Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The gimmick of baseline budgeting

I don't want to get minds too bogged down in the details of 'baseline budgeting' and its roots in the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974, but what it basically involves is automatic increases in governmental spending from one year to the next.  Currently under this system of budgeting (yes, we're still operating under it), we've seen massive jumps in our debt, along with adjusted increases in the debt ceiling:

2006 - $8.2 Trillion
2011 - $14.3 Trillion
If the debt ceiling is increased, we’ll adjust it to $16.7T…and you can guarantee that we’ll hit that within the next few years as well.

Now with all the talk of spending reductions to accompany any debt ceiling increase, we must factor in the baseline budgeting gimmick, so that we can understand what's really going on throughout all of these proposals (or non-proposals), aside from the political theater.  As Rush described this morning, if we were to freeze ALL spending, so that no more would be spent than the previous year, the CBO (formed by a liberal Congress under the '74 Act) would score such action as a $9.5T CUT over the next 10 years (Hint: GOP, there's yet another responsible direction!).  Does this not illustrate the absolute absurdity of our government's overspending and projected future spending?  Due to irresponsible baseline budgeting, our government has already approved spending for years down the road, hemorrhaging our debt, and getting itself into the pickle of raising the bar over and over and over again just to keep up.

So how do we fix this entrenched, fiscally neglegent process?  That answer is easier than one might think, yet the Will to ACT with the courage needed to accomplish this is severely lacking in Washington.  And that answer is a Balanced Budget Amendment.  We had a real opportunity to push this through the Cut, Cap and Balance Act that was passed through the House, but Democrat-fear tabled it in the Senate (without a vote), and more disturbingly, GOP leadership gave up on any fight in the Senate by immediately undermining it through alternative compromises.  And now we're at the point of choosing between 'Dumb and Dumber', both of which are budgeted under the baseline gimmick.

ADDENDUM:  Chris Chocola's Politico piece clearly makes the case for Cut, Cap and Balance NOW!

"The ratings agencies want what we want: responsible behavior, which includes spending cuts now, enforceable spending caps, and a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution. We’ve called it “Cut, Cap, and Balance.” It’s the only plan offered that solves America’s fiscal mess."

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