The news is filled with the everyday zigzags of those competing against each other for the Democrat and Republican Party nominations to run for the presidency of the United States. But one of the most important issues receiving little or no attention in this circus of political power lusting is the long-term danger from the huge and rising Federal government debt.
Due to this weekend’s torrential winter downpour, we are currently in the midst of a federal government shutdown. Uh oh. We’ve been told so often by so many that a government shutdown will shake the Earth from its orbital path and send us careening into the Sun. So far, thankfully, that has not occurred.
President Barack Obama delivered his final State of the Union address on January 12, 2016, and devoted most of the time to defending his “legacy” of bigger and more intrusive government, with an emphasis on the other aspects of personal and social life he wished could come under the blanket of more political paternalism, if only there was enough time before he leaves office on January 20, 2017.
In today’s edition of The Heartland Daily Podcast, managing editor of Budget & Tax News Jesse Hathaway talks with Jonathan Williams, Vice President of the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) Center for State Fiscal Reform, about how welfare reform and economic reform go hand in hand, and what states can do to help the needy back onto their feet and into society.
In today’s episode of The Heartland Daily Podcast, managing editor Jesse Hathaway talks with University of Arkansas-Little Rock economics professor Erick Elder about a new study, published by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, about how well state lawmakers are preparing for the next economic recession.
In just eight years, Bitcoin and the idea of “virtual currency” have gained acceptance and use both online and in the physical world. Spread by word of mouth and other “viral” means, decentralized virtual currencies have gone from a mere thought experiment to a tangible economic reality.
In today’s edition of the Heartland Daily podcast, managing editor Jesse Hathaway and Heritage Foundation macroeconomics research fellow Salim Furth talk about the latest news from Puerto Rico’s slow-motion fiscal train wreck.
President Reagan once said, “The nearest thing to eternal life we will ever see on this earth is a government program.” The omnibus budget package being negotiated on Capitol Hill is a perfect example.
At this annual time of good cheer it might seem Grinch-like to challenge the spirit of Santa Claus, but the reality is that there is no jolly, bearded, rotund man in a red suit who brings us goodies for free. And the Congressional Budget Office has recently reminded us of this in reference to Social Security.
Many state governments facing budget crises are still trying outdated, proven-failed policy ideas such as higher taxes and increased government spending, hoping they’ll work this time, somehow. Instead, they should copy tried-and-true ideas for successfully attracting residents and fostering an economic environment in which people can prosper.
Uncle Sam has added nearly an additional half a trillion dollars to the national debt over the past twelve months. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the Federal government ended its fiscal year on September 30, 2015 with a budget deficit of a “mere” $435 billion. Total Federal expenditures for the fiscal year were nearly $3.7 trillion, while Federal tax receipts came to around $3.3 trillion.
In Maine, state lawmakers expanded existing bans on tobacco use in private and public spaces to include e-cigarettes. Many cities and states are likewise considering banning e-cigarette use in public and private spaces, and state governments in Delaware and New York have already banned using e-cigarettes in restaurants and other privately owned spaces.
As National Football League teams start to go into their “bye” weeks when they don’t have a game to play, fantasy sports fans are scrambling to find replacements for their starting lineups on the waiver wires.
California lawmakers are proposing to increase taxes on cigarettes by $2 per pack in order to fund increased entitlement spending. Instead of placing faith in the morality of their cause, lawmakers would do better to place their trust in economic and public health realities.
In this episode of The Heartland Daily Podcast, managing editor Jesse Hathaway talks with Mercatus Center senior fellow Todd Zywicki. Zywicki’s new paper, “The Law and Economics of Consumer Debt Collection and Its Regulation,” examines the pitfalls of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau’s proposals to protect consumers from abuse by debt collection agencies.
Beginning in 1983 the government changed its method of calculation to show lower inflation by excluding food and energy, claiming they were too volatile to be reliable indicators. The result is the so-called “core inflation” CPI, which is a favorite of the Federal Reserve. The latest figure for this CPI reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics is 0.4% (for August and also July), but if calculated by the method used in 1980 the inflation rate would be 7½ percent, as shown by Shadow Government Statistics (ShadowStats.com).
An electric truck manufacturer that was awarded $32 million from President Obama’s stimulus program has informed one of its investors that it is on the verge of bankruptcy, if it did not raise $4.5 million by Friday and $10 million by the end of October.
There is no way to describe current Federal Reserve policy other than as monetary confusion and misdirection. In a nutshell, Janet Yellen and the other members of the Fed’s Board of Governors have no idea what to do. Do they raise certain interest rates over which they have some direct influence? Do they keep them at their current rock bottom levels, as they have for the last six years?
By following through on entitlement reforms started in the 1990s, Congress can defuse a ticking entitlement-spending time bomb and allow states to lead the way on holding costs down and better serving taxpayers.
Washington, D.C. is a dysfunctional mess. Just about nothing gets done unless it absolutely has to get done. And when things do get done – they are just about always horrible. Bigger and bigger government, over and over again, as far as the eye can see.