Tuesday, December 6th, 2016

It’s a MacIver Wednesday

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Over at the MacIver site yesterday, a column on the latest CBO report and Congressman Paul Ryan’s reaction.

If Ryan sounds like a herald bringing news to Pharaoh of another plague upon Egypt, he has good cause.

According to the CBO, public debt will be larger than the entire U.S. economy by 2023. The CBO’s economic models show the standard of living beginning to decline by 2015, and the economic model completely breaks down by 2027.

Already by the end of this fiscal year the federal debt will be 62% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This is up from 40% of the GDP in 2008, and up from the forty-year average of 36%.

It’s not a projected shortage of revenue that is driving the long-term debt. The CBO estimates in an extended baseline scenario that federal revenues will reach 23% of GDP by 2035. This expected increase in taxes is the result of the federal health care reform, growth in the reach of the alternative minimum tax, and the expiration of most of the Bush tax cuts. Even under this scenario, debt would grow to 80% of GDP in 2035. And that’s the best scenario: 80% of GDP. Federal interest payments would grow from 1% of GDP to 4% of GDP in the same period.

Milwaukee Magazine’s Erik Gunn took note of my piece last week for the MacIver Institute on Aaron Diamant’s reports on the O’Donnell Park parking structure accident.

Over at the conservative MacIver Institute, blogger James Wigderson cried foul. Wigderson (who also posted about the issue on his personal blog) pointed out that Diamant’s follow-up story basically stuck with the innuendo that deferred maintenance was at fault when the facts clearly showed otherwise: “So despite the lack of any connection between the deferred maintenance reported and the accident itself, WTMJ-TV aired not one but two reports attempting to connect the accident to cost-cutting measures by Milwaukee County. The first report failed to establish any connection. The second report repeated the mistakes of the first, using visual cues to imply a connection before finally revealing otherwise.”

Gunn has a previous example of Diamant’s reporting not living up to the hype.

Finally, you’ll want to check out the MacIver Institute’s website to read the financial disclosure statements of your favorite legislators.

Individuals who want to examine the financial relationships of members of the legislature can now do so anonymously and without having to travel to Madison to obtain the information.

The John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy has published the Statements of Economic Interest for all 132 state lawmakers online.

“We at the MacIver Institute believe the old notification system has had a chilling effect on the public’s right to know and clouded what was intended to be a promotion of transparency in government,” said MacIver President Brett Healy. “The MacIver Institute has put this information where the public can actually find it, the internet.”

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