The Annual Budget Wars

As usual, Congress will soon start bickering again over the budget, with all Republicans wanting more tax cuts for the rich and large corporations, and a lot less government spending. Whereas most Democrats will want to close tax loopholes, raise workers' wages, strengthen Social Security and Medicare, and invest in infrastructure. But with a Republican Congress and a Democrat in the White House, the scenario will likely be another gargantuan political battle.

"Accounting Gimmicks" in Social Security

The first attack on Social Security this year was with the false accusation that there was rampant fraud in the disability program, when two different reports show only 0.4% fraud in the program — far less than any other government program — and probably far less than employee theft in the private sector — and much less that's found in the defense industry.

The Year of the Beast

The Congressional Budget Office just released a new report, The Budget and Economic Outlook: 2015 to 2025 Report (January 26, 2015). In an article at the New York Times titled "Budget Forecast Sees End to Sharp Deficit Declines", they referenced the report, and then quotes Senator Michael B. Enzi (R-Wyoming), the new chairman of the Senate Budget Committee: “The past will catch up to us no matter how fast we run from it."

Bye Bye Chained CPI and Other Budget Surprises

The Obama administration is finally abandoning their endorsement of chained CPI for next years budget.  The reason is probably not good economics, but political.  Election season is near and this is just one of many policies the Obama administration endorsed which raised the ire of the retired.  A refresher, chained CPI is another method to adjust for cost of living increases at a reduced rate than what is currently used, CPI-W.

So Much for the Impending Economic Armageddon Federal Budget Deficit

Surprise, when tax revenues increase the deficit goes down.  Such was the news of a new CBO update on the federal budget deficit.

If the current laws that govern federal taxes and spending do not change, the budget deficit will shrink this year to $642 billion, CBO estimates, the smallest shortfall since 2008.