Tag Archives: national debt

Senate GOP makes yet another run at the ACA

Here we go … again!

U.S. Senate Republicans have come up with a scheme to pay for the big tax cut they’re trying to enact that involves the Affordable Care Act. They want to repeal the individual mandate portion of the ACA, which they say will save more than $300 billion over the next decade.

The savings would be used to pay for the tax cuts being pitched for many wealthy Americans.

This is so very maddening, in my ever-so-humble view.

Congress trying again to repeal ACA

Congress has been unable to repeal the ACA and replace it. The president has been unable push his Republican pals across the finish line. They have tried and failed since long before Donald Trump took office as president of the United States.

Now comes this bit of Senate trickery: attach the individual mandate repeal to a tax cut they say would jumpstart the economy. Moreover, is anyone on Capitol Hill or the White House worried any longer about the national debt and our annual budget deficit, which economists say are going to explode under the GOP tax cut?

I want to make a couple of points.

One is that the economy is rocking along just fine. The U.S. Labor Department announced earlier this month that non-farm payrolls jumped by 260,000 jobs in October; the unemployment rate is at its lowest rate in 17 years. Not bad, man!

Two, enrollment for the ACA is moving along at a brisk pace. Hundreds of thousands more Americans signed up for insurance when open enrollment began at the beginning of the month, despite the president’s efforts to undermine the ACA.

I remain totally opposed to any wholesale repeal of the ACA. I continue to insist that it can be improved. It can be made more affordable. 

Removing the individual mandate — which requires Americans to purchase health insurance or face a penalty — is certain to do one thing: It will toss millions of Americans off the rolls of the insured.

How is that supposed to help?

Remember when deficits mattered to GOP?

Donald J. Trump’s tax “reform” plan appears to be a prescription for doing something that used to be anathema to Republicans.

It will blow apart the national budget deficit.

I recall a day when deficits actually mattered to Republicans. The GOP spent a lot of political energy and capital during the eight years of Barack Obama’s presidency to lambaste the president for expanding the national debt, even though the annual budget deficit was cut by two-thirds during Obama’s two terms.

Flashing back to 1980, I want to recall how Ronald Reagan managed to be elected president. He and his fellow Republicans tore congressional Democrats — and President Carter — to pieces because they were running deficits that exceeded $40 billion annually.

Forty billion dollars!

Don’t you wish that were the case today?

Well, deficits no longer seem to matter. Republicans have joined their Democratic colleagues as political spendthrifts. Trump is going to cut taxes for his fellow wealthy Americans; his administration calls it the greatest tax cut in history. The spending will go on. The deficits are likely to soar. Won’t that pile more money onto our national debt?

Where is the outrage over that?

‘Mess’? Mr. President, you inherited a ‘mess’?

Barack Hussein Obama doesn’t need me to defend him.

Aww, what the heck. I’ll do so anyway.

His successor as president of the United States told us Tuesday night once again that he inherited a “mess” when he took office a little more than a month ago.

Donald J. Trump’s assertion came during his speech to a joint session of Congress. He talked about 94 million Americans no longer looking for work and about how the economic recovery is the slowest in 60-plus years.

He blamed President Obama’s economic policies.


I’ll stipulate up front that the economic recovery isn’t as robust as most of us would like.

But …

The economy isn’t a “mess,” as Trump said it is. You want a “mess”? Consider what Obama inherited when he took office in 2009: Employers were shucking jobs at 700,000 per month; the stock market plummeted, costing trillions of dollars in wealth; the auto industry was failing; banks were failing; the economy was heading straight into the crapper, man!

Eight years later, where do we stand? The Dow Jones Industrial Average virtually tripled in wealth; the jobless rate has been cut in half; we’ve had 80 consecutive months of job growth; the auto industry has been revived; bank closures have all but stopped.

Oh, the 94 million figure Trump cited about those who are no longer seeking employment? That number includes retirees and students. It’s a phony statistic.

The debt? Sure, it’s high. I wish it were less than it is, too. Why did we accrue such debt? Because the economic stimulus package Congress approved shortly after Obama took office required the infusion of public money to shore up an economy on the verge of total collapse.

I’ll add — for the umpteenth time — this point as well: The annual federal budget deficit has been cut by nearly two-thirds during the past eight years.

A mess, Mr. President? No, sir. You did not “inherit a mess.” Stop repeating that outright lie!

Let’s await the next plan on immigration


Donald J. Trump has a big speech planned this week.

The Republican presidential nominee is going to lay out his latest plan for dealing with illegal immigration.

I can hardly wait to hear what it is. Well, actually … I can wait.

The Trump immigration plan has been all over creation since the candidate rode down the escalator this past summer at Trump Tower to announce his presidential campaign.

We’ll build a wall; we’re going to make Mexico pay for it; we’ll deport all the illegal immigrants; we’ll ban Muslims from entering the country; we’ll make America “great again.”

Then in recent days he began to “soften” his approach. He might not deport all those 11 million immigrants. But he’ll still build the wall. The deportation scheme resurfaced, but it will be done “humanely.” We’ll make the immigrants “follow the law.”

Do you see a pattern here?

Neither do I … except that this clown has no clue about what kind of policy he wants to initiate as president of the United States.

I believe, too, he’s back to deporting the illegal immigrants through the deployment of what he has described as a “deportation force.”

The greatest unknown in all of this is its cost. How much is all this going to cost the U.S. Treasury, which Trump and other critics of the Obama administration say is stretched beyond its limit. We’ve rolled up all that debt, Trump says.

So, do we acquire even more debt, borrow even more money — or do we slash, if not eliminate, other essential government programs to pay for this plan? Which programs do we toss aside?

And precisely how is he going to “get Mexico to pay for the wall”?

We haven’t heard a single detail in any of this.

I’m all ears.

Wipe out national debt in eight years? Wow!


The list of Donald J. Trump’s idiotic statements has gotten so long it’s becoming almost impossible to give all of them the attention they deserve.

This one has flown largely past many in the media and the so-called Chattering Class. I’ll admit to being a bit slow on the fiscal uptake on this one.

The Republican presidential frontrunner recently vowed to eliminate the national debt in eight years.

He would wipe … it … out. Pfft! It would vanish. No more debt. We’re free of debt! In just eight years. Yes, Trump said “I will do it.”

The debt is now about $20 trillion.

How does this reality TV celebrity and real estate mogul-turned-politician propose to do this?

He also intends to cut everyone’s taxes. He vows to rebuild a military complex he says “always loses” and has been “decimated” by the current president. He’s going to round up 11 or 12 million illegal immigrants and send them back to wherever they came from. He also says he won’t do anything to reform Social Security or Medicare.

Yet he says he — yes, he alone — will eliminate the national debt in eight years.

The way I figure it, Trump would have to veto every single spending bill that Congress approves. Then he would have to be sure Congress upheld every one of them.

The annual federal budget totals about $4 trillion. So, if the government doesn’t spend another nickel for the next eight years, it could save $32 trillion.

Are we on board with that?

Ladies and gentlemen of the military, in the longest-shot possibility that Donald Trump gets elected president this fall, you should start preparing to fight for your country for free.

This man’s idiocy is utterly boundless.


Big jobs numbers, but still no GOP applause

Critics of President Obama have been beating the drum for years about the economic recovery.

Yeah, nice jobs numbers, but those wages just aren’t increasing, they say, while lampooning the economic recovery as a sort of mirage.


Today’s news brought some serious good cheer to some of us, but not all.

The economy added 321,000 jobs in November. Wages increased 0.4 percent as well. The bottom line? The economy is finally beginning to be felt in people’s homes.

Will there be cheering among congressional critics of the president? Don’t hold your breath.

My hunch is that they’ll find a way to spread the joy among themselves without giving credit to a federal economic policy that’s been working for, oh, about the past five-plus years.

The stock market is heading into record territory — again. The trade deficit is down. The budget deficit is down. The national debt is slowing. Unemployment remains less than 6 percent. Investments are up. Spending is up. Real estate prices are up. Auto sales are up. Domestic energy production is up. Gasoline prices are plummeting.

Holy cow! I can’t stand all this good news!

I’ll just have to proclaim it from this forum yet again.


Meanwhile … the budget deficit keeps shrinking

Bad news tends to run laps around good news.

People are drawn to negativity in a curious way. Positive developments? Oh, forget about it. We’ll get to the good stuff later — if we remember to think about it.

I hereby want to present a bit of cheer amid all the tumult over child refugees, Israel vs. Hamas, Iraqi insurgents, impeachment, congressional lawsuit and anything else of late.


The federal ran a surplus of $71 billion in June. There’s more. The annual budget deficit is going to hit — at most by some estimates — $583 billion for the current fiscal year that ends Sept. 30; indeed, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office projects a deficit of $492 billion.

It’s that surplus business that has me most intrigued.

Could it be the spurt of new jobs, which reached 288,000 in June, producing more tax revenue for the Treasury? Might it be accompanied by a burst of new business activity, which generates even more revenue?

Why, you would think we’d hear cheers from both sides of the political aisle.

Didn’t happen. Nope. We’ve been fixated by that negativity thing. We respond to the bad news and shrug at the good news.

I’m no Pollyanna. I know we’ve got problems at home. We damn sure have them around the world. Our government is coping as best as it can, or one should hope.

The budget deficit, which once was the Bogeyman of the Right, is being slain. It’s not gone yet. It’s still too great. It’s less than half of what it was when the current administration took over.

I think I’ll hoist a cold one in honor of the good news.

What if feds had done nothing in ’09?

Many of my friends on the right — and the far right — have taken great pains to blast the smithereens out of President Obama’s economic policies.

Namely, their target has been the increase in the national debt, which now stands at $17 trillion. What has run up the debt? It’s been that federal stimulus package the Obama administration pushed forward while the nation’s economy was in free fall.

You remember those days, right? The economy was shedding 700,000 jobs a month; banks were failing; the real estate market was collapsing; the stock market was flushing itself down the toilet.

Barack Obama’s response was a costly one. The Federal Reserve Board reduced interest rates to near zero, making it easier for borrowers to pay back loans, while making it tough on lenders who are in the business of making money on what they loan.

My pals on the right and their Republican pals in Congress keep harping on the difficulties the Obama administration has endured trying to restore the economy.

I keep circling back to this question, which Sen. John McCain in 2008 and former Gov. Mitt Romney in 2012 both ignored as they ran for president against Barack Obama: What would have happened had the feds done nothing, had the government not instituted its stimulus package to shore up an economy that was on the verge of collapse?

I’ll add this follow-up: Why do they dismiss the clear evidence that the economy is in recovery at this moment? Is it back completely? Probably not.

* The job losses have stopped and have been replaced by job gains. Yes, the December job growth was disappointing. But we’ve gained back all the jobs lost during the final years of the Bush administration and the first year of the Obama administration.

* The annual budget deficit, which once topped $1.1 trillion has been cut in half — and is declining. Will we balance the budget by the time Obama leaves office? Probably not but it’s trending in the right direction.

* The jobless rate is at 6.7 percent, down from nearly 10 percent. Has it declined because every unemployed American has found work? No. Many of them have quit looking for jobs but the signs are indicating that opportunities are opening up on the job market.

* The stock market is setting records, which ought to please Wall Street investors — not to mention those of us with retirement accounts that depend on a healthy market.

I’m not naïve. I know there are myriad problems out there. The world is a restive place. Conflicts are erupting all over the planet. The United States is involved actively in a war that it is trying to wind down; we’ve already ended our involvement in another war. We’re killing terrorists almost daily, but the dead ones are being replaced almost immediately by recruits dedicated to waging war against the Great Satan. This war on terror won’t end anytime soon, folks.

Economically, though, I am feeling better about my future than I was, oh, about six years ago.

What’s more, I hate to think how I’d view our future if the government had kept its hands off the economic rudder.

MSNBC’s Martin Bashir had to go

Martin Bashir, the fire-breathing left-wing commentator for MSNBC, has resigned from the network over remarks he made about former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

Good bye and good riddance.


Let me stipulate something now that I’ve made that statement. I happen to agree with most of Bashir’s political philosophy, which he would reveal without apology on his weekday afternoon talk show. What I find objectionable about the man was his occasionally crass commentary about those with whom he disagrees.

Such as Sarah Palin. In November, Bashir took Palin to task for remarks she had made that equated the national debt to slavery. I, too, thought Palin’s analogy was a bit of a stretch. Bashir took the opportunity, however, to detail on the air some of the torture that slaves actually endured, such as being forced to eat human excrement.

He then suggested Palin should do the same.

Bashir apologized for his remarks shortly afterward. Now, though, he has left the network.

Fine. See you later.

Bashir has been fond of criticizing — correctly, in my view — the over-the-top criticism of President Obama by his critics. He has called for civil discourse among political foes. His call for collegiality among opponents is worthwhile.

However, he destroys any moral high ground on which he could stand by making statements such as those he spewed out about Sarah Palin.

Don’t misunderstand me here: I dislike Palin’s politics intensely. I, too, have been hard on her in the past and will keep speaking out in strong terms in the future when it believe she is wrong — which is just about all the time. Bashir’s disgraceful commentary, though, went far beyond the bounds of decency.

I’m glad he quit.

President takes wing

This speech is about a month old, but I just caught up with it … and am astounded by its ignorance.

U.S. Rep. Howard Coble, R-N.C., went on the floor of the House in mid-July to gripe about all the trips President Obama has taken aboard the jet called Air Force One.


Coble yapped about the cost per each flight and accused the first family of using the Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet as its “personal toy.” He was warned against using improper references to the president by the presiding officer.

If the president of the United States feels a need to fly Air Force One somewhere on behalf of the country he governs, then why is that such a huge deal to a back-bench member of Congress whose name few Americans even recognize? Coble’s complaints center on the cost of using the aircraft during difficult economic times. He says its use runs up the deficit and the debt, which the nation cannot afford.

The aircraft also supplies the president with all the communications he needs while he’s en route to his destination. The way I see it, those amenities are quite necessary for him to do his job. You know, things like telecommunications he can use while speaking with military and domestic policy advisers, phone hookups so he can be briefed on crises as they erupt. These are fairly essential items, don’t you think?

I’m not going to begrudge any president the right to use an airplane that enables him to be on call every minute of every day he occupies the most powerful office on the planet.