Saturday, Nov 22, 2014
Columns

The budget continued


Published:

Continuing with President Barack Obama’s budget, it contains a onetime payment to the U.S. Postal Service of $11.5 billion for alleged pension fund overpayments.

The budget also institutes a restructuring of some $10 billion in health care payments, which the USPS defaulted on, to be spread out over several years.

The next big issue is tax increases, which the president’s budget doubles, bringing the total to about $1 trillion over 10 years as opposed to the $580 billion that the president previously stated. The bulk of the tax increases comes from capping deductions and exemptions for high-income taxpayers and instituting the Buffett, though he himself this year paid only 18 percent while people who made less than him paid as high as 25 percent — so much for fairness.

The next area of massive spending, some $40 billion, would be in the infrastructure area, where duplicating a failed stimulus program would only lead to more wasted spending. Instead, the states should be empowered to make decisions on infrastructure spending and not a one-size-fits-all Washington policy.

The so-called National Infrastructure Bank, which would be funded with $8.8 billion over 10 years and would be run by unelected transportation experts appointed by the administration, is a guarantee of “earmarks” by the administration for their political friends. The next program highlighted is to spend $40 billion over the next five years on high-speed rail.

Several governors have already rejected the idea because they see their taxpayers subsidizing the program forever. The administration plans to raise this spending money from the withdrawal of our troops in the Middle East.

Problem is the money would still have to be borrowed and the debt increased for our children and grandchildren. Spending in the president’s budget rises to $3.778 trillion in 2014 an increase of $151 billion over present spending.

The fact is, even with a tax increase of $1 trillion, the budget never balances and adds $5.3 trillion to deficit spending over the next 10 years. Deficits continue to be about  one-half a trillion dollars to the end of the budget timeline. Worst of all the debt escalates from $17 trillion in 2013 to $25 trillion in 2023, a number that threatens the very foundation of the county’s financial stability.

One area of extreme importance is our policy on nuclear waste and how to dispose of it safely and effectively. On this critically important issue the budget is silent, choosing to disregard the Nuclear Policy Act of 1982 while clinging to the premise that Yucca Mountain is not a workable solution for the disposal of nuclear waste. To be continued!


Len Tria, a regular columnist for Hernando Today, lives in Spring Hill and is a former Hernando County commissioner.

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