Bulls & Bears

Democrats use scare tactics to slam Trump's proposed cuts

New look at government spending as critics blast the president's budget

 

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Democrats Slam Proposed Cuts in President Trump's Budget

Jonas Max Ferris: The scary part isn't how the middle class will be 'devastated' (it seems more targeted to lower income benefits) but how the budget isn't really going down enough from the previous year to cover tax cuts much less close the gap – and this is the version with the most cuts.

Also scary is why we're cutting from revenue generating areas like the EPA. This is like cutting IRS budgets or the SEC. While you might say we have too much regulations, the parts of government that bring in fines should still operate b/c we need the money badly – focus on cutting the regulations that don't have a cash flow to government at this stage or are just redundant or don't work.

Bottom line, ignoring those areas targeted for the largest cuts, it is a pretty small budget historically, but out debt problem is a combo of too little revenues and too much non discretionary spending. This doesn't address those big issues.

Gary B. Smith: Every time a dollar is NOT spent by Congress, someone has a fit. But, the fact is we are out of money. The amount of debt held by the public is higher than our GDP. In just a few years, we'll be spending over $1T just on interest payments. But, the currency of anyone in DC is power. And power means size. So unless we change how gov't is organized, we are doomed to a larger and larger bloated gov't.

John Layfield: Just the interest on what we are paying is ridiculously large. I think we pay around one trillion dollars in interest which shows you just how reckless our politicians have been. What really needs to be addressed is entitlement spending but it seems like the President has no interest in doing that.

Hadley Heath Manning: The alarmism about these cuts is way overblown. Compared to this year's budget, Trump's 2018 budget would be a reduction of about 1 percent of $13.6 billion. And presidential budgets are really more political documents than anything else. But good for Trump for proposing something that shakes Washington up. His strategy is typically to ask for a whole loaf and then get half. In negotiation this budget is his strong "opening bid."

If we could just reasonably slow the growth of government spending, especially in entitlements, we could one day balance the budget. If we could just focus on keeping the growth of government below GDP growth, we'd be headed in the right direction. We'll never balance the budget if we don't address spending.

Jessica Tarlov: These aren't scare tactics - it's legitimate. Congress saying they'll do their own budget. Republicans like Rubio and McCain are concerned by the 28 percent cuts to international affairs budgets, for instance. And I find it hard to believe they think cutting public broadcasting, community development block grant program to HUD, meals on wheels and real efforts to combat climate change are smart. Term dead on arrival seems about right.

New Fox Poll: Tax Cuts Are Higher Priority for Americans Than Replacing ObamaCare

Jonas Max Ferris: If Americans cared about Trump's tax returns he wouldn't be president. If they cared that billionaires often pay lower federal tax rates than mere thousandaires, Obama would have changed the tax code more significantly. They can't put it to bed and not improve it and move to tax reform b/c many of Trump's supporters wanted Obamacare repealed and replaced. Tax reform wasn't that high on the got to dos fast, probably after a border wall with Mexico. That said, the economy and stock market need tax reform more than a wall and probably more than Obamacare redo to keep the optimism high.
Putting healthcare to bed is easier said than done as there are essentially no solutions that are going to appeal to even large groups of people or politicians.

Gary B. Smith: Absolutely. If we want to grow the economy, study after study agree marginal rate cuts led to increases in real GDP and declines in unemployment. Show me ONE academic study -- not anecdotal evidence -- where increasing rates yields the same result? Where giving more of our money to a bloated, inefficient government would be better stimulus than spending it ourselves. Why, in God's name, would we think a politician in Washington would be a better caretaker of what we earned than we the people?

John Layfield: The House and Senate are working only eight days next month and this is terrible. We need politicians who care about cutting taxes for all Americans and not just worried about working only a few days a month. They need to get something big done. Corporate tax reform and tax reform in general needs to get done. They need to go to work.

Hadley Heath Manning: Of course Americans care more about their own tax bill. This hunt for Trump's tax returns is a partisan sideshow. Just like generally only Republican voters cared about Hillary's emails, generally only Democrats care about Trump's tax returns. The health care issue is very important too -- on a personal level for so many Americans of course -- but also as an economic issue. So Republicans need to get it right. It's not a very sexy thing to talk about, but when you really look into it, you'll find that many of the problems in our healthcare system are actually rooted in the tax code, so the two issues are very interrelated.

Jessica Tarlov: Americans care about their own taxes and Trump's. Recent polling shows that 61 percent want to see Trump's returns and it was as high as 74 percent in mid-January. So while they voted for Trump to get a tax break, his taxes matter, too. It's also not clear that his plan will give tax breaks to those who need it most - plan may just serve the interests of the mega wealthy like Trump himself. So far everything he's rolled out - including the budget and the healthcare bill - just hurts those who need government assistance and a tax cut the most.

New Look at Impact on Taxpayers and Fliers as White House Calls to Privatize Air-Traffic Control

Jonas Max Ferris: We do a good job and have safe skies from an air traffic control point of view. We should be able to run air traffic control well but in practice we can't do the tech improvements that well and this doesn't seem to be an area that we need to operate.

That said, we have to make sure some of the economic issues are dealt with – we have airlines that go bankrupt often and if they operate the system it has to be sound. We don't want to take it over again later like with Amtrak when the railroads went broke.

In general people should be paying more to fly and the money should be going to system improvements NOT general revenues to the government which is essentially what happens now with excess fees from security.

The security part seems to be the weaker link and should be re-privatized and operate with liability.

Gary B. Smith: Absolutely. Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, and France—have separated their air traffic control functions from their safety oversight and regulatory functions,

The FAA is in the midst of a years-long effort to discard the World War II-era radar technology currently used to manage airplane traffic in favor of a new satellite-based system, known as NextGen. (that program will take over 20 years to completely roll out.

It's a typical travesty of a rollout that no private company could ever survive.

John Layfield: When has the government ever run anything efficiently. They should fund this privately.

Hadley Heath Manning: My theory is if there's anything that the private sector can do better than the federal government they should do it. This seems like one of those issues.

Jessica Tarlov: No reason to think privatizing would make the system better or more cost effective. Only two other make countries have it (Britain and Canada) and they have much smaller airspaces. Air traffic control costs actually up in these countries - Britain actually had to bail them out in the early 2000s. Open to discussion of public/private partnership but not this.

Stock Picks

Gary B. Smith: March Madness means a lot of streaming of games. VZ up 30 percent when Duke repeats in 2018

John Layfield: GoPro has been awful, but I think they have finally hit a bottom and should be up 20 percent in a year

Jonas Max Ferris: Hasbro (HAS) up 15 percent in 1 year