The table below is constructed from the table and data provided by Laura Saunders in her piece in Friday’s Wall Street Journal. It shows how $100 in our tax monies paid to the Federal government were spent on a range of government purposes.
|Civilian federal retirement
…is more than just reducing spending; although that’s a major component of the necessary shrinkage. Shrinking also must include reducing the physical size of the government, reducing its payroll. To that end, the moves by President Donald Trump and OMB Director Mick Mulvaney will prove valuable if Congress will cooperate.
The Wall Street Journal held one of its aperiodic debates last Sunday, this time on whether the Social Security Trust Fund should be allowed to invest in stocks. One debater argued that such investing would reduce the need for dependence on benefit cuts or tax increases; the other claimed that government should stay out of the market.
It’s certainly true that investing in the stock market could produce better returns than the Trust Fund’s current requirement to invest wholly in (unmarketable) Federal debt instruments.
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Social Security Trust Fund Investing in the Stock Market
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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was in Europe at the end of the week, and among other things, he pushed for NATO member states to honor their decades-old commitment to spend 2% of their GDP on defense.
Germany, among other members, insisted that honoring their commitment was “unrealistic.”
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said demands for 2% of GDP spending were “totally unrealistic.” He said that to meet the US target, Germany would have to increase spending by some €35 billion ($37 billion).
After all, Gabriel has argued,
…a strong defense isn’t enough to ensure security.
San Francisco asked a federal judge Wednesday to block President Trump’s order threatening to strip federal funds from so-called sanctuary cities that bar police from enforcing immigration laws.
This suit has a good chance of succeeding. In 1987’s South Dakota v Dole, the Supreme Court ruled (in a dispute over the State’s minimum drinking age and Federal highway funds transfers to the State) that the Federal government cannot withhold already agreed Federal funds from a State in order to coerce State acquiescence with Federal wishes. Funds can be withheld to “persuade,” but the withheld funds must be related to the question at hand rather than a blanket withholding, and the amount withheld cannot be coercive in its size, but only persuasive. Without naming a threshold for the amount, the Court held that the 5% withholding imposed by the Federal government was not coercive.
That was The New York Daily News‘ cynical characterization of President Gerald Ford’s refusal to waste taxpayer money on the city’s profligate irresponsibility with its own budget and spending habits. Is Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) exposing New York City to another round of badly needed tough love from the Federal government?
One New York City Council member wants to expand a summer jobs program for youth.
Another is seeking millions to push the city’s bike-share program deeper into poor neighborhoods.
And another wants to increase funding to legal services for immigrants and adult literacy programs.
Such is budget season at City Hall, where the budget is expected to grow substantially for the fourth year in a row, to some $84.67 billion, up from about $70 billion for fiscal year 2014….
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Another “Drop Dead” Moment for New York City?
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White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus on Federal funds—your tax money—for “sanctuary” cities:
[I]f you defy the laws of this country, you shouldn’t receive federal tax payer dollars from the people of this country…in some cases, you have folks that have committed crimes…and in every other jurisdiction, they say “OK, you’ve committed a crime. You now have to leave the country.”
What the man said.
Reason enough to gut, if not dismantle altogether, the Department of Education is this bit of waste [emphasis in the original]. I disagree, though, that there was no effect. Those $7 billion clearly had an effect of Arne Duncan’s cronies and those of his staffers in the upper reaches of the DoE.
Despite its gargantuan price tag, [School Improvement Grant program] SIG generated no academic gains for the students it was meant to help. Failing schools that received multi-year grants from the program to “turn around” ended up with results no better than similar schools that received zero dollars from the program. To be clear: billions spent had no effect.
Among other things that President Donald Trump did last Monday was sign an Executive Order preventing federal money from being provided to international NGOs that perform abortions or provide information about them and also preventing federal money from going to groups that lobby to legalize abortion or promote it as a family planning method. Here’s what House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi had to say on the matter (David Smith, author of The Guardian piece at the link, who labeled Pelosi the Senate Minority Leader, might want to consult with Senator Chuck Schumer (D, NY). He might also want to consult with House Speaker Paul Ryan, about whom Smith offered speculation concerning why Ryan didn’t bring the TPP treaty up for a vote, another bit of ignorance later in his piece):
The Wall Street Journal had a piece earlier in the week that focused on Republicans’ dismay over President-Elect Donald Trump’s tax cut plans, his infrastructure spending plans, and the deficits that would seem to result from the two.
Once again, the pundit takes tax cuts (and individual spending items) in isolation. Of course, he knows better: broad spending cuts must accompany tax cuts—and isolated spending items—even dynamically, in order to achieve budget surpluses and so reductions in our debt.
The last two times Republicans reclaimed the White House from Democrats—in 1981 and 2001—they also successfully pushed for large tax cuts. Deficits nonetheless rose during their administrations.