Category Archives: Money

Our Budget Responsibility

The complexities and drivers of the federal budget are vast and intimidating to understand. However, it is very difficult to have discussions about our federal deficits and national debt unless the process is first understood. I want to initiate this discussion to help readers understand our nation’s budgetary process and to foster more informed dialogue. Hopefully this explanation will dispel partisan rhetoric and break down unfounded talking points. The Federal Budget: Our nation’s budget can be divided into two major

Understanding the US Budget

The United States budget can be broken into two groups, DISCRETIONARY spending and MANDATORY spending.  About 7% of the budget is interest paid on our debt – which will only increase, but should also be considered mandatory as defaulting is not an option. As you can probably guess mandatory spending is outside of the President’s control and is regulated by established laws in place.  Mandatory spending includes Social Security, Medicare, Welfare, Food Stamps, etc.  The last major bump in Mandatory

An Economy on the Rebound

When President Barack Obama took the oath of office on January 20, 2009, the U.S. economy was in free fall. During the preceding year and half, some of the nation’s largest and most important financial institutions went bankrupt, including Bear Stearns, Countrywide, and Lehman Brothers, as risky loans and other investments failed. Many other large banks were on the verge of collapse. The downfall of the financial sector had been preceded by a spectacular end to a massive speculative housing

Did President Obama Double Our National Debt?

Who is the bigger fool….President Obama for doubling our national debt?…or the individual who believes such a canard?  Like all political claims, the devil is in the details. More has been added to our national debt under President Obama than all the other presidents combined.  Partially true.  However, of the $5.1 trillion added to the National Debt from 2009 to 2012, only $1.5 trillion is due legislation signed by President Obama.  Of that $1.5 trillion, only $500 billion in incremental

Thank Romney for Underscoring Need for “Buffet Rule”

After losing the South Carolina Primary to Newt Gingrich, possibly in part due to his waffling at the pre-Primary debates about releasing his tax returns, Mitt Romney released his tax returns for the past two years, which show that he paid about 14% in federal taxes on income of nearly $43 million. The timing of Romney’s tax return release was impeccable- for Democrats. For months, President Obama and Democrats have been attacking Republicans for wanting to maintain tax breaks and

Communists Like Thomas Jefferson and Adam Smith

Conservatives often invoke our country’s Founding Fathers as well as prominent historical figures like economist Adam Smith, whose ideas about the “invisible hand” of free markets helped form the theoretical foundation of modern capitalism, when they advocate far-right economic policies. Lately, there has been a lot of talk by GOP presidential candidates about creating a flat tax system in the U.S., particularly from Texas Governor Rick Perry and Godfather’s Pizza founder Herman Cain. Ironically, you’ll never hear a conservative pundit

In accordance with current events…

A couple comments on this chart I created: – All years beyond 2011 are estimates.  The dramatic drop in 2013 is due to the reckless Bush tax cuts expiring.  The deficit would be closer to 1.3 trillion in 2011 had the Bush tax cuts not been extended. – The trajectory that occurred from 2007 on was largely due to massive government spending like the 2003 Medicare bill, TARP, GM, and the Obama stimulus plan coupled with the 2002 and 2003 tax cuts which

Education – Capitalist Style

Written in response to a challenge for privatized education and protection: Public schools would be replaced by private institutions driven by profit. In order to meet the demands of capitalism, the only admitted students would be those who can pay. Obviously the quality of education would be directly tied to the amount one could pay, as the most expensive schools could afford to recruit and pay the very best teachers. Currently, the average costs for K-12 grade is roughly $8500

Wake Up Middle Class!

With Obama’s plan to let the Bush Tax cuts expire in 2010, there has been an onslaught of media attention concerning his budgetary decisions. Phrases like “socialism”, “re-distribution of wealth”, and “tax hikes” are being associated with President Obama’s fiscal policies to discredit his approach. Obama has been open and direct concerning who his tax policies are targeting. The interesting part of the situation? There has never been such an uproar from the middle class fighting for the benefits of

The Republican Philosophy – One Giant Credit Card

Tax and Spend Liberals. If I had a nickel for every time I heard this phrase, I would be writing this post from an exotic hut with glass bottom floors somewhere in the French Polynesia. This negative connotation has been associated with the Democratic Party for several decades, and will be an effective talking point for elections to come. The irony: I would much rather be a tax and spend liberal, then a free charging conservative. Recently I had a

What’s up (or down) with the gas prices?

Could our two oil executives who are running America actually have some impact on gas prices? Recent polls seem to suggest this idea, with the majority of American believing that the recent uncharacteristic dip in gas prices is the basis for some conspiracy theory. And why not? Gas is down a dollar a gallon in most neighborhoods to the delight of all Republican candidates. However, the reality that gas is impacted by the commodities market is not easily understood. Investors

Economic Report

The Economy is souring, everybody take a deep breath…but don’t get comfortable… A new report came out earlier this month reporting on the continual increase in economic measures. However, before you spend your day window shopping, realize a couple significant points: The economy is being driven by record profits from America’s largest corporations. Though this is good for economic measures, nominal wages have not increased, meaning the profits are not trickling down. Unemployment rate is remaining constant. Constant, but unstable.

A Moral Dilemma

“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; It is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.” -FDR With the 2004 presidential election come and gone, many citizens will tune out the various debates that our lawmakers continue to engage in.  Both sides will retire to their blue and red corners of this polarized nation with a sigh of relief, the red for their victory, the

Economics Paper from 2004

Perhaps one of my passions (and an intragal part of politics and policy making) is economics. This paper was written three months before the 2004 election. (First two paragraphs of the article) Perhaps one of the most partisan debates today is the economics of monetary and fiscal policy. Many administrations in the past have implemented their own beliefs in regards to this subject. In studying various administrations of both parties, I have come to various conclusions: The Federal Reserve and