We’re Screwed

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Mon, Aug 01, 2011, 3:21 pm  //  Craig Mayberry

For all the debate over spending and revenue, a few convenient facts seem to be ignored by most politicians and media.  A simple graph shows the fundamental problem.  Below the $0 on the upper graph is total federal spending by major category.  You see a fairly dramatic and consistent increase in spending through 2016.  The big problem is on the revenue side.  You will notice a slight dip over the last few years as revenue peaked in 2008 and declined, as expected during the recession.  The problem is the projection of revenues over the next few years.  Does anyone really believe that revenue is going to increase by an average of 12% a year for the next 5 years?  These revenue numbers assume the expiration of the Bush tax cuts and any additional tax increases passed as part of Obamacare, which in principle could increase tax revenue. But that much?  We have been running trillion dollar+ deficits for a couple of years and the only reason those are forecast to go away is because of overly optimistic revenue increases.  The fact is, revenue is not going to increase nearly that much because the economy is not recovering, and likely will not recover any time in the near future.  Bottom line is, we will continue to run trillion dollar deficits for at least the next five years, taking our national debt from $14.3 trillion to upward of $20 trillion by 2016.  Does anyone really believe that kind of debt is sustainable?  If we are talking about a debt downgrade at $14.3 trillion, what sort of credit rating will we have at $20 trillion in a couple of years?   

Congress is set to vote on a token spending reduction package so the debt level can increase. Baseline spending may get cut, but not anything significant that will slow down government spending.  There are no real spending or budgeting reforms as part of the package.  Somehow Washington DC thinks it continues to be business as usual and if they patch a few minor problems everything will work out. Bottom line: we are screwed and Congress and President Obama could care less. They continue to put their own political fortunes above that of the nation. Instead of fixing the problem now they kicked it down the road--where it will be even more difficult to fix.    

Tip Johnson  //  Mon, Aug 01, 2011, 8:30 pm


What kind of budget reforms do you advocate?  And id it really Obama’s fault that revenues are not increased?  Wasn’t it the Republicans who categorically refused to raise any taxes?

Craig Mayberry  //  Mon, Aug 01, 2011, 9:35 pm


One of my points is that revenues have to increase by 12% just to meet the current projections.  Taxes are going up even if they were not passed specifically in this legislation.  As of today the Bush tax cuts are expiring for everyone so if the decision is made to keep them on everyone that earns less than $250,000 then the deficit gets even worse than it is right now.  You also have tax increases from Obamacare baked into the numbers, how much more do we need to raise taxes.  You cannot tax your way out of this, period.  Fine, tax the rich a couple of more percent on top of the increase they will see next year when the Bush tax cuts expire, it will not even make a dent.  Frankly, you could not double the taxes on the rich and it would help close the gap that much.

What would I do.  The first fundamental problem is the baseline budgeting process that is used.  The baseline budget increase every year to the tune of 6% or so if Congress does nothing and then anything that is done is called a cut (when in fact as we could define cut it is not really a cut).  This would be a little like your employer coming to you and saying that your income for 2011 is going to go from $50,000 to $60,000 and then coming back a little while later and saying I can only pay you $55,000 this year and then you whining and crying that your budget has been cut by $5,000.  Only in Washington (and Olympia) can a $5,000 increase be called a cut.  The process itself is dysfunctional.  The first step would be to eliminate baseline budgeting and going to a zero based budget.  The second thing is we spend too much money to begin with.  It is completely bogus that every time anyone talks about reducing spending that the democrats start whining that the poor and senior citizens will be hurt.  The government is bloated and inefficient and you could provide the same level of service at 80% of the cost if they would just think about it a little bit and do some major restructuring.

Rob Stratton  //  Tue, Aug 02, 2011, 7:07 am

Vote Ron Paul. He has voted no consistently against both pseudo parties. Why? Oh because he long foresaw this happening and actually checks if a law is constitutional. Something the majority of those in “power” do anymore.

We need to end the Fed, go back to a monetary system based on something real, we need to drastically reduce our military budget, and that spent on welfare programs (I include all the foreign aid we give federally to other countries). We need to repeal the 16 and17th amendments. Stop Federal bribing of States, states need to learn to float or sink on their own.

Rob Stratton  //  Tue, Aug 02, 2011, 7:08 am

Edit: I meant to say “those in power rarely do anymore”.

Is there a way to see this whole text box? It hampers my already poor editing process. :)

Hue Beattie  //  Tue, Aug 02, 2011, 11:23 am

Florida will seem to sink as sea level rises.

We’re Screwed

Mon, Aug 01, 2011, 3:21 pm  //  Craig Mayberry

Overview of federal spending and revenue

5 comments; last on Aug 02, 2011

The Cost of Local Food

Thu, Mar 10, 2011, 9:21 am  //  Craig Mayberry

Why local food costs more

5 comments; last on Apr 09, 2011

Question on Violence

Tue, Jan 11, 2011, 11:23 pm  //  Craig Mayberry


8 comments; last on Jan 16, 2011

Power and Politics

Mon, Jan 10, 2011, 10:02 pm  //  Craig Mayberry

Power and politics

5 comments; last on Jan 11, 2011

Michelle’s Wrong, Sarah’s Right

Sun, Dec 19, 2010, 10:25 am  //  Craig Mayberry

Local Food

2 comments; last on Jan 20, 2011

Craig Mayberry Announces Candidacy for the 42nd District State House, Position 1

Wed, May 05, 2010, 10:34 am  //  Craig Mayberry

Craig Mayberry announces he is running for the State Legislature.

2 comments; last on May 06, 2010

Financing Elections

Sat, May 01, 2010, 5:55 am  //  Craig Mayberry

It is time to restore integrity to the political process and it must begin with the process of running for office.

2 comments; last on May 01, 2010

Questions on Health Care

Sat, Mar 27, 2010, 5:45 am  //  Craig Mayberry

Some questions on health care reform to our Congressional delegation.


Intraprising Government

Fri, Mar 05, 2010, 11:30 am  //  Craig Mayberry

A novel approach to government monoplies


Where Have We Been- Where Are We Going?

Mon, Feb 15, 2010, 6:00 am  //  Craig Mayberry

People and businesses have had to make changes in what they do, when will government do the same?

1 comments; last on Mar 02, 2010

Political Ethics

Sat, Jan 16, 2010, 6:00 am  //  Craig Mayberry

Contrasts business ethics and political ethics

4 comments; last on Jan 18, 2010

WA State Government Spending

Tue, Dec 15, 2009, 4:00 pm  //  Craig Mayberry

It is always fascinating to watch the government budgeting process. With the recent reduction in revenue forecast, the Governor and other state politicians announced a severe cut in…


Real Health Care Reform

Fri, Nov 27, 2009, 9:00 pm  //  Craig Mayberry

This is a reprint of one of my earlier posts on health care. The issue is more timely now and I thought I would re-enter it into the…

4 comments; last on Dec 13, 2009

Restructuring Washington

Thu, Oct 29, 2009, 8:00 pm  //  Craig Mayberry

At the Bellingham City Club on Wednesday, Norman Rice, the former mayor of Seattle, spoke about public process. It was an enlightening conversation for all that were…

2 comments; last on Oct 30, 2009

What is a hit piece?

Thu, Oct 29, 2009, 6:46 pm  //  Craig Mayberry

There is a lot of discussion about this time every year on hit pieces and negative campaigning. So now I have to ask the question: What is the…

14 comments; last on Nov 02, 2009

Changing the Power Structure

Wed, Sep 23, 2009, 10:38 pm  //  Craig Mayberry

One of the underlying currents of the recent discussions around health care is the role of the federal government. I thought it would be interesting to see how…

3 comments; last on Sep 25, 2009

Food Safety Czar

Tue, Sep 15, 2009, 8:00 am  //  Craig Mayberry

Much has been made of czars in the current administration; however, one czar in particular should have people from both political sides a little nervous. In a case…

4 comments; last on Sep 17, 2009

It Comes Down to People

Mon, Sep 14, 2009, 3:23 pm  //  Craig Mayberry

I have mentioned there is little difference between government and big business; both are run by bureaucracies not known to be customer friendly. This issue is important on…

3 comments; last on Sep 21, 2009

Implementing Farm Plans

Fri, Aug 28, 2009, 3:00 pm  //  Craig Mayberry

With passage of the Critical Areas Ordinance a few years ago, one of the requirements for small livestock owners in Whatcom County was the development of a farm…

10 comments; last on Oct 24, 2009

The Future of Health Care Reform

Wed, Aug 19, 2009, 12:18 am  //  Craig Mayberry

There is an increasingly wide divide in the health care debate that at its source comes down to a fundamental disconnect between the opposing sides. While the Democrats…

4 comments; last on Aug 20, 2009

Price, Volume, Mix

Mon, Aug 10, 2009, 9:40 pm  //  Craig Mayberry

The health care debate seems to center on fixing two important problems. The first is the people who do not have any insurance, and the second is the…

2 comments; last on Aug 11, 2009

Dear White House,

Thu, Aug 06, 2009, 11:11 pm  //  Craig Mayberry

(sent to flag@whitehouse.gov seeking clarification before I report on people providing erroneous information on health care reform)

How are we suppose to know what is erroneous information abou

4 comments; last on Aug 07, 2009

The Public Health Care Option

Wed, Jul 15, 2009, 5:56 pm  //  Craig Mayberry

The big debate in Congress is now the health care. A number of months ago I posted another option and will repost that again in the next few…

7 comments; last on Jul 20, 2009

KGMI and Ken Mann

Wed, May 13, 2009, 2:34 pm  //  Craig Mayberry

There has been some behind the scenes controversy over Cascade Radio Groups decision to allow Ken Mann to continue to be on the air from 5pm-6pm five days…

7 comments; last on May 21, 2009

The Ethics of Power

Wed, Apr 29, 2009, 12:10 am  //  Craig Mayberry

Anytime you are in a position of power you have increased responsibilities to be ethical. We often criticize large corporations for giving large amounts of money to politicians…

2 comments; last on Apr 29, 2009

It’s Tea Time

Tue, Apr 14, 2009, 11:48 pm  //  Craig Mayberry

A few weeks ago Pres. Obama went on his economic town hall tour and suggested that we would have to spend money to fix health care, education and…

1 comments; last on Apr 15, 2009

Preserving Farmland

Sun, Apr 05, 2009, 8:59 pm  //  Craig Mayberry

This week a study suggested that one of the most important issues in Whatcom County is the preservation of farmland. The Whatcom County Council has talked for years…

1 comments; last on Apr 28, 2009

The Fallacy of the Obama Economic Policy

Thu, Mar 26, 2009, 11:06 pm  //  Craig Mayberry

There are a couple of things that everyone should consider (especially elected officials) as we continue down the path of spending to get out of the recession. The…

2 comments; last on Mar 27, 2009

The Food Police

Tue, Mar 10, 2009, 2:19 pm  //  Craig Mayberry

Two bills are currently working their way through Congress that could have a dramatic impact on our food supply. Both bills sound relatively safe, being branded as food…

2 comments; last on Mar 12, 2009

Why Relocalization Advocates Should Fear Obama

Wed, Mar 04, 2009, 11:56 pm  //  Craig Mayberry

It was hoped by many that Obama would come in a solve many of the problems that we are currently facing. I was hoping to wait a year…


Why the Obama/Bush Economic Plan Will Not Work

Wed, Jan 14, 2009, 3:04 pm  //  Craig Mayberry

Unemployment is heading up quickly and plans are being laid at the Federal and State level to try to deal with the economic implications. Although details are still…

3 comments; last on Jan 17, 2009

Solving Health Care- Part 2

Tue, Dec 30, 2008, 4:29 pm  //  Craig Mayberry

One potential solution for health care that has not been discussed is changing existing laws such that communities can set up a local health care authority (LHCA). A…

2 comments; last on Jan 02, 2009

Solving Health Care- Part 1

Mon, Dec 29, 2008, 4:12 pm  //  Craig Mayberry

On Tuesday night, United for National Healthcare is having a meeting to solicit ideas for the Obama administration. I am not sure if I will be able to…


Where Do You Draw the Line

Thu, Dec 11, 2008, 11:46 pm  //  Craig Mayberry

Another day another bailout by our government. After facing fierce opposition from regular people, our federal government decided to bail out banks, now the latest effort is to…

7 comments; last on Dec 14, 2008

Where Are We Headed

Wed, Oct 29, 2008, 9:58 pm  //  Craig Mayberry

The fundamental question this election has been what kind of change do we want. It is difficult to dissect what each candidate means by change, so let’s start…

8 comments; last on Nov 01, 2008

Macquarie Purchase of Puget Sound Energy

Fri, Oct 24, 2008, 6:02 pm  //  Craig Mayberry

The announcement of the potential purchase of Puget Sound Energy by Macquarie Infrastructure Partner has opened up a new debate on electricity. The difficulty of the discussion is…

3 comments; last on Oct 28, 2008

Yellowstone is Burning

Thu, Oct 02, 2008, 6:34 pm  //  Craig Mayberry

Twenty years ago my wife and I went to Yellowstone National Park for our honeymoon. It was the middle of June, about the time the forest fires started.…

1 comments; last on Oct 04, 2008

The Bailout

Wed, Oct 01, 2008, 9:36 am  //  Craig Mayberry

I have to hurry so I can catch a plane to Orlando to attend an academic conference, but some quick thoughts on the next couple of days before…

7 comments; last on Oct 03, 2008

Thoughts on the Financial Crisis

Tue, Sep 23, 2008, 4:10 pm  //  Craig Mayberry

So here we all sit in a major financial crisis (at least that is what we are told) and the middle of a presidential election. What could be…

19 comments; last on Sep 26, 2008

The Political Elite Don’t Get It

Sun, Aug 31, 2008, 5:44 pm  //  Craig Mayberry

{Please read this post in the spirit it is intended, somewhat satirical and a little exaggerated at times to make a point often missed in today’s political climate.}


21 comments; last on Sep 14, 2008

Where are the political entrepreneurs?

Wed, Jun 04, 2008, 1:22 pm  //  Craig Mayberry

Last week I was preparing for a creativity and innovation class that I am currently teaching. Through the course of preparation I came across a 20 minute speech…


Peak Oil Task Force

Sat, May 03, 2008, 12:06 pm  //  Craig Mayberry

On Monday the Bellingham City Council will consider a resolution to create a largely volunteer Peak Oil Task Force. With recent increases in gas prices and much greater…

30 comments; last on Jun 02, 2008

Transportation Discussion- Continued

Fri, Apr 18, 2008, 4:31 pm  //  Craig Mayberry

The discussion on this issue has been insightful and I believe exactly what John Servais was looking for when he revamped the NWcitizen blog. The issue of transportation…

13 comments; last on May 28, 2008

The Joke is on Us

Fri, Apr 04, 2008, 10:07 pm  //  Craig Mayberry

Ironically, on April Fools Day Congress held hearings with the oil and gas industry over profits and government subsidies. The reported bantering between politicians and oil executives missed…

8 comments; last on Apr 16, 2008

A Tale of Two Cities

Sat, Mar 01, 2008, 1:16 pm  //  Craig Mayberry

A few decades ago two governments pursued vastly different strategies to manage transportation. Seattle invested huge money in new highways, spending billions of dollars. Vancouver, BC invested in…


Transportation Economics

Wed, Feb 27, 2008, 1:10 pm  //  Craig Mayberry

It looks like another legislative session and another missed opportunity to deal with transportation problems in the state, especially around Seattle. Both political parties seem to ignore some…

1 comments; last on Feb 27, 2008

The Impact of Taxes on Planning

Fri, Feb 22, 2008, 12:43 am  //  Craig Mayberry

In the ongoing discussion over land use, no one has brought up what potential impact the financing of city and county government has in the land use decision…

2 comments; last on Feb 27, 2008

Congrats to Obama and “Other”

Sun, Feb 10, 2008, 1:15 am  //  Craig Mayberry

I have to laugh, although in no way does it mean I am laughing at the state and county Republican Party, who I do respect and support. At…

5 comments; last on Feb 18, 2008

Public Campaign Financing

Fri, Feb 01, 2008, 7:49 pm  //  Craig Mayberry

A couple of days ago Sam Taylor had an article in the Bellingham Herald and subsequent blog on the subject of public campaign finance. The state house voted…


Economic Crisis?

Wed, Jan 30, 2008, 5:06 pm  //  Craig Mayberry

The economy has become the new crisis. Congress is working urgently to pass an economic stimulus package to renew confidence in the system. This allows a dialogue to…


The Elephant in the Room

Sun, Jan 27, 2008, 1:08 am  //  Craig Mayberry

After many years of discussion over growth management issues, it seems little progress has been made towards implementing the plan. Few seem to disagree that most of the…

2 comments; last on Jan 28, 2008

LWV Immigration Forum

Tue, Jan 22, 2008, 2:07 pm  //  Craig Mayberry

Although technically immigration is a national issue, there are implications for Whatcom County due to the heavy agricultural base and proximity to the border. The League of Women…


A Walmart in Lynden?

Fri, Jan 18, 2008, 2:35 pm  //  Craig Mayberry

Lynden’s sales tax revenue has been declining for a few years, but now it appears that the city is prepared to do something about it (by the way,…

2 comments; last on Jan 20, 2008

Craig Mayberry - Contributing Writer

Thu, Jan 17, 2008, 11:45 am  //  Craig Mayberry

Craig is currently a graduate student at the University of British Columbia where he is researching social entrepreneurship. He also teaches at Whatcom Community College, Western Washington Universit



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