About Me

In writing the "About Me" portion of this blog I thought about the purpose of the blog - namely, preventing the growth of Socialism & stopping the Death Of Democracy in the American Republic & returning her to the "liberty to abundance" stage of our history. One word descriptions of people's philosophies or purposes are quite often inadequate. I feel that I am "liberal" meaning that I am broad minded, independent, generous, hospitable, & magnanimous. Under these terms "liberal" is a perfectly good word that has been corrupted over the years to mean the person is a left-winger or as Mark Levin more accurately wrote in his book "Liberty & Tyranny" a "statist" - someone looking for government or state control of society. I am certainly not that & have dedicated the blog to fighting this. I believe that I find what I am when I consider whether or not I am a "conservative" & specifically when I ask what is it that I am trying to conserve? It is the libertarian principles that America was founded upon & originally followed. That is the Return To Excellence that this blog is named for & is all about.

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

From A Scale Of Zero To Ten

I asked everyone to read the last post with an open mind & the people who responded with comments like "Soooo, who do we vote for on a “Biden V Trump II”?  Biden—I don’t think so!" or "Who would you suggest instead?" certainly were open minded.

One of the points of the post is to avoid a Trump-Biden rematch.  Democrats are quite content with the rematch because they think Trump has too much baggage to win a general election & based on the red wave of 2022 that did not develop their theory has some credibility that GOP primary voters dismiss @ their own peril.  Republicans can control the other side of the rematch by finding an alternative worthy contender to Biden - someone who earns your vote.

Normally, a president with a record like Biden's would lose in a landslide & the chances of that happening are greater with a fresh face that comes out of the primary process pointing out Biden's failures rather than repeating Trump as the nominee.  The Democrats are masters @ distracting from Biden's terrible anti-American record thereby making the election all about Trump & his polarising ways, grievances, & stolen election claims that people have rightfully tired of. Trump would be only too happy to contest the election on these grounds.  

The process of making a decision on who should be the GOP nominee is just starting with the August 23 FNC debate - which is not a one night process.  I encourage you to watch & learn about the primary candidates over the coming months & see how your findings square with your previous knowledge of each candidate.  Voters did not do this last part in 2020 & Biden snuck in - Biden got away with masquerading as some sort of moderate after almost 50 years of being a malleable far left politician including 8 years as VP to BO.

I also received comments like "totally agree with everything said" from a two time Trump voter who said he would stay home if there was a Trump-Biden rematch. 

At the other pole are comments from people who would vote for Trump if he killed someone on Fifth Avenue like "If Democrats keep control so much damage will be done to America there is no turning it around. That is the story to be told."  He is saying that the stakes are precisely known so you have to vote for Trump but Point #1 from the post highlights that when the stakes were precisely known by Trump in Dalton Georgia on January 4, 2021 that he told voters their votes in the runoff Senate elections wouldn't count & Biden wound up with control of the Senate & House.  Trump had it in his power to stop Biden's agenda by successfully campaigning for the GOP Senate candidates.  Terrible.

I recommend that everyone, especially hard line Trump supporters, do themselves a favor & go through the ten points of the post with an open mind & find the one that least offends, one that you could even agree with (e.g., if you think Trump was the biggest spender than you would write down #5).  Then repeat the process until you find points that you do not agree with @ all.  You then have a starting point to compare the other GOP primary candidates with Trump.

You will have made a list or scale of zero to ten points from the post.

Please let me know the results of your work so we can have a good discussion on this blog over the months in choosing the best candidate to beat Biden.

Sunday, August 20, 2023

Ten Trump-Record Deficiencies For GOP Primary Voters To Consider

"Let them debate so I can see who I MIGHT consider for Vice President." - Donald Trump's post on social media on July 31 implying that he would watch the FNC debate on August 23 but would not participate since he is so far ahead in the polls.

Trump is "running in 2024 on the things that he promised to do in 2016 & didn't do." - Florida Governor Ron DeSantis appearing @ a New Hampshire TV station earlier this month.

"The 2020 election in Georgia was not stolen.  For three years now, anyone with evidence of fraud has failed to come forward - under oath - & prove anything in a court of law. . . The future of our country is @ stake in 2024 & that should be our focus."  - Georgia Governor Brian Kemp tweeting after Trump's fourth criminal indictment, of Republicans blowing the 2024 election by concentrating on Trump's unproven claims & narcissistic grievances, both of which intentionally manipulate & distort the truth regarding Trump's loss in the 2020 presidential election while distracting from Biden's purposeful agenda of furthering the decline of the country from apathy to dependence.

"It amazes me that any citizen who watched the events that unfolded on January 6, 2021, can believe that he is qualified to serve this nation in any capacity, much less president."  - Jack Wilson of Sandy Springs, Georgia writing about Trump in the WSJ

The election of Grover Cleveland to the presidency in 1892 is the only time in our history that an incumbent president (Harrison) ran against an ex-president with both men running as the nominees from the two major parties.  TR ran in 1912 on the Progressive Party ticket & came in second, beating incumbent Taft badly but losing to Democrat Wilson.  Seventy percent of the current prospective electorate does not want a Trump-Biden rematch in 2024, or even either one of them to run - in 40 years of Gallup polling Biden has the lowest job approval rating @ this stage of his presidency of any president (37%) though it is higher than Trump's job approval rating when he left office (34%).  But a rematch is what we are headed for unless one of Trump's primary opponents can break through or Biden is replaced @ the last minute due to further deteriorating cognition, scandal, or recognition that his policies have produced a failed presidency that precludes winning in 2024.

With Trump's legal matters taking center stage 24/7 for the last several months Trump's primary opponents have had a difficult time getting their message on issues out or having reporters ask them anything other than about the Trump indictments.  The debate on FNC on Wednesday night gives them an opportunity to change this.

Long time readers will remember that before the first Trump-Biden debate in September, 2020 I presented a post that listed fourteen questions that really were meant for the American citizenry, but I had hoped would be asked to Trump & Biden.  With the same intention, I present below ten topics for the GOP primary voters to consider with an open mind, that the GOP primary candidates could bring up during the debate & thereafter on the campaign trail, regarding deficiencies in Trump's term in office thereby giving them an opening to make their case that the press is otherwise not providing.

1.  The Georgia Senate Runoff Elections

On January 4, 2021 Trump went to Dalton, Georgia supposedly to campaign for the two Georgia Senate candidates who had each received more votes than their opponents in the November election, but not a majority, which therefore necessitated a runoff election on January 5.  The Democrats needed to win both of these seats in order to control the Senate with Harris being the tie breaker.  The Democrats already had control of the House & now the presidency with Biden's win so the stakes were precisely known - namely, the progressive Biden agenda would proceed unchecked without the Republicans winning @ least one of these two Georgia Senate seats.  And yet Trump could not bring himself to stop whining about his election loss telling people @ the Georgia rally that their votes for Loeffler & Perdue would not be counted properly & other statements about expected fraud that gave no incentive for people to vote.

Trump's primary opponents could rightly lay blame on Trump for all the misery the Biden assault on America has brought by Trump's failure to not focus on getting the two Georgia Senate candidates elected so that McConnell, as Senate majority leader, could have tied the Senate up in knots like only he can, thereby stopping the Biden agenda.

2.  What Trump Asked Pence To Do

The Constitution calls for the electors in each state to sign & certify ballot lists that show the results of their state's election for president & vice president.  The ballot lists are to be transmitted sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate - which by definition is the sitting vice president - in the latest case Mike Pence.  

Students of the Constitution know that Mike Pence did not have the authority to return certified ballot lists from electors from any state - Pence's only function on January 6, 2021 was to open certified state election results & have them counted in the presence of Congress, with the two people with the greatest number of votes winning the presidency & vice presidency respectively.

Trump wanted Pence to not accept the certified ballot lists from electors from some states but rather to return the ballot lists of these states so they could recertify their ballot lists to indicate Trump won.  No state Secretary of State had asked for their state ballots to be returned & Pence declared Biden the winner. 

From a constitutional standpoint what Trump asked Pence to do is outrageous & unforgiveable to students of the Constitution, which should be all of us, - it violated his oath of office to "preserve, protect, & defend the Constitution of the United States" which is the bedrock foundation that all officers of each branch of government are equally bound to support.  What Trump asked Pence to do, above all other reasons, disqualifies Trump from being president again.

Stop & think, if the VP was authorized to reject or return votes to any state there would be a tremendous conflict of interest if the VP had just run as an incumbent & lost - like what happened in 2020.  After the 2000, 2008, & 2016 elections Gore, Cheney, & Biden respectively could easily have done what Trump wanted Pence to do & the chaos that would have resulted is unimaginable.

But project ahead to January 6, 2025 - would Trump want the person counting the votes to throw some out before announcing the winner.  That person will be the current President of the Senate - Vice President Kamala Harris.

3.  The Wall  

At one time Trump had no bigger supporter than Ann Coulter.  After he lost the 2020 presidential election Ann called Trump "abjectly stupid" for failing to build the southwest border wall.  Ann reasoned that you would expect an election loss from someone who failed to deliver on the principal promise of their campaign - building the wall.

Pouring salt into an open wound, Trump ended a 35-day partial government shutdown that ran from December 22, 2018 to January 25, 2019 by agreeing to a temporary budget which did not include the $5.7 billion he had sought for the wall, which was the cause of the shutdown to begin with.  In negotiating terms Trump got nothing from the shutdown.  This prompted many conservatives to say Trump had been outmaneuvered by Pelosi & Schumer.  On February 15, 2019 Trump declared a national emergency that he used as his reason to take funds appropriated for other matters to work on the wall.

In any event, the wall was not finished by Trump, Mexico didn't pay for the part that was built, & the gaps are a source of the millions of people who have invaded America since Biden became president.  See photo below.  

4.  The Trade Deficit, Tariffs, & 401(k) Accounts

The U.S. trade deficit (negative balance of trade) for goods & services in current dollars under Trump increased from -$536.75 billion in 2017 to -$627.50 billion in 2020 - source World Bank - despite Trump campaigning to bring manufacturing home by imposing tariffs on foreign trade imports.  These tariffs were paid by Americans who unwittingly cheered them on.  After repeatedly saying Americans need him to be reelected to preserve the value of 401(k) accounts, the DJIA is up over 14% since the day Trump left office.  These points deserve a thorough airing out during the debate.

5.  Deficit Reduction & Economic Growth

Trump's plans upon taking office included the following deficit reduction points: 1) $250 billion for repealing & replacing ObamaCare, 2) $616 billion for reforming Medicaid & CHIP, 3) $272 billion for reforming welfare, 4) $143 billion for reforming Federal student loans, & 5) $72 billion for reforming disability programs.

ObamaCare is still in place & Trump presided over the largest deficit spending of $7.77 trillion in any four year presidency.  Why did Trump go along with Congress raising or suspending the debt ceiling three times under his administration with no demand for spending cuts?

On March 23, 2018, swearing he would never sign such a bill again, Trump signed a 2,232 page, $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill that kept the government open until September 30, 2018 - only to sign an even larger omnibus of $1.4 trillion in December, 2020.  In between, for the fiscal 2019 cycle Trump signed three separate spending packages centered around the previously mentioned 35-day partial government shutdown.

Regarding the March 2018 omnibus Trump had said "I say to Congress: I will never sign another bill like this again. I'm not going to do it again. Nobody read it. It's only hours old. Some people don't even know what is in — $1.3 trillion — it's the second-largest ever."  This turned out to be only so much bluster as Trump signed them all.

With regard to the 63% of federal spending that is considered mandatory, Social Security & Medicare comprise the two largest programs & both are headed for funding trouble in just a few years.  Trump has insisted that no changes to these programs are necessary & has ridiculed people like Ron DeSantis who advocates for changes.  A KFF Health Tracking poll in March, 2023 found that 80% of adults who were polled worry that Medicare won't be able to continue to provide @ least the same level of service of benefits in the future & that 73% say changes need to be made to the Medicare program to keep it sustainable for the future.  Do you agree with Trump?

Neither Trump nor BO had one year of 3% real economic growth during their years in office.

6.  Donor Money To Trump Opponents

Facing enormous legal bills Trump has attacked Republican donors who have given to his GOP primary opponents as RINOs, wolves in sheep's clothing, & traitors while using $21 million from political contributions from his Save America leadership PAC to pay his personal legal bills - source Reuters.  Trump's GOP primary opponents could ask, like the WSJ did, "why a man who has made a billion dollars since he left office can't pay his own lawyers, especially since the indictments have nothing to do with his campaign or legal responsibilities as president." 

7.  No Proof Of Stolen Election

State & federal judges, some appointed by Trump, dismissed more than 50 lawsuits brought on Trump's behalf challenging the outcome of the 2020 presidential election - but instead of alleging "widespread fraud or election-changing conspiracy" Trump's legal teams focused on smaller complaints, which were largely dismissed by judges due to lack of evidence.  A typical remark was "The Republicans did not provide evidence to back up their assertions - just speculation, rumors, or hearsay."  Trump's two top lawyers Rudy Giuliani & Sidney Powell remain in serious legal trouble personally for their participation & Trump senior legal advisor Jenna Ellis, after being censured by a Colorado judge, signed a legal acknowledgement that “she made a number of public statements about the November 2020 presidential election that were false” & did so with a “reckless state of mind” & with “a selfish motive.”  Ellis admitted in state disciplinary proceedings that she made at least 10 false statements about the 2020 election as part of an effort to mislead the public, according to court documents. 

Trump's primary opponents could point out that there have never been specific examples of widespread fraud presented by Trump - just statements like "I won by a lot."  Give one concrete example of widespread fraud that would have changed the election result.  Why Did Trump lose all of these cases & why are his lawyers in such legal trouble themselves?  Why did Fox pay Dominion $787.5 million if their machines were rigged?

8.  Covid-19 & The Vaccine

In May, 2020 Trump ordered the drug companies to produce a Covid-19 vaccine in rapid fire order under Operation Warp Speed (OWS) - the goal was to deliver 300 million doses of a safe, effective, vaccine for Covid-19 by January, 2021.  A typical vaccine takes 5 to 10 years to develop.  The FDA approved the Covid-19 vaccines under emergency use authorization.  My doctor told me it was an experimental approval.

For Trump, who has no medical training, to tell the drug companies how fast to make a vaccine is like a CEO of a company, who has no engineering-construction experience, telling the contractor some arbitrary date regarding how fast to build a plant & put a manufacturing process into operation. 
Developing a vaccine or building a plant this way are both prone for costly mistakes.

Trump should be questioned on this.  Many very pro Trump supporters were adamantly against the vaccine & acted as if Trump had nothing to do with it.  How many vaccine shots did Trump receive himself?  Why did Trump never fire Fauci?

9.   Antifa & BLM Run Wild In Summer Of Love With No Response From Trump

Starting around June 11, 2020 Seattle was plagued by violent crimes like arson, assault, & a fatal shooting after the violent groups took over a portion of the city referred to as CHAZ (Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone) or CHOP (Capitol Hill Occupied Protest) - often combined as CHAZ-CHOP.  This zone included a police precinct that was abandoned - it was not recovered by the police until early July.  In the meantime many businesses in the zone were destroyed.  Violence spread across the country including damage to the 37 story Thurgood Marshall United States Courthouse in lower Manhattan by BLM, & the Mark O. Hatfield federal courthouse in Portland, Oregon by Antifa.  Paid insurance claims are estimated @ $1 billion to $2 billion.

During the 2020 Summer Of Love Trump acted like he had nothing to do with putting down the violence.  See Tweet below. 

But Trump didn't end the Seattle violence that went on for several more weeks.  I remember Trump saying that after the 2020 election he would clamp down on these violent groups & I wondered why he didn't do it then since he was already in a position as president to restrain violations of life, liberty, & property of American citizens under the Take Care clause of the Constitution that required Trump to "take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed" - including immigration deportation laws against harboring illegal aliens in sanctuary cities & damaging federal buildings.

Trump saw the police were overmanned when they abandoned their precinct in Seattle & the mayors of Seattle, Portland, & NYC & others were over their heads.  Trump should not have farcically chosen to wait until after the 2020 election to bring in federal troops to quell the riots but rather should have acted decisively to focus on the true & most important task he had as president - which is to protect the rights of life, liberty, & property of American citizens by effective criminal law & prosecution of criminals who were destroying homes & businesses.

10.  Trump Promises To End Birthright Citizenship For Anchor Babies

On May 30, 2023 Trump released a video announcing that if he is elected president he will sign an executive order on "day one" that will end birthright citizenship for the children of illegal immigrants.

Nothing better than Trump's above anchor baby claim exemplifies the statement @ the top of this post by Ron DeSantis about Trump "running in 2024 on the things that he promised to do in 2016 & didn't do."

It was Trump's anchor baby claim in 2016 that originally attracted me to his campaign.  During his four years in office he barely mentioned it again.

Thursday, August 3, 2023

The Two Sides Of The National Debt Coin

 "And if you want to get into the details, let’s just start with the IRS: 87,000 new IRS agents, all the billions of dollars.  [So,] $1.4 billion cut, leaving the balance, the balance to be used by the IRS immediately, starting at this moment, continuing at this moment, continuing on for the duration of this presidency; $4 trillion at least.   An unlimited debt ceiling increase.  Unlimited.  Unlimited debt ceiling &, oh, by the way, puts the incoming president, whether that’s Joe Biden or whether that’s a Republican, having to deal with it in a lame-duck session [after the 2024 elections].   Absolutely & completely unacceptable." - Congressman Scott Perry, Chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, speaking of his disgust with the Biden-McCarthy debt limit deal reached on June 3 that among other things confirms the addition from the Inflation Reduction Act of 87,000 new IRS agents & suspends the debt ceiling, with no limit, until after the November, 2024 presidential election.  

The actual bill itemizing the Biden-McCarthy deal, known as the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023 (H. R. 3746 Public Law 118-5), says the purpose of the bill is "To provide for a responsible increase to the debt ceiling," yet despite the bill's intended purpose the national debt increased $358.6 billion the first day after the bill became law.

There has been an uneasy truce between Kevin McCarthy & the House Freedom Caucus ever since six Freedom Caucus members voted present that allowed McCarthy to win the House Speakership 216 to 212 on the 15th vote after midnight on the 5th day of the 118th Congress - in exchange for McCarthy promising everything to the Freedom Caucus except the kitchen sink. 

 Although a no-confidence vote can be called by any member to oust McCarthy (one of his promises) the only casualty so far has been Georgia Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Green who was voted out of the Freedom Caucus for being too helpful to McCarthy.

The first big point of the McCarthy-Freedom Caucus contention revolved around the U.S. Treasury estimating for months that the government would reach the current debt ceiling of $31.4 trillion on or around June 1 meaning that in order not to default the Treasury would need authorization from Congress to borrow more money to pay all the nation's debts on time or else parts of the government must be shut down.  

McCarthy's biggest promise to the Freedom Caucus in January was that any raising of the debt ceiling would be accompanied by substantial spending cuts.  Students of economics know that it is government spending & not the debt or deficits themselves that are the problem.

After Biden repeatedly refused to include any spending cuts in debt ceiling talks McCarthy did a masterful job of passing H.R. 2811 entitled Limit, Save, Grow Act of 2023 which forced Biden to the negotiating table.  The vote was 217 to 215 with 3 not voting.  Freedom Caucus members voting Nay were Biggs, Buck, Burchett, & Gaetz who all thought the spending cuts were not substantial enough.  The 3 not voting were Kelly (R, PA), Peters (D, CA), & Watson Coleman (D, NJ).

The following table shows the estimated savings resulting from H.R. 2811, the Limit, Save, Grow Act.  Click on table to enlarge.

First, H.R. 2811 suspends the debt ceiling through either March 31, 2024 or a $1.5 trillion increase from the then-current $31.4 trillion debt ceiling - whichever comes first.  In summary, the bill would save $4.8 trillion (i.e., reduce deficits & the national debt) through FY 2033 relative to the CBO baseline, with about $4.2 trillion of policy savings and $543 billion of interest savings. 

Most of these savings would come from reducing the FY 2023 Omnibus bill discretionary spending total of $1.65 trillion (the CBO baseline) to FY 2022 discretionary spending levels of $1.47 trillion in FY 2024 & then allow 1% per year growth through FY 2033.  Biggs & the other three Nay voters (& Kentucky Senator Rand Paul) wanted to use the discretionary spending levels in FY 2019 (before Covid funding), not the spending level of FY 2022, as the starting point for FT 2024.  A big difference.

H.R. 2811 would rescind unspent Covid relief funds ($30 B); repeal most of the Inflation Reduction Act's (IRA) energy & climate tax credit expansions ($540 B); rescind most of the IRAs increased IRS funding ($80 B); make changes to energy, regulatory, & permitting policies requiring Congress to approve any federal rule or regulation that the Office of Management & Budget determines would have an economic impact of $100 million or more (see REINS Act H.R. 277 - aptly named Regulations From The Executive In Need Of Scrutiny Act); impose or expand work requirements in several federal safety net programs for able-bodied adults without dependents between the ages of 18 or 19 to 55, requiring them to either work, engage in community service, or participate in a work training program for at least 80 hours per month ($120 B); & prevent implementation of both Biden's student loan forgiveness plan & Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) program - the Supreme Court struck down Biden's $430 student loan forgiveness plan but the IDR will require a party with standing to successfully bring suit to strike it down before it resumes in October.

The Freedom Caucus considered  H.R. 2811 to be the ceiling for how high they would go in government spending in negotiations with Biden to raise the debt limit, not the floor.  But the Biden-McCarthy deal (H.R. 3746 Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023 - Public Law 118-5) significantly watered down H.R. 2811 - so much so that it received more Democrat votes than Republican votes.  See graphic below - McCarthy relied on Democrats to pass the bill he negotiated with Biden when 71 Republicans voted against it.

First the Biden-McCarthy deal has no debt ceiling @ all - just unbelievably a debt suspension until January 1, 2025 (after the presidential election) that will see the national debt increase another estimated $4 trillion.  After FY 2025, there are no budget caps, just non-enforceable appropriations targets.

A few highlights to give a flavor of why so many Freedom Caucus members were disgusted with the negotiation:  McCarthy agreed to leave in place Biden's student loan forgiveness plan (dangerously relying on the Supreme Court to strike it down later in the month - which it did).  With regard to H.R. 2811 removing $80 billion from IRS funding: McCarthy agreed with Biden to only remove $1.4 billion in FY 2023 (see Scott Perry comment @ the top of this post) & $21.9 billion mostly split in 2024 & 2025.  There were no changes to the climate & energy provisions planned $540 billion expenditures.  And most embarrassing, CBO determined that the work requirements for able bodied adults resulting in an expected $120 billion deficit reduction wouldn't save any money due to the Biden deal exempting veterans & the homeless, both of whom would benefit from the dignity & stability of work. 

Click here to see the House vote on the debt ceiling deal & here to see the Senate vote.

The only point that is worthwhile in the Biden-McCarthy deal is the inclusion of Kentucky Congressman Thomas Massie's requirement  that the government cut 1% of spending across the board if Congress doesn't pass all 12 appropriations bills for FY 2024 - which is the next point of contention for McCarthy's speakership.  In reality I would have to see our elected representatives take this step to believe it, but it is on the books thanks to Massie (Liberty Score "A" @ 96%).

Although McCarthy got through the Treasury's default-government-shutdown warning regarding the need to increase the debt ceiling he has boxed himself into a corner with the FY 2024 budget that starts on October 1, & its inclusion of the aforementioned 12 appropriations bills that fund the federal government each year.

McCarthy has now told the Freedom Caucus that he will demand more deficit reduction than his deal with Biden calls for which pleases the Freedom Caucus but has Biden saying he will veto any such measure because they have a deal in the Fiscal Responsibility Act.

Starting this week Congress is on its six week recess meaning there are only twelve legislative days in session before the current law funding the government expires which once again brings the possibility of a government shutdown in play.  One of McCarthy's promises was that the House would pass all 12 appropriation bills individually for FY 2024 instead of resorting to a continuing resolution or a catch-all omnibus spending bill that hides a lot of fat & real intentions of many members of Congress.  Congress's record in this regard is terrible - Between fiscal year 1977 & fiscal year 2012, Congress only passed all twelve regular appropriations bills on time in four years – fiscal years 1977, 1989, 1995, & 1997.   Every other fiscal year since 1977 has required at least one continuing resolution.  Source - Wikipedia.

The twelve pieces of legislation that require annual appropriation:

1.  Agriculture
2.  Commerce, Justice, & Science
3.  Defense
4.  Energy & Water
5.  Financial Services
6.  Homeland Security
7.  Interior & Environment
8.  Labor, Health & Human Services, & Education
9.  Legislative
10.  Military & Veterans
11.  State & Foreign Operations
12.  Transportation & Housing & Urban Development

The next two months will tell not only if our elected representatives have the nerve & stomach to resurrect the Limit, Save, Grow Act but if we the people being represented do.  See the graph below that shows the referenced Act provides @ least a starting point to control federal spending.

The problem with the Limit, Save, Grow Act is that it only pertains to half of the 30% of the federal budget classified as discretionary spending.  See graph below that shows the entire federal spending types.

Obviously, if the 63% of the budget that is labeled mandatory is considered off-limits to debt reduction the task is impossible & our financial misconduct will continue until collapse.  The mandatory programs continue year after year as if they were on autopilot following whatever formulas are called for with no, or very little, action from Congress.  BTW - the term mandatory is a misnomer because Congress could eliminate the programs it includes overnight if it so desired - there is nothing mandatory about them.

See graphic below for further breakdown of the components of federal spending.  The Limit, Save, Grow Act pertains only to the 16% of federal spending that makes up the non-defense discretionary component.  All the other components need to be addressed also.

The national debt went from $5.6 trillion to $10.0 trillion under GW Bush, $10.0 trillion to $19.5 trillion under BO, $19.5 trillion to $27.2 trillion under Trump in four years, & $27.2 trillion to over $32 trillion in just two & a half years under Biden.

Professor Friedman taught that money available for taxation is composed of direct taxes & deficit spending (borrowing) & that the portion of the national debt that is paid every year is the interest payments on that debt.  The great libertarian professor explained that government spending should be minimized in order to have the most robust economy possible because the larger the proportion of private sector resources that the government takes (spends) the less money is available for consumption, production, savings , & investment - the things that drive the economy & prosperity.  

The above point is illustrated by the famous Harvard study by Carmen Reinhart & Kenneth Rogoff in that they found that advanced economic countries with public debt above 90% of GDP typically had slower economic growth - median growth rates fell by 1% & average growth rates by considerably more.  This reduction in economic growth is largely an unseen cost compared to, for instance, a very visible direct cut in pay by your employer.

Now the debt & deficits can become much more serious than just a slowdown in economic growth - which is bad enough because increases in your standard of living depend on economic growth.  Without economic growth our futures are less robust.  This seriousness starts to turn into a crisis when the Treasury begins to have problems borrowing money to fund much of the programs that far too many Americans count on for living expenses.  Dr. John Cochrane put his finger on the significance of the national debt, writing in the WSJ on March 18, 2020: America's “unique ability to borrow, & to promise eventual repayment by taxation, is a treasured but finite resource.  When a crisis comes in which even the Treasury can’t borrow, we are in for a true catastrophe” - or what I call the first side of the national debt coin in which every American citizen is responsible for  funding whatever financial shortfalls result from the Treasury's borrowing troubles described by Dr. Cochrane, thereby wiping out wealth built over many generations especially when you consider the unfunded $100+ trillion liabilities of Social Security & Medicare & the liabilities of Fan & Fred, the housing giants whose liabilities are guaranteed by taxpayers.

Side one of the national debt coin should be thought of as a rupture or sudden burst.

This borrowing problem for America has not gone unnoticed by communist China, whose plans to supplant American leadership is known by all but the majority of the American citizenry, who are oblivious to such matters preferring to concentrate on identity politics, racism, & political correctness matters.  Already, Saudi Arabia, India, Russia, Brazil, Argentina, Bangladesh, Venezuela, & parts of Africa are in one stage or another of trade & transactions using the Chinese yuan instead of the dollar.  Bolivia, just last week, became the latest South American country to start partially using the yuan.  China has set up the petroyuan for oil trading in their challenge to overtake America.

So why did Alexander Hamilton refer to the public debt as a "national blessing"? - refer to first image @ the very top of this post.

Hamilton knew that debt can be used as a tool as deficits allow governments to change the timing of production as all American war efforts did to win wars starting with the Revolutionary War or as the government did under President Reagan running large deficits to increase national productive capacity while also cutting taxes - this provided a double incentive for economic growth in the U.S. economy as GDP increased faster than debt, which was paid down by Bill Clinton with the help of Newt Gingrich.  

Hamilton emphasized the repayment of debt starting when he accepted the responsibility, as Treasury Secretary, to pay off all of the state's debts @ full value from the war.  See graph below (click on it to enlarge) to follow debt reduction after each war & the expansion under Reagan.  Notice only once in our history that the national debt was zero (not just as a percent of GDP but in absolute dollar terms) - January 8, 1835 following the plan set in motion by James Monroe, our best president, & then followed through by two men who had worked for President Monroe - John Quincy Adams & Andrew Jackson.  Not only is this the only time in American history that our debt was extinguished, it remains the only time in world history that a major country was without interest paying debt.  A gargantuan achievement that can’t be imagined today.

After 2005 none of the four presidents elected in the 21st century have presided over an economy that has produced one year of 3% real annual economic growth (except 2021 when growth comparisons were made to a pandemic ultra low year level).   The national debt has increased 475% in the last 22.5 years from what it was for our prior entire history.  The labor force participation rate (lfpr) for men in their prime working years of 25 to 54 has dropped 2.5 percentage points since January 2001.  The government pays people to stay home & the Cato Institute has identified 126 federal entitlement & welfare programs.  The lfpr for people 16 to 24 has dropped by 1.2 percentage points since February 2020.  People have retired early who were not financially prepared to retire - the lfpr rate for people 55 & over has dropped by 2 percentage points since February 2020.  There are two times as many job openings as there are unemployed people & employers still cannot find enough qualified workers.  There are schools in Atlanta & Baltimore where 97% & 85%, respectively, of students cannot read.  Welfare programs do not require beneficiaries to work, in fact people can lose benefits if they become employed.  There is no one working in half of the bottom quintile households as of 2014.

The above conditions are what I call the second side of the national debt coin in which economic growth is stymied because of welfare programs funded by deficit spending.  People not working detracts from the GDP & is a burden on productive citizens.  This is more of a slow burn than the other side of the coin described above as a rupture, but in the end it leads to the same place of ruin.

GW Bush, BO, Trump, & Biden increased the national debt, all under sub 3% real economic growth years, as indicated above, meaning they did not use debt as Hamilton intended nor did any of them have any intention of ever paying it back despite the growing threat from China.  Instead of increasing production to benefit the nation, they used debt to fund redistributionist policies.

We are bleeding to death.