The MAP Act could set the budget on a better course by Tim Hansen

Facing Senate approval this week, the bipartisan budget and debt ceiling deal will loan another $1 trillion to the federal government for the second year in a row. Debits again will outweigh credits on the federal ledger.

 The Congressional Budget office estimates the deficits for 2019 will reach $896 billion and may reach $1.3 trillion by 2029.

 Is any thought given to restraining costs?

 Congress seems nonplussed over rising deficits as long as Republicans get their tax cuts and Democrats score on domestic spending.

 Under the Budget Act of 2011, automatic spending cuts would have reduced discretionary spending and triggered the dreaded sequestration.

 The Wall Street Journal said the deficit is expected to double in the decade ahead due to retirement and healthcare costs.

 Some congressmen have heard and acted the Klaxon for unrestrained federal spending. 

 Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, and Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., have proposed limiting federal spending to a fixed portion of the economy in relation to prevailing economic trends.

 The key concept of Brady and Braun’s Maximizing America’s Prosperity Act is to collect all spending that isn’t paying down interest on the debt under a single spending cap.

 Subjecting all programs to cuts may induce Congress to agree on the savings gained even if the cuts are not to some lawmakers liking.

Additionally, the MAP Act would keep spending cuts to a maximum of five percent across the boardfor affected programs, even though some may deserve deeper cuts. 

 Romina Boccia from the Heritage Foundation contends that Congress needs fiscal restraints to be built into the budget process for preventing excessive and unsustainable spending.

 The MAP Act comes at a time when the nation needs prudent spending, transparency on all budget line items and accountability.




David Foster Wallace Slept Here by Tim Hansen

April 2, 2016

From what I can tell, David Foster Wallace lived in Syracuse, N. Y., for about three years, from 1992 to 1995. He wrote the bulk of Infinite Jest in a decrepit apartment house across from the Syracuse Real Foods Co-op on Kensington Road.  As part of my  famous writer bio for magazine writing and out of my own curiosity, I visited Wallace's neighborhood this morning. I walked around this part of the Westcott neighborhood to get a feel for what he saw everyday here.  It was quiet except for customers running into Real Foods Co-op. I stood and looked at the wood frame house and noticed an arm with a cigarette extending from a window on the second floor. I wondered if that person to whom the arm and cigarette belonged knew Wallace.  Wallace just wrote, worked out, and drank.  He never had a day job and must have burned through his McArthur Grant money while he was here.