What Trillion-Dollar Surplus are They Dreaming Of?

(3/14/20) We thought it would be interesting to go back to a time when the budget deficit wasn’t even ˝ of what the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is now estimating that for ther fiscal year 2019-2020, the budget deficit will reach $1.08 trillion dollars.

(10/25/08)- The federal budget deficit rose to $455 billion for the 2008 fiscal year that ended on September 30th, 2008. This was almost 3 times as great as the deficit for the fiscal year that ended September 30th, 2007 which came in at $162 billion.

The gap was 3.2 % of the gross domestic product, up from 1.2% according to figures released by the Treasury Department.

Total spending rose by 9.1% in 2008 from 2007 to $2.98 trillion, which was the biggest percentage growth in spending since a 9.6% gain in 1990. Revenue decreased by $112.9 billion, including a drop of 18% in corporate income tax revenue.

In our article dated 7/24/01 below, we wrote about the budget surplus and how to spend it. What a difference 7 years make!!!!!!!!

(10/8/08)- President George W. Bush has signed into law a temporary budget bill of roughly $630 billion that will keep the government running through March 2009. The bill will also provide about $25 billion in low-cost-loans to the automotive industry to accelerate the development of fuel-efficient cars.

The Senate had approved the temporary-budget bill by a vote of 78 to 12 on September 19th, after the House approved it earlier in the week. Congress has been unable to pass the majority of the 12 spending bills they are required to approve each year, but the government continues to operate under "continuing funding resolutions".

Both presidential candidates have backed the $25 billion low-loan funding measure. This budget bill does not include in it the $700 billion being spent as part of the financial industry bailout, which is considered an off-budget item.

The legislation does not include an extension of the moratoria that prohibits offshore drilling in many of the outer continental shelf, thus effectively ending the ban on September 30th. Several Congressmen have stated that they would introduce legislation at the next session of Congress to re-introduce the ban. The ban on the mining of oil shale in the western states also will expire, but legislation will be introduced at the next session of Congress to extend that ban also.

It will take the Interior Department several years to issue new leases for offshore drilling and oil shale mining so these issues will be with us for many more years.

The budget battle really centers on the provision of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 which requires cuts in spending to match any increase in spending for a given fiscal year. If Congress wants to increase spending in one area of the budget, it must be met be cuts in budgetary spending elsewhere. With fixed costs such as Medicare and Medicaid spending rising, this must be counterbalanced by cuts in spending elsewhere.

(9/13/08)- The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) predicted that the government would run a $407 billion deficit for the fiscal year, which ends September 30, 2008. The CBO also predicted that the deficit would grow to a record $438 billion for the fiscal year 2009.

These numbers are slightly worse than the White House predictions of a deficit of $389 billion in fiscal 2008 and $482 in fiscal 2009.

Incidentally these predictions do not take into account any costs that might arise from the Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac reorganization package recently enacted by Congress, nor the $29 billion package to help J.P. Morgan take over Bear Stearns.It is possible that the Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac package may cost the government as much as $200 billion. Ultimately this money may be recouped by the government.

(8/14/08)- The Treasury Department announced the latest budget numbers, and they are truly staggering. For the month of July alone, the U.S. government, (which in reality means the taxpayer) paid out interest on the federal debt of $24.06 billion.

The monthly deficit in July was $102.77 billion, up 182% from $36.45 in July 2007. Spending for the month of July 2008 totaled $263.25 billion, up 27% from July 2007's $206.89 billion. The July 2008 spending represented a record for the month of July.

Government receipts were $160.49 billion, down 6% for the $170.44 billion recorded for July 2007

Year to date, the deficit for fiscal 2008, which ends September 30th totaled $371.44 billion, which is 136% higher than the $157.42 billion for the same 10-month period a year ago.

Please keep in mind that the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 was intended to prevent such fiscal chaos from ever occurring.

(8/5/08)- Jim Nussle, the White House budget director predicted that President George W. Bush would leave a $482 billion deficit to his successor whoever that may be. This does not include the full cost of the military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the potential $50 billion cost of the economic stimulus package, the cost of the recently passed housing bill and any shortfall in income because of the recessionary environment that the economy is in right now.

With this scenario as a backdrop, the Treasury estimated that it would have to borrow $555 billion to finance the government for the coming fiscal year. The latest projection would leave the Treasury with an estimated cash balance of $45 billion by September 30th.

(6/13/08)- The Senate, in a 48 to 45 vote gave final approval to a $3 trillion budget blueprint that calls for more spending than the president requested for education, highway construction and other domestic programs. The House is expected to approve the measure before it adjourns for the summer.

It will not be submitted to the president for his approval and will not become law, but creates a framework for action by Congress on spending and taxes in the coming year. The budget was written almost exclusively by the Democrats.

The Maine senators, Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, were the only Republicans to vote for the measure, while Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana, was the only Democrat who voted against it.

Republican senators Peter V. Domenici of New Mexico and John W. Warner of Virginia, opposed the budget, and were on the Senate floor for the roll call, but refrained from voting against it out of deference to two Democrats who were absent because of illness (Senator Robert C. Byrd of West Virginian and Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusettes).

Mr. Bush has threatened to veto appropriations bills that exceed his request, and Democrats in Congress may try to avoid an election-year fight with the White House by holding back major appropriation bills until his successor takes office.

The budget blueprint anticipates a deficit of $340 billion in 2009, declining in the ensuing years so that the government would post a surplus of $22 billion in 2012. The blueprint allows for an extension of expiring tax provisions that benefit middle-income families.

The blueprint provides about $21 billion more than the president requested in a wide range of programs.

(4/25/08)- The Treasury Department reported that receipts from corporate income taxes fell 16% to $129 billion in the first half of fiscal 2008, which began on October 1, 2007. The federal deficit during the period hit an all-time high of $311 billion, and was up 20% from a year earlier

Federal receipts overall hit a record in the first half of the fiscal year, reaching $1.15 trillion, an increase of 2% from a year earlier. Individual-income-tax receipts accounted for $504 billion, up from $479 billion in the first half of fiscal 2007

There was a 6% jump in federal spending to $1.46 trillion that helped to create the record shortfall.

(1/27/08)- The Senate passed by a 91-to-3 vote, and sent on to the president, the $696 military spending budget bill that included a 3.5% raise for the armed services. The president is expected to sign the measure.

Mr. Bush had previously rejected an earlier version of the measure because of a provision that would have guaranteed that victims of state-sponsored abuse could sue a foreign government in court and collect judgments by seizing it assets inside the U.S. The president had vetoed that measure because he felt that might expose the Iraqi government to lawsuits for abuses committed during the regime of Saddam Hussein.

The administration estimated that Iraq had more than $25 billion of assets invested in this country that could be tied up in such lawsuits.

The House had previously passed the bill by a 369 - 46 vote.

(1/3/08)- The House voted to approve the budget that had been passed by the Senate by a vote of 253 to 41, with 41 Republicans joining 212 Democrats in favor and 8 Democrats joining 146 Republicans in opposition to its passage. The Senate, by a vote of 76 to 17 previously had passed the budget that White House officials signaled would be signed by the president.

The $516 billion budget bill did not include any timetable for the withdrawal of our troops from Iraq, and thus represented a significant victory for the president. The bill also provides for a temporary fix of the alternative minimum tax for this coming year so that fewer taxpayers will be subject to this additional tax when they fill out their 2007 income tax return.

(12/16/07)- And so the budget battle continues. With no permanent resolution of the differences between the president and the Congress in sight, both the House and the Senate passed a continuing resolution through December 21 so that government funding can continue to be funded through that date. Under the "continuing resolution" spending is limited to the same amount that it was in the prior budget.

To summarize the dispute, the Democrats originally proposed an additional $22 billion in spending above what President Bush had proposed in his budget. When the president would not budge on the matter, the Democrats cut their proposal in half to an additional $11 billion, but Mr. Bush would not go along with that proposal either.

The Democrats, who were elected on a budget proposal of "pay as you go" must either find $22 billion in cuts from their proposal, or find an additional $22 billion in revenue income without doing so through additional taxation methods.

Both the Republicans and the Democrats agree that something need be done so that the alternative minimum tax does not hit "middle America", and yet where can Congress find an alternative source of income to replace the income that would be lost if the tax is repealed?

Confusing matters even further is the fact that the president refuses to accept any time limitations for troop pullouts from Iraq that are tied into the funding for the Iraq war.

(11/22/07)- The bitter partisan battle between the Democrats and the Republicans continues unabated, so that the government remains in a state of gridlock. The present continuing resolution that is funding the budget for all governmental agencies will expire on December 14.

The continuing resolution has to be extended by Congress every few weeks

The way things are going it is quite possible that this is how the government will be funded for the rest of the 14 months that the president has for his term in office.

Continuing resolutions fund the agencies at basically the same level that they were funded at last year with some minor exceptions. The battle escalated when the president vetoed the $600 billion annual social-services appropriation. It was the third spending-related veto in recent weeks. Congress failed to override his veto in the case of the children's health-care bill, but did override it in a water bill.

The president did sign the $471.2 billion defense budget bill, but that did not include spending for the Iraq-Afghanistan war.

Both parties would like to see the alternative-minimum tax eliminated, but they disagree on how to accomplish it. The Democrats, who want to adhere to a "pay- as-you-go" policy, but the Republicans are opposed to any new taxes that would be initiated to replace the lost $50 billion that is raised by that tax that will engulf 21 million Americans when they make out their 2007 tax returns.

A Democratic proposal to tie $50 billion in war spending was tied iinto an Iraq withdrawal time limitation, while the Republicans favored an unencumbered $70 billion appropriation that had no timetable for withdrawal attached to it.

The procedural requirement in the Senate for 60 votes before a bill is set for passage forward of the legislation is leaving that legislative branch of the government in gridlock.

(11/16/07)- House-Senate negotiators approved a $471.2 billion defense budget, which will cover all Pentagon operations except for the Iraq-Afghanistan war. The bill also provides for a stopgap spending provision through mid-December, since the present stopgap measure is due to expire on November 16th

Negotiators did include spending of $11.6 billion to pay for the production of heavily armored vehicles to protect the troops from roadside ambushes and explosive devices. The president acknowledged that he would sign the measure after it has been passed and sent on to him by Congress.

Congressional Democrats offered $50 billion in interim spending for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, coupled with a timetable date of December 15, 2008 for removing all troops except for those needed for the protection of diplomats and remaining military forces for counter-terrorism operations. It would also impose a requirement that American troops spend more time at home between rotations to Iraq, and order all government personnel to follow the Army field manual in conducting interrogations.

(11/8/07)- With the budget process still in a stalemated situation, the Democrats hope to combine 3 of the appropriation bills in one, and thereby hope to force the president to sign the measure. The Democrats scaled back the domestic spending bill to $215.4 billion, but even that amount is $14 billion more than the president requested as part of his 2008 budget for health, labor and education.

The rate of growth for health, labor and education represents a 5% growth level for this account, which is about one-half the growth level for defense. Total defense and military construction funding in the bill would increase by $45 billion above the 2007 figure, which represents a 10% increase from 2007 levels.

Separately Congress has authorized spending of $43.5 billion over the past year to operate spy satellites, remote surveillance station and CIA outposts overseas. For many years government officials refused to disclose the intelligence budget, citing risks to national security. This past summer Congress passed a law requiring that the director of national intelligence to reveal the spending authorization figure within 30 days after the close of the fiscal year, which ended September 30th.

Mike McConnell, the director of national intelligence revealed this figure, which is known as the National Intelligence Program. It includes the budget for the CIA and the National Security Agency. Last year, John D. Negroponte, then the director of national intelligence, announced that the work force in the nation's 16 intelligence agencies numbered nearly 100,000.

(10/31/07)- The budget impasse between the president and Congress shows no sign yet of being resolved. The House recently voted to uphold the president's veto of the $35 billion over 5 years child health-care bill, but the Democrats in Congress have vowed to send him a new bill in November. The government is now operating under a stopgap spending measure that is due to expire on November 16th.

As of this date nothing has changed from our item dated 10/2/07 below in regards to the 12 major annual appropriations bills. One of the major areas of dispute is in connection with the $510 billion defense bill. That measure has two major titles: $459.6 for the core Pentagon budget separate from the Iraq-Afghanistan war, and a $50 billion "bridge fund" which is for the cost in the war through next year.

Total U.S. military spending in Iraq will approach the $600 billion mark at the end of this fiscal year by September. Congress is also calling for about $10 billion is spending over the amount requested by the president for labor, health and education programs.

Included in the budget is a request for about $500 million in a new bi-partisan initiative to help Mexico battle drug traffickers along its U.S. border. The core of the dispute involves about $22 billion to $23 billion that would be added to Mr. Bush's requests for domestic programs such as veterans' care, education, medical research and law enforcement.

(10/18/07)- For the third year in a row, the federal deficit has narrowed. For the fiscal year ended September 30, the U.S. recorded a deficit of $162.8 billion, about 34% smaller than the $248 billion gap in fiscal year 2006.

Spending rose 2.8% to $2.73 trillion, compared with revenue of $2.57 trillion, a 6.7% increase from fiscal 2006

Individual income-tax receipts grew 12% to $1.163 trillion, and corporate tax receipts were up 4.6% to $370.2 billion. Employment taxes rose 4.3% to $824.3 billion. The 2007 deficit came in slightly above the Congressional Budget Office's forecast of $161 billion, but below the White House estimate in July of $2.5 billion

(10/2/07)- The Senate, by a vote of 53-42, gave final congressional approval to a $850 billion increase in the public-debt the fifth such adjustment under President Bush. The public-debt ceiling enables the Treasury to borrow money up to the maximum of the ceiling.

This increase brings the total increase in the ceiling during President Bush's administration to about $4 trillion since he took office in 2001. When Mr. Bush took office in 2001, the debt ceiling stood at$5.95 trillion, which had been the ceiling since August 1997. In June 2002, this ceiling was increased by $450 billion, and in 2003, 2004 and 2006 three increases added an average of about $855 billion.

In 2001, debt ceiling was 57% if the GDP compared to 65% today. The Defense Department asked for about $190 billion to sustain military operations in Iraq and Afganistan in 2008, a $25 billion, or 15% increase over this year.

Meanwhile the budget passage impasse continues between the president and Congress, for the budget for the fiscal year that started October 1. The House has passed all 12 annual appropriation bills while the Senate has approved only 4 of them. The differences between the House version of those 4 appropriation measures and the Senate version of the same 4 must be reconciled before they can be sent for presidential approval.

Congress has passed a stopgap bill, known as a continuing resolution that continues spending at current levels until the budget is approved. With the exception of three fiscal years-1989, 1995 and 1997- at least one continuing resolution has been enacted for each fiscal year since 1954

(9/17/07)- Alan Greenspan, the former chairman of the Federal Reserve, refers to the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 in his new book, "The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World", that went on sale today. In the book he wrote about the failure of President Bush and Congress to adhere to that act. That act required a cut in spending to match any cut in taxes that the Congress would enact, or to cut spending in other areas to match any increase in spending, so that the budget would stay balanced.

Of course the president and Congress always had the loophole of calling an increase in spending and "emergency" item and therefor outside the purview of the act. We ask Mr. Greenspan, where was his voice when the provisions of the act were being violated?

With less than two weeks to go before the fiscal year begins on October 1, Congress has not completed action on any of the 12 major annual appropriations bills. President Bush has threatened to veto many of the measures passed by the House that are now awaiting action in the Senate.

By a vote of 69 to 24, the Senate did confirm the nomination of Jim Nussle, a former Iowa congressman, to be director of the White House Office of Management and Budget. Mr. Nussle was a House member for 16 years, who was defeated when he ran for governor last year.

The House has passed its version of all 12 spending bills, but the Senate has passed only one. No conference committee has begun yet to work out the differences on that one measure.

(7/27/07)- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Senate majority leader, Harry Reed, have asked for a meeting with President Bush to see if they can work out an agreement on the 12 spending bills that comprise the budget that begins on October 1, 2007.

The House has passed 8 of the 12 regular appropriations bills for 2008, but President Bush has threatened to veto 5 of them on the grounds that they called for "excessive" spending. The Senate has not passed any of the 12 bills, but plans to consider the first one next week on spending for the Department of Homeland Security.

The disagreement involves less than 1%, or $22 billion, of the federal budget of about $2.9 trillion. The president had proposed $933 billion in spending subject to annual appropriations, but Congress has decided to provide $955 billion of discretionary spending. The Congressional provision is $81 billion more than Congress provided last year.

The House did approve one of the largest spending items in the budget, which was for the Departments of Labor, Education and Health and Human Services last week by a vote of 276 to 140. Fifty three Republicans joined 223 Democrats in defying the president's veto threat.

Keep in mind that the monthly cost for Iraq is at the $12 billion mark, but since it is an "emergency" item it is not considered part of the regular budget.

(7/20/07)- The federal deficit was sharply lower through the first 9 months of this budget year than it was for the same 9-month period of time last year because revenues continue to outpace spending growth. The Treasury Department reported that the government ran a surplus of $27.48 billion in June, up 34% for the $20.48 billion in June 2006.

The total deficit through the first 9-months of the budget year, which began on October 1, 2006 is $120.97 billion, down 41% from the same period a year ago, when the deficit totaled $206.5 billion.

Please keep in mind that these numbers do not include extraordinary item expenditures, so it is not an accurate reflection of how the government is spending our money.

(2/21/07)- It has been about 5 1/2 years since we last wrote about the U.S. budget. At that time we were writing about the budget surplus, whereas this country has had a deficit for the last few years. We are not going to write about why this dramatic change took place, but rather we will resume writing about it again, since hopefully, we will see what is being done to bring things in balance again.

The Senate has passed and sent on to the president for his signature a budget bill that was the result of the compromise between the House and Senate budget-bill negotiators. Please keep in mind that this is the budget for fiscal 2007 that began for the federal government on October 1, 2006. In the interim Congress passed several stopgap measures to keep the government running.

The bill, which passed in the Senate by an 81 to 15 margin, calls for a spending of $464 billion for the 9 unfinished spending bills for foreign aid and every domestic agency budget except the Homeland Security Department. The bill freezes the spending for most of the agencies at the same level as was their spending in 2006.

It sticks to the president's overall budget caps, but finds ways around them to add money for education, health care, food inspection, mine safety and other programs favored by the Democrats. The president has indicated that he would sign the measure.

Please keep in mind that our old friend the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 is still on the books and is the law of the land. It was the main reason why the budget ended up in balance, since it required any increase in spending to be matched by decreased spending in other areas to match the increase. Of course there is always the "emergency spending" that the government must do, which is outside the purview of the act, but that is an entirely different matter.

(7/24/01)-Many of you have e-mailed us asking why we are writing so many articles about the budget on our web site. What has the budget got to do with issues of the aging? In reality the budget issue will probably affect only a few of us who are now on Social Security or Medicare in our lifetime. That issue is of critical importance to our children and grandchildren, so therefore it is critically important to us and to the future of this country.

Recent estimates from the CBO have decreased the estimate of the surplus to $160 billion for the fiscal calendar year ending September 30th, 2001. The president favors using the surplus to help prolong the solvency of Medicare and Social Security. Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan in recent testimony before Congress has stated that he favors using the surplus to reduce our debt. Yet for those of us familiar with our old friend the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, we scratch our heads in perplexion.

Formulating a budget is one of the most important tasks involving delicate negotiations between the Congress and the president. One of the falicies of the budget process involves what is called "emergency spending". Money allocated towards emergency spending does not go into the computation as to whether or not a budget is balanced. It is treated as an item that exists but is not counted. Usually Representative Tom Delay (Rep-Tex), the House majority whip, is one of the most conservative House members in regards to fiscal matters. Rep. Delay is under substantial pressure from some of his constituents from Houston which suffered extensive damage as a result of a huge tropical storm in June. He therefore is attempting to insert an additional $1.3 billion in spending in this year's budget for the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Thus the size of the bill being considered by Congress would be increased to $6.5 billion. This allocation is supposed to handle the unanticipated budget needs of several governmental agencies through the end of the year.

Remember that it was only 4 years ago when it was estimated that Medicare would go insolvent in 2001 and Social Security would go insolvent in 2029. It has been due mainly to a healthy economy and lower interest rate that this period has been extended to the years 2029 and 2038 respectively (See our article The Estimated Life of Social Security and Medicare). With a weakening economy will this mean that the old estimates will have to be restored?

The Treasury has estimated that it would be able to redeem about $33 billion in public debt for the quarter ending June, 2001 from the total outstanding debt of $3.3 trillion. Over $300 billion worth of debt has been paid down in the last few years. The Treasury has further estimated that they will redeem about $152 billion of the public debt for the quarter ending June 31, 2001. Because of less borrowing by the Federal government, and more borrowing by the private sector, the Federal government accounts for only 18 % of the newly issued bond market versus 40% in 1990. The Government has needed less money to borrow than the amount that has been maturing. With the lowered supply of issues from the Federal government it has been made easier for interest rates to go down.

We agree with the position that it is a good idea to retire the higher interest debt in theory but unfortunately this theory comes in clash with our present environment. In order to be able to make it attractive for present high coupon bondholders to allow their bonds to be called a high premium will have to be offered to them to induce them to surrender these bonds. By premium we mean the price in excess of 100% or par. The premium that is paid for these bonds would have to be accounted for by subtracting from the expected budgetary surplus. Since we firmly believe that the caps imposed by the BBA of 1997 should be adhered to within the bounds of including inflation expectations, there would be even less money available than there is available now. The last few months has seen a period of falling interest rates. The Treasury Department has been given the authority to conduct "reverse auctions". A "reverse auction" means that instead of holding a regular auction wherein Treasury bills, notes or bonds are issued, older higher interest bearing bonds are paid off at premium prices. Initially the Treasury Department announced that they would buy back about $1 trillion of high interest rate Treasury bonds. The Treasury Department also announced that they would hold the issuance of 1-year Treasury bills down to 4 times a year instead of having such auctions once every month during the year. We also know that the Treasury would not use this authority unless it was advantageous to do it. Anybody who says it will help us in the near term however is not being very accurate. We continue to favor the policy of using any surplus to lower the amount of borrowing that the government does, since this helps to lower interest rates now. This should be our number one priority rather than an excessive tax cut or increased spending beyond the limitations of the BBA of 1997. Usage of the" emergency spending" escape hatch should be limited to only those items that are truly "emergencies".

Normally interest rate yields increase as the maturity lengthens. A distortion is occurring in the yield curve simply because the supply of 30-years Treasury bonds is decreasing since no new 30 year maturities are being issued and the older issues are being called.

If in fact we go into deficit the first place that will be used to borrow from will be the Social Security Trust Funds. With the possibility of a weakening economy we could come back to estimates of Social Security and Medicare insolvency within the next few years. We are now at that stage where almost as many people are receiving Social Security benefits as there are those contributing to it by being taxed on their payrolls. With the baby boomers coming of age the number of people on Social Security will continue to grow by a greater proportion than there are those who will be on the payroll. We must deal with this problem now.

In passing the BBA of 1997 Congress created a "future IOU". In order to make the numbers work at the time the law was enacted it called for a cut in real terms of about 20% in future federal spending. Congress realized then that if the spending cuts were to take place it would create devastation. They felt that the reductions in spending would be less devastating if phased in over time. When the law was enacted in 1997 the president and Congress sought to accomplish two goals. The goals were to give the people a tax cut and at the same time to balance the budget. Does this sound familiar? They achieved the desired results by making some cuts in Medicare, and through usage of the "future IOU" gimmick. No specific domestic programs were cut. The law states that if you add spending in one area, you must make compensating cuts in another area. The law actually allowed one more rise in spending before the strict rules were to set in.

If we adhere to the caps domestic spending for all programs taken together must be cut by about 20%. There is also another problem that is beginning to surface. Chairman Greenspan has testified that by enacting a tax cut now you are taking away one of the Fed's quivers when as and if the economy should slow down towards a recession. The tax cut has inflationary implications as well.

In its infinite wisdom Congress is trying to circumvent through various methodologies the caps imposed by the BBA of 1997. To see how they are trying to accomplish this all you have to do is look at the $4.5 billion allocated to the Census Bureau as "emergency spending" for the 2000 census. The Constitution requires a census count every ten years and this will be the first time that the appropriation will be deemed "emergency spending".

To paraphrase a recent expression "It's the economy, stupid". We must live within the caps established by the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 no matter how painful it may be. If there is a true emergency in some area, than allocations should be made for real emergencies only. Instead of paying off bondholders of governmental obligations use the money to establish a meaningful prescription drug coverage plan under Medicare.


By Allan Rubin
updated March 14, 2020

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