« About the Problem With The Site Slow-Loading | Main | The New Feudalism »
February 03, 2011

CAP Bill: The Check Is In the Mail

I hate this type of proposal as it offers the appearance of a fix while doing nothing to actually fix anything. Everything will supposedly happen in the future; nothing happens now.

That may not be exactly fair because supposedly this proposal does have some teeth in it (in theory, at least), by dictating a smooth reduction in federal spending from the current high of 24.7% of GDP down to 20.6% of GDP in ten years, with mandatory across the board budget reductions by the OMB in any year that Congress violates the guideline.

(1) Put in place a 10-year glide path to cap all spending – discretionary and mandatory – to a declining percentage of the country’s gross domestic product, eventually bringing spending down from the current level, 24.7 percent of GDP, to the 40-year historical level of 20.6 percent, and

(2) If Congress fails to meet the annual cap, authorize the Office of Management and Budget to make evenly distributed, simultaneous cuts throughout the federal budget to bring spending down to the pre-determined level. Only a two-thirds vote in both houses of Congress could override the binding cap, and

(3) For the first time, eliminate the deceptive “off-budget” distinction for Social Security – providing a complete and accurate assessment of all federal spending.

But we've seen this gimmick before -- the Gramm-Rudman budget reduction bill was supposed to do this too, but didn't, because they used fake accounting practices (such as pushing back spending into, supposedly, previous years, and previous years can't be modified by rules about current spending) and calling other spending "off-budget."

Spending cuts require real spending cuts. Something like this might be useful, but only in combination with real, current spending cuts. Otherwise this is just putting cuts off into a vague future than never actually comes.

I'm also pretty sure the threat of the OMB cutting Congressional spending is unconstitutional -- I don't believe Congress can delegate to the executive such a huge portion of its core constitutional responsibility and power. Plus, the OMB can always itself fudge the numbers, if the political will exists in DC to just lie in order to keep spending -- which it almost always will.

PAYGO II? I didn't have to reach back to Gramm-Rudman for a similar "law." Supposedly Nancy Pelosi's Congress abided by PAYGO rules, which were supposed to strictly match new spending to either cuts or (more likely) new taxes.

PAYGO was a wonderful success, as you can see from our current $1.4 trillion deficit. They just declared whatever they wanted to spend outside of PAYGO rules.

I don't see how Congress can ever lack that power -- the power to just say "We're voting to do what we want, now, no matter what 'rules' are supposedly in place." Congress actually can do that. And I don't see anything short of an amendment that can stop them. Any Congressional legislation can be overturned or suspended by a later Congress. That's the point of Congress, to change the law and write new law. They can evade any limits they supposedly put on themselves.

There may be some minor salutary effect of Corker's proposal but it's more than outweighed by the fundamental tendency of such fake, hypothetical maybe-someday type "cuts" to always be offered in place of real, tangible, right-now cuts.

Thanks to Vic for pointing that out.


digg this
posted by Ace at 01:58 PM

| Access Comments




Recent Comments
It's me donna: " . But other people can, including AG Rosenberg an ..."

willow-ing..: "wait one last attempt. banana, what he said was ..."

Pudding Head: " It means that bigotry or white supremacy.... ..."

Black Lives Matter the Most: "Posted by: Banana Splits Guy - Bunch Em If You Got ..."

Witwickian Sage: "470 I wonder if W thinks the illegal alien who set ..."

Ripley: "As far as Bush thinking we are paranoid activists ..."

Boulder terlit hobo: "here is a book = Charles Sykes, How The Right Lost ..."

Skip - Home Pixy banned: "Try putting a [ / i ] at the end of your home nic. ..."

rickb223 [/s][/b][/i][/u]: "zip it, or i'll make it a non-planet. [b] kapis ..."

pol hates everybody: "457 Great. BSG is trolling again. Or perhaps still ..."

Martell : "441. I, for one, am glad that Bush finally came ou ..."

Pudding Head: "470 I wonder if W thinks the illegal alien who set ..."

Recent Entries
Search


MuNuvians
Polls! Polls! Polls!
Frequently Asked Questions
The (Almost) Complete Paul Anka Integrity Kick
Top Top Tens
Greatest Hitjobs

The Ace of Spades HQ Sex-for-Money Skankathon
A D&D Guide to the Democratic Candidates
Margaret Cho: Just Not Funny
More Margaret Cho Abuse
Margaret Cho: Still Not Funny
Iraqi Prisoner Claims He Was Raped... By Woman
Wonkette Announces "Morning Zoo" Format
John Kerry's "Plan" Causes Surrender of Moqtada al-Sadr's Militia
World Muslim Leaders Apologize for Nick Berg's Beheading
Michael Moore Goes on Lunchtime Manhattan Death-Spree
Milestone: Oliver Willis Posts 400th "Fake News Article" Referencing Britney Spears
Liberal Economists Rue a "New Decade of Greed"
Artificial Insouciance: Maureen Dowd's Word Processor Revolts Against Her Numbing Imbecility
Intelligence Officials Eye Blogs for Tips
They Done Found Us Out, Cletus: Intrepid Internet Detective Figures Out Our Master Plan
Shock: Josh Marshall Almost Mentions Sarin Discovery in Iraq
Leather-Clad Biker Freaks Terrorize Australian Town
When Clinton Was President, Torture Was Cool
What Wonkette Means When She Explains What Tina Brown Means
Wonkette's Stand-Up Act
Wankette HQ Gay-Rumors Du Jour
Here's What's Bugging Me: Goose and Slider
My Own Micah Wright Style Confession of Dishonesty
Outraged "Conservatives" React to the FMA
An On-Line Impression of Dennis Miller Having Sex with a Kodiak Bear
The Story the Rightwing Media Refuses to Report!
Our Lunch with David "Glengarry Glen Ross" Mamet
The House of Love: Paul Krugman
A Michael Moore Mystery (TM)
The Dowd-O-Matic!
Liberal Consistency and Other Myths
Kepler's Laws of Liberal Media Bias
John Kerry-- The Splunge! Candidate
"Divisive" Politics & "Attacks on Patriotism" (very long)
The Donkey ("The Raven" parody)
News/Chat
Archives
Powered by
Movable Type 2.64