Sen. Kent Conrad (D-LAME DUCK, ND): We did too pass a budget!

No, Sparky, you didn’t.

The Democratic Senator from North Dakota is taking the position that The Budget Control Act (the formal name for the agreement that raised the debt ceiling) totally counts as a budget.  While the idea of a federal budget that only takes twenty-eight pages to describe is actually kind of intriguing to me, the fact remains that the summary tables of an actual federal budget are larger.  More to the point, in a budget you get an idea of:

  • How much money is coming in;
  • From where it’s coming in;
  • How much money is going out;
  • And where the money is going.

Guess which of the two documents has that information?  Spoiler warning: it’s not the document that Senator Conrad is touting as being a budget. Continue reading Sen. Kent Conrad (D-LAME DUCK, ND): We did too pass a budget!

Gov. Martin O’Malley (D, MD) proposes raising taxes on poor, homeowners.

If you’ve haven’t taken a look at Gov. O’Malley’s proposed Maryland budget yet, do so – and weep.  There’s enough idiocy in it for everybody to get a piece: more taxes for the poor (in the form of increased tobacco taxes*); more taxes for homeowners (caps on mortgage deductions) and other wealthy members of the upper professional class (caps on charitable deductions); and, of course, an Amazon tax (because this time simply won’t drop its affiliate program in Maryland in response, surely**).  But here’s the hidden time bomb:

In what O’Malley called one of his most “controversial” proposals, he recommended shifting half of the state’s $946 million tab for teacher pension costs onto the counties.

To help ease the pain of the shift, the state would pick up half of teachers’ Social Security costs, which the counties pay for entirely.

The change would save the state $239 million.

Continue reading Gov. Martin O’Malley (D, MD) proposes raising taxes on poor, homeowners.

#rsrh I hope that Politico’s Jake Sherman wasn’t dumb enough…

to actually believe this nonsense about how the supercommittee was supposed to save us from fiscal apocalypse:

The concept of the supercommittee, as POLITICO’s Jake Sherman articulated in an email: “[I]f you put 12 serious members in a room, no distractions, easy way through the Senate [direct path for bill], they’d be able to get something.”

To quote a physicist friend of mine, that’s not even WRONG.  Robert Heinlein, thou have lived in vain!

“A committee is a life form with six or more legs and no brain. “

Continue reading #rsrh I hope that Politico’s Jake Sherman wasn’t dumb enough…

Gov. Mark Dayton’s (D, MN) budget surrender ceremony.

The formal capitulation took place yesterday, and signals an end to Gov. Dayton’s ill-conceived, ill-timed, and ill-executed attempt to dominate the Minnesota legislature in the same way that predecessor Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R, MN) did during his term in office.  The very short version, for those not following along: Minnesota Republican legislators wanted a $34 billion dollar, two-year budget with no new taxes; Dayton wanted $3 billion in business-killing tax hikes.  Republicans told him no, and sent him a budget, which Dayton vetoed.  The Minnesota government shut down – which meant, among other things, that Minnesotans were in critical danger of running out of beer and not being allowed to fish.  Faced with such proven evidence of abject incompetence and idiocy on Dayton’s part, eventually the Governor was brought to heel like a whipped dog; his formal capitulation soon followed.  Final score: $35.7 billion over two years with no tax hikes – and legislators in Minnesota have to pretend that Gov. Dayton was not savagely politically beaten.  No, seriously… apparently this is supposed to be framed as being a ‘compromise.’

Interestingly enough, post-capitulation news articles on this don’t seem to mention Pawlenty nearly as much as they did, pre-capitulation.  Although that may just be a sort of terrible pity towards Dayton, who did turn out to be a very slender, and trivial to break, reed…

Moe Lane (crosspost)

Continue reading Gov. Mark Dayton’s (D, MN) budget surrender ceremony.

California withholds legislator pay until budget fixed!

Alternative title: Hey, I was wrong about something!

I was absolutely certain that there was insufficient moral courage in the California state government to actually make stick the new rule that if California legislators don’t produce a balanced budget on time every year, then California legislators don’t get paid until they actually do produce a budget.  That’s probably because I’m a bit cynical when it comes to political foxes and fiscal hen-houses, particularly when it comes to rapidly-becoming-failed states like California.  So I assumed that Gov. Brown’s veto was, while nice, just part of the political kabuki theater that is West Coast politics.

Turns out I was wrong: Continue reading California withholds legislator pay until budget fixed!

Paul Ryan protesters: grassroots, or groupies?

Alternate title: “HAHAHA you dumb[expletive deleted].”

USA Today has the funniest thing I’m going to read today, I think:

At the last of four events on Rep. Paul Ryan’s “listening tour” of his district Thursday, he called on a man in the front row of a high school auditorium, then instantly recognized him.

“You changed clothes!” Ryan told Steve Jozefczyk. The 54-year old salesman from Franklin, Wis., had asked Ryan several critical questions from the front row of an event six hours earlier in Waterford, when he wore a shirt and tie. In Greenfield, it was a black “Faux News” parody T-shirt.

Josefczyk admitted trying to trick Ryan into calling on him again. But Ryan listened anyway.

(Bolding mine) Wow. Paul Ryan has Democratic groupies.  Ones that follow him around from town hall to town hall.  That’s so cool. Continue reading Paul Ryan protesters: grassroots, or groupies?

#rsrh Details on CR deal out.

Hot Air has a breakdown of the cuts in the CR.  Very short version?  Conservatives have a valid beef: we could have gotten more, although there was a limit at this point to how much could have been hacked out of available funds.

But if you’re a liberal you should be livid at what we got in exchange for letting 330 million in Planned Parenthood funding stand*.

Moe Lane

PS: Now, onto the debt ceiling.

*For now.


…yeah, you know what’s in it already, don’t you? That “People’s” bit is what we call a tell: a promise of big, honking wholesale confiscation of Other People’s (Not Really The Real People) Money.  And lo! – this is precisely what the Congressional Progressive Caucus wants to do:

  • Increase payroll taxes. Both sides.
  • Reintroduce the tax hikes on small businesses that were threatened last year.
  • Impose new tax hikes on highest bracket, reaching 47%.
  • New taxes on foreign earnings.
  • “Crisis responsibility fee.” Which sounds better than “Soak stockholders of banks for accepting TARP money tax.”
  • “Financial speculation tax.” Which sounds better than “the twenty-first century equivalent of the Stamp Act:” it’s a tax on electronic stock transactions.
  • $1,450,000,000,000 in new spending.
  • Public option.
  • Cuts to military.

Continue reading The PEOPLE’S BUDGET!