Manhattan Institute budget wonk Brian Riedl joins the Remnant for a long, wonky discussion of debt, deficits, taxation, and spending…all while trying to keep the amount of truly intimidating math at a minimum.

Shownotes

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There are 18 comments.

  1. Jeff Hawkins Coolidge

    @jackbutler if you’re going to put in the sound effect, put it in, none of this low audio to sneak in Ben Stein from Ferris Bueller.

    Stand by your convictions :)

    • #1
    • July 25, 2019, at 11:09 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  2. Jeff Hawkins Coolidge

    (I actually don’t mind it all…)

    • #2
    • July 25, 2019, at 11:17 AM PDT
    • Like
  3. Petty Boozswha Member

    Why not tax robots to replace the 16:1 SS payer to recipient ratio?

    • #3
    • July 25, 2019, at 1:40 PM PDT
    • Like
  4. Michael Minnott Member

    I’m disappointed that you didn’t mention The Black Hole as a film needing a remake:

    • #4
    • July 26, 2019, at 1:56 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  5. Joe D. Lincoln

    We could definitely use some less fanatical defense spenders in the Republican primary. Imagine if we made the defense department only paint all the walls in all of their buildings every 10 years instead of every 3 years. That’s just a start, every time I turn around it seems like there’s yet another benefit for the military. … why wouldn’t we pay housing costs over and above their salary. It certainly makes sense to rotate everyone every 2 or 3 years and pay for the move. That’s a totally cost effective use of tax payer money. Furthermore, we don’t need to maintain so much of empire – like in Germany. Why do we have bases in Germany at this point. I am sure they are not cheap to maintain. A smaller military is needed if only because it limits the executive over reach of getting involved in fights we have no business in.

    I loved sequestration – I thought it was great idea. I want it back.

    • #5
    • July 26, 2019, at 8:12 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  6. Joe D. Lincoln

    It’s amazing that if we confiscate rich peoples money we cannot come close to balancing the budget but we could almost balance the budget, but if wealthy people paid for their own medicare we could come close to balancing the costs of medicare. Something about that seems contradictory and I am skeptical that that would actually come close to balancing medicare in this way. If it weren’t for the fact that this Brian Riedl seems to get a lot of respect for being such a budget expert I wouldn’t just be skeptical, I’d think it was load of bull.

    • #6
    • July 26, 2019, at 9:23 AM PDT
    • Like
  7. Joe D. Lincoln

    I’m not sure that being pro-tariff and seeking to get better trade deals is actually contradictory to doing the kind of budget reforms talked about in this podcast such as premium support, high income seniors paying their own way, (or maybe raising the retirement age by a year or so which was not mentioned). It’s weird that you always conflate being pro trying to get better trade deals for America is somehow contradictory to wanting to support other more traditional conservative ideals such as balancing the budget, being pro outrageously large military budgets, and trying to promote liberty everywhere.

    From a support of freedom perspective, shouldn’t we favor chasing production out of china and other places that support various forms of tyranny and into India or other more free places like Taiwan, South America, maybe even Vietnam, etc., in order to put pressure on regimes that are oppressing their people.

    Aside from Trump’s pro-tariff and less free trade ways where he differs so much policy wise from other Republican President’s. We also ran big budget deficits under George Bush Jr in 2005 (Well not compared to now, but we should have been running surplusses).

    • #7
    • July 26, 2019, at 9:25 AM PDT
    • Like
  8. Troy Senik Contributor

    Joe D. (View Comment):

    It’s amazing that if we confiscate rich peoples money we cannot come close to balancing the budget but we could almost balance the budget, but if wealthy people paid for their own medicare we could come close to balancing the costs of medicare. Something about that seems contradictory and I am skeptical that that would actually come close to balancing medicare in this way. If it weren’t for the fact that this Brian Riedl seems to get a lot of respect for being such a budget expert I wouldn’t just be skeptical, I’d think it was load of bull.

    If you want all the detail on this (probably more than you’ll ever need), see this report that Brian did for MI last year. Breaks down all the details on what it would take to get the budget crisis under control. Even many of Brian’s ideological antagonists have conceded that this is about as honest a reckoning with the problem as you’ll get:

    https://www.manhattan-institute.org/html/report-comprehensive-federal-budget-plan-avert-debt-crisis-11497.html

    • #8
    • July 26, 2019, at 9:43 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  9. Full Size Tabby Member

    As a person who was for several years responsible for a corporate departmental budget, the government accounting system is one of the most frustrating deceptions foisted upon the American public. Calling an increase in a budget a “cut” because the increase is smaller than what the department wants is unlike any other accounting system in existence, and is contrary to common sense. 

    My corporate departmental budget problem was usually the opposite – the baseline was a 5 or 10 % cut each year. Any argument that my budget could not be cut that much faced high skepticism from Corporate Finance, and was treated almost as a request to increase my budget.

    Hence for those of us with budget experience in the real world, this government budgeting assumption that “of course we get to spend more money each year” is exceedingly frustrating.

    • #9
    • July 26, 2019, at 2:36 PM PDT
    • Like
  10. kedavis Member

    Hang on, Jonah and Brian.
    Jonah, why are you apparently complaining that many Trump voters aren’t “voting in their own self-interest?” You and Brian just got done talking about how Social Security etc have to be dealt with to solve budget problems. Now you have Trump voters supporting tariffs etc that are arguably good for the country even if they’re maybe short-term bad for those people. And you think they’re being foolish?
    Shouldn’t you be playing loud music and having a big party? with an open bar.

    • #10
    • July 27, 2019, at 7:02 AM PDT
    • Like
  11. Julia1492 Member

    I am 26 minutes into this episode and already thoroughly depressed about the future. 

    • #11
    • July 27, 2019, at 8:47 AM PDT
    • Like
  12. Julia1492 Member

    I think, @jonahgoldberg, that you’re referring to the movie Executive Decision, with Kurt Russell. He takes a team to a big airliner that’s been taken over by terrorists and ends up having to use his skills from flying little Cessnas to land a huge plane. 

    • #12
    • July 27, 2019, at 9:29 AM PDT
    • Like
  13. LibertyDefender Member

    “… dig a little deeper into the low-hanging fruit.”

    Wow, that’s really low-hanging fruit.

    • #13
    • July 27, 2019, at 10:30 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  14. LibertyDefender Member

    When I was growing up in the very early 70s, I’d watch reruns of The Winchell – Mahoney Show, in which ventriloquist Paul Winchell would perform with his dummies Jerry Mahoney and Knucklehead Smiff. The scene was often a kids’ (treehouse?) clubhouse, where Jerry and Knucklehead would discuss their important clubhouse issues.

    In one memorable episode, Jerry and Knucklehead needed to buy something for the clubhouse, and they didn’t have any money. But Jerry explained that they had been faithfully contributing their club dues (a nickel, as I recall) for a long time, so surely there was sufficient money in the dues cash box for their needed purchase. 

    When they opened the clubhouse cash box, there was no money in it at all. Instead, it was full of IOUs from Knucklehead. As they had already disclosed in that episode, Knucklehead didn’t have any money, so they were out of luck.

    I didn’t realize at the time that the two dummies were explaining the Social Security “Trust Fund” to me.

    • #14
    • July 27, 2019, at 12:28 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  15. civiltwilight Listener

    Thank you for this podcast. Please talk about the debt/deficit at least once every two months. The guest was correct. Rank and file Republicans are not serious about debt reduction when they go to the polls. They need to wake up. The tea party was more against ObamaCare then about cutting deficits. I don’t recall much noise about the deficit/debt in the 2016 GOP debates from any of the candidates. Not wanting to reform Social Security and Medicare is a problem with the Trump presidency. No one is talking about the issue anymore, and every commentator needs to.

     

     

    • #15
    • July 28, 2019, at 3:04 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  16. civiltwilight Listener

    Oh, and another thing. Of course, the majority of the tax cut went to the higher income earners. They are paying all the taxes, as the podcast discussed. The middle class (and that means me) needs to pay their fair share. Opinions might change if the majority of Americans felt the bloat of the federal government in their own pocketbooks.

    • #16
    • July 28, 2019, at 3:17 PM PDT
    • Like
  17. Joe D. Lincoln

    Troy Senik (View Comment):

    Joe D. (View Comment):

    It’s amazing that if we confiscate rich peoples money we cannot come close to balancing the budget but we could almost balance the budget, but if wealthy people paid for their own medicare we could come close to balancing the costs of medicare. Something about that seems contradictory and I am skeptical that that would actually come close to balancing medicare in this way. If it weren’t for the fact that this Brian Riedl seems to get a lot of respect for being such a budget expert I wouldn’t just be skeptical, I’d think it was load of bull.

    If you want all the detail on this (probably more than you’ll ever need), see this report that Brian did for MI last year. Breaks down all the details on what it would take to get the budget crisis under control. Even many of Brian’s ideological antagonists have conceded that this is about as honest a reckoning with the problem as you’ll get:

    https://www.manhattan-institute.org/html/report-comprehensive-federal-budget-plan-avert-debt-crisis-11497.html

    Thought about this a little more over the weekend, and I realized the idea that we can just use a VAT tax – European like – to solve our debt problems seems ridiculous. Many of those countries are already running deficits that are also around 100% of GDP. Maybe we can buy a little extra time since we are not already doing it. … I think we’d better hope for some miracle cures of the future returning youthfulness that in addition to be miracles are also cheap…

    • #17
    • July 29, 2019, at 6:23 AM PDT
    • Like
  18. kedavis Member

    Joe D. (View Comment):

    Thought about this a little more over the weekend, and I realized the idea that we can just use a VAT tax – European like – to solve our debt problems seems ridiculous. Many of those countries are already running deficits that are also around 100% of GDP. Maybe we can buy a little extra time since we are not already doing it. … I think we’d better hope for some miracle cures of the future returning youthfulness that in addition to be miracles are also cheap…

    It would also depend on other things. Just adding a VAT might work, if everything else stayed the same. But of course it wouldn’t stay the same. The Left would use a VAT as further “justification” for “national health-care” etc, which would completely suck up a VAT and then some.

    • #18
    • July 29, 2019, at 10:36 AM PDT
    • Like