Daily Adams

Government Spending

Habit

Since 2013, the GOP has consistently proposed budgets that increase spending, and not by just a little. Consider that the Republican budget for the 2014 fiscal year, offered by then-Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., proposed $966 billion in base spending. This year, Speaker Ryan is pushing a budget that proposes $1.07 trillion.

That means in four years, Republicans have increased their proposal by $104 billion.

Via They are Doing It Again—-Republicans Are Addicted to Increased Federal Spending @ David Stockman’s Contra Corner.

L.A. schools give up their Federally-funded military weapons

The weapon collection included grenade launchers, a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected armored vehicle and rifles.

On Feb. 5, the department returned the last of the weapons it had obtained through a Defense Department program that stocked local police departments with surplus weapons and equipment. The district sent the letter to the Labor/Community Strategy Center, a civil rights group, and provided it to The Times.

But on Tuesday, a handful of activists commandeered an L.A. Unified school board committee meeting to demand proof. 

Via L.A. schools have given up the last of their Defense Department-issued rifles @ LA Times.

Incredible

We are concerned to see the Sanders campaign citing extreme claims by Gerald Friedman about the effect of Senator Sanders’s economic plan—claims that cannot be supported by the economic evidence. Friedman asserts that your plan will have huge beneficial impacts on growth rates, income and employment that exceed even the most grandiose predictions by Republicans about the impact of their tax cut proposals.

As much as we wish it were so, no credible economic research supports economic impacts of these magnitudes. Making such promises runs against our party’s best traditions of evidence-based policy making and undermines our reputation as the party of responsible arithmetic. These claims undermine the credibility of the progressive economic agenda and make it that much more difficult to challenge the unrealistic claims made by Republican candidates.

Via Former Dem CEAs Write Open Letter to Sanders @ Marginal REVOLUTION.

Eye of the Beholder

When Florida Senator Marco Rubio voted against a transportation funding bill in December, he said one of his main objections was that it “preserves Washington’s power in picking winners and losers in transportation funding, and even revives the crony capitalist Export-Import Bank,” an agency that provides export financing for American goods.

Rubio, however, also likes to pick winners and losers. He supports sugar subsidies, explaining to Chuck Todd on Meet the Press in January, “ I believe agriculture, unlike any other industry, should be treated a little differently…. We are competing against other countries that don’t have our regulations, don’t have our labor laws and subsidize their own industries.… I am prepared to get rid of the sugar program tomorrow if the countries we compete against get rid of theirs.”

Via Crony Capitalism Is Evil…Except for Mine, Say Republicans @ Newsweek.

Keeping Government from the Governed 

According to the government, this information is exempt from public disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act pursuant to Exemption 7e, the part of the federal statute that says agencies do not have to disclose records that would reveal law enforcement “techniques” or “procedures.” But as ACLU of Massachusetts staff attorney Jessie Rossman argues, staffing, budgetary, and statistical information about caseloads do not reveal techniques or procedures.

Via The FBI Says It Can’t Disclose Its Records Because Then the Public Would Know How the Bureau Works @ American Civil Liberties Union.

Unsolved

As a report released this afternoon by the Congressional Budget Office confirms, the annual deficit is creeping back up this year—to $544 billion. That’s worrying not only because it’s higher than last year, but because, for the first time since 2009 it’s rising as a share of the economy, to about 2.9 percent of GDP. Not only that, but the deficit is set to rise every year for the next decade, pushing us back over the trillion-dollar mark by 2022. We’re in a brief lull right now, but that doesn’t mean the issue is solved.

Via CBO’s Latest Budget Report Is a Reminder That Debt and Deficits Haven’t Gone Away @ Reason Hit & Run.

Little work, big bonus

A new hire at the Environmental Protection Agency hit the jackpot when the employee’s new bosses awarded her $9,000 in performance bonuses for less than three months of work.

The EPA’s inspector general said the newly hired director of the environmental agency’s RTP Finance Center in Raleigh was paid two separate performance bonuses of $4,500 shortly after beginning work.

“The total award amount of $9,000 represents approximately 25 percent of the Director’s salary for that 3-month time period. Based on discussions with OCFO management, this was an unprecedented amount for the Office of the Chief Financial Officer for such a short period of time after being hired,” the EPA IG said in a report made public Monday.

Via EPA Gives $9000 Bonus For Less Than Three Months Work @ The Libertarian Republic.

Paul over Rubio

As I and others have noted elsewhere on numerous occasions, Rubio’s name-calling reveals the shallowness of his understanding of history and world politics. Defenders of the status quo can be counted on to shout the “isolationist” epithet whenever they want to discredit any challenges to it. Despite his relative youth, Rubio has adopted the foreign policy of men nearly twice his age. He seems blissfully unaware even of recent history. His campaign slogan calls for “A New American Century.” Sound familiar?

Via Paul vs. Rubio on Pentagon Spending | Cato@Liberty.

Building more for private gain

….it appears NV Energy wants to run short of power on purpose. And the “preferred” solution it wants to pursue is to build a new and costly power plant.

This won’t help its customers. Their bills will go up as a result of the addition of the new power plant built from scratch and the subtraction of those that now supply the power NV Energy sells.

But it will help Warren Buffett and his friends at Berkshire-Hathaway….

Via Crony Capitalism Driving Nevada Energy Controversy @ Human Events.

Coalition Against Billions for ‘Overseas Contingency Operations’

Congress may consider the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act Conference Report as early as this week. Sadly, but not surprisingly, this year’s NDAA increases spending by “hiding” $38 billion in the Overseas Contingency Operations Fund (OCO). Since OCO spending is considered “emergency spending,” these funds do not count against the budget caps. So OCO enables the defense hawks to increase defense spending while pretending to be complying with the law.

Campaign for Liberty has joined a coalition of groups across the political spectrum in a letter urging members of Congress to vote against the NDAA because of the OCO funding. Of course, this “stealth” spending increase is far from the only reason to oppose the NDAA. For example,the NDAA authorizes the President’s power of’ “indefinite detention” and authorizes US Military intervention around the world.

 Via Campaign for Liberty joins coalition against increasing spending @ Campaign for Liberty.

Illogic in Support of the Ex-Im Bank

From  a letter to Forbes:

So I’ve a question: why does Ex-Im need government reauthorization?  If it receives no money from taxpayers – indeed, if it turns such a profit that it “gives them money” – surely private investors will eagerly seize the opportunity to serve the profitable markets that Ex-Im has abandoned.

Mr. Brinkley answers that markets served by Ex-Im are too risky for private banks.  But this answer makes no sense if Mr. Brinkley is correct in asserting that Ex-Im receives no money from taxpayers.  Loan portfolios that are so risky that they require taxpayer backing are by their nature loan portfolios that over time are not profitable; they are loan portfolios that do not repay lenders adequate returns on their loans.  The very need for taxpayer backing of such loans implies that taxpayers are destined to cover losses on, rather than to reap profits from, these loans.

In short, Mr. Brinkley’s case for reauthorizing Ex-Im is a hopelessly illogical muddle, for it asserts that Ex-Im is simultaneously profitable and unprofitable.  A government agency that must be defended by such twisted thinking is surely one that ought to be shuttered permanently.

Via It’s Always In the Black (Except When It’s In the Red) @ Cafe Hayek.