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Daily Archives: May 22, 2017

Cmte. for a Responsible Federal Budget challenges Trump’s huge spending cuts

Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget President Maya MacGuineas said the following:

“President Trump’s first full budget was previewed tonight. [America First – A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again] The budget calls for $3.6 trillion of spending reductions and reforms over the next decade. The White House Office of Management and Budget estimates that under the President’s budget debt would decline from 77 percent of GDP today to below 60 percent by 2027, and deficits would disappear in that year. However, the budget relies on a number of very rosy assumptions….While we appreciate the Administration’s focus on reducing the debt, when using more realistic assumptions, the President’s budget does not add up. The budget balances on paper – and having a specific fiscal goal is an important first step. But it only achieves that goal by relying on incredibly rosy economic growth assumptions along with very aggressive and unrealistic future cuts while omitting a potentially extremely costly tax reform plan. If the Administration is serious about meeting the nation’s fiscal challenges, it will need to focus on structural reforms to our nation’s largest spending programs along with new revenue to finance them. Relying on heroic assumptions and vague promises instead of confronting tough policy choices will not fix our country’s fiscal woes….But to make the numbers work, the budget assumes 3 percent economic growth, which is unlikely to occur even in the best of circumstances. The budget also uses the entirety of the dynamic revenue from growth to pay down the debt – a move that we support but that is inconsistent with their past statements that economic growth would help pay for tax reform. The same money cannot be used twice. Furthermore, while the budget does put forward many serious and specific spending cuts, it also assumes some areas of spending – particularly non-defense discretionary spending – get to unrealistically low levels by the end of the decade. At the same time, too much of the pressure for cuts falls on too small a sliver of the budget. The President does not address two of our largest and fastest-growing programs – Medicare and Social Security old-age insurance. Promising to ‘protect’ these programs will ultimately hurt those who depend on these programs the most since reforms are needed to ensure solvency and sustainability. We hope that Congress and the President work together to build on the budget’s best policies and replace its gimmicks with thoughtful reforms to Social Security, Medicare, and the tax code. We need a full plan to fix the debt, not just wishes it away.”

See also the Washington Post –  How Trump’s budget helps the rich at the expense of the poor,” by Max Ehrenfreund: “Trump announced a tax overhaul that would reduce or eliminate trillions of dollars in taxes that are paid primarily by the wealthy, including the estate tax and the marginal rate on ordinary income paid by the richest taxpayers. He would lessen spending on Medicaid, the federal program that provides health insurance to the poor, by $1.4 trillion over a decade, and he would allow states to impose strict limits on other major anti-poverty benefits such as food stamps. “The budget also called for repealing President Obama’s health-care reform, which helped cover poor and middle-class households with funds raised in part through greater taxes on the rich. Republicans argue that Obama’s emphasis on the differences between rich and poor was misguided, and that policymakers should instead try to improve the fortunes of Americans across the board.”

See also TIME: President Trump’s Budget Includes a $2 Trillion Math Mistake – “President Trump’s budget includes simple accounting error that adds up to a $2 trillion oversight. Under the proposed budget released Tuesday, the Trump Administration’s proposed tax cuts would boost economic growth enough to pay for $1.3 trillion in spending by 2027. But the tax cuts are also supposed to be revenue-neutral, meaning that trillion dollars is already supposed to pay for the money lost from the tax cuts…”

States Where the Most People Work for the Government

24/7 Wall St – “Despite consistent urging from a portion of the American public to slim down government, a large number of residents continue to make a living by working in government. In 2016, more than 3 out of every 20 American jobs involved working for the federal, state, or local government. Not all states,… Continue Reading

Public library in Philadelphia regularly responds to heroin overdoses

The sudden surge and huge impact of heroin addiction in America is described through the experiences of our colleagues in this article via – For these Philly librarians, drug tourists and overdose drills are part of the job. Continue Reading

OECD Economic Survey of China 2017

“The latest OECD Economic Survey of China projects that the Chinese economy will remain the major driver of global growth for the foreseeable future, with per capita GDP on course to almost double by 2020 from 2010 levels. The Survey recommends continued efforts to rebalance the economy from investment to consumption and to address key risks… Continue Reading

Dataset aggregates info on food spending habits using 3 million grocery orders

Center for Data Innovation – “Online grocery service Instacart has published a dataset containing information on 3 million grocery orders from more than 200,000 de-identified users from 2017. The dataset contains information on what products users purchased, the sequence they bought them in, when they placed the order, and the amount of time between Instacart orders.… Continue Reading

Statewatch Analysis: Counter-terrorism and the inflation of EU databases

Statewatch Analysis: Counter-terrorism and the inflation of EU databases by Heiner Busch and Matthias Monroy. “The topic of counter-terrorism in Europe remains closely linked to the development and expansion of police (and secret service) databases. This was the case in the 1970s, after 11 September 2001 and has also been the case since 2014, when… Continue Reading

Facebook tests connecting users to local news

Poynter: “As part of its ongoing push to build relationships with local publishers, Facebook is testing products that can help people better connect with local news. Those tests, part of the Facebook Journalism Project, have just begun, but they’re all aimed at helping people discover and engage with news outlets in their communities, a Facebook… Continue Reading

Federal Environmental Prosecutions Fall to Record Low

“The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during the first six months of FY 2017 the government reported 152 new environment prosecutions. If this activity continues at the same pace for the remainder of the year, environmental prosecutions will be at the lowest ever recorded since the Justice Department started tracking its… Continue Reading

Twitter drops ‘Do Not Track’ privacy protection

“Twitter has discontinued support of the Do Not Track browser preference. While we had hoped that our support for Do Not Track would spur industry adoption, an industry-standard approach to Do Not Track did not materialize…We now offer more granular privacy controls.” “We’ve updated our Privacy Policy, effective June 18th, 2017. You can learn more… Continue Reading