The 2022 Arizona Legislative session ended Friday, after passing the annual budget and 385 bills – 79 of which are waiting for Governor Doug Ducey to sign or veto. Among the spending priorities is a massive expansion of the state’s school voucher system, which Ducey is expected to sign.
However, some political watchers note that the nearly $18 billion budget, composed of 12 bills, is full of pork – one example of which is a large tax credit for Hollywood the Republican leadership insisted on passing.
A proposed bill banning all abortions, meanwhile, was blocked.
The Arizona Legislature is rushing to pass a budget before the 2022 session ends in a few days on June 30, but some Republican legislators are balking at agreeing to vote for the 12 budget bills due to the amount of spending, $17.9 billion. State Sen. Michelle Ugenti (R-Scottsdale) tweeted on Monday, “Arizona’s version of @JoeBiden’s Build Back Broke (aka the legislature’s introduced budget) is not fiscally responsible. You cannot spend your way out of a looming recession.”
She objected to the budget adding an extra half a billion dollars. “I can’t think of anything more fiscally irresponsible than spending recklessly on member pet projects while Arizonans struggle to keep up with crushing inflation,” she tweeted. The Republican Liberty Caucus of Arizona called the budget “bloated and wasteful.”
The spread between 10-year and 2-year treasuries, a reliable indicator of incoming recessions that has predicted almost every recession in modern economic history, inverted once again overnight Monday amid financial markets turmoil with interest rates rising rapidly, the dollar strengthening and equities markets crashing.
That is almost certainly terrible news for President Joe Biden and Congressional Democrats ahead of the 2022 Congressional midterms. The White House has attempted to highlight relatively low unemployment numbers as signs of a healthy economy, with President Biden on June 3 declaring the latest jobs numbers as “good news.”
The Arizona Free Enterprise Club (AFEC) analyzed the success of the Red4ED movement in Arizona since it launched a little over four years ago, and concluded that after spending over $30 million, the movement not only failed to accomplish anything, but failed to stop historic tax cuts. Red4Ed’s two initiatives and referendum were struck down by courts as “legally flawed,” resulting in AFEC labeling its efforts “the largest, most expensive failure in Arizona political history.”
Arizona Educators United launched Red4Ed in 2018 ostensibly to increase teachers’ salaries and funding for K-12 education. People and teachers showed up all over, at the state capitol and at events and protests, wearing red shirts and carrying red signs. But AFEC said “the movement was quickly hijacked by the teachers’ unions and other out-of-state special interest groups.” It soon turned into “a singular quest to double the state income tax through a ballot initiative.”
Congressional Democrats passed a $1.75 trillion social spending plan Friday, putting the bill’s fate in the hands of a deeply divided Senate.
The bill funds universal pre-kindergarten, climate change spending, Obamacare subsidies, an extension of the monthly child tax credit payment and more wide ranging spending items. House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy spoke more than eight hours on the House floor overnight to delay the vote until Friday morning, but afterward it passed 220-213 along party lines with one Democrat opposed.
“We are very excited for what it does for the children, for the families,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a press conference after the bill’s passage.
Just two weeks after his House floor speech on financial fraud in Congress went viral, Arizona Rep. David Schweikert (R-Ariz.) delivered another epic speech, this time focusing on COVID-19 and President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better bill. Schweikert said the country is about at the point to declare the pandemic over, and he slammed Biden’s “social spending plan” for “economic violence” against the working poor and “laced with budget gimmicks.”
Schweikert explained how the combination of several factors now means the pandemic is about over. Pfizer’s new antiviral medication, which is about to be approved by the FDA, is 89% effective and will be available to millions by January. There are at-home COVID-19 tests and multiple vaccines. He will be putting forth legislation shortly to address this developing situation.
Rep. David Schweikert (R-06-AZ), known as the wonky numbers member of Congress, gave a speech on the House floor a few days ago about runaway spending in Congress that has gone viral with over 1.2 million views. It’s on Social Security and Medicare running out of money and how the U.S. is headed for a dystopian future if it’s not fixed. He addressed several myths and offered solutions.
He began saying he’s about to say some things most people don’t want to hear, “We call it math.” The biggest threat over the next couple decades facing the country is demographics. “Getting older isn’t Democrat or Republican, it’s going to happen to everyone.” But he says he’s been booed for telling people the truth. “You don’t raise money telling people the truth about what’s going on.” Referring to Congress, he said, “We live in a financial fantasy world in this place … there’s a fraud around here.”
Senate Republicans Monday filibustered Democrats’ bill to fund the government and suspend the debt ceiling, days before a potential federal shutdown and possible debt default.
Republicans vowed for weeks to oppose a debt ceiling increase and urged Democrats to put the provision in their filibuster-proof $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill. But Democrats have thus far refused to do so, and with their bill’s failure Monday, Congress now has just three days to pass a new funding bill to avoid a government shutdown set to begin Friday at midnight.
The Congressional Budget Office estimated Thursday that the bipartisan Senate infrastructure bill will add $256 billion to the deficit over the next decade, undercutting its backers’ claims the spending had been offset.
In FY2020, the deficit hit a record $3.1 trillion. So far in FY2021, the deficit is $2.2 trillion. The national debt is climbing to $29 trillion for the first time in U.S. history.
The federal government is on track to reach the statutory debt limit in the fall, which would trigger a government shutdown, according to a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimate.
The U.S. is projected to reach the debt ceiling of $28.5 trillion by October or November, a CBO report released Wednesday stated. If Capitol Hill lawmakers don’t reach an agreement on raising the limit higher, the government could undergo its third shutdown in less than four years.
“If the debt limit remained unchanged, the ability to borrow using those measures would ultimately be exhausted, and the Treasury would probably run out of cash sometime in the first quarter of the next fiscal year (which begins on October 1, 2021), most likely in October or November,” the CBO report said.
The state government of California has been revealed to have spent $13 million on providing security for 120 empty houses for five months, even as a homeless crisis ravaged the state, Fox News reports.
In a report broken by local outlet Fox 11, the California Department of Transportation (CalTrans) paid $9 million to the highway patrol from November 2020 to April 2021, and gave another $4 million to a private security firm over the same period, all for the purpose of protecting the vacant houses in Pasadena.
In a statement addressing the report, CalTrans said that the houses had been purchased by the government 60 years ago, when there were plans for a change in the local infrastructure by connecting the 710 freeway to the 210. However, that project “is no longer moving forward,” the government statement declared.
As a very young man, I was fortunate enough to start my own company out of my apartment using a small amount of investment capital from friends and family. Over time, that business grew to have over 6,000 employees and revenues in excess of $2 billion. Over nearly a 40-year span, my team and I built what some would consider a remarkable track record, as measured by both sales and profits.
Because of my experience growing that business, I feel a special kinship with small, privately owned businesses and their owners. I also come from a middle-class background, one that shaped me into the person I am today. It is through both the lens of entrepreneur and member of the middle-class that I look through when reflecting upon this Independence Day.
2020 and 2021 are two sides of the same coin: Price instability brought about by the dollar being either relatively too strong or too weak, which can lead to or exacerbate economic slowdowns, creating higher unemployment and worse if the conditions persist for too long.
In 2020, at the height of the Covid pandemic, the problems included the global economy being shut down plus local lockdowns resulting in a massive recession and a flight to safety into U.S. treasuries as interest rates collapsed, making the dollar too strong. With the onset of deflation, consumer prices plummeted in March and April 2020, with oil even dropping briefly below zero dollars for the first time in history, and a concurrent rise of unemployment as 25 million Americans lost their jobs.