Welcome to the weekly QuizCap, a fun way to test your knowledge on what’s going on in Washington. This week we highlight one party’s hypocrisy, a museum that’s no laughing matter, and how much more money thirty year old millennials are making than their parents at the same age.
This week, the President announced that he will provide $12 billion in aid to American farmers to mitigate the impact of his trade war. How is the President bypassing Congress to spend this money?
President Trump is dusting off the U.S. Code to use the Commodity Credit Corporation which was created in 1933. This is in addition to the $20 billion that already flows to farmers annually through farm subsidies. While farmers would prefer the trade war go away, they’ll obviously accept the payments. The childhood lesson holds. Two wrongs make a ton of angst and debt.
Four state Attorneys General filed a lawsuit against the federal government that would provide $650 billion in tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans? What political party are the AGs from?
Hypocrisy much! After a year of panning the GOP tax cut bill as a give away to the rich, the attorneys general of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Maryland are protesting the $10,000 State and Local Tax Deduction cap that was used as an offset. 57 percent of SALT benefits go to the top 1 percent of income earners (96 percent go to the top 20 percent). While there is a lot of rhetoric and spin surrounding tax policy, this lawsuit is quite literally a tax cut for the rich.
How much spending did researchers find at the Departments of Defense and Housing and Urban Development between 1998-2015 that was unsupported?
Which happens to be the size of the national debt. The researchers urged Congress to investigate the unaccounted for expenditures. Instead, HUD got a 2.5 percent bump to their budget from the Senate ($54 billion).
True or false: The USDA has a program that supports cricket farming and the development of other bugs for human consumptions.
That’s right. The federal government is spending $1.3 million to support cricket farming and the development of other bug-based food. Cricket powder costs $38 a pound. Ground beef costs $3 per pound. I wonder what the American market will support.
The National Flood Insurance Program, the primary insurer of flood risk in America, expires on July 31st. The program has racked up $36 billion in debt and has a $1.4 billion annual shortfall. What did the House pass to help fix the NFIP’s financial woes?
Congress has made a habit of ignoring the problems that plague the National Flood Insurance Program. It’s a major problem for taxpayers, but coastal and riverine area Congressmen hold enough clout to protect the program that incentivizes development in flood prone areas and provides the funds to keep rebuilding in the same spot.
In the Kelo V City of New London Supreme Court case in 2004, the court ruled that the government can seize private property through its eminent domain authority for what purpose?
In an underreported development, the House passed the Private Property Rights Protection Act which would end the federal government's ability to use eminent domain for private development and strongly disincentivize state and local governments from using it. The bill passed by voice vote – which implies broad bipartisan support. While the bill would still have to pass the Senate to become law, this would be a big win for private property rights.
The House passed a bill to recognize a soon to be opening museum in Jamestown, New York as the National Comedy Center. Did the comedy museum get any federal financial support?
While the bill passed this week did not provide any funds, the museum received a $1.7 million grant from the Department of Commerce in 2016 to help construct the museum which will include holograms of famous comedians.
92 percent of 30-year-olds in the 1970’s earned more than their parents at the same age. How many 30 year olds earn more than them now?
Other studies find troubling trends for millennials compared to the 1970s. College tuition as quadrupled, student debt has tripled, homeownership rates have dropped and millennials living with parents has risen. Looking at the nation’s finances, the economic landscape does not look greater in the future.
The Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations issued a report this week on implementation of the DATA Act which went into effect this year. How much of the spending entries on USASpending.gov are accurate?
DOH! The report found more than half of the data submitted to USAspending.gov for Q2 2017—roughly $240 billion in spending—was inaccurate. The Department of Treasury, who was in charge of implementing the DATA Act, had a 96 percent error rate.
What did Congress do this week to improve the nation’s $21 trillion debt and $100 trillion in unfunded liabilities?
The House did announce a new package of tax cuts. So their head is definitely in the right spot….