The WasteWatcher: The Staff Blog of Citizens Against Government Waste

GOP Budget: We Balance, They Don’t

The WasteWatcher is the staff blog of Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW). For questions, contact blog@cagw.org.


Welcome to “Extreme Sports: Capitol Hill Edition.” The budget debate between Republicans – whose House Budget Committee proposal, sponsored by Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), is supported by Citizens Against Government Waste and others who are serious about ending deficit-spending and further debt accumulation – and Democrats can be boiled down to just four words. We balance.  They don’t. The GOP proposes to achieve balance in ten years.  Or even less: see also the Republican Steering Committee (RSC) budget.  The Democrats don’t achieve balance.  Ever. And, given President Obama’s astonishing admission that “balancing the budget is not his top priority,” there is a second verse that is equally powerful, again four words. We cut.  They won’t. The president has enjoyed some political success with his mantra of taking a “balanced approach” whenever it comes to resolving the nation’s shortfall between revenues and outlays.  Indeed, a Gallup report late last year indicated that, by a plurality, the public was supportive of an approach that solved the problem equally from spending cuts and revenue increases.  Pundits may argue over whether the poll-tested popularity of this so-called “balanced approach” stems from an assumption that the approach is synonymous with, well, balancing the budget. But please don’t mistake a “balanced approach” as having anything to do with a “balanced budget.”  Yes, both phrases include the word “balanced.”  That is where the similarity ends.    Indeed, the White House spokesman Jay Carney revealed the emperor’s nudity when responding to reporters’ questions:  he defined a “balanced approach” to mean deficit reduction that includes “asking everyone to pay their share,” while finally admitting that, no, the president’s upcoming budget would be not be balanced. Repeatedly, during Thursday’s markup of the chamber’s budget resolution, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) decried the Republican approach as “extreme.”  So, let’s explore the elements of the Ryan budget.  First, the plan would increase spending by 3.4% over the current baseline.  Meanwhile, the projected inflation rate over the same period is 2.2%.  In other words, the Republican budget plan is one that actually increases spending over the next ten years at a rate higher than inflation.  This is what passes for “extreme” in the “World According to Patty.” Insert incredulity here.  Really?  REALLY??? Let’s review some of the other elements of the Ryan budget.

  1. Cuts government spending to protect hardworking taxpayers;
  2. Tackles the drivers of our debt, so our troops don’t pay the price for Washington’s failure to take action;
  3. Restores economic freedom and ensures a level playing field for all by putting an end to special-interest favoritism and corporate welfare;
  4. Reverses the President’s policies that drive up gas prices, and instead promotes an all-of the-above strategy for unlocking American energy production to help lower costs, create jobs, and reduce dependence on foreign oil.
  5. Strengthens health and retirement security by taking power away from government bureaucrats and empowering patients instead with control over their own care;
  6. Reforms our broken tax code to spur job creation and economic opportunity by lowering rates, closing loopholes, and putting hardworking taxpayers ahead of special interests.

Interestingly, while still increasing spending – again, 1.2% faster than inflation – Chairman Ryan’s proposal helps balance the budget, by simply slowing – not even eliminating – growth in spending.  So what’s the “extreme” part?  Democrats insist on no less than 5% growth in spending over the same period.  That's what. The Democrats may succeed in bamboozling the American electorate, by using the Soviet-style indoctrination tactics of uttering the same lies over and over.  And over.  These falsehoods include, but are not limited to, the aforementioned “extreme cuts” (in which “extreme” means that Republicans are shameless in refusing to spend as fast as Democrats) and “balanced budgets “ (wherein “balanced” refers only to equal parts spending cuts and tax increases, not to revenues equaling – or, God forbid, exceeding – outlays).  Another juicy morsel of misdirection comes from the Democrats’ own Senate proposal.  They claim $1.85 trillion in deficit reduction over ten years.  But they do so by eliminating the effects of the recent sequester: by restoring the recent $1.2 trillion cut, any real deficit reduction would be, at most, $650 billion over 10 years.  That projected reduction, even if fully realized, equals only about 4% of the current debt, not to mention the additional debt that will be incurred over the next decade. I often wonder if those of us sounding the alarm are cursed, like Cassandra, to foresee the disaster that awaits, while a complacent society refuses to believe the severity of the problem.  Without such a fearful incentive, the citizens might fail to take the necessary preventative action in time.  But, such a curse notwithstanding, it is not too late to do something about it now.  That would be to enact the Republican budget.  Do not pass go, do not collect $200.  Go straight to a balanced budget. In my lifetime, please.  

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