This week’s Golden Horseshoe goes to a broad sweep of federal agencies for a systemic lack of transparency that is hampering efforts to monitor many billions of dollars in COVID-19 relief spending, according to a report by the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee.
The PRAC was established in 2020 by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to “promote transparency and conduct and support oversight” of more than $5 trillion in pandemic relief funds.
In a report released Wednesday, the watchdog details its difficulty in determining how funds are being spent due to federal agencies’ poor reporting on the government spending website, USAspending.gov.
Michigan’s $70 billion budget for fiscal year 2022 increases government spending by 11.5% from last year’s $62.8 billion budget. The increased spending includes one-time funds from federal stimulus packages, raising concerns Michigan can’t sustain current spending without hiking taxes or slashing services.
Once government federal stimulus money runs dry, the government must either raise taxes or reduce services to continue paying for programs that were once considered not essential.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer set up a critical vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill Saturday after talks to expedite the process fell apart late Thursday.
Both Republicans and Democrats engaged in marathon talks Thursday in a bid to vote on a package of amendments and to advance the sweeping public works package. Doing so, however, required approval from all 100 senators, and Tennessee Republican Sen. Bill Haggerty refused to go along even as his Republican colleagues urged him to do so.
In a statement, Hagerty attributed his objection to the Congressional Budget Office’s estimation that the bill would add $256 billion to the national debt over 10 years.
The federal government is on track to reach the statutory debt limit in the fall, which would trigger a government shutdown, according to a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimate.
The U.S. is projected to reach the debt ceiling of $28.5 trillion by October or November, a CBO report released Wednesday stated. If Capitol Hill lawmakers don’t reach an agreement on raising the limit higher, the government could undergo its third shutdown in less than four years.
“If the debt limit remained unchanged, the ability to borrow using those measures would ultimately be exhausted, and the Treasury would probably run out of cash sometime in the first quarter of the next fiscal year (which begins on October 1, 2021), most likely in October or November,” the CBO report said.
Wildly excessive federal spending is causing major inflation and shortages, which may lead to a recession and perhaps a financial crisis. Despite the evidence of inflation, Congress is proposing to spend $3.5 trillion on top of the $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill passed earlier this year and the intended $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill. For comparison, federal revenue is only expected to be $3.8 trillion this year.
Evidently, the Democratic Party and President Joe Biden have adopted Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) to the peril of every American citizen. MMT, which is similar to Keynesian economics, says that the U.S. should not be constrained by revenues in federal government spending since the government is the monopoly issuer of the U.S. dollar. MMT is a destructive myth that provides cover for excessive government spending. And it’s not modern, since reckless government spending has been around for thousands of years.
Embracing MMT is similar to providing whiskey and car keys to teenage boys. We know the outcomes will not be good.
Two mainstream think tanks have published new studies on immigration and race in America that come to the typical, safe conclusions. But a look at the data inside shows something more interesting.
A new Cato Institute report defending immigration begins by contending that immigrants are unlikely to negatively affect states’ fiscal health. But within the study’s findings, Cato may have inadvertently provided a new reason to oppose immigration.
Using state budgets as a proxy for the quality of economic institutions from 1970-2010, the authors of the Cato study assert that “a larger share of immigrants at the state level is correlated with slower state revenue and spending growth in the short-term, measured by total per capita government revenue and expenditure growth.” In other words, the more immigrants there are in a state, the less the state tends to take in in taxes and the less it spends on services. This is hardly groundbreaking; we have always known that immigration is linked to welfare chauvinism.
President Biden has just unveiled a new $2.3 trillion “infrastructure” plan, but a shockingly large portion of this bill is actually unrelated to infrastructure.
The plan includes massive subsidies for corporations as well as state and local governments, and comes right after the administration’s proposed increase in the corporate tax rate, which would raise the rate from 21 percent to 28 percent.
There’s $300 billion for manufacturing, $100 billion for electric utilities, $100 billion for broadband, $174 billion for electric vehicles, and a whole lot more. A significant portion of this spending is directed at subsidizing big corporations.
President Biden’s $1.9 trillion “American Rescue Plan” could soon become law.
The budget-busting legislation, sold as emergency COVID response and “stimulus,” passed the Senate over the weekend. But even the liberal-leaning fact-checking website PolitiFact is pointing out that almost all of the bill’s spending is unrelated to the health effects of COVID-19.
“Total spending directly on COVID-19’s health impacts ranges from $100 billion to $160 billion,” fact-checker Jon Greenberg writes. “At the high end, direct COVID-19 spending represents about 8.5% of the bill’s $1.9 trillion cost.”
Congress “spent as never before, doing so ostensibly without a care” in 2020, greatly contributing to what is now a $3.1 trillion deficit, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, argues in his annual wasteful spending report.
At the same time, initial 15-day lockdowns to stop the spread of the coronavirus turned into nearly year-long lockdowns, Paul said, “wreaking havoc on Americans’ health, sanity, and economy, while also empowering petty tyrants across the country.”
As Democratic presidential candidates stumble over one another in a headlong rush towards socialism and fiscal insanity—promising trillions in new spending on everything from child care, health care, and higher education for all, to “the Green New Deal” and slavery reparations—President Trump faces a critical choice.
As Americans, we are greatly indebted not only to the men and women who have fought and died for our country, but also to the thinkers, statesmen, innovators, and ordinary people who gave us our founding principles.