FAPIIS is a Steaming Pile

On April 15, the government finally made the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System (FAPIIS) available to the public. Reviews of the previously secret database have been harsh – Tom Lee at the Sunlight Foundation said, "FAPIIS may be the worst government website [I've] ever seen" – and after perusing the site last week, this blogger sees no reason to question that assessment.

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GOP Shields Rich Friends from IRS

I'll take my campaign contributions now, please.

For those that followed the fiscal year (FY) 2011 spending debate, you know that compromise pulled most of the more obnoxious riders, like those aimed at Planned Parenthood and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), out of the continuing resolution (CR). But House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) succeeded in slipping a few riders into the final budget agreement, including one that bans funding for President Obama's initiative to hire additional Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agents to crack down on high income tax cheats.

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CBO Monthly Budget Review, April 2011

Same Report, Different Month

Last Thursday, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its Monthly Budget Review (MBR) for April. If you've been keeping an eye on this blog, you'd know that the $830 billion deficit Uncle Sam has racked up over the first six months of fiscal year (FY) 2011 is unsurprising and isn't really newsworthy. Of course, that's not the way it's likely to play out in the media or on Capitol Hill.

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Paul Ryan's 'Path to Prosperity' ... for the Rich

Hack

Released Tuesday morning amid great fanfare, Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-WI) fiscal year (FY) 2012 budget proposal is turning out to be a grab bag of right-wing economic crankery. In fact, that's too nice: the proposal is flat out awful. And when I say "awful," I don't just mean evisceration-of-two-very-popular-social-safety-net-programs or two-thirds-of-proposed-spending-cuts-from-low-income-programs awful, but tax-hikes-on-middle-and-low-income-folks-combined-with-tax-cuts-for-the-rich awful.

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'Tax Freedom Day' Still a Sham

His tummy hurts because he's been binging on right-wing economic propaganda.

On Wednesday, the Tax Foundation released their estimate for this year's "Tax Freedom Day" (TFD). For those not familiar with the right-leaning organization's annual made-up holiday, it marks when, according to the Tax Foundation, Americans will have "earned enough money to pay this year's tax obligations at the federal, state, and local levels." As is always the case with TFD, it's an exceptionally simplistic and misleading way to look at taxes.

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On Public Wages, Let's Hear from Business Leaders

A unionized public employee, a teabagger, and a CEO are sitting at a table. In the middle of the table is a plate with a dozen cookies on it. The CEO reaches across and takes 11 cookies, then looks at the teabagger and says, 'Watch out for that union guy – he wants a piece of your cookie!'

An interesting exchange occurred last week between a top government official and a group of corporate leaders attending the first meeting of President Obama's Management Advisory Board. According to Robert Brodsky of Government Executive, Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) John Berry appealed to the board to help set the record straight about "overpaid" public employees.

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Why Are We Only Talking about Spending Cuts?

All the GOP cares about is jobs, jobs, jobs!

With Congress poised to send President Obama another continuing resolution (CR) temporarily keeping the federal government open, Senate Democrats, in conjunction with the administration, have just three weeks to negotiate with House Republicans over a funding bill for the rest of fiscal year (FY) 2011. The negotiations will concentrate on spending cuts made by the Republican House, but they shouldn't.

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CBO Monthly Budget Review, February 2011

Congressional Budget Office

The Congressional Budget Office's (CBO) Monthly Budget Review (MBR) for February is out and it has piqued deficit hawks around Washington. The thing is, though, February's MBR is just like all the rest of CBO's recent monthly budget reports: it reveals that the country spent a lot more money than it took in over the previous thirty-day period.

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Is our Country Broke?

Why do I thirst for an Orange Julius when I look at this picture?

At a news conference yesterday morning, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), shrugged off criticism that his party's proposed spending cuts would cost thousands of federal workers their jobs, saying, "In the last two years, under President Obama, the federal government has added 200,000 new federal jobs. If some of those jobs are lost, so be it. We're broke." Boehner has rightly been criticized for the first and second parts of his comments, but what about the last part?

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GOP Not Cutting Defense Spending ... but It Should Be

How about cutting that second engine, Boehner?

Over the weekend, House Republicans began a coordinated campaign to defend the caucus' "$100 billion" worth of proposed cuts to the fiscal year (FY) 2011 budget. Since the proposal's release, Republicans have been taking flak for targeting non-security discretionary programs, which only make up about one-sixth of federal spending. When asked about this on the various Sunday talk shows, Republican leaders demurred, claiming defense spending is also on the chopping block. They're not telling the truth.

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