Tag Archives: GDP

Cut Up the Credit Card and Downsize

“A government that is big enough to give you all you want is big enough to take it all away.”  ~Barry Goldwater

By Alden L. Benton

There are many reasons to reduce the size of government.  The freedom to work, live, and create, are the foundations of ordered liberty.  The continuation, indeed, the enhancement, of liberty demands reining in the power of government at all levels of society from the national behemoth down to the tyranny of homeowner’s associations.

Another issue associated with the size and scope of government is the cost of government.  We have a government that is running on credit with an ever-increasing burden of debt.  The cradle-to-grave social policies of the secular progressives threaten the nation with bankruptcy.

The secular progressive answer to this issue is always the same: tax the rich.  They forget the wise words of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher who said, “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.”

The secular progressive argument is fallacious and delusional.  The scope of government and its cost continues to grow.  Contrary to the secular progressive mantra, the government cannot, and should not, solve all the issues that plague society. 

We have fought a “War on Poverty” for more than 5o years at cost of more than $22 trillion, and that does not include Medicare and Social Security (The War on Poverty After 50 Years: Heritage Foundation 2014).  The result of this “war” is absolute failure for as a result we now have an entrenched underclass of “gimme” people living off our money.

Another fallacy perpetrated by the secular progressives is that the money one earns by their own labor is not one’s own, but the government’s.  A vast majority of individuals, families, and business know how to budget their resources and don’t need the government to “help.”  Again, ordered liberty is in fundamental opposition to the secular progressive command and control scheme

The secular progressives also insist that there is never enough money, thus their constant demands for higher taxes.  According to CNS News, “The U.S. Treasury hauled in a record of approximately $1,084,840,000,000 in tax revenues in the first four months of fiscal 2017 (Oct. 1, 2016 through Jan. 31, 2017),” according to the Monthly Treasury Statement .

Despite this record-breaking tax take, in the same four months the federal government spent $1.2 trillion, $156.9 billion more than it collected. 

There are only two ways to sustain this type of runaway spending: raise taxes or borrow.  The secular progressives want both. The problem is our government, unlike the average American taxpayer, has no credit limit.  As the size and scope of our government grows, the amount of debt also grows.

Currently, the national debt of the United States stands at $20 trillion and growing.  To put this in perspective, according to the U.S. Debt Clock every man, woman, and child owes $61,550.  More pertinent, each taxpayer owes $166,766.

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) measures the health of a nation’s economy.  GDP is the total of goods and services produced.  Debt, as a percentage of GDP, reflects the tax and spending policies of a nation.  The United States owes approximately $3 trillion dollars more than the entire value of its GDP.  (Current GDP $16.9 trillion)

Public debt determines, in part, the amount of liberty we enjoy as public debt directly reflects the size and scope of government.

We have a new president who brings to the table the idea of a more streamlined, efficient, and more limited government.  However, Congress approved his nomination of a new Secretary of Education.  If the president truly seeks to minimize government’s impact on its citizens, he must begin the process of downsizing the government.

President Trump has missed an opportunity to strike a blow against the government leviathan.  Instead of nominating a new secretary of Education, the president needs to eliminate the more than $270 billion boondoggle that does not educate one single child: the Department of Education.

Education is a local concern.  The only role of government in education is to set minimum curriculum requirements and teacher credentialing guidelines.  At a minimum, governing schools is the responsibility of the individual states; at best, it is the purview of local school boards.

It is time to slay the leviathan and reclaim our God-given liberty before the leviathan, and the swamp rats that operate it, enslaves us, and the generations that follow.  Dismantling the Department of Education is a good place to start.

“I have little interest in streamlining government or in making it more efficient, for I mean to reduce its size.  I do not undertake to promote welfare, for I propose to extend freedom.  My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them.  It is not to inaugurate new programs, but to cancel old ones that do violence to the Constitution … or have failed their purpose … or that impose on the people an unwarranted financial burden.  I will not attempt to discover whether legislation is ‘needed’ before I have first determined whether it is constitutionally permissible.  And if I should be attacked for neglecting my constituents’ ‘interests,’ I shall reply that I was informed that their main interest is liberty, and in that cause I am doing the very best I can.”  ~Barry Goldwater


@2017 Alden L. Benton/Independence Creek Enterprises
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Unsustainable

“We don’t have a trillion-dollar debt because we haven’t taxed enough; we have a trillion-dollar debt because we spend too much.”  ~Ronald Reagan, Address to National Association of Realtors, March 28, 1982

By Alden L. Benton

Sustainable.

Sustainable is the new buzzword everyone carelessly throws about in conversations on myriad topics. 

The dictionary definition, however, is clear.  To be sustainable means a system that maintains its own viability by using techniques that allow for continual reuse or a process that can be maintained, or kept going, indefinitely.

For at least the past six months, politicians and talking heads of every denomination and persuasion have been bemoaning the alleged draconian impact of cutting a mere $85 billion (they originally promised to cut $109 billion) from the $3.796 trillion 2012 federal budget, you would think, as my Dad used to say, money simply grew on trees. 

If money did actually grow on trees, then the tax-and-spend politicians on both sides of the aisle could fully fund all of their hair-brained Utopian schemes because the supply of money would then be a sustainable resource. 

Unfortunately, there is no golden goose, magic beans, or a Genie in a bottle to produce an infinite supply of money to individuals, or to the government.

Our political leaders have failed.  The leadership of both parties colludes to maintain their personal power at our expense.  At best, they have been misguided and deluded.  At worst, they have perpetrated agendas designed to weaken and diminish us as a nation.  You know who they are, just read the news.

Yesterday (February 19), CNS News reported President Obama’s fiscal delusions.  The president, according to CNS News, has added a record $5.9 trillion to the debt while claiming to have cut the federal deficit by $2.5 trillion. According to CNS News,

“In fiscal 2008, the federal deficit was $454.8 billion.  In fiscal 2012, it was $1.2967 trillion.  By this measure, President Obama did not reduce federal deficits by $2.5 trillion.  He increased the annual deficit by $841.9 billion.”

The numbers don’t add up and the smoke and mirror illusions of fiscal responsibility and solvency continue.

As part of the 2011 Debt Ceiling deal, Congress gave the president authority to borrow and additional $2.4 trillion in exchange for $1.2 trillion in cuts over 10 years.  There have been no cuts, and Obama has run the federal credit card to its limit, reaching the debt ceiling again on December 31, 2012.

The farther we go, the behinder we get.

The so-called sequester amounts to lip service when the federal budget deficit in fiscal year 2012 was $1.327 trillion, according to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Table S-1 — Budget Totals. 

In fact, the president’s own budget projections show deficit spending every year through 2022 despite projecting increased revenue every year.  The total federal deficit by 2022 will be $6.684 trillion and will represent 3.3 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP).  The same projections show the national debt increasing every year.

Today (February 20), Breitbart.com reports that a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report released in January concludes that President Obama’s policies are not sustainable.  According to the article,

“For two months, reporters and lawmakers have ignored a devastating report from the federal government itself, which warns that the nation’s current fiscal policy will lead to economic collapse.

“The Government Accountability Office (GAO) — the personal auditor of President Obama and the federal government — released its assessment of the federal government on January 17, 2013.  The report’s findings illuminate just how dire America’s spending problem is and, therefore, how little the current cuts debated by Congress do to fix it.”

The GAO is the auditor for the president and the government.  Yet, the president doesn’t believe we have a spending problem and Congress rides the same bus — a bus that is headed off the proverbial fiscal cliff. With deficits surpassing $6 trillion over the next 10 years, we will need to borrow more money to pay for that spending.  In addition, we must continue paying interest on the money we have already borrowed. The CNS News article continues saying,

“The most devastating part of the report is the fact that the federal government must run surpluses over the next century to keep the same debt-to-GDP ratio it has today.  Meanwhile, Congress and President Obama are throwing a fit over the looming sequester — which will cut a mere 1.2 per cent of total deficits (not total debt) over the next ten years — and the Senate has not produced a budget for close to 1,400 days.

“A balanced budget will not be enough to cover the rapid growth of interest payments owed on U.S. national debt in the future.  The federal government currently pays $223 billion — roughly $3,000 per taxpayer — in annual interest payments.  This number is expected to increase to $857 billion by the end of the decade, a 290 per cent increase.”

For more than 80 years, Congress and presidents from both political parties have been kicking the ticking time bomb down the road to future generations.  That is the political definition of sustainability.  The reality is that we have reached the end of the road, and the bomb is about to explode.

“We who live in free market societies believe that growth, prosperity and ultimately human fulfillment, are created from the bottom up, not the government down.  Only when the human spirit is allowed to invent and create, only when individuals are given a personal stake in deciding economic policies and benefiting from their success — only then can societies remain economically alive, dynamic, progressive, and free.  Trust the people.  This is the one irrefutable lesson of the entire postwar period contradicting the notion that rigid government controls are essential to economic development.”  ~Ronald Reagan, September 29, 1981


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©2012 Alden L. Benton/Independence Creek Enterprises
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The Value of Capitalism, The Fallacies of the Left, and Other Thoughts

By Alden L. Benton

Apple Worth More than Greece

Last week CNN Money reported that the value of Apple on the stock market rose to over $400 billion.  Considering the wild success of their products, this is not surprising.  However, what is surprising, at least to the clueless dolts on the Left, is that the value of Apple exceeds the value of the gross domestic product (GDP) of the near-bankrupt nation of Greece.

According to CNN Money, “Apple’s market cap is higher than the gross domestic product of Greece, Austria, Argentina, or South Africa.”  In fact, according to the blog Things Apple is Worth More Than, Apple is worth more than a lot of things like this:

“The retail value of consumed beef in the U.S. was 74 Billion dollars in 2010.  26.4 billion pounds were consumed.  At a market cap of 390 billion, Apple is worth more than all the steaks and cook out goodies for an entire year in the United States.”

In contrast, Greece, with its cradle-to-grave nanny entitlement state, spent and taxed itself to the brink of oblivion.  If they don’t solve their self-induced socialist problem, modern Greece, once considered the cradle of Western civilization, will fail and garner only a brief mention in the annals of world history.

Supreme Court Rules Against Warrantless Electronic Search

The United States Supreme Court ruled unanimously yesterday that police attaching a GPS tracking device to suspect’s car constitutes a search as defined by the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

According to the syllabus of the case (United States v. Jones) released yesterday, the Court in their 9-0 ruling, held that the government attaching a GPS device to a vehicle and using it to monitor the vehicle’s movement constitutes a search under the Fourth Amendment.

According to the case syllabus,

The Fourth Amendment protects the “right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.”  Here, the Government’s physical intrusion on an “effect” for the purpose of obtaining information constitutes a “search.”  This type of encroachment on an area enumerated in the Amendment would have been considered a search within the meaning of the Amendment at the time it was adopted.

The Birth Certificate That Will Not Die

World Net Daily (WND) reports that President Obama is facing challenges to his placement on various state ballots because he is not constitutionally qualified to be president.

According to the WND article, President Obama is not a natural born citizen as required by the Constitution.  They argue that by the 18th century definition supported, according to the report, by a 19th century Supreme Court decision, that natural born citizenry requires two citizen parents.  According to the president’s own book Dreams of My Father, his father was Kenyan, thus disqualifying him.

The merits of this argument notwithstanding, it is time to forget about whether B. Hussein Obama is a natural born citizen and concentrate on his lack of ability which is leading us down the path of destruction and remove him from office permanently.

Extra-constitutional Rule

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius issued an order last Friday stating that religious-affiliated hospitals and universities MUST provide birth control without charging co-pay or deductibles beginning August 1, 2013.

This rule is a blatant attack on the principles of religious freedom as stated in the First Amendment to the Constitution.  “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof….” 

What part of NO does Secretary Sebelius not understand? 

NO is the operative concept guiding the entire Constitution.  This onerous new rule steps far beyond the bounds of the First Amendment prohibitions. 

The First Amendment is crystal clear about interfering with our right to freely exercise one’s religion WITHOUT interference from the government.

One can only hope that the Supreme Court has the Constitutional sense to strike down ObamaCare in its entirety this summer and relegate this rule to the incinerator.


©2012 Alden L. Benton/Independence Creek Enterprises.  All Rights Reserved.

Deficit, Congress, and Shadow Government

By Alden L. Benton

In yesterday’s post, I reported on recommendations by The Cato Institute and Downsizing Government that would trim $772.8 billion dollars a year from the federal budget.  Over a decade, this totals more than $7.2 trillion in savings.

The Office of Management and Budget projects a $1.3 trillion budget deficit for fiscal year 2012.  In this scenario, the cuts recommended by Downsizing Government would cut the deficit to approximately $404 billion, 4.4 per cent of the estimated 2012 gross domestic product (GDP)

However, according to a Wall Street Journal article last February, “The deficit would decline in fiscal year 2012 to $1.1 trillion, or 7% of gross domestic product, under Mr. Obama’s plan, as a year-long payroll tax holiday and an extension of federal jobless benefits expired, administration officials said.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate dropped to 8.6 per cent in November.  Despite this decrease, millions of Americans will start losing their unemployment benefits beginning next year as the extension expires.  Those fortunate enough to be working will pay higher payroll taxes as their “holiday” ends.

Congress is discussing whether to continue to extend unemployment benefits and whether to continue the payroll tax “holiday,” key elements in the presidents’ deficit plan that will increase the cost of government and increase taxes during an economic train wreck.

It should be painfully obvious by now, to all but the most deluded sycophantic idolater, that the president’s policies are not working.  It is time to stop rehashing the same tired, unworkable economic theories (Keynes), and return to what works: Less tax, less regulation.  The policies of Ronald Reagan (with a Democratic Congress) and continued by Bill Clinton (with a Republican Congress), ushered in an unprecedented era of posterity.

We must cut more from federal spending to avoid the stifling effects tax increases will have on economic recovery for it is economic recovery, not tax increases, that will bring more revenues to the federal coffer.

The best place to begin additional cuts is the thousands of agencies that micromanage the lives of every citizen.  These agencies represent a shadow government that operates by its own rules, not by the rule of law, and are unaccountable to Congress or the public.

Message to Congress: Stop spending.  Take a wrecking ball to government.  Butcher your pet pork.  Burn the tax code and federal regulations.  Slash the budget to the bone. 

There are only 337 days until Election Day.  We are watching.


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