Armstrong Williams Commentary: It’s Time to Talk About Recession

Is America in a recession? It’s an unpopular question to ask, but it has now been over 3 months since COVID-19 restrictions were initiated and it is time for us to get realistic about where we are economically so that we can take the proper steps to minimize further damage to our economy. At this point, the unfortunate reality is that regardless of what we do, it is likely that it will take at least several years to see a partial recovery of economic loss and the time that it will take for a complete recovery remains unknown at this point. 

Read More

Minnesota’s Legislative Deadline Passes with No Agreement on Infrastructure Proposal

The Minnesota legislature failed to reach agreements on a major construction bill, tax relief, or state employee contracts before the midnight Sunday deadline for this session.

The lawmakers could still find a middle ground in a special June session.

Minnesota House Republicans Saturday blocked Democrat’s $2 billion bonding bill. Bonding bills must originate in the House and require a three-fifths majority, or 81 votes, to pass. The final tally fell six votes short.

Read More

Minnesota House Falls Short of Passing Mammoth $2.5 Billion Infrastructure Package

A two-and-a-half billion dollar infrastructure spending package – touted as a top priority for 2020 by the DFL-controlled Minnesota House – fell short of the necessary three-fifths supermajority of votes needed Saturday.

With a final count of 75-58 along party lines the measure missed by a scant six votes.

Read More

Whitmer Creates COVID-19 Spending Oversight Office, Approves $150 Million in Coronavirus Spending

Whitmer MI Capitol overcast

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer created the Michigan COVID-19 Office of Accountability on Monday to provide a check over spending during the coronavirus pandemic.

The office, which resides in the State Budget Office, provides oversight to all spending to fight the coronavirus and will report to the governor and the state budget director.

The Department of Technology, Management and Budget will designate a chief for the office.

Read More

Michigan to Face More Budget Cuts as Tax Revenues Plummet

A storm of skyrocketing unemployment paired with plummeting tax revenue have plunged the state budget into a multi-billion dollar deficit.

State Budget Office Communications Director Kurt Weiss told The Center Square in an email that tax revenues for this fiscal year are projected to drop between $1 billion and $3 billion.

There’s another $1 billion to $4 billion projected for Michigan’s next fiscal year, Weiss said.

Over 1 million people have filed for unemployment benefits, more than a quarter of the state’s workforce.

Read More

Commentary: Alexis de Tocqueville’s Lessons in a Time of Pandemic

The immediate challenge of COVID-19 has been cast as an examination of how individual Americans will fare should they be exposed to the virus. The effort to arrest the spread of the virus has brought unprecedented changes in the daily routines of all Americans. The limitation of activity is apparent when one walks outside. There is a marked silence, regardless of the time of day, almost eerie, that gives one pause.

The check on movement is accompanied by images of field hospitals and graphs showing curves and spreads displayed across news sites. While many are changing their daily routines to comply with the requirements of staying at home and practicing social distancing, a broader concern is the effect on our American democratic foundation.

Read More

Commentary: The U.S. Economy Will Weather the Chinese Coronavirus

American Spirit

President Donald Trump praised the Federal Reserve for cutting the federal funds rate to a range of 0 percent to 0.25 percent, and restarting quantitative easing with $500 billion of U.S. treasuries purchases and $200 billion of mortgage purchases in response to the Chinese coronavirus global pandemic.

“It makes me very happy and I want to congratulate the Federal Reserve,” he said. “That’s a big step and I’m very happy they did it.” Trump has been hounding the Fed for years to cut interest rates to make the dollar more competitive against trading partners’ currencies including the yuan, euro and peso. Now he gets his wish.

Read More

Lawmakers Eye a Huge Backdoor Spending Increase

US Capitol

by David Ditch   Members of Congress are promoting the concept of changing three programs from the discretionary category (requiring annual appropriations) into mandatory (auto-pilot) spending. Such changes would become a huge backdoor spending increase. Spending limits have come under relentless attack from both parties. In 2013, 2015, and 2018,…

Read More

Rick Manning Commentary: President Trump Versus Washington’s Spending and the Constituencies Who Fight for Them

by Rick Manning   In Washington, D.C., every spending program and tax break has a constituency that fights for it.  This is why they exist, because somewhere, someone believes that Warren Buffett needs a wind production tax credit, and that opera programming should be taxpayer funded. These constituencies are tightly…

Read More

DeWine’s First State of the State Address Focuses on Long Term Plans for Ohio

COLUMBUS, Ohio– Tuesday, Ohio Republican Governor Mike DeWine addressed a joint session of the Ohio legislature in his first State of the State Address. While he covered several topics ranging from workforce development to infrastructure repair, the speech’s main focus was three key points; the gas tax, greater protections for children, and environmental action.…

Read More

President Trump’s Executive Order Freezing Federal Pay Saves Taxpayers from Double-Digit Pay Increases

US Capitol

by Rachel Greszler   President Donald Trump issued an executive order effectively freezing federal pay for 2019 at current 2018 levels. Had the president not issued this executive order (and lacking congressional action on federal pay), federal workers would have received a 2.1 percent across-the-board pay increase, as well as a…

Read More

Chuck Schumer Demands Climate Concessions From Trump on Infrastructure Spending

by Michael Bastach   Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told President Donald Trump that Democrats won’t cut a deal with him on infrastructure spending unless it includes a slew of policies aimed at fighting global warming. Schumer, the Senate’s top Democrat, called for, among other things, making green energy and…

Read More

Commentary: Only Two Weeks Left for Republicans to Get It

by Rachel Bovard   There’s only one area where bipartisanship still reigns in Washington: avoidance. Republican and Democrat leaders this week held hands and used the funeral events for President George H. W. Bush as an excuse to move their funding deadline—which previously expired on December 7—two weeks forward, to December…

Read More

REPORT: EPA Paid $14.5 Million For Foreign Nationals, Not Americans, To Work In Government Labs

by Michael Bastach   The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) paid $14.5 million to foreign nationals to work at agency laboratories over the past 11 years that could have been awarded to U.S. citizens and permanent residents, according to federal investigators. EPA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) found the agency’s cooperative…

Read More

With the End of the Fiscal Year September 30, Congress Is Running Out of Time to Fund ‘The Wall’

Donald Trump, The Wall

By Robert Romano   The 2018 fiscal year will end on Sept. 30 but Congress is no closer to achieving key Trump administration priorities including fully funding the southern border wall, something President Donald Trump has been demanding since 2017 and campaigned on extensively in 2016. So far, both the House…

Read More

Three Budget ‘Reforms’ That Would Make Matters Worse, Not Better

by Dody Eid and Romina Boccia   A congressional select committee on reforming the budget process recently held another public hearing, supposedly with the ultimate aim of designing a more transparent, accountable, and responsible budgetary process. Any such changes should also re-establish and enhance Congress’ power of the purse. But if those are…

Read More

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…

Read More

‘Pig Book’ Spotlights 232 Earmarks Amid Pork That Wastes Taxpayers’ Money

Ted Cruz

by Katherine Rohloff   All but a relative few farmers and other rural residents have had electricity and telephone service for a generation, but the U.S. government devoted $10 million in the current budget to a duplicative Rural Utilities Service program designed to help pay for energy costs. Taxpayers continue to finance the…

Read More

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…

Read More

Trump’s ‘Rescission’ Package Would Save Unspent Tax Dollars

Trump-captial-spending-money

by Justin Bogie   President Donald Trump on Tuesday submitted a special message to Congress requesting that $15 billion in unspent funding be rescinded. That’s a good first step toward re-establishing fiscal responsibility. Congress should embrace it and quickly adopt the president’s rescission package. Still, the package does nothing to claw back the…

Read More

Exclusive: Conservative Lawmakers’ Blueprint Would Trim Nondefense Spending, Balance Budget in 8 Years

by Rachel del Guidice   House conservatives propose to cut nondefense spending and balance the federal budget within eight years in a blueprint released Wednesday. The document produced by the Republican Study Committee, the largest caucus of GOP lawmakers in the House, includes a long list of policy goals such as repealing Obamacare,…

Read More

Tennessee House Votes to De-Fund Memphis ‘Bicentennial Celebration’ After the Midnight Statue Removal Debacle

Using ‘the power of the purse,’ the Tennessee House of Representatives passed an amendment by a vote of 56-31 Tuesday to de-fund Memphis’ bicentennial celebration by $250,000 as a consequence to the overnight removal of two Confederate monuments in late 2017. “If you recall, back in December, Memphis did something that removed historical markers in…

Read More

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…

Read More