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October 1, 2015     Cheney Free Press
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October 1, 2015
 

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OPINION Thursday, October 1,2015 By ED FEULNER Contributor Frustrated voters sometimes denounce their representatives as "good for nothing," but are they being fair? Con- sider the budget gim- micks some politicians come up with. When it comes to fiscal gymnas- tics, who can deny their creativity? Case in point: a plan to fund the mismanaged Highway Trust Fund by tapping the dividends that the Federal Reserve pays member banks. Seri- ously, stick with me here, because this is a doozy. Here we have fed- eral highway spending, operating at a deficit. Duh, it's run by politi- cians. Of course they're spending more money than the fund takes in. And they've been doing it since 2008. Even in Washing- ton, though, you can do that for only so long be- fore you have to find real money. So this past summer, both houses of Congress came up with a plan. The Senate bill covered a much longer time frame (six years versus five months), and so it had a bigger price tag ($47 billion versus $8 billion). But both were chockful of tax hikes and budget tricks. So far, so Washington. The kicker, though, was the way they planned to come up with at least some of the money. As a condition of joining Bank money to highways the Federal Reserve Sys-]ii by law, must be turned tern, member banks are I i i ii ili!!iii!] over to the U.S. Treasury. required to buy into the i ii '!:'iii ili] And it really adds up: For stock of their district lil the last 10 years, the Fed Fed bank. In return, the has annually remitted Fed pays the banks a 6 between about $19bfllion percent dividend every Wall Street. But it's not (in 2004) and $88 billion year. that simple. (in 2012). The Senate plan? For one thing, it's not "So the Fed is a sig- Cut that 6 percent to 1.5 as if the banks can donificant source of revenue percent. Take the differ- anything with this stock., for the government," Mi- ence and put it into the It's a condition of mem- chel writes, "and now highway fund. Problem bership. They can't buy some members of Con- solved! Okay, not solved, or sell it, the way most gress want more." No but, uh, sorta taken care stockholders can. matter how you slice of. For now. This so-called owner- this, it amounts to taking You may be wonder- ship is really just nominal money out of the Fed to ing what banking has to - the Federal Reservepay for more pet proj- do with transportation Board'of Governors runs ects rather than cutting spending. Good question, the system, and it's a spending. "Taxpayers but don't waste time try- full-fledged government would ultimately foot the ing to find a link; there agency. "Lowering thebill," Michel notes. That's isn't one. When lawmak- dividend isn't going to right. Taxpayers. Hard- ers need some bucks, punish an evil cabal of working Americans like they pull from wherever bankers," writes financial you and me. they can. regulation expert Norbert And lawmakers like And in this case, Michel in Forbes. "Be- the idea of tapping the they've got to feel like cause that particular ca- Federal Reserve Fund so geniuses. I mean, bank- bal doesn't really exist." much that even if they ers? Boo hiss, right? It's Michel goes on to ex- don't use it to shore up hard to drum up sympa- plain that all the profits the Highway Trust Fund, thy for anything close to from the Fed's operations, there are reports that they ' " i" This message was brought to you by Pope :Francis. n't fix lem may do it to finance other us it's not our money at deficit spending, stake. So there you have it. It's time to speak up That good-for-nothing - and tell them how Congress, taking the old wrong they are. tax-and-spend policy Ed Feulner is founder we've seen for decades of The Heritage Foundation and giving it a twist. (www.heritage.org). We always knew they Disclaimer: The views were good at wasting our expressed in this cerumen- tax dollars. Now they're tary do not necessarily re- proposing a gimmick flect those of the cheney that may even convince Free Press. You're Invited To Ponderosa Falls 7520 S. Thomas Mallen Rd, ...... Cheney, WA 99004 Take 1-90 to the Medical Lake Exit (272). Go South on Aero Rd. Drive past Westbow Blvd. (Aero Road will turn to the East and turn into W. Claire Ave.) Turn South onto Thomas Mallen Rd. No Gifts Please, Your Attendance Will Be Gift Enough "Committed to Ecdlence" We offer residential re-roofs, tear-offs, new construction and commercial work. 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