Credit: Expires. The lesser value HOPE tax credit for college tuition is reinstated. Several smaller education tax benefits also expire.

Earned Income Tax Credit: Expansion of eligibility for the credit expires.

Marriage penalty relief: Expires. Effectively that means a low- or middle-income two-earner couple will owe more to the IRS than they would if they were single making the same income.

Estate tax: Parameters revert to pre-2001 levels. The exemption level falls to $1 million from $5 million; and the top tax rate on taxable estates rises to 55%, up from 35%. AMT patch

Expired already for 2012. Income exempt from the Alternative Minimum Tax in 2012 — for which taxpayers will file returns next year — falls to $33,750 for individuals and $45,000 for married couples. That’s down from $50,600 and $78,750, respectively, if the exemption amounts had been adjusted for inflation. As a result more than 30 million people will be hit by the so-called “wealth” tax, up from 4 million to date.

Obama’s Payroll tax holiday expires. The Social Security tax rate reverts to 6.2%, up from 4.2%, on the first $110,100 in wages. Effectively, someone making $50,000 will pay another $1,000 in payroll taxes next year;  someone making $150,000 will pay $2,425 more.

Some budget experts count as part of the fiscal cliff the onset of a new Medicare surtax on high-income households under health reform. They include:

A 0.9% surtax will apply to wages on earned income over $200,000 ($250,000 if married). That’s on top of the 1.45% Medicare currently owed on all wages. Those making between $200,000 and $500,000, for instance, will only pay about $633 extra while households making $1 million or more would pay another $11,242.

A 3.8% Medicare surtax will also apply for the first time to at least a portion of high-income households’ investment income.

How the “Fiscal Cliff” could effect America’s citizens

The top 1% of households, which have incomes above $506,210, would face an increase of $121,000. Within that group, the top 0.1% — those making more than $2.66 million — would get hit with a tax hike of nearly $634,000.

By contrast, households making up to $20,113 would see a $412 average increase. That may simply represent a smaller refund to those households, many of which have very little if any federal income tax liability to begin with.

Households in the middle — with total incomes between $39,790 and $64,484 — can expect a roughly $2,000 increase.

Captain Rick’s closing thoughts …

The sacrifices presented by the “Fiscal Cliff” for Americans are small in comparison to the positive effects towards solving America’s monumental debt crisis for the benefit of our generations to come. Many of the “Fiscal Cliff” elements originate from the expiration of very fiscally irresponsible previous tax cuts by Bush and Obama … ones that should have never been implemented in the first place. Giving them up is a “no-brainer”.  We should all hope that the U.S. Congress goes home early for the holidays and does not do anything to “water down” the fiscally intelligent “wheels-in-motion” that the “Fiscal Cliff” will automatically bestow on January 1, 2013.

View Captain Rick’s entire FISCAL CLIFF Course 101: https://atridim.wordpress.com/category/fiscal-cliff-course-101/