Budget Watch (tm)

A newsletter covering budget reform and the latest news and views on the federal budget, published by The National Center for Public Policy Research, 501 Capitol Court, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20002 (202) 543-4110, Fax (202) 543-5975, and the Small Business Survival Foundation, 1320 18th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20036 (202) 785-0238, Fax (202) 822-8118.

Issue # 4 - July 12, 1995 * David A. Ridenour and Karen Kerrigan, Editors

Hill Watch - Update on Hill Efforts for a Balanced Budget

Lack of Balance in Appropriations Committee Imperils Balanced Budget

Eight months after Republicans won control of both Houses of Congress, the House Appropriations Committee continues to be dominated by Democrat staffers. Of the 107 staffers employed by the Committee and its subcommittees, only 31, or 29% are Republican. Republicans are particularly under-represented on the full Appropriations Committee (19%) and the Agriculture (20%), Energy (20%), National Security (21%) and Treasury (20%) subcommittees. In the minds of many, this brings into question the Committee's ability to meet the GOP's spending limit targets. In a letter to Committee Chairman Bob Livingston (R-LA), former Senator Malcolm Wallop (R-WY), wrote: "...These very Democrat staffers, who you are relying upon for sincere advice, were working with the Democrat leadership to stymie Republican legislation. The ratio in your committee must have a decidedly Republican majority if the 'Contract' promises are to be kept." Contact Frontiers of Freedom @ (703)527-8282.

The Cost of Doing Nothing...The Price We Will Pay Later if We Fail to Act Today

Medicare Trust Fund Will Be Bankrupt by 2002

Medicare is the fastest growing federal program, with expenditures rising by 10.5% in 1994 alone -- three times the rate of inflation. Without significant changes, Medicare's Federal Hospital Insurance Trust Fund, which covers inpatient hospital care expenses, will be in the red by the year 2002. The Dallas-based National Center for Policy Analysis has estimated that by the year 2010, Medicare deficits will rival today's entire federal deficit.

Absent significant reform:

* The ratio of Americans paying into Medicare to those taking out of it will be 2 to 1 by 2035. Today the ratio is 3.3 to 1.

* Payroll taxes will have to be doubled by 2020.

* Single-wage couples qualifying for Medicare for the first time in 1995 will collect $126,700 more in lifetime Medicare benefits than they paid into the system.

With the number of Americans depending on Medicare for the health care at 37 million and rising, the cost of doing nothing can be catastrophic.

Administration Watch - How the Clinton Administration Views the Budget Debate

Exploiting Medicare

While the Clinton Administration's health care plan of last year would have reduced Medicare spending by as much as the Republicans have proposed this year, the White House continues to exploit the Medicare issue hoping for some political gain. This strategy was confirmed in a confidential memo left in a Capitol Hill Liquor store by a top Democratic strategist and then found by a loyal Republican Hill staffer. According to the notes from a confidential meeting of Democratic Senators and their political consultants: "The natural inclination for people is to think that the GOP wants to cut Medicare -- NOT to make it more efficient but to hurt the elderly -- We need to exploit this (emphasis added)."

Waste Patrol - Where Government Can Slim Down

Old Habits Are Hard to Break

What the Budget Committee taketh away, the Appropriations Committee giveth back. Some appropriators are apparently having a hard time kicking their pork program habits. For example, Congressman John Myers, Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water is overseeing a Energy and Water Development bill loaded with funds for water projects -- This, despite the fact that even President Clinton requested that such funds be limited. Such projects, Myers claims, serve a vital national interest. Then there's the $10.4 million inserted in a military construction bill for construction of a physical fitness center at the Bremerton Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Washington. Old habits are hard to break.

Small Business Survival Foundation *1320 18th Street, N.W. * Washington, D.C. 20036 * (202)785-0238 * Fax: (202)822-8118 * The National Center for Public Policy Research * 501 Capitol Ct NE * Washington, D.C. 20002 * (202) 543-4110 * Fax: (202)543-5975 * E-mail [email protected] * Nothing written here should be construed as an attempt to help or hinder legislation before the U.S. Congress. Copyright 1994 The National Center for Public Policy Research. Excerpts may be reprinted providing original source is credited.

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Budget Watch (tm)


A newsletter covering budget reform and the latest news and views on the federal budget, published by The National Center for Public Policy Research, 501 Capitol Court, N.E. #3, Washington, D.C. 20002 (202) 543-4110, Fax 543-5975, and the Small Business Survival Foundation, 1320 18th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20036 (202) 785-0238, Fax (202) 822-8118.

Issue # 5 - July 21, 1995 * David A. Ridenour and Karen Kerrigan, Editors

Call to Action -- How to Promote a Balanced Budget

How Has the Commerce Department Treated You?

According to Secretary Brown, the Commerce Department can take credit for almost $60 billion in U.S. export sales, creating jobs with "innovative, cost effective programs," providing "up-to-date strategies and technologies" for "America's 380,000 small manufacturers." Those interested in making the case for the abolition of the Department of Commerce are working to augment their already substantial pool of Commerce horror stories. Share yours by faxing them to (202) 543-5975.

Media Monitor -- How the Media Distorts the Balanced Budget Debate

Washington Post and ABC Show How to Skew a Poll

According to a new poll released by The Washington Post and ABC News, the electorate is almost evenly divided between those who support the President's plan to balance the budget and those who support the GOP's plan. What the two media giants don't tell you is how they skewed the results. In their survey of 1,548 randomly-selected adults, the Post and ABC posed this question: "As you may know, the Republicans in Congress have proposed a plan to balance the federal budget in seven years, and Clinton has proposed a plan to balance the federal budget in 10 years. Whose plan to balance the federal budget do you prefer, Clinton's or the Republicans'?" Respondents preferred the Republican plan by 45% to 42%, with 13% undecided. But the President's plan would not balance the federal budget in ten years. According to the CBO, the deficit would still be running in the $200 billion range under the President's plan well after 2005. Thus, the poll results were based on a false choice. Had respondents been told that the choice was between a plan that balances the budget in seven years and one that wouldn't even balance it in ten years, the results would have been significantly different.

Administration Watch -- Where the Clinton Administration Stands on Budget Issues

Special Investigative Report From Oklahoma -- Another Reason to Repeal Davis-Bacon

Brenda Reneau, Oklahoma's Labor Department Commissioner, was recently in Washington to show Members of Congress a special investigative report detailing incidents in fraud involving the U.S. Department of Labor. According to the report, fraudulent wage data was submitted to the U.S. Department of Labor (information used in issuing new wage decisions) for federally-funded heavy construction projects in the Oklahoma City area. Of three particular cases that Reneau and her staff cited, 274 facts were fraudulent. For example, a wage survey was submitted by an "interested party" indicating that 20 employees received compensation of $21.05 per hour for their work on a $2 million underground storage tank in Mustang, Oklahoma. No project was ever found that matched that description! The report includes other examples of fictitious employees and projects as well. Under the Freedom of Information Act, Commissioner Reneau has asked the U.S. Labor Department for the original WD-10 forms to find out who all these "interested parties" are. Labor officials have denied Reneau the information. For a copy of the report, contact the Oklahoma Labor Department at (405)528-1500. Repealing the Davis-Bacon Act would conservatively save taxpayers $3.1 billion over five years, according to the CBO.

Waste Patrol-- Where Government Can Slim Down

Peanut Program Helps Spending Stick to the Roof

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's fifty-year-old Peanut Program has turned peanuts into a lucrative cash crop for the privileged few, according to the Competitive Enterprise Institute. The program costs consumers $513 million a year and adds 85 cents to the cost of every family size jar of peanut butter. More than half of all peanut quotas are held by just 409 individuals and the average white quota holder owns 400% as much quota as the average black quota holder. For more information, contact Jonathan Tolman of CEI at (202)331-1010.

Small Business Survival Foundation *1320 18th Street, N.W. * Washington, D.C. 20036 * (202)785-0238 * Fax: (202)822-8118 * The National Center for Public Policy Research * 501 Capitol Ct NE * Washington, D.C. 20002 * (202) 543-4110 * Fax: (202)543-5975 * E-mail [email protected] * Nothing written here should be construed as an attempt to help or hinder legislation before the U.S. Congress.

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501 Capitol Court, N.E.
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Phone: (202) 543-4110
Fax: (202) 543-5975