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House Republicans plan cuts to all infrastructure spending to support massive military budget

The plan envisions cutting all non military budget items

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A 2019 budget plan cooked up by House Republicans aims at cutting all federal spending that isn’t defense related in an effort to reign in the debt problem. It includes massive cuts to medicare, medicaid, Social Security, education grants, welfare, and other programs aimed and softening the blow of America’s growing poverty rate. Meanwhile, this comes about while Trump is cutting taxes on the rich, introducing a ‘Space Force’, and providing massive increases to military spending.

The Hill reports:

House Republicans offered a budget proposal on Tuesday that would cut mandatory spending by $5.4 trillion over a decade, including $537 billion in cuts to Medicare and $1.5 trillion in cuts to Medicaid and other health programs.

On Medicare, the budget would move towards a system of private health insurance plans competing with one other, rather than the current open-ended, government-provided Medicare system.

On Medicaid, the budget would impose new caps that could lead to cuts in payments over time.

The budget also sets up a fast-track process known as reconciliation that could allow ObamaCare repeal to pass without Democratic votes in the Senate.

But that is a long way off at this point.

The Senate would have to adopt a budget as well to unlock the process, and GOP leaders have indicated they have moved on from ObamaCare repeal for now.

The budget also proposes $2.6 trillion in reductions to other mandatory spending programs, including welfare and other anti-poverty programs.

“Despite an extraordinary past and a booming economy thanks to tax reform, there are real fiscal challenges casting a shadow of doubt on the nation’s future, including $21 trillion of debt that is rapidly on the rise. We must overcome the challenges,” said House Budget Committee Chairman Steve Womack (R-Ark.).

The budget, which will be marked up on Wednesday and Thursday, is largely a GOP messaging document. Congress is legally required to approve a budget plan by April, which then kicks off a process of appropriating 12 spending bills.

A separate spending deal reached in February largely governs the next year’s budget, and until this week it was unclear whether the House Budget Committee would even bother with a budget plan. There is still no word from the Senate Budget Committee on whether it will present its own document.

The new budget calls for a precipitous drop in non-defense spending over the next decade, even as defense spending rises.

The plan sticks to the 2019 discretionary spending levels agreed in the budget deal, but then charts an aggressive course to balance over the course of a decade.

Non-defense discretionary spending, which covers most of the federal government’s activities, would drop from the $597 billion to $555 billion by 2028. Meanwhile, defense spending would climb from $647 billion this year to $736 billion in 2028.

Democrats lambasted the plan for unrealistic assumptions, including the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, a goal the GOP has thus far failed to achieve despite numerous efforts.

“The 2019 Republican budget scraps any sense of responsibility to the American people and any obligation to being honest. Its repeal of the Affordable Care Act and extreme cuts to health care, retirement security, anti-poverty programs, education, infrastructure, and other critical investments are real and will inflict serious harm on American families,” said Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.), the ranking member on the House Budget committee.

He also pointed to the GOP tax law, which the Congressional Budget Office projected could cost as much as $1.9 trillion over a decade, as a driver of deficits.

To achieve balance, the budget plan assumes that the economy will consistently grow at 2.6 percent a year over the next decade, far higher than the CBO estimate of 1.8 percent a year, but lower than the administration’s rosy 3 percent outlook.

Budget watchers say that the plan is not realistic.

“While the budget resolution calls for $8.1 trillion of deficit reduction relative to CBO’s baseline, most of these savings come from rosy economic assumptions or unreconciled and often unrealistic spending cuts,” said Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget

“The budget also fails to account for the costs of extending the recent tax cuts or replacing the Affordable Care Act, despite continued efforts to enact these policies,” she added.

A separate call for $302 billion in savings through the reconciliation process, which requires authorizing committees in Congress to reduce deficits, “would represent a step in the right direction,” she continued.

On first glance, it looks like the plan proposed to pull four and a half trillion dollars out of the economy over the next decade. While defense companies could expect to get some positive reaction in the markets if this bill comes to light, many other areas would take a hit. That’s a lot less capital flowing around in the economic ecosystem, meaning that whatever growth they’re anticipating is going to be a lot different in the real world when it hits. As unrealistic as this cockamamy plan appears, the government has got to find the money to fund this massive military budget somehow, and they’ve already decided that taxing it out of the rich is not going to be the way to go about it. So, they plan to take it from rank and file Americans.

 

 

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AM Hants
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AM Hants

$21 trillion, disappears from the Pentagon.

$717 billion defence budget, but, Russia with a defence budget of $47 billion, makes all US weapons and systems obsolete.

US infrastructure, is on it’s last legs, but, has no lobbyists, to sweet talk the easy to coerce or blackmail politicians.

The US tax payer, must be so thrilled, owing to the lunatics and their priorities in Washington DC.

JPH
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JPH

Empire ought to be put on suicide watch.

Terry Ross
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Terry Ross

And such an action will STILL not get Americans marching in the streets in protest……

AJ
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AJ

The empire cares little for the the most vulnerable in society but hey the MIC war machine gets never ending budget increases. The trillions spent on wars since 9/11 could have raised the standard of living for millions of the poorest citizens not to mention paid for crumbling infrastructure projects but we all know theres no profit in peace.

Gonzogal
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Gonzogal

comment image comment image comment image

Bill Spence
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Bill Spence

The huge military boondoggle spending definitely must rob funds from other programs.

That military spending is 80-90% welfare spending but of the most inefficient kind. Incomes are too high for welfare spending but must compete with the private sector.

DenLilleAbe
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DenLilleAbe

Great news!! This will see social strife come even faster than I hoped! The US is already over the cliff and in freefall, prepare for a rough landing. Its time to stoke up on canned foodstuff, water and ammo

J Roderet
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J Roderet

And how much money will they be cutting for Israel? Zero.

Wayne Blow
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Wayne Blow

Well, I’ll tell you who stands to gain much wealth from all these programs, “Law enforcement, prisons, cemeteries, crematoriums, and funeral parlors, these are the people whom will fill their pockets endlessly “MR. TRUMP” you idiot !!!!!!!

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Foreign Banks Are Embracing Russia’s Alternative To SWIFT, Moscow Says

Given its status as a major energy exporter, Russia has leverage that could help attract partners to its new SWIFT alternative.

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Via Zerohedge


On Friday, one day after Russia and China pledged to reduce their reliance on the dollar by increasing the amount of bilateral trade conducted in rubles and yuan (a goal toward which much progress has already been made over the past three years), Russia’s Central Bank provided the latest update on Moscow’s alternative to US-dominated international payments network SWIFT.

Moscow started working on the project back in 2014, when international sanctions over Russia’s annexation of Crimea inspired fears that the country’s largest banks would soon be cut off from SWIFT which, though it’s based in Belgium and claims to be politically neutral, is effectively controlled by the US Treasury.

Today, the Russian alternative, known as the System for Transfer of Financial Messages, has attracted a modest amount of support within the Russian business community, with 416 Russian companies having joined as of September, including the Russian Federal Treasury and large state corporations likeGazprom Neft and Rosneft.

And now, eight months after a senior Russian official advised that “our banks are ready to turn off SWIFT,” it appears the system has reached another milestone in its development: It’s ready to take on international partners in the quest to de-dollarize and end the US’s leverage over the international financial system. A Russian official advised that non-residents will begin joining the system “this year,” according to RT.

“Non-residents will start connecting to us this year. People are already turning to us,”said First Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Russia Olga Skorobogatova. Earlier, the official said that by using the alternative payment system foreign firms would be able to do business with sanctioned Russian companies.

Turkey, China, India and others are among the countries that might be interested in a SWIFT alternative, as Russian President Vladimir Putin pointed out in a speech earlier this month, the US’s willingness to blithely sanction countries from Iran to Venezuela and beyond will eventually rebound on the US economy by undermining the dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency.

To be sure, the Russians aren’t the only ones building a SWIFT alternative to help avoid US sanctions. Russia and China, along with the European Union are launching an interbank payments network known as the Special Purpose Vehicle to help companies pursue “legitimate business with Iran” in defiance of US sanctions.

Given its status as a major energy exporter, Russia has leverage that could help attract partners to its new SWIFT alternative. For one, much of Europe is dependent on Russian natural gas and oil.

And as Russian trade with other US rivals increases, Moscow’s payments network will look increasingly attractive,particularly if buyers of Russian crude have no other alternatives to pay for their goods.

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US leaving INF will put nuclear non-proliferation at risk & may lead to ‘complete chaos’

The US is pulling out of a nuclear missile pact with Russia. The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty requires both countries to eliminate their short and medium-range atomic missiles.

The Duran

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Via RT


If the US ditches the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), it could collapse the entire nuclear non-proliferation system, and bring nuclear war even closer, Russian officials warn.

By ending the INF, Washington risks creating a domino effect which could endanger other landmark deals like the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) and collapse the existing non-proliferation mechanism as we know it, senior lawmaker Konstantin Kosachev said on Sunday.

The current iteration of the START treaty, which limits the deployment of all types of nuclear weapons, is due to expire in 2021. Kosachev, who chairs the Parliament’s Upper House Foreign Affairs Committee, warned that such an outcome pits mankind against “complete chaos in terms of nuclear weapons.”

“Now the US Western allies face a choice: either embarking on the same path, possibly leading to new war, or siding with common sense, at least for the sake of their self-preservation instinct.”

His remarks came after US President Donald Trump announced his intentions to “terminate” the INF, citing alleged violations of the deal by Russia.

Moscow has repeatedly denied undermining the treaty, pointing out that Trump has failed to produce any evidence of violations. Moreover, Russian officials insist that the deployment of US-made Mk 41 ground-based universal launching systems in Europe actually violates the agreement since the launchers are capable of firing mid-range cruise missiles.

Leonid Slutsky, who leads the Foreign Affairs Committee in parliament’s lower chamber, argued that Trump’s words are akin to placing “a huge mine under the whole disarmament process on the planet.”

The INF Treaty was signed in 1987 by then-President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. The deal effectively bans the parties from having and developing short- and mid-range missiles of all types. According to the provisions, the US was obliged to destroy Pershing I and II launcher systems and BGM-109G Gryphon ground-launched cruise missiles. Moscow, meanwhile, pledged to remove the SS-20 and several other types of missiles from its nuclear arsenal.

Pershing missiles stationed in the US Army arsenal. © Hulton Archive / Getty Images ©

By scrapping the historic accord, Washington is trying to fulfill its “dream of a unipolar world,” a source within the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

“This decision fits into the US policy of ditching the international agreements which impose equal obligations on it and its partners, and render the ‘exceptionalism’ concept vulnerable.”

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov denounced Trump’s threats as “blackmail” and said that Washington wants to dismantle the INF because it views the deal as a “problem” on its course for “total domination” in the military sphere.

The issue of nuclear arms treaties is too vital for national and global security to rush into hastily-made “emotional” decisions, the official explained. Russia is expecting to hear more on the US’ plans from Trump’s top security adviser, John Bolton, who is set to hold talks in Moscow tomorrow.

President Trump has been open about unilaterally pulling the US out of various international agreements if he deems them to be damaging to national interests. Earlier this year, Washington withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on the Iranian nuclear program. All other signatories to the landmark agreement, including Russia, China, and the EU, decided to stick to the deal, while blasting Trump for leaving.

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Converting Khashoggi into Cash

After two weeks of denying any connection to Khashoggi’s disappearance, Riyadh has admitted that he was killed by Saudi operatives but it wasn’t really on purpose.

Jim Jatras

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Authored by James George Jatras via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


The hazard of writing about the Saudis’ absurd gyrations as they seek to avoid blame for the murder of the late, not notably great journalist and Muslim Brotherhood activist Jamal Khashoggi is that by the time a sentence is finished, the landscape may have changed again.

As though right on cue, the narrative has just taken another sharp turn.

After two weeks of denying any connection to Khashoggi’s disappearance, Riyadh has ‘fessed up (sorta) and admitted that he was killed by Saudi operatives but it wasn’t really on purpose:

Y’see, it was kinda’f an ‘accident.’

Oops…

Y’see the guys were arguing, and … uh … a fistfight broke out.

Yeah, that’s it … a ‘fistfight.’

And before you know it poor Jamal had gone all to pieces.

Y’see?

Must’ve been a helluva fistfight.

The figurative digital ink wasn’t even dry on that whopper before American politicos in both parties were calling it out:

  • “To say that I am skeptical of the new Saudi narrative about Mr. Khashoggi is an understatement,” tweeted Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. “First we were told Mr. Khashoggi supposedly left the consulate and there was blanket denial of any Saudi involvement. Now, a fight breaks out and he’s killed in the consulate, all without knowledge of Crown Prince. It’s hard to find this latest ‘explanation‘ as credible.”
  • California Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said in a statement that the new Saudi explanation is “not credible.” “If Khashoggi was fighting inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, he was fighting for his life with people sent to capture or kill him,” Schiff said. “The kingdom and all involved in this brutal murder must be held accountable, and if the Trump administration will not take the lead, Congress must.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan must think he’s already died and gone to his eternal recreation in the amorous embraces of the dark-eyed houris. The acid test for the viability of Riyadh’s newest transparent lie is whether the Turks actually have, as they claim, live recordings of Khashoggi’s interrogation, torture, murder, and dismemberment (not necessarily in that order) – and if they do, when Erdogan decides it’s the right time to release them.

Erdogan has got the Saudis over a barrel and he’ll squeeze everything he can out of them.

From the beginning, the Khashoggi story wasn’t really about the fate of one man. The Saudis have been getting away with bloody murder, literally, for years. They’re daily slaughtering the civilian population of Yemen with American and British help, with barely a ho-hum from the sensitive consciences always ready to invoke the so-called “responsibility to protect” Muslims in Bosnia, Kosovo, Libya, Syria, Xinjiang, Rakhine, and so forth.

Where’s the responsibility not to help a crazed bunch of Wahhabist head-choppers kill people?

But now, just one guy meets a grisly end and suddenly it’s the most important homicide since the Lindbergh baby.

What gives?

Is it because Khashoggi was part of the MSM aristocracy, on account of his relationship with the Washington Post?

Was it because of his other, darker, connections? As related by Moon of Alabama: “Khashoggi was a rather shady guy. A ‘journalist’ who was also an operator for Saudi and U.S. intelligence services. He was an early recruit of the Muslim Brotherhood.” This relationship, writes MoA, touches on the interests of pretty much everyone in the region:

“The Ottoman empire ruled over much of the Arab world. The neo-Ottoman wannabe-Sultan Recep Tayyip Erdogan would like to regain that historic position for Turkey. His main competition in this are the al-Sauds. They have much more money and are strategically aligned with Israel and the United States, while Turkey under Erdogan is more or less isolated. The religious-political element of the competition is represented on one side by the Muslim Brotherhood, ‘democratic’ Islamists to which Erdogan belongs, and the Wahhabi absolutists on the other side.”

With the noose tightening around Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MbS), the risible fistfight cock-and-bull story is likely to be the best they can come up with. US President Donald Trump’s having offered his “rogue killers” opening suggests he’s willing to play along. Nobody will really be fooled, but MbS will hope he can persuade important people to pretend they are fooled.

That will mean spreading around a lot of cash. The new alchemy of converting Khashoggi dead into financial gain for the living is just one part of an obvious scheme to pull off what Libya’s Muammar Kaddafi managed after the 1988 Lockerbie bombing: offer up some underlings as the fall guys and let the top man evade responsibility. (KARMA ALERT: That didn’t do Kaddafi any good in the long run.)

In the Saudi case the Lockerbie dodge will be harder, as there are already pictures of men at the Istanbul Consulate General identified as close associates of MbS. But they’ll give it the old madrasa try anyway since it’s all they’ve got.Firings and arrests have started and one suspect has already died in a suspicious automobile “accident.” Heads will roll!

Saving MbS’s skin and his succession to the throne of his doddering father may depend on how many of the usual recipients of Saudi – let’s be honest – bribery and influence peddling will find sufficient pecuniary reason to go along. Saudi Arabia’s unofficial motto with respect to the US establishment might as well be: “The green poultice heals all wounds.”

Anyway, that’s been their experience up to now, but it also in part reflects the same arrogance that made MbS think he could continue to get away with anything. (It’s not shooting someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue, but it’s close.) Whether spreading cash around will continue to have the same salubrious effect it always has had in the past remains to be seen.

To be sure, Trump may succeed in shaking the Saudi date palm for additional billions for arms sales. That won’t necessarily turn around an image problem that may not have a remedy. But still, count on more cash going to high-price lobbying and image-control shops eager to make obscene money working for their obscene client. Some big American names are dropping are dropping Riyadh in a sudden fit of fastidiousness, but you can bet others will be eager to step into their Guccis, both in the US and in the United Kingdom. (It should never be forgotten how closely linked the US and UK establishments are in the Middle East, and to the Saudis in particular.)

It still might not work though. No matter how much expensive PR lipstick the spinmeisters put on this pig, that won’t make it kissable. It’s still a pig.

Others benefitting from hanging Khashoggi’s death around MbS’s neck are:

  • Qatar (after last year’s invasion scare, there’s no doubt a bit of Schadenfreude and (figurative) champagne corks popping in Doha over MbS’s discomfiture. As one source close to the ruling al-Thani family relates, “The Qataris are stunned speechless at Saudi incompetence!” You just can’t get good help these days).

Among the losers one must count Israel and especially Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu. MbS, with his contrived image as the reformer, was the Sunni “beard” he needed to get the US to assemble an “Arab NATO” (as though one NATO weren’t bad enough!) and eliminate Iran for him. It remains to be seen how far that agenda has been set back.

Whether or not MbS survives or is removed – perhaps with extreme prejudice – there’s no doubt Saudi Arabia is the big loser. Question are being asked that should have been asked years ago. As Srdja Trifkovic comments in Chronicles magazine:

“The crown prince’s recklessness in ordering the murder of Khashoggi has demonstrated that he is just a standard despot, a Mafia don with oil presiding over an extended cleptocracy of inbred parasites. The KSA will not be reformed because it is structurally not capable of reform. The regime in Riyadh which stops being a playground of great wealth, protected by a large investment in theocratic excess, would not be ‘Saudi’ any longer. Saudia delenda est.”

The first Saudi state, the Emirate of Diriyah, went belly up in 1818, with the death of head of the house of al-Saud, Abdullah bin Saud – actually, literally with his head hung on a gate in Constantinople by Erdogan’s Ottoman predecessor, Sultan Mahmud II.

The second Saudi state, Emirate of Nejd, likewise folded in 1891.

It’s long past time this third and current abomination joined its antecedents on the ash heap of history.

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