Economy & Budget

The Upcoming Budget Battle

Jim Nussle knows the budget process as well as anybody. Not too many people go from House Budget chairman to Office of Management and Budget director in the course of a career. And now he faces congressional Democrats in the final year of the presidency. The trick for Nussle is to make this battle interesting enough to the press that they pay attention in an “American Idol”-type presidential campaign year.

The budget process is not very interesting. Outside the Beltway, people don’t know what reconciliation is. They don’t care about earmarks. They don’t know the difference between discretionary and entitlement spending. They just know that the dollar is weakening and that things cost more this month than they did last month.

Democratic Tax Insanity

When politicians raise taxes on corporations, they pass the extra costs on to consumers.

So when the Democrats decide they want to hike up taxes on oil companies, the oil companies will pass on that extra cost to consumers.

Maybe that is what the Democrats want to do. After all, Al Gore and countless other Democratic luminaries have long said that gas prices are too low.

From a U.S. Auto Executive: Thoughts on the Recession and New Jobs Through CO2-Reduction 'Moon Shot' Program

What follows are thoughts from a good friend who leads a major automobile manufacturer in the U.S. This is worth reading by presidential candidates from both parties. Bottom line: We can attack global warming AND create new jobs in doing so.
There are so many things going wrong at once that all sections of the economy and all classes of society will be impacted. So many things have been unfunded and neglected for so many years that expectations are building fast, particularly in the field of healthcare and education. My fear is that traditional means to address them may be lacking in the coming years due to the economy.

The Deficit's Easy Quick Fix

Sometimes the solution is in plain sight. With all the hand-wringing over federal deficits, all we have to do is look around us for ways to bring in more money. Here are some ideas that should have been obvious:


The U.S. Capitol would be the most lucrative. We would simply put it up for bid, just like we do the legislation that's created inside. Think of it: "The Bristol-Myers Squibb Building.” Doesn't that sound appealing? C-SPAN would telecast from "The Squibb."

Sobering Views

As the Magic 8-Ball would say, "Outlook not so good."

That, anyway, is the gist of your opinions regarding the House-passed stimulus bill — 47 percent of you predicted that it would have no effect at all on the slumping economy, with another 36 percent taking the even more grim view that "A recession is unavoidable." Just 17 percent of respondents foresaw a "very positive" effect.

Buy an American Car With Your Rebate Money

I don’t want to sound like a protectionist or a nativist or somebody who doesn’t support the global economy. But what Mike Huckabee said about the economic stimulus package makes some sense to me. In talking about the Chinese lending us the money so that American consumers can then buy products made in China, he said, “I have to wonder whose economy is going to be stimulated the most by the package.”

That’s a valid point.

As a Republican who believes in the free market, I am not comfortable with the idea that the government tell people what to do with their money.

That being said, I do think the president should suggest in his State of the Union that instead of buying Chinese-made flat-screen televisions, consumers — and only those who can afford it — should use the rebate as a down payment to buy an American car.

Dr. King's Birthday

Often, when reflecting on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream for the realization of America’s promise, we get stuck on the social justice issues, and don’t see the larger focus. While a change in the social climate was much needed, often we forget that Dr. King’s dream was one of more than just social equality — it was also one of financial equity and fiscal responsibility.

King described his dream as being "deeply rooted in the American Dream." In general, the "American Dream" is defined as having the opportunity and freedom that allows all citizens to achieve their goals in life through hard work and determination alone. It generally refers to the idea that one's prosperity depends upon one's own abilities and hard work, not on a class structure. For some this translates into the opportunity to achieve more prosperity than they could in their countries of origin; for others, it is the opportunity for their children to grow up with a good education and great career opportunities.

Freezing Foreclosures and the False Flag of Moral Hazard

In my view the probabilities for the economy are these: 1 in 3 there is no recession, 1 in 3 there is a mild recession, and 1 in 3 there is a very severe recession that imposes long-term hardships in an economy cycling downward.

For many months I have been championing a freeze in foreclosures, in an attempt to halt the wave of foreclosures, the spread of the crisis to credit cards and the potentially severe recession that is now coming into view with some chance of occurring.

Most likely next Tuesday, in a column that will appear in The Hill newspaper, I will push even harder for the foreclosure freeze and for an economic stimulus significantly larger than the package currently under discussion.

Everyone Has to Pay a Price

I am not an economist, so beware, but I do have some thoughts about what the Fed chairman, administration and Congress are desperately trying to do with this stimulus package.

I think their main point is correct: that what we need is to stabilize the mortgage market and help people keep their homes, not a massive stimulus package to benefit big banks, many of which made bad bets. What Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said, and I think is right, is that whatever is done has to be very short-term to help individuals get through the next six months.