Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Obama Wants to Undo Sequester and Increase Spending

In the comments near the end of page 1, Sean and I are discussing Obama wanting to undo the sequester and start spending again. Sean stated that "He (Obama) offered a way to pay for the restored spending, so it would be deficit-neutral." Well that post became old and the comments slowed, so I thought we should continue it here.

Fox News End Sequester
Politico Spend and Tax
NT Post Deal Breaking Budget
Daily Kos Senate to Block Spending Bills

Based on these links, it looks like Sean is correct.  And it seems that Obama is proposing what any typical Democrat would...  Spend more and Tax more...

Personally I am looking for spend less tax more until we start decreasing the size of the national debt.  I mean if we can not do it "when times are good"...  When should we be doing it? Thoughts?

26 comments:

Laurie said...

Fall budget wars a legacy moment for Obama

I support Obama's proposed spending increases.

John said...

Focusing only on "discretionary" is looking at only ~1/3 of the picture.

Fed Spending

I am fine with reducing the non-military portion of the discretionary because then the States and Locals can choose to increase taxes/spending if they value the programs. Also, something needs to be done to reduce the stranglehold the public employee unions have on our tax dollars.

Reducing dollars does not need to mean reduced services if the politicians and bureaucrats start demanding results and fighting excessive system costs. American Consumers were not willing to pay for the costs and inefficiencies that "seniority based" Union policies bring yet they still thrive in the public space.

Sean said...

What is the appropriate debt level you think we should reach and what's your plan to get there, then?

John said...

50% to 70% of the GDP during good times sounds reasonable.

Spend less than we take in for awhile.

or

Hold spending fixed until tax revenue and GDP increase.

Laurie said...

Obama's budget increase is very reasonable.

"When adjusted for inflation, the level of nondefense appropriations in 2006 turns out to be almost identical to what Republicans are now asking Obama to accept for 2016 under the Budget Control Act. This might seem like poetic justice. But it ignores the fact that the nation has grown in the past decade, and the cost of medical services for veterans has exploded.

For Congress, to stay at the BCA post-sequestration cap and still pay the medical bills at the Department of Veterans Affairs means the rest of domestic appropriations must be cut about $17 billion from what was enacted in 2006. Obama is only asking for appropriations very close in real dollars to Bush’s own budget 10 years ago and what Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) himself voted for in December 2005.

In the past decade, the U.S. population has grown at least 7 percent, according to Census estimates. The number of children enrolled in public schools from the fall of 2006 to 2016 is projected to increase by 900,000.

But in real dollars, the net result is a 2016 labor, health and education bill that provides about $14 billion to $15 billion less than what Republicans and Bush agreed upon in 2006."

Sean said...

"Spend less than we take in for awhile.

or

Hold spending fixed until tax revenue and GDP increase."

Meaningless without specifics.

John said...

For someone who expects government to run effectively and efficiently it is perfectly meaningful. Once government has eliminated seniority based methods by which they reward employees and adopts performance based systems, then I will start to believe they may be spending our tax dollars effectively and efficiently. Until that happens I assume they must have plenty of money to spend poorly.

Besides the fact that the States can easily make up the difference if they deem the programs necessary. Please remember that I like tax/spend decision as low / local as they can be.

National defense, Interstate commerce, etc are key Federal responsibilities. Education, social services, etc not so much so.

Roles 1
Roles 2
Roles 3

John said...

Given the roles above... Why again should the increasing population of the USA drive larger Federal spending?

"In the past decade, the U.S. population has grown at least 7 percent, according to Census estimates. The number of children enrolled in public schools from the fall of 2006 to 2016 is projected to increase by 900,000.

But in real dollars, the net result is a 2016 labor, health and education bill that provides about $14 billion to $15 billion less than what Republicans and Bush agreed upon in 2006."

John said...

Fiscal Times

Laurie said...

about "something needs to be done to reduce the stranglehold the public employee unions have on our tax dollars."

"(there is) no systematic data to prove that states with low public-sector unionization do better on such metrics as poverty, inequality, or educational attainment. In fact, even a cursory glance at those states suggests the opposite. Mississippi has a public-sector unionization rate of just 3 percent, but it also has the highest poverty rate in the nation and ranks at or near the bottom on most measures of education. Other states with similarly weak public-sector unions include Arkansas and South Carolina, not exactly models for fighting poverty and inequality.

excerpt taken fro Should Liberals Back Public Employee Unions?

I know you don't care about poverty or inequality, John, and won't find this article at all persuasive, but I found it gave sufficient reasons to support unions.

Sean said...

"For someone who expects government to run effectively and efficiently it is perfectly meaningful. "

It's meaningless without saying how you're going to get there. There was a poll a few years back which showed that people, when given the choice of how to cut the deficit, overwhelmingly chose "cut spending" over "raise taxes". Then, they were given the list of categories in the budget and asked which ones they would cut. Only foreign aid (which represents 1% of the budget) had majority approval to cut, and most categories were under 30%.

The Republican House GOP has routinely passed the Paul Ryan budget framework, and then failed to produce appropriation bills to back it up.

The point: it's easy to say cut spending. It's hard to say exactly what you'll cut.


Sean said...

"Once government has eliminated seniority based methods by which they reward employees and adopts performance based systems, then I will start to believe they may be spending our tax dollars effectively and efficiently. "

Other than your obsession with making sure other people get paid less, I'm not sure what this really has to do with the question at hand.

Only about 27% of federal employees are unionized (source and federal payroll (excluding military) accounts for less than $250B of the federal budget (source).

Laurie said...

I think the part of reading this blog that I still enjoy these days is the facts and arguements Sean uses to refute some of John's dumb ideas. I got a kick out of of the most recent Sean comment.

John said...

"obsession with making sure other people get paid less"

Actually I am happy paying people what they are worth. I am not happy paying people and saving the jobs of people just because they have been working for an organization for a long time. Here are some interesting articles of our money at work... Not...

Fox Union Work
WP Official Time

Now I think your number of union public workers that are funded with federal revenues is severely understated. My rationale is that a significant amount of money is distributed to states for school teachers, and other union personnel.

John said...

Here are some interesting articles. To give some local perspective, when RDale outsourced their transportation to a non-union operator. The district reduced non-teaching expenses by more than 1 million dollars per year. This allowed the district to spend more than $1 million per year in the classroom.

Now I understand that you two want the Public Employees to be well compensated and to have high job security. And you want the people with seniority to be paid the most and to have the highest job security.

This sounds good if there were no costs to other non-union citizens. However our society bears the costs for these folks. All of our taxes are higher than they need to be. Moderately burnt out older workers stay employed and highly compensated. Which means their students, customers, etc are not getting what they could from the gov't service provider.

Remember the most tragic local example. The highest paid and most experienced MPLS teachers are employed where the student body is less challenging. And the lowest paid and least experienced MPLS Teachers are employed where the student body is the most challenging. I just can't understand your supporting a system that puts the wants of the adults before the needs of the children.

Politico Public Employee Unions
Reason Even Dems Hating on Unions
Philly Outlaw Public Employee Unions?

John said...

"I know you don't care about poverty or inequality"

Laurie, FYI. I care very much about poverty and inequality, however I simply have a different view regarding how they should be resolved. You are comfortable having the government arbitrarily take money from some citizens and give it to others with no expectations placed on the recipients. I think this encourages and rewards the wrong behaviors, and dooms those folks to generational poverty.

And by the way, one does not eliminate poverty by continuously giving people handouts or free insurances. That just hides poverty.

Sean said...

You can fix the Minneapolis public schools with leadership. If you need reforms in teacher contracts, as a school board and an administration, you fight for them. You don't accept a deal that doesn't have the reforms you need, and you prepare to trade-off things that are less important to you to get those things that you need.

John said...

Now I think you are being naive. Here was a summary of the Mpls Union resistance to common sense reforms from a couple of years ago.

These folks are adamant that they be in charge of the district and will stop at nothing to put their wants ahead of the needs of the unlucky students in their district. If this was happening in a "private business", that business would have gone bankrupt decades ago. (ie poor performance/results, high costs, etc) Instead MN citizens just keep paying more year after year to support the inefficiency and ineffectiveness.

Sean said...

In a collective bargaining environment, you don't get something for nothing. The teachers -- who by no means bear all (or even a majority) of the responsibility for the problems -- are being asked to make all the sacrifices.

Laurie said...

So, John, what is your different view regarding how poverty and inequality should be resolved.

My view is people have a right to food, housing, healthcare, and education and if the the economy won't provide enough living wage jobs than govt should make up the difference, maybe guaranteed basic income is the best way to go.

about paying people what they are worth I don't get why you get bent out of shape about teachers that make $70,000 grand but don't bat an eye when CEO's and wall street bankers that make hundreds of millions. Do you believe that is what they are worth?

Speaking of what people are worth and the need to better fund govt (like the dept of labor) here is a link to a story I found very disturbing about how foreign workers are exploited (if you have have some time in your day I recommend this link)

The new American Slavery...

John said...

Maybe it is karma for decades of taking good pay, great benefits and great job security while letting kids get through the system without being able to read, write or do math adequately. For their role in propagating generational poverty and keeping the minorities poor and uneducated.

Or maybe more tax payers and parents are finally starting to understand how dysfunctional, ineffective and inefficient the status quo bureaucratic public school systems are.

I think the unlucky kids have been sacrificed long enough so that tenured Teachers can feel secure, older Teachers can pick their school/students, the school funding flows to the older Teachers regardless of performance or class difficulty, younger better Teachers get laid off, etc.

Please notice that no where in this discussion are the best Teachers displaced or their wages reduced.

John said...

Laurie,
Sounds like some employers are breaking the law.

US DOL Poster
US DOL Links

What do you think should be done with law breakers?

John said...

"What is your different view regarding how poverty and inequality should be resolved."

Maybe that will be another post. But it needs to give people incentive to change, learn, make good decisions and work hard... Not give them checks for doing nothing.

Laurie said...

I think we are headed for another govt shutdown.

Washington's fight over the budget might shut down the government again

or else they will just do short term funding again. I think sometime this fall it will be a shutdown.

John said...

Will it be the fault of the Democrats this time?

Or will the Liberals blame the GOP as usual?

Laurie said...

I believe it is congress that shuts down the government by not passing the spending bills. The sequester deal was made to limit both defense and non defense spending. If increases are to be made to defense then nondefense spending should increase as well.

I guess if the govt is shut down the public will decide whose fault it is. Last time they were persuaded (fairly) to blame the GOP. Shutdown damages Republicans, with plenty of pain to go around The odd thing is the shut down didn't hurt them in the 2014 election.