Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Democrats' budget plan: Tax and spend more

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Tuesday that Democratic congressional leaders have opted not to propose a budget this year. "It isn't possible to debate and pass a realistic, long-term budget until we've considered the bipartisan commission's deficit-reduction plan, which is expected in December," he said. This means Congress won't pass an annual budget plan for the first time since enactment of the Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974. But make no mistake, congressional Democrats already have a budget plan, it's called "spend and tax, then spend more and tax more." It's the budget plan that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid brought to town with them after their party regained Senate and House majorities in the 2006 election. President Obama enthusiastically signed on with Pelosi and Reid when he took office last year.

The Democratic spend and tax budget plan is why federal outlays have skyrocketed $1.8 trillion since Obama entered the Oval Office and taxes have increased $658 billion. It's also why the annual federal deficit has exploded to $1.5 trillion and the national debt now exceeds $13 trillion. These figures underline Texas Republican Rep. Jeb Hensarling's contention that "Democrats refuse to bring a budget to the floor because they want no limit on what they can spend, not even a speed bump on the way to national bankruptcy."

It's also why nobody is fooled when Democratic leaders promise, as Hoyer did yesterday, that Congress will now pass a "budget enforcement resolution" to affirm those frequently cited PAYGO rules and "enforce fiscal discipline in the near term." (The PAYGO rules mean, as Obama has said, that Congress "can't spend a dollar here without cutting a dollar somewhere else.") Yet the PAYGO rules have been violated at least 14 times during the 111th Congress, even as $230 billion in new "emergency spending" was approved. As ABC's Jonathan Karl recently reported, that emergency spending included such gems as $20 billion for new highway construction, $54 million in tax breaks for TV and movie producers, and $15 million in aid to the Congo.

These budget decisions have dire consequences for all Americans, including undermining "economic growth and job creation, fueling our dependence on foreign creditors and accelerating our fiscal day of reckoning here at home," says House Budget Committee ranking minority member Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. There is a way out of this fiscal nightmare, however, which Ryan and Hensarling are describing this week in a three-part series appearing in The Examiner entitled "Slaying the deficit monster." The first installment appeared on page 24 of Tuesday's edition, the second appears on page 26 of today's paper. The final installment will be in Thursday's Examiner. The entire series can also be read at