Politics

5 Ways Congress Fell Short in Spending Your Money in 2017

government education billions spendingAs 2017 comes to a close, it’s worth remembering that America’s mountain of debt continues to grow.

Here are five key facts about federal spending in 2017 to remember:

1. The deficit reached $666 billion.

By many, 666 is known as the number of the beast in the Book of Revelation in the New Testament. In this case, $666 billion is the 2017 federal budget deficit.

That’s how much more Congress spent in 2017 than it took in from taxation. Of total spending in 2017, which topped $3,982 billion, Congress borrowed 17 cents on every dollar.

2. The debt reached $20 trillion.

The year 2017 marked the first time the national debt exceeded $20 trillion.

The debt reached this level in September when President Donald Trump struck a deal with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., to continue funding for domestic and defense programs, provide relief in light of Hurricane Harvey, and suspend the debt limit.

Since then, the debt limit was reinstated at $20.4 trillion in early December.

3. Social Security spending reached $1 trillion.

This year marked the first time that Social Security spending on the Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance programs topped $1 trillion.

Social Security is the single largest federal benefit program. It has held this rank since 1993, when it first surpassed spending on national defense. Without reforms, both Social Security programs are projected to reach insolvency by 2034.   

4. Three continuing resolutions.

Federal law dictates that Congress must pass a budget to fund national defense and domestic programs that are categorized as discretionary spending, each year by Sept. 31.

The congressional budget process specifies that Congress should provide this funding in the form of 12 individual spending bills so as to allow for proper deliberation of funding priorities. But Congress rarely, if ever, follows this process, which is also referred to as “regular order.”

Three months into fiscal year 2018, which began on Oct. 1, Congress has already passed three temporary continuing resolutions. The last continuing resolution was passed on Dec. 22 and sets up the next funding deadline on Jan. 19.

Continuing resolutions are a flawed way of funding the government—but when the alternative is a potentially $200-plus billion spending increase from a deal to breach budget caps that are currently in law, a continuing resolution at current funding levels is the lesser evil.

5. First Trump budget was proposed.

The president released his first official budget proposal in May 2017.

The “America First” proposal would balance the budget within 10 years, prioritize national defense spending, and reduce spending on nondefense discretionary programs by more than $1.4 trillion over 10 years.

It would also implement policies to reduce the reach and weight of the federal government by eliminating wasteful and duplicative programs, and by rolling back harmful regulations that reduce individual freedom and hamstring the national economy.

But Congress has not given the president’s proposals the serious consideration that they deserve.

This year, Congress broke several budget number records and kicked the can on funding for the federal government into 2018. This, despite the fact that America’s new president introduced a bold budget to reduce the size and scope of government—including many ideas embraced by Heritage Foundation policy experts.

Federal spending is on an unsustainable upward trajectory, driving national debt to economically harmful levels. This comes with consequences that will be felt for generations in the form of lost opportunity and less prosperity.

Now that Congress and the president have achieved significant tax reform, they must work together in 2018 and beyond to realize fundamental budget reform. If they fail, the gains just realized on taxes could be too soon undone as out-of-control spending exerts pressure to raise taxes in the not-too-distant future.

As deficits are projected to reach $1 trillion annually before the end of this decade, Congress and the president must not delay to cut spending, right-size the federal government, and reform unsustainable entitlement programs. Succeeding at that is critical to restoring America to greatness.         

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From - The Daily Signal - by Romina Boccia

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Hank
3 years ago

Every time the Government floats more debt, it dilutes the dollar. That hurts the consumer. Every time the Government floats more debt, it is bad debt, because it is repaid with more debt. To think that the government should be responsible for controlling the money supply is about as ludicrous as giving your teenager another credit card because the others you gave them have been maxed out.

Sam
3 years ago

4. Three continuing resolutions.
Federal law dictates that Congress must pass a budget to fund national defense and domestic programs that are categorized as discretionary spending, each year by Sept. 31.

My comment: Sorry, but September only has 30 days not 31. In 1976 we had fiscal year 1976T (July-September 1976) because Congress didn’t do their job and pass the budget by 30 June 1976. So they kicked the can down the road for 3 months and changed the fiscal year-end from 30 June to 30 September. We need to hold the Congress accountable for passing the budget by 30 September of each fiscal year. If they don’t, we should not pay them until they do!

Also, I have paid into Social Security since I was 14 years old. Now Social Security will be insolvent by 2034. Let’s make Congress put back all of the Social Security Trust Fund that they robbed years ago and haven’t repaid it yet!

Hank
3 years ago
Reply to  Sam

…and what about replacing the foregone, compounding interest on the misappropriated funds? Maybe we can appropriate it from the congressional pension fund. I hear THAT’S solvent.

Corky
3 years ago

The Government must cut spending for all but critical expenditures. They know this, but they do not have the guts to do some selective cuts and not worry about the reaction. Just start the cuts, a little at a time; i.e., a bottom line reduction of some percentage for all departments and programs that do not come under the National Security label. No more auto budget increases for any department or program. Come on folks, this is critical.

Hank
3 years ago
Reply to  Corky

They did, Corky. It was a $685 billion, across the board cut. It was Obama lip service, because his administration then added $10 trillion to the deficit.

Rexford O Ames
3 years ago

Whom, if I may. Is the one person or Head of Committee that is the responsible to take care of the budget? Committee’s are the norm for Congress. According to them It is far better to have committees to deal with issues than a single person. Sounds logical doesn’t it, however , one has to remember that Congress has the right of RULE! So they , not the average Americans, decide who will do what and how it will be done. That is unless one of the Powerful Elite, kill the whole process. Remember, this is the crowd that lives by one MOTTO: What’s In It For Me? Affordable Care Act, Nope, They are exempt. Oh they yell and carry on like a hurt Bear but then it goes to the Social Media, Oh wait, That News not social Media, Right! Sorry about that! , once again and then when it comes again. Oh Well, That darn Bear just shows up.
Can someone give an intelligent answer why The Democrats and Republicans, can’t or won’t see the damage, portions of the Affordable Care , does to their Constituents? Remember, They are Exempt! Right, Mr. McCain? Who by the way voted not to pass those changes, because there was a clause or change that would have take away his exception and of course, He has been diagnosed and had surgery for that Brain Cancer and that is a very, very Expensive Surgery! I hear that his vote alone , killed the bill and in, all probability, will be not be put in process, any time soon?
The truth is? I really don’t know the truth. What with Social Media and all that Fake News stuff and then the Partial take of opinions by questionable Media sources. Well, You get the picture! ( To tell the truth, The Whole Truth, So Help You GOD)! Oops sorry, There Goes that God thing again!

Pete
3 years ago

In fiscal 2012, the deficit was $1.089193 trillion; in fiscal 2011, it was $1.296791 trillion; in fiscal 2010, it was $1.294204 trillion; and, in fiscal 2009, it was $1.415724 trillion.

In fiscal 2008, the last full year that George W. Bush was president, the deficit was $454.798 billion.

Hank
3 years ago
Reply to  Pete

In 2013, Obama’s sequestration plan cut $385 billion in spending, across the board. In fiscal 2013, the deficit was $679; in 2014, $485; 2015- $438; 2016- $585; 2017- $665 …You can see Obama put a dent in it, but it’s on the rise, again. I hope Trump can trump the Obama dent, and get DC on track for responsible spending to eliminate the deficit altogether, and start working on the long term debt – the greatest part of which is Social Security. That’ll be tricky. The government should target having a surplus every year, and giving a refund to TAXPAYERS.

BILL STOUT
3 years ago

Here’s what chaps my Butt. I’ve paid into Social Security since I was 15 and started working, it was not an entitlement or really a benefit then it was what my retirement would be when I reached that age. Then the democrats started stealing (Borrowing) from the SS Trust Fund because they could not stand the thought of all that money sitting there drawing entrest and them not getting their dirty rotten hands on it. The people of this country should demand that ALL Politician retirements be from the same as the rest of us either SS or a seperate retirement program NOT the golden fleece they steal from the American taxpayer. If they want to be a politician let them do it the same way Pres,\. Trump did it on their own dime and NO salary.

Hank
3 years ago

The deficit spending is borderline criminal. Yet, it’s considered SOP by our representatives.
Many Federal employees were furloughed at the end of 2017 – like they are every year the budget isn’t met. They are forced to take unpaid leave at the end of the year. Then, in the new year, they are paid retro-actively from “emergency” funding, once a loan is procured. Basically, it becomes paid holidays at the expense of tax payers and consumers.
Federal payroll taxes paid by Federal workers are faux taxes – the money collected essentially goes to their next paycheck, where it becomes Federal payroll tax again. To make matters worse, additional tax dollars from true taxpayers need to replenish any Federal payroll taxes paid that were refunded when Federal employees filed their returns.
So the crime is “kicking the deficit down the road”, and paying Federal employees for NOT working. Sylvia Porter made a simple claim to help resolve poor spending habits – the life of a loan should not exceed the life of the product it purchased. Emergency loans are borrowed to pay for an event that has already passed. Payments and interest expense will be paid for services NOT rendered.
It’s no skin off Congress’s chin.

PaulE
3 years ago

Well Paul Ryan is certainly no deficit hawk. He never has been, despite what he says. He is your typical progressive Republican. Best you’re going to get out of him is maybe an occasional reduction is the rate of growth of the annual budgetary spending hikes. Five or 6 percent instead of the usual 7 percent annual growth rate every now and then. All so he can say he is for “responsible government”. Same goes for Mitch McConnell by the way. So it is certainly no surprise that neither one opted to do true, massive spending cuts to dozens of unneeded federal agencies and programs, which would save the American public hundreds of billions a year in unnecessary spending and also help reduce the deficit.

If you want a Congress that will take a axe, not dull pocket knife, to federal budget, then elect more House Freedom Caucus types. They are the only ones pushing back against the “business as usual” crowd when it comes to unconstitutional spending. If you don’t want real fiscal conservatives making up the majority of the Republican Party in both houses of Congress, then keep electing the RINOs over and over again.

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