Category Archives: Economy
Shortly after I started writing speeches for Jim Miller, President Reagan’s budget director, Jim debated Democrat Congressman Bill Gray, then chairman of the House Budget Committee. In the course of his remarks, Gray insisted that there was no more fat to cut from the federal budget, “We’re down to bone and marrow.”
Jim, as was his wont, replied to this rather absurd pronouncement with appropriate tact and politeness. But when we got back to his office, he was fuming. “Bone and marrow!” he muttered. “Bone and marrow! Why that…”
Spotting a chance to ingratiate myself with my new boss, I piped up, “I think you’ve got a pretty good speech right there, Jim.”
“How’s that?” he asked, a tad suspiciously.Read More »
What is it that the people in the private sector know that the president doesn’t?
For one thing, they know that the cuts amount to only 2.8 percent of the federal budget. They also know that key sectors of the economy, like manufacturing, energy and housing are rebounding without the government assistance that President Obama claims is indispensible.Read More »
House Speaker John Boehner recently confided in an interview that what astonished him most during his marathon negotiations with President Obama on avoiding the fiscal cliff was when Mr. Obama said to him, “We don’t have a spending problem.”
When I read that, I was reduced to sputtering indignation: “We don’t have a spending problem??!! What planet is that man living on??!!”
And yet, just a couple of days later, I read a column by Matt Steinglass in the January 8 issue of the Economist that made me realize that Mr. Obama was entirely right. We don’t have a spending problem; we have a tax problem.Read More »
America may have skirted the fiscal cliff, but don’t unfasten your seatbelts just yet. Looming ahead is the energy cliff, another avoidable crisis brought on by our own ignorance, complacency and lack of leadership.
That was the grim warning conveyed yesterday afternoon by veteran energy executive John Hofmeister at a meeting of the Houston chapter of the American Petroleum Institute. Mr. Hofmeister, former president of Shell Oil Company, currently heads a public advocacy group called Citizens for Affordable Energy, devoted to educating the American people and our leaders on the need for responsible energy policies.Read More »
On the last day of the year 999 A.D., old St. Peter’s basilica in Rome was packed with panicky worshippers, convinced that the world would end on the stroke of midnight. Many had given away all their possessions to the poor. Many had spent weeks doing final penance for their sins. Many had journeyed to Rome in sackcloth and ashes in order to meet God and his angels within the holy precincts of St. Peter’s.Read More »
In a surprising outcome better ascribed to the law of unanticipated consequences than a clever plot, a small group of moderate Republicans, particularly in the House of Representatives, are now poised to play an extremely powerful pivotal role.
This group, recently nominated for inclusion in the endangered species list, was given this power by their more conservative colleagues who rejected a compromise budget proposal — the so-called Plan B — recommended by House Speaker John Boehner. That created an unsettled situation that will likely be resolved when someone comes up with a plan that can win the support of House Democrats as well as enough moderate Republicans to put it over the top.Read More »
No issue with less potential impact on public good gets more attention than tax reform. It is possible to argue that the amount of taxes collected from the public impacts the national economy, but there’s no compelling evidence suggesting that the mechanism used (income tax vs. value-added tax vs. personal property tax) makes much difference.Read More »