3/12/2013 5:15 PM ET|
Washington's latest budget fiction
The new spending plan from GOP budget guru Paul Ryan appears to rely on political positions, like the repeal of Obamacare, that will never become law. The Democrats' upcoming plan won't be much better.
The spending plan for fiscal 2014 that Republican House Budget Committee chief Paul Ryan is unveiling today will get probed, prodded, and debated for its ideas about balancing the budget over 10 years.
But from all indications, the new budget comes laced with gimmicks and goals -- such as dismantling Obamacare and changing Medicare to a voucher-style program -- that play well to Ryan's base but aren't likely to survive.
A similar story will unfold on Wednesday when Washington Sen. Patty Murray announces the Democratic version of the budget blueprint -- this one laden with increased tax revenues already declared dead on arrival by Republicans, more spending to spur the economy and a much more modest goal of stabilizing the $16.5 trillion national debt as a share of the national economy, rather than creating a surplus in a decade.
If the recent past is any guide, these two budget plans will mostly be fantasies, attempts at partisan branding first and foremost. They are efforts to shape public opinion for the fierce negotiations or brutal stand-off to follow. And in the case of the Senate Democrats who have failed to approve a budget in the past three years, Murray's document will amount to some badly needed face-saving by her party.
"The cynical answer is that neither of these budgets matter," said Michael Linden, director of tax and budget policy at the progressive Center for American Progress. "They are good as statements of principle about where both sides think we should go."
There is wisdom in being cynical, based on the recent fiascos involving the 2011 debt ceiling increase, the collapse of the super committee, the drama around the fiscal cliff at the start of this year, and the $85 billion in across-the-board sequestration cuts that began kicking in this month.
Here is The Fiscal Times' preview of the half-truths and talking points being issued in the competing budget plans this week -- and why real deficit reduction remains so elusive.
'Well beyond chutzpah'
Put simply, the Ryan budget depends on a bizarro universe in which President Obama ditches his beliefs and converts to a GOP that he roundly defeated in last year's presidential election.
It is premised on repealing the spending associated with Obamacare while retaining the $716 billion in Medicare savings made possible by the 2010 law to provide near-universal health insurance coverage. As the GOP vice presidential nominee last year, Ryan savaged these same savings at the Republican National Convention, saying, "The greatest threat to Medicare is Obamacare, and we're going to stop it."
"I really can't think of any comparably dishonest episode in recent American political history," commented University of Texas-San Antonio political scientist Jonathan Bernstein in a Monday blog post for The Washington Post. "'Tis well beyond chutzpah."
At the same time, Democrats are committed to raising hundreds of billions in new revenue to reduce the deficit and offset other spending during the next 10 years by closing tax-code loopholes. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has repeatedly pledged to block the measure, after having accepted a rate increase on household incomes above $450,000 at the start of the year as part of the fiscal cliff deal.
For anything to become real policy, it must receive approval from all sides. "So what if you can pass a budget out of your own chamber? That's no big deal. The trick is to be able to pass a budget out of Congress -- a joint-budget resolution," said Robert Bixby, executive director of the fiscal watchdog organization, The Concord Coalition. "It's the best hope to get some kind of grand bargain."
Even then, the budget would merely set overall spending and revenue targets. "It does not provide funding for federal programs or change tax law," Robert Sunshine, deputy director of the Congressional Budget Office, blogged on Monday.
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At the same time, Democrats are committed to raising hundreds of billions in new revenue to reduce the deficit and offset other spending during the next 10 years by closing tax-code loopholes...
.what idiot thinks the government raises any revenue....IT IS CALLED TAXES no matter how many times these govt. idiots keep saying revenue...IT IS CALLED TAXES....second point...how are there Hundreds of Billions of Tax loopholes until they come after the middle class...and remove any mortgage interest deductions....property tax deductions and tax us to oblivion....my GOD....Please remove all these liars....and crooks.
Obamacare must be repealed. It's nothing more than a tax hike, new powers for the IRS, and political posturing all rolled up in a very damaging law.
President Obama said in last night in a interview with George Stephenoplous( not sure about spelling of greek names) that, and I quote: " I do not have to have a budget !"
Thank you very little President Obama for your honesty.
This type of attitude will only make matters worse & sums up the Demo-cant's as well. It looks as if the only way to even make a attempt at cutting government spending is through ANOTHER ROUND OF SEQUESTERING. Not my idea or the best way to do it, but it seems that the only way to get our government officials to do anything is to force them to. I say ; "NO BUDGET-NO PAY!!"
This budget process is nothing more then political hype. Congress (democrats, republicans, conservatives, liberals) use our tax dollars plus barrowed money to buy their political power and they are not going to give that up.
If congress and the president were really interested in cut government spending they would dissolve all government programs to business. Put business on the free market (health care, agriculture, banking, energy, education etc..) A market environment would distribute these resources much more efficiently, reduce cost to both government and the consumer and improve the American peoples standard of living.
For the last 100 years, the reality is that tax cuts increase revenues far more than rate increases. In the 1920's, the surtax on incomes above $300,000 generated as much revenue at 10% as when it was 65%.
Only an idiot would propose tax increases or vote for someone who does.
No budget ?
I won't pretend to know much about Catholicism but I will say that this whole conclave system for electing a Pope should be applied to Congress and the President.
Until a budget is passed, lock them up and give them just bread and water they get it straight. Looking at the size of many of them it shouldn't take long.
Just rest assured that when you see smoke coming from the halls of Congress' chimney it will be money they are burning.
Both partied don't know how to balance a budget, A budget has to be balanced by cutting some spending and getting more pay. In layman's terms i get more pay i have more revenue coming in my boss raises it or I get a part time job.
We dont come up and say were going to cut everything in our budget by 10%. No we get together and have a family meeting and sit down and figure what we can do without. I mean look the pentagon alone can cut 10% of their budget easily by getting together and cut the waste. The m1 take is one they can stop getting out of a war that population wanted when they voted in obama the first time another one of his promises broken. I wonder how many billions those two things will save the pentagon money and cut the budget down over 10 years. Now i don't see smart paul ryan saying why doesn't the congress and the senate put the retirement money in social security and live on social security just like any U.S. citizen has to do and gets Medicare just like any citizen gets. that would save a lot of money. See Paul Ryan will never make a good President because he doesn't do what the american public wants.
Both parties are the same in that they believe we can sustain unsustainable growth. Only difference between the two parties is what financial alchemy buttons and levers to twiddle to make it happen.
But regardless, reality will make the final decision and drive us into a phase of permanent compressive contraction and the further down the road the can of accountability is kicked, the steeper and more precipitous will be the decline toward that inevitable end. All the toilet paper Benny Bucks the Fed can print will not alter that course.
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