Congress Fakes Fiscal Responsibility

There never was any doubt that the Senate would follow the House in voting to hike spending and taxes. The New York Times exulted: “A Break in the Inaction: The Bipartisan Budget Deal May Not Be A Washington Cure-all, but It Clears the Air.” How grand! A majority of Capitol Hill Republicrats and Demoblicans have gotten back to the business of mulcting taxpayers.

Cato Institute

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) presented the legislation as a deficit-cutting measure. However, his mind apparently was elsewhere: after the negotiations he announced that he is pursuing the chairmanship of the far more important Ways and Means Committee when term limits force the latter’s chairman, Dave Camp (R-Mich.) to step down in 2015. Rep. Ryan will need the leadership’s support to grab the plumb job. And that requires him to represent GOP leaders rather than common taxpayers in any budget battles.

The most risible aspect of a risible bill is the claim that entitlement spending caps set to take effect a decade hence — after four congressional and two presidential elections — will save tens of billions of dollars. Yet as Congress approved this provision it was abandoning the discretionary spending caps approved just two years ago. Rep. Ryan and his Republican cohorts gave up $62 billion in real outlay increases for fake future cuts. It’s the standard Washington game that is constantly replayed.

Read more via Congress Fakes Fiscal Responsibility | Cato Institute.

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