Thursday, June 11, 2009

The 'Pay-go" Cover-up

"Pay As You Go" is a massive fraud Obama is playing on the American people. I blogged below, in "Just How Orwellian Is This - 'Obama To Claim Mantle Of Fiscal Responsiblity,'" that Obama's proposed "pay as you go" legislation has massive loopholes allowing him to forego paying for all of the massive debt we are about to take on as a result of his planned social programs. It is pure smoke and mirrors being used to paint the utter profligacy of Obama as "fiscal responsiblity." I also pointed out another aspect of such legislation - that it makes it near impossible to institute tax cuts of the type that have raised revenue every time they have been tried. Now the WSJ chimes in, making the same points:

This from the WSJ:

Some things in politics you can't make up, such as President Obama's re-re-endorsement Tuesday of "pay-as-you-go" budgeting. Coming after $787 billion in nonstimulating stimulus, a $410 billion omnibus to wrap up fiscal 2009, a $3.5 trillion 2010 budget proposal, sundry bailouts and a 13-figure health-care spending expansion still to come, this latest vow of fiscal chastity is like Donald Trump denouncing self-promotion. . . .

But Mr. Obama must think the press and public are dumb enough to buy it, because there he was Tuesday re-selling the same "paygo" promises that Democrats roll out every election. Paygo is "very simple," the President claimed. "Congress can only spend a dollar if it saves a dollar elsewhere."

That's what Democrats also promised in 2006, with Nancy Pelosi vowing that "the first thing" House Democrats would do if they took Congress was reimpose paygo rules that "Republicans had let lapse." By 2008, Speaker Pelosi had let those rules lapse no fewer than 12 times, to make way for $400 billion in deficit spending. Mr. Obama repeated the paygo pledge during his 2008 campaign, and instead we have witnessed the greatest peacetime spending binge in U.S. history. As a share of GDP, spending will hit an astonishing 28.5% in fiscal 2009, with the deficit hitting 13% and projected to stay at 4% to 5% for years to come.

The truth is that paygo is the kind of budget gimmick that gives gimmickry a bad name. As Mr. Obama knows but won't tell voters, paygo only applies to new or expanded entitlement programs, not to existing programs such as Medicare, this year growing at a 9.2% annual rate. Nor does paygo apply to discretionary spending, set to hit $1.4 trillion in fiscal 2010, or 40% of the budget.

This loophole matters, because on the very day Mr. Obama was hailing paygo the House Appropriations Committee was gleefully approving a 12% increase in 2010 nondefense discretionary spending, the third year running that Democrats have proposed double-digit increases. Or consider that the 2010 budget resolution included a $2 billion increase for low-income heating assistance as an entitlement change that should be subject to paygo. But Congressional Democrats simply classified it as discretionary spending, thereby avoiding the need for $2 billion in cuts elsewhere. C'est-la-paygo.

Mr. Obama's new proposal includes even more loopholes. There's an exception for Congress's annual alternative-minimum tax "patch," which is worth at least $576 billion over 10 years; for any of the Bush tax cuts that Mr. Obama decides he wants to extend past 2010; and to protect against planned cuts in Medicare doctor payments. These carve-outs alone spare Democrats from having to come up with some $2.5 trillion in spending cuts or new taxes. To add insult to profligacy, the rules also allow the Administration to run huge early deficits for its looming health-care bonanza, and only pay for it later -- say, after 2012. . . .

The real game here is that the President is trying to give Democrats in Congress political cover for the health-care blowout and tax-increase votes that he knows are coming. . . .

The other goal of this new paygo campaign is to make it easier to raise taxes in 2011, and impossible to cut taxes for years after that. . . . In the longer term, if a GOP Congress or President ever want to cut taxes, paygo applies a straitjacket that pits those tax cuts against, say, spending cuts in Medicare. The Reagan tax reductions would never have happened under paygo. . . .

Read the entire article.

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