The headline above is real, and it says “new spending” so that right-wingers will squawk about a (false) “increase” of $4.15 trillion in spending. In reality this is simply what Obama proposes that the U.S. government should create (out of thin air) for all of Fiscal Year 2017, which runs from 1 Oct 2016 to 30 Sep 2017.
$4.15 trillion is normal. During FY 2016 the U.S. government will claw back all but a tiny fraction of that $4.15 billion as taxes.
Let me return to this topic (Obama’s budget proposal) in a minute.
Just now I was remembering that news story from November 2015 in which an anonymous donor supposedly gave $2.2 million to the U.S. Treasury Department to “pay down the national debt.” Specifically the check was written to the Bureau of the Fiscal Service (which until 7 Oct 2012 was known as the Bureau of the Public Debt).
The Bureau of the Fiscal Service will not reveal who this “donor” was, but the check was obviously a tax write-off, since gifts to “pay down the national debt” are tax deductible. (Which shows once again that the U.S. government has no need or use for tax revenues.) You write a check for $2.2 million so you can claim a $5 million tax credit.
Of course, the idea of “paying down the national debt” is absurd to begin with. Hence the satire in the initial image above (right side).
The Bureau of the Fiscal Service says that various people donated a total of $3.9 million to “reduce the national debt” in 2015. (Here’s a list.) To “pay off” the national debt, you would need 8.2 million such checks, each worth $3.9 million.
Actually this trick is a popular tax dodge among some Congressmen. During the first half of 2015, five Republicans and three Democrats gave a combined $55,739 to “pay off the national debt” (and get a tax write-off equaling three or four times that ). 🙂
Some Congressmen, however, are simply idiots. Rep. Chris Gibson (R-NY) attained the US Army rank of colonel (colonel!) and now gets a pension check of $4,357.37 each month, which he donates to “pay down the national debt.” The U.S. government creates that $4,357.37 out of thin air, and gives it to Gibson, who gives it back to the government, not knowing that the money is simply destroyed. What silliness.
USA Today admits this, sort of, but spins its own lies:
Because the Treasury is running monthly deficits, the contributions don’t really go to pay off debt. Instead, they’re used to pay the expenses of the government instead of issuing new debt.
As though money is physical and limited.
Incidentally USA Today let something slip…
A little-known account called the Public Debt Reduction Fund receives tax-deductible contributions from the public to pay down the national debt.
Politicians refer to the “Social Security Trust Fund” or “National Highway Trust Fund” to make people falsely think that money is physical and limited like the water in a swimming pool…
But in using the words “account” and “fund” in the same sentence, USA Today shows that a “federal trust fund” is simply an account than can be credited or debited at will.
Anyway, regarding Obama’s budget proposal, the U.S. government’s fiscal year runs from 1 Oct to 30 Sep the following year. Thus, for the U.S. government, FY 2017 will begin on 1 Oct 2016. About half of the world’s nations’ fiscal years are the same as calendar years – i.e. their fiscal years run from 1 January to 31 December. The other nations are varied.
Early each calendar year the U.S. President proposes how many dollars shall be created out of thin air, to whom those dollars should be given to, and how many dollars should be taxed back.
Congress then spends the rest of the year debating and modifying the president’s proposal. This involves a lot of haggling between politicians (“I’ll approve dollars for your district or your pet project if you’ll approve dollars for mine”). There is bluffing, brinkmanship, threats, and compromises – i.e. a lot of horse trading.
Generally, one spending bill is passed for each sub-committee of the twelve subcommittees in the U.S. House Committee on Appropriations. It is the same in the U.S. Senate, which has its own twelve subcommittees.
Each of the twenty-four subcommittees in Congress haggles all year with the amount of money they want to create out of thin air. They fool around because politicians want to give as much loot as they can to themselves and to their cronies, while maintaining the lie that the U.S. government is “broke.” Plus, there are always controversial laws that are snuck into a spending bill (e.g. cuts in federal funding for Planned Parenthood).
If Congress has not finished its internal haggling by 30 September (the end of the Fiscal Year) then Congress passes a succession of “emergency funding bills” and other stopgap measures. This has been the case every year for the past 22 years.
It sounds complex, but it’s just a bunch of highly-paid idiots arguing about how much money they shall create, and who gets it.
Then, a week or so before Christmas, usually in the pre-dawn hours, politicians award trillion-dollar gifts to themselves, to their friends, and to everyone they personally like. They do this by suddenly bundling all the money requests from all subcommittees into a single “omnibus spending bill,” which the President then signs on the same day. Then Congressmen instantly flee from Washington D.C. before anyone can ask questions.
No politician actually reads the “omnibus spending bill,” since it typically stretches out to 3,000 pages when addendums are included. (The President’s budget proposal is usually less than 200 pages.)
Instead, each congressman (actually his staff) only reads the parts that affect how many dollars will come to (or be taken away from) his own district and his own pet projects.
In addition to creating money, an “omnibus spending bill” is a convenient place to hide laws (i.e. “policy riders”) that politicians want. For example, each year Republicans try to sneak in legislation that will prevent individual states from imposing requirements for GMO food labeling. This year’s sneaky little Republican was Congressman Mike Pompeo from Kansas. Pompeo’s bill to outlaw safe and accurate food labeling was titled the “Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015” (H.R. 1599). It had 93 Republican co-sponsors, and it passed the House, but in the Senate it was struck from the “omnibus spending bill.” Therefore Republicans haven’t (yet) gotten away with it. They will try again next year.
Vermont is the only state to pass legislation requiring GMO labeling, and it will go into effect until mid-2016. Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy was instrumental in getting the Republican measure stuck from the omnibus spending bill.
Each year when the President submits his budget proposal, everyone in Washington rushes to see how much money the White House proposes to give to them or take from them. Those whose budgets are always increased (e.g. the Pentagon) feel “vindicated.” Those whose budgets are decreased by one penny (or which are not increased by as much as they had hoped) scream that without a whopping increase the world will end.
For example, Ron Hickman, who is Sheriff of Harris County Texas (on the border with Mexico) gets a million federal dollars each year to round up refugees and throw them into jail. This is part of the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAPP).
However Obama’s proposed budget for FY 2017 halts this flow of federal dollars. Ron Hickman is screaming. He says local taxpayers will have to foot the bill for jailing refugees. (Actually Hickman will just stop jailing refugees.)
Texas Governor Greg Abbot is also furious. Andy Louderback, Sheriff of Jackson county Texas, says, “This money is vital for handling the criminal aliens that are in our jails! Obama continues to do everything he can to gut the criminal alien system in the U.S., proving once again that the safety of U.S. citizens is not important!”
Obama’s proposal includes an added $19 billion (created out of thin air) for “cybersecurity funding.” That loot would be spread over a variety of agencies, including the Defense Department, the FBI, the Department of Veteran Affairs and the Office of Personnel Management.
Obama wants to cut $375 billion from Medicare, to push it toward privatization. He wants a $10-a-barrel oil tax to supposedly pay for “clean tech” infrastructure.
The Pentagon gets a raise every year, and FY 2017 will be no exception. Obama’s proposed budget is $582.7 billion. This does not include funding for the endless wars, which is “off-budget.” In fact, since so much federal funding is classified and “off budget,” there is no way to know for sure how many dollars the U.S. government creates each year. We can only estimate. Billions are routinely stolen.
The Pentagon wants new precision-guided bombs plus a $55 billion Long Range Strike Bomber to attack U.S.-funded terrorist mercenaries (aka “ISIS™”).
Obama also proposes to give the State Dept. a raise to $50 billion to boost its regime change operations. Obama is also asking for $4.1 billion, up from $3.5 billion this year, to sustain his proxy war against Syria.
Obama proposes to cut NASA’s budget by $800 million.
All Republicans automatically blasted Obama’s budget proposal as “outrageous.” (Democrats do the same when a republican is in the White House.)
In the mean time, the Big Lie marches on.
Wisconsin Senator Ron John (Republican) says (quote):
“The federal debt totaled $10.6 trillion when Obama took office. Since then it has grown by $8.4 trillion. That means that the mountain of debt piled on our children and grandchildren has grown by about $37,600 for every second that Obama has been in office. That is immoral. But worse, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projects that our current course will add $103 trillion to the total debt over the next 30 years — or more than $108,000 for every second of the next 30 years. It’s well past time to face the truth and stop this intergenerational theft. We must not make future generations suffer for our inability to limit the size, scope, and cost of big government.”
Finally, down below in the comments section, let’s hear from one of our readers who is truly an expert analyst.