Where's My Recovery? (Tax Receipts)


Where’s My Recovery? (Tax Receipts)

Posted by Karl Denninger

From The Wall Street Examiner:

Month to date tax receipts are now in for the entire month of December. They’re down 7.7% from December 2008, which is exactly the same rate of decline as November’s. We know that the TBAC and Treasury officials were not anticipating that in their debt sales forecast for the first quarter. They had assumed that a recovery was taking root and would continue to do so.

But I thought that we were in the midst of a strong economic recovery?  So say all the pundits, all the Tout TV folks, everyone…

So how come I can’t find it in the sales tax receipts of the states, and I also can’t find it in the Federal tax receipts?

Doesn’t recovery mean more spending, some hiring, or at least people getting more hours even if they don’t have new jobs?

If this is all happening, as we’re being told incessantly on ToutTV, shouldn’t tax receipts be going up?

Remember, last December was pretty much the bottom, or so the pundits have told us.  We keep hearing that sales are improving, durable goods are improving, employers aren’t firing any more (and indeed many people are looking for a positive employment number for December and a positive revision to +ve for November) – and yet none of that makes any sense – especially employment turning to an actual positive number – if Treasury tax receipts are actually down on a y/o/y basis from last December.

That’s not the worst of it when it comes to macro level stuff.  From The Wall Street Journal came this piece that was largely ignored:

First, in most state capitals the stimulus enticed state lawmakers to spend on new programs rather than adjusting to lean times. They added health and welfare benefits and child care programs. Now they have to pay for those additions with their own state’s money.

Second, stimulus dollars came with strings attached that are now causing enormous budget headaches. Many environmental grants have matching requirements, so to get a federal dollar, states and cities had to spend a dollar even when they were facing huge deficits. The new construction projects built with federal funds also have federal Davis-Bacon wage requirements that raise state building costs to pay inflated union salaries.

Worst of all, at the behest of the public employee unions, Congress imposed “maintenance of effort” spending requirements on states. These federal laws prohibit state legislatures from cutting spending on 15 programs, from road building to welfare, if the state took even a dollar of stimulus cash for these purposes.

Wait a minute. 

Isn’t there a requirement in State Constitutions that a bill go through the Legislature to authorize spending that is then signed by the Governor (or vetoed and overridden)?

The article goes on to say:

A few governors, such as Mitch Daniels of Indiana and Rick Perry of Texas, had the foresight to turn down their share of the $7 billion for unemployment insurance, realizing that once the federal funds run out, benefits would be unpayable. “One of the smartest decisions we made,” says Mr. Daniels. Many governors now probably wish they had done the same.

The Governor of a State does not have the right to legislate from his office!

This sort of crap has been pulled by The Federal Government for decades – shove a program down The State’s throat, acceptance of which is either automatic in some form or which occurs by the action of some administrative agency within a state and thus bypasses the entire State Legislative process.

This is beyond outrageous and yet it is one of the means by which our Federal Government has effectively destroyed the Federal/State boundary, usurping into The Federal Tax mechanism state governments and legislatures.

It would be one thing if the legislature was to have taken up these “stimulus” packages and passed acceptance of them as an act of the legislature, signed by the governor.  That would be lawful.

But they didn’t.  In some cases the governor explicitly acted, but in others the decision was effectively made by an administrative arm of the state (e.g. the road department) via acceptance of Federal Funds.

Both are blatantly unlawful as acts of legislation without the legislature!

The States should have put a stop to this crap back in the days of “double nickel” speed limits, when it made its “high pressure” debut, demanding that all such effective appropriations occur through legislative action.

They didn’t.

Now the States are saddled with impossible-to-pay budgetary requirements, in some cases leaving them with as little as 10% of their budgets open to discretionary action – all as a result of unlawful appropriations made without the state legislatures passing a bill that is then signed by the governor!

The Journal continues onward with claims that this is all a liberal conspiracy. 


This is a raw abuse by both political parties that has been crammed down the throat of the states since the 1970s, through both Republican and Democrat Congresses and Administrations, and it is flatly unlawful as it violates the Constitution of every state of the union to legislate without action of the legislature!

The States must rise and pass 10th Amendment resolutions with the binding force of law that all such unlawfully-enacted “appropriations” are void as unconstitutional usurpations of The State Legislature and will not be complied with.

This is no longer a matter of political expedience.  It is now a matter of budgetary survival and maintenance of what we are supposed to be as a nation – a union of States that each have a Constitution that must be respected and abided by all parties.