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    Budget Deficit Tag

    On Thursday, Sen. Rand Paul succeeded in blocking a vote on the so-called Budget Deal (which we discussed thusly Wednesday). In so doing, the federal government shut down at 12:01 AM. An hour and a half later, the Senate invoked cloture, voted on the huge spending deal reached by both parties Wednesday evening, passing the bill with a vote of 71-28 (without bothering to debate it). Just before dawn it passed the House and heads to Trump for signature.

    As politics and media have continued to obsess about Ferguson, a very serious thing has occurred. Our national debt topped $18 trillion dollars. That's more than our GDP. John Hinderaker of Powerline reports:
    Federal Debt Soars to Over $18 Trillion A year or so ago, the Democrats started telling us that the national debt was no longer an issue. This was based on the fact that the deficit was only around half what it was during President Obama’s first few years in office. The fiscal year 2014 deficit came in at *only* $483 billion, a cause for rejoicing in Washington. This represents the smallest deficit as a percentage of GDP since the George W. Bush administration. Still, $483 billion exceeds any deficit ever racked up during the administration of any president other than Barack Obama. (Don’t try to play the silly game of attributing the Democratic Congress’s FY 2009 deficit, which among other things included spending under the failed Obama/Reid/Pelosi “stimulus,” to President Bush.) Word came today that the national debt now exceeds $18 trillion, a little more than the GDP of the United States.
    Remember all the times Obama said he was going to cut our deficit in half? Dan Spencer of RedState does:
    Our ‘Irresponsible’ and ‘Unpatriotic’ $18 Trillion National Debt

    Any other "Bs" you can come up with regarding this? Lawmakers unveil massive $1.1 trillion spending bill in bipartisan compromise:
    Congressional negotiators unveiled a $1.1 trillion funding bill late Monday that would ease sharp spending cuts known as the sequester while providing fresh cash for new priorities, including President Obama’s push to expand early-childhood education. The 1,582-page bill would fully restore cuts to Head Start, partially restore cuts to medical research and job training programs, and finance new programs to combat sexual assault in the military. It would also give all federal workers a 1 percent raise.... The White House and leaders of both parties praised the measure, which would fund federal agencies for the remainder of the fiscal year and end the lingering threat of a government shutdown when the current funding bill expires at midnight Wednesday.... The spending bill puts flesh on the bones of a bipartisan budget deal struck in December, when Republicans and Democrats agreed to partially repeal the sequester, heading off a roughly $20 billion cut set to hit the Pentagon on Wednesday and restoring funding to domestic agencies, which had already absorbed sequester reductions. Despite the increases, the bill would leave agency budgets tens of billions of dollars lower than Obama had requested and ­congressional Democrats had sought. That represents a victory for congressional Republicans, who, after three years of fevered battles over the budget, have succeeded in rolling back agency appropriations to a level on par with the final years of the George W. Bush administration, before spending skyrocketed in an effort to combat the recession.
    So it's being portrayed as more of a Republican win? I think I'll need to digest it a little more before coming to that conclusion. One thing it does do is allow Republicans to focus like a laser on Obamacare for the 2014 elections.  Oh, wait:

    I should have been more all over the budget deal reached between Paul Ryan and What's-Her-Name-From-Way-Over-There. I've been trying to understand both the details and the big picture. One thing I have noticed is that the mainstream media is loving it, REPUBLICAN SCHOOLYARD FIGHT! (Today's ALL CAPS courtesy of Jim Geraghty.) From Rick Klein at ABC News, Boehner’s Big Blast (ALL CAPS added):
    It will be remembered for a message: This was the time that REPUBLICAN LEADERS SAID TO THEIR FRIENDS, CUT IT OUT. “This is ridiculous,” House Speaker John Boehner declared of the opposition brought forward by an array of his erstwhile allies – Club for Growth, Heritage Action, the Koch brothers, and -by implication- senators including Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Tom Coburn, and even Mitch McConnell and John Cornyn. The agreement set to pass the House today is significant but ultimately minuscule. It buys two years’ of budget peace, but in a familiar fashion: BY AVOIDING THE TOUGH STUFF (taxes, entitlements…).

    I just watched the press statements from Paul Ryan and Patty Murray. The details are being described all around as "modest" and a time out. The key is that nothing much was accomplished as to the overall budget trajectory. There also was "sequester relief," meaning that one of the only things restraining spending was weakened (Ryan justified that by saying that new sequester cuts were mostly from the military). While there are no "new taxes," beleaguered airline passengers will see new ticket fees. But it's not a tax! Most of the MSM headlines are predictable -- Congress is working again! NBC summarizes the "deal" as follows:

    Locked in trillion dollar tax revenue increase. Promises, promises on spending cuts. According to the frequently wrong but always wonkish-proclaiming Ezra Klein, this is where the Boehner-Obama negotiations are heading: Boehner offered to let tax rates rise for income over $1 million. The White House wanted to let tax...

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