- - How much more can one say about the symbolic (and rather stupid) idea of a federal Balanced Budget Amendment? (1) However, that hasn’t stopped Rep. Mark Amodei (R-NV2) from jumping on the BBA Bandwagon. [SPJ] Rep. Amodei is presently serving as a amplifier for the “42¢ claim” espoused by Rep. Paul Ryan which argues that $0.42 of every federal dollar spent is borrowed. The number is in the ballpark [FactCheck] but the argument is still misleading.
The confusion comes from the definition of “debt,” are we talking about the total debt or that portion known as the public debt? In the 42¢ Argument the basic reference is to the public debt. [FactCheck] So, this excludes treasuries held by the Social Security trust funds and other government accounts. The 42¢ claim gets a “half-true” from the Fact Checkers because:
It has long been widely reported that both the nation’s debt and its debt limit are $14.3 trillion. And that’s what the radio discussion was about. So when Ryan said that half of the nation’s borrowing comes from foreign countries — singling out China for emphasis — his listeners would assume he meant half of the $14.3 trillion in total debt, not the much smaller debt measure he now says he was referring to, even if that second measure has strong merit in the debt limit discussion. (emphasis added)
Those who would like to do their own calculations should refer to the Department of the Treasury’s Financial Management Service which issues the MTS, or “Monthly Treasury Statement.”
At the risk of redundancy, we’ve covered this Balanced Budget argument before, with predictable conclusions:
Thus, what we have in Congressional District 2 is a Republican candidate delighted to proclaim his support for a policy which: (1) Protects the tax havens, loopholes, and special provisions for the ultra-wealthy, while (2) Further impacting the already precarious finances of and support for the American middle class, and which is (3) unenforceable without significant judicial activism.
Worse still, it is close to being (4) false advertising. No, it won’t make the national budgets like the state ones, because the state ones still allow debts incurred for capital project investment. And, no, it’s not like the family budget either — unless we’re speaking of a family that doesn’t take out vehicle, student, or car loans, and pays cash for all medical and educational expenses, and doesn’t put anything on a credit card. [DB]
Someone in Amodei’s audience needed to have ask if it would be fiscally responsible to forbid the federal government from issuing bonds (like any local school district) for the construction of capital projects (like facilities for DoD installations)? Or, if his 42¢ figure was (a) current or (b) based on total or public indebtedness. (2)
- - If you thought “Moving Your Money” would put the brakes on increasing bank fees, please think again. The New York Times reports on the new and newly increasing fees for retail banking. [TP] WealthInfoMatic$ has some good advice for those thinking of joining the Money Moving contingent. The report from the Pew Charitable Trusts (April 2011) indicates the average bank applies approximately 49 fees for its retail services. The full report (945K pdf) can be found here.
- - The “clean” coal folks and the American Petroleum Institute would have us believe that those “onerous” regulations from the federal government are holding back economy recovery and job creation. Not so. (3)
“…several major media outlets deserve credit for fact-checking the claim and making clear just how wrong the argument is. Recent analyses from CNN, the New York Times, the AP, the Economic Policy Institute, the Wall Street Journal, and McClatchy newspapers — relying on, among other things, BLS data, surveys from the National Federation of Independent Business, and Brookings Institution scholarship — all said the same thing: government regulations are not responsible for holding back the economy.” [WashMonthly]
- - Not everything said by the pundits on the television broadcast sets is really worth listening to, and the Booman Tribune provides a particularly effective skewering of David Brooks’ inane commentary on the Penn State child abuse scandal.
- - In case you missed it, reviewing former Michigan Governor Granholm’s commentary on jobs might be in order:
Among the lessons that hit home the hardest occurred back in 2003, when she tried to keep an Electrolux plant in Greenville, Mich. (the “Refrigerator Capital of the World”). Then-Gov. Granholm offered the company all sorts of incentives, including tax breaks and worker concessions, only to be told by Electrolux that “there is nothing you can do to compensate for the fact we can pay $1.17 an hour for labor in Mexico.” [SFgate] (emphasis in original)
Crooks and Liars updates this information with video from Granholm’s recent appearance on CNN. More “free” trade agreements anyone?
- - Digby’s blog has some excellent advice for #OWS organizers in regard to dealing with the “A-hole problem.” The advice is also pertinent to anyone doing community organizing for just about any issue on the political spectrum.
- - If you’ve not already bookmarked Perrspectives, the article on GOP candidate Mitt Romney’s proposal to privatize Medicare and Veterans Health Services should be reason enough. See also: Romney Proposes to Privatize Medicare [WSJ] and Paul Krugman on Vouchers for Veterans. [NYT]
- - Finally, if you don’t have the time to click over to any other item referenced in this post PLEASE see “Penn State, my final loss of faith…” by Thomas Day, published by the Washington Post.
Notes and References: (1) A previous post, “Balanced Budget Amendment, or Bogus Blather for America?” appeared in DB on July 18, 2011, complete with a list of references and suggested resources. See also: Talking Points Memo on current efforts by the GOP controlled House to bring up one of three versions of the Balanced Budget Amendment.
(2) A much more inclusive report of Rep. Amodei’s presentation in Winnemucca, NV can be found in the Silver Pinion Journal.
(3) There’s more from Politicsusa on EPA as “aliens.”