CBO

The economy may be slowly recovering, but that’s in spite of — not because of — the recent orgy of federal spending. Two economics professors, Tim Conley and Bill Dupor, concluded this month that the $800 billion stimulus package wiped out a million private-sector jobs, destroying a net 550,000 jobs. (The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, also known as the stimulus package, created 450,000 government jobs, partly offsetting the million private-sector jobs it wiped out.) “The majority of destroyed/forestalled jobs were in growth industries,” they say.

The stimulus package was earlier criticized by many leading economics professors, like Harvard’s Jeffrey Miron, Robert Barro, and Martin Feldstein. Professor Barro called it “the worst bill that has been put forward since the 1930s.” Nobel laureates Gary Becker and Vernon Smith have also criticized it. 200 economists signed a statement publicly opposing the stimulus package.

While pushing the stimulus package through Congress, Obama cited claims by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) that it would save jobs in the short run, while ignoring the CBO’s own conclusion that the stimulus package will actually shrink the economy over the long run, by increasing the national debt and thus crowding out private investment. Contrary to the CBO’s findings, Obama claimed that “irreversible decline” would occur if the stimulus was not enacted into law.

Obama has run up the largest budget deficits in history, running monthly deficits that are bigger than Bush’s entire annual deficit for 2007, after the economy started to go south.

The Congressional Budget Office reported last week that the Obama administration understated budget deficits “by more than $2.3 trillion over the upcoming decade,” and that “if Obama’s February budget submission is enacted into law it would produce deficits totaling $9.5 trillion over 10 years — an average of almost $1 trillion a year.” President Obama objects to even a tiny two percent cut in the federal budget, submitting a self-indulgent, smoke-and-mirrors budget that would actually increase spending even faster than previously proposed for 2012.

Obama’s record deficit spending is based on the notion — contrary to all evidence — that if the government increases spending, that spending will more than pay for itself through increased economic growth. (Never mind that Canada’s economy boomed after it slashed government spending in the 1990’s, and America experienced an “economic boom” after our government slashed spending in 1946.)

For example, even though “federal education spending has gone through the roof” in recent years, Obama has called for big increases in education spending, saying that “the best economic policy is one that produces more college graduates.” But dumping more money on colleges won’t spur economic growth.

Jacking up college attendance rates further just results in the presence of bored, unmotivated students who are not interested in learning, and only go to college to get a diploma, while spawning an economically-destructive “arms race” over who can acquire the most unnecessary credentials. Already, “36%” of “the nation’s undergraduates” learn “little” or nothing after four years of college, according to a study cited by USA Today. Many of their professors didn’t even try to teach them much: “32% never took a course in a typical semester where they read more than 40 pages per week.”

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Wintery Knight has an interesting discussion of how unemployment benefits keep people from working, drawing on coverage from The New York Times and academic studies. As he notes, this undermines the methodology used by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) in concluding that the stimulus package would increase the size of the economy in the short run. (Even the CBO admitted that the stimulus would shrink the economy in the long run.)

We recently discussed other ways that the stimulus package discourages work and cuts the size of the economy. The recent deal between Obama and Congressional leaders will extend these harmful provisions, as well as the unemployment benefits that discourage work. (The job-destroying $800 billion stimulus package also gutted welfare reform.)

Earlier, we discussed how the stimulus wiped out American jobs, and Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron’s conclusion that the stimulus was not only a failure at creating jobs, but also was intended to push left-wing ideological goals, rather than to revive the economy.

Obamacare is going to wipe out 800,000 jobs through its disincentives to work.  That contrasts sharply with false claims by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) that the new health care law would create jobs,  ”400,000 of them almost immediately.” That 800,000 lost jobs “is 50% more than all the people who work for GM, Ford, and Chrysler combined,” yet the Congressional Budget Office regards it as a “small amount” compared to the overall labor force.  To some people, the glass is always half full.

As we discussed earlier, it was the Congressional Budget Office’s own report that showed that Obamacare discourages work and thus shrinks the economy.  Obamacare was so poorly drafted that some people are massively punished for working and earning more.  One hypothetical 62-year old lost $7,836 in tax credits for a $22 increase in income, resulting in a 35,618 percent marginal tax rate on that additional income.  Who would work longer hours, or seek to earn more, if they end up with less take-home pay at an income of $55,000 than $46,000 — as is true for some people under Obamacare?

As noted earlier, the new healthcare law raises taxes on the middle-class and investors,  reduces lifesaving medical innovation, and drives up health insurance premiums.  It also will bankrupt many “small to midsize” medical-device manufacturers, driving up unemployment.

Even the Congressional Budget Office, which allowed supporters of Obamacare to hide its costs through gimmicks and dodges, admitted last “Friday that Obamacare includes work disincentives likely to shrink the amount of labor used in the economy.”  For example, it effectively creates a 35,618 percent marginal tax rate for one hypothetical 62-year-old whose income rises by $22, by triggering the sudden loss of $7,836 in government tax credits (as Ted Frank explains below).

As a newspaper columnist notes,

The new health law will give some older households without access to employer care a big incentive not to earn too much. That’s because earning more than 400% of the poverty level would make them ineligible for subsidies that may be well in excess of $10,000 for couples.  Consider this example of a single individual age 62 in a high-cost area and no access to employer care. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Health Reform Subsidy Calculator … [a]t 400% of the poverty level, or $46,000, an individual would get $7,830 in premium subsidies.  And at 401% of the poverty level, an individual would get no government support.

Or, as legal commentator Ted Frank notes, under Obamacare,

[A] 62-year-old in a high-cost area earning $46,000 a year without health insurance is entitled to a $7,836 government tax credit. Leaving aside how our strapped government can afford that, here’s what’s interesting: if the same person makes a mistake and earns an extra $22 in income, he loses the entire $7,836 credit. (The cutoff, according to Kaiser, is between $46,021 and $46,022.) That’s a 35,618% marginal tax rate. Indeed, the problem is so severe that our 62-year-old subject will have more take-home pay if he earns $46,000 than if he earns $55,000. And even at lower income levels, there is as much as a 16% surcharge on income at the margin.

This penalty for working and earning more is the result of really lousy drafting on the part of the authors of Obamacare. They could easily have avoided this problem by gradually phasing out the premium subsidies and tax credits, the way the tax code gradually phases out personal exemptions and itemized deductions for people who make well over $100,000 a year.  But they were too arrogant to learn anything from existing provisions that worked.

As noted earlier, the healthcare law imposes many middle-class tax increases, such as on cosmetic surgery and medical devices, and it increases taxes in future years on investors.  Obamacare will also reduce lifesaving medical innovation, break many campaign promises, and increase state budget deficits. It is driving up health insurance premiums, and it imposes restrictions that failed when tried at the state level. It ignores advice from doctors and federal experts, and lessons from countries with universal health care, about how to reduce costs.

The stimulus package is going to cost at least $75 billion more than the $787 billion the Obama administration claimed, according to the Congressional Budget Office.  President Obama and congressional leaders kept its projected tab beneath $800 billion to keep the support of wavering lawmakers like the senators from Maine, who worried that earlier stimulus proposals were too costly.   The Congressional Budget Office admitted last year that the stimulus package actually would shrink the economy “in the long run.”

Undaunted, Obama is now backing a $50 billion bailout for state government employees.

Obama claimed the stimulus package was needed to prevent the economy from suffering from “irreversible decline,” although the CBO predicted the economy would eventually recover with or without the stimulus (the CBO said the stimulus would increase the economy in the short run, while shrinking it in the long run).  The stimulus ended up being useless even in the short run, since its regulations destroyed thousands of jobs by triggering trade wars with other countries that killed jobs in America’s export sector (the stimulus package barred a measley 97 Mexican truckers from U.S. roads, a minor NAFTA violation that led to massive Mexican retaliation against U.S. exports of 40 farm products and kitchen goods worth $2.4 billion).  The stimulus also replaced American jobs with foreign “green” jobs through its expensive green-jobs program,which gave 79 percent of its money to foreign firms.  And it wasted money on welfare at the expense of badly-needed investments in roads and bridges.

Unemployment is much higher now than Obama said it would be if the stimulus passed.  As the Washington Examiner notes, “If his stimulus program was approved, Obama promised, unemployment would not go above 8 percent,” but it’s now close to 10 percent.  Unemployment is higher than the Administration predicted it would be even without the stimulus.

Obama fired an inspector general who uncovered fraud by a supporter who misused federal funds, thereby hindering the supporter’s ability to spend federal stimulus money.

Richard Morrison, Jeremy Lott, Greg Conko and Michelle Minton bring you Episode 85 of the LibertyWeek podcast. We put the big vote on health care front and center, while also touching on protests over immigration and legal challenges to the EPA’s greenhouse gas rules. We wrap up with a discussion of WWF’s Earth Hour and its scrappy competitor, Human Achievement Hour.

House health care bill dangerously expands IRS power,” say a tax law professor and GOP leaders.   The Washington Examiner says that “16,500 more IRS agents” will be “needed to enforce Obamacare.”  That’s “the biggest expansion of the IRS since World War II,” needed to “to collect, examine and audit new tax information mandated on families and small businesses.”

Governors of both political parties assail the health care bill as a job-killer that will drive up state deficits, increase taxes, and harm the economy.  The governors of New York and California warned that “their states will be crushed by billions in new costs.”

The most recent version of the health care bill contains additional tax increases and Medicare cuts.  It dramatically increases taxes on investors by adding a new 3.8 percent tax on investment income (much higher than the 2.9 percent previously proposed by Obama), but few newspapers have reported that.

The Washington Post falsely claims that the CBO says the health care bill will save $1.2 trillion over its second decade, but the CBO says the figure is not from it (it’s from congressional Democrats).  Amazingly, the CBO, under orders from Democratic leaders, has understated the bill’s cost for the first decade by including the present fiscal year — in which ObamaCare is not yet law and thus has no costs — while excluding its last year from cost calculations.  The result was to reduce the projected price tag for the bill from $1.2 trillion to $940 billion.

While the CBO has scored the health care bill as not increasing the federal deficit, thanks to the many tax increases in the bill, it has done so only by accepting many accounting gimmicks that even pro-Obama journalists have admitted are deceptive and conceal the bill’s enormous cost and the fact that it will massively increase the deficit.  The New York Times‘ David Brooks, once a staunch Obama supporter, now says the bill’s drafters were “corrupted by power” and calls arguments for the bill “unbelievable” and “insane.”

Earlier, health care cost expert James C. Capretta explained how “Obamacare Is A Budgetary Disaster” that will cost at least $1.4 trillion more than promised.

The Congressional Budget Office, which refused to question Obama’s gimmicks to lowball the cost of his health care plan, nevertheless admits that “President Obama’s policies would add more than $9.7 trillion to the national debt over the next decade.”

There are $3,000,000,000,000 in tax increases in Obama’s budget.  But he’s spending money at such a furious pace that the deficit will skyrocket anyway: “The president’s budget would borrow 42 cents for each dollar spent in 2010,” and “double the national debt over the next decade.”  Obama recently ran up the largest budget deficit in history, by a huge margin.

The revised health-care bill would add a new 3.8 percent tax on investment income for individuals who make $200,000 or more, and households making $250,000 or more.  More importantly, it would also impose many middle-class tax increases, such as taxes on uninsured individuals, on cosmetic surgery, on medical devices, and on certain health care plans.

ObamaCare would reduce medical innovation, raise taxes, drive up insurance premiums, and break campaign promises.  It  would cut the quality of  care, while imposing restrictions that failed when tried at the state level.  It ignores advice from experts about how to cut costs.

A retired federal judge says that the tactic congressional leaders are using to rush Obamacare into law violates Supreme Court rulings and the Constitution.

The president’s proposed budget raises taxes by three trillion dollars over the next ten years, notes Washington fiscal analyst Brian Riedl in the Wall Street Journal.  Yet, in spite of that, “The president’s budget would borrow 42 cents for each dollar spent in 2010,” and “double the national debt over the next decade.”

The Obama administration recently ran up the largest budget deficit in history — so big that the monthly deficit was much bigger than George Bush’s entire annual deficit in 2007.

The president wants a new $267 billion stimulus package, on top of the $800 billion one that passed earlier.  Obama claimed the stimulus package was needed to avert “irreversible decline.” But the Congressional Budget Office concluded that the stimulus package will actually cut the size of the economy in the long run.

Unemployment has skyrocketed past European levels, as big-spending countries have fared worse than thrifty ones.  As the Examiner notes, “If his stimulus program was approved, Obama promised, unemployment would not go above 8 percent this year. The reality is that it passed 10.3 percent.”

The stimulus package destroyed thousands of real world jobs in America’s export sector.  Meanwhile, the administration claimed credit for creating thousands of imaginary jobs in non-existent congressional districts.  The stimulus is full of wasteful spending.

“President Obama’s policies would add more than $9.7 trillion to the national debt,” the Congressional Budget Office said.   That’s roughly fifteen times the cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars combined.

The president’s health care proposals will add still more to the national debt, through budget gimmicks.  Even Democrats have expressed alarm about their unaffordable cost.   Their true cost, experts say, is at least $2.3 trillion, dramatically increasing the budget deficit.   ObamaCare would reduce medical innovation, raise taxes, drive up insurance premiums, break campaign promises, and increase state deficits.  It  would cut the quality of  care, while imposing restrictions that failed when tried at the state level.  It ignores advice from experts about how to cut costs.

In the 2008 campaign, Obama promised a “net spending cut,” but as soon as he was elected, he proposed massive spending increases.

Richard Morrison, Jeremy Lott and Marc Scribner collaborate to bring you Episode 83 of the LibertyWeek podcast. We cover the ever-growing deficit, the Reagan legacy, Cablevision v. ABC, the RNC’s fundraising strategy and David Paterson on scandal watch.