Free Markets, Free People

disaster aid

Disaster relief and budget offsets

I guess I just don’t get this, given our fiscal shape.  Yesterday the GOP House passed a continuing resolution to fund the government until November (since we haven’t had a budget passed in the House for almost 3 years).  In it is a provision that pays for disaster relief by cutting spending elsewhere.   In other words, it tries to balance new spending on one side, even if the spending is on disaster relief, by cutting planned spending on the other side.   It is called prioritizing.   We all do it.  If the car breaks and it is going to cost $1,500 we may shave $1,500 dollars worth of vacation off of the planed vacation.  Household economics.  The car is a greater priority than a full 2 weeks of vacation.

However, when it comes to the government it seems that normal everyday concepts like living within your means somehow becomes a “dangerous precedent”.  Really?   Here’s TPM’s take:

But the bill received almost no Democratic support and faces an uncertain future in the U.S. Senate because Republicans have used the funding bill as a vehicle for disaster relief money, and insisted it be paid for by slashing funds for jobs programs Democrats support. Dems say the GOP legislation provides insufficient aid, and sets a dangerous precedent by requiring those funds to be offset with partisan budget cuts.

Yes indeed … removing the lefty modifiers to get to the real heart of the point, you are left wondering “why is this a bad thing”

“Dems say the GOP legislation provides … aid, and sets a … precedent by requiring those funds to be offset with … budget cuts”.

Uh, yes, yes, a thousand times yes.  Please, set the precedent, by all means.   That’s how all the rest of us do our business daily for heaven sake. 

Oh, and it is precisely the message the GOP candidates who won in the 2010 landslide were charged with doing.  Never mind the partisan nonsense from the Dems – insufficient aid is a matter of opinion obviously, the precedent is dangerous only because it requires disciplined spending offset by like cuts elsewhere and “partisan” budget cuts are only partisan to the side who’s ox is being gored.

The fact remains that this is how the House needs to routinely do business.  When something comes along that takes priority over something else for which spending was planned, the plan is changed.   The answer is rarely “go borrow money and do both”.

When it is, you end up in $14 trillion dollar debt.   I still don’t understand what it is about that concept that Democrats just can’t seem to grasp.

"It would be my hope that there would be some split the difference, the Republicans would come out and say we’re not going to go as high as you wanted…and we will have no offset. That I think would be a reasonable place to be," Pelosi said.

Yeah, that’s business as usual.  That’s why we’re in debt up to our necks.  No.  No thank you, Ms. Pelosi.  From a thousand little compromises like that grows economy crushing debt.  We’re there.  We’ve proven that.   No more.  That is no longer (not that it ever was) a “reasonable place to be”.  And it isn’t “radical” or “extreme” to point it out or ask that offsets be a part of any spending plan.

It’s sane.


Twitter: @McQandO