Federal transfer payments to state and local governments totaled some $444 billion in 2013; these included payments of $282 billion for Medicaid, $3.4 billion for LIHEAP, $80 billion for SNAP, and some $78 billion for other transfers to the states.
The payments often are synergistic, not at all fixed, too. For instance, LIHEAP payments are used by the states to magnify SNAP payments, since SNAP contains an energy allowance, a “standard utility allowance.”
Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, and Czech Republic have directly appealed to our Congressional leadership to expedite turning on the export spigot for our natural gas. These four nations see the directness and immediacy of the advantage of buying natural gas from us rather than from the Russians.
Promptly opening the export spigot on our own oil and gas production and accelerating our development of those fields, including on Federal land (which will have minimal production effect today; although it’ll have significant effect in the near- to mid-term by significantly expanding the supply of oil and gas on the global market) will produce an immediate spike down in the global price of oil and gas, which will have an associated immediate negative impact on the value of Russian oil and gas exports.
Blocking Russian access to credit on the global banking system—even just on the American banking system—and requiring cash-only transactions will have a negative impact on Russia’s cash reserves.
President Barack Obama, aided and abetted by the mendacious NLMSM, is touting his latest “budget” proposal as cutting spending by $600 billion over the next 10 years. But Scott Rasmussen, cited in The Wall Street Journal, has noted,
in the current year, the federal government is expected to spend $3,651 billion. …the president’s budget calls for spending $3,901 billion in 2015. That’s $250 billion more than this year. It’s not a one-year aberration either. Spending increases are projected every single year for the next decade and beyond.
The Obama administration announced Wednesday that it will let people keep health insurance plans that would otherwise be out of compliance with ObamaCare for another two years….
Yet, just a bit over a year ago, when President Barack Obama first “waived” the Business Mandate, he threatened to veto a House bill that would have codified that delay and that added a comparable delay of the Individual Mandate—what he’s now “waiving” for those two years.
Obama vastly prefers diktat to legitimacy.
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Senator Bernie Sanders (I, VT) demonstrated the depth of his condition of out of touchness in a Tuesday op-ed in The Wall Street Journal. Although Sanders’ out of touchness is amply demonstrated by his full-throated defense of the dinosaur that is the United States Postal Service, I want to look at a couple of other things he said in his piece.
First, there’s this:
There are very powerful and wealthy special interests who want to privatize or dismember virtually every function that government now performs, whether it is Social Security, Medicare, public education or the Postal Service. They see an opportunity for Wall Street and corporate America to make billions in profits out of these services….
It’s illustrated by Table S-12 Economic Assumptions from the White House’s Summary Tables, repeated below.
The table is hard to read; the money line is the third one, labeled “Real GDP, percent change, year/year.” Beginning in the year 2018—just four years from now—President Barack Obama and his “economic” advisors predict our nation’s economic output—our GDP—growth rate to shrink from 3.1% growth per year to an historic low rate, and abysmal rate, to 2.36% in 2-019, and then to less than 2.5% after that. And to stay at that abysmal level as far as the prediction can see.
First, President Obama moves to gut our Federal defense establishment, including among other moves reducing the size of our Army to 1940 levels.
Now he wants to gut our state militias, in particular the States’ Army National Guards, also—and reduce thereby their ability to deal with internal matters ranging from disorder to disaster recovery. And, oh by the way, severely restrict the States’ ability to reinforce that drastically curtailed Federal defense capacity.
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The Congressional Budget Office had some remarks last Thursday.
More than four and a half years after the end of the recession, employment has risen sluggishly—much more slowly than it grew, on average, during the four previous recoveries that lasted more than one year. At the same time, the unemployment rate has fallen only partway back to its prerecession level…and a significant part of that improvement is attributable to a decline in labor force participation that has occurred as an unusually large number of people have stopped looking for work…. Moreover, the rate of long-term unemployment—the percentage of the labor force that has been out of work for more than 26 consecutive weeks—remains extraordinarily high.
Here are a couple of types of spending increases that will appear in upcoming Federal budgets:
[A] CBO report finds that mandatory spending, which includes Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, is projected to rise $85 billion, or 4%….
Interest on the debt is worse. It is projected to increase 14% per year, almost quadrupling in dollar terms between 2014 and 2024.
DoD Secretary Chuck Hagel’s proposed budget cuts Defense spending by $75 billion over the next two years.
The “mandatory” spending problem could be cured over those same two years, with a proper reform package.