Spending

Don't Worry, Partisan Politics Isn't Getting in the Way of Government Spending

Climate strikes, "Medicare for All," national security whistleblowers, and Canadian blackface scandals are all distractions from D.C.'s core function: spending more money than we have.

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What's got your goat right now? Maybe it's all those climate-change strikes that are giving schoolkids cover for playing hooky on a beautful early Autumn day. Or maybe it's that we're not doing enough to combat climate change. Blackface is back in the news, thanks to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's compulsion to impersonate other races. What else is going on? Unending modifications by Democratic presidential candidates to the theme of "Medicare for All." An intriguing and emerging possible scandal involving Donald Trump, the Ukraine, and interference in the 2016 presidential election. Or maybe it's actually an intriguing and emerging scandal involving the deep state trying to hamstring a president.

There isn't a day—an hour, really—that goes by where you can't lose yourself in breaking news or developments in all sorts of stories. Which is exactly how the people running the federal government probably want it. While we're outraged or flummoxed by the latest outrage du jour, the feds manage to keep spending more and more money that we don't have. The practice is so routine that only oddballs such as Rep. Justin Amash (I–Mich.) even bother pointing it out anymore:

But hallelujah, the members of the House of Representatives put aside their deep divides on whatever to make sure the cash keeps flowing without any interruption. From CNN's account:

The House of Representatives on Thursday passed a bill to temporarily extend funding for the federal government and avert a shutdown at the end of the month.

The bill, approved 301-123, will extend funding at current levels with limited exceptions through November 21, potentially setting up an end-of-the-year showdown over government spending that could drag into the holiday season.

The Senate will need to pass the bill next for it to make it to President Donald Trump's desk for his signature.

The federal government's fiscal year ends on September 30. Through the first 11 months of the current fiscal year, the government managed to spend so much money that the deficit topped $1 trillion by the end of August. Not so long ago, it took a full year and a major economic downturn to produce so much red ink. Nowadays, we can do it simply through sheer will. The Wall Street Journal reports:

Higher spending on the military, rising interest expenses on government debt and weak revenues early in the fiscal year combined to push the deficit up 19% from October through August, compared with the same period a year earlier. Government spending climbed 7%, to $4.1 trillion, outpacing higher federal tax receipts, which grew 3%, to $3.1 trillion.

So as we're getting bent out of shape by an unending litany of outrages, annoyances, and ephemeral stories, just remember that there is in fact one great thing that both Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, agree on: We can always spend more money.

Bonus video: Here's a primer on the problems with deficit spending. The short version is that it reduces economic growth, misallocates resources, and will eventually cause inflation, higher taxes, major disruptions in programs that people rely on, or some toxic mix of all those things.

 

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  1. Check out the sweet rack on that chick in front.

    1. Thanks for the nightmare fuel

    2. Chuck U. Schumer doesn’t appreciate you staring at his rack.

  2. Kudos Nick. Literally caught me as I got fired up about drag queens story hour.

    “Which is exactly how the people running the federal government probably want it.”

    Not probably, definitely.

    Also, don’t forget the wars both parties continue to push. Progressives and neo-cons make strange bedfellows

  3. Stop whining, whiners. Your betters know what they are doing. Empty your pockets and shut up.

    1. I had to stifle laughter. Because right now that’s exactly how it’s going.

  4. Blaming Bush and Obama is all too typical of Nick, when Trump is MUCH worse on dent. In only three years, Trump’s GOP will have added more new 8-year debt than Obama did after 8 years. (CBO forecast). And Trump is the first President to ever increase deficits by over 45% … in a single year … with a growing economy. Add that to the cultured of failure in the White House.

    Even worse if one realizes that Obama’s worst deficits were largely created by Bush’s crazed spending on TARP and the GOP’s obscene looting of the income tax to “pay for” Medicare Prescriptions Medicare now steals over $300 billion per year, over 20% of the entire federal income tax. This is larger than the Trust Fund balance, which would have otherwise gone bankrupt years ago. So Republicans bailed out the left’s largest “socialist” program … and are now even worse.

    Or that Obama’s debt came from inheriting the second worst recession since the 1930s. Trump’s debt is despite inheriting the longest recovery for an incoming President … ever … inherited from Obama.

    Back when libertarians were sill libertarian, we never took partisan sides, knowing that Left – Right = Zero, as a growing number of Americans now agree. When will Reason join the growing number of independents that Matt and Nick once claimed were the dominant factor in America’s political evolution toward … individual liberty? Time to catch up with America!

    1. Obama’s reduction in deficit was TARP money being repaid much of it by banks that never wanted to be forced to take the money in the first place like BBT, Wells Fargo, United Bankshares. The rest was the best legislation in the last 20 years, the sequester but it unfortunately couldn’t last.

      1. “”GOP’s obscene looting of the income tax to “pay for” Medicare Prescriptions Medicare now steals over $300 billion per year, over 20% of the entire federal income tax”‘

        Just think how much more looting will occur when all medial care is funded by the government.

        1. Too bad the right has NOTHING as an alternative. Not any more.

          1. NOTHING is the alternative! Anything but NOTHING is UN-Constitutional and an act of communism.

    2. Hi!

      Good luck putting a comment like this in when the GOP morning shift here has barely had time to grab their coffee. Good luck!

      1. Ahahahahah you’re agreeing with Hihn ahhahaahjahajahahahahaahha

        AHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHHAAHAHHA

        You’re agreeing with Hihn AHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAJAAJ

      1. LeaveTrumpAloneLibertarian = TheLibertyTruthTeller = F44.81

    3. You’re seriously going to defend Obama’s gigantic crony capitalism, Keynesianism, and vote buying? Fuck off slaver.

      1. Learn how to read, asshoile.
        And to think.

        Pay attention:
        OBAMA’S DEFICITS WERE APPALLING, AFTER 8 YEARS. BUT
        TRUMP’S ARE ALREADY WORSE …. AFTER ONLY THREE YEARS.
        HOW IS THAT ‘DEFENDING OBAMA.

        1. You’re going to pretend that “Obama’s malfeasance wasn’t as bad as Trump’s is” isn’t a defense of Obama?

          You’re just a vile little troll.

      2. Learn how to read, asshoile.
        And to think.

        Pay attention:
        OBAMA’S DEFICITS WERE APPALLING, AFTER 8 YEARS. BUT
        TRUMP’S ARE ALREADY WORSE …. AFTER ONLY THREE YEARS.
        HOW IS THAT ‘DEFENDING OBAMA. AND HOW CAN YOU DEFEND TRUMP BEING FAR WORSE ON THE DEBT??

        Left – Right = Zero/

        1. Lie… Obama ran a deficit 2x what Trump is doing.

    4. How did this Country filled with just average people wanting to live without worry get to be so paranoid of each other.

      1. You’ve just described the basis of every communists countries failure. When dictation (throne power) sets in; the (average people) citizens become very worried about who is on the throne.

  5. How about the following as a remedy for deficit spending? Justin Amash proposes legislation requiring every congresscreature count from 0 to a trillion, by millions, before any spending package can be approved.

    1. REAL libertarians have had workable solutions — NOT JUST WHINING — for several decades. They all start from the premise — in today’s phrasing — that only voters will EVER drain the swamp. DUH.

      In one version, taxpayers could allocate what percentage of their taxes is spent on each department … including zero … and what percentage to spending cuts (then to tax cuts. when the budget is balanced.) Some would allocate every dollar to the welfare state; some entirely to military. But if only ONE person allocates even 1% to debt reduction … do the math.

      The guy everyone here hates — Hihn — who is REALLY anyone who doesn’t slurp Trump’s cock (wink wink) — proposed, in the mid-90s, a stronger version of Reagan’s New Federalism (which was squashed by his own party. In New New Federalism, each state would decide which programs they want full control over — with the rest at the federal level — with tax revenues flowing in both directions for full financing.
      1) Now we have only ONE level that’s funding and managing each program …so SOMEBODY can be finally accountable, instead of funding from all three levels, where nobody is accountable (that’s intentional.).

      Then the fun part.

      2) Every ten years or so, federal and state must compete .. for each program, in each state. We now have them competing for the coin of their realm … power. VOTERS pick the winners per program, and per state.

      Oh … , each level would pocket the savings they create — for debt reduction, tax cuts, and/or whatever voters decide (also a direct vote).

      Washington State has, in its constitution, a fixed limit on government spending growth, with a formula that allows higher total spending ONLY to keep up with population and inflation. (Fixed dollars per resident.) Any surplus revenues MUST be set aside into “rainy day” fund, for downturns. (which is ACTUAL Keynesianism) It was stunning to watch, when I lived there. BOTH parties fought to defend surpluses for that “rainy day” fund, because THEY may get stuck with increasing taxes, and/or cutting programs. In a downturn. (That one is not voter-directed.)

      Those are just the easiest to explain, from back in the day, of real libertarians. “Limiting government” is a STUPID priority, compared with “empowering the people.” Which of those two (limiting vs empowerment) would get YOU elected? (assuming a platform)

      Ignoring will of the people is a TOTAL failure … as is all the sneering at, and ridiculing, of “socialism.” That’s why libertarianISM is rejected by 91% of libertariANS,. (Cato survey)

      In almost every actual policy proposal from “pro-liberty” libertarians, voters determine the total spending and/or priorities. Legislatures then manage the details. Because …

      America has both debt and runaway spending for only one reason … politicians cannot set priorities within a fixed budget … it’s not their fault. We’ve delegated too many powers. UNdelegating powers is both Jeffersonian and Randian. “Consent of the governed.”

      1. Ah a Fellow Washingtonian. Hello From Bellingham, Whatcom County the Furthest NW Point on the Lower 48.

  6. Let Greta the Scandanavian kid decide how much we spend.

    1. Someone needs to get her vaping.

  7. Spending 11 billion dollars a day. Seems like they could get by on less maybe.

  8. >>What’s got your goat right now?

    i’m paying for xm radio and now there’s an exclusive phish channel but they’re only playing like eleven songs

    also i want the KSU-OSU football game tomorrow but it’s on espn+ wtf is that they want *more* money so i can watch the game on my phone like i’m fourteen

          1. even better thanks.

    1. Please tell me that those songs aren’t all just from Big Boat.

      1. no but you’d think their catalog consisted of 1 complete show from each of ’93, ’97, ’03 and ’12, Mr. Completely from STL ’19 and Ruby Waves from Alpine Valley ’19

        it’s like they don’t know relisten.net exists yet

    2. “”i’m paying for xm radio and now there’s an exclusive phish channel but they’re only playing like eleven songs “”

      Is that like 24 hours of material?

      1. hilarious yes but they’ve been on for like 46 days

  9. It’s all a big show put on for us…hashing it out tooth and nail arguing over silly shit…as they both agree to fleece us.

  10. Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, agree on: We can always spend more money.

    Come on Nick. You know spending bills originate in the Democrat-controlled house. What are the Republicans supposed to do? NOT vote on these bills in the Senate, or actually veto a spending bill as the President promised to do? Come on, it’s the Democrats who are to blame!

      1. Tell us Tulpa, what are the Republicans to do in such a situation!?!?

        You wouldn’t agree with Nick would you, that both parties are equally to blame with our spending problems, would you?

        1. It’s the American voters who are to blame for the spending problems. No politician in either party can cut spending without getting kicked out of office.

          The way to deal with too much government spending has to be educational and through reforms, not through voting for cuts.

          1. No politician in either party can cut spending without getting kicked out of office.

            I don’t know how to rationalize this with the fact that plenty of Republicans were elected as tea party candidates. They literally ran on the platform that we are spending too much, and are therefore taxed enough (already).

            Donald Trump run on the platform of eliminating the debt (not deficit, but debt) in 8 years. Yet somehow he was elected.

            Republicans in Congress, along with President Clinton delivered a balanced budget in 1998-2001. The Republicans maintained control of the House up until 2006, and only lost control of the Senate in the 107th Congress during that time. There’s no indication that losing Congress in 2006 had anything to do with the Republicans balanced budgets.

            1. Did tea party candidates get even close close to a majority in congress? No. I.e., as a whole, the American voters didn’t go for it.

              Furthermore, the people we vote for don’t represent our views perfectly. Trump got elected because he wasn’t Hillary, not because because voters endorsed everything he promised.

            2. Republicans in Congress, along with President Clinton delivered a balanced budget in 1998-2001

              They came close one year, and only one. Bless you for not repeating the lie about a Clinton surplus!

            3. What Republicans that demand a Balanced Budget Amendment fail to realize is that the Government, grossly overweight for sure, can not be operated like Some Fortune 500 Company. I’ve pointed out in many conversations that the Tea Party Refused to allow ANY WIGGLE ROOM. The Federal Government Can Not be restrained to tightly. We have Volcanic Peaks in the Cascades. To San Andreas Fault EarthQuakes, Violent Blizzards and vicious Tornadoes in Tornado Alley. Guam, a Territory since smack in the Middle of Typhoon Alley. And Recently Florida Dodged a Bullet when Hurricane Dorian changed track. She Hit the Bahamas like ten ton sledge hammer. Hurricane Dorian roared ashore a Catastrophic Category Five Hurricane Sustained wins 185 mph.(297kph) Emergencies caused by natural disasters can not tolerate the slow process. Who ever is in charge has to be able to promise aid and deliver it immediately. So balanced budget rules could cause more suffering.

              1. That’s why State’s (who “can’t print” peoples savings into 0-end game inflation) should retain Emergency funds. The founders NEVER envisioned the “Union” to be the almighty king of welfare.

        2. Oh I’m sorry you clearly misunderstood I was talking about tedious sarcasm.

          1. Tedious dodge.

            Have you ever taken a position on anything under this sock, or is this one just for trolling?

  11. The deficit won’t be as bad as projected when you add in the $500 billion in Chinese tariffs. And keep in mind, three years ago, we had one of the weakest militaries in the world, we were a laughingstock all over the world, very bad, and now with the $730 billion we’ve completely re-built our forces and now we’re the best, just fantastic, there’s nobody close to being, and let me just say, our great men and women, too, who sacrifice so much to serve and they don’t get the recognition they deserve from the media, the Fake News media, the Fake news media that hates America and the great things we’re doing, which, by the way, let me just say, I was out in New Mexico last week, the other day, and I met some very great people out there, great people, fantastic people, and I know that they’re concerned about the price of gas going up because of the situation in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan and other places, but I said to them, I said, and this is something that a lot of people forget, a lot of people, a lot of smart people, don’t remember or maybe they don’t know, that it wasn’t so long ago, maybe 3, 4, 5 years ago, I don’t want to say for sure because I might not be 100% correct here, but it was a few years back that things were different, very different, but they’re not so different now. And nobody ever talks about that.

    1. Since it is too difficult to watch a trump speech anymore, I dont actually know if this is a quote, paraphrase, or just parody at this point. I could very easily see that being a transcript of one of his stream of consciousness ramblings.

      He does have one thing right though in his actual speeches, the US being a laughing stock. Other countries look at us and see little bitches on the left falling over themselves to apologize for wrong think or wrong speak that wouldnt be considered the least offensive to almost anyone, except the left twitter mod. Then they look at the right which went from garbage GOP classic, to a cult following of a guy rambling that the sky is green when we can all see it’s blue, falling over themselves to perform the mental gymnastics necessary to prove the emperor is DEF wearing clothes while shitting all over any principles they ever espoused.

      A formerly great country, built by great men, coasting on it’s prior accomplishments and slowly heading down the drain at the whims of two mobs of simpletons.

      He’s certainly right about the laughing stock thing. Thank GOD he rebuilt our military though, I was worried for a second.

      1. ShotgunJimbo
        September.20.2019 at 3:16 pm
        “Other countries look at us and see little bitches on the left falling over themselves to apologize for wrong think or wrong speak that wouldnt be considered the least offensive to almost anyone, except the left twitter mod.”

        Ignoramus Jimbo here gets his news from the Sunday suppliments.
        What “other countries” are those, you fucking ignoramus?

    2. Well, since the tariffs actually do reduce the deficit, why are they bad?

      1. The same reason taxes are bad.

        Hint; we don’t have a revenue problem.

        1. Is that kind of political b.s. that’s responsible for our fiscal problems.

          Until spending gets reduced, we need to pay for what we are spending with taxes. Furthermore, spending won’t get reduced until people actually have to pay for it and see the price first hand.

          1. Amen!!!! Only mentally retarded people would be Democrats if they actually saw the theft of taxes taking place. No more hiding the expense by employer holdings. No more stealing by printing money. Taxes should be a clear and payable BILL so the sheeple might learn and realize just how much is getting taken from them.

          2. People getting a discount on the services they’ve received so far definitely isn’t helping. But there’s a simple and ugly truth about taxation: no matter what combination of confiscatory policies have been enacted, the US has never raised more than ~17-18% of GDP as revenue in any year. Interestingly, it seems to raise that amount basically every year, regardless of whether tax rates are set low or high.

            So claiming that we need to raise taxes to balance the budget is probably incorrect, not because it’s not logical, but because raising the rates won’t actually generate more revenue. Really, what this means is that the situation is even worse than it appears, and more drastic spending cuts are necessary than might be expected (given that the govt spends on average 20-22% of GDP per year over the last few decades). Some gains can be made by reducing regulations – the resulting economic growth increases the tax base, indirectly raising revenue without raising taxes.

            Pretty much all the serious plans to pay the federal debt work along these lines: cut spending 10-20% across the board, and freeze those dollar amounts in place for a few years, and after reducing some regulation to stimulate economic growth, the size of the pie slice the govt is taking will reduce to 16-17%, allowing the govt to spend that way indefinitely, provided it pegs its own expenditures to economic growth (which will pretty much never happen).

  12. Yet Reason keeps advocating policies that massively increase US government spending, such as unskilled migration and unilateral dropping of trade barriers.

    1. Which Might cause acute pain to those who can not afford the increase in prices when you raise tariffs and trade barriers.

    2. The average pay for unskilled labor in the US is around $14/hour or $28,000/yr.

      If you give work permits to the migrants they will need to pay taxes just as anyone else.

      Now I am sure you consider all people doing such menial tasks as bagging groceries a drag on the economy. How about we send all of them elsewhere?

      Ya know some of them are actually human beings with a brain. It looks and functions just like yours that much I know. They might even learn or know how to repair a car, install a shower, run a small business, who knows.

      Within a generation their children might even get to assistant manager, become a dentist, or find a new cancer treatment. Surely that has never happened.

      Human interaction is messy, unpredictable, and uncertain. That is what makes it wonderful both in biology and in society.

      1. The problem is — No matter what immigrants do or how highly skilled they are. A vast majority of them (approx 70%+) bring their failed political theories with them. Its hard teaching new tricks to old dogs even though the old tricks caused the very reason they fled for a better country.

        1. Failed political theories.
          Do you honestly think that the people fleeing gang violence in El Salvador have a political theory? Do you think 27 year old from Mexico who wants to feed his family gives a damn about political theory? The chicken pluckers who are deported I’m sure sat around debating Marx and Engels on their breaks.

          What is libertarianism, a successful political theory?

          That is just made up malarkey.

          1. “Do you honestly think that the people fleeing gang violence in El Salvador have a political theory?”

            YES… The theory that ignoring rising violent gangs (which they probably relate with) and running away is going to dissolve that problem.

            “Do you think 27 year old from Mexico who wants to feed his family gives a damn about political theory?”

            YES… In the sense that it will subsidize (steal from taxpayers) his families expectations. Why cannot this 27-year old feed his family in MEXICO??!?!?!?!

            What you’re really saying here is this particular 27-year old HAS to benefit from the U.S. citizens success because he/she cannot seem to find a way to make it on their own.

      2. “Libertarians for income and payroll taxes!”

  13. “While we’re outraged or flummoxed by the latest outrage du jour, the feds manage to keep spending more and more money that we don’t have.”

    You make it sound like people only accept this spending because they are distracted. Get real. The US government spends this much money and borrows because that’s what voters want.

    Voters believe they can get away with running up the national credit card bill, and for now, they are right. Since most voters don’t have to foot the bill when it comes due, why would they care?

    1. Right!!! lol… As if most US Citizens didn’t run up an unsustainable debt liability on their very own accounts. Wonder how most citizens would feel if they each got a BILL for their share of the national debt. I’m thinking the voters beliefs would change really fast.

  14. I would like to take this opportunity to announce the candidacy running with the Dogatarian Party in 2020 of a dog I have known for years – Sir Thomas Sawyer esq. of the Labrador family.

    I believe he has many qualities which place him heads and tails above the other choices.

    – Sawyer has a high degree of intelligence with a deep understanding of topics such as “sit”, “stay”, and “good boy”.

    – Charisma. He is handsome and charming. Greeting all visitors with excitement and vigorous tail wagging.

    – Policy. Sawyer has no interest in raising taxes or starting wars with neighboring territories which he has marked on many occasions.

    – Defense. Sir Thomas Sawyer has personally participated in protecting against marauding squirrels on more than one occasion.

    Finally he can catch a tennis ball in his mouth, something no other candidate can claim. Except possibly Joe Biden

    Bark for Liberty!!

    DOG 2020!!

    Ok I really need to get a life…

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