Posts Tagged ‘U.S. Budget’

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.

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Captain Rick: Obama’s 2014 ‘State of the Union struck a new low among my unbroken record of watching every one since 1960. Obama’s meaningless hype, wishful thinking and the constant bobbing of his head from side to side to view the teleprompters…looking like he was watching a tennis match…almost hypnotized me. It was a nice try on his part…but it just put me to sleep. 

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Credits: Thanks Ken of California for contributing the above graphic

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Interesting ATRIDIM NEWS JOURNAL Report Categories:

Obamacare

U.S. Debt Crisis

Fed Financial Policy

Economy

Captain Rick’s Fiscal Cliff Course 101

President Obama

Captain Rick: Walmart, the world’s largest corporation turns everything it touches into gold, whereas  the U.S. government has succeeded in breaking almost every good program created … and the U.S. economy.

I suggest we hire Walmart to fix the mess that our President and Legislature have demonstrated they are totally incapable of accomplishing.

My email to President Obama:

Mr. President,

I have concluded that you and the 535 members of our legislature are ineffective and incapable of fixing our economy and the many good programs that have been broken. I have a solution, but first I want to remind you of some facts which relate to the many failures of your administration and those that preceded:

a. The U.S. Postal Service was established in 1775. You have had 238 years to get it right and it is broke.

b. Social Security was established in 1935. You have had 78 years to get it right and it is broke.

c. Fannie Mae was established in 1938. You have had 75 years to get it right and it is broke.

d. War on Poverty started in 1964. You have had 49 years to get it right; $1 trillion of our money is confiscated each year and transferred to “the poor” and they only want more…and it is broke.

e. Medicare and Medicaid were established in 1965. You have had 48 years to get it right and they are broke.

f. Freddie Mac was established in 1970. You have had 43 years to get it right and it is broke.

g. The Department of Energy was created in 1977 to lessen our dependence on foreign oil. It has ballooned to 16,000 employees with a budget of $24 billion a year and we import more oil than ever before. You had 36 years to get it right and it is an abysmal failure…and it is broke.

You have failed to fix any of the many government service failures, while overspending our tax dollars to drive America $17 trillion into debt, an amount exceeding the combined debt of all other nations on earth.

AND YOU WANT AMERICANS TO BELIEVE YOU CAN BE TRUSTED WITH A GOVERNMENT-RUN HEALTH CARE SYSTEM?

Lets pause and examine an American corporation that has a track record of turning everything it touches into gold.

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Photo above shows Walmart’s current logo used since 2008

Walmart was founded by Sam Walton in 1962…when I was in high school, just before the birth of Medicare and Medicaid. Since then the Walton family transformed it into the world’s largest corporation with $469 Billion in revenue, 8500 stores in 15 countries with 2,200,000 employees.

If Walmart were a country it would have the world’s 26th largest GDP…but more importantly, it would be the world’s most profitable country…unlike the U.S. which goes $1 Trillion farther into debt each year, with all of its programs on ‘death row’.

I love my country and hate to see you and our legislature destroying it. With all sincerity, I respectfully urge you to consider hiring Walmart to manage America’s failing economy and programs. But, I think that if that were to happen, the Walton’s would fire you and most of the legislature.

Captain Rick

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Associated ATRIDIM NEWS JOURNAL Report Categories:

Economy

U.S. Debt Crisis

Captain Rick’s Fiscal Cliff Course 101

President Obama

Obamacare

Entitlement Reform

Corporations

Captain Rick: Federal grants are a good thing when they are funded by real money … but the fact is many of America’s federal grants come from money that does not exist and adds directly to the U.S. national debt. Many federal grants are robbing the future of our children and grandchildren by burdening them with monumental debt.

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U.S. Budget Facts

U.S. Tax Revenue: $2.5 trillion
U.S. Spending: $3.6 trillion
U.S. Deficit: $1.1 trillion

U.S. Budget Details

Obligated expenses (backed by U.S. law)
Social Security: $781 billion (dedicated funded from the Social Security 6.2% payroll tax)
Medicare: $419 billion (dedicated funding from the Medicare 1.45% payroll tax)
Medicaid: $400 billion (a social welfare program, using money from the federal general fund)
Interest on National Debt: $223 billion (mandatory debt payment to prevent U.S. default)
Federal Pensions: $216 billion (includes civilian and military retirement benefits and veteran benefits)
Sub total: $2 trillion (this leaves only $500 billion for all other expenses before consuming all U.S. tax revenue)

Discretionary expenses:
Defense/Wars: $664 billon
Income Security: $352 billion (incudes unemployment compensation, various welfare programs such as family support and nutrition programs and earned income credits)
Other (including Federal Grants): $500 billion
Grand total: $3.6 trillion (a deficit of $1.1 trillion)

Conclusion: it is obvious that unless America wants to totally eliminate all money spent on defense, wars, unemployment, family welfare, etc. there is no tax revenue left to spend on any federal grant of any kind.

U.S. National Debt

America’s debt is now at a staggering $16.8 trillion and rising at a high rate of speed.
America’s debt represents a debt of $53,277 for every person in America…$148,265 for every tax payer.

Its time for everyone in America realize the seriousness of America’s debt crisis … including local and state politicians who love to accept those federal grant dollars that come from the ‘black hole’ and add directly to the U.S. National Debt.

Federal Grants 101

In the United States, federal grants are economic aid issued by the United States government out of the general federal revenue. A federal grant is an award of financial assistance from a federal agency to a recipient to carry out a public purpose of support or stimulation authorized by a law of the United States.

Some federal grants like those from the U.S. Department of Transportation for roads and transportation projects are partially funded by dedicated fuel and tire taxes, however the balance (about 1/3) comes from the general fund which is supported primarily by federal income taxes via tax returns. On the other hand, federal grants like community development block grants (CDBG) from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), have little or no dedicated tax funding and are mostly paid for by money in the general fund. Because the U.S. general fund runs a negative balance of $1.1 trillion each year…in essence, all federal grants not specifically funded by special taxes are adding directly to the U.S. national debt.

Federal grants are defined and governed by the Federal Grant and Cooperative Agreement Act of 1977, as incorporated in Title 31 Section 6304 of the U.S. Code.

A Federal grant is a
legal instrument reflecting the relationship between the United States Government and a State, a local government, or other entity when
1) the principal purpose of the relationship is to transfer a thing of value to the State or local government or other recipient to carry out a public purpose of support or stimulation authorized by a law of the United States instead of acquiring (by purchase, lease, or barter) property or services for the direct benefit or use of the United States Government; and
2) substantial involvement is not expected between the executive agency and the State, local government, or other recipient when carrying out the activity contemplated in the agreement.”

Types of grants
Block grants are large grants provided from the federal government to state or local governments for use in a general purpose.
Project grants are grants given by the government to fund research projects, such as a research project for medical purposes.
Formula grants provide funds as dictated by a law. Categorical grants may be spent only for narrowly defined purposes and recipients often must match a portion of the federal funds.
33% of categorical grants are considered to be formula grants. About 90% of federal aid dollars are spent for categorical grants.
Earmark grants are explicitly specified in appropriations of the U.S. Congress.
They are not competitively awarded and have become highly controversial because of the heavy involvement of paid political lobbyists used in securing them.

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

Info from previous reports:

Federal Grants: https://atridim.wordpress.com/category/federal-grants/

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

Fiscal Cliff 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 March 27 deadline for the U.S. government shutdown has been averted by yet another stunt by U.S. lawmakers to kick the U.S ‘debt can’ down the road AGAIN until the end of the fiscal year in September … when it will all come back to haunt us AGAIN.

U.S lawmakers finally brought the 2013 budget fight to an end on March 21 by approving a bill that ended the threat of a U.S. government shutdown on March 27. It funds the government through the end of the current fiscal year in September. The measure now set to become law reduces the impact of the $85 billion in forced cuts — called sequestration — to only $59 billion.

It establishes stop-gap budgets for targeted departments and programs. It resets priorities and helps better manage the draconian formula as set forth by the sequestration spending cuts. Overall, the legislation locks in $984 billion in non-entitlement program spending — a tiny drop from the $1.043 trillion initially approved before the forced sequestration cuts took effect.

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I believe I speak for most Americans and many people around the world when I say … we have had enough of the “U.S. Capital Circus”. Its time for America’s president and lawmakers to unite and figure out a real solution to get America off of the deficit spending binge and balance the budget, followed by a way to pay back America’s monumental national debt of $1.7 trillion, which now exceeds America’s GDP. This is an extremely serious world economic issue … the world’s largest! Nothing else comes close in magnitude. Time is running short. Without real, credible action soon, America will fall over the real ‘Fiscal Cliff’ … a point of ‘no return’. It will take much of the world along for the fall.

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: 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/