Progressives tried to block this important taxpayer protection

Progressives tried to block this important taxpayer protection
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Before Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTrump telling aides to look at potential spending cuts if he wins reelection: report Budget talks between White House, Pelosi spill into weekend Trump says he won't watch Mueller testimony MORE was even handed the gavel as Speaker, she faced rebellion from the far left of her party over a previously uncontroversial House rule known as “pay as you go,” commonly referred to as PAYGO. The rule, which is distinct but similar to a federal law that goes by the same name, requires the House to offset entitlement spending with budget cuts or tax increases so they do not create a net increase in the federal deficit, which the Congressional Budget Office predicts will add $12.4 trillion to the national debt over the next decade based on existing law alone.

PAYGO was first signed into law by President Bush in 1990, and then again by President Obama in 2010, yet rabble rousing radicals like New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezMichelle Obama weighs in on Trump, 'Squad' feud: 'Not my America or your America. It's our America' Trump steps up attacks on 'Squad' Trump says he doesn't care if attacks on 'Squad' hurt him politically MORE placed the bipartisan measure in their crosshairs because they believe it impedes their extremist ambitions. Before she was even sworn in, Ocasio-Cortez decried the rule as “bad economics” and a “dark political maneuver.” California Representative Ro KhannaRohit (Ro) KhannaHouse to test Trump's veto pen on Saudi arms sales Sanders campaign vents frustration with media, polls Democrats ask Labor Department to investigate Amazon warehouses MORE also called it “terrible economics” and has urged his fellow Democrats not to embrace the “1990s playbook of fiscal responsibility.”


In actuality, though, the rule is an important safeguard that is intended to protect taxpayers from deficit spending that would result from the costly policies that progressive Democrats hope to enact. It is based on the same advice we give our children to spend only what you have. Americans should be able to rely on Congress to show the same fiscal restraint. Instead, Democrats like Ohio Representative Tim RyanTimothy (Tim) John RyanDemocratic strategist predicts most 2020 candidates will drop out in late fall The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump hits media over 'send her back' coverage The Hill's Campaign Report: Second debate lineups set up high-profile clash MORE are openly fretting that the measure would “handcuff” the party, and in the process revealing that they would have no problem imposing massive new costs on taxpayers with absolutely no plan for how to pay for them.

Especially now, with a growing progressive bloc in Congress pulling the Democratic agenda further to the left, the rule is critical as a check against liberals who seek to implement a massive portfolio of socialist policies that would cost taxpayers tens of trillions of dollars in coming years. The “Medicare for All” proposal by Senator Bernie SandersBernie SandersGabbard arrives in Puerto Rico to 'show support' amid street protests Democratic strategist predicts most 2020 candidates will drop out in late fall Sanders unveils plan to guarantee the 'right to a secure retirement' MORE, for instance, would cost $32 trillion over the next decade, which Congress could only pay for by doubling tax rates on hard working Americans.

Similarly, the progressive dream of “upgrading every residential and industrial building” would cost more than $1.3 trillion, and that is only a small part of the “Green New Deal” that radicals such as Khanna and Ocasio-Cortez are demanding. In total, the extensive wishlist of the latter, which also includes federal job guarantees with a $6.8 trillion price tag and student loan forgiveness with $1.4 trillion price tag, would cost more than $42.5 trillion over the next decade. Ocasio-Cortez dodged questions in a recent interview on how she would pay for these initiatives, but admitted that taxing wealthy individuals and corporations would only produce $2 trillion in new revenue in the span of an entire decade.

This radical economic agenda reveals the fresh character of the once centrist Democrats. Leaders who were once considered progressive firebrands, such as Pelosi, are now the relative moderates in a party that is increasingly dominated by Ocasio-Cortez and her coalition of likeminded extreme liberals. Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom PerezThomas Edward PerezClinton’s top five vice presidential picks Government social programs: Triumph of hope over evidence Labor’s 'wasteful spending and mismanagement” at Workers’ Comp MORE called Ocasio-Cortez “the future of our party.” He is right. According to a University of Chicago survey, 61 percent of millennials across the country have a positive view of socialism, meaning there is a strong possibility that Democratic policies will only drift further to the left in the near future.

That is why the current battle over PAYGO is so important. The Democratic insurgents who sought to squelch the rule were hoping to deal a major blow to a longstanding precedent that has protected taxpayers from congressional excess for decades. The rule survived their challenge, but the fact that it became an object of controversy in the first place is a worrying sign about the direction in which the Democrats are heading.

Mike Huckabee served as the governor of Arkansas from 1996 to 2007.