New and improved spreadsheets now posted.
* * *
Upon further study and additional time spent improving my budget erudition, I’ve discovered that the “expenditure” spreadsheet referenced below is seriously in error. It greatly understates the level of federal spending. When I am confidant that I’ve got it right, the corrected information will be posted. Sorry ’bout that.
— The Management.
As Matthew Continetti of the Weekly Standard confesses:
The debt ceiling debate is maddening. I feel as though I’m living in Bizarro world, where an argument over which programs to cut suddenly morphs into a discussion over which taxes to raise.
I made the mistake of watching President Obama’s press conference on Monday, and came away thinking that he doesn’t believe America has a spending problem. Again and again, he mentioned programs he wants to fund, initiatives he’d like to pursue. He has no real interest in restructuring Medicare or Medicaid to put those programs on a sound footing. He’s interested in reelection. The only sacred cow he wants to kill is the tradition of Republican opposition to tax increases.
Last night I made the mistake of watching ABC World News with Diane Sawyer wherein she graciously but breathlessly warns us of the looming debt ceiling and raging budget battle. Apparently, come August 3rd, the sky will fall. Obama says he cannot guarantee that Social Security, Veterans’ Benefits, and Medicaid checks will go out on that date “if we haven’t resolved this issue.” Alan Simpson, Republican Senator in a former lifetime and Co-Chair of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility & Reform (Deficit Commission), is disgusted by his (former?) party’s pettiness that is apparently overwhelming their patriotism:
Oh my, oh my, oh my! Bizarro indeed! But what to do?
The “Sevakis Plan”, of course!
In short, balance the budget tomorrow with $0.10 in tax increases for every $1.00 in cuts. Freeze the U.S. Debt held by the public, and unilaterally restructure it so as to pay it down to zero over a period of 50 years. No increase in the debt ceiling required. (Though I’m not sure that’s even a problem.) Plus, there’ll be no immediate cuts in Social Security or Medicare.
Balderdash! You say? Well, if you study the details of federal spending over the past decade, and look at the proposed budget for FY 2012, you begin to realize, as I did, that spending, including that for defense, has been so ridiculously inflated that cutting a trillion or so dollars out of the budget is not all that big a deal. Going back to FY 2007 levels – and that doesn’t include SS or Medicare — just about gets you there. And if you can’t run the country on about $2.4 trillion or thereabouts, we may as well give up.
The link given below will take you to to SkyDrive (That’s not “SkyNet” so not to worry!) where online, whether or not you have MS Excel, you can open a spreadsheet with the spending and budget data I’ve been discussing. If you have Excel 97-2003, you can download the file for greater functionality and speed.
Tomorrow, I’ll have more to say on the subject as well as give you the basics of how the spreadsheet was developed from the original, “official” data and its structure.