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By Charles Kadlec
This blogpost originally appeared on Forbes.com, February 20, 2012.
The federal budget is a dense document totaling hundreds of pages of numbers. Yet, for all of the digital precision, the use of various “base line” budgets, numbers that span 11-year time frames and other arcana known only to Washington insiders and budget mavens obscure more than they reveal about what the federal government is up to.
To cut through the haze and spin, I chose to focus on President Obama’s “Proposed Budget”, and to compare all projections with actual 2011 levels. I came away with four observations:
By Richard Callahan
As one who has spent the last several years fighting cancer, I see great similarities with it and the direction of our government.
Cancer saps the strength from your body for it's own selfish purposes. Eventually, if left unchecked, it destroys the body. It grows uncontrollably and is almost impossible to constrain without taking aggressive, painful and uncomfortable measures to directly confront it. Without these measures, cancer will prevail at your expense.
By James D. Agresti and Dustin Siggins
If the U.S. government continues with its current tax and spending policies, children born this year will be saddled with a crippling publicly held debt that is more than twice the size of Japan's by the time they turn 30 years old. This grim picture, projected by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) in its newly published annual long-term budget outlook, expects U.S. publicly held debt to grow from 73% of GDP by the end of 2012 to 247% of GDP by 2042.
Worse still, the CBO projects that current policies will continue to drive the U.S. deeper into debt, and by the time today's newborns reach 38 years of age in 2050, the major federal healthcare programs and Social Security will consume all federal revenues, leaving nothing for any other function of federal government or even interest payments on the national debt.
By John Merlin
This piece originally appeared in Investors Business Daily on July 6th 2012
More workers joined the federal government's disability program in June than got new jobs, according to two new government reports, a clear indicator of how bleak the nation's jobs picture is after three full years of economic recovery.
The economy created just 80,000 jobs in June, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. But that same month, 85,000 workers left the workforce entirely to enroll in the Social Security Disability Insurance program, according to the Social Security Administration.
The disability ranks have outpaced job growth throughout President Obama's recovery. While the economy has created 2.6 million jobs since June 2009, fully 3.1 million workers signed up for disability benefits.
By Melanie Sturm
Last week, amid the firestorm over the words “you didn't build that,” actor Sherman Hemsley passed away. Americans remember Hemsley for playing George Jefferson, TV's popular upwardly mobile black businessman. Known for “movin' on up to the East Side” out of Archie Bunker's neighborhood, we cheered George as he strutted triumphantly into his “deluxe apartment in the sky,” having “finally got a piece of the pie.”
Imagine George's reaction were anyone to tell him that government was integral to his success or that he didn't build his business on his own — he'd slam the door while hollering, “Think Again!”
In recent weeks, commentators have debated the significance of a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services memo that may encourage states to weaken work requirements in the welfare program.
The issue is especially significant because welfare reform, passed by a Republican Congress and signed by a reluctant President Clinton in 1996 as he faced re-election, is one of the main conservative policy achievements at the federal level.
Its success in moving people off dependency is not only good for welfare clients, their kids, and society as a whole, but an embarrassment to the statist philosophy and a blow to the culture of dependency this philosophy thrives on.