How to Make the Super Congress Open and Accountable

How to Make the Super Congress Open and Accountable

As the saying goes, with great power comes great responsibility. In Washington, great power should also require great transparency. The hurriedly passed Budget Control Act raised the nation’s debt ceiling and made some efforts to reduce the deficit. The law also...
Can’t Anybody Here Play This Game?

Can’t Anybody Here Play This Game?

If I were Thomas Paine (which I sometimes think I am) I would say: “These are the times that try men’s souls.” If I were Charles Dickens (which I never think I am) I would say: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” And if...

Will Panetta Help the State Department?

Leon Panetta, the new Pentagon chief, got through his confirmation hearings the newfangled way: by revealing as little as possible about what he’d do in office. He tipped his hand a bit more last week by calling “completely unacceptable” the...

America’s Real Job Creators are Broke

As narrators used to say in Western movies: “Meanwhile, back at the ranch…” Our policymakers in Washington have totally lost sight of what’s happening at the ranch. John Boehner’s GOP-controlled House and Barack Obama’s White House...

Budgeting for the Great American Train Wreck

It’s Aug. 1, 2011. Does President Barack Obama know where House votes for that last-minute budget deal are? The pact he forged primarily with Republican leadership in Congress after months of wrangling is no compromise. The GOP got just about all the cuts it...
Blame the No-Way Party for the Debt Ceiling Collision

Blame the No-Way Party for the Debt Ceiling Collision

There are those who will tell you that the debt ceiling crisis is a bipartisan production and both sides are to blame. Don’t believe them. This has been from beginning to end a Republican Party party. There’s no good reason for it — none —...
Budgeting for Ignorance

Budgeting for Ignorance

Will Rogers said that when Congress is in session, the public gets the same panicky feeling as “when the baby gets hold of a hammer.” Rogers’ observation can also be applied to the mayhem that has broken out in various smash-happy state legislatures....
How the Government Can Save $2 Trillion

How the Government Can Save $2 Trillion

This summer, members of Congress are threatening to shut down the federal government or block efforts to raise the limit on how much the U.S. government can borrow unless lawmakers agree on tough action to cut federal spending. With the budget deficit expanding and...
Tell the People about the People’s Budget

Tell the People about the People’s Budget

If you listen to the pundits and TV commentators, the federal budget problem has a simple solution: cuts, cuts, and more cuts. They cheer politicians for making “tough choices,” which usually entails taking money away from schools, stiffing public workers,...
Paving the Road to a Hungrier, Unhealthier, and Less-Educated Nation

Paving the Road to a Hungrier, Unhealthier, and Less-Educated Nation

The number of poor children had already grown by 2.1 million in 2009 over pre-recession levels, with continuing high joblessness among parents raising concerns that poverty will continue to worsen for some time. Since kids who spend more than half their childhood in...

Explosive Nuclear Spending

The world’s spending more than ever on nuclear weapons. The eight nuclear powers — Britain, China, France, India, Israel, Pakistan, Russia and the United States — plus North Korea, which aspires to join the atomic club, are collectively pouring...
War Gets Easier All the Time

War Gets Easier All the Time

War is lovely, Let’s attack; Only costs Could hold us back. It used to be that war was a really big deal. Conflicts such as Vietnam could tear the country apart. Times have changed, with decisions on war quickly becoming back-page stuff. Our wars were scarcely...

Want to Cut Federal Spending? Go Where the Money Is.

Pop quiz: Name the last three presidents who significantly cut military spending. If your answer is George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, and Richard Nixon, you would be correct. To address budget deficits, Bush I and Reagan, in his second term, reduced military spending...