Fiscal Policy

The Transportation “Fiscal Cliff”

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Every few months in Washington, D.C., there is some perceived crisis that headlines newspapers for a few weeks before fading away or being overcome by the next crisis. They are generally crises of the government’s own making and are due to its reckless spending and continued operation of unconstitutional agencies and programs. This time it is the transportation “fiscal cliff.” The ... [click for more]

Lysander Spooner on the National Debt

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Once again, last autumn we were inundated with dire warnings about what would befall the American people and the world economy if Congress did not raise the debt ceiling — or, as I call it, the debt sky, because apparently the sky’s the limit. As he has each time this issue has come up, Barack Obama emphasized that increasing the ... [click for more]

The Keynes Disaster

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The government and the private sector should start spending more to turn the economy around. That’s what a former Obama administration official, speaking to a recent UBS adviser conference, said in making no apologies for the administration’s poor performance since 2009. Indeed, he said that Barack Obama had “saved” the country from a depression in 2009. He also called ... [click for more]

TGIF: Default Circus — er, Crisis — Averted?

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“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary.” — H.L. Mencken Even the sagacious Mencken might be amazed by what’s happening these days. Wherever we look, there are hobgoblins. The latest is — insert [click for more]

Digging Out

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Pundits are full of advice about how and how not to pull the country out of its financial morass. Rebuild infrastructure or cut spending, increase deficit spending or reduce the debt, raise or lower taxes, regulate or deregulate, implement a new industrial policy or get government out of the economy, open the monetary floodgates or end the Fed’s easy-money ... [click for more]

What Sequestration Should Really Look Like

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It’s official: sequestration has begun. Barack Obama has formally signed an order to put into effect the across-the-board government spending cuts known as “sequestration.” After failing to broker a deal at a meeting between Democratic (Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi) and Republican (John Boehner and Mitch McConnell) House and Senate leaders, the president told journalists, “Not everyone will ... [click for more]

TGIF: Sequestration and the Chimera of the Informed Voter

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I spent too much time and effort this week trying to figure out the budget implications of sequestration. This made me wonder how many, well, normal people would be willing to do that. If the answer is “not many,” then in what sense can we talk about the “informed voter”? And if the “informed voter” is a chimera, how ... [click for more]

The American People Need Real Spending Cuts

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President Obama and other so-called progressives insist that the American people are not overly dependent on government. They also predict dire consequences if the automatic budget “cuts” known as sequestration take place March 1. Both claims cannot be true. If modest across-the-board “cuts” — mainly cuts in the rate of growth — in military and domestic spending pose a threat ... [click for more]

Is Today’s Argentina Tomorrow’s America?

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Americans wondering what to expect as their government piles on more debt and refuses to cut spending do not need to look any further than Argentina. A nation once among the most prosperous in the world is now deeply in debt, hemorrhaging cash, and trying to inflate its way out of the mess it has created. This inflation, naturally, ... [click for more]

Pork-Barrel Spending: The History of Lipsticking Pigs

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A December 15, 2012, headline in the New York Post declared, “Obama Sandy Aid Bill Filled with Holiday Goodies Unrelated to Storm Damage.” The announced purpose of the $60.4 billion bill was to provide disaster aid to East Coast individuals and communities devastated by Hurricane Sandy. Instead, the bill was so laden with unrelated and politically inspired handouts ... [click for more]

The Plunder Continues

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It was clear the fix was in the moment the term “fiscal cliff” was coined to describe the series of spending cuts and tax increases that were set to kick in on January 1, 2013. The American people were told in 2011 that the debt ceiling needed to be raised again to avert an outright default on the national debt. ... [click for more]
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