Bankrupting America’s Spending Daily

| March 5 2013

Spending Daily | March 5, 2013

Public Notice Launches National Television And Online Ad: “Three Pennies”
Public Notice today announced a national cable and online advertising campaign urging Washington to offset sequestration with more responsible spending cuts. Based on last year’s budget, sequestration amounts to about three percent of the federal budget. This campaign focuses on what is really being asked of Washington – a cut of three cents from every dollar they spend, which is the type of sacrifice Americans make everyday. The ad will run from March 5-15.

“Credit rating agencies shrug off sequester, say more cuts needed”
The Hill reports, “Credit rating agencies are shrugging off sequestration, saying the U.S. government will need to do more to reduce the deficit if it wants to prevent a downgrade of the nation’s credit rating. While the agencies say the $85 billion in automatic spending cuts represent at least a step towards deficit reduction, they argue much more is needed to prevent the United States from losing its ‘AAA’ rating. … The agencies view it as a positive sign that Congress did not simply scrap the unpopular sequester. Erasing the cuts without coming up with an alternative, something pushed by some liberal lawmakers, would have added to the deficit and debt and further pressured agencies to downgrade the nation’s credit rating. At the same time, the agencies say they are worried that Washington’s inability to replace the sequester with targeted deficit reduction underlines concerns about the U.S. government’s dysfunction, a concern that led Standard & Poor’s to downgrade the U.S. in 2011.”

“With the sequester, Obama gets his ‘balanced’ approach”
Marc A. Thiessen editorializes in The Washington Post, “Congressional Republicans have had quite a comeback. In January, the GOP was forced to vote for a major tax hike with zero spending cuts. Now it is President Obama who has been forced to accept spending cuts with no tax hike. Who says divided government doesn’t work? Obama continues to complain the sequester does not represent a balanced approach to deficit reduction, and wants to replace some of the spending cuts with tax increases. But the Simpson-Bowles Commission laid out what a ‘balanced’ approach should entail: $3 of spending cuts for every $1 dollar in tax increases. Well according to Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), by that standard Congress and the president have nearly met that mark. Just a few weeks ago, as part of the fiscal-cliff deal, Congress approved $620 billion in tax hikes over ten years with no spending cuts. That means that to meet the 3-to-1 ratio, we should have a corresponding $1.86 trillion in spending cuts. But the sequester cuts just $1.72 trillion in spending over 10 years, according to Portman’s office. That is a ratio of just 2.78-to-1. We would need to cut an additional $138 billion, Portman calculates, in order to meet the 3-to-1 ratio recommended by Simpson-Bowles.”

House Bill Gives Pentagon Flexibility in Administering Cuts
The Hill reports, “Republican appropriators on Monday introduced a $982 billion government-funding bill that takes several steps to cushion the Pentagon and other agencies from the blow of $85 billion in sequester spending cuts. … The change would give the Pentagon more flexibility to put money into operations accounts that were facing a shortfall this year and were threatened by a full-year continuing resolution, including training programs, weapons maintenance, civilian personnel and military healthcare.”

“House Budget Bill Would Continue Automatic Spending Cuts”
Bloomberg reports, “House Republicans introduced a measure that would finance the U.S. government at an annual rate of about $982 billion through Sept. 30, keeping the automatic spending cuts that began March 1. The stopgap measure unveiled today, known as a continuing resolution, would include new 2013 spending bills for the Pentagon and the Department of Veterans Affairs, which also would be subject to the reductions. House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers, a Kentucky Republican, said the spending plan would avert a federal government shutdown when current funding expires March 27. He said it would give the Defense and Veterans Affairs departments more leeway to decide how to spend their money and implement the mandated cuts. … It would apply the federal spending cuts to the current level of $1.043 trillion in government funding, resulting in an annual spending rate of about $982 billion.”

Young Adults Accumulating Less Debt
The Wall Street Journal reports, “Young people are racking up larger amounts of student debt than ever before, but fresh data suggest they are becoming warier of borrowing in general: Total debt among young adults dropped in the last decade to the lowest level in 15 years. A typical young U.S. household—defined as one led by someone under age 35—had $15,000 in total debt in 2010, down from $18,000 in 2001 and the lowest since 1995, according to a recent Pew Research Center report and government data. Total debt includes mortgage loans, credit cards, auto lending, student loans and other consumer borrowing. In addition, fewer young adults carried credit-card balances and 22% didn’t have any debt at all in 2010—the most since government tracking began in 1983.”

More Than 400 New Fed Jobs Posted Monday
The Washington Times reports, “The sequester cuts are now officially in place, but many government agencies appear to be hiring freely anyway. The U.S. Forest Service on Monday posted help-wanted ads for a few good men and women to work as ‘recreation aides’ this summer, the Internal Revenue Service advertised for an office secretary in Maryland, the U.S. Mint wanted 24 people to help press coins, and the Agriculture Department said it needs three ‘insect production workers’ to help grow bollworms in Phoenix. Monday marked the first regular workday under sequestration, and federal agencies posted more than 400 job ads by 6 p.m.”

No Long Airport Security Lines Reported
POLITICO reports, “Despite a dire description from DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, delayed flights and air traveler headaches aren’t here quite yet, but travelers could be in for a rude April Fools’ Day present. Napolitano told a POLITICO Playbook breakfast Monday morning that lines at some airports are already ‘150 to 200 percent as long as we would normally expect,’ although TSA said travelers were not yet feeling the impact. … But first-person accounts of long security lines have yet to flood the Internet — and statements from TSA and Customs and Border Patrol suggested Napolitano may have been referring to customs checks for international travelers.”

Senate Dems to Unveil First Budget in Three Years
Roll Call reports, “For three years, Senate Democrats feared that presenting a budget would cloud their message against Republicans. But this year, they’re seeking to leverage a budget framework into a stronger hand at the table with the House GOP and Obama administration. Senate Budget Chairwoman Patty Murray of Washington is set to unveil and mark up a budget next week, in the middle of a fight over a continuing resolution to keep the government open. Murray might have to battle for time and attention for her larger, 10-year document against a more pressing shutdown fight.”

BankruptingAmerica.org is an educational project of Public Notice, an independent, nonpartisan, non-profit, 501(c)(4) organization dedicated to providing facts and insight on the effects public policy has on Americans’ financial well-being.

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