Revelation Numbers

By Michael Pento – Re-Blogged From PentoPort

The federal budget deficit widened in the fiscal year 2017 to the sixth highest on record, creating a budget shortfall of $666 billion. That is up $80 billion, or 14%, from the fiscal year 2016. The overspend resulted primarily from an increase in spending for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, as well as higher interest payments on the debt due to rising rates that drove up outlays to $4 trillion, which was 3% higher than the previous fiscal year.

The deficit as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP), totaled 3.5%, up from 3.2% the year prior. This budget gap will be piled on to the ballooning National Debt that in the fiscal year of 2016 grew to whopping 106% of GDP.

But the Trump administration isn’t spending a lot of time tweeting about the looming debt crisis. In fact, they would like us to believe that their recently proposed tax reform will not only pay for itself but will actually reduce debt and deficits. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin noted recently that, “Through a combination of tax reform and regulatory relief, this country can return to higher levels of GDP growth, helping to erase our fiscal deficit.”

But the truth is that the proposed tax reform will not completely pay for itself–let alone reduce the deficit or pay down the debt. The Senate has recently congratulated themselves for approving a budget resolution that would allow Congress to collect $1.5 trillion less in federal revenues over the next ten years, yet they are still in search of new revenue to pass tax reform.

And since there are still some remnants of the fiscal hawks in Congress, Republicans are in a frenzy to find new revenue opportunities to get the necessary votes; in search of an elusive “sacred cow” that isn’t that sacred.

Following the election of Donald Trump, the House supported a Border Adjustment Tax (BAT); a cash windfall that dovetailed brilliantly with Trump’s America first agenda. However, it didn’t take long for lobbying groups to crush that proposal, and the BAT tax wound up biting the dust.

The next target was the deductibility of state and local taxes and the mortgage interest deduction–but the Republicans soon realized they have representatives seeking re-election in high tax states too…and this idea has also quickly fallen by the wayside.

On October 20th, the New York Times reported that “House Republicans are considering a plan to sharply reduce the amount of income American workers can save in 401(k) accounts, reportedly to as low as $2,400 per year (The current figure is $18,000, rising to $18,500 next year, with $6,000 additional in catch-up contributions permitted to those 50 and over.)”   However, President Trump quickly killed this with a tweet too.

Now we hear rumblings of a higher tax bracket; this may get the support of some Democrats, but the truth is there are not enough one-percenters to make the numbers work.

The Senate can pass tax reform with a simple majority but there is a catch. To use what is called the budget reconciliation process it cannot add to the deficit beyond the 10-year budget window. Therefore, a feasible solution may be to include an additional upper-income bracket to throw a bone to the Democrats and bring some on board to get to 60 votes. But the problem is that under either Reconciliation or Regular Order, passing tax cuts would mean that deficits would soar.

Our economy did prosper after the Regan tax cuts. But here is the rub, in the 1980’s the National debt was 45% of GDP; but now it is 106% of GDP.

According to Carmen Reinhart and Ken Rogoff, in their book, “This Time Is Different” – 800 years of financial history proves that high government debt ratios lead to low economic growth. And though some of their data have been questioned regarding the magnitude of their findings, their basic premise that high debt leads to weaker growth has held true under aggressive scrutiny.

Cutting taxes in an environment of massive debt and ballooning deficits, without a commensurate reduction in spending, is not going to grow the economy over 3%–at least it hasn’t worked in the past 800 years.

Declining government revenues and long-term costs associated with an aging population, including higher Social Security and Medicare spending, are expected to continue pushing up deficits over the coming decades. Real tax reform is needed but it should be paid for in order to ensure that we grow the private sector as we shrink the public sector. That means cutting taxes, eliminating loopholes and reducing spending. Sadly, few in Washington espouse such an agenda. Without such cuts, the economic boost from lower taxes would be more than offset by spiking debt service payments on the record amount of outstanding debt.

The S&P500 hit a bottom of 666 in March of 2009, which led to the most humongous intrusion into free markets by the U.S. government in its history. Now we have that same foreboding number 666; this time regarding the amount of red ink during the 2017 fiscal year. A mere coincidence I’m sure. Nevertheless, we must pray this rapidly rising debt figure does not forebode yet another step closer for the demise of the middle class.

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Trump Suggests Eliminating the Debt Ceiling – Dollar Falls

By Clint Siegner – Re-Blogged From Money Metals Exchange

Those who paid any attention to the financial press last week saw the following narrative; President Donald Trump betrayed Republicans by cutting a deal with Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Charles Schumer. They agreed to punt on the borrowing cap until December and spend $15 billion for hurricane relief.

Americans are supposed to conclude that Trump is flip-flopping, and that Republicans aren’t responsible. Dig just a little, and you’ll find only one of those things is true.

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Overthrow the Establishment to Fix the Economy

By Larry Kudlow – Re-Blogged From http://www.NewsMax.com

Famed investor Wilbur Ross recently told CNBC that “Trump represents a more radical new approach to government that the nation’s economy desperately needs.” He’s right.

Trump seeks an overthrow of the establishment. He’s a disrupter. Just what we need to fix the economy.

The situation is that desperate.

The last 15 years of economic policy, especially the last eight years, represent a relapse that harks back to the 1970s. Now like then, we have a high-tax, high-spend, high-regulation, Fed-pump-priming, standard-less dollar-manipulation policy mix. In general, it’s a government-planning approach in the U.S. and around the world.

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Hate Taxes? You Certainly Are Not Alone…

By Michael Snyder – Re-Blogged From http://freedomoutpost.com

At this time of the year, millions of Americans are rushing to file their taxes at the last minute, and we are once again reminded just how nightmarish our system of taxation has become.  I studied tax law when I was in law school, and it is one of the most mind-numbing areas of study that you could possibly imagine.  At this point, the U.S. tax code is somewhere around 4 million words long, which is more than four times longer than all of William Shakespeare’s works put together.  And even if you could somehow read the entire tax code, it is constantly changing, and so those that prepare taxes for a living are constantly relearning the rules.  It has been said that Americans spend more than 6 billion hours preparing their taxes each year, and Politifact has rated this claim as true.  We have a system that is as ridiculous as it is absurd, and the truth is that we don’t even need it.  In fact, the greatest period of economic growth in all of U.S. history was when there was no income tax at all.  Why anyone would want to perpetuate this tortuous system is beyond me, and yet we keep sending politicians to Washington D.C. that just keep making this system even more complicated and even more burdensome.

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Government Ramps Up Borrowing As Private Sector Slows

By John Rubino – Re-blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

This morning, US existing home sales plunged and the Chicago Fed’s national activity index turned negative. Both are obvious signs of a slowing economy.

Anticipating this kind of news, Credit Bubble Bulletin’s Doug Noland in his most recent column analyzed the Federal Reserve’s quarterly Z.1 Report for signs of changing financial trends, and found something potentially serious. The following three charts tell the tale:

First, corporate borrowing slowed dramatically in 2015’s fourth quarter…

…while households scaled back their mortgage borrowing:

And guess who stepped in to save the credit bubble? That’s right. Federal government borrowing soared:

Writes Noland: “This more than offset the private-sector slowdown, ensuring that overall Non-Financial Debt growth accelerated to an 8.6% pace in Q4.”

In other words, monetary policy (QE and low/negative interest rates) has stopped working and now we’re reverting to deficit spending to juice the economy. If this is the beginning of a trend, expect to see a torrent of announcements in coming months touting new government programs on infrastructure, health care and/or the military.

It’s as if the people making these decisions have forgotten that 1) the world borrowed $57 trillion post-2008 and got next to nothing for it and 2) the new debt will have to be rolled over at higher rates if interest rates are ever to be normalized, thus decimating government finances.

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America’s Economic Freedom Has Declined Rapidly Under Obama

By Anthony B Kim – Re-Blogged From The Heritage Foundation

Millions of people around the world are emerging from poverty thanks to rising economic freedom. But by sharp contrast, America’s economic freedom has been on a declining path over the past decade.

America’s declining score in the index is closely related to rapidly rising government spending, subsidies, and bailouts.

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A Blueprint for Balance: A Federal Budget for 2017

Re-Blogged From The Heritage Foundation

The Blueprint for Balance provides detailed recommendations for the annual congressional budget. Congress needs to drive down spending – including through reform of entitlement programs – to a balanced budget, while maintaining a strong national defense, and without raising taxes.

While Congress cannot solve everything at once, it can and must take opportunities through the annual budget and appropriations process to make a down payment of putting the government’s finances back in order. They can do this by immediately reducing discretionary spending and taking meaningful steps to reduce mandatory spending by reforming those programs.

The Blueprint:

  • Balances the budget while reducing taxes. The Blueprint reaches primary balance (i.e., without including interest of the debt) within the first year and eliminates deficits by 2023 without counting any benefits from growing the economy (that would result in balance even sooner). The budget stays in surplus while allowing the nation to begin reducing the national debt. It does this while completely eliminating over $1.3 trillion in the tax revenues included in Obamacare.

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