House Republicans adding to debt as balanced budget commitment wavers

After initial success in cutting federal spending and reducing deficits, House Republicans have drifted into the red with a series of tax measures and spending bills that are not offset — either adding to the pile of debt or hiding the costs with accounting gimmicks.

More than a dozen bills with costs that are not fully offset elsewhere in the budget have passed the Republican-controlled House and threaten to add nearly $1 trillion to federal debt over the next decade.

The measures include a slew of tax breaks known as tax extenders. Among them are a $155 billion research and development tax credit, a $90 billion expansion of the child tax credit to higher-income families and a $2 billion enhanced tax deduction for businesses that make charitable food donations.

25 Comments - what are your thoughts?

  • Roberto Enrique Benitez says:

    Perhaps it’s time to once again consider a major 3rd party.

  • Ddenney1 says:

    The modern Republicans = moderate Demon Rats hence RINO’s!!!!!!!

  • Roger says:

    How many years must we wait, Congress must compromise between party lines to move Our country forward. We’re watching their voting records. November 2014 Approaches

  • Peter Locke says:

    Yeah( They think they’re FLUSH. I agree, FLUSH them!!!

  • savage24 says:

    If the congress lived up to their oath of office, there would be no need for a balanced budget amendment. There are no provisions in the Constitution for this outrageous spending. Blaming one side or the other is ridiculous, they are all to blame, and don’t forget those that elected them can share in it too.

  • Keith says:

    It’s time to flush all of these guys.

  • Bill says:

    Nov 2014, clean up the Senate and the House, get rid of these “Do Nothing, Lying” politicians.

  • bobnstuff says:

    Spend but don’t tax, the Republican way. Not helping the middle class here.

    1. rivahmitch says:

      Actually, I’d suggest that LBJ started us on that path with his philosophy that the government6 could have both “guns and butter” without paying for either. As I recall, he was NOT a republicrat but a Dempublican (recognizing that the difference is insignificant as both are autocratic statists).

      1. I Seigel says:

        As I recall, it was George W Bush who said we could have 2 wars, fight terrorists, but we should not worry and just go shopping and we won’t worry about paying for the wars with higher taxes or less government. You know, kind of like “guns and butter” without paying for either? Don’t you just love the “DON’T Tax but Spend” Republicans?

        And regarding this news article: FINALLY!! An approach to governing that doesn’t involve bowing down and praying to Grover Norquist. Why the fascination with deficits, at a time of record low interest rates, still-high unemployment, and crumbling infrastructure? Let’s fix the roads and bridges NOW while interest rates are low!!! Put people to work! And not on some idiotic pipeline that carries CANADIAN oil!

        1. Roberto Enrique Benitez says:

          Since you’re against private companies that would help us with our energy needs, how are you going to put people back to work, on government programs?

          1. I Seigel says:

            How did you make the connection between what I wrote and your conclusion that I’m “against private companies that would help us with our energy needs”? The only thing I said in relation to energy was that the Keystone XL pipeline was a bad idea. So, please tell me – if the Keystone gets built, how will that help our energy needs?

          2. Roberto Enrique Benitez says:

            While most of the oil refined at southern ports will be sold overseas, some will be be sold locally. In addition, it will provide jobs and encourage additional energy exploration AND production.

          3. I Seigel says:

            Yes, some will be sold locally. The profit going to the Canadian oil company and a percentage to the refiners. So THAT’S worth building a pipeline all the way across the country? And right now, there is plenty of exploration and production going on – in the oil business and the natural gas business. The only thing I see the pipeline is good for is to temporarily employ American workers to build the thing. And I feel there are much better ways to put construction workers to work – much more “bang for the buck” building or replacing bridges, roads, dams and improving and securing the electric grid.

            So I don’t think I said that I’m “against private companies that would help us with our energy needs”. I said that the pipeline was a bad idea and if one of the main rationales for building it was that it would create jobs, then jobs can be created doing many more beneficial things for the country than just a pipeline. And at the VERY low interest rates we still have, it’s a good time to invest in infrastructure.

            Hundreds of thousands of jobs were created to build the interstate highway system 50 years ago. It’s time for a similar investment in the country.

          4. Roberto Enrique Benitez says:

            So you prefer government taxes to pay for government projects rather than private money to pay for private projects, I see.

            And please, give up the progressive word “invest” when you mean spending taxpayers’ money. Also, fifty years ago the country wasn’t nearly broke. And I’m old enough to remember see road construction crews of 50 men working under 1 supervisor to build the highways. Now it’s 4 or 5 supervisors and 2 union workers.

          5. I Seigel says:

            When you spend money and eventually get more of it in return, that’s what “investment” is. Are you suggesting that the Interstate Highway System wasn’t an “investment”? Hoover Dam? The CDC? The Apollo program? Weather satellites? The Marshall Plan? Panama Canal? How else would any of these been accomplished if not for government spending? And your blanket condemnation of modern road construction crews sounds like something you heard on Fox.

          6. Roberto Enrique Benitez says:

            Why fear calling it government spending through taxation and borrowing? Is it because the US is deep in debt? As in the song “Turn, Turn, Turn,” To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. That includes government spending. I hope quoting the Book of Ecclesiastes doesn’t offend you.

            So why try to sidestep the issue with diversions? I was discussing a modern project which could be largely done through private enterprise as opposed to the wishes of many who seem to prefer government enterprise, or at least those where the state dictates the utilization of privately held assets to achieve public policy goals.

            As for your examples, do you understand the motivations and reasoning for the Panama Canal, the Marshall Plan, the Eisenhower Interstate Highway System (include the ALCAN Highway), or the Space Program? Understanding that’s important.

            By the way, please don’t prevaricate. I made no blanket condemnation of modern road construction crews. Nor have I heard anything like that on Fox. Your resorting to that shibboleth leads me to suspect you’re on the Far Left, perhaps a Progressive or even a Communist. Am I wrong?

          7. I Seigel says:

            Your original question to me was: “Since you’re against private companies that would help us with our energy needs, how are you going to put people back to work, on government programs?” I believe I answered it in a reasonable, straightforward way.

            You made a statement comparing road construction crews “in the old days” with those now. If you weren’t likening ALL union crews to the example you cited, then I apologize for assuming that. I don’t think you were clear in your statement.

            I don’t think I was “sidestepping the issue with diversions”. Your question was government spending versus private spending, and I stated my opinion and gave several example of why government spending – borrowing via sales of bonds – can be eventually very good for the economy and create thousands of jobs. And to use the term “invest” in this scenario is, I believe, a proper use of the word.

            I also didn’t mention that much of the interstate system that was built wholly or partially with federal (aka tax) money is now being taxed via tolls and road use taxes by the individual states.

            I don’t believe this is a black and white issue, an either/or issue. There are areas in which government spending to fund or “kickstart” a program is very needed, and there are other areas where private enterprise is better. For example: the development of news types of diabetes medicines or cholesterol-controlling drugs or prostate cancer drugs. These goals have a huge payoff for pharmaceutical companies, because the drugs will be used by patients for years – they’re “hooked”, and the drugs will provide a long-term revenue stream for the company. That is why we’re bombarded with ads for this cholesterol-fighting drug and that Low-T drug all the time. But take antibiotics: there is much less of an incentive to develop new antibiotics because these are a “one and done” type of drug. They used to cure an infection, and then the patient stops using it. And eventually, the targeted bacteria will develop a resistance, and then the antibiotic becomes less effective or useless. So developing new antibiotics isn’t really where the money is in pharmaceutical research, and no new antibiotics have been introduced in a long time. This is an area where government spending could be of use – to help defray the costs of R&D, which a company would probably never be able to recoup.

            Please pardon any typos.

          8. Roberto Enrique Benitez says:

            Perhaps I could have been more clear about modern road building. My apologies.

            I’m not against all private sector unions, but I feel far too many favor featherbedding and government restrictions on companies that hurt production without helping worker safety and health. In regard to the latter, our pharmaceutical companies are under so many restrictions that foreign companies have made large inroads. But we can’t remove all restrictions as some extreme libertarians suggest, which I’m not. I’m just a constitutional conservative curmudgeon who also makes typos and worse.

            As for bacterial resistance, that’s due mostly to the improper use of antibiotics. So as you point out, R&D is expensive. Also we have newer diseases like AIDS. Drugs for that is expensive but the fallout from research could benefit other diseases like certain types of cancers and other autoimmune diseases. so government financing is important.

            As a conservative I firmly believe most projects should be left to the private sector, but as you point out there’re some that even if many companies joined together, considered collusion by the government, they still couldn’t get it done. As you said, the space programs is/was a good example. Now we have private firms involved but the major work will have to be done in cooperation with and control by governments, hopefully ours.

            So it’s not an either or proposition. As the song says…

            Still, I find the use of the word “invest” as more of a political obfuscation concerning government spending which I believe is unsustainable.

            By the way, in the projects I mentioned, much of the impetus for government involvement was due to national security concerns. The ALCAN highway is a good example.

          9. I Seigel says:

            I don’t know that much about ALCAN – thanks for that info.

            On a related subject, my recollection is that the first transcontinental highway – I think it was US40 – was built primarily to move military materiel in times of emergencies. And the Interstate Highway System under Eisenhower was originally designed for military uses in mind, as well. Here’s a bit of trivia that many people don’t know: there is a design feature in the IHS that mandates that every so many miles (5?) there is a section of the highway with no overpasses or other obstructions. This was done so that a plane could use the highway as a landing strip in case of an emergency.

            I respect your opinion about the word “invest”. The word “borrowing” has a meaning that includes the act of acquiring money but doesn’t include any meaning of the intended aim of the borrowing. “Invest”, on the other hand, describes an activity of acquiring the money and then actually doing something with it. If you just wanted to describe the government as “borrowing” money, and not going into some detail about what they are borrowing it FOR, I think that is also obfuscation and trying to tilt the conversation towards a particular bias.

            As you point out, words are powerful. A simple adjective or phrase can be used to drastically affect the tone of a conversation. A word that’s overused here, in my opinion, is “invade”.

          10. Roberto Enrique Benitez says:

            The Alaskan-Canadian Highway was built during WW II to supply troops in the Alaska Territory should the Japanese gain control of the NE Pacific. Most people don’t know Japan occupied parts of Alaska during War II. In the events leading up to the Battle of Midway we weren’t sure if the Japanese were going for Alaska, Midway, or the West Coast.

            I’ve driven the ALCAN Highway twice, once in the winter of 1971 and in the summer of 1965. The summer was more difficult due to the poor conditions of the gravel road and bridges due to rain washouts.

            When Eisenhower was a young lieutenant he was assigned to take a convoy from DC to CA. It took over 30 days so bad were the roads in the US. US 4o hadn’t yet been built but it was a precursor to the Interstate System. When Eisenhower became president he decided we needed a modern highway system like the WW II German Autobahn system, which by the way was used as you said for runway strips for fighters and light bombers. Even a US B-25 landed on the autobahn during the war.

          11. joe says:

            Not all of the pipeline is private spending a lot will come from the government. If the roads and infrastructure are improved that along will create job not just in construction. Plus it would have less wear and damage to your car

          12. Roberto Enrique Benitez says:

            I don’t believe the pipeline will be built along a major highway, but as you say there’ll be some government funding. My concern is why is this administration so hostile to it’s being built.

            I believe Mr. Obama has made statements that’re pertinent to the matter.

            By the way, wear and tear is not the same as damage.

      2. bobnstuff says:

        The debt was pretty steady from Truman through Nixon, After that every president add to it. Reagan said it didn’t matter. Bush cooked the books by not putting the wars in the numbers.

        1. Roberto Enrique Benitez says:

          I believe rivahmitch disparaged both Democrats and Republicans. But it’s true LBJ got us on the road to massive deficit spending. Of course Bush didn’t help.

          I’d say we’ve been in trouble ever since FDR.

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