Posts tagged ‘Budget’

May 26, 2011

Budget Plan Wrap-Up

by Vince

David Weigel briefly summarizes the four plans that all went down in failed votes in the Senate yesterday:

The Ryan Budget: 57 nos, 40 ayes. No Democrats voted “aye,” and five Republicans — Brown, Collins, Murkowski, Paul, and Snowe — voted no. Paul voted “no” because the bill doesn’t go far enough.

The Obama Budget: 97 nos. You read that right. No “ayes.” It was nice of Democrats to tee up an embarrassment of their own, to go with the other embarrassments.

The Toomey Budget: 55 nos, 42 ayes. Only Brown, Collins and Snowe voted against it. Why the difference? Toomey’s budget didn’t touch Medicare, and balanced the budget in nine years through big discretionary spending cuts.

The Paul Budget: 90 nos, 7 ayes. Only Coburn, DeMint, Hatch, Lee, McConnell, Paul, and Vitter voted for this libertarian dream of a budget, which cuts (non-defense) spending to 2008 levels and levels the Departments of Commerce, Energy, Education, and Hud.

I will be honest in that I didn’t follow these budgets that closely. The one I followed the most was Paul Ryan’s.

Ezra Klein provides more perspective.

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April 9, 2011

A Budget Lesson

by Vince

TDW:

With a government shutdown looming, Maryland Democratic Rep. Donna Edwards felt she had no choice but to resort to quoting from a White Stripes song in order to drive her point home.

March 21, 2011

Pennsylvania: Slashing Education, Boosting the Prison Budget

by Vince

Ben Waxman describes this puzzling move:

Corbett’s budget includes a $186 million increase for the state Department of Corrections. That’s an 11 percent jump, part of a long trend of skyrocketing state prison costs. Corbett attributes this trend to the personal failings of the people filling the prisons.

Pennsylvania’s prison population has grown by 500 percent since 1980 despite few changes in crime patterns. According to the state Commission on Sentencing, a bipartisan panel created by the legislature, the huge jump is due mostly to mandatory sentences for petty drug crimes.

If Corbett were serious about cutting all costs, including prisons, he’d identify the problem as our drug-sentencing laws. Instead, he’s throwing money at a broken system and claiming it’s out of his control.

The moral of Tom Corbett’s budget story is that much of it is just that: a convenient story.

E.D. Kain gives a eulogy for the Grand Old White Rich Party:

De-funding and de-prioritizing public education while ramping up the never-ending war on drugs is about the most toxic combination of policies you can scrape together. Jamil asks, “What will be the ripple effect” of all these anti-worker, anti-education GOP budgets?

I called Scott Walker’s budget shenanigans in Wisconsin the “real Republican Waterloo” and this is exactly what I was driving at – what will the ripple effects of this overreach be? Conservatives are feeling confident and relishing their little victories now, but public opinion is turning against them. Expect a backlash.

But the damage may very well be done. As I’ve mentioned many times, the anti-teacher crusading has taken on a decidedly bipartisan hue, and the new class war is still heating up.

All of this makes for interesting fodder each day I teach. I can see administration building workers clamping down on procedures and each and every line of the budget in our schools and clubs are being questioned. This isn’t entirely a bad thing. It is calling us to be more careful with the money we spend (and by we, I mean us teachers. This line of duty seems sometimes out of the picture for when, say, superintendents salaries are on the table for a pay freeze).

However, I can see issue with cutting funding to our schools: it cuts down on reinbursements for continuing ed. For some, it may not make a difference but for myself and a few close colleagues, it matters.

February 19, 2011

Saturday Reads

by Vince

I give you two extended (but not too long) reads by Andrew Sullivan:

  1. Obama’s budget says screw you to the next generation.
  2. How to be ‘generously angry‘.
February 14, 2011

Poverty, Justice, Compassion, and our Politicians

by Vince

Dan at FIPL exposes the truly draconian measures in our proposed budget:

  • Chopping $1.3 billion from community health centers, which provide primary care for 20 million low- and middle-income Americans. This cut would take away health centers’ ability to serve 11 million people. By way of comparison, the tax cuts passed in December give individuals with annual incomes of over $1 million an average tax cut of $100,000.
  • Completely eliminating funding for Title X ($327 million), which ensures access to contraception for women who would otherwise not be able to afford it. Not only will this very likely result in massive increases in unintended pregnancies, that increase is very likely to lead to an increase in abortions, which the Republican party ostensibly opposes. By way of comparison, the estate tax cuts for multimillion-dollar inheritances passed in December will cost $23 billion.

This truly shows where too many of our leaders hearts are at. It unfortunately reflects many of the stereotypes our nation unreflectively digests. Think about these:

We take away the dirty Planned Parenthood and we will not only save money but be a more pro-life, Christian nation! We cut out community health and nutritional assistance to use that money in “better” places/ways. We give the breaks to our rich because they create our jobs (shown to be a sham here, here, and here). Anything else i’m missing?

November 7, 2010

Defense Spending Cuts

by Vince

“Republicans also should resist pressure to take all defense spending cuts off the table. Newly elected Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky had the courage to say he’d go after defense waste during his campaign, and I look forward to working with him. We should start by taking common sense steps like freezing defense spending until the Pentagon can pass an audit and remove all nondefense spending from the Pentagon’s budget.

Our nation’s military leaders understand the need to cut spending. As Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said, “Our national debt is our biggest national security threat.” History shows that every nation eventually adopts the foreign policy it can afford. Taking defense spending off the table is indefensible. We need to protect our nation, not the Pentagon’s sacred cows,” – Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK).

Please let there be more rational Republican leaders out there!

August 11, 2010

Change in Foreign Policy is Changing America

by Vince

Entanglements at TNR put together an analysis of the future of American involvement in the world relevant to many areas and due to the Great Recessions’ vacuum effect. As Mandelbaum says at the end, this looks to be anything but benign:

Here the impact of the coming economic constraints on foreign policy will differ from the effects of the downsizing of the financial industry. Reducing the size of banks and other financial institutions will have benign consequences, reducing the risk of a major economic collapse, limiting economically unproductive speculation, and diverting talented people to other, more useful, work. By contrast, the contraction of the scope of American foreign policy will have the opposite effect because the American international role is vital for global peace and prosperity. The American military presence around the world helps to support the global economy. American military deployments in Europe and East Asia help to keep order in regions populated by countries that are economically important and militarily powerful. The armed forces of the United States are crucial in checking the ambition of the radical government of Iran to dominate the oil-rich Middle East. For these reasons, the retreat of the United States risks making the world poorer and less secure, which means that the consequences of the economically-induced contraction of American foreign policy are all too likely to be anything but benign.

Mandelbaum puts this in the perspective of everything tying together – a domino effect of sorts (minus the Communists). In a way, this sounds good to me. I don’t understand why we are spending more money now on foreign affairs and military engagements as we fight against Muslim  nihilists who can’t light their car full of explosives on fire, the bomb in their shoe or in their underwear than against the Communist Russians and Chinese decades ago.
Mandelbaum’s new book looks appealing: The Frugal Superpower: America’s Global Leadership in a Cash-Strapped Era.

July 4, 2010

State Level Budget Cuts

by Vince

The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities releases a tough outlook on state budget cuts:

In many states, the new fiscal year will bring immediate cuts to programs and services that are facing unprecedented demand. As of July 1, 10,000 families in Arizona will lose eligibility for temporary cash assistance;Georgia will lay off as many as 284 workers who help low-income families enroll for food stamp, Medicaid and TANF benefits; and Kansas will cut off nearly 2,800 individuals with a disability from independent living services. Education, health care, and other priority areas will also face new cuts in the coming fiscal year — on top of extensive cuts that at least 45 states have enacted over the last two years.

June 8, 2010

Tea Party wants to address military spending

by Vince

Robert Gates (Def. Secretary) may be supported by the Tea Party. We will wait and see how this unfolds and if it goes beyond simple words:

Although generally hawkish and conservative with a libertarian streak — “we’re for strong defense” is an oft-repeated mantra in the movement — tea party leaders and allies contacted by POLITICO said that both fairness and common sense dictate that the military budget be scrutinized for such cuts, a view that puts them in sync with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and some of the most liberal members of Congress.

“Everything is on the table,” insisted Mark Meckler, a national coordinator with the group Tea Party Patriots. “I have yet to hear anyone say, ‘We can’t touch defense spending,’ or any other issue. … Any tea partier who says something else lacks integrity.”

Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.), a tea party favorite, continues:

“Most of these people want to look at all federal spending and put it all on the table. They want to spend on strong defense, they want to support our troops, but they want to get rid of all the fluff, the fraud, the abuse, the waste in the federal government. They want to see the federal government shrink in size.”

Broun, a bitter critic of Obama — and no fan of Gates or the history of U.S. military intervention since World War II, including NATO — said the country “cannot be a protector of the whole world. We cannot do that any longer. We don’t have the money to do it anyway.”