Can the Budget Ever Be Cut?

The sad story of three new federal budget proposals

President Barack Obama finally released his fifth budget in February. Like his four previous fiscal proposals, this one is stuffed with promises to “invest” in America and “our” children, to grow the economy, and to reduce the deficit. The reality, however, will be more spending and more taxes with zero reform of financially unsustainable entitlement programs.

Portrayed in the press as a great compromise between the austere budget of House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and the excessive spending and high taxes proposed by Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash.), the president’s budget is actually neither conciliatory nor moderate.

When evaluating budget proposals, don’t be hoodwinked by the long-term projections. Those figures are clouded by rosy assumptions and wishful thinking. The real deal is in the outlays for the coming year. In fiscal year 2014 (which begins on October 1, 2013, and ends on September 30, 2014), the president wants to spend a spectacular $3.77 trillion, up from $3.6 trillion this fiscal year. That’s higher than the Ryan plan’s proposed $3.53 trillion, and it’s even higher than the Murray plan’s $3.71 trillion. In other words, the president outspends all comers.

How about the long-term spending path? While these numbers should be taken with a rock of salt, they do illustrate what the author is thinking about the future. All three budgets expand the burden of government spending during the next decade; the difference between them is one of magnitude. 

The Obama and Murray budgets dole out money at a remarkably similar pace. The Murray plan increases spending to $5.68 trillion by fiscal year 2023, while Obama hikes spending to an almost identical $5.66 trillion. Cumulative figures over this period show Obama slightly outspending Murray, $46.5 trillion to $46.3 trillion. By contrast, Ryan’s plan increases spending from $3.53 trillion in fiscal year 2014 to almost $4.95 trillion in fiscal year 2023, for a grand total of $41.4 trillion during the period. Even though this is still too much, the Ryan plan looks like fiscal discipline compared to the Democrats’ proposals.

Obama differentiates himself from both Murray and Ryan in that his plan at least tweaks the sacred cow of Social Security, slightly lowering projected future payouts by changing the way cost-of-living adjustments are calculated. But that’s where the difference stops. Both Obama and Murray undo the nondefense sequester cuts that went into effect on March 1, 2013, while catering to welfare beneficiaries and the middle class. 

Both Ryan and Obama push changes to Medicare into the distant future, avoiding the political discomfort of cutting benefits or changing expectations for today’s retirees. Finally, like Ryan and Murray, Obama restores much of the defense money cut through sequestration, confirming that Democrats and Republicans alike are eager to cater to the military-industrial complex.

The only way to put our country back on a sound fiscal path is to reform the drivers of our future fiscal nightmare—ObamaCare, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. Despite his purported willingness to consider entitlement reform as part of a “grand bargain,” the president’s budget doesn’t propose anything meaningful along those lines. 

Obama offers a switch to a slower-rising gauge of inflation for Social Security as well as some modest reduction to the built-in growth rate of Medicare spending. But much of that supposed discipline is postponed to a date well into the future, after he leaves office, with no enforcement mechanism to ensure cuts happen when that day comes. 

The Ryan plan does make some genuine efforts to confront entitlements. It converts federal Medicaid payments to block grants handed to the states, so that states would have to manage and pay all costs that exceeded the fixed federal amount. It repeals ObamaCare. It introduces as an alternative to Medicare a premium support plan, in which beneficiaries are provided a fixed federal payment for health care premiums, but pushes that reform off until 2024. This is unfortunate, considering that last year’s report from Medicare’s Board of Trustees shows that the program will become insolvent by 2024, if not sooner. Furthermore, Ryan’s proposal includes no credible plan to force future Congresses to implement its reforms.

The president’s plan does handily beat the Senate Democrats’ proposal, which ignores entitlement changes altogether. According to The Washington Post’s editorial board, “There is literally nothing—not a word—suggestive of trimming Social Security, whether through greater means-testing, a more realistic inflation adjustment or reforming disability benefits.”

Revenue projections in all three budgets are equally laughable. They all accept as a starting point that the government will be able to more or less double tax revenue during the next 10 years. Data from the Office of Management and Budget going back to 1980 shows that the historical path of federal taxation averages roughly 18 percent of GDP. If we go back to the 1930s, that number falls to 16.4 percent. Yet all three budgets assume that revenues can reach the high level of 20 percent by 2023.

Both Obama and Murray raise taxes mostly on high-income earners while projecting glorious economic growth rates and revenue collections seemingly unaffected by the larger tax burden. Ryan doesn’t raise taxes beyond their current level and in fact adopts the more current Congressional Budget Office revenue projections. Yet he engages in some fiscal trickery of his own by keeping a baseline that includes tax increases from ObamaCare, despite the fact that his plan would abolish the president’s controversial health care law. He also retains the high marginal tax rates from January’s fiscal cliff deal.

The news from this budget season wasn’t all bad. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) introduced a plan that would seriously cut spending in fiscal year 2014, from its current $3.6 trillion to $3.2 trillion, raise spending over 10 years at a much lower rate than the others, and eliminate the Departments of Housing and Urban Development, Commerce, Education, and Energy while privatizing the Transportation Security Administration. 

The Paul budget also offers an immediate reform of Medicare by switching seniors to the same plan provided to members of Congress, featuring more choice and lower costs. The only really negative point is that it proposes to spend money on defense above sequestration levels. But overall, Paul’s budget is worth praising as the only genuine effort in Washington to reduce the size and scope of government.  

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  • Hash Brown||

    No. It will keep growing until the income tax is 100% of all income. Then the budget will start to level off.

  • sarcasmic||

    Can the Budget Ever Be Cut?

    Government spending comes in the form of employing people or writing checks.

    Any cuts, no matter how small, will cost someone their job or their entitlement check, which is political suicide.

    Short answer: no.

  • CA_StateofMind||

    Yes, it would cost a handful of public positions that can be counted off, thus creating a multitude of private jobs. But, these jobs and their benefits are difficult to account for. The small handful of great individual thinkers (in public office) such as Rand are not enough and will, ultimately, be too slow in any foreseeable change. So, it will take the collapse of control. Inevitable. Soon.

  • SiliconDoc||

    Since Rand came out with 3.57T instead of 2.1T we have exactly ZERO hope.

    The greatest cutter is an increaser.

    Up is down, broke is flush, spending is saving, borrowing is investing, and more is less.

    It could not be more 1984 Orwellian if they all tried.

    It's all one big sick joke including Rand's proposal which is so fat porko no one here should not be blushing.

  • Tony||

    How about we solve problems that won't be problems for 20 or 30 years after we solve problems that are problems now? Like say unemployment, climate, crumbling bridges. Or is there simply no priority in the universe higher than making poor old people poorer and sicker?

  • sarcasmic||

    "Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else."

    -Bastiat

  • Tony||

    All people endeavor to live at the expense of everybody else. Government is what stops them from doing it in socially malignant ways.

  • RightNut||

    Welfare whores are not socially malignant? All government has done is monopolize malignance.

  • Tony||

    I presume you're not referring to the tax cheats and corporate lobbies who are doing the real fleecing, thanks largely to your libertarian interpretation of spending in elections becoming official policy.

  • sarcasmic||

    I presume you're not referring to the tax cheats and corporate lobbies who are doing the real fleecing

    Yeah. When a company manages to lower its tax bill it's receiving a subsidy. Never mind that a subsidy is a transfer from one to another. Since the corporations are paying into the government, not receiving payments from the government, they are not subsidized.

    But we'll say that they are because it feels good. Even though it's a lie.

  • SiliconDoc||

    I think the governmental laws and regulations do plenty to subsidize the monopolistic positional outcomes of the big corpo lobbies.

    They probably cut their legs as often as do them huge favors, the problem being the small competition is chopped down and the carcasses gobbled up -

    Then the FED powers up the plunge protection team and "welfare" for the loafers and griefers looks very likely to be a smaller portion of the handouts pie.

  • Anomalous||

    Every dollar that the government doesn't get from you is a dollar stolen, by Tony's way of thinking.

  • ||

    "I presume you're not referring to the tax cheats and corporate lobbies who are doing the real fleecing, thanks largely to your libertarian interpretation of spending in elections becoming official policy."

    Yes, corporate lobbying began with Citizens United. Also, it's funny that you pin the blame on the rare cases in which the government has allowed freedom. There's just too much liberty left, and it's causing all our problems, right?

  • CA_StateofMind||

    All people endeavor to live successfully. The only righteous method being one of benefit to everybody. Government attempts to solve inconsistencies. But, as a powerful "representative majority", it has biases that affect more than not. Ultimately, government hinders individuals from acting socially.

  • sarcasmic||

    You still don't understand the difference between voluntary and involuntary transactions. Distinctions aren't your strong suit.

  • Tony||

    Distinctions are your only suit. It's not your fault; clearly your brain is wired for black and white thinking. Tough break, but you're not alone. There are many people like you in fundamentalist religions all over the world.

    It's why you can't even begin to wrap your mind around the problem of creating pure voluntariness in a world where we can't destroy and remake society every time a new infant comes into it, and not only because infants can't make choices.

  • sarcasmic||

    You took that strawman to task. Wow. That was quite a beating.

  • Tony||

    Ah the release valve. Just say the word strawman, even if there isn't a strawman to be found because you clearly don't know what the word means. All black/white brains need a release valve. Because, you know, the world is not actually all black and white, and that must make it terribly difficult for you.

  • sarcasmic||

    Because, you know, the world is not actually all black and white

    I never said it was. You are arguing against an argument I never made. Textbook strawman.

  • ||

    Tony:
    "Because, you know, the world is not actually all black and white"

    Does this imply that you think some of it is black and white? Could you please explain which parts?

  • CE||

    Stealing is wrong. Start with that.

  • sarcasmic||

    Stealing is wrong. Start with that.

    It's not stealing when the government does it! Government is us! We are government! How can we steal from ourselves?

  • ||

    When the president does it, that means it's not illegal. Wait, I mean...

  • Anomalous||

    +1

  • ||

    Tony:
    "All people endeavor to live at the expense of everybody else."

    This implies that you endeavor to live at the expense of everybody else. Is this correct? That would explain a lot.

  • SiliconDoc||

    It's common knowledge everyone is a permanent sociopath isn't it ?

    You didn't build that for you.

    Thank you, B Hussein the hurt.

  • ||

    "Government is what stops them from doing it in socially malignant ways."

    Except for all the corporate lobbying that you refer to later, in which it doesn't stop them, right?

  • John C. Randolph||

    No, Tony. Government is what ENABLES then to do it socially malignant ways.

    -jcr

  • acidovorax||

    All people endeavor to live at the expense of everybody else.

    Unsupported assertion is false.

  • SiliconDoc||

    Now that brings me to the often stated political talking point assertion:

    Democrats believe humans are inherently good and republicans believe there is evil in the world/ in man's heart.

    I just never thought that was correct.
    Here we have a Tony that looks to be an angry lefty and he claims all humans are evil and government is the saving grace counter to that.

    I rest half my case.

  • Bryan C||

    Tony just dusts off that same paragraph every 20 or 30 years.

  • Loki||

    Tony just dusts off that same paragraph every 20 or 30 years minutes.

    FTFY. Tiresome troll is tiresome. And apparently in rare form today. Clearly he forgot to take his lithium this morning.

  • Floridian||

    Tony,
    What is your position on the 7 other ice ages that started and ended before the Industrial Age? I ask because it seems like there was warming and cooling before man made co2 emissions.

  • KDN||

    I do not not have any thoughts. I am just a piece of plastic.

    /table rod Valeri Zelepukin, c. 1995. Also applicable to Tony since he's not a real person.

  • Floridian||

    I don't know who that is. I googled it and I got a hockey player. Is that a quote from him?

  • KDN||

    It's from a local Devils promo commercial from way back when with two kids playing table rod hockey (NHL foosball) and the announcer going to "Valeri Zelepukin" after he scores a goal to beat the Rangers. I didn't expect anybody to get the reference, but what he says is always the first thing that comes to mind whenever Tony posts anything.

  • Floridian||

    Ok. Thanks. I tried googling it like 9 different ways and was at a loss.

  • Tony||

    But none of those transitions happened nearly so rapidly and none were caused by human activity.

  • Floridian||

    Well that is kind of my point. If we had multiple warming and cooling periods before, how do we know this current warming trend is caused by humans?

  • Tony||

    Because it's been demonstrated by decades of research. Again, this warming is not like any of those other periods because of its rapidity. Even slow climate change causes large disruptions in the ecosphere. Fast ones are guaranteed to be disastrous. You don't have to subscribe to the precautionary principle to believe that we shouldn't alter the global environment to a state that never existed since the human species came about. Whether humans caused it is irrelevant to that point, except we did.

  • Floridian||

    What changes do you support in fighting climate change? Also have you consider that warmer temperatures could lead to greater human expansion in the north due to milder weather? I mean to say land lost to rising water could be off set by new habitable land in previous cold regions.

  • Tony||

    Rapid elimination of fossil fuel energy use and rapid implementation of clean energy, and we're almost certainly going to need to find a way to take some of the extra CO2 out of the atmosphere that's already there.

    There may be local effects that, in the short-term, will be "positive," but they will be accompanied by a lot of other negative local effects, not to mention the likelihood of impossible-to-reverse runaway events, and who the fuck are you to tell some poor Bangladeshi he has to be forced to endure the certain-to-be negative effects in his local environment because you have an irrational attachment to fossil fuel energy?

  • sarcasmic||

    not to mention the likelihood of impossible-to-reverse runaway events

    Which have never actually happened in the long history of this planet, but somehow human activity is special. My goodness you're vain.

  • Tony||

    That is not an argument sarcasmic. Clearly we can radically alter the climate over a hundred-year timespan, because we have observed it happening.

  • sarcasmic||

    Clearly we can radically alter the climate over a hundred-year timespan, because we have observed it happening.

    Correlation is causation! Computer models are infallible! All kneel to the Church of Global Warming! Repent your carbon sinning ways or we will all burn in the Great Fire! The End of the World is nigh! Repent! Repent!

  • SiliconDoc||

    Al Gore gave us all 10 years to live before the "runaway event" over 10 years ago.
    I watched his scientist (Congressional testifier) get ripped to shreds on C-Span Morning Journal - only a Political scientist
    He cited himself and Al Gore and said the AGW EXTINCTION LEVEL EVENT was soon to hit and we'd all be DEAD like the dinosaurs.

    So when the lefty fruit loops on one hand scream overpopulation is destroying Gaia and must be dealt with through abortion and other means and on the other whine when they claim the depopulation they so desperately desire is soon upon us in a runaway searing co2 earth orb, I say: " THEN SHUT THE **** UP ALREADY ! "

    Yeah, if they just shut their stupid traps they would get the depopulation they so desperately desire and the destruction would be so gross that "de-industrialization" would have a huge kick start or actually "be here".

    Could someone please make up Tony's mind for him ?
    I hope I did. He can go home, curl up on the cat's pillow and weep till the cows (methane bombs) all die, his desired great transformation is on the way, Mother Earth is going to show those evil humans once and for all...

    It's all so perfect for them, all tony has to do is shut his stupid fat trap !

  • CA_StateofMind||

    "tell some poor Bangladeshi he has to be forced to endure the certain-to-be negative effects in his local environment because you have an irrational attachment to fossil fuel energy?"

    Or the world's insatiable appetite for those same fuels and oils his part of the world supplies us, manufacturing (metals, vehicles, electrical equipment, precious stones/jewelry), fertilizers (for the world's farming industry), various fabrics (cotton), and, most importantly, his labor...

  • Floridian||

    I'm not sure where I said I was going to force anyone to do anything. I was asking your personal position. I think the force would come from dictating what energy source people have to use. From what I understand fracking has reduced co2 levels more than any other scheme. Also scientist don't fully understand ice ages of the past. I don't know how they can predict the future when they don't understand the past. Also I think conservation is the smart way to go. People like saving money, hence the boom in energy efficiency as opposed to forcing expensive energy. I think you would get more support for your position if you tried free market energy efficiency vs government force. Also it would most likely be more effective in the long run.

  • sarcasmic||

    I'm not sure where I said I was going to force anyone to do anything.

    In Tony's view, if you want to stop government from using force on people, then it's going to take force. So what if your use of force is in response to someone else initiating force. Distinctions aren't his strong suit. Force is being used. Therefore libertarians who want to stop the government from initiating force on people want to use force on those who initiate force. So libertarianism is all about using force. To Tony libertarians are tyrants and dictators because they would force those who initiate force to stop initiating force. See?

  • JWatts||

    From what I understand fracking has reduced co2 levels more than any other scheme.

    Yes, pretty much. The US has substantially cut it's CO2 production. It's primarily due to the switch to cheap natural gas from coal as a fuel source in electricity production.

  • ||

    Tony:
    There may be local effects that, in the short-term, will be "positive," but they will be accompanied by a lot of other negative local effects, not to mention the likelihood of impossible-to-reverse runaway events

    It's clear that you understand the unintended consequences, and short-term vs. long-term effects.

    Tony:

    How about we solve problems that won't be problems for 20 or 30 years after we solve problems that are problems now?

    Hmmm. We seem to have encountered a contradiction.

  • acidovorax||

    There may be local effects that, in the short-term, will be "positive," but they will be accompanied by a lot of other negative local effects

    Uhhh...this holds for your "solution" as well. Convenient to ignore the negative externalities from your proposed course, while railing "externalities" against your opponents.

    not to mention the likelihood of impossible-to-reverse runaway events

    Impossible to predict.

    and who the fuck are you to tell some poor Bangladeshi he has to be forced to endure the certain-to-be negative effects in his local environment because you have an irrational attachment to fossil fuel energy?

    "Irrational"? What is irrational about our use of fossil fuels? Your childish mischaracterizing of our current preference for fossil fuels as an "attachment" aside.

  • Jordan||

    Because it's been demonstrated by decades of research.

    Meanwhile, the climate priests are busy walking back their doomsday predictions now that their infallible models have been show to be incomplete and unreliable.

  • Tony||

    You don't know what you're talking about.

  • Jordan||

  • sarcasmic||

    Uh huh.

    Corporatist propaganda! They're only after profits! Profits from voluntary transactions are theft! Only money obtained through coercion is legitimate! Why do you lick the corporate boots that hold you down?!?

  • ||

    And never mind that America's CO2 output is actually lower than it was 20 years ago.

  • SiliconDoc||

    We're going down the drain.

    I hope that pleases Tony as much as I know it will.

  • SiliconDoc||

    Your data is a joke and a crime.

  • d_remington||

    Because it's been demonstrated by decades of research.

    Nope.

    Again, this warming is not like any of those other periods because of its rapidity.

    Unsupported by any evidence. We don't have temperature readings from the other ice ages, so we have no idea how rapid they were.

    You don't have to subscribe to the precautionary principle to believe that we shouldn't alter the global environment to a state that never existed since the human species came about.

    The precautionary principle is useless without a cost benefit analysis.

  • ||

    Because a handful of scientist gazed into the palantir and beheld the truth of the universe.

    Now get in line prole so we can reeducate you for asking too many questions.

  • sarcasmic||

    Not just any scientists. Government approved scientists.

  • Floridian||

    Tony,
    I responded to you but it got buried in the thread above.

  • Floridian||

    I guess he left. I was looking forward to his opinion on a free market solution to his global warming problem. Maybe another time.

  • sarcasmic||

    I was looking forward to his opinion on a free market solution to his global warming problem.

    That's the same as doing nothing. If there is no force of government behind the solution, then it doesn't count. Force is the only way to get everyone on board. Market solutions have no such guarantee because choice is involved. Choice must be taken away because free people are free make the wrong choices. By "wrong" I mean "not the same choice he would like them to make."

  • Floridian||

    I like conservation because it saves me money. I think that is a choice most people will make voluntarily as long as it is cost effective. I think if tony really believes we need to reduce co2 he would support a voluntary method that does not destroy the economy in the process. I was hoping to get him to see the point I was trying to make. Incentives vs government mandates.

  • sarcasmic||

    He doesn't believe in voluntary anything. Only force.

    People can't be counted on to voluntarily make the choices that he wants them to make, so they must be forced.

    Also, when no force is involved then you can't expect universal participation. What's the point of doing anything if people are allowed the freedom to make the choice to not participate?

    So anything voluntary is out of the picture. There must be a threat of violence ensuring universal participation or there's no point. You might as well do nothing.

  • JWatts||

    By "wrong" I mean "not the same choice he would like them to make."

    This is the bedrock foundation of most modern Progressive beliefs. That "choices" should be constrained by the government so that the citizens proles can only choose from among the "right" choices.

    If you dispute that the government should be able to constrain our free will or even what those "right" choices should be, you are a fascist, evil, redneck, bitter, gun toting, religious, libertarian right wing nut. They genuinely believe that anyone that doesn't agree with them must be ignorant if not actually mentally deficient.

  • sarcasmic||

    They genuinely believe that anyone that doesn't agree with them must be ignorant if not actually mentally deficient.

    Yep.

    Tolerance means not tolerating intolerance, with intolerance being disagreement.

    Inclusiveness means including everyone who agrees, and excluding everyone who does not.

    Equality means that everyone who agrees is equal, and everyone else is inferior.

  • Inigo M.||

    The palantir, eh? Didn't that turn out to be the Eye of Sauron?

  • SiliconDoc||

    Yes,the NSA has it now.

  • Robert||

    The failure to solve those problems now won't affect the likelihood of solving the future problems. There's so much spending overall that for all practical purposes these are independent events. So I see nothing wrong with working on any problem at any time, in the hope that some will turn out to be tractable.

  • Inigo M.||

    Absolutely! And while they are at it, why not also solve the problem of illness in young children and cute puppies, as well as the heartache that comes with romantic breakups?

    The reality is that it is NOT government's JOB to solve every problem in the world. Nor can it if it tried. (It has tried on many occasions, which usually leads to unintended consequences and/or an exacerbation of the problems.)

    Not to mention the old people getting poorer and sicker is a false choice, and a worn out and tired false choice at that.

  • KDN||

    You neglected to mention that two of the three priorities are irrelevant to the question of budget-cutting:

    unemployment
    Scaling back the de facto permadole unleashed by expanded unemployment benefits and ease of SSDI enrollment since roughly 2008 will certainly cut the budget and likely lower structural unemployment while improving labor force participation.

    Now that gridlock has eliminated regulatory uncertainty for the time being we have seen a bit of an uptick in private economic activity (the life's blood of any job creation cycle), but this can be improved by further scaling back the red tape already present which will have the side effect of cutting the budget.

    climate
    Even if AGW is your bag, it's irrelevant to the discussion. You can impose all of the climate-saving policies you want while still budget cutting, especially since most ideas are just tax hikes anyway.

    crumbling bridges
    Infrastructure is really quite cheap provided you don't lard everything up with toll-takers' benefit plans. Fixing this issue can be done easily while cutting the budget, especially if you know how to prioritize. Which, thanks to the Democrats' post-Watergate reforms, the executive is no longer permitted to do.

  • Jordan||

    Our bridge infrastructure is actually in better condition than it has been for decades.

  • Mr. Soul||

    re: unemployment.
    The private sector has made those hard choices. I will never understand why the public sector is immune to downsizing. Even if we wanted big government, we cant afford it. Jobs need to be cut.

  • SiliconDoc||

    Not to mention the old people getting poorer and sicker is a false choice when they indeed according to all the data Tony claims is government perfection claims they are the very richest quintile over the whole earth.

  • MoMark||

    Tony

    Do you ever lay awake at night and dream of a way that you could separate yourself from the kinds of people that populate this blog? Dream of a place or system where libertarians would be forced to live with the consequence of unregulated markets, no welfare, and smaller government and would pay the price for not listening to people like you?

    And where you Tony could live with your fellow enlightened spirits unencumbered by the likes of libertarians, where government could insure jobs for all, fair wages, homes for all, medical care etc., and where all “priorities of the universe” will be met?

  • Tony||

    Libertarians add some useful things to political dialogue, and their function should be to push back against abuses of individual liberty perpetrated by both the right and the left. They just need to read a few more books than the 2 or 3 that makes them think they know everything there is to know about economics. Since they're not going to, they should probably just shut up about things they are embarrassingly, obviously, constantly wrong about.

  • ||

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    $

  • Jordan||

    Projection: not just a river in Egypt.

  • CA_StateofMind||

    Tony, what are you talking about? Since 1946, it has only taken one book: Economics in One Lesson.

  • Tony||

    Thank you for making my point.

  • CA_StateofMind||

    I did nothing of the sort.

  • Tony||

    Simple does not equal true. Hazlitt presents emotional/ideological desires and assumptions as facts and specifically dismisses the need for empirical data (in favor of his fun counterfactuals and stories). That is not an economics book, but a political book. Libertarian economics is always actually politics, because it begins and ends with political first principles and never, ever has any math or data to back it up, and pooh-poohs the very notion.

    If you make facts subservient to political beliefs, you are irrational.

  • sarcasmic||

    Hazlitt presents emotional/ideological desires and assumptions as facts and specifically dismisses the need for empirical data (in favor of his fun counterfactuals and stories).

    No. He uses logic and abstract reasoning. Neither of which your broken brain can do.

  • CA_StateofMind||

    I could supply you with research that indicates that USA versus Switzerland (one national example) impact of central governance is more unstable, unsustainable, corrupt and less free, but I would rather you view the material, yourself, for the first time - for shock value.

    And Republican/Democratic/Green/Constitution economics are not political in any aspect. Please, open your eyes and read what you are writing.

  • sarcasmic||

    It's still one more book than you have read on the subject.

  • Hopfiend||

    recommend the book that supports your economic position please. I'm open minded.

  • sarcasmic||

    recommend the book that supports your economic position please.

    Try the Communist Manifesto.

  • KDN||

    Nonsense. The Manifesto, as per its title, is a political book. Das Kapital was the correct answer.

  • Hopfiend||

    I've not cracked Das Kapital. Maybe I should.

  • sarcasmic||

    Read Economics in One Lesson first.
    Seriously. It's a good read. I ordered it in hardcover for like seven bucks. Or you can read it on your computer.

    http://steshaw.org/economics-in-one-lesson/

  • John C. Randolph||

    They just need to read a few more books than the 2 or 3 that makes them think they know everything there is to know about economics.

    I'll match my knowledge of economics to your fetish for court astrology any day of the week, pinhead.

    -jcr

  • triclops||

    The Soviet Union is gone, unfortunately for Tony.
    Tony also has brilliant logic here; AGW, therefore drastic intrusive crony-ready carbon schemes, that even if they worked perfectly according to the most silly optimistic scenarios, wouldn't make a dent. Because we must do something, whether it makes sense or not! (Which, BTW, process that the climate change schemes are nothing more than signaling and anxiety reduction)

  • ||

    There's a statist solution to that: one world government. Force every country to abide by some carbon scheme.

    Since governments are a fan of governments, it's amazing that they aren't clamoring for this. I guess it's government for thee, but not for me.

  • ||

    "How about we solve problems that won't be problems for 20 or 30 years after we solve problems that are problems now? Like say unemployment, climate, crumbling bridges."

    I give up: why don't they solve those problems? They've been claiming to do so for many years. I'd think they'd have it down by now.

    I assume Democrats in government will begin championing brave global warming initiatives, once they become really popular.

  • CA_StateofMind||

    I can help solve all those problems for you in two words: remove government.

  • ||

    If we forced companies to hire people, maybe through some law that carried a penaltax for not doing so, we could eliminate unemployment overnight.

    If we destroyed the entire country of china (buildings, people, cars, everything) that would remove 1/7th of the icky humans that put a strain on our food and energy resources, plus instantly reduce CO2 emissions, thus saving the environment.

    The solution for crumbling bridges is to make sure most of the unemployed that are hired are done so by the cronies who work in the infrastructure construction area.

    There, problems solved.

  • ||

    Or how about this solution to unemployment:

    1. Ban all mechanized farming equipment and the use of chemicals in agriculture.
    2. Ban all factory machinery.

    People would have to shift to a massive, hands-only agrarian/manufacturing economy just to stay alive. Unemployment solved.

    See? Some things you just need the government to do, because the market never does them.

  • ||

    Yes, but that doesn't have the added benefit of holding a gun to someone's head and forcing them to hire.

    Dicks like Tony need that adrenaline rush.

  • CE||

    Or the added jobs for the gun-holders, and the added economic multiplier effect they will have when they spend their taxpayer provided pensions!

  • Inigo M.||

    Guns would be banned under that system, so there would be none to hold to anyone's head. So they'd have to substitute something else. Maybe Pop-Tarts chewed into the shape of a gun. No, wait those would be banned as well.

  • ||

    The guns come in at the border fences, but, here, they point inwards, instead of out.

    Something for everyone.

  • Rasilio||

    "How about we solve problems that won't be problems for 20 or 30 years after we solve problems that are problems now? Like say unemployment, climate, crumbling bridges."


    Uhhh, even under the most pessimistic assessment by the IPCC climate won't really be a problem for more than 50 years, further the US could go completely carbon neutral and according to those same assessments that would only buy us another 20 or 30 years.

    Further, Medicare becomes insolvent in a mere decade

  • Loki||

    Further, Medicare becomes insolvent in a mere decade

    And it even says so in the article, but that would of course require Phony to actually read something other than standard issue left-wing bullshit.

    Last week I proposed starting a publishing house to sell handsome leather bound collectors sets of various book that prog-tards like to keep on their shelves and never read, just show off to other lefties as a signal that they have the "right thoughts." I think if I did that I'd have my number one customer. At least until I take all his money and give it to the KOCHTOPUSS!!!!11!!!!

  • Contrarian P||

    "Or is there simply no priority in the universe higher than making poor old people poorer and sicker?"

    I believe I responded to your continuous stream of ad hominem attacks in another thread, but permit me to do so again. Either come up with specific examples of anyone here advocating making old people poorer or sicker, or stop making unfounded accusations that are little more than appeals to emotion since you lack the capacity to produce logical argumentation.

  • CE||

    Climate is a problem now? I thought that was 30 years off, when sea levels rise by a half an inch or so....

  • burserker||

    yeah, we need to focus on the weather and bridges, hopefully they are shovel ready

  • SiliconDoc||

    Solving climate - a huge problem right now...
    So I believe you're either completely stupid and/or insane, and given the modern pop psych culture and usual average intellect, I'm leaning toward both.

    Crumbling bridges... : Donald Trump pointed he tried and his lawyers checked into it and said 12 years minimum to build one because of all the red tape.
    So if you want that one solved your main goal should be to get the government out of the way, then make certain they keep all the other insane crybabies out of the way.

    As far as "solving climate" you are indeed a loonbird.

  • RightNut||

    Even though this is still too much, the Ryan plan looks like fiscal discipline compared to the Democrats’ proposals.

    And that is the problem. If Democrats and the media can say Ryan's budget cuts to the bone then it puts the starting point for any budget negotiations right in Democrats hands. Which is exactly where it shouldn't be.

  • Jerryskids||

    Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) introduced a plan that would .... raise spending over 10 years at a much lower rate than the others...

    ...Paul’s budget is worth praising as the only genuine effort in Washington to reduce the size and scope of government.

    What RightNut said.

  • CE||

    How about a 12.5 percent budget cut every year for 8 years? That would solve many problems.

  • JWatts||

    You realize that's not going to get you to zero, right? ;)

  • SiliconDoc||

    He no doubt meant after the planned increases and added emergency measures minus the deductions for inflation in addition to the future lockbox allowances two years after receipts are recounted and nearing expenditures reassessed and final balancing is set to be updated toward completion.

  • Loki||

    Do you guys realize that most of this thread was taken up by people responding to and arguing with the retarded kid who smells like piss and spends most of his down time making outragous claims like that he invented the question mark and accusing chessnuts of being lazy?

  • ||

    Chestnuts ARE incredibly lazy.

  • Inigo M.||

    Why are they lazy? Is it because they just sit there roasting by an open fire instead of intervening to prevent Jack Frost from nipping at anyone's nose?

  • CE||

    Of course spending can be cut. The federal budget is twice as big now as it was in the Clinton administration, when it was already way too big. Even in inflation adjusted terms, they wouldn't have to go back very many years to cut spending by 50 percent.

  • davislisa01||

    my roomate's mom makes $74/hour on the computer. She has been out of a job for eight months but last month her check was $18600 just working on the computer for a few hours. Read more on this site... www.CNN13.com

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  • ||

    That’s higher than the Ryan plan’s proposed $3.53 trillion http://www.amazines.com/articl.....id=5784894 , and it’s even higher than the Murray plan’s $3.71 trillion. In other words, the president outspends all comers.

  • ||

    That’s higher than the Ryan plan’s proposed $3.53 trillion http://www.amazines.com/articl.....id=5784894 , and it’s even higher than the Murray plan’s $3.71 trillion. In other words, the president outspends all comers.

  • Mark22||

    You can't cut, but you can let the entitlements inflate away. That would be even easier if we got a bit of inflation back.

  • RannedPall||

    Do you want teh budget to be cut or moar roadz?!?!?!?!!111?!?11 TEH ROADZ!1!11!111!!!

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