Emperor’s New Clothes – An Independent Assessment

Reminiscent of a Stasi leg-breaking, Argentina persecuted economists for publishing inflation estimates that exceed the banana republic’s official estimates.  Encouraged by those soul-mate vaqueros, Italian politicians started a regulatory shootout with S&P and Moodys for publicly saying a downgrade may result from Italy’s excessive levels of sovereign debt.  The spaghetti western ended a few days […]

The Public’s Budget Should be Accessible, Detailed, Modular and Digital

Leadership-quality speeches can be good.   Aspirational statements sketch ideas and tone, and are a step in building support for a goal.   But they are seldom actionable plans, for example; “The budget outline… includes rewriting the tax code, reforming entitlements, stabilizing the national debt, freezing domestic spending and rewriting federal budget rules—all in a handy seven […]

“Tax Expenditures” – Not So Fast !

Current deficit reduction talks are reported to have “everything on the table” – all income sources and all outlays.  The least agreement swirls around income tax revenues, both in the scope of taxation and the tax rates.   Personal exemptions from federal tax application include items such as charitable donations, mortgage interest, and state and local […]

If You Want to Reduce the Federal Deficit, Try Cutting Government Waste: The Case of Mainframes

“We are going to go through our federal budget, as I promised during the campaign, page by page, line by line, eliminating those programs we don’t need and insisting that those that we do need operate in a sensible, cost-effective way.” — President-Elect Obama, November 25, 2008      Introduction: Mainframe Waste As far back as […]

Deficit Will Cost $15,000 per Household?

If the stimulus plan is passed, the U.S. deficit will approach $1.7 trillion dollars.  Whatever the economic benefits of the plan, the cost of the plan will eventually need to be paid back.  Whether this payment comes in the form of increased taxes on consumers and/or business, because businesses will pass these costs along to consumers in the form of higher […]