We Need More Gun Control at the National Level

 

I am a candidate in the May 15 Nebraska Republican Primary for the U.S. Senate, against the incumbent Deb Fischer because she is doing nothing about our enormous and out-of-control national debt. In fact she has recently voted twice to increase our debt, with the new tax law as well as with the budget for the next two years.
My almost entire focus on this blog is with fiscal and economic issues at the national level.  The only way we will be able to solve our debt problem is by shrinking our annual deficits, both by making the economy grow faster (which will produce more tax revenue) as well as curtailing spending increases in each annual budget.
But now as a candidate for national office I need to respond to other pressing national issues as well (see my campaign website).


One such issue is the never-ending stream of mass shootings, with the latest just last week at a high school in Parkland, Florida.  Stronger gun control at the national level is clearly needed such as:

  • A total ban on the purchase of assault weapons by the general public. Even with the heightened security measures discussed below, too many deranged individuals will fall through the cracks and still be able to acquire guns.
  • Universal background checks for all gun purchases from licensed dealers, at trade shows, and by private parties. The purpose here is to limit gun ownership by the mentally ill, domestic abusers and felons.
  • Enhanced security and surveillance at all K-12 schools (which is, of course, a state and local issue).

Conclusion. The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees gun ownership to U.S. citizens and this right is not threatened by enhanced regulation of the most dangerous weapons. Basic common sense justifies national action to address an urgent issue of public safety.

Why the U.S. Debt is so Scary III. The Disconnect

 

Most of my readers know that I am a candidate in the May 15 Nebraska Republican Primary for the U.S. Senate, against the incumbent Deb Fischer because she is ignoring our enormous and out-of-control national debt. In fact she has recently voted twice, for the new tax law and new budget, to increase our annual deficits by hundreds of billions of dollars per year.
The only way to “fix the debt” is to begin shrinking our annual deficits.  She is moving us in exactly the wrong direction that we need to go.
My last two posts, here  and here, explain why our debt is so scary: we risk losing our status as the world’s leading economic power and, furthermore, a new crisis could occur much sooner than many people expect.


Unfortunately for the future of our economy, the new tax law is gaining support amongst the American population, with approval having now reached 50% and disapproval having sunk to 45%. Yes, the new tax law will increase economic growth in the next two years before the extra stimulus fades away.  But the additional debt will greatly hurt our economy in the long run.


Conclusion. The national Republican leadership has sold the American people a bill of goods. At a time when economic growth is already picking up speed, the Republican Congress has stepped on the gas to yield an additional short term stimulus at the great risk of long term harm.  This is highly irresponsible a endangers the Republican Party’s reputation for fiscal responsibility.

Why the U.S. Debt is so Scary II. A Crisis Could be Nearer Than We Think

 

I am a candidate in the May 15 Nebraska Republican Primary for the U.S. Senate because the incumbent, Deb Fischer, is doing nothing about our enormous and out-of-control national debt. In fact, she has recently voted twice, for the new tax law and budget, to make our debt even worse than it already was. My last post quotes a reader of my blog as saying that deficit hawks need to make our soaring debt sound scary to ordinary citizens who don’t understand how it will affect their own lives.
The analyst Desmond Lachman from the American Enterprise Institute makes it sound even scarier by predicting a new 2008-2009 style crisis within the next year.  According to Mr. Lachman there are two basic reasons to fear another full-blown global economic crisis soon:

  • First, we have in place all the ingredients for such a crisis. The housing price bubble before the 2008-2009 crisis has been replaced by a global asset price bubble, for both stocks and bonds. A second key ingredient is that the global debt-to-GDP level is significantly higher than in 2008.

  • Second, due to major mistakes by the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Administration, the U.S. economy is in danger of soon overheating, which will bring inflation in its wake. With very low unemployment, the Fed has let low interest rates linger for too long. And the U.S. economy has now received a double fiscal stimulus with unfunded tax cuts and a new two-year spending boost.
  • The Federal Reserve now has two unattractive choices. It can raise interest rates quickly and burst the global asset bubble, or it can proceed at a slower pace and ignore the very serious inflation risk.

Conclusion. With a very high and rapidly growing national debt, along with unusually low interest rates which will be pushed up soon one way or another, we should prepare ourselves for another crisis in the near future.

Why the U.S. Debt is so Scary

 

 

From a reader of my blog:

Deficit hawks need to make the national debt seem like something scary that will personally affect people. As of now, most Americans find it boring and unrelatable because they don’t perceptibly feel its effects in their daily lives. How does it affect the John Q. Public GOP voter who is not so keen on immigrants, has a mortgage, loves the military, and despises abortion until his daughter gets knocked up in her mid-teens? John Q. Public doesn’t fully grasp that an out of control debt will cause the market to raise interest rates unilaterally leading to serious inflation in USD terms.

This will clearly dislodge the USD as the world’s reserve currency, opening the door for either the Chinese Yuan or Bitcoin to become the world’s new reserve currency. So, when the US debt bubble bursts, John Q. Public will basically be working in a factory for the equivalent of 6000 current USD per year, and I don’t think John Q. Public grasps this reality. Maybe John will croak before this comes to pass, but John Q. Public II will pay the price toiling away here in the heartland to make iGadgets for the Chinese middle class.


I am a candidate in the May 15 Nebraska Republican Primary for U.S. Senate because the incumbent, Deb Fischer, is doing nothing to reduce our enormous and out-of-control national debt.  In fact she is consistently voting to make it worse!  My challenge is to convince enough voters that our debt really is an extremely serious problem.

Conclusion. Eventually our huge and rapidly growing debt will catch up with us and we will have a fiscal crisis much worse than the Financial Crisis of 2008.  We don’t know when this will happen but the longer we ignore the problem, the more inevitable it becomes that it will end up very painfully.

The Republican Party is Jeopardizing its Moral Credibility

 

I have been a Republican for most of my adult life because I have usually considered the Republicans to be the party of fiscal responsibility. But is this still true? Consider:

  • Our national debt now stands at 77% of GDP (for the public part on which we pay interest) and was already predicted to reach 98% of GDP in 2027, just ten years from now. Now, with the new tax law and the new budget deal, deficits are likely to reach 109% of GDP by 2027.

  • In numerical terms, our current $20.5 trillion debt was already set to increase by $11 trillion over the next ten years. The new tax law will add $1 trillion to the debt (after taking new growth into account). The new budget deal adds another $1.7 trillion.  In other words new debt, on top of our existing debt, will be close to $14 trillion over the next decade.

  • The Republican Party now controls the Presidency and both houses of Congress and therefore has absolutely no excuse for such fiscal extravagance.

I am a candidate in the Nebraska Republican Primary for U.S. Senate against the incumbent, Deb Fischer, because she is offering no resistance to this flagrantly rotten charade. Last fall, it would have taken only three Senators to stop the trillion dollar giveaway in the new tax law and not one single Republican Senator voted against it.

Conclusion. The Republican Party is now endangering its critical role in making sure that the federal government acts in a fiscally responsible manner. I shudder to think what will happen to our country without a major party offering fiscal restraint.

Nebraska Senator Deb Fischer is Fiscally Irresponsible!

 

I am a candidate in the May 15 Nebraska Republican Primary for the U.S. Senate against the incumbent Deb Fischer because she is ignoring our enormous and out-of-control national debt.  In fact, she is doing much worse than just ignoring it; she is actively making it much worse.  For example:

  • Fischer voted for the new tax law which increases our debt by $1 trillion over ten years even after new growth is taken into account.  The main features of the new law are excellent but need offsets to avoid losing tax revenue.

  • The budget just approved by Congress and signed by President Trump, for this year and next, will increase the debt by $300 billion. It means that the deficit for FY 2018 will be $800 billion followed by $1.2 trillion for FY 2019 (see first chart).  In FY 2027, just ten years away, the annual deficit is projected to increase to $2.1 trillion (see second chart).

  • On Senator Fischer’s watch, for the six Fiscal Years 2014 – 2019, the new debt is likely going to be $4.5 trillion (just add up the totals for these years in the chart above). This means that by the end of her six year term in office, 20% of our entire debt of $22.5 trillion, will have been accumulated while she was in office!

Conclusion. The national debt now $20.5 trillion and growing rapidly, is by far our biggest long term problem. We badly need representatives in Congress who will stop ignoring this awful problem and start doing something about it.  That is why I am a candidate for the U.S. Senate.

The Key to Solving our Healthcare Cost Problem II. Make the Employer Mandate More Flexible

 

I am a candidate in the May 15 Nebraska Republican Primary for U.S. Senate.  I have entered this contest because the incumbent, Deb Fischer, has done nothing to reduce our enormous and out-of-control national debt and, in fact, voted recently (with the new tax law) to increase our debt by $1 trillion over the next decade.  And this is after new economic growth, stimulated by the tax changes, is taken into account.


One way to get the debt under control is with a more sensible budgeting process, but this is not enough by itself.


We also need a major effort to reduce the cost of healthcare.  One problem here is that employer provided health insurance is very inefficient, especially because it insulates employees from the full price of their healthcare. The way to fix this is to make the employer mandate in the Affordable Care Act more flexible in the following ways:

  • Replace income based tax credits in the ACA with aged-based tax credits (which then apply to everyone). See here for details.
  • Allow individual employees to migrate away from the employer plan to individually underwritten personal insurance. This will often save money for the individual employee (and family), the employer (who has fewer employees to cover) and the government (which has a smaller tax exemption). The employees also gain more flexibility for future employment.
  • Such a system, when fully implemented, will save $400 billion per year in government revenue, both state and federal.

Conclusion. I have outlined one way of moving from the defined benefit healthcare system we have now to a defined contribution system which will save hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars every year by putting more responsibility on the individual health consumer.