Welcome to the weekly QuizCap, a fun way to test your knowledge on what’s going on in Washington. This week we have politicians failing math, King James, and more space force! Let’s get started!
Lebron James recently celebrated the opening of his new school in Akron, Ohio that will provide students with free uniforms, meals, transportation, and free bicycles and helmets. What portion of the costs will taxpayers have to cover?
With all of the praise surrounding Lebron James's 'I Promise' school, you would have thought he funded the school entirely out of his own pocket. However, Patrick O'Donnell of the Plain Dealer in Cleveland, Ohio, says that while James will pay a good portion of the operating expenses, "the district will pay more than half the costs - perhaps around 75 percent - once it is fully running."
In other “sounds great until you look at the financing” news, democratic socialism is getting a lot of pub lately. According to neutral or left-leaning sources, how much will it cost to implement a social security expansion, free college, 12 weeks of paid family leave, Medicare-for-all, a federal job guarantee, a $1 trillion infrastructure infusion and forgiving all student loan debt?
That goes on top of the projected $12.4 trillion shortfall to fund current promises. The 30 year tab would be a mind-boggling $218 trillion when federal spending would be half of the American economy. Pay for it by taxing the rich? That would require taxing corporate profits at 100 percent along with taxing all profits over $90,000. Math is tough.
According to recent calculations, Medicare for All would increase federal spending by $32.6 trillion over the first ten years. How much would taxes have to be increased to cover the cost of the plan?
Many experts estimate that Congress would have to DOUBLE Americans' individual and corporate tax rates to cover the cost of Medicare for All.
CBO just released its monthly deficit report. How was the July deficit compared to last year?
The July deficit was $75 billion, or $32 billion more than 2017 shortfall. Republican controlled Congress ignored the $21 trillion debt and massive unfunded liabilities and cut taxes and increased spending. Now the leading opponents want to put even more pressure on the already stretched budget.
How much does the Treasury Department expect to borrow during the last six months of this year?
As the economy moves to full employment and economic conditions are positive, the federal government is borrowing big time. What could go wrong? "Last time we had a recession, our debt was half the level it is today, relative to the economy," says Maya MacGuineas of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. "As our debt gets higher, our ability to respond to a recession or another kind of crisis is definitely much more difficult."
The Navy is making plans to dismantle its first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the USS Enterprise. How much will the dismantling cost?
To make matters worse, GAO recently reported that the Navy is having difficulty exploring a more cost-effective commercial option due to a regulatory authority turf war with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Hello, we’re on the same team.
The DoD has ramped up its use of Other Transaction Authority (OTA), a nimble contracting vehicle that is way less competitive and transparent than traditional government contracts. The purpose is to use OTA to access contractors that the DoD otherwise could not work with. How much of the $21 billion in OTAs went to traditional defense contractors?
Despite its purpose to reach small, non-traditional contractors, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and Northrop Grumman are all dominating the contracts in this space. Fortunately, Congress put more reporting requirements in this black hole budget in its recently passed defense authorization bill.
Moving into the realm of actual black holes, President Trump recently announced that he had ordered the Pentagon to begin the process of creating a Space Force as a new branch of the military. How many entities currently oversee space related operations?
If Congress and the Administration decide it is necessary to create a Space Force, it should do so with efficiency and tax dollars in mind. Until then, Congress should be focused on oversight of our current space programs so our nation’s fiscal problems don’t force us to move to the moon.
Plans for Trump’s other ambitious protection project, the wall, is in the works. GAO recently examined Customs and Border Patrol prototyping process. What information did CBP forget to analyze?
GAO pointed out the obvious, that the cost to put down physical barriers will change based on topography, land ownership, and other factors. That information is probably going to be necessary to determine how many pesos the wall will cost.
The National Endowment for the Arts partnered with the American Architectural Foundation to spend $1.2 million federal tax dollars. A recent IG report found that $45,507 of this money was improperly spent on what?
Paint and Sip is so trendy! While it’s unclear that federal tax dollars are needed to support the arts in America, it's very clear that they should not be used to support a buzz.
Moving on to harder drugs, the Peace Corps IG recently reported that at least 152 Peace Corps Volunteers were separated from service over the last 3 years due to drug use. How many potential lost service years is that?
Or the equivalent of shutting down a post in Belize or Tonga over a 3-year period. These premature exits have resulted in about $482,000 in wasted taxpayer and host country resources.
What did Congress do to address the $21 trillion national debt and $100 trillion in unfunded liabilities this week?
Heck, they weren’t even in session this week. The House will be in recess for the entire month of August and the Senate will be in recess through Wednesday. Hopefully they are using that time learning math and gaining courage.