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Trumpocalypse Reality Check: Government Spending This Century Has Grown from $3.2 Trillion to $7 Trillion

An unrealistically draconian budget that doesn’t even cut spending is greeted with predictable hysteria.

How is the political class responding to a Donald Trump budget blueprint that utterly fails to cut spending even while including many dramatic regulatory-state cuts that Congress will never, ever approve? With about as much sober perspective as you would expect:

Here is a helpful reminder for that side of your universe busy losing their shit: During this woefully misgoverned 21st century of ours, with its sluggish economic growth and serially disastrous wars, panics, bailouts, and stimuli, combined U.S. federal, state, and local government expenditures have zoomed from around $3.2 trillion in fiscal year 2000 ($4.5 trillion in today's dollars) to north of $7 trillion this year, according to Christopher Chantrill's useful aggregator USGovernmentSpending.com. During that time the U.S. population has grown from an estimated 281 million to 324 million, so even after adjusting for inflation, government spending has grown more than three times as fast as Census numbers.

And yet here is the type of headline we will be reading all season long: "Trump's plan to dismember government." That, from CNN on Tuesday, was no mere headline hyperbole—here's the opening section from senior enterprise reporter Stephen Collinson:

President Donald Trump plans to dismember government one dollar at a time.

His first budget -- expected to be unveiled later this week -- will mark Trump's most significant attempt yet to remold national life and the relationship between federal and state power.

It would codify an assault on regulatory regimes over the environment, business and education

Italics mine, for future death-metal band names.

No, fuck you, cut spending. ||| ReasonReasonHere are three iron rules of political-class reactions to any whiff of budget cuts: 1) Every previous budget ratchet will be ignored, yet taken as the minimum acceptable baseline. 2) If even 1 percent of a to-be-reduced bloc of spending can be described as keeping granny from starving to death, that will be precisely how the whole bag of money is characterized. 3) It will all be about the president, even though the president writes no budgets.

This will be this century's third sustained round of media histrionics about the supposedly "annihilating" effects of "savage budget cuts." The first concerned the zombie-apocalypse of unsupervised skating and threatened (though never quite delivered) mass teacher-firings during the 2009-2010 state budget crisis. (Which was routinely blamed on brutal austerity instead of the massive spending run-up just before the financial bubble burst in 2008.) The second, in 2012-13, warned of the poisoned meat, reduced travel perks, and a generation's worth of lost science (no, really) resulting from the totally modest and all-too-temporary budget sequestration.

After those two near-death events it's a wonder that we still know how to breathe.

Trump's military boost will almost certainly be approved. His 25 percent cut to the Environmental Protection Agency almost certainly will not. He's a historically unpopular president currently risking what political capital he has on a deeply (and rightfully) unpopular Obamacare reboot; you think that the congresscritters who are currently fleeing constituent townhalls like rats from an ice floe are prepping themselves to face down the next few months' of "Congress Rapes the Environment to Please the Rich" headlines?

The net result, in an era when Congress doesn't even make budgets anymore and both parties are in thrall to debt denialists, is that the federal government during Trump's first year in office is likely to spend and borrow even more than he's proposing today. That is the real scandal, if one unlikely to break through the purple-faced rage of media hyperventilation.

Photo Credit: MGM

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  • John||

    The NEA and PBS and most of the Prog elite sacred cows were created in the mid-1960s or later. I wish someone would ask Kristof if he considers 1959 America to be a post-Roman dark ages. Really? What a putz.

  • Calidissident||

    I always laugh when I see left-wingers long for the glory days of 1950s economic policy. Let's see if they still insist on the tax rates and the return of a few pieces of repealed regulation when it means no more Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare, food stamps, EITC, OSHA, EPA, Departments of Education, Energy, etc., NEA, PBS, Sarbanes-Oxley, Dodd-Frank, etc.

  • John||

    Yeah, that is a really good point. And no civil rights act or EEOC either.

  • Calidissident||

    I usually grant them that since their nostalgia is usually aimed at fiscal and labor policy that often explicitly excludes civil rights protections. Even ignoring all of that, I don't think they'd be too thrilled about that deal.

  • Michael Hihn||

    I always laugh as right-wingers spout memorized soundbites …. Ridiculing "progs" for being as brainwashed as they are.

    The right BELIEVES income tax revenues "skyrocketed" after Reagan's tax cuts. Revenues increased $45 billion for the first ten years COMBINED! FICA revenue skyrocketed, after SIX tax increases.

    Mercatus wrote, Reason published … also included in Declaration of Independents and often repeated by Nick Gillespie … that HUGE spending cuts after WWII were the "stimulus" for a postwar boom. They use bullshit numbers for GDP (ignoring double-digit inflation), to explain a boom that never happened!. Despite Nick's masturbation fantasies, we had five back-to-back recessions in only 16 years (1945-1960)

    We came out of the war with the only industrial base left on earth, having bombed our trade competitors into rubble. But a mere 16 years later, Kennedy's first SOTU reported that we had collapsed to "among the bottom" in economic growth .... in a boom!

    It gets wackier.

    On the left, Paul Krugman says the boom was stimulated by the massive wartime deficit spending ... and never damaged by 91% tax rates!!!

    Re-arrange the TRUE facts.

    The right says we had a massive boom ... with 91% tax rates.
    The left says we had a massive boom ... after 50% spending cuts.

    Two tribal caves. Left and right. Mindless sheeple. Orwell had one Newspeak in a dictatorship. We have two. In a Republic. THAT is sad.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    I wish someone would ask Kristof if he considers 1959 America to be a post-Roman dark ages.

    Sad thing is, in all likelihood the only thing that dipshit "knows" about pre-60's America is that it was before the civil rights era and before "The Great Society".

    So any suggestion that 1959 or earlier wasn't that bad would probably be greeted by an avalanche of self-righteous indignation and foaming at the mouth. Probably followed by accusations that you'd like to bring back Jim Crow and get rid of medicare/ medicaid, which as "everyone knows" is the only thing keeping old people and the poor from literally dying in the streets.

    He probably really is that stupid.

  • NoVaNick||

    The New Deal happened long before 1959 too-ya know the one that subsidized the demon industries of tobacco and coal? But it did not create the EPA, NEA, or any civil rights legislation.

  • Michael Hihn||

    Sad thing is, in all likelihood the only thing that dipshit "knows" about pre-60's America is that it was before the civil rights era and before "The Great Society".

    Speaking of dipshits, pay attention.

    1940 - A federal court requires equal salaries for African American and white teachers.

    1947 -In a precursor to the Brown case, a federal appeals court strikes down segregated schooling for Mexican American and white students.

    1948- The Supreme Court orders the admission of a black student to the University of Oklahoma School of Law.

    1950-The Supreme Court rejects Texas' plan to create a new law school for black students.

    1952 The Supreme Court hears oral arguments in Brown v. Board of Education.

    1953-The Supreme Court hears the second round of arguments in Brown v. Board of Education

    1954 - Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education unanimously overturns Plessy and declares that separate schools are "inherently unequal."

    1955 In Brown II, the Supreme Court orders the lower federal courts to require desegregation "with all deliberate speed."

    1956-Under court order, the University of Alabama admits Autherine Lucy, its first African American student.

    1957- More than 1,000 paratroopers from the 101st Airborne Division and a federalized Arkansas National Guard protect nine black students integrating Central High School in Little Rock, Ark

    He probably really is that stupid.

    (lol)

  • Migrant Log Chipper||

    piss off, dead thread-fucker....

  • Michael Hihn||

    Dumbfuck LogChipper posts to a thread he says was "dead" ..., two days earlier (OMG)
    Because the facts humiliate his team of goobers.
    But he's NOT a thug, lunching an aggression
    And making a public fool of himself.
    Again (smirk)

    Oh wait. he BRAGS of feeding humans into wood chippers if tney dare to disagree with him.
    (vomit)

  • american socialist||

    Ya so where does krugman get this idea of austerity??!

  • Calidissident||

    Essentially, if spending is cut or only increased slightly, it is automatically austerity even if it was preceded by a massive increase.

    So increasing spending by 10% every year is not austerity. Increasing it by 50% in two years and then increasing it by 1% is austerity.

  • I can't even||

    I often feel like I live in a rapidly decaying empire. One that is collapsing because of greed, corruption, generations of bad governance, and general stupidity. The barbarians at the gates were there because Rome destroyed itself internally.

  • ||

    The barbarians at the gates were there because Rome destroyed itself internally.

    ^ This.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    ^ this indeed.

  • CatoTheChipper||

    The barbarians were mostly European refugees, fleeing the Huns. The Western Roman Empire failed to keep out the refugees. Male refugees of military age were particularly troublesome.

  • $park¥ don't care bout yo mom||

    So far, no government has lasted forever. And there's no reason to believe any will. It's just a question of how long it can last before going up in flames.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    President Donald Trump plans to dismember government one dollar at a time.

    Oh, the fake news. Of course this is going to be Sequesterocalypse Now. Your grandmother will be eating cat food without public television to nourish her. The public parks will be shut down even if they're not even part of it. The news coverage will be embarrassing even as we commit tax dollars at high levels.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Yeah. I thought Trump would recommend even bigger cuts to government agencies and then let Congress scale back cuts. Instead this is a weak cut of discretionary spending and it will still get scaled back.

    Sequesterpocalypse- I like it!

  • eyeroller||

    At least we won't have to hear about the existential threat to America deriving from possible military cuts.

  • american socialist||

    I am not too familiar with Nikolas Kristof....is he a moron? I just know he is nytimes which slobbers all over the top men.

    The worst commentators in order that i know of are:

    1. Krugman
    2. Brooks
    3. Friedman

    Where would Kristof fit?

  • Bubba Jones||

    4

    But I would put Friedman tied at two for his fascism fetish. Man in giant house wishes we could be China for a day and get a bunch of stuff "done".

  • chemjeff||

    Well, it is the usual freakout. I'm not surprised by this hysteria, this is the same hysteria that occurs whenever any Republican, even ones not named Trump, proposes cutting any program by any amount. This isn't TDS, this is just generalized RDS - Republican Derangement Syndrome. Or perhaps more accurately, it is GWS - Government Worshipping Syndrome.

  • ||

    Reading through the Trump budget, I feel as the Romans must have felt in 456 AD as the barbarians conquered and ushered in the dark ages.

    This near-total Ignorance of how the Roman Empire 'fell' is a pox on the political discourse of the modern western world.

    The multiple sacks of Rome in the fifth century were not a terribly grievous blow - Rome hadn't been the capital of the Empire since 312, and even the western emperors tended to avoid the city of Rome itself. It was already fast becoming a backwater by 450. The empire west of there had never been terribly well established as compared with the east. The urban centers of population where all the taxpayers lived were in Greece, Asia Minor, Syria, and Egypt. They let the West go because it was more trouble than it was worth - it was a net expense to try to hold onto Spain, France and Britain, especially when the Huns were putting pressure on the East.

    On the converse side, when the Visigoths sacked Rome, they got in because a Roman citizen opened the gate. They almost certainly did this because they were sick and tired of being over-taxed and over-regulated by decadent and parasitical monarchs who were hiding in their fortress at Ravenna at the time.

  • ||

    Ironically, the Visigoths were trying to save the Empire from the Huns and from other Germanic tribes, over the objections of the ruling class who didn't want barbarians serving in the Roman Army. When the Visigoths took it upon themselves to successfully suppress the revolt of Maximus, they were finally rewarded with a kingdom in France.

    The 'Roman Empire' didn't 'fall' because one party in the Senate shifted some budget categories around.

  • Half-Virtue, Half-Vice||

    Truth died with the 20th century; facts hold no power.

  • Drave Robber||

    In 455, Vandals sacked Rome. It took about two weeks but was done in a relatively orderly manner (for the time) and resulted in no further disturbances.
    In 456, Ricimer defeated Vandals in Sicily, returned to Italy, deposed Avitus, and the war went on for years.

    If Romans felt anything in 456, it was probably "our guy winning is NOT always better".

  • Chuck in CR||

    Vandals *sacked* Rome. It took about two weeks but was done *in a relatively orderly* manner.

    Tell us you meant to do that.

  • Drave Robber||

    Well, they became famous for destruction of artwork and not for burning lots of buildings or killing lots of people.

  • Jerryskids||

    All I know is that back before FDR the size and scope of the federal government was a mere fraction of what it is now - and the vast majority of the poor bastards who had to suffer the burdens of that smaller government are now dead. Is that what you want - a small government that results in a massive number of dead people? You're a sick puppy, you heartless monster.

  • chemjeff||

    Is that what you want - a small government that results in a massive number of dead people?

    Only the ones not working in my orphan factory.

  • Calidissident||

    Is Kristof's tweet satire? Comparing the fall of the Roman Empire to less than $100 billion in cuts to government spending (not even 3% of the budget, and not even 1% of GDP) is a tad bit dramatic. And the Roman history is bad on top of that (I'm assuming he meant 476. Though the fall of Rome wasn't exactly a sudden moment and the dark ages narrative is simplistic at best).

  • Crusty Juggler - #2||

    Is Kristof's tweet satire?

    No.

    Though the fall of Rome wasn't exactly a sudden moment and the dark ages narrative is simplistic at best).

    He is a simple-minded person.

  • american socialist||

    If only the Romans had taxed, regulated and spent more money....

  • american socialist||

    Isn't more like only a few billion cut since the military would get a boost along with DHS?

  • Microaggressor||

    Trump's most significant attempt yet to remold national life

    So wanting to fire a bunch of the people who have been hard at work remolding the national life, is a terrible act of remolding the national life. The actual result would be less remolding of the national life. Thanks for another heaping helping of dishonesty, CNN.

  • I can't even||

    He's a historically unpopular president

    Really? Maybe were you live Matt, not were I do. Just 5 months ago he won 30 states.

  • Calidissident||

    It's true if you compare to similar points in other presidencies. Trump got just enough support to win the election, but has little support from anyone else. Past presidents usually got a much larger inauguration bump as more people in the middle or the opposing side "gave them a chance" to start.

  • Matt Welch||

    I mean as measured by all the post-WWII presidents in national opinion polls at the same point in his presidency.

  • Michael Hihn||

    He's a historically unpopular president

    Really?

    Definitely

    Maybe were you live Matt, not were I do. Just 5 months ago he won 30 states.

    Strange metric, unless states were roughly equal in population. Roughly 10 million voted against him. He won the electoral college by fewer than 100,000 votes in three states.. And has historically low approval numbers -- the only metric relevant to Matt's statement.

  • Michael Hihn||

    Do you have anything on the actual topic?

  • american socialist||

    What i would be interested is these people that use terms like: historical, record etc actually show if they meet those qualifications. Historically unpopular compared to say GWB at end of term?

  • ||

    Or, say, James Buchanan at end of term?

  • Matt Welch||

    See above.

  • Get To Da Chippah||

    After those two near-death events it's a wonder that we still know how to breathe.

    Hyperventilating is the new breathing, Matt.

  • Libertarian||

    " . . . combined U.S. federal, state, and local government expenditures have zoomed from around $3.2 trillion in fiscal year 2000 ($4.5 trillion in today's dollars) to north of $7 trillion . . ."

    While it's scary that $20T of fed debt is not worthy of a daily front page headline, it's also depressing/scary that a giant "meh" is all there is in response to the fact that it now takes $4.5T to equal the $3.2T dollars of just 17 years ago. Luckily, now that there is a Republican in the White House, we can look forward to the NY Times once again taking notice of our elderly who are trying to make ends meet in a world of inflation and low interest rates.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    it now takes $4.5T to equal the $3.2T dollars of just 17 years ago

    I noticed that too. That's really fucking scary. And it's not just old people that are impacted, a lot of workers routinely get annual raises equal to less than inflation (if they're lucky enough to get a raise at all).

  • Rational Exuberance||

    "Nothing left to cut!"

  • Michael Hihn||

    "Nothing left to cut!"

    What should be cut?
    AND elect enough people to actually do it? (not just talk about it)

  • Michael Hihn||

    While it's scary that $20T of fed debt is not worthy of a daily front page headline

    It is. Just not every day. You follow Fox and Limbaugh?

    Luckily, now that there is a Republican in the White House, we can look forward to the NY Times once again taking notice of our elderly who are trying to make ends meet in a world of inflation and low interest rates.

    Replacing Fox's bullshit under Obama.

  • mpercy||

    Although the pattern was broken a bit by Obama's massive budgets, I have observed that the federal government has usually taken in revenue that equals what it spent about 5 years prior.

    E.g.:

    2004 revenues $1.880T 1999 spending $1.701T
    2005 revenues $2.153T 2000 spending $1.789T
    2006 revenues $2.406T 2001 spending $1.862T
    2007 revenues $2.568T 2002 spending $2.010T
    2008 revenues $2.524T 2003 spending $2.159T
    2009 revenues $2.105T 2004 spending $2.292T
    2010 revenues $2.162T 2005 spending $2.472T
    2011 revenues $2.303T 2006 spending $2.655T
    2012 revenues $2.450T 2007 spending $2.728T
    2013 revenues $2.775T 2008 spending $2.982T
    2014 revenues $3.021T 2009 spending $3.517T
    2015 revenues $3.249T 2010 spending $3.457T
    2016 revenues $3.335T 2011 spending $3.603T

    So all it would take to get back in the black (or fairly close to it), so to speak, is to assume that right now we have a big enough government spending enough money--if we don't have a big enough government now, we never will--and say "freeze it". Don't allocate another penny in budget for next over this year, not even for inflation. Hold that course for a mere five years and let revenues catch up.

    No big cuts needed, no new taxes needed. Just the fortitude to say enough is enough.

  • Michael Hihn||

    Although the pattern was broken a bit by Obama's massive budgets,

    What am I missing? The first revenue year IS Obama.

    I have observed that the federal government has usually taken in revenue that equals what it spent about 5 years prior.

    Re-matching below, What am I missing? (e "=" is "about:")

    2009 $2,105 = 1,701
    2010 $2,162 = 1,789
    2011 $2,303 = 1,862
    2012 $2,450 = 2,010
    2013 $2,775 = 2,159
    2014 $3.021 = 2,292
    2015 $3,249 = 2,472
    2016 $3,335 = 2,656

    The deficit in 2016 is almost entirely caused by how Republicans "paid for" Medicare Prescriptions
    Also 2015.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Bullshit. Part D spending is about $100BB. The budget deficit for '16 was $540BB.

    Yeah, yeah, *bully* *snicker* *chortle*

  • Michael Hihn||

    See bully's aggression crushed! (snicker)
    You fucked up assuming that only Part D gets Income taxes. But to "pay for" Part D, and get Democrat votes, the Bushies agreed that up to 45% of ALL Medicare … nearly half … can come from general revenues. That "inflates" the Trust Fund because deficits are taken from income taxes instead of the Trust Fund. Yes, Republicans

    Medicare Trustees report this annually since 2006 or 2007, because the President is required to propose Medicare cuts, if needed, to stay below 45% .

    You don't know that because ... Peter Suderman doesn't know it ... or even what Medicare "double-counting" means. (Cato may not either, but I never searched deeply.)

    Now the numbers, chump This is 2014 but shows WHERE the income taxes go (BOTH B and D) . See 41% total of $600 billion Medicare spending or .... wait for it …. $246 Billion

    For 2015 (total only) $270 B.

    What did I say (snort)

    The deficit in 2016 is almost entirely caused by how Republicans "paid for" Medicare Prescriptions

    2016 Deficit was $268 … you said $540 B (lol). Is 270 (previous year) almost entirely 268, Sparky?

    2015 Deficit was $208 vs ….. OMG .,… $270

    Bush created the entire Obama deficit for the two years I mentioned. Apologize.

    (Posted In defense of aggression by trashmouth bully)

  • Michael Hihn||

    MY DEEPEST AND MOST SINCERE APOLOGIES TO NotAnotherSkippy
    As explained to mpercy below, I misread his original table.

    Regarding the subsidy of Medicare from Income taxes. readers now know more than the libertarian establishment. This is a major passion of mine, because it is part of major misreporting on most of health care, so the passions are .... passionate.

    As to Obama/Bush hate fest. the Medicare scam will contribute a likely trillion to deficits shown as first Obama's -- and now inflate Trump's -- while distorting the Medicare Trust Fund to disguise a liberal boondoggle.

  • mpercy||

    I think you're missing the general idea entirely. I wasn't talking about deficits per se.

    Over last 20 years or so, pick a year. Look that the revenues for that year. Then go back five years prior and look at that year's spending. The revenue for this year is just about equal to the spending level of five years.

    If the trend holds, then projecting forward, if spending was held constant for five years, then revenues would catch up. Put another way, spending and revenues increase on about the same slope year-over-year, but the spending curve is about 5 years above the revenue curve.

    The Obama comment expressed that the pattern broke a little, prior to Obama, the 5 year lag was usually a positive delta (revenues from one year would exceed the spending level of 5 years prior), although not too badly for the 5-year freeze to still work.

    2004 rev vs 1999 spending =difference +$0.179T
    2005 rev vs 2000 spending =difference +$0.364T
    2006 rev vs 2001 spending =difference +$0.544T
    2007 rev vs 2002 spending =difference +$0.558T
    2008 rev vs 2003 spending =difference +$0.365T
    2009 rev vs 2004 spending =difference -$0.187T
    2010 rev vs 2005 spending =difference -$0.310T
    2011 rev vs 2006 spending =difference -$0.425T
    2012 rev vs 2007 spending =difference -$0.278T
    2013 rev vs 2008 spending =difference -$0.207T
    2014 rev vs 2009 spending =difference -$0.496T
    2015 rev vs 2010 spending =difference -$0.208T
    2016 rev vs 2011 spending =difference -$0.268T

  • mpercy||

    The OMB projections going forward track pretty well to a 5-year lag as well.

    2017 projected rev $3.643T vs 2012 spending $3.537T =difference +$0.106T
    2018 projected rev $3.898T vs 2013 spending $3.454T =difference +$0.444T
    2019 projected rev $4.095T vs 2014 spending $3.506T =difference +$0.589T
    2020 projected rev $4.345T vs 2015 spending $3.688T =difference +$0.656T
    2021 projected rev $4.572T vs 2016 spending $3.951T =difference +$0.621T

    In fact, under the OMB projections, we'd only have to freeze for 3 years to let revenues catch up. If we could just freeze spending at 2016's approximately $4T--and just hold government spending to zero growth, not actually cut a thing--by 2019 projected revenues would create a surplus.

  • Michael Hihn||

    I think you're missing the general idea entirely. I wasn't talking about deficits per se.

    I never said you were. I did ask what I was missing, which I just saw for myself.

    I misread your table. Did not see that you had already combined the five year spread.
    I took Revenue from the 2016 line with spending from the 2011 line, and then through the years.
    ,

  • mpercy||

    Re-matching below, What am I missing? (e "=" is "about:")

    2009 $2,105 = 1,701
    2010 $2,162 = 1,789
    2011 $2,303 = 1,862
    2012 $2,450 = 2,010
    2013 $2,775 = 2,159
    2014 $3.021 = 2,292
    2015 $3,249 = 2,472
    2016 $3,335 = 2,656

    So you're pointing out that revenues exceed the expenditures from 10 years prior? Assuming positive slope, that's no surprise. I could also say that revenues exceed expenditures from 15, 20, ... years prior too.

    The point is that generally, it seems that

    year x revenues cause a deficit relative to year x expenditures, and
    year x revenues cause a deficit relative to year x-1 expenditures, and
    year x revenues cause a deficit relative to year x-2 expenditures, and
    year x revenues cause a deficit relative to year x-3 expenditures, and
    year x revenues cause a deficit relative to year x-4 expenditures, but
    year x revenues cause a surplus relative to year x-5 expenditures
    (and therefore also cause a surplus relative to year x-k, for k>=5).

    That time lag of 5 years varies a bit.

    1985 revenues could have paid for 1981's expenditures (but not 1982's)
    1990 revenues could have paid for 1987's expenditures (but not 1988's)
    1995 revenues could have paid for 1991's expenditures (but not 1992's)
    2000 revenues actually did pay for 2000's expenditures

  • mpercy||

    I noticed on CNN a headline "Plan does bupkus about $20 trillion debt"

    Of course CNN cares about the debt, now that Obama's finally finished adding $10T to it (although Medicaid expansion and other Obamacare items may keep on giving).

  • Michael Hihn||

    Dubya;s GOP is adding a quarter-trillion dollars in debt per year, and rising, which is how they "paid for" Medicare Prescriptions. And it will be increasing .. forever.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Try again, idiot.

  • Michael Hihn||

    NotAnotherSkippty
    Try again, idiot.

    (snicker) Fully documented here.
    http://reason.com/blog/2017/03.....nt_6797423

    And you linked to the wrong data!
    The only Income shown is TRUST FUND INCOME.
    The only other receipts are "offsetting receipts." Read the footnotes.
    They show not a penny from General Revenues, which should have raised a red flag.

    Oops My second link does not work. Use this https://www.ssa.gov/OACT/TRSUM/index.html
    Official Medicate Trustees. See the identical number I cited, $270 billion (actually 270.7)

    Now it gets interesting. Upon seeing my own error, I immediately posted, "My deepest and most sincere apologies" (all caps bold) to you. (by name)

  • mpercy||

    Obama, Pelosi, and Reid could have killed it any time int he two years they had a strangle-hold on government. Instead they passed Obamacare. Own it.

  • Michael Hihn||

    Obama, Pelosi, and Reid could have killed it any time int he two years they had a strangle-hold on government. Instead they passed Obamacare

    (laughing) Bush give them a MASSIVE bailout of their most cherished Trust Fund, FUCKED all of us over .... and it's THEIR fault for not creating a near doubling of the Medicare tax .... so you could spew your hatred and blame them for THAT too? Lame.

  • Spiny Norman||

    Rats from an ice floe?

  • Michael Hihn||

    Does Reason (et al) ever get tired of pissing and moaning .,.. and start developing solutions? Do you have kids, Matt? I raised mine the way I was raised. "Never criticize without offering a better alternative." Personal responsibility. Radical. eh? My Reason feed has 15-20 pieces a day, reporting how stupid government is -- to people who already know. Like buying a newspaper to read about my next door neighbor. Or reporting fantasies like a postwar boom using phony data – despite 91% tax rates!

    We have 40-50,000 "Nolan" libertarians in elected local office, with maybe a quarter million activist supporters. What are they doing? "Who cares? San Jose really fucked up yesterday!" Will telling me that advance individual liberty a single inch?

    What causes acceptance of purportedly libertarian ideas? 53% of the voters who self-identify as Nolan libertarians, a quarter million or so actively engaged in their community? Or less than 6% "libertarian" libertarians, MAYBE 1-2% actively engaged, while most compete for greatest purity and sneer at getting elected and doing anything?

    Is it true, as it seems. that Reason reports to movement libertarians on the advances created by Nolan libertarians, 91% of whom reject the libertarian label entirely?

    Johnson/Weld had 6% self-labeled libertarian, plus anti-Hillary and Trump voters for 3.2% of the vote. That's a milestone? What if they had more than "ideas" (aka slogans)? Hmmm

  • Matt Welch||

    I recommend going over to reason.org and viewing literally hundreds of practical solutions that our organization has been working on for the past three-plus decades.

  • Michael Hihn||

    Already been there.

  • Michael Hihn||

    Correction. We could us at least a thousand more Bob Poole's -- and dump Cato and Mercatus.
    There may be more hands-on policy wonks than Poole at the Foundation, but they're not as obvious to me -- admittedly a Poole fan for over 30 years.

  • Michael Hihn||

    I thought Reason's comments section was libertarianism's most valuable asset.

    It's one of our biggest threats .... and had nothing to do with what Matt said.

    He apparently meant actual policies, but I could only find one in the entire section..
    And it was a fucked up proposal for Medicare's DocFix which was both obsolete and actually wrong!
    I will go back when I have time, but why should I have to SEARCH for policies ... under a Policy tab??
    On the front page for one Policy Topic, there were only newsletters, an the 6th one down was 2011!

  • Tom Cleary||

    Very appropriate reference to Dylan's Idiot Wind.

  • Sanjuro Tsubaki||

    I'm glad that in 25 years or so, Reason mag has finally figured out that the press is full of big government loving left wingers.

  • Bubba Jones||

    I work in the NIH world. It follows the 80/20 rule just like everything else.

  • rudehost||

    Slash and burn the budget. The world went on just fine the last time the government shut down. Maybe if cut a trillion or two and life goes on as normal people will start to wonder why we were spending those trillions in the first place.

  • Michael Hihn||

    Don't blame them. The problem is you and your ilk, The entire welfare state was originally paid for voluntarily, You -- the figurative you -- simply have to show people a better way for them to keep getting what they already have. You have no clue how to transition back to that .. so it's all THEIR fault ... because government shows the ONLY way to pursue humanitarian goals.

    This is AMERICA. Humanitarian is one of our greatest virtues, but "you" attack the virtue because YOU have no fucking clue how to do it, So you shake your first to the sky and SCREAM, "Just stop spending it." And we all look like heartless assholes.

    That's the sad truth. We have NO IDEA how to do it better. Government is SO fucking stupid, but we have no idea how to do it better, so we save stop doing it. Fucking stupid,

    Then some puppet-master claims a libertarian moment ... because Americans ON THEIR OWN gravitate toward fairness ... so your rulers claim credit for something they never did.

    People WANT 90% of what government provides. It's called consent of the governed, will of the people.

    People will start to wonder why we were spending those trillions in the first place.

    I just told you why.

  • Longtobefree||

    The budget PROPOSAL submitted by the President is irrelevant. The requirement for that piece of fiction came from a legislature hunting for cover to avoid their constitutional responsibility.
    Section 7, article 1:
    "All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills."

  • Michael Hihn||

    Read the entire Constitution this time. Section 1 AND Section 3
    It's the Executive's.JOB to PROPOSE a budget.
    Submitting a bill is how APPROVAL begins.

    In a private corporation, does the Board of Directors submit a budget. Or does MANAGEMENT?
    The Board of Directors APPROVES the budget, with whatever changes THEY decide.
    If the owners don't like it, they elect a different Board

    That's how it's worked, for centuries BEFORE the Constitution. With one major difference. Our REVOLUTION.
    We don't allow the Board to hire and fire the Executive. (See the Parliamentary system)
    We hire and fire both.

    Article 2. Section 3. The President
    He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.

    Further, both of them are checked and balanced by the Supreme Court

  • Longtobefree||

    Well, I guess I got all confused by the Budget and Accounting Act of 1921

  • Michael Hihn||

    Understandable. Thankfully, the Constitution is superior!

    What we need is POLICIES, which will then attract enough candidates to propose and pass them, with no risk from judicial review. The candidate are already there - within 60% of the population. But all we have is "ideas" (slogans and sounbites)

  • Rational Exuberance||

    The budget PROPOSAL submitted by the President is irrelevant.

    Congress to POTUS: "Wifey, your budget proposal is irrelevant! I don't care that you think we spend $1500/month on rent and $1000/month on household expenses. Here is your $2000 for the month, and you better spend it on having the Ferrari detailed, and oh, please send $300 each to my mistresses Mary, Clarissa, and Alotta! Now shut up and make me a sandwich."

  • Rational Exuberance||

    WASHINGTON (AP) - In a move that is described as "shocking" and "unprecedented" by long-time Washington politicians and commentators, president Donald Trump, barely weeks into his presidency, is actually making an honest effort to fulfill his campaign promises: increase military spending, roll back the regulatory state, and decrease other non-entitlement spending. Politicians were unavailable for further comments because all those contacted by the AP rapidly developed massive amounts of foam after their initial shocked reaction. An unnamed member of the Trump administration, however, commented "we do not know whether it's going to work, but what have you got to lose?".
  • Michael Hihn||

    "we do not know whether it's going to work, but what have you got to lose?".

    The Congress next year and the White House two years later.

    Democrats had it all in 2009, and lost it from the same smug arrogance we now see from the GOP.
    What if we had libertarian poliicies? (gasp)

  • Longtobefree||

    Matt, what does a picture from Wizard of Oz have to do with the federal budget proposal? Are you hinting that the budget process has no courage? Or that it can get courage from the wizard (government)?

  • Michael Hihn||

    Remember the scene? Pulling back the curtain?. Seeing what's really there?

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