Senate Republicans’ Omnibus Surrender Kneecaps New House GOP Majority

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Senate Republicans’ Omnibus Surrender Kneecaps New House GOP Majority

Despite all evidence to the contrary, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., insists that Republicans are getting a good deal here. Pictured: McConnell talks to reporters Thursday as he arrives at the Capitol for the vote on the $1.85 trillion omnibus spending bill. (Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The GOP’s omnibus betrayal is complete.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and 17 other Republicans joined Democrats as the Senate passed a $1.85 trillion monstrosity of a spending bill Thursday that does a whole lot more than just waste money. The vote was 68-29.

The bill moves to the House of Representatives, where the lame-duck, majority-Democrat ghost of Congress past almost certainly will vote in favor.

The omnibus spending bill effectively sets federal spending for all of fiscal year 2023, which began Oct. 1, kneecapping the new Congress not just on budget issues but oversight of the Biden administration and a whole lot more.

Merry Christmas.

Given that Republicans will take the House majority Jan. 3, the Senate Republicans who signed on to this bill effectively are saying they would rather that a fully Democrat-controlled Congress negotiate its final shape.

The Wall Street Journal’s Kimberley Strasselcalled the omnibus “one of the ugliest, least transparent bits of lawmaking I’ve ever seen”—which is saying something, given the usual nonsense on Capitol Hill. It’s that and much more.

If you’ve been following our work here at The Daily Signal, you know that the omnibus spending bill is filled with a huge amount of garbage. On top of the raw dollars at stake, it will fund all kinds of woke nonsense.

Just look at this Twitter thread from Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, on 55 out of thousands of earmarks attached to the omnibus. It’s like looking down a bottomless well of lunacy.

This is about more than just funding, too. The omnibus makes substantial changes to health care laws, government agencies, and the election process that will affect Americans for years to come.

One would think that this kind of legislation would merit more consideration than a last-minute term paper submitted by a hungover college freshman.

Despite all this, McConnell, as Senate minority leader, has insisted that Republicans are getting a good deal here.

Republicans who support the bill argue that the omnibus deal is a win because they increased some defense spending and got a cut in nondefense domestic spending.

But as Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., points out, even this is a shallow victory. Because of inflation, the amount of money appropriated for defense is worth a good deal less than before the explosive inflation of the past two years.

You know it’s bad when Republicans are celebrating a 2% cut to the funding for theextensive IRS expansion. Great work; the republic is saved.

Some argue that, politically, it’s a good thing for Republicans that they caved on this bill. After all, the GOP got at least some things it wanted, and the last-minute deal prevented a government shutdown in the new year, the argument goes.

But that argument is based on a flawed premise.

In my observations of American politics over the past decade, the ironclad rule of Washington seems to be that whenever the government shuts down, the Republican Party pays the price. According to this view, the public will side with Democrats who want to spend more money, and it’s best to give them what they want to avoid bad press and defeats at the ballot box.

To my mind, this is a convenient excuse for Republican leadership that isn’t really concerned about reining in spending and is happy to get a few scraps at the table rather than resist the radicalism from the other side of the aisle.

Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email letters@DailySignal.com and we’ll consider publishing your edited remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature. Remember to include the url or headline of the article plus your name and town and/or state.

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A.F. Branco for Oct 21, 2021——-__

 

McConnell Stabs House GOP in the Back, Speeds Democrat Omnibus Boondoggle

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, pictured Dec. 20 at the Capitol, could lead 40 other GOP senators, filibuster this trash, and demand a short-term continuing resolution until the GOP House arrives. But that would take courage. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

As if it were not painful enough for Republicans to watch the vaunted red wave merely ripple across their ankles, they now must endure 2022’s final insult: A red wave of deficit spending courtesy of lame-duck House Democrats, triumphant Senate Democrat leader Chuck Schumer of New York, and Senate GOP “leader” Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

Fiscal responsibility be damned, Democrats are riding one whale of an omnibus spending bill. The $1.7 trillion Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023 washed in on Monday at 11:48 p.m.

Its 4,155 pages are thrice as long as Leo Tolstoy’s classic doorstop, “War and Peace.” This averages $409,145,607.70 per page. Taxpayers should be seasick.

The omnibus’ 3,213 Democrat earmarks include “federal funds for LGBTQ+ museums in New York, community spaces for gender-expansive people in Ohio,” the Club for Growth discovered, “and $3.5 million to fund the Office of Diversity and Inclusion in Congress.”

It also allocates:

—$300,000 for a “Continuous Plankton Recorder survey.”

—$3 million for bee-friendly highways.

—$3.6 million for the “Michelle Obama Trail” in Georgia.

—$212.1 million available for federal prosecutionsrelated to Jan. 6 —essentially an anti-Trump slush fund.

—$410 million for “enhanced border security” —in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, and Tunisia.

—$575 million for family planning “in areas where population growth threatens biodiversity or endangered species.”

—$1,563,143,000 for “border management requirements” that shall not “be used to acquire, maintain, or extend border security technology and capabilities.” So, $0 to stop illegal-alien invaders but $1.56 billion to “process” and rush them into the homeland.

Want border security? Move to Egypt.

Even worse, the omnibus runs through fiscal year 2023. The American people just gave Republicans a House majority of 222 versus Nancy Pelosi’s 218. But the omnibus snatches the GOP’s power of the purse until Oct. 1.

Voters hired a Republican House to tell President Joe Biden: “No DHS money until you seal the border. No HHS funds until you demand China’s answers on COVID-19’s origins. No Pentagon budget until it stops its newfangled, gender-bending ways. No FBI outlays until it sings about pressuring Twitter to censor the New York Post’s Hunter Biden laptop story.”

McConnell is helping Democrats castrate House Republicans for 10 months. If they took control on, say, Aug. 1, waiting two months might be tolerable. But they take the gavel 13 days from this writing.

Jan. 3 is two Tuesdays hence, just 48 hours after the Times Square ball drop. The Revolutionary Army is at Yorktown’s city limits, and McConnell is surrendering to General Cornwallis.

Despicable.

Even worse, this is anti-democratic.

Democrats screamed all fall about “democracy!” Now—along with their jumped-up bootblack, McConnell—they grind the popular will into the garbage disposal. Rather than scream, “Bloody murder!” McConnell laughs with Democrats as the Republican House’s fiscal-restraint tools slide into the sewer for half of its two-year mandate.

McConnell could lead 40 other GOP senators, filibuster this trash, and demand a short-term continuing resolution until the GOP House arrives. But that would take courage.

A half-eaten plate of calamari could lead the Senate GOP more valiantly than the live squid who now fails this duty. As McConnell gurgled in a floor speech on Monday: “The Senate should pass this bill.”

McConnell has turned the Senate GOP minority into the Make a Wish Foundation for Democrats. From helping to raise the national debt limit twice (in exchange for nothing), pass a $1 trillion infrastructure bill, and adopt the $52 billion CHIPS corporate-welfare extravaganza, McConnell repeatedly recruits enough gelatinous Republicans to help Democrat dreams come true.

McConnell rarely gets anything in return. When he trades horses, Schumer scores two stallions, and McConnell wins a wheelbarrow of fertilizer.

This is revolting, repugnant, and reprehensible. And, as 2024 approaches, this fiasco will convince the already demoralized GOP base that there really is no point in knocking on doors, manning phone banks, or voting Republican.

Merry Christmas.

The Daily Signal publishes a variety of perspectives. Nothing written here is to be construed as representing the views of The Heritage Foundation.

Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email letters@DailySignal.com and we’ll consider publishing your edited remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature. Remember to include the url or headline of the article plus your name and town and/or state.

Sadly last night the Democrats won control of Senate!

2021 Democrats control Government but has our National Debt reached a Tipping Point?

Is America Approaching the Tipping Point of Too Much Debt?

Yesterday, the Congressional Budget Office released updated budget projections. The most important numbers in that report show what’s happening with the overall fiscal burden of government – measured by both taxes and spending.

As you can see, there’s a big one-time spike in coronavirus-related spending this year. That’s not good news, but more worrisome is the the longer-run trend of government spending gradually climbing as a share of economic output (and the numbers are significantly worse if you look at CBO’s 30-year projection).

Most reporters and fiscal wonks overlooked the spending data, however, and instead focused on the CBO’s projection for government debt.

Since government spending is the problem and borrowing is merely a symptom of that problem, I think it’s a mistake to fixate on red ink.

That being said, Figure 3 from the CBO report shows that there’s also an upward-spike in federal debt.

And it is true (remember Greece) that high levels of debt can, by themselves, produce a crisis. This happens when investors suddenly stop buying government bonds because they think there’s a risk of default (which happens when a government is incapable or unwilling to make promised payments to lenders).

I think some nations are on the verge of having that kind of crisis, most notably Italy.

But what about the United States? Or Japan? And how’s the outlook for Europe’s welfare states?

In other words, what nations are approaching a tipping point?

A new study from the European Central Bank may help answer these questions. Authored by Pablo Burriel, Cristina Checherita-Westphal, Pascal Jacquinot, Matthias Schön, and Nikolai Stähler, it uses several economic models to measure the downside risks of excessive debt.

The 2009 global financial and economic crisis left a legacy of historically high levels of public debt in advanced economies, at a scale unseen during modern peace time. …The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is a different type of shock that has dramatically affected global economic activity… Fiscal positions are projected to be strongly hit by the crisis…once the crisis is over and the recovery firmly sets in, keeping public debt at high levels over the medium term is a source of vulnerability… The main objective of this paper is to contribute to the stabilisation vs. sustainability debate in the euro area by reviewing through the lens of large scale DSGE models the economic risks associated with regimes of high public debt.

Here’s what they found, none of which should be a surprise.

…we evaluate the economic consequences of high public debt using simulations with three DSGE models… Our DSGE simulations also suggest that high-debt economies…can lose more output in a crisis…have less scope for counter-cyclical fiscal policy and…are adversely affected in terms of potential (long-term) output, with a significant impairment in case of large sovereign risk premia reaction and use of most distortionary type of taxation to finance the additional public debt burden in the future.

Here’s a useful chart from the study. It shows some sort of shock on the left (2008 financial crisis or coronavirus being obvious examples), which then produces a recession (lower GDP) and rising debt.

That outcome isn’t good for nations with “low” levels of debt, but it can be really bad for nations with “high” debt burdens because they have to deal with much higher interest payments, much bigger tax increases, and much bigger reductions in economic output.

For what it’s worth, I don’t think the study actually gives us any way of determining which nations are near the tipping point. That’s because “low” and “high” are subjective. Japan has an enormous amount of debt, yet investors don’t think there’s any meaningful risk that Japan’s government will default, so it is a “low” debt nation for purposes of the above illustration.

By contrast, there’s a much lower level of debt in Argentina, but investors have almost no trust in that nation’s especially venal politicians, so it’s a “high” debt nation for purposes of this analysis.

The United States, in my humble opinion, is more like Japan. As I wrote last year, “We probably won’t even have a crisis in the next 10 years or 20 years.” And that’s still my view, even after all the spending and debt for coronavirus.

The study concludes with some common-sense advice about using spending restraint and pro-market reforms to create buffers (some people refer to this as “fiscal space“).

Overall, once the COVID-19 crisis is over and the economic recovery firmly re-established, further efforts to build fiscal buffers in good times and mitigate fiscal risks over the medium term are needed at the national level. Such efforts should be guided by risks to debt sustainability. High debt countries, in particular, should implement a mix of fiscal discipline and wide-ranging growth-enhancing reforms.

Needless to say, there’s an obvious and successful way of achieving this goal.

P.S. Here’s another chart from the ECB study that is worth sharing because it confirms that not all tax increases do the same amount of economic damage.

We see that consumption taxes (red line) are bad, but income taxes on workers (green line) are even worse.

And if the study included an estimate of what would happen if there were higher income taxes on saving and investment, there would be another line showing even more economic damage.

P.P.S. History shows that nations can reduce very large debt burdens if they follow my Golden Rule.

P.P.P.S. There’s a related study from the IMF that shows how excessive spending is a major warning sign that nations will be vulnerable to fiscal crisis.

Great article below from Daniel Mitchell!!

Positive Rights vs Negative Rights

Back in 2017, I compared the welfare state vision of “positive rights” with the classical liberal vision of “negative rights.”

To elaborate, here’s a video from Learn Liberty that compares these visions.

For what it’s worth, I don’t like the terms “positive rights” and “negative rights” for the simple reason that an uninformed person understandably might conclude that “positive” is good and “negative” is bad.

Needless to say, I don’t think it’s good for people to think they have a right to other people’s money.

That’s why I prefer Professor Skoble’s use of the terms “liberties” and “entitlements,” which we also find in this slide from Professor Imran Ahmad Sajid of the University of Pakistan.

As you might expect, there are plenty of politicians who try to buy votes with an agenda of “positive rights.” Bernie Sanders, for instance, constantly argued that people have a “right” to all sorts of goodies.

But he wasn’t the first to make the case for unlimited entitlements.

Franklin Roosevelt was one of America’s worst presidents, in part because his policies deepened and lengthened the Great Depression. But also because he pushed the idea that people have the right to get all sorts of taxpayer-financed handouts.

Let’s see what some other people have to say about this topic.

In his National Review column, Kevin Williamson looks at the logical fallacy of positive rights.

Positive rights run into some pretty obvious problems if you think about them for a minute, which is why so much of our political discourse is dedicated to moralistic thundering specifically designed to prevent such thinking. Consider, in the American context, the notion that health care is a right. Declaring a right in a scarce good such as health care is intellectually void, because moral declarations about rights do not change material facts.If you have five children and three apples and then declare that every child has a right to an apple of his own, then you have five children and three apples and some meaningless posturing — i.e., nothing in reality has changed, and you have added only rhetoric instead of adding apples. In the United States, we have so many doctors, so many hospitals and clinics, so many MRI machines, etc. This imposes real constraints on the provision of health care. If my doctor works 40 hours a week, does my right to health care mean that a judge can order him to work extra hours to accommodate my rights? For free? If I have a right to health care, how can a clinic or a physician charge me for exercising my right? If doctors and hospitals have rights of their own — for example, property rights in their labor and facilities — how is it that my rights supersede those rights?

And here’s what he says about “negative rights.”

A negative right is a right to not be constrained. The right to free speech, for example, implies only non-interference. The right to freedom of the press doesn’t mean the government has to give you a press. The good of negative freedom is, in the economic sense, not rivalrous — your exercise of free speech doesn’t leave less freedom of speech out there for others to enjoy

And Larry Reed opines on the issue for the Foundation for Economic Education.

America is a nation founded on the notion of rights. …Despite the centrality of rights in American history, it’s readily apparent todaythat Americans are of widely different views on what a right is, how many we have, where rights come from, or why we have any in the first place. …if you need something, does that mean you have a right to it? If I require a kidney, do I have a right to one of yours? Is a right something that can or should be granted or denied by majority vote?

He helpfully provides a list of negative rights (a.k.a., liberties).

And he argues that positive rights (a.k.a., entitlements) are not real rights.

The bottom line, he explains, is that so-called positive rights impose obligations on other people.

Indeed, they can only be provided by coercion.

The first list comprises what are often called both “natural rights” and “negative rights”—natural because they derive from our essential nature as unique, sensate individuals and negative because they don’t impose obligations on others beyond a commitment to not violate them. The items in the second are called “positive rights” because others must give them to you or be coerced into doing so if they decline. …while I believe neither you nor I have a right to any of those disparate things in the second list, I hasten to add that we certainly have the right to seek them, to create them, to receive them as gifts from willing benefactors, or to trade for them. We just don’t have a right to compel anyone to give them to us or pay for them.

There’s not much I can add to this issue, given the wisdom contained in the video and in the articles by Williamson and Reed.

So I’ll close with the should-be-obvious point that a system based on entitlements only works if there are enough people pulling the wagon to support all the people riding in the wagon.

But that kind of society contains the seeds of its own downfall(think Greece or Venezuela) because it subsidizes dependency and penalizes production.

Which means, as Margaret Thatcher warned us, that positive rights can’t be provided when politicians run out of other people’s money.

-_

Free-market economics meets free-market policies at The Heritage Foundation’s Tenth Anniversary dinner in 1983. Nobel Laureate Milton Friedman and his wife Rose with President Ronald Reagan and Heritage President Ed Feulner.

Free-market economics meets free-market policies at The Heritage Foundation’s Tenth Anniversary dinner in 1983. Nobel Laureate Milton Friedman and his wife Rose with President Ronald Reagan and Heritage President Ed Feulner.

Since the passing of Milton Friedman who was my favorite economist, I have been reading the works of Daniel Mitchell and he quotes Milton Friedman a lot, and you can reach Dan’s website here.

Mitchell in February 2011.
Wikipedia noted concerning Dan:

Mitchell’s career as an economist began in the United States Senate, working for Oregon Senator Bob Packwood and the Senate Finance Committee. He also served on the transition team of President-Elect Bush and Vice President-Elect Quayle in 1988. In 1990, he began work at the Heritage Foundation. At Heritage, Mitchell worked on tax policy issues and began advocating for income tax reform.[1]

In 2007, Mitchell left the Heritage Foundation, and joined the Cato Institute as a Senior Fellow. Mitchell continues to work in tax policy, and deals with issues such as the flat tax and international tax competition.[2]

In addition to his Cato Institute responsibilities, Mitchell co-founded the Center for Freedom and Prosperity, an organization formed to protect international tax competition.[1]

January 29, 2020

President Biden, c/o The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

The FOUNDERS never intended the government to get into the welfare business!!!!

The federal government debt is growing so much that it is endangering us because if things keep going like they are now we will not have any money left for the national defense because we are so far in debt as a nation. We have been spending so much on our welfare state through food stamps and other programs that I am worrying that many of our citizens are becoming more dependent on government and in many cases they are losing their incentive to work hard because of the welfare trap the government has put in place. Other nations in Europe have gone down this road and we see what mess this has gotten them in. People really are losing their faith in big government and they want more liberty back. It seems to me we have to get back to the founding  principles that made our country great.  We also need to realize that a big government will encourage waste and corruptionThe recent scandals in our government have proved my point. In fact, the jokes you made at Ohio State about possibly auditing them are not so funny now that reality shows how the IRS was acting more like a monster out of control. Also raising taxes on the job creators is a very bad idea too. The Laffer Curve clearly demonstrates that when the tax rates are raised many individuals will move their investments to places where they will not get taxed as much.

______________________

One is the growing welfare state. I have posted an article below about what the welfare state is doing to England because we need to learn from their mistakes.

Welfare state may drag England down the tubes!!!!

I’ve shared this bit of political incorrect terrorism humor from England, as well asthis somewhat un-PC bit of tax humor.

But perhaps motivated by the scandal of giving welfare to terrorists, this new video is the most amusing thing I’ve seen from across the ocean.

I almost didn’t post this because it singles out immigrants from the developing world, but since I’ve shared horror stories from home-grown moochers in the U.K., as well as examples of scroungers from Europe who are robbing British taxpayers, I think I’ve covered all the bases.

But in the spirit of inclusiveness, here are other satirical videos worth sharing.

My all-time favorite video satire is from Iowahawk, featuring the Pelosimobile.

And I’ve always thought this left-wing attack against libertarianism is very funny.

And this Tim Hawkins video on the government Candyman is great, as isanother version of the song.

Speaking of Tim Hawkins, his home-schooling video is superb.

This spoof of the Chevy Volt also is extremely well done.

Last but not least, here are two brutal Obama teleprompter videos.

_____________

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