Commentary: Don’t Give an Inch on the Debt Ceiling

The dust has barely settled from the contentious midterms, and the battle lines are already being drawn for the next legislative fight in Washington: the debt ceiling. With the nation at unprecedented levels of indebtedness, the choice in this fight is a stark one: a path toward stability or fiscal Armageddon.

If that sounds hyperbolic, consider the following facts about America’s finances.

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GOP Governors to Biden: Student Loan Plan Will Be Costly for American Taxpayers

President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan will be costly for American taxpayers, a coalition of GOP governors said in a letter sent Monday to the White House.

The letter, signed by 22 GOP governors, tells Biden to “withdraw” the plan, citing cost estimates of up to $600 billion, or $2,000 per American taxpayer.

“As governors, we support making higher education more affordable and accessible for students in our states, but we fundamentally oppose your plan to force American taxpayers to pay off the student loan debt of an elite few,” the coalition wrote.

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City of Dearborn Facing $22 Million Deficit

The city of Dearborn plans to restructure health care benefits and cut spending as it faces a $22 million deficit equivalent to firing 349 full-time employees.

The Metro Detroit city cited rising costs for the deficit, including $3.2 million in wage and benefit increases, $2.7 million for deferred fleet maintenance, and $1.2 million for increased fuel and other supplies.

However, budget details note the city has consistently spent more than it collected in revenue.

Dearborn Mayor Abdullah Hammoud told residents at a public meeting last week: “You are not going to lose benefits,” Fox2 reported. “At no point in time will the rug ever be pulled away from them, we never want to do that.”

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Congressional Budget Office: Debt to Surpass GDP at Record Level over Next Decade

The Congressional Budget Office released its economic outlook for the next decade and projected record high debt levels compared to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product.

The CBO projected a decrease in the deficit compared to the major COVID-era spending spree that helped fuel inflation to its current high levels.

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Tennessee Rep. John Rose Talks About Why He Voted No on $40 Billion Aid Package to Ukraine and the Weak Leadership of President Biden

Friday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Leahy welcomed (R-TN-06) Congressman John Rose to the newsmaker line to explain why he voted against the $40 billion to Ukraine aid and explained the consequences of President Biden’s weak leadership.

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Commentary: America’s Phony Debts Problem

The email from “Norton Protection” said I owed $999.99, which was “charged successfully and it will appear on your bank statement in 24 to 48 hours.” Although I have an account with a leading cybersecurity company, I’ve never paid that much for its products. To “cancel” the charge, I was instructed to call a number, conveniently highlighted in yellow.

All it took to bird-dog my fake debt email was a simple search-engine query of the invoice’s telephone number. It was based in Hawaii. Unfortunately, perhaps, for the real employees of Norton’s help desk, they are likely not stationed in the Aloha State.

In a nation swimming in real debt – with the average American owing an estimated $90,000 – it’s not surprising that “phantom debts” are one of the hottest scams.

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Tennessee Attorney General Herb Slatery Announces Settlement with Student Loan Provider

Attorney General Herb Slatery

A bipartisan coalition of state attorney generals, including Tennessee’s Herb Slatery, announced a $1.8 billion settlement with Navient, a large, nationwide student loan provider.

The agreement will dispense millions to residents of the state that were negatively impacted by Navient’s lending practices.

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Arizona Rep. Schweikert’s House Speech on Fraud, Spending, and Running Out of Money Goes Viral

Rep. David Schweikert (R-06-AZ), known as the wonky numbers member of Congress, gave a speech on the House floor a few days ago about runaway spending in Congress that has gone viral with over 1.2 million views. It’s on Social Security and Medicare running out of money and how the U.S. is headed for a dystopian future if it’s not fixed. He addressed several myths and offered solutions.

He began saying he’s about to say some things most people don’t want to hear, “We call it math.” The biggest threat over the next couple decades facing the country is demographics. “Getting older isn’t Democrat or Republican, it’s going to happen to everyone.” But he says he’s been booed for telling people the truth. “You don’t raise money telling people the truth about what’s going on.” Referring to Congress, he said, “We live in a financial fantasy world in this place … there’s a fraud around here.” 

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Commentary: The Treacherous Road to Runaway Inflation

In January, 2001, America had a balanced budget, low debt, and was at peace. Here, briefly, is what lay ahead: war, financial crisis, civil unrest, massive growth of the federal government, and now severe inflation.

Never in the history of America has our government in its ineptitude created such a false economy, risking hundreds of years of hard work on unsound and unworkable economic policies. The Founders wisely relied on dispersion of power. They knew there would be dishonest and incompetent politicians but, in this case, the entire government is infected with deceptive leaders.

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As Infrastructure Bill Heads Toward Passage, Tennessee’s Blackburn and Hagerty Sound Alarm on Debt

Bill Hagerty and Marsha Blackburn

As U.S. Senate leaders expect to pass a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill Tuesday morning, both of Tennessee’s senators, Marsha Blackburn (R) and Bill Hagerty (R) are vehemently opposing the legislation, alarmed by its potential to worsen the national debt.

Senate Democrats have expressed their intention to use a process called reconciliation to avoid any possible filibuster, thus allowing themselves expand the measure to encompass $3.5 trillion in federal spending.

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Tennessee Sen. Hagerty Prevents Hastened Passage of Infrastructure Bill

Tennessee Senator Bill Hagerty (R) on Thursday night halted a move by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to expedite advancement of a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill. 

The spending package is not dead yet, but it will not have the accelerated path to passage it would have enjoyed had all 100 senators consented to quickly moving through over a dozen amendment votes Thursday evening and sending the bill to the House of Representatives. 

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Newt Gingrich Commentary: The Higher Inflation and Bigger Debt Act

United States currency

The $3.5 trillion spending bill set up to follow the $1.1 trillion infrastructure bill (which has little to do with infrastructure) should be called what it really is: The Higher Inflation and Bigger Debt Act.

The Democrats would like you to believe it is only a reconciliation bill. This is vital to them because a reconciliation bill only takes 50 senators and the vice president to pass the U.S. Senate.

However, this additional $3.5 trillion comes after trillions of emergency spending prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Consider what the Congressional Budget Office has written about the fiscal situation before the $1.1 trillion and $3.5 trillion bills are passed:

Here is what the Congressional Budget Office forecasts (not counting Biden’s enormous spending plan): 

“By the end of 2021, federal debt held by the public is projected to equal 102 percent of GDP. Debt would reach 107 percent of GDP (surpassing its historical high) in 2031 and would almost double to 202 percent of GDP by 2051. Debt that is high and rising as a percentage of GDP boosts federal and private borrowing costs, slows the growth of economic output, and increases interest payments abroad. A growing debt burden could increase the risk of a fiscal crisis and higher inflation as well as undermine confidence in the U.S. dollar, making it more costly to finance public and private activity in international markets.”

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The Congressional Budget Office Says the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill Will Increase Deficits by $256 Billion over 10 Years

The Congressional Budget Office estimated Thursday that the bipartisan Senate infrastructure bill will add $256 billion to the deficit over the next decade, undercutting its backers’ claims the spending had been offset.

In FY2020, the deficit hit a record $3.1 trillion. So far in FY2021, the deficit is $2.2 trillion. The national debt is climbing to $29 trillion for the first time in U.S. history.

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Commentary: Taxpayers End up Paying off the Insane Tuition Costs of Grad Programs at Elite Colleges

A see of college graduates at the commencement ceremony.

“Columbia and other wealthy universities steer master’s students to federal loans that can exceed $250,000. After graduation, many learn the debt is well beyond their means,” notes the Wall Street Journal.

The Journal reports on Columbia University’s Master of Fine Arts Film program, one of the worst examples, in an article titled “Financially Hobbled for Life: The Elite Master’s Degrees That Don’t Pay Off”:

Recent film program graduates of Columbia University who took out federal student loans had a median debt of $181,000.

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Biden’s ‘American Jobs’ Plan Could Cost Taxpayers about $666,000 per Job Created

President Joe Biden and VP Kamala Harris

President Joe Biden’s proposed $2 trillion American Jobs Plan could end up costing taxpayers more than $666,666 per job created.

The Washington Post gave Biden “two Pinocchios” for saying the American Jobs Plan, his infrastructure and jobs proposal, will create 19 million jobs. Both Biden and his Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg have made the 19 million jobs claim. The source of the statement is a Moody’s analysis, which CNN pointed out had estimated the U.S. economy would add about “16.3 million jobs over the same period if the infrastructure proposal does not get passed.”

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Cleveland.com Praises DeWine Fundraising ‘Haul,’ Forgets About Campaign Debt

At the end of January, Cleveland.com praised Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) for a “record fundraising haul,” but buried an important part of the story in the process.

“As of Friday, DeWine’s campaign reported having more than $3.6 million in the bank after receiving more than $1.6 million since July 9, 2020, according to a filing with the Ohio secretary of state’s office,” the site said in a January 29 report, which was updated on January 31.

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Commentary: Debt Is the Most Predictable Crisis in U.S. History

Former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson issued a stern warning in last week’s Wall Street Journal: “A world-class financial system can’t exist in a country that fails to maintain the quality of its credit.”

America’s debt problem was already wildly out of control for the past 20 years, but we now face truly unprecedented additional levels of debt issued by Congress in response to the pandemic. From 2000 to 2019, the federal debt rose from $5.6 trillion to $22.7 trillion, and it is expected to top $27 trillion by year’s end, a whopping 19 percent increase this year. Another trillion in virus relief spending now seems to be at the low end of spending estimates going into 2021.

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Crom Carmichael Discusses Two Interesting Stories Out of California Regarding Bad Government and Broken Constraints

Monday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed all-star panelist Crom Carmichael to the studio to discuss two articles citing California’s bad government and Chinese infiltration.

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Nashville Attorney Jim Roberts: ‘This Is a Fight Between the Power of the People and the Power of the Government’

Friday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Attorney Jim Roberts to the studio to discuss the irresponsible spending by Mayor John Cooper in Nashville.

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The Madness of Crowds: Liberty U’s Business School Dean David Brat Weighs in on the U.S. Economy’s Future

Tuesday morning on The John Fredericks Show, host Fredericks welcomed Liberty University’s Business School Dean David Brat to the show to discuss the present and future of the United States economy.

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Report: Consumers on Track for Record Year of Debt Repayment Before Coronavirus Hit

U.S. consumers were on track for a record year of debt repayment before the coronavirus shutdown, according to a new 2020 Credit Card Debt Study published by the personal-finance website WalletHub.

Consumers entered 2020 owing more than $1 trillion in credit card debt after a $76.7 billion net increase during 2019. By the end of March, however, they posted the largest first-quarter credit card debt paydown – $60 billion – since at least 1986.

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Pew Report: Expect Increase in Debt Collection Lawsuits, Debt Collectors Seizing Stimulus Checks

A new report published by Pew Charitable Trusts suggests that with the increase of debt collection lawsuits, “debt collectors may seize $1,200 coronavirus checks intended for household expenses.”

Before the coronavirus restrictions began, American household debt had already increased by $1.5 trillion between 2008 and 2019. As debt increased, so also did an aggressive approach made by creditors and third-party firms to use state civil courts to pursue collections through debt claims, Pew says.

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New American Populist Founder Jeff Webb Discusses His Recent Townhall Op-Ed ‘Giving the Financially Mismanaged States a Bailout is Morally Reprehensible’

Live from Memphis on the newsmakers line Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m.– Leahy was joined by the New American Populist Founder Jeff Webb.

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Senator Marsha Blackburn Says China Should Waive Some of U.S. Debt After COVID-19 Outbreak

This week Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) said China should waive some of the United States’ $1.08 trillion debt for inflicting COVID-19 upon this country and other parts of the world.

Blackburn said this while appearing on The Jeff Poor Show out of Huntsville, Alabama.

“One of the things is my Senate resolution 553 which expresses the sense of the Senate that we know this came from Wuhan, China, and that they hid the information and were not transparent, that they blocked the World Health Organization and the CDC from coming in to help. They tried to blame it on the U.S. military. We hold them accountable, and I will tell you I think that we need to look at the fact that China owns over $1 trillion of our debt,” Blackburn said.

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Commentary: Deficits Are Secondary to What You’re Paying For

US Capitol

“I am not worried about the deficit,” Ronald Reagan famously said. “It is big enough to take care of itself.”

If you pay attention to the libertarian purists, President Reagan earns mixed reviews on his economic policies. After all, in 1983, the federal budget deficit exceeded 6 percent of GDP. But Reagan was untroubled by federal budget deficits for at least two reasons, and in both cases he has been vindicated by history.

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Federal Report Says Millennials Are Poorer Than Other Generations

by Ryan McMaken   One of the challenges in looking at income and wealth data is getting a sense of how different demographic groups are affected. It’s relatively easy to find median income and wealth data over time for the entire population, for example. But then problems of interpretation immediately…

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Commentary: Trump, Reagan, and Big Government

Ronald Reagan, Donald Trump

by Jeffery Rendall   As I strolled through the excellent and memory-provoking exhibits at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library (in Simi Valley, CA) the other day I was struck by how similar President Donald Trump’s approach to today’s politics is to the way Ronald Reagan handled the subject a half…

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Commentary: The Ticking Fiscal Time Bomb Set in 1937 Could Tip America Into Despotism by 2030

US Flag

by Robert Osburn   Celebrated this past July 4, America’s founding story of freedom is truly remarkable: unity, courage, integrity, and national integration (incorporating people from around the world). In most other places, the freedom story is bloody, exclusive, and, ultimately, tyrannical. Take Nicaragua, for one example: In 1979, the Sandinistas…

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Metro Nashville Faces Reality of Heavy Borrowing in $34 Million Revenue Shortfall

John Cooper

Surprise! Nashville is growing skyscrapers and other developments at an ever-increasing rate yet faces a $34 million revenue shortfall. Councilman-at-large John Cooper, who is on Metro’s Budget and Finance Committee says Nashville’s revenue continues to grow faster than most cities, to the tune of a couple billion dollars, NewsChannel 5…

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Commentary: Swamp Creatures Stir to Life as Big Spending Sparks Bipartisanship

Any time you hear Washington talk about bipartisan agreement, America, grab your wallet and run! Once again, lawmakers in Washington have finally cut through all the thorny brambles of partisanship and discovered (yet again! yippie!) something they can all agree upon: spending scads and scads more of other people’s money…

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