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As congress and the president ramp up for their epic budget battle, I’ve decided to provide readers with a short primer and overview of the proposals to make sense out of the lies and distortions coming from all quarters.  The bottom line is the House Republican plan is the better of the two, but we are all screwed no matter the outcome.

First, some basics:  The “deficit” is the amount of money the government spends that it does not have, i.e., borrows.  The “national debt” is the cumulative amount of money the government has borrowed- and that you and I and our children will be required to pay back.  So, if you have a deficit of $500 billion dollars three years in a row, you will add $1.5 trillion dollars to the national debt (plus accumulated interest).  When you hear the word “deficit,” substitute “borrowed money.”

“Deficit reduction” means borrowing less than was borrowed the preceding year, or if you’re a politician, it can also mean borrowing less than you planned on spending.  It not only does not reduce the national debt, but actually continues to add to it - unless you reduce the deficit to zero - however even then, the debt would continue to increase due to interest, since no extra money is being raised to pay down the debt.

A “balanced budget” means you spend nearly exactly the amount of money you raise in taxes.  This would be a good idea if you weren’t already bankrupt.

Politi-speak

Pols in both parties like to switch back and forth talking about deficits and debt to try to confuse you - so don’t be fooled.  If there is any deficit at all, the national debt is being added to; even if the deficit is smaller than last year.

Both parties put forward budgets that project out over a ten-year period, making all sorts of unsupportable predictions about how much tax revenue the government will raise and the growth of the economy.  Moreover, presidents can last only eight years and congress is up for grabs every two, and the budget needs to be passed every year.

New trick:  This year’s proposals refer to a great extent about the national debt as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP).  This provides another way to obscure the very simple calculus of money-in vs. money-out.

The Plans

President Obama:

The president’s proposed budget increases spending and adds to the national debt every year through 2025.  The proposal would find us in 2025 with a budget $2.4 trillion dollars higher than the one we have today, and the national debt (by his own estimate) would soar to a suffocating $26 trillion.

Key deceptions:

The president’s budget trumpets $1.8 trillion in deficit reduction.  This is either a simple lie or it is based upon a reduction in previously planned increases; the proposal does not explain.  The president’s budget clearly indicates the annual deficit increasing every single year through 2025.  Remember, reducing the deficit does not reduce our national debt by one penny.

Republican Plan:

The Republican proposal also increases spending and adds to the national debt every single year through 2025, although in smaller amounts than the president’s proposed budget.  Following the Republican plan would find us with a budget “only” $1.3 trillion over today’s spending levels.  The Republican plan does not provide projected national debt numbers, but following the math in the president’s proposal, I’d spitball the number at about $22 trillion (what difference is a few hundred billion when you’re already bankrupt?).

Key Deceptions:

The Republican plan claims to balance the budget in ten years, which it does - almost.  The budget in 2025 calls for borrowing about $50 million dollars, but they use the GDP trick to turn that into a surplus.

The Republican summary of their plan claims that it cuts spending by $5.5 trillion; however, as stated above, their budget proposes spending increases every year for the entire ten-year period.  We are left to guess that the supposed “cuts” are likely conjured up by lowering planned increases in spending.

Unconstitutional Government Rolls On

Both budget proposals continue to fund an endless array of unconstitutional agencies and activities of the federal government, from job training and housing assistance, to Food Stamps and other welfare giveaways.  Neither proposal does anything about the unsustainable, runaway expenses of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, which devour more than half of the entire federal budget.

The rule of the Republicrats continues unabated, as does the unconstitutional, suffocating national government they’ve created.  The budget battle will provide great political theater, with your favorite pols posturing and preening for the cameras, but their shared system for controlling our lives will remain unchanged until the people decide to put an end to it.


 
 
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Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) formally announced his candidacy for the GOP presidential nomination in a speech at Liberty University in Virginia this week.  While his stance on all the key policy issues of the day are not known in great detail, we will analyze his remarks - and those of all candidates - in terms of their comportment with the constitution and the principles of liberty.

The Good:

Senator Cruz openly called for a return to lawful federal governance under the constitution, saying 
"It's time to reclaim the constitution of the United States."  

He called for the abolition of the Internal Revenue Service.
This agency has been one of the greatest tools of political harassment and naked tyranny by presidents since its inception, and cries out for abolition.

Senator Cruz called for a simple flat tax on incomes.
This position requires additional clarification.  While on the surface, a flat tax seems like a fair and workable solution to our current incomprehensible, punitive, and confiscatory income tax, there would need to be policies in place to strictly limit the amount of income to be seized, and to prevent the use of the current so-called "progressive" taxation as advocated by Karl Marx; wherein the more money you earn the higher percentage of income you must surrender in taxes, e.g., a maximum tax of 12% would mean if you earn $1,000,000, you pay $120,000 in taxes, and if you earn $50,000, you pay $6,000.  That's what president Obama is fond of repeating: "Everybody plays by the same rules."

He called for the repeal of Obamacare.
Obamacare is an unmitigated disaster by any objective measure, and it is unconstitutional and an affront to liberty notwithstanding what nine politically-connected robed lawyers at the Supreme Court say.

Senator Cruz called for universal school choice.
This is a fundamental right that is denied most people in the US; especially the poor.  This position is in line with both liberty and the constitution, provided his solution involves dissolution of the federal Department of Education and leaving it up to the states, or a passing a constitutional amendment to enshrine the right on a national level.

The senator also called for securing the borders, upholding the Second Amendment, ending government surveillance of innocent Americans, and defending the US against Islamic terrorism.
All good, senator; depending on how you intend to defend the US.  Please not through continued undeclared wars, drone strikes across the planet, and a personal, presidential "Kill List," as is the current strategy of Nobel Peace Price laureate, Barack Obama.

The Bad:


The senator called for a president that "works to defend the sanctity of human life."
While all presidents should treasure the value of human life, this is clearly a reference to abortion.  While the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision is a textbook case of bad law and tortured logic, it is not the place of the federal government to make law concerning abortion, it is a right reserved to the states. 

He called for a president who "...upholds the sanctity of marriage."
Again, while I hope that our president is someone who values the sanctity of his or her marriage vows, the constitution provides no role for the head of the executive to make law or advocate about who can marry whom.  Gay marriage is an issue for the states, and in truth should be merely between the individuals choosing to marry.

Senator Cruz called for America to stand with Israel and a president who will never allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon.
This is both good and bad.  Senator Cruz, along with every other politician and commentator who endlessly pontificates on this subject, needs to state a specific policy.  We can "stand" with Israel by declaring their right to exist free from terrorism and military attack - or we can pledge to plunge ourselves into a war of Biblical proportions if and when Israel's enemies rise against them once again.  We can discourage the Iranians from obtaining a nuclear bomb through sanctions and diplomatic pressure, while constantly repeating that, "the military option remains on the table," or we can acknowledge the fact that we cannot prevent a determined Iran from obtaining a bomb short of invading that country with a million-man (and woman) army.  A real national conversation needs to be had about what we (the people - not the government) are prepared to do and not prepared to do when it comes to defending Israel and/or imposing our will on the Greater Middle East.

Overall, Senator Cruz's message was a positive and refreshing one.  If he sticks to the constitution as a guide he will have the one thing no Republican candidate has had in recent memory; credibility and solid moral and logical ground upon which to stand and make his case.