Free Markets, Free People

PAYGO Is A No Go

You remember the clip the other day in which President Obama told us that Americans were tired of politicians who “talked the talk” about fiscal responsibility, but didn’t “walk the walk”.

Well PAYGO, recently signed into law – and short for pay-as-you-go – requires revenue (spending cuts elsewhere or tax increases) be identified to pay for whatever Congress passes. That’s the “talk the talk” part.

Heh … there is no “walk the walk” part – on their first chance to actually “walk the walk” the House bailed.

Democratic leaders said extensions of unemployment insurance and COBRA healthcare benefits should be emergency spending that isn’t subject to the pay-as-you-go statute, which requires new non-discretionary spending to be offset with spending cuts or tax increases.

We all know, that in the budget that is now out there, cutting $53.3 billion in spending elsewhere would simply be impossible, right?

Oh, wait – you know, if they put that freeze on non-discretionary spending in place now and didn’t wait a year while they raise that spending a reported 82% (gotta love that bit of smoke and mirrors, don’t you?) this year, I’d bet they would find those cuts that would match that spending.

The more you watch these people do business the more you come to understand why they’re where they are and not running a real business. And House Democrats aren’t the only ones:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is also pushing for emergency extensions of the unemployment and COBRA benefits not subject to pay-go requirements.

The only difference is Reid will most likely do it in a separate bill with the “emergency” disclaimer to bypass PAYGO.

Judd Gregg gets it right:

Republicans voted en masse against the pay-go legislation, criticizing Democrats for including language that would allow exemptions to it. Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) said Democrats’ move to bypass pay-go using emergency exemptions proves that the pay-go law is just a “political statement, not a substantive event.”

“They continue to claim some sort of fiscal discipline … when in fact they basically keep spending money like drunken sailors,” Gregg said.

Drunken sailors only spend what is theirs and what they have in their pocket, so in reality, it is an insult to sailors, drunken or otherwise, to compare them to the profligate deficit spenders in Congress busily talking the talk, but rarely walking the walk.

~McQ

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6 Responses to PAYGO Is A No Go

  • So, what’s the criteria for determining whether there’s an “emergency” that means that the PAYGO rules can be ignored?

    Lemme guess: ANY spending that the Congress really wants is “emergency” spending.

  • This is another angle on the question of why we have a debt ceiling that we can continuously raise.  Why write a law requiring fiscal restraint, if you planned to render it moot via loopholes and exceptions?  The fact that they are trying to find a way around it almost immediately after voting for it destroys any possible goodwill that it would have generated amongst voters, which was (IMO) the whole reason for proposing it in the first place.  This is embarrassing.

    • Not if you’re a Democrat….correction, I wish I could authoritatively blame this sort of behavior only on them, but I can’t.  So…..not if you’re in the White House, or the Legislature, at least, not these days.

  • If only Judd Gregg and Co. felt this way 4 years ago…

  • The number of U.S. workers filing new applications for unemployment insurance unexpectedly surged last week, while producer prices increased sharply in January, raising potential hurdles for the economic recovery. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 31,000 to 473,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday. That compared to market expectations for 430,000. Another report from the department showed prices paid at the farm and factory gate rose a faster than expected 1.4 percent (16.8% annual) from December after a 0.4 (4.8% annual) percent gain in December, as higher gasoline prices and unusually cold temperatures helped boost energy costs.

    You gotta love that “stimulus”