March 13, 2017

"Trump budget expected to seek historic contraction of federal workforce."

WaPo reports.
Aides say that the president sees a new Washington emerging from the budget process, one that prioritizes the military and homeland security while slashing many other areas, including housing, foreign assistance, environmental programs, public broadcasting and research. Simply put, government would be smaller and less involved in regulating life in America, with private companies and states playing a much bigger role....

Trump and his advisers have said that they believe the federal workforce is too big, and that the federal government spends — and wastes — too much money. They have said that Washington — the federal workers and contractors, among others — has benefited from government largesse while many other Americans have suffered. Federal spending, they have argued, crowds the private sector and piles regulations and bureaucracy onto companies.

145 comments:

James Pawlak said...

Transmitting electric power from a Western hydro-electric power plant to Washington, DC and then back for local use near that site is asinine. That is still a "better idea" than sending tax monies to and back-again for local uses.

rhhardin said...

Turn the HUD, EPA, Education and Commerce buildings into low income housing, starting with the top floors.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Not gonna happen, but I honor the impulse.

TosaGuy said...

I was just in DC for a week for work. Took one hour to drive 20 miles, except on Friday when there were 3 flurries of snow in the air and people got to "work from home".

20 percent cut would be a good start.

traditionalguy said...

The Old Dominion is no longer the center of dominating force. It's now in Trump Tower, complete with wire tapps connecting it to DC.

traditionalguy said...

Does this mean that the Federal Employees will be put on Medicare Coverage plans along with the rest of the Welfare Recipients.

Caroline Walker said...

This is what the deplorables have been waiting for. Drain. The. Swamp.

Rob said...

Trump may not consider himself a libertarian, but if he governs that way, it's all good.

rehajm said...

Well there's how he's gonna pay for those tax cuts...

Michael K said...

World ends tomorrow. Federal employee union most affected.

bagoh20 said...

If you got to keep all the money you found wasted by the government, would you take on that job, becuase that is already your job as a taxpayer and voter.

Quaestor said...

...public broadcasting and research.

The lack of a comma here is significant. Either the WaPo doesn't understand The POWER of the Oxford comma (Darth Vader sound sfx here), NPR is doing something its charter doesn't authorize, or it's a typo.

Since many years ago, I've concluded public broadcasting was itself a massive and long-term research project, specifically how long can a public-funded entity engage in partisan propaganda and get away with it.

Nyamujal said...

The Trump approach to budgeting is penny wise, pound foolish. Take foreign assistance for example: https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/world/which-countries-get-the-most-foreign-aid/.

bagoh20 said...

I heard some radio commenters today decrying the massacre and upheaval that would result from federal employees being trimmed by 1.8%. Oh my god! That's a lucky day in the private sector where layoffs often go well into the double digits. You know how private sector employees try to prevent that? By doing a good job, and giving their customers what they want at a good price. That thinking is subversive in the public sector.

Nyamujal said...

"Well there's how he's gonna pay for those tax cuts..."

Ha, this won't pay for even a small portion of the tax cuts. You can kiss the prospect of reducing the debt goodbye.

Drago said...

Nyamujal: "Take foreign assistance for example.."

The lefties are upset that Iran won't be receiving another payment of $150B (with lots of low denomination bills) for easier terrorist supporting activities.

I'm sorry, but you'll just have to get over that.

Robert Cook said...

"Aides say that the president sees a new Washington emerging from the budget process, one that prioritizes the military and homeland security while slashing many other areas, including housing, foreign assistance, environmental programs, public broadcasting and research."

Absolutely the worst way to go, of course.

Nyamujal said...

"The lefties are upset that Iran won't be receiving another payment of $150B (with lots of low denomination bills) for easier terrorist supporting activities."

We never gave Iran any money. The $150 billion is their money that was frozen under the economic sanctions.

Birkel said...

Nyamujal: ... the prospect of reducing the debt...

Where did you find that prospect when Obama was adding roughly 1.25 trillion American dollars to the debt each year? Will you claim your preference for debt, but only under a Democrat? Will you be honest at all?

The estimated one percent decrease in GDP growth caused by regulations over the last 30 years -- and promulgated by these same bureaucrats -- is nothing to you? Those lost 6-7 trillion in increased GDP and the corresponding decrease in human wealth?

Piffle.

Birkel said...

@ Robert Cook

Why should the federal government involve itself in the activities you prefer? What accomplishments in those areas give you confidence of continued success? Be specific.

Unknown said...

Reducing one federal worker would be a first.

Robert Cook said...

"That's a lucky day in the private sector where layoffs often go well into the double digits. You know how private sector employees try to prevent that? By doing a good job, and giving their customers what they want at a good price."

Layoffs in the private sector have to do with the desire to fatten profits by reducing labor expenses, and "doing a good job and giving...customers what they want at a good price" is not going to save anybody's livelihood if it will hinder the profit growth sought by the employers.

Quaestor said...

We'll know when the Federal Government's ever-increasing share of the public weal is under control when housing prices in Fairfax County dip below $1000 per square foot, and when the number of auto parts stores exceeds the number of aromatherapists in Leesburg.

Lance said...

No entitlement reform?

Fernandinande said...

contraction of federal workforce

It'd be funny if they contracted into Hobbits.

Robert Cook said...

@ Birkel,

Why don't you tell me why we should pour more tax dollars into the military and Homeland Security?

Birkel said...

@ Robert Cook

You made a claim. I did not.

You should support your claim, if you can. I have no obligation to support a claim I did not make.

#Logic

Birkel said...

@ Quaestor

Agree completely.

Nyamujal said...

@Birkel
"Where did you find that prospect when Obama was adding roughly 1.25 trillion American dollars to the debt each year? Will you claim your preference for debt, but only under a Democrat? Will you be honest at all?"

It bothered me then, bothers me now. The argument here is that any budget that isn't revenue neutral is harmful in the long run. Dynamic scoring is dumb.

"The estimated one percent decrease in GDP growth caused by regulations over the last 30 years -- and promulgated by these same bureaucrats -- is nothing to you? Those lost 6-7 trillion in increased GDP and the corresponding decrease in human wealth?"

Where are you getting these numbers from? I'd like to see the econ literature on this.

PB said...

20% headcount reduction is a good start.

Todd said...

“These are not the kind of cuts that you can accommodate by tightening the belt one notch, by shaving a little bit off of a program, or by downsizing a few staff here or there,” said Robert Reischauer, a former director of the Congressional Budget Office. “These are cuts that would require a wholesale triage of a vast array of federal activities.”

Yah! I say "good start"!

Quaestor said...

Layoffs in the private sector have to do with the desire to fatten profits by reducing labor expenses...

The most rabid Wobblie who ever torched a factory In the Name of the People!™ would be embarrassed by Cookie. That guy? He's not one of us. He just follows us around like a lost puppy. Gets his dialectical materialism from comic books. Ignore him.

This is why Marx should only be read as a drollery by persons who already understand economics.

Michael K said...

Cookie is giving us the full on Socialist take on the budget. Defense is one of the very few real obligations of the federal government.

I would call a 25% cut in non-defense spending a good start.

Big Mike said...

@Cookie, you ask why we should increase spending on the military and Homeland Security? Because it's a dangerous world out there, and the policies of Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, and Barack Obama have made it more so.

n.n said...

How organic. This will not be well received by people who demand a highly-ordered (e.g. artificial, processed) environment.

Fernandinande said...

Nyamujal said...
The Trump approach to budgeting is penny wise, pound foolish.


A few billion here, a few billion there, pretty soon you're talking about real money.

Take foreign assistance for example: https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/world/which-countries-get-the-most-foreign-aid/.

$42 billion dollars = $140 per citizen, including babies.

People shouldn't be forced at gunpoint to spend $140 arming their enemies and assisting their invaders (look at the crap its spent on) when they could buy $140 worth of tacos and beer.

Did I imagine this, or during the campaign did Trump want to make Japan, Germany, etc, pay for their own defense by reimbursing the US ? (Hopefully at a nice profit) I think it's a great idea but haven't heard it mentioned lately.

Quaestor said...

Why don't you tell me why we should pour more tax dollars into the military and Homeland Security?

How about the Constitution? If a strict Constitutional test were applied to the Federal budget the only French food one could buy in a DC restaurant would be french fries.

Nyamujal said...

@Fernandinande

"$42 billion dollars = $140 per citizen, including babies.

People shouldn't be forced at gunpoint to spend $140 arming their enemies and assisting their invaders (look at the crap its spent on) when they could buy $140 worth of tacos and beer."

Geopolitically, that $42 billion goes a long way. Beer and tacos will satiate you for a few days, but it won't help land a few hundred million or more in arms sales which keep thousands employed in Red states.

"Did I imagine this, or during the campaign did Trump want to make Japan, Germany, etc, pay for their own defense by reimbursing the US ?"

US bases in Germany and Japan are a relic of WWII, but they serve a valuable strategic purpose. Just talk to someone from the Navy or Air Force. There's some merit to the argument that members of NATO should increase defense spending to about 2% of GDP. The UK already does that. Countries that feel threatened by Russia like Poland and the Baltic states spend a little more than that.

Charlie Currie said...

I also support the idea of shipping off at least half of those that remain after the cuts to offices in some remote - yet very affordable - area in flyover country. You should get at least another 25% reduction in force right there. And, make sure there's a Starbucks and an Apple store so they can be Spicered by the locals on their days off.

Jack Wayne said...

Anyone can go online and buy an annual budget from the government. A CD for $5. The first thing you will see is that the government is a jobs program. And the benefits are great. The next thing you will see is how many silly things the government does. Like renting out public lands for cattle grazing. And then spending twice that revenue on removing the "foreign" weeds that spring up either from cattle droppings or that are blown in by the wind. Yep, removing weeds from nature.......

Brando said...

Depending on the specific cuts, this could be very self-defeating. For one thing, many agencies would end up wasting far more money with a small workforce (e.g., IRS having fewer audits--I read that the difference between taxes owed and taxes collected is in the hundreds of billions--better enforcement and an easier to comply with code would narrow that gap). Not to mention fraud investigators at the agencies that make transfer payments. Better to find specific programs to gut, based on their actual effect on the budget and larger economy.

And that's the big elephant in the room--all this focus on discretionary spending is ignoring the biggest and fastest growing part of the budget--entitlement spending. Any budget that leaves that untouched is not a serious budget.

cubanbob said...

So far what I haven't heard from Trump is the tax rate reductions. That is why I voted for him. I'm a net taxpayer and as long as I remain one I will never get specific benefit from the government that someone who doesn't pay taxes also gets. So therefore I'm going to pay and pay and pay for other people's child support, their college educations and all manner of 'entitlements' that benefit them but not me with nothing in return. All I ask is that I get to keep some more of my money. Is that too much to ask?

Brando said...

"No entitlement reform?"

Not that I've seen yet. Republicans are no more serious about deficits than Democrats.

Brando said...

"So far what I haven't heard from Trump is the tax rate reductions. That is why I voted for him. I'm a net taxpayer and as long as I remain one I will never get specific benefit from the government that someone who doesn't pay taxes also gets. So therefore I'm going to pay and pay and pay for other people's child support, their college educations and all manner of 'entitlements' that benefit them but not me with nothing in return. All I ask is that I get to keep some more of my money. Is that too much to ask?"

I'd like my taxes lower too, but so long as they run massive deficits I see a tax cut more as a "we'll just tax you more, later, with interest". And I don't buy that argument that tax cuts make us spend less because the less people pay in taxes the less they care about their taxes being wasted--we just pass the bill down the road.

And serious debt reduction means reducing the entitlement chunk in a big way. Since both parties refuse to do that, we'd just better hope our tax increases aren't too massive.

Nyamujal said...

@Brando
"And that's the big elephant in the room--all this focus on discretionary spending is ignoring the biggest and fastest growing part of the budget--entitlement spending. Any budget that leaves that untouched is not a serious budget."

Exactly.

"Depending on the specific cuts, this could be very self-defeating. For one thing, many agencies would end up wasting far more money with a small workforce (e.g., IRS having fewer audits--I read that the difference between taxes owed and taxes collected is in the hundreds of billions--better enforcement and an easier to comply with code would narrow that gap). "

Right again. The total number of federal employees has been the same for decades. I think it was about 2 million people under Clinton and it's now down to 1.4 million or so. Has been about the same since the 60's!! The government already outsources a lot of work to private contractors which doesn't always work to our (taxpayer) benefit.

Larry J said...

Back in the day, it was common for many smaller communities to be dominated by one major employer. These "company towns" would have a newspaper where never was heard a discouraging word about the company. Washington DC is a company town and the company is the federal government. The Washington Post is the company newspaper, so of course the idea of cutting the company's payroll is giving them the vapors.

It's hard to find a precise number but the average taxpayer pays about $10,000 a year in federal income taxes. Just for the sake of discussion and convenience, let's use that number. If the average federal government employee receives a compensation package (salary, benefits, etc.) of $100,000 a year (and many get much more than that), then it takes the full income tax of ten taxpayers to pay for a single federal government employee. Now, those employees also pay income tax but that just offsets a small percentage of their compensation. The federal payroll (not counting the military) is over 2.7 million people. So, that works out to 27 million people's entire federal income taxes just going to cover employee compensation. The number is likely much higher than that. That hardly sounds like the best use of so many people's tax money.

Gahrie said...

Aides say that the president sees a new Washington emerging from the budget process, one that prioritizes the military and homeland security while slashing many other areas, including housing, foreign assistance, environmental programs, public broadcasting and research."

Absolutely the worst way to go, of course.


Surprise, surprise, surprise......Comrade Cookie thinks it is a bad idea for the US to defend itself......

St. George said...

For the past 40+ years we've seen the private sector end pensions, conduct sweeping rounds of layoffs, and make outsourcing and working at home everyone's constant companion, now that it's coming to government workers expect tantrums like you've never heard before.

Somewhere Ronald Reagan is smiling.

Gahrie said...

This is why Marx should only be read as a drollery by persons who already understand economics.

Oh but Comrade Cookie claims he has never read Das Kapital.

Gahrie said...

Why don't you tell me why we should pour more tax dollars into the military and Homeland Security?

Oh Oh Oh...I will

Because one of the fundamental purposes of the U.S. government is to defend the American people and the United States.

Fernandinande said...

Nyamujal said...
Geopolitically, that $42 billion goes a long way.


For somebody, but not for taxpayers.

Beer and tacos will satiate you for a few days, but it won't help land a few hundred million or more in arms sales which keep thousands employed in Red states.

Broken windows fallacy.

US bases in Germany and Japan are a relic of WWII, but they serve a valuable strategic purpose. Just talk to someone from the Navy or Air Force.

Germany and Japan would certainly be happy to pay for something that's so important.

Jack Wayne said...

Larry J, OPM says there are about 4 million federal employees, including military. However, they don't know how many contractors there are. Could be as high as 1 million. Personal note, I know a contractor who has been employed by the government for over 25 years. And the budget only shows FTE's (Full-Time Equivalents), instead of actual numbers. In other words, the government deliberately does not know how many employees there are.

Michael K said...

ignoring the biggest and fastest growing part of the budget--entitlement spending. Any budget that leaves that untouched is not a serious budget.

That's going to take care of itself.

By going broke.

Ryan tried to introduce a fairly sensible Medicare plan and was demonized by Democrats who prefer to ride the train over the cliff.

Bush tried to introduce a fairly sensible Social Security reform that would allow private accounts. Demonized and lost Congress in 2006.

Hopefully, I won't be here to see it, unless I live as long as my mother.

wendybar said...

I never expected this from President Trump. Hats off to him if he does it!!

Brando said...

"That's going to take care of itself.

By going broke."

That, or we'll see more payroll tax increases (or some other funding source to pump into entitlements) and much deeper cuts than anyone is currently proposing. We may just have to face the fact that there's going to be a lot more people in poverty when that happens.

Luke Lea said...

Removing the bloat in healthcare and defense is where the real money can be saved. More bang and health for the dollar.

buwaya said...

"I think it was about 2 million people under Clinton and it's now down to 1.4 million or so. Has been about the same since the 60's!!"

Nearly all of this is because of military/DOD reductions.
And its true that much government work has been outsourced, especially, note, compliance work to the regulated in the private sector, a huge series of unfunded mandates.

Quaestor said...

Geopolitically, that $42 billion goes a long way. Beer and tacos will satiate you for a few days, but it won't help land a few hundred million or more in arms sales which keep thousands employed in Red states.

Nyamujal commits factual and logical errors. Most foreign aid is not part of the various military assistance programs. There are (or more precisely were) many procurement programs run by the Pentagon aimed at "friendly" Third World countries intended to reduce the attractiveness of cheap Soviet-made arms. The theory being those Soviet weapons came with Soviet technocrats ready and able to influence those "friendly" Third World countries in other ways besides how to field strip a machine gun. At the time an M-16 was five times more costly than an AK-47, and an M-48 tank was Cadillac-priced compared to the Ford budget T-55. The solution was to give those "friendly" Third World countries the money they needed to buy American. Those programs were separate from foreign aid administered by the State Department. Critics of the procurement aid were answered basically with Nyamjal's argument — the money comes back. However, critics of foreign aid per se have not been so cavalierly dismissed. Those monies tend to disappear into numbered Swiss bank accounts.

Today, American military arms are bought because they are the best for the buck (notwithstanding a bit of backchannel arm twisting when called for), and not because of such bribery as happened in the Cold War days. For one thing, the Russians aren't on some damned fool idealistic crusade anymore. They are very good capitalists and sell their weapons on their merits, real or imaginary. Secondly, many of those heretofore "friendly" Third World countries are decidedly unfriendly now. Paying them to buy U.S. arms is counterproductive. Pakistan is a good example of this. Stalin started courting India soon after independence, and as a consequence, Nehru began to re-equip India's forces with Soviet-made arms. In reply our government aided Pakistan, giving them billions to buy American-made equipment. Today things are different, but not different enough methinks.

Martin said...

The only way to get rid of the ideogical Obama hires that have infested places like DoJ-OCR and EPA is a reduction in force, where seniority can be used. Otherwise, cleaning them out would be like trying to save the Titanic with a teaspoon.

Whether any such major cuts can actually happen, though...

MikeR said...

I wonder what the average American would say if you asked him how many people work for the federal government.
Now ask the average American how many people he thinks _should_ work for the federal government.
Then tell him how many actually do.
https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/data-analysis-documentation/federal-employment-reports/historical-tables/total-government-employment-since-1962/
2.7 _million_ people?!

Quaestor said...

Oh but Comrade Cookie claims he has never read Das Kapital.

This is probably true. No pictures, dontcha know?

There is, however, the Classics Illustrated edition of the Communist Manifesto...

Robert Cook said...

"Because one of the fundamental purposes of the U.S. government is to defend the American people and the United States."

Defend us against what, who? How much more money will "keep us safe" from whatever phantasms you assume are massing to attack us? We already spend far more money on our war budget than any other country in the world, and almost more than all the other countries combined. We've started all the wars we've fought for the last 50 years.

Robert Cook said...

"Defense is one of the very few real obligations of the federal government.

"I would call a 25% cut in non-defense spending a good start."


You really mean "Offense," don't you? I would add to your 25% cut in non-Offense spending with a 75% cut in Offense spending.

Hari said...

#FakeMath:

"[Trump's] advisers have considered cutting the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s budget by $6 billion, or 14 percent, according to a preliminary budget document obtained by The Washington Post. That is a change that Trulia chief economist Ralph McLaughlin said could “put nearly 8 million Americans in both inner-city and suburban communities at risk of losing their public housing and nearly 4 million at risk of losing their rental subsidy.”


Assuming every dollar of the $6 billion cut from HUD will come from subsidies (and nothing from cutting bureaucracy) , this comes to than $1.40 per day for each of the 12 million people declared to be at risk by Trulia chief economist Ralph McLaughlin. The title of the article is, "Trump budget expected to seek historic contraction of federal workforce," so maybe most of the $6 billion will come from cutting federal employees who cost about $350 per day.

Quaestor said...

You really mean "Offense," don't you? I would add to your 25% cut in non-Offense spending with a 75% cut in Offense spending.

Oh, how clever you are. Do get your mommy to paste that to the refrigerator door!

Earnest Prole said...

Trump is about to learn that Congressional Republicans are nearly as fond of federal spending as Congressional Democrats.

gspencer said...

If the Constitution were truly followed, fedgov should be 80-90% of its present size.

And these guys, Members of Congress, and all officers of the United States, plus counterparts in the several states, take the Article VI oath to follow "this Constitution."

The phrase "this Constitution" is found 12 times in the 1787 document. That phrase means of course the written one appearing before them on Constitution Day, September 17, 1787.

HA !!!

Birkel said...

@ Nyamujal: "Where are you getting these numbers from? I'd like to see the econ literature on this."

You'd like to see the numbers but you want me to do your homework for you? I will pass. I believe you are lying at every turn and wouldn't waste my time beyond mockery.

I mock thee.

Gahrie said...

Defend us against what, who?

1) Islam
2) Russia
3) China

Michael K said...

Trump is about to learn that Congressional Republicans are nearly as fond of federal spending as Congressional Democrats.

To some extent this is true but two factors are significant.

One, federal employees are 90% Democrats and don;t vote for Republicans and even obstruct them when possible.

Two, federal spending is very unpopular when it takes place in DC. I'l grant that federal spending in local areas is popular.

Robert Cook said...

"'Defend us against what, who?'

"1) Islam
2) Russia
3) China"


Islam is no threat to us, and the only way we would get into a war with China or Russia is if we provoke it...which we may well do, given how bellicose and insane we are.

Freder Frederson said...

One, federal employees are 90% Democrats and don;t vote for Republicans and even obstruct them when possible.

For someone who complains that we never provide links, you are sure throwing out some unsupported and unsupportable statistics. First of all, I assume you are not including uniformed military personnel, although they are most certainly federal employees. I worked for Region IV EPA (Atlanta), and I'll guarantee you that even the EPA is not 90% Democrat. And if you look at DoD civilians or the various law enforcement and intelligence agencies, you are smoking some serious crack to make such a claim.

Brando said...

"One, federal employees are 90% Democrats and don;t vote for Republicans and even obstruct them when possible."

Those federal employees are spread all over the country, not just in DC--and blanket workforce cuts are most likely to hit regional offices first before headquarters. Maybe Republican voters don't think they like federal employees, but when they start finding they can't get services from the agencies they love, they sing another tune. There's a reason Republicans never really cut government.

"Two, federal spending is very unpopular when it takes place in DC. I'l grant that federal spending in local areas is popular."

But that's exactly it--the spending that goes out across the country is very popular, in both parties. So called "small government conservatives" have no problem with a highway extension in their district, or keeping SS increases above the rate of inflation, or a federal grant for education in their district.

Achilles said...

Brando said...

And that's the big elephant in the room--all this focus on discretionary spending is ignoring the biggest and fastest growing part of the budget--entitlement spending. Any budget that leaves that untouched is not a serious budget.

Narrow and short sighted. At some point within the next 20 years we will have no need for over 95% of the human population to work. At some point we are going to have to design a way for the economy to support and find meaning from almost all of the people who aren't really needed to support it.

I am not saying that Trump is doing what needs to be done. But it is time for smart people to start thinking about a world where we have all of the housing, food, clothing and entertainment to support any number of people with virtually no human work involved.

You will either have a SS for all/living stipend or the abolition of currency in general. If you sit back and think about the mechanics of a society based on a living stipend and the mechanics of a society without any currency you will realize that the living stipend is far better for the people in that society.

Achilles said...

Freder Frederson said...
One, federal employees are 90% Democrats and don;t vote for Republicans and even obstruct them when possible.

For someone who complains that we never provide links, you are sure throwing out some unsupported and unsupportable statistics.

District of Columbia: 93% Clinton 4% Trump.

Michael K said...

For someone who complains that we never provide links, you are sure throwing out some unsupported and unsupportable statistics.

I was not being precise but, since you demand data, here is some.

The District of Columbia is one of the most reliably Democratic jurisdictions in the country; since it has been allowed to vote for President in 1960 (DC has a very odd political status), the smallest margin of victory for a Democratic presidential candidate was 57% in 1972. The margin this year was 87% (Hillary got 91% of the vote, while Trump got 4%). Even outside the District, in the Maryland and Virginia suburbs, the area is very liberal, especially on the Maryland side. As someone who's not a native, it's almost a bit disorienting how monolithic political opinion is here; you can certainly find people who are politically conservative, but you might feel like you have to seek them out. This might change a bit when there is a conservative President (I wasn't here the last time that was true), but I don't think it does very much; most federal employees are not directly appointed by the President, and most federal employees are leftists.

I agree about the military and the federal employees around the country (I am a federal contractor) are much less partisan.

Drago said...

Earnest Prole: "Trump is about to learn that Congressional Republicans are nearly as fond of federal spending as Congressional Democrats."

Whaddya mean "about to learn"?

And besides, no one is accusing Trump of being a conservative.

Gahrie said...

Islam is no threat to us,

Tell that to the victims of Islamic terrorism. Islam has been at war with our civilization for 1,400 years.


and the only way we would get into a war with China or Russia is if we provoke it...which we may well do, given how bellicose and insane we are.

Perhaps by attacking Crimea or building artificial islands in the Pacific and putting weapons systems of them?

Drago said...

Nyamujal: "We never gave Iran any money. The $150 billion is their money that was frozen under the economic sanctions."

Yes we did.

And who cares if the biggest state sponsor of terror had their funds frozen?

Not the victims of that terror. But hey, I get it. Those guys are simply devoted to killing Israeli Jews and Americans.

Totally cool to let that cash flow to them.

Brando said...

"You will either have a SS for all/living stipend or the abolition of currency in general. If you sit back and think about the mechanics of a society based on a living stipend and the mechanics of a society without any currency you will realize that the living stipend is far better for the people in that society."

Without getting into a discussion of whether this "guaranteed income" society is a good thing, how does that address the problem of how to pay for it?

We're currently running deficits close to half a trillion dollars a year, down from a high of a trillion a year during the worst of the downturn. That suggests this is a structural deficit, not cyclical. If you let entitlements continue to grow, you're going to have to find a way to pay for it--and even the sort of tax increases the Dems want won't be enough.

I'm not in favor of completely trashing entitlements, but they're unsustainable in this path. Something's gotta give, and the GOP is just as delusional as the Dems are about this.

Freder Frederson said...

District of Columbia: 93% Clinton 4% Trump.

Which has nothing to do with the make up of the federal workforce. About 14% of the metro Washington works for the Federal government. Guess which cities have a higher percentage--Colorado Springs, Honolulu, and Virginia Beach (all of which have something in common, can you guess what it is).

Only about 15% of all Federal civilian employees work in the DC area.

Freder Frederson said...

If you let entitlements continue to grow, you're going to have to find a way to pay for it--and even the sort of tax increases the Dems want won't be enough.

Bullshit, lift the income cap on Social Security and Medicare taxes, maybe place a modest tax (one or two percent) on unearned income and they will be solvent for the foreseeable future.

Michael K said...

OK Freder.

You come up with a better estimate. There are lots of "independents" in DC. Guess who they voted for.

Freder Frederson said...

Islam has been at war with our civilization for 1,400 years.

If by "our civilization" you mean Western Europe and North America, then we are the clear winners. We destroyed the last great Islamic Empire almost 100 years ago.

Brando said...

"You come up with a better estimate. There are lots of "independents" in DC. Guess who they voted for."

I don't know if "residents of DC" is the best measure of who government employees are--most of the people working there commute from outside. I believe federal employees are likely disproportionately Democrats, but I wouldn't go by area voting patterns--after all, by that logic we'd have to assume most military personnel in the area (which does have a number of bases including the Pentagon) are Democrats too.

"Bullshit, lift the income cap on Social Security and Medicare taxes, maybe place a modest tax (one or two percent) on unearned income and they will be solvent for the foreseeable future."

You might buy a little time on that, but that's not enough to solve the problem. You simply have too few people paying into the system and too many getting benefits for too long. You'd have to do a lot more than just raise the income cap.

Freder Frederson said...

You come up with a better estimate.

That's not how it works. You put out the 90% figure, you have to defend it. I don't know what the actual figure is, but 90% is clearly bullshit. If I were to hazard a guess, I would imagine that federal employment pretty much mirrors the surrounding community (with perhaps a slightly more liberal lean because of diversity programs, but there is also a huge veteran preference in federal civilian hiring).

Rae said...

Bullshit, lift the income cap on Social Security and Medicare taxes, maybe place a modest tax (one or two percent) on unearned income and they will be solvent for the foreseeable future.

We are $20 trillion in debt, with future liabilities of $127 trillion. There is no modest tax that can dig us out of that hole.

Freder Frederson said...

by that logic we'd have to assume most military personnel in the area (which does have a number of bases including the Pentagon) are Democrats too.

Not necessarily, military personnel have a home of record where they vote, and that is often not where they are stationed. There are a disproportionate number of military personnel who claim Florida or Texas as their home of record (since they are home to large bases and have no state income tax).

Brando said...

"Not necessarily, military personnel have a home of record where they vote, and that is often not where they are stationed. There are a disproportionate number of military personnel who claim Florida or Texas as their home of record (since they are home to large bases and have no state income tax)."

That's true.

Freder Frederson said...

We are $20 trillion in debt, with future liabilities of $127 trillion.

In a $18 trillion dollar economy. It is not insurmountable.

Brando said...

"We are $20 trillion in debt, with future liabilities of $127 trillion. There is no modest tax that can dig us out of that hole."

Yeah--we'd probably have to do some painful combination of cuts and taxes, though it would have been helpful if we'd started that decades earlier. At this point my generation considers itself lucky if we get anything from those entitlements we've been required to pay into over the years.

And its' a shame--a lot of people of modest means have paid in but will likely get squat when it's their turn. They'll be right to be pissed, and the governments that created the unsustainable mess will be long retired.

Michael K said...

You put out the 90% figure, you have to defend it. I don't know what the actual figure is, but 90% is clearly bullshit.

I provided a link. Your turn. 93% voted for Hillary. Sounds real to me.

Congress is far more likely to agree with cutting spending in DC than in home districts.

Come on. Surely you have some data. You sound awfully sure of yourself. Sort of like global warming types.

Freder Frederson said...

I provided a link.

You provided a link to the voting pattern of Washington DC, which has very little (although not nothing) with the make up of the Federal workforce as a whole. I bet the voting patterns of Colorado Springs, Virginia Beach (maybe not Honolulu), which have a higher percentage of Federal employees, are starkly different.

Brando said...

Is there no data on voting patterns of federal employees (military and civilian)? I know they're not supposed to be "political" but I figured there'd be some polling out there.

I assumed federal employees tend to be more pro-Democrat, as they'd be more in favor of government agency funding and Republicans at least pretend they're going to cut those budgets. On the other hand working in an organization like that might make you more sensitive to its flaws (like not being able to easily fire your worst employees, or dealing with public sector unions). If I had to guess, I'd say federal employees tend to be liberal, but not overwhelmingly so (compared to say academia). But if anyone has good data that'd be worth looking at.

Rae said...

In a $18 trillion dollar economy. It is not insurmountable.

So explain how you're going to do that, and keep the $18 trillion economy.

Bonus points if you include firing squads.

Matthew Sablan said...

There are a lot of people scheduled to retire (before we figure in the people who threatened to quit if Trump won.)

Attrition could solve a lot of this problem.

Michael K said...

I bet the voting patterns of Colorado Springs, Virginia Beach (maybe not Honolulu), which have a higher percentage of Federal employees, are starkly different.

Please consider this an invitation to show proof or even any evidence. :)

khesanh0802 said...

This budget is partly why Trump was elected. If the Dems stand too much in the way those seven red state senate seats are going to change hands. Of course if budget cutting is successful, Trump is going to force Congress to address "entitlement programs" like SS, medicare, etc. without him initiating it. That is where the money is going to come from to actually operate the government. Welcome to tough choices and, perhaps, the beginning of the Federal government returning to its proper role.

For those, like Chuck, who have been complaining that nothing is happening with Trump's campaign promises this is about exhibit 12 that what Chuck says is untrue.

wildswan said...

Great Cabinet, great Supreme Court choice, border crossings down, EU agreeing to increase payments on an accelerated schedule, jobs coming back, stock market up, fracking up.

So now, cut the size of government as promised.

But what about the Democrats? That party always was divided into two parts - the workers and the faddists. The left got support because it supported the workers in the struggle for a fairer division of profits from work. But now there is no work. Now the left is seen as standing by while work was shipped away to China. Now the struggle is to have fair chance at a good job rather than higher wages. And now the left is totally preoccupied with faddists - transgender expression, soda drinks, salt packets on the table at restaurants, hot dogs in the school cafeteria, microagressions. And many of the faddist causes are directly aimed at the culture of the American worker. Faddist causes are: stopping construction, supporting flag burning, hating men, hating women with children, hating religion except Islam, hating America, hating cars, hating football, hating NASCAR, hating hunting. But enjoying ruining other people's fun.

If the left were to try to win back the workers it would lose the faddists - that coalition has broken. Without the workers, the left has no real credibility. With only support of the faddists, the same is true - the left has no credibility. So in my opinion the Democratic party is gone, though it may linger on like an aging Hollywood star convinced of a comeback ... someday ... tomorrow, they'll call.

Anti-faddist Trumps anti-fa

zyz65 said...

The triple cost of bureaucracy:
1. They are dreaming up new regulations to stop you doing things you want to do or make you do things you don't want to do
2. You are paying them to do this, often at very high rates, including pensions and security of employment
3. While they are doing this, rhey are not doing something you would be willing to pay for. This cost, the opportunity cost of keeping a large bureaucracy is arguably the worst because it is the least visible.

steve knoche said...

A 20% cut on Federal bloat is not big deal. I've worked for a US steel company for 34 years and had to survive about 8-10 "reorganizations" where salaried staff was cut from 5%-35%. I applaud Trump for introducing Government employees to the real world the rest of us have to live in.

steve knoche said...

There are also a ton of empty Federal buildings scattered all over the USA. I would reorganize departments, concentrating the "embedded" Obama hires who moved over from politically appointed jobs, into "new" sections. Then announce that those new sections will be moving from Washington DC to offices in the middle of Iowa and other small towns in fly over country. I am sure there will be more than enough retirements to get to 20% fewer staffing levels.

khesanh0802 said...

For those complaining about no cuts in entitlement programs let's be realistic: what's the fastest way to commit national political suicide in either party? You got it on the first try: attempt to cut entitlement programs. Here's another question: how might you get Congress to address entitlement programs? By strangling all their other favorite programs. Right again. Boy you guys are quick!

Trump is going to prove that the government can be downsized, because he is submitting a budget that does just that. He is going to change the budget argument in Congress ( and the country) from "why can't we get more funds for that?" to "why can't we cut that?". Like a corporate budget, Trump's budget will set overall limits and force Congress to live within them. I can see the Tweets now as Congress tries to bust his budget!

Earnest Prole said...

Trump is also about to learn there are not even fifty votes in the Senate in favor of a historic contraction of the federal workforce, much less sixty.

Earnest Prole said...

For those complaining about no cuts in entitlement programs let's be realistic: what's the fastest way to commit national political suicide in either party?

They accidentally forgot that a) old people vote, unlike young people, and b) old people vote Republican, unlike young people.

Robert Cook said...

"They accidentally forgot that... b) old people vote Republican, unlike young people."

Not when it means their Medicare and Social Security may be cut!

Lewis Wetzel said...

"Not when it means their Medicare and Social Security may be cut!"
Those are social insurance programs, paid for with payroll taxes, not income taxes.
It is their money.

cubanbob said...

Brando said...
"So far what I haven't heard from Trump is the tax rate reductions. That is why I voted for him. I'm a net taxpayer and as long as I remain one I will never get specific benefit from the government that someone who doesn't pay taxes also gets. So therefore I'm going to pay and pay and pay for other people's child support, their college educations and all manner of 'entitlements' that benefit them but not me with nothing in return. All I ask is that I get to keep some more of my money. Is that too much to ask?"

I'd like my taxes lower too, but so long as they run massive deficits I see a tax cut more as a "we'll just tax you more, later, with interest". And I don't buy that argument that tax cuts make us spend less because the less people pay in taxes the less they care about their taxes being wasted--we just pass the bill down the road."

I pay taxes for services. I'm not getting them for the most part as in I get the same as the guy who pays nothing in income tax. He probably gets something, I get bupkis. Whether the government spends 90% on debt service or not makes no difference to me since no matter what as long as I earn enough to be a net taxpayer I gonna pay and get little in return. If there was even a scintilla of a possibility that the government would run surpluses for the next ten or more years thus actually paying down the debt then I would say OK lets forgo a tax rate reduction. The chance of that happening (budget surpluses) isn't even zero. Like I said before, I prefer to keep more of my money than to have it pissed away on other people who do not compensate me in return in the least bit for my indentured contributions.

As for Social Security, the only way to save it is to privatize it. It was clear to anyone with two firing neurons as far back as the Carter Administration when IRA's were put in place the the government was telegraphing the message "don't count on Social Security alone". If the average working stiff had been able to put in 12.4% of the gross income into a Roth IRA instead of SS and invested in vanilla Vanguard Funds or equivalent for forty years they would be getting roughly the same amount as they would be getting from Social Security ( and even better if they kicked in the additional five grand annual IRA contribution) plus the country would be in far better shape economically. Not to mention being able to leave their heirs with something. Chile actually did implement this Social Security scheme with a safety net for the bottom rung if the amount they would get from their plan isn't sufficient. We should do this instead of continuing Ponzi schemes.

Drago said...

Cookie: "Not when it means their Medicare and Social Security may be cut!"

Lewis Wetzel: "Those are social insurance programs, paid for with payroll taxes, not income taxes. It is their money."

Communists don't understand nor accept the "It is their money" concept.

Michael K said...

Chile actually did implement this Social Security scheme with a safety net for the bottom rung if the amount they would get from their plan isn't sufficient. We should do this instead of continuing Ponzi schemes.

Pinochet got demonized for doing this. It was probably the only way it would ever happen.

Bush and Ryan both proposed modest reforms that would have helped.

Democrats went nuts.

People like Cookie have no concept of reality but it is coming. Freder thinks a 1% tax will fix things.

Oh well.

Michael K said...

Actually, Gingrich and the GOP Congress bear some serious blame. In the 90s, the Social Security Trust Fund was raided to "balance" the budget. As a result, the "Trust Fund" is a fiction.

There is no Trust Fund, with or without Gore's "lockbox."

The Social Security trust fund is a fiction. … In other words, the Social Security trust fund contains—nothing.”

Social Security status-quo defenders have assured us for the past 25 years that Social Security is fully funded—for the next 25 years, or 2036. So if there are real assets in the Social Security Trust Fund—$2.6 trillion allegedly—then how could failure to reach a debt-ceiling agreement possibly threaten seniors’ Social Security checks?

The answer is that the federal government has borrowed all of that trust fund money and spent it, exactly as Krauthammer asserted. And the only way the trust fund can get some cash to pay Social Security benefits is if the federal government draws it from general revenues or borrows the money—which, of course, it can’t do because of the debt ceiling.


Those were the days of the Boomer Surplus. More money came in than went out as the Depression Cohort, which was small, retired.

Welcome to reality.

Nyamujal said...

@Quaestor

"Most foreign aid is not part of the various military assistance programs."

True. Was meant as a quick example to talk about how foreign assistance programs can be more useful than a cash transfer to citizens for beer and tacos :-) .

"There are (or more precisely were) many procurement programs run by the Pentagon aimed at "friendly" Third World countries intended to reduce the attractiveness of cheap Soviet-made arms. The theory being those Soviet weapons came with Soviet technocrats ready and able to influence those "friendly" Third World countries in other ways besides how to field strip a machine gun.At the time an M-16 was five times more costly than an AK-47, and an M-48 tank was Cadillac-priced compared to the Ford budget T-55."

True. The Russians weren't just cheap but were also willing to transfer technical know-how. Joint development with India on cruise missile technology and fighter jets comes to mind.

"Critics of the procurement aid were answered basically with Nyamjal's argument — the money comes back. However, critics of foreign aid per se have not been so cavalierly dismissed. Those monies tend to disappear into numbered Swiss bank accounts."

Yes, that's a valid critique. However, you still underestimate the utility of "soft power". There are non-defense related programs that buy us tremendous goodwill.

"Today, American military arms are bought because they are the best for the buck (notwithstanding a bit of backchannel arm twisting when called for), and not because of such bribery as happened in the Cold War days. "

Well, bribery still happens. A lot of countries still buy US arms for quid-pro-quo reasons. The Gulf states are a great example of that. They don't require F-16's, but they still buy them. The Egyptians don't need more M1-A1's (They have 200 of them lying around unused), but they're still buying them.

"For one thing, the Russians aren't on some damned fool idealistic crusade anymore.
They are very good capitalists and sell their weapons on their merits, real or imaginary."

Sure. One can argue that their high tech weapon usage in Syria (SU-30's, cruise missiles) had little operational merit but was meant to show-off their defense tech to buyers in the Mid-East.

"Secondly, many of those heretofore "friendly" Third World countries are decidedly unfriendly now. Paying them to buy U.S. arms is counterproductive. Pakistan is a good example of this."

Yep, but we will continue to give money to Pakistan as long as we're involved in Afghanistan. And Pakistan has nukes that we don't want falling in the hands of terrorists. That's another example of weapon sales and foreign assistance being used to prop a regime we need. The last thing you want is an unstable South Asia with two nuclear armed nations in the region.

"Stalin started courting India soon after independence, and as a consequence, Nehru began to re-equip India's forces with Soviet-made arms. In reply our government aided Pakistan, giving them billions to buy American-made equipment. Today things are different, but not different enough methinks. "

Yeah, friendly relations with India that began with Clinton and continued under Bush and Obama can be counted as big foreign policy wins. Obama's pivot to Asia needs more praise.

Jupiter said...

Rae said...

"We are $20 trillion in debt, with future liabilities of $127 trillion. There is no modest tax that can dig us out of that hole."

During the Obama years, despite the highest tax collections in history, the US began paying most of its bills with "borrowed" money. Of course, no thoughtful person expects that the money will ever be paid back. Rather, more money will be "borrowed" to pay the interest.

The traditional endpoint of this trajectory is hyperinflation, but thus far we have seen very little inflation. It is not clear what this means, or where it ends. Perhaps when no one wants to loan the US government any more money?

Jupiter said...

Blogger Nyamujal said...

"Yeah, friendly relations with India that began with Clinton and continued under Bush and Obama can be counted as big foreign policy wins. Obama's pivot to Asia needs more praise."

Yeah, what would we do without our friends in India? Just think of all the benefits we receive from their decades-long friendship.

Can you name one?

cubanbob said...

"A lot of countries still buy US arms for quid-pro-quo reasons. The Gulf states are a great example of that. They don't require F-16's, but they still buy them. The Egyptians don't need more M1-A1's (They have 200 of them lying around unused), but they're still buying them."

Not so fast. First the Gulf Sates have a real fear of the Iranians (and in the past of the Iraqi's). Our stuff is better than the Russian stuff, especially when manned and maintained by non Arabs. As for the Egyptians, they don't need them today but between nut jobs taking over the Arabian peninsula (and their ever present paranoia and hatred for the Jews) they need insurance.

cubanbob said...

Jupiter said...
Rae said...

"We are $20 trillion in debt, with future liabilities of $127 trillion. There is no modest tax that can dig us out of that hole."

During the Obama years, despite the highest tax collections in history, the US began paying most of its bills with "borrowed" money. Of course, no thoughtful person expects that the money will ever be paid back. Rather, more money will be "borrowed" to pay the interest.

The traditional endpoint of this trajectory is hyperinflation, but thus far we have seen very little inflation. It is not clear what this means, or where it ends. Perhaps when no one wants to loan the US government any more money?"

The only thing really real are bonds and contractual debt. The other liabilities are political liabilities but not legally enforceable liabilities. Notice you get Social Security which has no property rights as per the Supreme Court and federal employees have pensions which are property rights. We have an agent principal problem. Government workers and all elected officials should all be on Social Security so their interests and those of the taxpayers would be in better alignment.

Lewis Wetzel said...

The question that should be asked of any government spending is "is this the highest, best use of taxpayer money?" A billion dollars of foreign aid could be used to provide 10,000 poor, deserving students with scholarships to a four-year state college.
But simply reducing the manpower and budgets of federal shouldn't be the goal. The goal should be to return power to the states and citizens from DC, and the article implies that this is the approach Trump will take.
If the federal government is the only thing that prevents Mississippi (or Minnesota) from violating the civil rights of Americans, we are doomed anyway. How can you have a representative government that views the people it represents as reprobates? By definition it is not representative.

Lewis Wetzel said...

Michael K. wrote:
"Those were the days of the Boomer Surplus. More money came in than went out as the Depression Cohort, which was small, retired."
Johnson's "great society" programs began in 1964, the year the first boomer turned 18. That was not a coincidence.

Michael K said...

"Obama's pivot to Asia needs more praise."

I assume you think everything Obama did should be praised but the "pivot to Asia" is imaginary.

Obama was far less interested in India than Bush was.

Michael K said...

The "Boomers" are going to get screwed in the Social Security game.

Maybe they should have paid more attention and smoked less dope.

Earnest Prole said...

Not when it means their Medicare and Social Security may be cut!

That was my implied point, but thanks for italicizing it.

William said...

Woo-hoo! Drain that swamp! And I speak as a former federal government employee.

Achilles said...

Rae said...

"We are $20 trillion in debt, with future liabilities of $127 trillion. There is no modest tax that can dig us out of that hole."

Whenever someone does something DC doesn't like, this becomes an issue.

Democrats are almost literally arguing that we can't cut spending because we are too far in debt. Republicans are almost literally arguing we can't do anything because it isn't enough to stop a debt crisis. This whole argument above is a tedious joke.

Brando said...

Depending on the specific cuts, this could be very self-defeating. For one thing, many agencies would end up wasting far more money with a small workforce (e.g., IRS having fewer audits--I read that the difference between taxes owed and taxes collected is in the hundreds of billions--better enforcement and an easier to comply with code would narrow that gap).

You can't be serious.

Nyamujal said...

@Jupiter
"Yeah, what would we do without our friends in India? Just think of all the benefits we receive from their decades-long friendship.

Can you name one?"

As a regional counterweight to China. As a market for American goods and services. As an ally against Islamic terrorism. I could go on, but the late great Hitch does a good job of summing up the moral case: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/fighting_words/2008/12/our_friends_in_bombay.html

Quaestor said...

Democrats are almost literally arguing that we can't cut spending because we are too far in debt. Republicans are almost literally arguing we can't do anything because it isn't enough to stop a debt crisis. This whole argument above is a tedious joke.

Louis XVI tried this tact with his fiscal policy advisor. Five years later the subject of conversation changed from the opinions of Necker to just necks, Louis's in particular.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Freder Frederson said...
If you let entitlements continue to grow, you're going to have to find a way to pay for it--and even the sort of tax increases the Dems want won't be enough.

Bullshit, lift the income cap on Social Security and Medicare taxes, maybe place a modest tax (one or two percent) on unearned income and they will be solvent for the foreseeable future.
3/13/17, 2:23 PM


I never understand this. If you take, arguendo, a million dollars a year off Bill Gates in Social Security taxes then you're going to have to pay him a million dollars a year when he retires. Plus he probably lives longer than some ex-janitor (paying a thousand a year in taxes and collecting a thousand a year in SSI) and thus will collect for more years than a poor person.

Nyamujal said...

@Cubanbob
"Not so fast. First the Gulf Sates have a real fear of the Iranians (and in the past of the Iraqi's). Our stuff is better than the Russian stuff, especially when manned and maintained by non Arabs. As for the Egyptians, they don't need them today but between nut jobs taking over the Arabian peninsula (and their ever present paranoia and hatred for the Jews) they need insurance."

True. The proxy war between the Shia and the Sunnis is playing out all over the mid-East, from Yemen to Syria. However, Iran's air force is stocked with vintage fighters which don't exactly pose a serious threat. The scale of the defense ramp-up in the Gulf is disproportionate to the threat they face. There's something else in play here, especially when the Gulf states could easily go for other comparable aircraft in the market from Sweden, France, and the UK. Boeing for instance was banking on a proposed deal to sell 40 F-18s to Kuwait to keep its St. Louis production line open. Qatar purchased $11 billion in weaponry from the US, and this for a country with a native population of about 300,000.
I could go on...
Re: The Egyptians, there's a difference between shoring up your defensive capabilities and buying excess weaponry that isn't even in operational condition. BTW, Kuwait has 218 M1A1's too. Kuwait! Lake Michigan's bigger than Kuwait. My dick is bigger than Kuwait!

Quaestor said...

Nyamujal wrote: My dick is bigger than Kuwait.

So that's where you want to take this conversation, is it, Nyamujal? Well, my dick is bigger than San Marino!... no, wait...

The Cracker Emcee said...

"No entitlement reform?"

The surest (and most humane) way to reduce entitlement spending is to create an environment where job growth can happen. Naturally, Democrats are opposed to this as that much-sought Permanent Majority requires a vast Permanent Underclass. Obama did his level best to expand that underclass and no one was more surprised than me that it wasn't quite enough. This time.

The Cracker Emcee said...

" Re: The Egyptians, there's a difference between shoring up your defensive capabilities and buying excess weaponry that isn't even in operational condition"

A fair point. I wonder if some of our arms customers don't get more solicitous after-purchase service than others. Given some of the sketchy countries we sell arms to I sure hope that's the case.

John said...

So you are an isolationist, right Cookie?

Strong defenses on our coasts and borders but no projection of that power outside of the US.

Works for me.

Europe is long overdue for another major war. It's what they do. There is absolutely no reason for the US to be involved in it. There was no reason in WWI or WWII and even less now.

John Henry

John said...

Michael K and others:

Could you explain to me how Social Security can go broke? How is it even possible?

Social Security can no more go broke than the Army or the Food Stamp program can go broke. Govt can decide that it is too expensive and stop funding it but it cannot go broke in the sense that a private pension plan could (More money going out than coming it.)

Our SS payroll taxes go into a the general fund. Just like income taxes. It is why SS (and Obamacare) is Constitutional. The govt has the power to tax for any reason.

The SS payouts come out of the general fund. This falls under the provide for the general welfare clause of the constitution.

If SS was an insurance plan where what you get out is a function of what you paid it, it would be unconstitutional.

See here for the story of how Roosevelt got around the un-constitutionality of the SS program. https://www.ssa.gov/history/tea.htm

It is the same reasoning that found Obamacare constitutional.

SS is a welfare program, pure and simple. Like WIC. Like Section 8 housing, like all the other welfare that govt takes from one group and gives to another.

John Henry

John said...

Blogger Earnest Prole said...

Trump is also about to learn there are not even fifty votes in the Senate in favor of a historic contraction of the federal workforce, much less sixty.

So what?

Can Congress force the President to hire people? Perhaps they can prevent him firing people but I am not even sure of that. As several mentioned, attrition can take care of a lot of them.

All he has to do is continue the hiring freeze.

I'd help the attrition along. Transfers to Iowa as someone mentioned. That could be sold as getting govt services closer to the people who need them. Local offices.

Or rubber rooms. Every department sends 10% of their people to some central location. There they can do make work or even nothing. So they get paid but at least they aren't costing us in regulation. They might even get bored and seek honest work.

Michael K said...

"All he has to do is continue the hiring freeze."

It's the base closing commission again. Congress has no guts but they are not stupid.

" Transfers to Iowa as someone mentioned."

How about the DoJ Civil Rights division to Ferguson MO ? Close look at the problems.

Ryan McLaughlin said...

That passive voice is oppressive.

Tom said...

He should also move all federal jobs to Maryland and Delaware and out of Virginia.

cubanbob said...

Nyamujal $150bn can buy the Iranians a lot of very good Russian weapons. Thanks to Obama. The Arabs as you say can't maintain equipment but the Arabs know that so they hire foreigners to do that.

John Henry: the Nestor decision.

Earnest Prole said...

Can Congress force the President to hire people? Perhaps they can prevent him firing people but I am not even sure of that.

The President may freeze hiring in the short term, but longer-term cuts require approval by Congress — which is to say they require the approval of eight Democratic Senators, not to mention several Republican Senators who might as well be Democrats. Presidential firings are prohibited by civil service protections; Trump has proposed eliminating these protections, but before that idea can become reality it also must delight the aforementioned eight Democratic Senators and several Republican Senators who might as well be Democrats. I understand that moist media coverage of eight Obama years has left the impression that an American President needs only his pen and cellphone to impose his political will, but I assure you that’s bullshit.

isthmus legend said...

drain the swamp

Rusty said...




Blogger Michael K said...
Actually, Gingrich and the GOP Congress bear some serious blame

Thank Lyndon Johnson and the "Great Society".

How are we going to "Pay for Tax Cuts"?
How about we cut federal spending. Nobody ever offers up that one.

"Quaestor said...
Nyamujal wrote: My dick is bigger than Kuwait.

So that's where you want to take this conversation, is it, Nyamujal? Well, my dick is bigger than San Marino!... no, wait..."

Yeah?
Well. My dick doesn't return Trumps phone calls.


aritai said...

Don't confuse increasing military spending 10% with increasing the defense industrial sector. The 10% will be spent on exquisite training and care of the world's best military those who know which end of a weapon to hold, or drive. Plus the world’s best medical care, retirement benefits, and if they happen to get injured or killed their family and their children, and likely children's children will have hit the jackpot. And this army will not ever buy a weapon it can't believe it will ever use With some allowance for weapons already underway to keep congress at bay for a little while. After this weapons will advance with the speed of silicon valley. But this leaves generation two of most everything a never to be done. Like nuclear weapons. The ones on the shelf and in submarines can last a long as the B52, with occasional dusting in the museum and do the job many times over. Aircraft beyond stealthy penetration and ground support, no? Air Combat? Never again. There will be, and already are lots of tears around the Beltway as well as those congressional districts where the congress critters insisted these facilities be built within 75 miles of ground zero, their rice bowl, contractor donors, bought elections, seniority, more power,. A mistake. They will be gone. Home prices will drop so even today's homeless can afford them as well as the paved over parking on K street for the Kennedy Center, or as it will be called, the Trump Center.

Robert Cook said...

"'Not when it means their Medicare and Social Security may be cut!'
"Those are social insurance programs, paid for with payroll taxes, not income taxes.
It is their money."


Of course. But the Republicans want to cut them anyway.

Robert Cook said...

"This budget is partly why Trump was elected."

Statistically, nobody voted for Trump for reasons of the budget. People voted for him because they liked him (and his promises to "bring back jobs" and"make America great again") more than Hillary, or they hated Hillary more than they hated Trump. That's really what it came down to.

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Bad Lieutenant said...

Robert Cook said...
"'Not when it means their Medicare and Social Security may be cut!'
"Those are social insurance programs, paid for with payroll taxes, not income taxes.
It is their money."

Of course. But the Republicans want to cut them anyway.

3/14/17, 12:13 PM


Not Trump. Ran on that, won on that.