Monday, December 28, 2009

Trillion Dollar Deficits -- Part 9

Read my article at American Thinker:

Ultracon finds it easy to pronounce The Divine Angela as history's definitive Mimi. EMI put out a DVD of the following performance; it's available in better stores everywhere, as well as Angela's website: La Boheme.

Here's Mimi's Act III aria, Donde lieta usci; you'll never be the same:

ULTRACON: stuck in 1896.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Church of Gheorghiu

Read the latest from Ultracon at TCS Daily:

NOTE: If you find the Borg metaphor apt, you might enjoy this video of actress Alice Krige commenting about Power vis-à-vis her role as the Borg Queen.

And now to the serious stuff: The Divine Angela.

The following video is of Mimi's Act I aria from La Boheme. It demonstrates what a terrific actress Ms. Gheorghiu is. Of course the main thing is the voice.

If you want more, find in the playlist returned at the end "O soave fanciulla", which takes you to the end of act.

Ultracon: Good for what ails you.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Trillion Dollar Deficits -- Part 8

Read this at American Thinker:

and this at TCS Daily:

Even Ultracon can't spend all his time worshipping The Divine Angela Gheorghiu. So today we offer this French confection from 1967. You will recognize a very young Catherine Deneuve, but who is the brunette? It's Cate's older sister, Francoise Dorleac. Francoise was every bit as fetching as her younger sister. Shortly after this film debuted, Francoise died in an auto accident at the age of 25. The Young Girls of Rochefort was her next to last flic. The film has been restored and is available on DVD. Click on the video below for a taste of this charming diversion.

ULTRACON: for Real Americans

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Healthcare for Dummies

These articles are at American Thinker:

(A shorter version of the last article appeared Nov. 3 in STAR BUSINESS WEEKLY of The Kansas City Star newspaper. It was titled "Time for Insurance Solutions" .)

Ultracon seems to be becoming The Unofficial Shrine to Diva Angela Gheorghiu. The following video is of a recording session where the Divine Angela is not foo-fooed up to her usual glamorous gorgeous Gheorghiu standard, but the voice is glorious. What a woman.

Ultracon: Accept no substitutes.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Modest Proposals

Here's a recent article that ran at American Thinker which looked at the coverage of Nick Griffin's appearance on the BBC. I included links to several British websites that had videos of the event and the protests:
Rightwing Fascists and Other Fables
it also has a plug for an important book.

Although this proposal appeared at GOPUSA, it should be adopted by the Dems, too:
The Presidential Primary System And What To Do About It
I don't like the idea of changing the Constitution, but here's a change I do endorse:
Two Tweaks to the Constitution
and then there's The Divine Angela:

ULTRACON: the pause that refreshes

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Trillion Dollar Deficits -- Part 7

My latest article may seem only tangential to our abysmal deficit:
Towards a Simpler, Fairer Tax
but don't let the title fool you.

Lenny only performed the first movement of Mahler's Tenth.

ULTRACON: we're hep.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Trillion Dollar Deficits -- Part 6

Read my article at American Thinker:
Obama's Deficit: the Devil Made Me Do It
and then listen to the divine Angela--->

ULTRACON: Accept no substitutes.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Trillion Dollar Deficits -- PART 5

Check out my article at TCS Daily:
The Underlying Principle in Taxation
TCS also ran a piece of mine on the 40th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing:
The Consequences of Government Intrusion into Prices
AND American Thinker recently ran an article of mine on tax reform:
The Fair Price of Civilization?
read 'em and weep.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Election Reform via Technology

Check out my article at TCS Daily; it's in 2 parts. It concerns the Minnesota contest for U.S. Senate, now in its 7th month. But what it mainly concerns is how to prevent such nonsense by reforming our election system. Click on this:
No More Minnesotas
and tell 'em Jonny Boy sent cha.

EXTRA CREDIT: How is the recent election in Iran similar to the 2008 election in Minnesota?

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Trillion dollar deficits -- PART 4

You have reached ULTRACON, a piquant blend of paleocon, neocon and 9/11-con, with zesty libertarian overtones...Try it, you'll like it.

ULTRACON is right pleased to be at American Thinker:
Where's the "Do Nothing Congress" When You Need Them?
And in case you missed it, check out:
Federal Finance: having it both ways
which is also at American Thinker. And here's my most recent article at TCS Daily, hot off the press, as it were:
The Limitations of Economics
ULTRACON highly recommends Dr. John Ray's blog: Dissecting Leftism. And check out his monographs, which you'll find in the left column.

ULTRACON: Accept no substitutes.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Trillion dollar deficits -- PART 3

My big fear is that Congress is going to ruin the currency…ULTRACON.

A version of the following article appeared at FrontPageMagazine on 2/11/2009 under the title Overstimulation. This is the longer unedited version:

Stimulating Ourselves to Death
By Jon N. Hall
February 9, 2009

When Democrats campaigned to retake Congress in 2006, they ran on PAYGO.

PAYGO (pay-as-you-go) is a commitment to not expand the federal budget deficit. With PAYGO, spending for new programs would be “deficit-neutral”, as it would be offset by cuts elsewhere in the budget. Nancy Pelosi said she was committed to PAYGO and wanted PAYGO to be “the law of the land”.

Fiscal 2007 began October 1, 2006, when the Republicans were still the majority. The federal budget deficit for FY 2007 was $162 Billion. The Democrats have been in control of the budget for the last 2 fiscal years, and the deficit for FY 2009 is now estimated to hit $1.2 Trillion.

So whatever happened to PAYGO? Unfortunately, PAYGO seems to be dead.

When the dimensions of the financial crisis became apparent in September 2008, pundits opined that the Democrats’ plans for universal health-care and other new programs would need to be shelved; there just wasn’t any money for new spending.

But now the Democrat Congress tells America that the economy needs a “jolt”, a “jumpstart”: a stimulus bill entailing massive deficit spending.

At a conference for House Democrats on February 5, President Obama mocked those who differed with him on the stimulus bill:

"So then you get the argument, 'well, this is not a stimulus bill, this is a spending bill.'…[dramatic pause]…What do you think a stimulus is? That's the whole point," Obama said to laughter.
OK, but if deficit spending is a part of government stimulus, then America has been getting stimulated since 1930. The most generous accounting for the federal budget (the “unified budget”) shows that Congress produced 12 balanced budgets in those 79 years: There were 3 immediately after World War II; 4 in the 1950s; FY 1969; and 4 during the recent bubble economy, FY 1998 through 2001.

So during the last 40 years Congress has stimulated us for 90% of the time [1].

Democrats are fond of telling us that the national debt doubled during the last 8 years. Since the debt is now more than $10 Trillion, that would mean that Congress has done $5 Trillion worth of stimulus in just the last 8 years. Obviously, the stimulus of the last 8 years didn’t prevent the financial crisis. So, is stimulus really the cure for what ails us? Can we really just spend our way out of this recession?

Despite the nearly constant stimulus of the $Trillions they’ve been injecting into America for lo these many years, Congress says it wasn’t nearly enough, we need more. Before we plunge into this brave new world of Trillion dollar deficits “for years to come”, we might do well to remind ourselves how we came to our sorry state.

Debt—by government, business, and households—is what got us into this mess. So it seems counter-intuitive to think that debt is what will get us out of it. But NYTimes columnist Bob Herbert assures us: “There is broad agreement that we have no choice but to go much more deeply into debt to jump-start the economy.”

“No choice”, you say? But what if the “received wisdom” is wrong? What if the various stimuli don’t work and all we end up doing is adding Trillions to the national debt without solving the underlying problem? Perhaps one problem is that Congress and all the gurus aren’t addressing the real problem.

Perhaps stimulus itself is the real problem. America is already over-stimulated. And over-leveraged, over-stored, overbuilt and over-extended. Perhaps the only thing we have to fear is stimulus itself. Stimulus is debt. Debt is bad. We need to stop borrowing so much.

And the folks understand this instinctively. They’re pulling back, cinching up their belts. Many used their stimulus checks last year not to stimulate the economy by buying things but to pay down debt. Or, they just saved it. American households seem to be embracing the “Old Verities” of thrift, postponement of gratification, living within one’s means, self-denial, caution, and, yes, pay-as-you-go.

But Congress says that’s all wrong: We’ve got to spend more; we’ve got to take out more loans; the credit must flow. The folks are trying to go “cold turkey”, but their enablers in Congress are buying them shots of stimulus with money borrowed from the grandkids. Congress is borrowing to stimulate more borrowing.

There are some who say Congress should forget the stimulus bill, and just do nothing. The “do nothing” position is that the economy will right itself—if we just let it. And this would have especial merit if the recession ends before the stimulus starts trickling down into the economy. Indeed, much of the stimulus doesn’t kick in until the out-years. Then there’s the question of whether the items in the stimulus bill are even stimulative. It’s hard to stimulate something that’s already over-stimulated; the patient is building up a resistance to the medication.

If Congress must “do something”, why not lower the payroll tax? That would provide immediate relief. How about lowering the corporate income tax rate? America has the second highest corporate tax rate in the world. How about creating incentives for manufacturers to move back home? If Congress wants to get citizens working again, how about repatriating a few million illegal aliens?

After attending the forum at Davos last week, Harvard’s Niall Ferguson writes:

The delusion that a crisis of excess debt can be solved by creating more debt is at the heart of the Great Repression. Yet that is precisely what most governments currently propose to do.
Ferguson’s solutions provide the counterpoint to Bob Herbert’s “broad agreement”. And he actually tackles the problem that started the crisis: mortgages.

Is there any hope for the resurrection of PAYGO?

PAYGO was a sham from the get-go. Democrats, you see, don’t cut spending. Of the 12 surpluses since 1930, only those for FY 1947, 1948 and 1960 coincide with cuts in “discretionary” spending. This year’s estimated deficit of $1.2 Trillion together with the $819 Billion stimulus bill is more than ALL federal spending for as late as FY 2002. With stimulus bills and bailouts still to be decided on, it remains to be seen if this year’s deficit will end up being 10 times what the Democrats inherited just 2 years ago.

“Uncharted waters” does not begin to do justice to where Congress is taking us.

Jon N. Hall is a programmer/analyst from Kansas City.

[1] To confirm my figures, check out the latest budget history from the feds, toggle Bookmarks on the left and click on the third item: Table 1.1—SUMMARY OF RECEIPTS, OUTLAYS, AND SURPLUSES OR DEFICITS (–): 1789–2013. You’ll be on page 25 of Adobe Acrobat, but page 21 of the document itself. (Dial-up users: This 342-page PDF is almost 2.5 megabytes and might take 5+ minutes to download.)


Friday, January 23, 2009

TAX, Baby, TAX

save for future use....

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Social Security

ULTRACON: meaner than a junkyard dog.

Inauguration Day

Ultracon is pleased that STAR BUSINESS WEEKLY, an organ of The Kansas City Star, is running his commentary today, which can be found HERE. But the article appears below, too, as the shelf life of The Star’s online side isn’t all that long. This may be the case with all but the biggest of newspapers, like The Wall Street Journal. That’s because newspapers make a tidy sum by selling their content to Lexis-Nexis. So they’re obliged to take it down from their websites. Or so I’m told. As usual, my title got changed. But this title probably needed to be changed. I was thinking of The Fonz, i.e. Fonzi.

(Don Porter (to whom I refer in my article) also states in his letter to the editor that Social Security “is social insurance”. The Star ran my treatment of that issue about 4 years ago, and it’s still up at the Public Program Testing Organization: But is it Really Insurance?)

Yo, Ponzi
By Jon N. Hall
January 20, 2009

In the wake of the Bernard Madoff scandal, folks have chimed in that the Mother of All Ponzi Schemes is none other than Social Security.

Inasmuch as Ponzi schemes are illegal and Social Security is a government program, that claim might not hold up in court.

In “Social Security is not Ponzi scheme” (12/31, Letters, THE KANSAS CITY STAR), Don Porter and Lloyd Hellman have their say. Porter claims: “From the beginning it has been a pay-as-you-go government system and never an “investment””. (One doubts that investors in Mr. Madoff’s hedge fund think it’s much of an investment, either.)

The issue here is whether Social Security operates like a Ponzi scheme.

In a Ponzi, income from new investors is used to pay off old investors. In this respect, a Ponzi is identical to the “pay-as-you-go” aspect of Social Security, where the payroll taxes (FICA) of current workers pay for the benefits of retired workers.

The reason a Ponzi is financed like this is because the dollar difference between income and outgo isn’t fully invested, so there aren’t adequate profits to meet the demands of investors. Here, too, Social Security is identical to a Ponzi – except that Social Security is purer.

Whereas a Ponzi, like Mr. Madoff’s hedge fund, must at least make some investments – if for no other reason than to escape notice from the Securities and Exchange Commission – the Social Security Administration invests none of its surplus. Yes, Social Security does have a so-called trust fund, said to contain more than $2 Trillion. But the treasuries in the “trust fund” differ from “regular” treasuries in that they are not marketable; they’re IOUs. In reality, there is no Social Security trust fund – the government spent the surplus.

Also, the “pay-as-you-go” aspect of Social Security will end – in 2017, it is estimated – when payroll taxes are no longer adequate to pay benefits. At that point, the treasuries in the “trust fund” will be “redeemed” to continue paying benefits at the same pace. And where will the money for those redemptions come? Why, from the general fund of the U.S. treasury. Which means: Social Security benefits paid for out of the trust fund are paid for twice, first by payroll taxes and second by other taxes that go into the general fund.

If the federal government wants Social Security to escape the stigma of being a Ponzi, then it must either limit payroll taxes to being no more than benefits or it must invest the surplus in real income-producing investments, not U.S. treasuries or securities. It should also do away with the accounting fiction known as the “unified budget”.

So, Ponzis and Social Security are operationally identical. The difference between the two is in how their surpluses are used.

In a Ponzi, we’re talking simple grand larceny. But in Social Security, the surplus goes into the U.S. treasury’s general fund. And since money is fungible, the Social Security surplus is used to pay for everything in the federal budget. Which includes the pork and earmarks incumbent Congressmen use to bribe the electorate into re-electing them.

So, dear reader, if you benefit from pork or earmarks and you re-elect these guys, are you a party to a Ponzi scheme?

In Mr. Hellman’s letter to the editor, he asserts: “Social Security is not and never was a Ponzi scheme…I am not only entitled to the return of the money I paid in, but the interest I earned for 64 years”.

Not so fast. We’ve already been here.

In Flemming v. Nestor (1960), the Supreme Court “established the principle that entitlement to Social Security benefits is not contractual right”. In other words, taxpayers have no property rights to Social Security benefits whatsoever.

Moreover, in Section 1104 of the 1935 Act: “The right to alter, amend, or repeal any provision of this Act is hereby reserved to the Congress.” Which means: Congress can end Social Security whenever it so chooses.

Folks might comfort themselves by thinking: Congress isn’t going to kill Social Security. And they’d be right – it would be political suicide.

But America is entering uncharted waters. The population is aging. The deficit is skyrocketing. We’re at war. And Congress is on a spending spree like no other and wants to “give” health-care and Lord knows what else to every last one of us including illegal aliens. The question isn’t just whether Social Security will be there for you, but whether the good ole U.S. dollar will still be worth anything.

So as you survey your family’s future security, social or otherwise, think about how the government finances things.

Jon N. Hall is a programmer/analyst from Kansas City.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Trillion dollar deficits -- PART 2

ULTRACON: the blogger who refers to himself in the third person.

The following article appeared at the now-defunct, RIP. Ultracon then disseminated the thing through the ether via email in the hope of infusing the electorate with some sense before the election, alas. The fears expressed have all come to pass…and in spades: Trillion dollar deficits for years to come.

The Budget Deficit: Deflecting Blame, Abdicating Responsibility
By Jon N. Hall
October 16, 2008

One of the disadvantages of being the majority is occasionally you have to act like one.

When Democrats captured Congress in 2006, fiscal 2007 became the last year the Republican Congress could be held responsible for the budget. Total federal revenue for fiscal 2007 was a record $2.56 Trillion. The last year Democrats had produced a budget was fiscal 1995, when total federal revenue was $1.35 Trillion.

So, the new Democratic Congress had about $1.21 Trillion MORE with which to balance the budget than they had had 12 years earlier in their last attempt.

Would it be enough?

For the first 6 months of fiscal 2008, the federal deficit hit an all time record high of $311.4 Billion, up 20.5 percent from the previous year (also here, and for wonks here). The 2008 budget is the Democrats’ first budget since regaining control, and its deficit can’t be blamed on low revenue—federal revenue for the period also set a record.

There’s your Democrat Congress for you, the all time worst performance on the deficit for the first half of a fiscal year despite record high revenue. Not to rest on their laurels, the Democrat Congress went on to set the record for an entire fiscal year with a deficit of $455 Billion for 2008. This comes immediately after 3 solid years of progress by the Republicans, during which they reduced the on-budget deficit by $224 Billion—all wiped out by the spendthrift Democrat Congress’ first budget.

And remember, this Democrat deficit comes before the addition of universal health-care, universal pre-kindergarten and universal you-name-it. And it comes before the recent bailouts and rescues. Some predict a $1 Trillion deficit for fiscal 2009. (A trillion here and a trillion there and pretty soon you’re talkin’ real money.)

After 12 years in the minority—far longer than any other stretch since 1932—the Democrats immediately revert right back to their old playbook. The Democrats just can’t help themselves; they are genetically incapable of spending restraint. When confronted with what has been called a financial Pearl Harbor, they couldn’t resist larding up the $700 Billion bailout/rescue with pork—in what they themselves described as one of the most important votes of their careers, they couldn’t produce a clean bill.

The Democrats’ answer for everything is to raise tax rates on business and the wealthy, all the while demonizing them.

So how could the economy NOT be faltering? Investors and businesses are looking straight into the jaws of massive Democrat tax rate hikes. For the economy’s sake, wouldn’t it be better to leave the capital with the capitalists?

The Party of Taxes “needs” your money, nonetheless. And you should gladly fork it over to them, because Democrats know so much better how to spend your money than you do. After all, they’re the Keepers of Civilization.

July 13 on Meet the Press Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Mo) said: “and, and it was interesting that Carly [Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard] referred to the boom years. That's when we had a Democratic president and a Democratic Congress. Those were the boom years. And that's the, the years we want to get back to.”

Whatever could Sen. McCaskill be referring to? When were these halcyon days of yore? The 1990s? Didn’t we have a Republican Congress in those “boom years”? She certainly can’t be referring to the Carter years. The last time a Democratic Congress produced a “real” balanced budget—that is, without an on-budget deficit [1]—when a Democrat was in the White House was fiscal 1951. The last time a Democratic Congress produced a “real” balanced budget under a Republican president was fiscal 1960.

Record deficits, soaring tax rates, rampant spending: This is what GOP Congressional candidates should run against this fall. They should ask America: Are you better off now than you were—2 years ago?

But Republicans are allowing Democrats to deflect blame for the record deficit onto the President, as when Speaker Pelosi spoke at the Democrat Convention of “the failed Bush policies that has [sic] weakened our economy and taken us from the Clinton surplus to reckless Bush deficits”.

“Clinton surplus?” “Bush deficits?”

When did Congress lose its responsibility for the budget? When was the Constitution amended to throw out Article I, Section 9 (7), which states: “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time” [emphasis added].

Budgets are legislation. Legislation is Pelosi’s area. This is Pelosi’s deficit. The predicted $750 Billion deficit for fiscal 2009 belongs to Democrats—they’re the majority now.

But Democrats seem to want to campaign this fall as though they were still the minority. And well they should, for what have they accomplished since capturing the majority? Nonetheless, the word from the media is: 2008 is a Democrat year.

But why, this Democrat Congress has performed abysmally. Even Democratic voters think so. Congress’ approval ratings are in the toilet; 11% in the Reuters/Zogby poll, which was taken before their “miserable failure” with the budget. Congress’ approval ratings have since plunged to an all time low of 9 % in the Rasmussen poll.

Under the current crop of Democrats, Congress has become the branch of government that folks hold in the most contempt.

If John McCain is to lead Washington back to fiscal sanity, he’ll need help. And that can mean only one thing—real conservatives in Congress. But ending earmarks, cutting pork, and rooting out waste won’t be enough; McCain, a genuine fiscal hawk, will need to reform entitlements. And that will be impossible without a GOP Congress.

To retake Congress, Republicans must create a compelling new vision of what they abandoned in 2001—the Contract with America. Republicans must tell America exactly how, if given the majority, they will balance the budget. And America should listen up, because the GOP is the only party to have actually balanced the budget since 1960.

Forget the barbarians at the gate for a second. If Congress doesn’t soon get a handle on its infernal spending of money it doesn’t have, Congress itself will be quite enough to bring about the End of America as We Know Her.

It’s the spending, stupid.

Jon N. Hall is a mainframe programmer/analyst from Kansas City.

[1] Democrats like to cite fiscal 1969 as having had a balanced budget. But there was an on-budget deficit of $507 million that year. If you doubt my budget figures, check out the latest budget history from the feds, toggle Bookmarks on the left and click on the third item: Table 1.1—SUMMARY OF RECEIPTS, OUTLAYS, AND SURPLUSES OR DEFICITS (–): 1789–2013. You’ll be on page 25 of Adobe Acrobat, but page 21 of the document itself. (Dial-up users: This 342-page PDF is almost 2.5 megabytes and might take 5+ minutes to download.)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Trillion dollar deficits

With Trillion dollar deficits “for as far as the eye can see”, Ultracon trots out an article from April of 2007 that appeared in the STAR BUSINESS WEEKLY, page D8. (One slight alteration from the STAR is the dropping of “ic” from “Democratic”, done for Mr. Howard Dean’s sake.)

If you doubt Ultracon’s budget figures, check out the latest budget history from the feds, toggle Bookmarks on the left and click on the third item: Table 1.1—SUMMARY OF RECEIPTS, OUTLAYS, AND SURPLUSES OR DEFICITS (–): 1789–2013. You’ll be on page 25 of Adobe Acrobat, but page 21 of the document itself. (Dial-up users: This 342-page PDF is almost 2.5 megabytes and might take 5+ minutes to download.)

One might quibble with Ultracon’s positing of a better than 50% rating for the GOP. This was based on not counting 1931, 1932 and the first 6 years of the Reagan terms. Although the GOP won the House in 1931, the House was organized, if memory serves, by Democrats due to GOP death(s). Also, during the first 6 years of Reagan, the House was in Democrat control, but cooperation from conservative Democrats, Blue Dogs, coupled with a GOP Senate allowed the GOP to have its way. But go ahead and count those 8 years for the GOP and the GOP still has a 40% rating at balancing the budget as opposed to the Democrat’s less than 10%. However, Ultran was counting 2001 and 2002 for the GOP, but the defection of Senator Jeffords in 2001 put the Senate under Democrat control. In any event, no matter how you look at it, the GOP has a better record at balancing the budget than Democrats. That is, if you think Congress is responsible for budgets.

Now it’s the Democrats’ turn to balance the budget
By Jon N. Hall

Back in 2002, Howard Dean told Greta Van Susteren on her Fox News Channel show: “No Republican president has balanced the budget in this country in 34 years. It seems only Democratic presidents do that.”

Dean was referring to fiscal 1969, the first year of the so-called Unified Budget. The Unified Budget mixes general fund revenue with off-budget revenue from dedicated taxes, such as Social Security. It allows off-budget surpluses to offset (and mask) on-budget deficits. And indeed, 1969 saw an on-budget deficit of $507 million.

But who are these “Democratic presidents” Dean refers to? Certainly not Carter, LBJ or JFK. The last president before Clinton to preside over a balanced budget was Eisenhower, and the last Democrat was Truman.

The biggest problem with Dean’s statement is this: NO president—neither Democrat, nor Republican, nor Whig—has ever balanced the federal budget. “It seems only [Congress does] that.”

Budgets are legislation. Bills. Presidents don’t vote on bills. Presidents only sign bills, which makes them laws. Or they veto them. Which is why Clinton needs to accept at least half of the responsibility for the government shutdown in 1995—he vetoed a budget that would have kept the government going.

The responsibility for the budget rests with Congress, as is illustrated by the current calls to cut funding for the Iraq war. No Congress should rubberstamp any president’s proposed budget. Congress has it within its power to reject any of a president’s budget proposals. Folks should direct their unhappiness over the return to deficits at Congress.

The Democrat establishment has for years laid responsibility for the budget at the feet of the president, crediting Clinton and blaming Republicans. But if Congress has the ultimate responsibility for the budget, why do Democrat congressmen deflect attention elsewhere?

It is because the only balanced budgets during the last 47 years occurred when Republicans controlled Congress.

That’s right. The last balanced budget produced by a Democrat Congress was in fiscal 1960. And going back to 1920, the only other times Democrats balanced the budget were in fiscal 1947, 1951, 1956 and 1957. And since Democrats controlled both houses of Congress for 52 of those years, it means their record is below 10 percent.

The Republicans have certainly disappointed fiscal hawks lately, but they balanced the budget in the 11 years from 1920 through 1930, and in 1948, 1999 and 2000. They controlled Congress for 27 of the years in question and so are averaging above 50 percent.

Democrats might object to the exclusion here of fiscal 1969. But we’re not including any years with Unified Budget surpluses if they ran on-budget deficits. That means we’re also not including 1949, 1998 and 2001, which would accrue to the Republicans’ record.

What does it take for a Democrat Congress to balance the budget? The top tax rate during the period when Democrats balanced the budget was 91 percent. When the top rate was lowered in the 1960s to 70 percent, Democrats never again balanced a single budget.

But now, after 12 years, the Democrats have another shot at balancing the budget. And they have a Trillion dollars more revenue to work with than in their last budget. They’re not used to such large sums. Will it be enough for them to balance the budget? Or will they launch more programs, more entitlements, and just spend it?

Democrat congressmen who continue to lay the responsibility for the budget on the president are doing nothing less than abdicating their own responsibility. And since Congress can pass rescission bills, the Democrats are, as of now, responsible for all the waste, fraud and abuse in the federal budget. (At least the Republicans killed the “bridge to nowhere”.)

Should the Democrat Congress be unsuccessful at balancing the budget, it will be interesting to see if they blame President Bush for it.

[This article originally appeared April 17, 2007 in STAR BUSINESS WEEKLY, put out by The Kansas City Star newspaper.]

Jon N. Hall is a programmer/analyst form Kansas City.

ULTRACON: the blog for Real Americans.