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Republicans abandon pay-as-you-go budgeting (Rep. Lloyd Doggett)

Our Democratic House rule helped ensure greater budget
discipline than either Statutory PAYGO or Cut-Go. The Democratic rule required
each bill affecting direct spending or revenue to be deficit neutral. In
contrast, Statutory PAYGO only requires the cumulative effect of all bills
approved during an entire year to be deficit neutral. Under the new, weakened
rule, deficit-bloating bills that lower revenue can be adopted without concern
until year’s end, at which point, it may be impossible to offset them except
through statutory sequestration that enacts across the board spending cuts to
priorities like Medicare and education loans without having to assume specific
responsibility for what has been cut. 

Another, troubling result of this Republican “Cut-Go” rule
is the distorted incentive it creates to convert spending programs — that would
otherwise need to be offset — into tax expenditures, which do not and which are
really just another form of entitlement spending, subject to no accountability
through the Budget process. Already abused and criticized by the bipartisan
Presidential Fiscal Commission, this spending through the Tax Code is often an
inefficient means of accomplishing a goal. With a current estimated cost
exceeding $1 trillion, these barnacles on the Tax Code can sink efforts to
contain the debt. Ironically, just last August, incoming Speaker Boehner
himself lamented the proliferation of these unjustified tax breaks saying, “We
need to take a long and hard look at the undergrowth of deductions, credits,
and special carve-outs that our Tax Code has become.”

We need pay-as-you-go budgeting like a family facing
foreclosure and sky-high credit card debt does. An indebted family cannot
balance its budget by reducing its income, cutting necessities like school
lunch money or college tuition, and borrowing more. Neither can America.

Tags Boehner

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