1) The Week Just Past: “Mr. President, Work With Us to Cut Spending”
2) The State of the Union’s High Price Tag
3) (Yet Another) Dubious Record
4) Obamacare Waivers: Who’s Getting What
5) Tax Return Itemizers Can Begin Filing February 14
6) Recommended Reading: Taxpayers Bailing out Fannie and Freddie’s Executives, Too!
The Week Just Past: Mr. President, Work With Us To Cut Spending
“On Tuesday night, I had the privilege of sitting in the House Chamber as the President delivered his annual State of the Union address. Like many Americans, I expected to hear the President pledge to get the budget deficit and national debt under control.
“However, I have to tell you, there was not much talk about getting our fiscal house in order. Yes, he spoke about a ‘freeze’ on certain discretionary spending, but as one of my colleagues stated, ‘when your car is hurtling toward a cliff, you use the brakes, not cruise control!’
“It is true that the President has had a lot of help digging the fiscal hole we’re in. Both parties bear responsibility. But America will only have a ‘Sputnik moment’ when this Administration recognizes that its free-spending habits must change.
“The facts speak for themselves: President Obama has overseen the most fiscally reckless period in the history of our country. The budget deficit – the difference between what our government collects every year and what the government spends every year - eclipsed $1 trillion for the first time in history in fiscal year 2009, reaching $1.4 trillion.
“In fiscal year 2010, the deficit was $1.3 trillion, and the White House predicts that the deficit will surpass $1 trillion for a third straight year this year. During this record spending spree, unemployment has skyrocketed from 4.6 percent to 9.4 percent as the U.S. economy has LOST more than 6.3 million jobs.
“Uncontrolled spending has caused a massive increase in government borrowing and the national debt – the accumulation of all our annual deficits - is now a record $14 trillion—equal to $44,908 for every man, woman, and child in the U.S.
“According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), by 2020 the U.S. will spend $800 billion in one year alone just to make interest payments, much of which will go to the governments of foreign competitors like China and Japan.
“If nothing is done to rein in spending, CBO predicts that the national debt will continue to skyrocket and reach $23 trillion by 2020. At that rate, the national debt will grow by more in the next nine years than it did in the period from 1776 through 2007.
“Enough is enough. The American people deserve a government that is not only effective, but also efficient. They deserve a government that practices accountability and responsibility in everything it does.
“In his speech on Tuesday, the President spoke of making what he referred to as ‘targeted investments’ to boost the economy. To me, that sounds like ‘Washington-speak’ for more spending of more money we simply do not have!
“The top priority of this Congress must be to foster an environment where the private sector can create jobs and opportunities. The American people instinctively know that we can’t borrow and spend our way to prosperity. They understand that we’ve got to tighten the belt. And I’m hopeful that the President will work with us to cut the spending we cannot afford.”
The State of the Union’s High Price Tag
The National Taxpayer’s Union Foundation has gone through the agenda President Obama spelled out in his State of the Union address line-by-line and has determined that his proposals would boost spending an additional $20 billion and lead to higher taxes.
“President Obama's speech…hinted at tax reform, and spending restraint, but also opened the door to tax increases and major spending initiatives,” said NTUF Senior Policy Analyst Demian Brady. “Americans heard encouraging words about more efficient government, but little in the way of specifics about spending priorities. This leaves taxpayers wondering not only whether the federal budget deficit is headed upward or downward, but also by how much.”
In their report, the foundation conceded that the $20 billion in additional spending was far less than the additional $70 billion in his last State of the Union where he also called for a spending freeze.
Recommended Reading: Amity Shales, writing for Bloomberg, “Obama Spending Drive Will Suffocate Job Growth.”
(Yet Another) Dubious Record
A new estimate predicts the federal budget deficit will hit almost $1.5 trillion this year, a stunning new record.
This year’s record was a mere $1.3 trillion, but last year’s budget shortfall topped the record books at over $1.4 trillion.
The “good” news: CBO predicts the deficit will drop all the way to $1.1 trillion next year.
Recommended Reading II: Mack McClarty and Thomas Cunningham writing in the Monday Wall Street Journal, “Obama’s Free Trade Opportunity.”
Obamacare Waivers: Who’s Getting What
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced this week that it had granted more than 500 new waivers to Obamacare's requirement that health plans have annual limits of no less than $750,000. This annual limit requirement climbs to $1.25 million next year and then to $2 million.
The reason these exemptions from the law are needed is that Obamacare forces all health insurance consumers to over-insure themselves and pay high premiums as a result. Without the waivers, many companies, non-profits and unions would simply drop their health plans.
It is noteworthy that 166 union benefits funds are now exempted from this requirement, which account for about 40 percent of the exempted workers. Translated: of the 14.6 million unionized employees in the USA, 860,000 have already been exempted from this provision of Obamacare.
The sheer number of waivers is indicative of a hastily-crafted and flawed law! Rodney voted to repeal Obamacare earlier this month.
Tax Return Itemizers Can Begin Filing February 14
Taxpayers who claim itemized deductions will be able to file their federal tax returns starting Feb. 14.
While the tax-filing season began on January 4, the IRS announced last year that taxpayers who itemize — which includes just about everyone who has a mortgage — would have to wait until at least mid-February to file.
The IRS said the delay was necessary because it needed more time to program its systems to accommodate tax breaks included in the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job
Creation Act of 2010 – the so-called December “compromise” that extended the Bush-era tax rates.
For more information, visit the IRS website here.
Recommended Reading III: Taxpayers Bailing out Fannie and Freddie’s Executives, Too!
Since the federal government took over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2008, taxpayers have spent more than $160 million defending the mortgage finance companies and their former top executives in civil lawsuits accusing them of fraud! Gretchen Morgensen, writing in the Monday New York Times, “Mortgage Giants Leave Legal Bills to the Taxpayers.”