Category Archives: Budget-Federal

For the GOP, It’s All About Jobs … ELIMINATING Them!

It’s becoming every more evident that Republicans are willing to tank the economy for their perceived electoral benefit. And they’re willing to drive our economy into another recession rather than raise taxes on the Koch brothers. If anything we should be expanding crucial programs that extend a helping hand to those Americans in need, not cutting them during this time of extreme economic duress.

Anybody who’s taken a basic accounting course understands that there are two sides of a balance sheet, a revenues side and an obligations side.  The Gang of Pillagers, from 2001 through 2006, continually reduced revenues via tax breaks for the rich and rang up considerable obligations by pre-emptively starting two wars in which we’re still engaged.

Taxes are the lowest we’ve seen since the Eisenhower era and there are now insufficient revenues to pay the bills coming due.  So what do the Gang of Pillagers insist on doing?  Well, they propose to cut taxes even further and cut government spending to the bone.

Okay, think about that for a minute.  Government is NOT some big monolith that you can just take a big to which you can just take a sledge hammer.  It’s programs, services, and most of all JOBS!  More than anything right now, we need JOBS!  Yes indeed, the Gang of Pillagers are singularly focused on JOBS … not CREATING them as everyone who voted for them expected … but ELIMINATING JOBS and the middle class occupying those jobs.

Cutting government spending is the ultimate job elimination strategy.  Not only can the Gang of Pillagers cut public sector jobs en mass, they can also cut private sector jobs of those that would have supplied those governmental programs and services at the same time.  In other words, they get a two-fer!

Don’t believe me?  Have you been watching the monthly jobs reports.  GOP governors have been dumping public sector jobs as fast as they possibly can (you know teachers, fire fighters, policemen, etc.).  Up until this last month, those public sector job losses have been making only a small dent in the overall job increases.  With all the uncertainty being caused by the GOP’s willingness to allow the U.S. to default on it’s debts, those public sector job losses came close to overwhelming private sector increases last month.  If you paid attention, the public sector created 58,000 jobs, but the public sector lost 40,000 jobs, leaving our nation with a net increase of only 18,000 jobs.

Their latest strategy for eliminating jobs, not just in our nation, but globally, is to drive the United States into defaulting on the debt.  You think we have problems now?  Wait until they force us into default.  Then you can watch credit rating of the U.S. Treasury plummet, the interest rates on both past and future borrowing skyrocket, and the national debt balloon to something your great grandchildren’s great grandchildren will only be able to dream of paying off.   But it won’t stop there, take a look at your own financial situation.  Are you unfortunate enough to have an adjustable mortgage?  Expect to see some dramatic rises in your mortgage interest rates, to the point it will certainly force you into foreclosure.  Any business needing a loan to be able to operate their business will likely see their cost of capital rise dramatically as well forcing them to pass those expenses along to those who can pay for as long as they can pay.  And once it gets to the point folks can no longer afford those more expensive products/services, that employer will go under as will the jobs associated with that employer.

The Desert Beacon wrote an exceptional piece on the 9th about “What a U.S. Debt Default Would Mean to You.”  If you haven’t read it yet, you should.  Please do take the time to read it so you’ll understand just how irresponsible it would be for the GOP leadership to drive the U.S. into default.  If that’s their intent, then they no longer believe in a Democracy and they’re taking this action as a means of economic revolution to cripple our nation, and to remake it into something a whole lot less democratic, something more like a plutocracy ruled by the elite super-rich robber-barons of this nation.

Another Case of Being ‘FOR’ It Before Being ‘AGAINST’ It

Again, are these guys illiterate?  Can they not read or do they think we’re too stupid to read?  Remember the Ryan Budget  (HConRes34)? 235 of 239 Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives voted in favor of passage of the Ryan Budget.  All 40 Republican Senators also voted in favor of passage of that same Ryan Budget (thankfully, all 57 Democrats voted against passage, causing it to fail passage in the Senate).

The Ryan Budget contained debt ceiling increases in each and every budget year.  Thus, each and every Republican who voted on the Ryan Budget already voted for a debt ceiling increase, not just this year, butEVERY SINGLE YEAR covered by the Ryan Budget:

2012 … $16,204,000,000,000
2013 … $17,177,000,000,000
2014 … $17,955,000,000,000
2015 … $18,704,000,000,000
2016 … $19,513,000,000,000
2017 … $20,257,000,000,000
2018 … $20,981,000,000,000
2019 … $21,711,000,000,000
2020 … $22,416,000,000,000
2021 … $23,105,000,000,000

When you call in to Senator Heller’s office on Thursday or Friday this week to tell him to leave Social Security alone, think about asking whether he opposes voting for s.1326, a clean bill to raise the Nation’s Debt Ceiling.  If he opposes that bill, as him how he reconciles that opposition to his vote for the Ryan Budget which would increase the debt ceiling to $16.2T next year and to $23.1T by 2021?

35 Days ’til Default; Even FOX Business Gets It

According to FBN’s Elizabeth MacDonald, if lawmakers can’t reach an agreement on the debt ceiling the bond markets stand to lose $100 billion.  Thus, not raising the debt ceiling could adversely cost the United States even more, from bond holders to mortgage holders, in terms of interest costs on debt.

Typically, loan rates are tied to 10-year Treasury bonds.  With ratings companies poised to downgrade the U.S. Government’s credit rating to double-A, or even worse, single-A, resulting interest rate increases could prove devastating to taxpayers.  Those rate increases would dramatically escalate the size of the US Debt and budget deficits.  But the devastation wouldn’t stop just there, it would impact what each and every one of us pay out each month for our mortgages, our car payments, and everything else we purchase from each and every retailer.  Because interest rates are based on U.S. Treasuries, interest rates on loans to do business across this nation will skyrocket.

FBN’s Elizabeth MacDonald told the audience, “The US missed a payment on $112M in debt back in 1979 and that missed payment basically cost the U.S. $86B mapped across the whole spectrum of U.S. Treasuries.”  We’ve already seen a spike in rates portending what is to come, but GOP members of Congress and candidates like Mark Amodei are blind to the signs and deaf to anything other than that being spewed forth by the GOP’s plutocratic backers.

According to the S&P, bond prices would fall dramatically if the US were to lose its triple-A rating and interest rates will spike even higher.  MacDonald likes to watch what’s happening in the credit default swap market as she feels it acts like a weather vane as to what’s happening or about to happen in the rest of the market.  Click on the GRAPHIC above to watch Elizabeth MacDonald explain the dilemma facing the Congress.  [DEFINITION:  Credit Default Swap—A security that transfers the risk of default on a fixed income product to a different party.]

NV-CD2 doesn’t need representation from someone like Mark Amodei who is willing to pander for votes from the extremes on the right, which would portend economic disaster for the rest of us.  Such a stance would not balance our national budget, nor would it close budgetary deficits.  In fact, it would devastate not just the federal budget via increases in interest rates, it would devastate family budgets all across this nation.

It’s time for a change in leadership and voice for sanity in NV-CD2 .  It’s time to elect someone who understands economics and how to a treasury actually works, that there is both an income stream as well as an outgo stream.  It’s time to put someone in the NV-CD2 seat who has OUR backs, instead someone whose aim is to protect the interests of the banking, finance and oil industries.

So, as this campaign season ensues, turn the channel whenever you see an ad from Karl Rove’s Crossroads organizations or any of the other right-wing organizations attempting to buy your vote.  Just tune it all out and instead vote for sanity by voting for Kate Marshall on September 13th.

Dems: “We Can’t Continue to Let GOP Put Jobs Last”

It’s been190 days since the GOP took control of the House using a “Jobs” campaign message … and we’re still waiting on a Republican jobs bill. Democratic Senators are urging that job-creation measures be included in the final debt reduction deal resulting from the bipartisan negotiations led by Vice President Biden.

“Congressional Republicans abruptly pulled out of debt-reduction talks with the White House on Thursday and demanded that President Obama meet directly with GOP leaders to resolve an impasse over taxes,” according to the Washington Post.  Not liking where things were going, Mr. Cantor has acted like a six-year old, picking up his marbles and leaving the game,  threatening not to return until and unless Democrats take tax hikes for the rich off the table. (Just a question, but being rich himself, would that qualify as self-dealing?)  Now they want the President to step in to the fray so they can blame him for their own incompetence.

I’m sorry, but it’s not the President’s job to do the job of the House of Representatives.  The Majority Leader, Eric Cantor, knows or should know that, if that is, he’s read that Constitution he so proudly rants about.  The House of Representatives is the only entity of Government that can appropriate monies with which to fund government.  Hence, they are the only entity that can approve the Nation’s budget and forward it on to the Senate and President for concurrence.   This is a ploy by the GOP to drag the President into the fray so they can blame their financial incompetence on him instead of taking the hit themselves.

I certainly hope Americans are paying attention and learning that the GOP is totally incapable of effective leadership.  They have no forward looking vision for America. The best they can do is to use bullying tactics for force people to go along with their goal of  ‘taking America back.’  Back to ‘where,’ or back to ‘when’?   These guys are drama-queens.  All they’ve done since January is to manufacture one crises after another and then hold critical aspects of our economy hostage until they get their way.  They’re so mired in their benefactors’ nostalgic 1890s views of where American should be, they’re totally deaf and blind to anything contrary to their perception of science, economics, our nations needs, and the world as a whole.

Look out Mr. President, these guys are totally incapable of leadership on the truly critical issues facing our nation, and now they’re looking for a fall guy.

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Game Change: Holding GOP Accountable for Their Vote

If last night’s vote in NY-26, a seriously red district in western New York, said anything, it’s that Rep. Ryan’s Path to Poverty (for the middle class and seniors) is an absolute non-starter with the American public.  Yet a number of  Republicans refuse to understand that message.  Instead, they claim the Kathy Hochul campaign was just more successful at “spinning” a web of lies that Republican Jane Corwin was unable to hack through, and that she fought the good fight against ” against two well-funded Democrats, including one masquerading under the Tea Party name (according to Rep. Pete Sessions R-TX).

They may not want to admit it, but the truth is that the Paul Ryan “kill Medicare” budget lost this seat for the Republican Party.  Conservatives and outside groups spent on the order of $8-9M in an attempt to sway voters, into voting for a candidate who supported privatizing Medicare all for naught.  This race was about Medicare, and voters clearly told Republicans they aren’t voting for candidates who want to strip them of benefits for which they’ve worked for and paid into throughout their entire working life.

The potency of this issue is not simply because Republicans want to end Medicare. It is because the GOP wants to end Medicare in order to pay for an almost 30 percent tax rate reduction for the wealthiest Americans and big corporations, and to maintain the current billions in tax subsidies to oil companies. That’s nearly a 1/3 cut in taxes for the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations, and billions of tax dollars to oil companies, paid for by America’s senior citizens and their families.

Jef Pollock, Hochul’s pollster said it best: “”This race was won, in a significant way, because of the disastrous decision by the GOP to dismantle Medicare as we know it,” he said. “Kathy Hochul was a great candidate. And credit is due to her for running a great race as well as credit to the campaign for making Medicare a central issue — that’s why Hochul was winning 74 percent of the voters who said that Medicare was the most important issue to them in the most recent Siena poll conducted just a few days ago,” he said

It’s now up to us to build on her success in the upcoming election in Nevada’s CD-2 race.  We need to elect our Democratic candidate (whomever that will be) to fill that seat. Then, next year, we need to unseat Sen. Dean Heller, who not only voted for Ryan’s Path to Poverty for the middle class and seniors, but has bragged about how he’s looking forward to being the only person in Congress who will have the privilege of being able to vote twice to pass it.

From the RGJ on 5/3/2011:  “I’m not worried about it. I voted for it once. I’m not going to come over here and vote against it,“ Heller said. “I’m proud to be the only member of Congress who will get to vote for it twice.“

We also need to unseat Joe Heck who voted with glee for the Ryan Budget, for continuing to subsidize big oil, and for sicking the tax collector on women and families who just happen to have an abortion provision in their health care plan.

But for now, we need to make sure each and every Democrat in CD-2 is wide awake, paying attention, and ready to vote for our Democratic nominee on September 13th.

Congratulations of note to newly elected Rep. Kathy Hochul:

President Obama: “I want to extend my congratulations to Congresswoman-elect Kathy Hochul for her victory in New York’s 26th Congressional District,” Obama said.  “Kathy and I both believe that we need to create jobs, grow our economy, and reduce the deficit in order to out-compete other nations and win the future. Kathy has shown, through her victory and throughout her career, that she will fight for the families and businesses in western New York, and I look forward to working with her when she gets to Washington.”

Rep. Nancy Pelosi:  I want to extend my congratulations to Congresswoman-elect Kathy Hochul for her victory in New York’s 26th Congressional District. Kathy and I both believe that we need to create jobs, grow our economy, and reduce the deficit in order to outcompete other nations and win the future. Kathy has shown, through her victory and throughout her career, that she will fight for the families and businesses in western New York, and I look forward to working with her when she gets to Washington.

DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz released the following statement after Congresswoman-elect Kathy Hochul’s victory in the New York Special Election:

“I wholeheartedly congratulate Congresswoman-elect Hochul and her grassroots supporters for their hard work and dedication despite being outspent by a 2-to-1 margin. Tonight’s election result is not just a victory for Congresswoman-elect Kathy Hochul, it’s a victory for the residents of Western New York and for Americans who believe that our elected leaders should fight to protect Medicare and ensure that our government works for our seniors, working families and young people. Kathy’s Republican opponent, and those who spent a small fortune on her behalf in a solidly Republican district, found out the hard way that their extreme plans to abolish Medicare and slash Medicaid and investments in health care, education, innovation and job creation are wrongheaded and unpopular even in a district that should have been a cakewalk for the Republican candidate.

“Just a few months ago, former Republican Congressman Lee won the 26th district with 74 percent of the vote – but since that time Republicans have voted to end Medicare and place a whole host of additional burdens on seniors, young people and working families while preserving tax breaks for millionaires, billionaires and big oil and they have been on the wrong side of public sentiment ever since.

“Tonight’s result has far-reaching consequences beyond New York. It demonstrates that Republicans and Independent voters, along with Democrats, will reject extreme policies like ending Medicare that even Newt Gingrich called radical. With this election in the rear-view mirror, it is my hope that Republicans will accept the message being sent by voters in this race, in the polls and at town hall meetings across the country and work with Democrats to get our fiscal house in order while protecting Medicare and other initiatives vital to our economic recovery.”

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Action Required

Heads up: Congress is debating a compromise to HR1 (the draconian House Continuing Resolution Budget bill) that would be devastating to Nevada.  Here’s a link to the original bill:  HR1  — Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act of 2011. You can access my analysis of the appropriations chages by clicking here.  If you really want to verify my analysis or want to review the original bills, you can find links to all of the relevant approved appropriations legislation passed by the 111th Congress by clicking this link.

Even though Senator Reid brought the GOP’s HR1 up for a vote in the Senate on 3/9/11 (vote 36: failed 44-56) and then the Democratic counter-proposal up for a vote (vote 37: also failed 42-58) … GOP House Freshmen Reps (Teapublicans), specifically Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) claim that Senator Reid’s failure to consider HR1 is tantamount to a dereliction of duty.  Um … he not only considered it, he put it up for a vote. Ms. Hartzler, it FAILED passage in the Senate.

It’s not just freshman members of the house who don’t understand how government works.  House Majority Leader Eric Cantor apparently doesn’t understand how laws are enacted per the constitutional process.  Yesterday, he announced that on Friday,the GOP will be voting on the “Prevention of Government Shutdown Act”  (HR 1255).  He went on to explain to reporters that if the Senate “does not act, H.R. 1” — that’s the $61 billion of cuts favored by Republican freshmen — “becomes the law of the land.” Just like that!  Um … I do realize that Friday is April 1st or in other words April Fools Day, but there is no way on God’s green earth that a bill passed only by the House and not by the Senate, and in addition, not signed by the President, will every become the law of the land under our US Constitution.  Apparently Mr. Cantor decided to do a bit of dozing when they went through their opening day reading of the Constitution.  Good luck with that premise Mr. Cantor, we’re not the fools you make us out to be and you can’t just arbitrarily suspend the constitution to bully your bill into law.

The Republican leadership has said ‘NO’ to additional CRs, and now legislators have until April 8 to come up with a compromise budget for H.R.1 or else the government will stop operating.  The problem is, however, that the process for identifying and delineating compromises is NOT all that transparent and we the general public don’t have enough information about what is being demanded by the GOP

I’ve searched the web for an hour now and can’t find specifics, but supposedly, Rep. Boehner has agreed to look at a compromise in the area of  $33B in spending cuts versus the $61B in spending cuts included in HR1. The itemized cuts for Nevada below are purportedly part of the compromise and have been disseminated via mass-email by

  • $12 million would be cut from federal funds for clean and safe water in Nevada. [1]
  • 479 Nevada children would be immediately cut from Head Start, which provides comprehensive early childhood development services for at-risk children ages zero to five. [2]
  • $19 million would be cut from Pell Grants, affecting all 33,000 higher education students with those grants in Nevada. [1]
  • Job training and employment services would be effectively eliminated for 1,000 dislocated workers, 4,900 low-income adults, and 1,100 youths age 14 to 21. [1]
  • $1.6 million would be cut from law enforcement assistance, taking cops off the beat. [1]

It’s especially galling when the same budget includes special breaks for corporations like GE, subsidies for the oil companies and tax breaks for the very rich.  Senators John Ensign and Harry Reid need to hear from all of us about it right now, before they cut a deal in the next few days.

Just last night the news broke that Congress may be close to striking a deal on the budget. Now is the only time we can influence the outcome.

Can you call Sens. Ensign and Reid and ask them to oppose these cuts in the budget? You can pick one of the cuts in this list to highlight in your call.  Or better yet, take a look at one or more of the riders included in HR1 and tell them to make sure they strike those riders from the bill before any vote on a compromise bill.

Senator John Ensign Senator Harry Reid
Phone: 202-224-6244 Phone: 202-224-3542

Click here to report your call (what the Senator or his call answerer said and/or committed to do).

The cuts that the Republicans are proposing would disproportionately hit those who can least afford it in Nevada, and it’s up to us to stop them.

Thanks for all you do.

-Daniel, Amy, Milan, Tate, and the rest of the team


  1. House Bill Means Fewer Children in Head Start, Less Help for Students to Attend College, Less Job Training, and Less Funding for Clean Water,” Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, March, 1, 2010
  2. Projected Reduction in Children Served in Head Start Based on H.R. 1—Fiscal Year 2011 Continuing Resolution,” Center for Law and Social Policy
  3. WP/Dana Milbank: Republican freshmen in House shut down compromise, and possibly the government
  4. WP: House Republicans plan symbolic bill to pressure Senate on shutdown
  5. WP: House Whip McCarthy acknowledges meeting with Dems on fiscal issues
  6. Forbes: Boehner signals compromise in budget talks

Class War: Program Cuts v. Tax Breaks

As we continue to watch what few decent government programs we had left being strategically dwindled away while the elite continue to enjoy their life of luxury at our expense, Americans are starting to wake up to the reality of our dire situation.

The chart below compares the 10 safety-net programs slated for deep cuts (the “shared sacrifices”) on the left with the proposed tax breaks that should also be considered (on the right) to bring the budget into balance.  This is really “WHY” these cuts are necessary?

Most Americans would be surprised to learn that tax breaks are not on the table during any budget negotiations. In fact, Congress has the Congressional Budget Office prepare an official spending estimate for the cost of all programs or their expansions. Meanwhile, Congress enacts and continues tax breaks without any requirement that the cost of tax breaks be calculated and shared with members before a vote.

They keep looking at drastic cuts in and/or elimination of all the safety-net programs while increasing benefits for the rich, and they aren’t even looking at the cost of the war and/or ending those expenses.  In fact, they’re now looking at what it would take to create a “no-fly zone” over and around Libya.

The wars in Iraq/Afghanistan have added a massive burden to the backs of the American taxpayer.  Check out what just one American city has foregone to help finance the war effort in a chart at The Nation.


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