False Premise

Budget mavens, politicians, and the NLMSM have one regarding our national tax code.  The Senate is considering a budget that sets an outer bound on the size of Federal tax cuts.

A budget with a tax plan that is revenue-neutral would effectively pay for itself, meaning any reduction in tax rates would be offset by reducing breaks or other revenue-raising measures.

No.  “Revenue neutral” must also consider what’s done with the revenue collected.  Revenue neutrality can be achieved, also, with sufficient spending cuts so that revenue collected meets or exceeds spending outflows.

Huzzah

Regular order—it lives, sort of, at least on spending measures, in the House.

The House on Thursday voted to send 12 appropriations bills to the Senate. The chamber approved four of these 2018 spending measures prior to its August recess, and the remaining eight were debated and passed as part of the broader Thursday vote. They had previously passed out of committee. This is the first time since 2004 that a House Republican majority has passed all of its individual spending bills….

Nonsense

The National Park Service is handing $100,000 to UC Berkeley in a “research” grant to “to ‘honor the legacy’ of the Marxist revolutionary group the Black Panther Party.”  Worse, it did so without following its usual competitive bidding process for research grant money.

This cooperative research project between the National Park Service (NPS) and the University of California, Berkeley (UCB) on the Black Panther Party (BPP) is anchored in historical methods, visual culture, and the preservation of sites and voices.  The project will discover new links between the historical events concerning race that occurred in Richmond during World War II and the subsequent emergence of the BPP in the San Francisco Bay Area two decades later through research, oral history, and interpretation.

Prioritize, Guys

President Donald Trump’s national infrastructure plan centers on glorified seed money directed to the localities looking to improve/build out their infrastructure.  The idea is that the locals know their needs best, those needs should be funded primarily locally or from within the nation’s private economic sector, and the building out will aggregate into a vastly improved national infrastructure—real bottom up development, with a little help from the Feds.

To that end, Trump is going to propose $200 billion in Federal spending be committed to a total $1 trillion infrastructure development collection of projects (OK, considerable help).

Bank Bailout, Italian Style

Italy has nationalized Monte dei Paschi di Siena, a major bank that otherwise would have gone into bankruptcy. In the process, the bank’s €26.8 billion ($32.5 billion) “nonperforming loans” will be “disposed of,” and the Italian government taxpayers will feed the bank €5.4 billion and get a 70% stake in the failing bank.

Under the bad loan disposal plan, €26.1 billion will be bundled and sold at 21% of gross book value, the vast majority to the government-organized Atlante II fund, while the bank retains 5%.

General Reform

25% of us don’t see doctors because that costs too much.

32% of older millennials (is there such a thing?  Gad) skip the doctor.  13% of Americans don’t have any health coverage plan at all—paying the penalty is more valuable to them.  Half of us don’t think we’ll have affordable health insurance much less Obamacare’s health coverage welfare.

This, together with today’s other post, just illustrates the fact that no single part of our economy—or of our Federal government—can effectively be treated in isolation: not Obamacare alone, not Federal spending alone (especially not by “cutting” through reducing the rate of growth in spending), not taxing alone, not debt handling alone.

Budget Cuts and Bribery

…or budget cuts and coercion, depending on your perspective.

The president’s budget, due for release Tuesday, will spare the two largest drivers of future spending—Medicare and Social Security—leaving trillions in cuts from other programs. That includes discretionary spending cuts to education, housing, environment programs, and foreign aid already laid out by the administration, in addition to new proposed reductions to nondiscretionary spending like food stamps, Medicaid, and federal employee-benefit programs.

What’s going to be ignored in the inevitable hoo-raw over these allegedly terrible cuts to various aspects of our nation’s “safety” net is the truly terrible downside of those aspects.

Is Satire

…a proper style for what’s claimed to be a serious, scholarly journal?  Here, via The Wall Street Journal, is the abstract of Teresa Lloro-Bidart’s When ‘Angelino’ squirrels don’t eat nuts: a feminist posthumanist politics of consumption across southern California [sic] in the journal Gender, Place & Culture: A Journal of Feminist Geography [also sic]:

It’s a Start

The Secretary of State wants to cut 2,300 jobs at State.  That might seem like a lot, until you recall that State has 13,000 Foreign Service employees, 11,000 Civil Service employees, and 45,000 Foreign Service local employees.  That’s 69,000 folks on the payroll (some estimates put the number higher, to 75,000); Tillerson wants to cut all of 3% of the employees.

Contra The Wall Street Journal‘s subheadline (The plan underscores the Trump administration’s preference for military spending over diplomacy), this is a good start on the true priority—downsizing the Federal government physically as well as fiscally.  Here’s hoping Secretary of State Rex Tillerson can follow through, and Congress and the other Cabinets and Agencies join the party.

Another Reason

…to stop sending Federal funds to any institution in the California University system.

The University of California hid a stash of $175 million in secret funds while its leaders requested more money from the state, an audit released on Tuesday said.

The University of California system is run by Janet Napolitano, the former Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.  And the same Napolitano who decided returning American veterans could be terrorist material: her history of dishonesty is a long one.