Crom’s Crommentary: Concerns for Government Ramped Up Spending in a Lame Duck Session

Friday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Leahy welcomed the original all-star panelist Crom Carmichael to the studio for another edition of Crom’s Crommentary.

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New Government Spending Will Benefit Top Biden Adviser’s Consulting Clients

White House Senior adviser Anita Dunn has consulted for companies and trade groups that have benefited or stand to benefit from federal funding and is being forced to recuse herself from matters involving them, according to a financial disclosure.

Dunn has consulted through the public affairs firm SKDK during the past two years for the likes of Pfizer, AT&T, Micron and the American Clean Power Association, according to a filing reported on by CNBC Friday. Dunn, who founded the SKDK in 2004, is recused from working on issues related to past clients, a spokesman for the White House told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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Crom’s Crommentary: Under Similar Circumstances as Reagan, Biden Prepared to Do the Exact Opposite

Wednesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Leahy welcomed the original all-star panelist Crom Carmichael to the studio for another edition of Crom’s Crommentary.

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As Ohio Gas Prices Surge, Vance Criticizes Ryan and Biden for Energy Policies

Ohio Republican Senate candidate J.D. Vance criticized the energy and fiscal policies of his Democratic opponent and of the White House on Wednesday, blaming them for the steep gasoline prices Buckeyes now endure.

The average price of a regular gallon of gas in Ohio exceeded $5.00 on Wednesday. That’s a 118.91-percent increase over the $2.32-per-gallon average cost state motorists faced when President Joe Biden took office. In Vance’s estimation, “no one else” bears responsibility for this other than Biden and his “extreme allies in Congress like Tim Ryan (D-13).”

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Survey Suggests Pennsylvanians Back Free-Market Reforms, Believe State Economy Needs Improvement

A new survey released Thursday by the Commonwealth Foundation (CF), a Harrisburg-based think tank, suggests Pennsylvanians broadly support free-market reforms the institute urges policymakers to embrace. 

CF publicized its Better Pennsylvania 2023 Plan, a list of 23 such recommendations, in conjunction with the poll. Executive vice president Jennifer Stefano said the foundation plans to distribute the agenda to state lawmakers and candidates for public office. She believes the ideas’ implementation will “restore hope to our citizens across the commonwealth and set us on a better path that allows all Pennsylvanians to flourish.”

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Consumer Prices Rise 8.5 Percent, the Highest in 40 Years

Newly released federal inflation data show that prices continue to rise at the fastest rate in four decades, continuing the trend of soaring inflation.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released its Consumer Price Index, a key indicator of inflation, which showed prices rose an additional 1.2% in March, part of an 8.5 percent spike in the past 12 months.

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Pennsylvania Budget Secretary Defends Governor’s Budget That Lawmakers Say Overspends

Gregory Thall

Pennsylvania’s House Appropriations Committee ended hearings on next fiscal year’s budget on Thursday, with the governor’s budget chief defending a plan that many lawmakers fear significantly overspends.

Governor Tom Wolf (D) has asked the Republican-controlled General Assembly to consider a Fiscal Year 2022-23 budget that spends $43.7 billion, an increase of 16.6 percent over current expenditures. His proposal assumes the state will enjoy a revenue intake that surpasses that predicted by the nonpartisan Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) by $762 million.

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Tim Doescher of The Heritage Foundation Explains the Release of the 2022 Index of Economic Freedom

Tim Doescher

Monday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Leahy welcomed Director of Coalition Relations for The Heritage Center, Tim Doescher to the newsmakers line to discuss the recently released 2022 Index of Economic Freedom.

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New Report: Pennsylvania’s Government Spending Damaging Economy

A report released this week by the Commonwealth Foundation (CF), a Harrisburg-based think tank, underscores the drawbacks of lavish government spending for ordinary Pennsylvanians.

Inflation and the economic policies that fuel it have already weighed on the minds of Americans for months. Federal spending during the COVID-19 pandemic has skyrocketed to create a debt nearing $30 trillion, equating to 133 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product and amounting to $239,000 per taxpayer.

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Ohio Gubernatorial Candidate Jim Renacci Slams Level of Government Spending Under DeWine

Ohio gubernatorial candidate Jim Renacci on Monday slammed the level of government spending over the past year under Governor Mike DeWine.

The former congressman and DeWine’s GOP primary challenger has remained critical of the incumbent governor’s policies.

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Commentary: When Envy Trumps Economics

President Joe Biden has seized on a winning message: tax the rich. He tweets incessantly, “Big corporations and the super wealthy have to start paying their fair share of taxes. It’s long overdue,” and claims his Build Back Better agenda “will be paid for by the wealthy paying their fair share.”

Instead of highlighting the few benefits of his Build Back Better Act, (H.R. 5376) his public positioning is about harming a particular group. Why? This message sells with three key constituencies he’s counting on to pressure Congress to vote yes.

Younger millennials and Gen Z who believe the uber-rich should not exist.
The working rich who believe taxing themselves is a solution to poverty and a source of economic growth.
The governing elites who want to accumulate more government control by enlarging the dependent class.
Younger Millennials and Gen Z: Being Rich Is Inherently Bad
A recent PEW research poll revealed that half of adults under 30 believe billionaires are bad for the U.S. One self-proclaimed “anticapitalist” Millennial and trust fund beneficiary summed it up this way: “I want to build a world where someone like me, a young person who controls tens of millions of dollars, is impossible.” Accordingly, wealth comes from exploitation. Giving their money away (or giving it to Washington to redistribute into a social justice plan) is making “reparations.”

Using this logic, the late Steve Jobs should have been prohibited from earning ridiculous amounts of wealth. Because of his ingenuity, however, millions of jobs have been created, young people have been inspired, and some of the greatest technology has been made available. Like Jobs, those who earn their billions through innovation (and experience many failures in their pursuit and on their own dime) reinvest it in the economy in ways the government could not. Moreover, their earnings are a result of what others were willing to pay them.

Working Rich: We’re Moral People
A 2019 letter penned by more than a dozen of the wealthiest Americans — including George Soros, heiress Abigail Disney, and Molly Munger, daughter of Berkshire Hathaway Vice Chairman Charlie Munger— stated, “it is our duty to step up and support a wealth tax that taxes us.” They believe America “has a moral, ethical and economic responsibility to tax our wealth more.” Mr. Biden’s allies on the Left share this opinion.

A “transfer of wealth” by taxing the rich is nothing short of legal theft. Government is not, and cannot be, altruistic. Government has nothing to give that it has not taken from another by force. With few exceptions, this type of help will erode self-reliance and the moral incentive of charitable action, leading to more government spending.

Ignored is that the free market has done more to break the cycle of poverty than any government program, as it empowers people and mends the nonfinancial, relational parts of society.

The wealthy could put their money to better use by directly donating to effective charitable causes, investing in local communities, or investing in expanding their businesses to serve more consumers and create more jobs. Moreover, there is nothing stopping billionaires from giving their wealth directly to the U.S. government. If they genuinely believe it is their “moral, ethical and economic responsibility,” there is no need to wait.

Governing Elites: We Like Being In Control
They say it’s about social or economic justice, but President Biden’s messaging is déjà vu from Obama-era calls to redistribute wealth, or Marxist accolades of redistribution as a form of economic justice. The increasing popularity of taxing the rich makes the job of government elites easier. President Biden even engages in shame-tweeting such as, “Those at the top have been getting a free ride at the expense of the middle class for far too long.” But the bureaucrats’ real reason to tax the rich is to snatch individuals’ birthrights of personal responsibility, a move toward a centralized system that deflates personal choices and violates personal rights.

Taken together, these ideas unfortunately resonate beyond younger millennials and Gen Z, the working rich, and the governing elites. Jumping onto the “tax the rich” bandwagon feels good because – why should the rich have that much money anyway?

Envy permeates this ideology. Yet economics trumps envy.

The actual tax burden will not fall on folks writing checks to the US Treasury. The rich will, for the most part, still be rich. It’s the middle- and working class who will pay dearly when high-income individuals respond to the tax hike by simply investing less, resulting in fewer job opportunities and lower wages.

Left to fend for their economic lives will be small-business owners. President Biden may consider them wealthy, but taxing these individuals more will decimate communities, as jobs are lost or not created, and wages and hours are cut.

There’s no question that taxing the rich is popular. Problem is, it’s also reckless.

Instead of highlighting the few benefits of his Build Back Better Act, (H.R. 5376) his public positioning is about harming a particular group. Why? This message sells with three key constituencies he’s counting on to pressure Congress to vote yes.

Younger millennials and Gen Z who believe the uber-rich should not exist.
The working rich who believe taxing themselves is a solution to poverty and a source of economic growth.
The governing elites who want to accumulate more government control by enlarging the dependent class.

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‘Hard to Know Where Pandemic Relief Money Went,’ Admits Federal Spending Watchdog

Woman in mask in the dark looking at computer screen

This week’s Golden Horseshoe goes to a broad sweep of federal agencies for a systemic lack of transparency that is hampering efforts to monitor many billions of dollars in COVID-19 relief spending, according to a report by the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee.

The PRAC was established in 2020 by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to “promote transparency and conduct and support oversight” of more than $5 trillion in pandemic relief funds.

In a report released Wednesday, the watchdog details its difficulty in determining how funds are being spent due to federal agencies’ poor reporting on the government spending website, USAspending.gov.

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Michigan’s $70B 2022 Budget Stuffed with $146 Million in ‘Pork’

Michigan’s $70 billion budget for fiscal year 2022 increases government spending by 11.5% from last year’s $62.8 billion budget. The increased spending includes one-time funds from federal stimulus packages, raising concerns Michigan can’t sustain current spending without hiking taxes or slashing services.

Once government federal stimulus money runs dry, the government must either raise taxes or reduce services to continue paying for programs that were once considered not essential.

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Senate Fails to Wrap Up Infrastructure Bill After Talks to Expedite Process Collapse

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer set up a critical vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill Saturday after talks to expedite the process fell apart late Thursday.

Both Republicans and Democrats engaged in marathon talks Thursday in a bid to vote on a package of amendments and to advance the sweeping public works package. Doing so, however, required approval from all 100 senators, and Tennessee Republican Sen. Bill Haggerty refused to go along even as his Republican colleagues urged him to do so.

In a statement, Hagerty attributed his objection to  the Congressional Budget Office’s estimation that the bill would add $256 billion to the national debt over 10 years.

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U.S. Set to Hit Debt Ceiling Within Four Months, Congressional Budget Office Estimates

The federal government is on track to reach the statutory debt limit in the fall, which would trigger a government shutdown, according to a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimate.

The U.S. is projected to reach the debt ceiling of $28.5 trillion by October or November, a CBO report released Wednesday stated. If Capitol Hill lawmakers don’t reach an agreement on raising the limit higher, the government could undergo its third shutdown in less than four years.

“If the debt limit remained unchanged, the ability to borrow using those measures would ultimately be exhausted, and the Treasury would probably run out of cash sometime in the first quarter of the next fiscal year (which begins on October 1, 2021), most likely in October or November,” the CBO report said.

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Commentary: Inflation Has Arrived

Wildly excessive federal spending is causing major inflation and shortages, which may lead to a recession and perhaps a financial crisis. Despite the evidence of inflation, Congress is proposing to spend $3.5 trillion on top of the $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill passed earlier this year and the intended $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill. For comparison, federal revenue is only expected to be $3.8 trillion this year.

Evidently, the Democratic Party and President Joe Biden have adopted Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) to the peril of every American citizen. MMT, which is similar to Keynesian economics, says that the U.S. should not be constrained by revenues in federal government spending since the government is the monopoly issuer of the U.S. dollar. MMT is a destructive myth that provides cover for excessive government spending. And it’s not modern, since reckless government spending has been around for thousands of years.

Embracing MMT is similar to providing whiskey and car keys to teenage boys. We know the outcomes will not be good.

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Davidson County City Council Member and Republican Steve Glover Reacts to Nashville Mention in WSJ Article and State of Metro Address

Monday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Metro Council Member-at-Large Steve Glover to the studio to weigh in on the overspending by Metro Government, the failures of Mayor Coopers State of Metro address issues, and recent Wall Street Journal piece.

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Commentary: Two Studies on Immigration and Race, with Surprising Details

Group of people holding small American flags

Two mainstream think tanks have published new studies on immigration and race in America that come to the typical, safe conclusions. But a look at the data inside shows something more interesting.

A new Cato Institute report defending immigration begins by contending that immigrants are unlikely to negatively affect states’ fiscal health. But within the study’s findings, Cato may have inadvertently provided a new reason to oppose immigration.

Using state budgets as a proxy for the quality of economic institutions from 1970-2010, the authors of the Cato study assert that “a larger share of immigrants at the state level is correlated with slower state revenue and spending growth in the short-term, measured by total per capita government revenue and expenditure growth.” In other words, the more immigrants there are in a state, the less the state tends to take in in taxes and the less it spends on services. This is hardly groundbreaking; we have always known that immigration is linked to welfare chauvinism.

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Commentary: Biden’s $2 Trillion Infrastructure Plan is Loaded with Corporate Welfare

President Biden has just unveiled a new $2.3 trillion “infrastructure” plan, but a shockingly large portion of this bill is actually unrelated to infrastructure.

The plan includes massive subsidies for corporations as well as state and local governments, and comes right after the administration’s proposed increase in the corporate tax rate, which would raise the rate from 21 percent to 28 percent.

There’s $300 billion for manufacturing, $100 billion for electric utilities, $100 billion for broadband, $174 billion for electric vehicles, and a whole lot more. A significant portion of this spending is directed at subsidizing big corporations.

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Commentary: PolitiFact Says 90 Percent of Biden Stimulus Spending Not Directly Related to COVID-19

President Biden’s $1.9 trillion “American Rescue Plan” could soon become law.

The budget-busting legislation, sold as emergency COVID response and “stimulus,” passed the Senate over the weekend. But even the liberal-leaning fact-checking website PolitiFact is pointing out that almost all of the bill’s spending is unrelated to the health effects of COVID-19.

“Total spending directly on COVID-19’s health impacts ranges from $100 billion to $160 billion,” fact-checker Jon Greenberg writes. “At the high end, direct COVID-19 spending represents about 8.5% of the bill’s $1.9 trillion cost.”

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Paul’s Annual Report Details More Than $54B in Wasteful Federal Government Spending

Congress “spent as never before, doing so ostensibly without a care” in 2020, greatly contributing to what is now a $3.1 trillion deficit, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, argues in his annual wasteful spending report.

At the same time, initial 15-day lockdowns to stop the spread of the coronavirus turned into nearly year-long lockdowns, Paul said, “wreaking havoc on Americans’ health, sanity, and economy, while also empowering petty tyrants across the country.”

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Commentary: Nine Wasteful Programs from Massive Spending Bill That Can, and Should, Be Reversed

President Donald Trump is right: There’s a lot of ridiculous gimmicks and wasteful projects in the new massive spending bill.

And the good news is there’s something that Trump can do about it, even though he recently signed the huge COVID-19 stimulus and omnibus spending bill into law. 

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Commentary: Embrace Fiscal Responsibility, Not Tax Cuts, in 2020

As Democratic presidential candidates stumble over one another in a headlong rush towards socialism and fiscal insanity—promising trillions in new spending on everything from child care, health care, and higher education for all, to “the Green New Deal” and slavery reparations—President Trump faces a critical choice.

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Commentary: What Game of Thrones Teaches Us about Government Spending and Crazy Tax Schemes

by Jonathan Miltimore   I thought it was a joke when I saw a headline stating that Gavin Newsom, California’s new governor, was proposing a tax on drinking water. Surely this was a clever bit of satire penned by someone at The Babylon Bee or The Onion. Alas, the proposal is…

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EXCLUSIVE Charlie Kirk Commentary: Five Crazy Things the Government Pays for Other Than Border Security

by Charlie Kirk   Democrats want you to think they’ve finally discovered a sense of fiscal responsibility in response to President Trump’s request for $5.7 billion to fund construction of the border wall. That’s preposterous. The same party that is even now pursuing multi-trillion boondoggles such as “Medicare for All”…

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