Monday, October 23, 2017

"Pie Fight"


Note: I'm already forced to making an exception to my pledge not to post anything political on FB. I believe what I'm about to post is essential information that everyone needs to know about. And, if it's good enough for my FB friends it is certainly good enough for my loyal blog readers.

The headlines in today's (Friday) Washington Post and New York Times are screaming out "Republicans Muscle through $4 trillion dollar budget. They then go on to say that Congress will be kicking old and sick people to the curb and giving tax cuts to the rich. Let me cite a few facts here for you to ponder.

1) Next year's budget will indeed be $4 trillion dollars. That's an increase over last year's $3.6 trillion....most of the increase in spending coming from Obamacare costs which are just beginning to kick in now.

2) The Republican Budget does indeed call for $480 billion in cuts to Medicare spending over the next ten years. That equates to $48 billion dollars per year over the next decade. Those cuts seem rather dramatic, until you learn that the Medicare budget is currently more than $500 billion dollars per year. So, in essence, Congress is proposing that we find just ten percent of the massive fraud, waste and abuse in that program. (How about we start by stopping the Russian Mafia who conned Medicare out of more than $300 million in false claims in the last three years! Or how about we stop funding penis pumps for our elderly! And does everyone oldster really need a mobility scooter just because they qualify for one?) I don't believe any of our elderly will even feel that ten percent cut as much of the savings will come from pressing hospitals to quit charing $50 dollars for a Tylenol tablet.

3) The Republican budget also calls for even bigger cuts in Medicaid....about $40 billion in annual cuts to a Medicaid budget that, at more than $380 billion a year, is now approaching what we spend for the elderly on Medicare. Again, most of the Medicaid waste, fraud and abuse comes from phony claims as well as an overly generous Obamacare program that prevents doctors to even charge a co-pay to Medicaid participants.

4) While the Democrats are up in arms about cuts to Medicaid and Medicare not one of them will explain what we do when funds for Medicare and Medicaid are depleted in 2029 when, according to the non partisan Office of Management and Budget, the last dollar is spent from the program's coffers.

5) Two other programs schedule for cuts include both the Food Stamp program (which quadrupled under Obama..with a third of the entire nation on food stamps) and the Assistance To Needy Families programs. Republican tied work requirements to both programs...asking that folks who get money for the two programs at least work as a community schools, or cleaning up our parks, or other necessary community work in order to earn taxpayer money.

6) Yes, the Republicans did hike spending for the some $97 billion dollars. This money is not only used to improve VA hospital care for our vets, but also to repair, upgrade and modernize defense systems which have suffered during the "Reconciliation Years" when no increases in defense was permitted.

And for those folks who draw up phony pie charts, you are fooling no one. Defense spending makes up only 16 percent of the entire federal budget, the lowest percentage of spending since before World War II...and about half what we spend on Healthcare.

7) As to Democrat charges that the wealthy get a break under the Republican budget, I would only remind you that, for decades now, the top ten percent of wage earners currently pay 90% of all taxes collected. Should they be asked to pay even more, as 47 percent of Americans pay not a dime....and collect all the benefits?

8) Finally, though the percentage has not been determined, the Republicans have budgeted for corporate tax cuts....most of it going toward small businesses who make less than $200,000 a year. Why not give those Mom and Pop outfits a tax break? After all, then generate 70% of all jobs in America! As for "big corporate", they currently pay corporate taxes at a 35% tax rate, which is why companies are moving overseas where, in Ireland, they pay less than half at 17%, and only slightly more than that in Britain and Germany. American businesses have not been playing on a level playing field for decades and it has cost the American worker lost jobs.

9) Finally, (and this one ought to scare the hell out of you), last year the entire federal budget had only 9 percent of "non mandatory" spending. Of that 9 percent, 6% was allocated to paying the interest on our $20 trillion dollar national debt. And that interest was limited to 6% only because we have used the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates artificially low by buying up bonds....using "monopoly money" to pay for their purchases. You ought to know that the Fed is holding $6 trillion dollars in treasury debt that must be paid for eventually....and the only way they can do that is raise the federal interest rates to the 60 year average of 6%. Alas, when that happens (and it must!) we will be annually allocating 15 percent of all tax revenues...just to pay the interest on our national debt. And that's only if the Chinese keep holding the $2 trillion dollars in treasury bonds and not cash them in! If that happens we are all in deep shit.

FB friends, I'm sorry to bore you with this stuff. But I've spent a lot of time researching all this......all in an effort to make you aware of the that you can understand why, while the Republican budget is a tiny bit thrifty (not nearly enough) but is essential if we hope not to go the way of bankrupt Greece (Which, by the way, we exceed them in percentage of debt vs Gross Domestic Product.).

So, Im sorry to play Paul Revere once again, shouting through the streets that we're in trouble, but wouldn't you want to know when the enemy's at the gate and you're house is on fire?

(God, I hope at least some of you read this)


Frank R. Krzesowiak said...

I suggest people hang on to this blog in case a misinformed Liberal wants to start a war of words in relation to Trumps first budget. Trying to do the right thing is perceived as anti Liberal by the left, and if you think about it, that's probably true. If they could ever get their head out of their ass and smell some fresh air, they might realize this is the start of saving out Children and Grandchildren's future. Nah. Never happen.

Frank R. Krzesowiak said...

Hopes Dim for Congressional Russia Inquiries as Parties Clash

Three congressional investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election have run into serious obstacles, and definitive conclusions are now unlikely.

And can anyone explain to me why we need 3 investigations? Don't these people have anything better to waste their time on? No wonder Congress is impotent(as opposed to inportant). From the New York Times. jeez. What a bunch of crap!

TheRandyGuy said...

I have used for years to get this information. Absolutely correct in all your points and that's the scary part: Much of the spending is non discretionary - which means the cost cannot be reduced (absent a change in the law) and the increases just keep oming. One other thing: By law, every penny of social welfare spending MUST be paid in full every year. There is no carrying forward (adding to the debt) the cost of all the assistance programs. Between the cost of those and the increasing cost of servicing the debt, we're in for a bad outcome.

A Modest Scribler said...

Frank, thanks much for the kind words. With respect to the multiple Russian investigations, well, I believe you already know the answers to your question. Smoke, meant to divert. And, getting back to the thesis of today's blog, wouldn't you love just once to see the Democrats proposals on budgeting? Their answer always seems to be "raise taxes".

A Modest Scribler said...

Randy, you bring up a point that I failed to. The budget process is so convoluted, the model designed for failure. It does not give us hope for the long term. Some day the pols will be forced to fix it, but not now....not as long as our "credit limit" keeps being upped by folks willing to buy our debt.

Frank R. Krzesowiak said...

Democrats aren't capable of thinking of anything besides "Raise Taxes". That's their logical reaction to EVEYTHING financial. Creativity doesn't exist in their dictionary. Reduce spending. Now THERE'S a concept. Those two words don't fit together in their version of the English language. It's so sad, one has to laugh.