CBO Reports Significant Increase in Tax Receipts from Last Year

9 May 2018

Monthly Budget Review for April 2018 Congressional Budget Office, 2018/05/07

Receipts for the first seven months of fiscal year 2018 totaled $2,012 billion, CBO estimates—$83 billion more than the amount during the same period last year.

Receipts collected in April were $30 billion to $40 billion larger than CBO expected when it prepared the estimates reported in The Budget and Economic Outlook: 2018 to 2028, which it issued on April 9. The bulk of that difference stems from larger-than-anticipated payments of individual income taxes. Those payments were mostly related to economic activity in 2017 and may reflect stronger-than-expected income growth in that year. Part of the strength in receipts also may reflect larger-than-anticipated payments for economic activity in 2018. The reasons for the added revenues will be better understood as more detailed information becomes available later this year.


The federal government realized a surplus of $218 billion in April 2018, CBO estimates—$35 billion larger than the surplus in April 2017.

CBO estimates that receipts in April 2018 totaled $515 billion—$59 billion (or 13 percent) more than those in the same month last year.

 

Translation… the tax cuts are working as intended.

Advertisements

The Origin of the EPA and Secret Science

21 Mar 2018

Where did “Secret Science” start? Is this just Scott Pruitt doing the work of corporations? Is he just some outlaw who is unilaterally dismantling the EPA?

First of all – this is not solely a Scott Pruitt production. He is not some renegade outlaw who is here just overturning stuff to please corporations.

The House passed a bill on this Secret Science in 2015, that the Democrat Senate sat on.

Why did this get traction in the House? There was a Senate investigation done that resulted in a report.

Have you heard of John Beale? He was an EPA guy who falsely claimed to be a CIA agent… not just once – he faked the whole persona. He got thrown in prison for 32 months.

EPA’s fake spy gets prison sentence – Politico, 2013/12/18

John C. Beale, the former EPA official who convinced his bosses, friends and even his wife that he was a CIA spy, was sentenced to 32 months in prison Wednesday for defrauding the agency out of nearly $900,000 in unearned pay and bonuses.


At the hearing in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Wednesday, Beale described his compulsion to lie as “something like an addiction,” but he added that he didn’t want it to sound like an excuse.

Why do I bring this guy up?

Because he is the one who spear-headed the effort of the legislation mentioned in the article that I just previously posted.  It mentions how costly the regulations are with regards to Ozone and Particulate Matter.

Here is the Senate Report.

EPA’s Playbook Unveiled: A Story of Fraud, Deceit and Secret Science – U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, 2014/03/19

Some of the findings in the report…

Brenner’s decision to hire Beale was based solely on their personal relationship and not on Beale’s qualifications. Beale himself admitted that he had no environmental experience. In the critical area of federal legislative experience, Beale’s supposed qualification was an unpaid undergraduate internship for Senator John Tunney (D-CA).


Beginning in 1995, Beale and Brenner took the lead on EPA’s internal process to set National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for Ozone and Particulate Matter (PM). The duo set in motion “EPA’s Playbook,” a strategy to game the system by compressing the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) review via a friendly sue-and-settle arrangement, relying on secret science, and inflating benefits while underestimating costs.


With these standards, EPA sought to regulate fine particulates (PM2.5) in addition to larger particles (PM10) for the first time under the NAAQS, despite a distinct lack of scientific understanding of the integrity of the underlying data.


The two studies EPA relied upon, known as the Harvard “Six Cities” and American Cancer Society (ACS II) studies, were and remain controversial. EPA’s own scientific advisors warned EPA that the Six Cities study was “not in the peer-reviewed literature” and emphasized that there were significant uncertainties with the data, meaning EPA’s decision to proceed with the standards was a pure “policy call.”


Both Administrator Carol Browner and AA Mary Nichols admitted that neither of them had actually read the studies. Rather, it appears that Browner and Nichols deferred to the “expertise” of EPA’s career staff — Beale and Brenner — to make this “policy call.”


Beale led EPA’s effort to suppress interagency criticism of the standards and issued the “Beale Memo,” threatening OIRA officials who dared to criticize EPA in a letter to Congress. EPA tried to hide the existence of the Beale Memo from Congress, but was undermined by a conscientious whistleblower who surreptitiously turned over the memo to Congressional staff.

 

So you have a confessed addicted liar with no environmental experience in the EPA making policy based on science that was questionable by the EPA’s own experts.

This is how the Secret Science got started.

This removal of hiding the science behind the regulation is about shining light on an agency that affects how private business operates. There is nothing wrong with that. Transparency is good.


EPA Chief Pruitt to End Use of “Secret Science”

21 Mar 2018

Scott Pruitt Will End EPA’s Use of ‘Secret Science’ to Justify Regulations – The Stream, 2018/03/20

Pruitt will reverse long-standing EPA policy allowing regulators to rely on non-public scientific data in crafting rules. Such studies have been used to justify tens of billions of dollars worth of regulations.

EPA regulators would only be allowed to consider scientific studies that make their data available for public scrutiny under Pruitt’s new policy. Also, EPA-funded studies would need to make all their data public.


Texas Republican Rep. Lamar Smith pushed legislation to end the use of what he calls “secret science” at EPA. Pruitt instituted another policy in 2017 backed by Smith against EPA-funded scientists serving on agency advisory boards.

“If we use a third party to engage in scientific review or inquiry, and that’s the basis of rulemaking, you and every American citizen across the country deserve to know what’s the data, what’s the methodology that was used to reach that conclusion that was the underpinning of what — rules that were adopted by this agency,” Pruitt explained.


Democrats and environmentalists have largely opposed attempts to require EPA rely on transparent scientific data. Said data would restrict the amount of studies EPA can use, but a major objection is making data public would reveal confidential patient data, opponents argue.

“A lot of the data that EPA uses to protect public health and ensure that we have clean air and clean water relies on data that cannot be publicly released,” Union of Concerned Scientists representative Yogin Kothari told E&E News.

“It really hamstrings the ability of the EPA to do anything, to fulfill its mission,” Kothari said.

I don’t see how this hamstrings anything. No one is asking for private data, but the methodology should be available for all – especially since government spending and private company compliance costs come into play with the EPA.


Why Dodd-Frank Needs To Be Fixed

16 Mar 2018

This is an in depth article explaining the enormous monstrosity that is Dodd-Frank. Initial compliance costs runs in the hundreds of thousands of dollars ($400M – $600M for Chase). Smaller banks could not keep up with those costs.

Another issue is that much of Dodd-Frank still has a bunch of regulations that need to be determined. It was estimated to be 12-18 months to complete everything. It probably hasn’t been done. But what that does is this… because there is a bunch of legislation that is yet to be determined – it enriches the politicians. Why? Banks will spend money lobbying politicians as the various undetermined rules are determined. That’s in the article below as well.

Too big not to fail – The Economist, 2012/02/18

Over-regulated America – The Economist, 2012/02/18


Trump Administration Introduces Plan to Reduce Health Care Costs

8 Jan 2018

Trump Drives Another Nail Into Obamacare’s Coffin – American Spectator, 2018/01/08

The new regulation, which was published in the Federal Register on January 5, will be available for public comment for 60 days. When it goes into effect, it will allow small employers to band together for the purpose of buying health insurance in the large group market. Specifically, it will “allow employers to form small business health plans based on geography or industry” and permit such plans “to serve employers in a state, city, county or a multi-state metro area.” It can be used to “serve all the businesses in a particular industry nationwide,” and also allows sole proprietors to join small business health plans.


The impetus for the new AHP rule was provided by Executive Order 13813, “Promoting Healthcare Choice and Competition Across the United States,” issued by President Trump last October. Among the EO’s goals was “to facilitate the purchase of insurance across state lines and the development and operation of a healthcare system that provides high-quality care at affordable prices for the American people.”

Here’s the official Dept. of Labor press release.

Small companies burdened because they can’t take advantage of pricing advantages that are made to large corporations will be glad to see this.


Trump Overturns Obama Offshore Drilling Bans

5 Jan 2018

Donald Trump overturns Obama bans on drilling as he moves to vastly expand US offshore oil – UK Telegraph, 2018/01/04

Donald Trump’s administration has announced plans to vastly expand oil and gas drilling in nearly all US coastal waters, reversing protections in the Arctic, Atlantic and Pacific.


It would be the most expansive US offshore drilling proposal in decades, including opening up federal waters off the California coast for the first time in more than 30 years.


Number of Regulations Sharply Decline Under Trump

5 Jan 2018

Trump Regulations: Federal Register Page Count Is Lowest In Quarter Century – Competitive Enterprise Institute, 2017/12/29

The calendar year concluded with 61,950 pages in the Federal Register this morning.

This is the lowest count since 1993’s 61,166 pages. That was Bill Clinton’s first year, and his own lowest-ever count.

A year ago, Obama set the all-time Federal Register page record with 95,894 pages.

Trump’s Federal Register is a 35 percent drop from Obama’s record, set last year.


There has also been a major reduction in the number of rules and regulations under Trump.

Today the Federal Register closed out with 3,281 final rules within its pages.

This is the lowest count since records began being kept in the mid-1970s.