There is a House in Washington…
by Tom Bortnyk
Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill to reinstate “PAYGO”, the pay-as-you-go spending policy that requires expenditures to be financed with currently existing, rather than borrowed funds. On the surface, this appears to be a fiscally responsible guideline; during the Clinton years, PAYGO helped control the deficit and, coupled with the economic boom and a number of other factors, lead to the budget surplus.
But dig a little deeper and you’ll find that nothing about this bill addresses fiscal restraint. In fact, the opposite is true; underneath the smoke and mirrors is a provision to raise the debt ceiling by nearly $2 trillion. Dig a little deeper, and you’ll uncover the troubling fact that the bill also includes exemptions for nearly 40% of all spending – over 160 spending programs. That’s right… it’s a pay-as-you-go policy, but on almost half of all expenditures, it’s all go and no pay.
It can also be assumed, based on the massive increase in the debt limit, that the Democrats fully intend to use the exemptions to increase spending. After all, they already have; following the reinstatement of PAYGO in 2007, the Democrats have ballooned the deficit from$161 billion to $1.6 trillion – a tenfold increase. This is the fifth increase in the debt limit in the past year and a half. The debt ceiling now exceeds $14 trillion – rougly the size of the entire U.S. economy (Source).
Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI), ranking member of the budget committee, argued that the debt increase is larger than “the entire GDP of Canada”. For the record, it also exceeds the GDP of all but the top seven economies in the world.
“To sustain our current spending, without this increase, taxes for the lowest income brackets, by the time my children are my age, will be raised to 25%. For middle Americans, it would go to 66%. Income tax for small businesses will go to 88%” added Ryan.
The Democrats seemed to be making a different argument altogether – nearly every argument was in regard to the merits of PAYGO (with a large portion dedicated to the fiscal irresponsibility of the Bush years – evidently, two wrongs make a right), rather than the inherent problem with raising the deficit.
Rep. Allen Boyd (D-FL) made sure to champion the virtue of controlling the debt, while simultaneously supporting a bill that would not only fail to do so, but actively work against it. It’s difficult to tell if the Democrats are completely and utterly dense, or if they know full well what they are doing and are trying to destroy our economy on purpose. Either way, it’s a frightening prospect, and it’s difficult to believe that anyone, on any side of the spectrum, would support such lunacy.
And it’ll be the ruin of many Americans, and God, I know I’m one.
Tom Bortnyk is a Political Science major at Florida State University. Currently, Tom writes a political blog, Informed-Dissent.com, and is a contributor for “The Daily Loaf” section of Creative Loafing, an alternative news publication based out of Tampa, FL. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.