|The Path to Real Change||Reviewing Obama's "Blueprint for Change"|
by Christopher Chantrill
February 16, 2008 at 5:17 am
OK, CONSERVATIVES, now that the race for the presidential nomination of the Republican Party is all over bar shouting, as my grandfather used to say, lets get back to more serious topics.
Lets talk about the federal budget.
Whats that? You have to go get your wife a present for Valentines Dayright now?
Thats a pity because Budget of the United States Government for Fiscal Year 2009 the President Bush sent to Congress last week is quite a piece of work. But Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) does not think of it exactly as a Valentine. Instead he in outraged, and hes threatened to ignore it until a Democratic president is inaugurated next year.
I can understand why Senator Reid wants to forget all about the budget. If you look at the numbers, its pretty sobering. Spending is going through the roof. The best way to get a handle on that is to compare the estimate for FY 2009 spending made in the presidents budget last week with the numbers President Bush sent up four years ago in February 2004.
Whats that you say? Its too hard? Not at usgovernmentspending.com. You can flick from the FY05 budget to the FY09 budget with the click of a mouse.
Back in February 2004 the president estimated FY 2009 federal spending at $2.854 trillion. Last week he estimated FY 2009 spending at $3.107 trillion. Thats an increase of $253 billion.
Are you following me? Four years ago the president reckoned that the federal government would be spending about 19.0 percent of GDP in the first year of the Clinton-Obama-McCain administration. Now he says thatoopsthe feds will be spending 8.8 percent more in the first year of the next administration, a whopping 20.7 percent of GDP.
And thats before we start talking about universal health care.
No wonder Harry Reid is so upset.
Of course, all these facts are available at the click of a mouse at usgovernmentspending.com. You could easily take a look while shopping on-line for your wifes Valentines Day present.
Indeed, while you early bird on-line Valentines Day shoppers were ordering wifely presents a week ago, the crack developers at usgovernmentspending.com were updating its vast array of database servers with the new information from the presidents budget from Table 3.2 Outlays by Function and Subfunction: 19622013. Hours after the president published the budget the numbers were up and running on usgovernmentspending.com.
As a result of this timely action we can now identify how it came to be that the president was so wrong when he estimated FY 2009 federal spending four years ago. Here are the two big culprits:
Defense (including veterans and foreign affairs): up from 4.0% to 5.4% GDP.
Federal government pensions (including Social Security): up from 4.8% to 5.1% GDP.
Interestingly enough, some areas of the federal budget are down in terms of GDP.
Health care (principally Medicare and Medicaid): down from 5.0% to 4.7% of GDP
Interest expense: down from 2.0% to 1.7% of GDP.
We are dealing in percent of GDP here because usgovernmentspending.com allows you to flick between millions and billions and percent GDP at the click of a mouse.
You can see why Harry Reid doesnt want to do his sworn duty and deal with the appropriations process as provided by law. He doesnt want to sign off on the huge increases in defense spending that President Bush has put into the federal budget.
Weve seen this sort of thing before.
Back in 1992 Candidate Clinton promised Americans a middle-class tax cut. But after the election the president-elect changed his tune. There wouldnt be a middle-class tax cut after all. I never worked harder on anything my whole life than I did that middle class tax cut, he told us as he raised our taxes.
In 1992 Democrats wanted to keep the middle class on-side. In 2008 Democrats want to keep their anti-war supporters on-side. They cant be seen endorsing the presidents belated admission that the years of the peace dividend are over, that the defense budget has to go up, and that the next Democratic president will not, after all, retreat from Iraq. Not until 2009.
Meanwhile the spending goes on. Its not just the federal government, you know. Spending at all levels of government in 2009 is likely to add up to about $5.4 trillion. Here are the numbers, including federal, state, and local spending, all from usgovernmentspending.com:
Health Care: $979.8
Whatever our Democratic friends may say, the cost of evil neo-con global warmongering pales in comparison to the trillions we spend every year on government pensions, government healthcare, government education, and government welfare.
And all those trillions of hard-earned taxpayer dollars arent sluicing through the government coffers because of evil neo-cons, or evil corporate welfare fatcats, or even evil fundamentalist theocrats. They are sluicing away because liberal Democrats diverted the clear upland streams of private sector wealth generation and channeled them into turbid alluvial outwash fans of government social programs.
On a lighter note, here is a Valentines Day tip. Dont just give your wife a big bouquet on Valentines Day. Instead, make sure to stop by the supermarket every evening from now until February 14 and buy your wife some flowers. As a bonus, buy her flowers for two or three days after Valentines Day. Women love being deluged with little presents. They just love it. All of them.
Buy his Road to the Middle Class.
When we began first to preach these things, the people appeared as awakened from the sleep of agesthey seemed to see for the first time that they were responsible beings, and that a refusal to use the means appointed was a damning sin.
Finke, Stark, The Churching of America, 1776-1990
In 1911... at least nine million of the 12 million covered by national insurance were already members of voluntary sick pay schemes. A similar proportion were also eligible for medical care.
Green, Reinventing Civil Society
We have met with families in which for weeks together, not an article of sustenance but potatoes had been used; yet for every child the hard-earned sum was provided to send them to school.
E. G. West, Education and the State
Law being too tenuous to rely upon in [Ulster and the Scottish borderlands], people developed patterns of settling differences by personal fighting and family feuds.
Thomas Sowell, Conquests and Cultures
The primary thing to keep in mind about German and Russian thought since
1800 is that it takes for granted that the Cartesian, Lockean or Humean scientific and
philosophical conception of man and nature... has been shown by indisputable evidence to be
F.S.C. Northrop, The Meeting of East and West
Inquiry does not start unless there is a problem... It is the problem and its
characteristics revealed by analysis which guides one first to the relevant facts and then,
once the relevant facts are known, to the relevant hypotheses.
F.S.C. Northrop, The Logic of the Sciences and the Humanities
But I saw a man yesterday who knows a fellow who had it from a chappie
that said that Urquhart had been dipping himself a bit recklessly off the deep end.
Dorothy L. Sayers, Strong Poison
I mean three systems in one: a predominantly market economy; a polity respectful of the rights of the individual to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and a system of cultural institutions moved by ideals of liberty and justice for all.
In short, three dynamic and converging systems functioning as one: a democratic polity, an economy based on markets and incentives, and a moral-cultural system which is plural and, in the largest sense, liberal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism
The incentive that impels a man to act is always some uneasiness...
But to make a man act [he must have]
the expectation that purposeful behavior has the power to remove
or at least to alleviate the felt uneasiness.
Ludwig von Mises, Human Action
[In the] higher Christian churches... they saunter through the liturgy like Mohawks along a string of scaffolding who have long since forgotten their danger. If God were to blast such a service to bits, the congregation would be, I believe, genuinely shocked. But in the low churches you expect it every minute.
Annie Dillard, Holy the Firm
When we received Christ, Phil added, all of a sudden we now had a rule book to go by, and when we had problems the preacher was right there to give us the answers.
James M. Ault, Jr., Spirit and Flesh
The recognition and integration of extralegal property rights [in the Homestead Act] was a key element in the United States becoming the most important market economy and producer of capital in the world.
Hernando de Soto, The Mystery of Capital