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February 03, 2011

Late News: The Tea Party Candidate Actually Won The New York Governorship

This is important-- Andrew Cuomo is cutting the New York state budget by exposing the fraud of "baseline budgeting," wherein budgets are planned to grow by x% every year and any reduction from that high planned level is called a "cut," even if more money actually winds up being spent.

It's important because Republicans need to defeat this jackass assumption of a permanently growing budget in all the states and of course in the federal government, and Andrew Cuomo is providing a Nixon Goes To China example for the media and other Democrats. Democrats and the media, but I repeat myself as always, cannot demogogue this very much when their own fair-haired boy in liberal New York is making his rent on it.

This is not a Democratic innovation. Republicans have been contending for a change in this budget-busting assumption for... decades now. But a True Blue Believer in the Democratic camp advances the idea more than a hundred Newt Gingrich speeches could.

After all, The Royal We of the media doesn't listen to Newt Gingrich. He is evil, by defintion.

Worth reading. Real hope and change from the Democratic Party, at long last?

The budget that Mr. Cuomo unveiled this week closes a gaping deficit with major budget reductions, calling for spending cuts in state hiring, education, health care, aid to universities and payments to cities. The plan would balance the Empire State's $135 billion budget without a dime of new taxes or borrowing. Remarkably, if his budget passed, the state would spend $3.5 billion less than it did last year.


These cuts are impressive on their own, but Mr. Cuomo's real conceptual breakthrough is to expose the rigged-game of "baseline budgeting." This is a gambit by which spending increases automatically each year even before a Governor submits his budget. The "baseline" grows each year due to spending formulas that legislatures build into the law even before they take a single vote.


The Governor is proposing a reform that would deflate these baselines with more reasonable and affordable spending projections....By fixing this fraudulent convention, Mr. Cuomo's budget reduces spending for years to come without having to fight political battles every year.

There's a vital lesson here for House Republicans because the same baseline games have long prevailed in Washington. The Democrats who wrote the budget rules also built in formulas that increase spending each year before Congress even takes a vote. Those same Democrats are now lying in wait for Republicans to propose their budget, and they will describe even increases in spending as brutal "cuts." The media will dutifully play along.

I often forget how important the rulemaking power is to the ultimate outcome of the game itself. A lot of times big battles on substantive matters are won -- sometimes even won without a battle at all -- just by changing the rules.

That's why I'm not discounting Boehner's various procedural reforms in the spending process as window-dressing and Kabuki theater designed to appease the Tea Party while ducking important fights over substance. If you, ahem, rig the rules to your advantage well enough you can win without a huge fight. The rules say you win; end of battle.

I don't think we've gotten this rule changed yet but we need to get it changed ASAP. And we can point to the wonderful example of second-generation dynastic liberal Andrew Cuomo for why this doesn't mean grandma eats dogfood.

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posted by Ace at 11:46 AM

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