limit on federal spending Archive

The Scott Adams Challenge

By James Schaefer.   Scott Adams, the author of Dilbert, recently had a feature article in the Wall Street Journal, entitled "How to Tax the Rich", and he asked readers to think up incentives that might allow our biggest taxpayers to feel a bit better about dropping hundred-thousand-dollar checks into the ravenous maw...
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Amendment Filed. Call Your Congressman!

Senators Mark Udall (D-Colo.) and Richard Shelby (R-Ala.)  have introduced a Balanced-Budget Amendment to the Constitution that---are you sitting down?---includes a 20% of GDP cap on federal spending!  It requires a 3/5 vote of both houses to run deficits or overspend, but in other respects is very much like a bill...
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Party On!

By John Lumbard.   When we launched this blog the federal debt was 12-and-something trillion, and we were fretting about the first trillion-dollar budget deficit.  Really, I shouldn't have been surprised to see the $14 trillion number at the top of our home page, but it touched a nerve anyway.  And...
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The ENTIRE Government Runs on Borrowed Money

By Ron Olive.   (To the Editor of the Wall Street Journal)   Sir:   In “Revenues Are Rising” (Review & Outlook, January 12th), you tell us that, according to the Congressional Budget Office, federal receipts “have climbed by $44 billion, or nearly 9%, to $531 billion” during the first quarter of fiscal...
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Incentives Rule!

By John Lumbard.   In December the Boston Globe ran a front-page story on the “dangerous incentives” created by a program that offers cash to the parents of children taking psychotropic drugs for ADHD and other behavioral conditions.  The number of children on these drugs has predictably swelled, and a program...
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Hair of the Dog

By John Lumbard.   Unemployment claims are down.  The trade deficit is rising.  The Fed is printing money.  A new cut in payroll taxes (less FICA taken out of your paycheck) and an extension of unemployment benefits will mean growing federal budget deficits---and a big new stimulus for the economy.  We’re...
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Don’t Throw Rocks at the Firemen

When people are in trouble they're not always willing to accept help.  Whether you're talking about an alcoholic resisting intervention, a drug addict, a wife who protects her wife-beating husband, or a homeowner who refuses to leave the flanks of an erupting Mount Saint Helens, there's never been a shortage of...
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Three Cheers for the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility!

By John Lumbard.   The President's Commission on Fiscal Responsibility will release its findings on December 1, but recently the two chairmen--Republican Alan Simpson and Democrat Erskine Bowles---took the extraordinary step of releasing a "draft" of the "Co-Chair's proposal".  It's an end-run around the dissenting voices in the commission, and a clear statement that...
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Explaining the Tea Party

It's obvious that the Tea Partiers are driven by anger at the "irresponsibility of Congress" as my Colby College English professor Ed Witham put it (many times) in the mid-to-late 1970s.  At first it appeared that this was all about fiscal responsibility, but let's be honest---budgets don't generate much passion. ...
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Your Legislators Work for You. Make Them Do Their Jobs!

We've heard a lot of talk about fiscal responsibility in the last few months, and now it's time for the new Congress to follow through.  The primary responsibility of our congresspeople is to manage our money responsibly;  if they continue to pile IOUs onto the backs of little children we should...
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