Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Scott Walker’s new budget: tax cuts, spending cuts, school choice, smaller government

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker

Scott Walker announces some of the items in his new Wisconsin budget.

The Daily Signal reports:

Gov. Scott Walker unveiled his proposal for Wisconsin’s state budget on Tuesday night, and he did not shy away from offering bold ideas.

The second-term Republican governor has proposed a budget for 2015-17 that would cut property taxes again, eliminate the cap on the state’s school choice program, and reform government by merging agencies.

Walker’s budget would also spin off the public University of Wisconsin System as a separate state entity and require those receiving government benefits to take a drug test.

Tax cuts, expanding school choice, smaller government.

Here are the details on the school choice expansion:

The governor also talked about expanding the state’s school choice program.

“I am excited to announce our plans to lift the cap on vouchers so more families … can have the choice to find the best school for their children,” Walker said. “Every child deserves the chance to succeed.”

If passed by the GOP-led legislature, all students living under 185 percent of the federal poverty level and currently attending a public school would have access to a voucher to attend a private school.

This expansion is on top of school choice programs already in place in the cities of Milwaukee and Racine.

Walker’s budget also expands public school choice in the form of independent charter schools. Wisconsin currently authorizes these schools in the city of Milwaukee, but nowhere else in the state. Independent charter schools are public schools, but do not operate under the auspice of the local school board or teachers’ union.

The governor has proposed a statewide board, which would authorize new charter schools statewide. In Milwaukee, the independent charter schools have repeatedly outperformed their traditional public school peers.

Oh no! What will the leftist public schools do when parents can choose not to give them money? WHO CARES!

And welfare reform:

Walker also introduced a plan recently that would build on his previous entitlement reforms.

“Our budget expands the requirement for able-bodied adults to be enrolled in an employment and training program in order to receive food stamps,” Walker announced. “Now, some might claim that we’re making it harder to get government assistance. We’re not. We’re making it easier to get a job.”

He is mean. Mean to lazy people!

The leftist New York Times reports that the streamlining of government will result in 400 public sector positions (some of which are vacant) being eliminated.

The article also reminds us why conservatives love Scott Walker:

Mr. Walker came to national prominence in 2011 largely because of his first statewide budget proposal, which relied on cuts to collective bargaining rights and increased health and pension costs for most public workers to help solve an expected budget gap.

That got rid of the massive $3.6 billion deficit he inherited from his Democrat predecessor.

But there is more. What do you think the deepest, darkest place is in the United States? I think it’s the university.

The NYT article continues:

Mr. Walker’s proposal calls for cutting about $300 million, or 13 percent, in state funds from the University of Wisconsin System, which includes 13 four-year universities and enrolls some 180,000 students. Mr. Walker’s plan would also take the unusual step of removing the university system from direct state control to a “quasi-governmental” authority that could act autonomously on issues of personnel, procurement, capital projects and tuition.

As word spread in recent days that proposed cuts were coming, some in the university system expressed deep concern, likening the focus on the universities to Mr. Walker’s earlier clashes with public-sector labor unions. At the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the Faculty Senate this week condemned the proposal. Students said they intended to organize opposition.

He went after the leftist public sector unions, and now the bloated leftist public universities. He is so mean to them! Oh well. (Fake cry)

Just ask yourself – what if the guy we chose as the Republican candidate for president actually knew what he was doing? Wouldn’t that be interesting? What if our candidate for President could do more than just play golf and read a teleprompter? What if our candidate for President could actually tell the truth instead of saying “let me be clear”, then lying, then saying “period” after the lie?

When the Green Bay Packers play NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers at quarterback, the Green Bay fans understand that he actually knows how to play football – and he is actually good at it, based on past experiences playing football. What if we chose a candidate who could actually do the job? And talk about past experiences doing the job? Wouldn’t that be something? Picking Scott Walker to be president would be like picking William Lane Craig to debate in favor of Christianity.

Filed under: News, , , , , ,

Obama said Obamacare would not add to the deficit, CBO says it adds $1.35 trillion

In the video above, Obama promised the American people that his health care plan would not add one dime to the deficit. And the low-information voters who voted for him believed him. Just like they believed that they could keep their doctor, that they could keep their health care plan, that Obamacare would lower the costs of health care, that Benghazi was caused by a YouTube video, and so on.

So how much did Obamacare add to the deficit?

The UK Daily Mail has the latest numbers from the Congressional Budget Office.

Truth:

It will cost the federal government – taxpayers, that is – $50,000 for every person who gets health insurance under the Obamacare law, the Congressional Budget Office revealed on Monday.

The number comes from figures buried in a 15-page section of the nonpartisan organization’s new ten-year budget outlook.

The best-case scenario described by the CBO would result in ‘between 24 million and 27 million’ fewer Americans being uninsured in 2025, compared to the year before the Affordable Care Act took effect.

Pulling that off will cost Uncle Sam about $1.35 trillion – or $50,000 per head.

The numbers are daunting: It will take $1.993 trillion, a number that looks like $1,993,000,000,000, to provide insurance subsidies to poor and middle-class Americans, and to pay for a massive expansion of Medicaid and CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) costs.

Offsetting that massive outlay will be $643 billion in new taxes, penalties and fees related to the Obamacare law.

That revenue includes quickly escalating penalties – or ‘taxes,’ as the U.S. Supreme Court described them – on people who resist Washington’s command to buy medical insurance.

It also includes income from a controversial medical device tax, which some Republicans predict will be eliminated in the next two years.

If they’re right, Obamacare’s per-person cost would be even higher.

Did Obama know that he was lying when he said that his health care plan would not add one dime to the deficit?

Well, his buddy Gruber, the architect of Obamacare, certainly did:

But we should not be surprised, either by the low intelligence levels of Democrat voters or by the lies of Democrat politicians. After all, they want single payer health care – look what Harry Reid says:

“What we’ve done with Obamacare is have a step in the right direction, but we’re far from having something that’s going to work forever,” Reid said.

When then asked by panelist Steve Sebelius whether he meant ultimately the country would have to have a health care system that abandoned insurance as the means of accessing it, Reid said: “Yes, yes. Absolutely, yes.”

And they know – from looking up North to Canada – that single-payer health care will necessarily involve massive increases in taxes.

CTV News describes a recent study on the costs of single-payer health care in Canada:

A typical Canadian family with two parents and two kids will pay up to $11,786 for public health care insurance this year, according to a new study from the conservative think tank Fraser Institute.

Using data from Statistics Canada and the Canadian Institute for Health Information, the Fraser Institute study estimated the amount of taxes Canadian families will pay for public health insurance this year.

What do you get for $11,786?

You get to be on a waiting list for a primary care physician, and you get to wait months for treatment. You can pay taxes your whole life, and then wait behind people who want sex changes – people who have never paid a dime into the system. And sometimes, you die while waiting for treatment. That’s “fairness” and “equality”. And that’s where the Democrats want to take us.

Remember when Obama said that we could keep our health care plans and our doctors?:

Democrats voters looked at this man, and they just knew – without any studies or any evidence – that he was telling the truth.

But the Congressional Budget Office says that TEN MILLION people will lose their employer health plans under Obama by 2021.

Look:

The Congressional Budget Office now says ObamaCare will push 10 million off employer-based coverage, a tenfold increase from its initial projection. The “keep your plan” lie just gets bigger and bigger.

The latest CBO report is supposed to be a big win for the Obama administration because the projected costs are 20% below what the CBO first projected in 2010.

But the CBO report also shows that ObamaCare will be far more disruptive to the employer-based insurance market, while being far less effective at cutting the ranks of the uninsured, than promised.

Thanks to ObamaCare, the CBO now expects that 10 million workers will lose their employer-based coverage by 2021.

This is in addition to the FOUR MILLION who already lost their health care plans in 2013.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

National debt up more than $10 trillion since Pelosi/Reid budgets of 2007

This post is from Red State.

Excerpt:

Despite his promises to cut the deficit in half by the end of his “first” term, Obama  racked up the largest deficits in U.S. history:

  • FY2009: The federal budget deficit was $1.413 trillion, the highest in U.S. history. (“Monthly Budget Review: November 2011,” Congressional Budget Office, 11/7/11)
  • FY2011: The federal budget deficit was $1.299 trillion, the second highest in U.S. history. (“Monthly Budget Review: November 2011,” Congressional Budget Office, 11/7/11)
  • FY2010: The federal budget deficit was $1.294 trillion, the third highest in U.S. history. (“Monthly Budget Review: November 2011,” Congressional Budget Office, 11/7/11)
  • FY2012 The federal budget deficit was $1.090 trillion, the fourth highest in U.S. history. (“An Analysis of the President’s 2013 Budget,” Congressional Budget Office, 10/5/12)

You shouldn’t be shocked by Obama’s failure to reduce the deficit in half by the end of his first term in office. He did warn us there would be “trillion-dollar deficits for years to come.”

Interest expense on the national debt is what sinks countries. The zero interest rate environment we have today masks the problem. When we return to normal interest rates, say 6%, our interest expense will jump to approximately to 25% of tax receipts. We have recently seen what happens to countries with debt problems similar to ours. Spain, Portugal, Greece, and Argentina all brought to their knees by excessive debt.

Heritage Foundation economist Stephen Moore:

Here is the biggest worry about an $18 trillion debt: What happens if/when interest rates start to drift back upward? Answer: This is the economic equivalent of the nuclear option.

Each 1-percentage-point rise in interest rates causes the U.S. deficit to rise by more than $1 trillion over ten years. So a 300-basis-point rise in rates — nothing more than a return to normalcy — would mean about $5 trillion in federal deficits.

If that happens, the debt-servicing costs grow astronomically and interest payments would become the biggest expense item in the budget. We start to pay more and more taxes just to finance past borrowing. This is what happened in Detroit; look at how that turned out.

Maybe this debt bubble won’t burst. Let’s pray that it doesn’t. If it does, the 2008–09 real-estate crash could look like a picnic by comparison.

[…]Oh, and we’re still borrowing half a trillion a year, so the debt will likely hit $20 trillion sometime before 2018. Have a nice day.

In 2007, when Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid took over the spending, the national debt was only 8.5 trillion!

I am really hoping that interest rates will go up. Not only would it help me personally to get a predictable return on my investments, but I would like the people who voted for the Democrats to perceive (when it blows up) that lowering interest rates and borrowing trillions of dollars was not the right way to achieve real economic growth. The economy looks better if you throw 10 trillion dollars of borrowed money at it, but it’s not sustainable. In fact, it seems as if the left is always trying to wreck the economy with one bubble or another. It’s not just reducing mortgage lending requirements to create a housing bubble, it’s reducing student loans requirements to create a higher education bubble, and it’s reducing interest rates to create a debt bubble. It’s almost as if they were trying to destroy the economy.

Filed under: News, , , , , , ,

Are “budget cuts” to blame for the CDC’s inept handling of Ebola?

Investors Business Daily tells the truth.

Excerpt:

There haven’t been any real cuts to those budgets at all. At least not in the sense that any American household would recognize.

The CDC’s budget today is 25% bigger than it was in 2008 and 188% bigger than in 2000. The NIH budget has been flat for the past few years, but at a level that’s more than double what it was 14 years ago.

Plus, spending at both of these agencies has actually been higher than President Obama himself proposed (see chart). The 2014 NIH budget, in fact, is almost $1 billion bigger than Obama sought in his budget plan, released in early 2010.

True, the heads of these agencies are decrying cuts. But that’s what government officials always do, even as their budgets continue to grow. Besides, the CDC and NIH are desperate to point the finger of blame somewhere other than their own incompetence.

Even if there has been some cutting here and there at these agencies, it’s not as if there isn’t plenty of fat to trim.

If the NIH was really so concerned about developing an Ebola vaccine, for example, it could have directed more grant money to that effort, rather than wasting it researching such things as diseases among male sex workers in Peru ($400,000), why chimps throw feces ($600,000) and sexual attraction among fruit flies (nearly $1 million).

The CDC isn’t much better at husbanding its resources. A few years ago, it dumped $106 million into a swanky visitors’ center in Atlanta, even though it already had one. It bought $10 million worth of furniture for its lavish new headquarters and spent $1.7 million to advise Hollywood on medical plots.

Yes, the federal government has blown it on Ebola. But that’s not because the relevant agencies have too little money to spend. It’s the result of unfocused missions, bureaucratic bloat and a shameful lack of accountability.

I think that this Ebola crisis is an excellent reminder to us why we should not trust government to be accountable to people. We were told that the government was going to handle this, and there was nothing to worry about. But now we know that there has been mistake after mistake. We were told that Ebola could not spread, but now two nurses have it. It’s another case of the government saying one thing, but the opposite is actually true. If we’re going to have government, we should at least have competent government, and that certainly is not a Democrat government.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , ,

Conservative Party of Canada on track to deliver budget surplus in 2015

Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Prime Minister Stephen Harper (Conservative Party)

Story from Yahoo News about the results delivered by the Conservative Party of Canada.

Note: To understand the numbers in the article, simply multiple the numbers by 10 to compare with American numbers – Canada’s economy is about 1/10 the size of ours. For example, our GDP is $15.7 trillion and theirs is $1.8 trillion. Our national debt is $17 trillion, while their’s is $1.2 trillion.

Excerpt:

Canada’s Conservative government looks set to comfortably balance its books in 2015 or even sooner, its latest budget showed on Tuesday, with cuts in spending on the public service more than offsetting a series of modest new expenditures.

The low-key spending plan leaves Prime Minister Stephen Harper well-positioned to offer tax breaks and other initiatives in the runup to an election scheduled for October next year.

“Some people will say this budget is boring,” Finance Minister Jim Flaherty told reporters ahead of the budget speech. “Boring is good.”

The budget shows a deficit of C$2.9 billion ($2.63 billion)in the 2014-15 fiscal year, up from the previous estimate of C$5.5 billion. That balance includes a C$3 billion contingency fund, which in fact reveals an underlying surplus that year.

Flaherty acknowledged the budget would be narrowly balanced this coming year without the contingency fund, but said he preferred to have a “nice clean surplus next year”.

The government estimates a bigger-than-expected C$6.4 billion surplus in 2015-16. In the year ending March 31 of this year, the deficit is pegged at C$16.6 billion.

[…]Flaherty, who is 64 and battling a rare skin disease, has staked his reputation on eliminating Canada’ small deficit, equivalent to about 1 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), and restoring the reputation the country had before the global financial crisis as having the strongest fiscal record in the Group of Seven major economies.

Germany is currently the only G7 country running a surplus, but Canada’s ratio of debt to GDP is substantially less and it is one of a handful of countries with a triple-A rating from rating agencies.

Canada is beating us in debt to GDP:

G7 Debt to GDP as of 2013

G7 % Debt to GDP as of 2012 (lower is better)

Canada is beating us in economic growth:

G7 GDP growth for 2013

G7 % GDP growth from 2007 to 2012 (higher is better)

Source: BBC Business

The next Canadian election is in 2015. I know that the Liberal Party is currently leading in the polls, but I found some good news. The Canadians just redistricted after their census, and there are 30 new electoral districts. If the same turnout occurs in 2015 which occurred in the 2011 election, then the Conservative Party of Canada would get 22 out of 30 of those new seats. However, I am concerned. I want Harper to keep his majority, as he and Tony Abbott (Australia) are two bright conservative stars who show people what conservatives can do. 

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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