The GOP is voting today on a plan called “Cap, Cut, And Balance”, a Tea Party-backed proposal that would cap the amount of government spending (as a share of GDP), while also paving the way for the states to ratify a Balanced Budget Amendment to the constitution.
It really has no prospect of passing (or getting signed by Obama, who has promised a veto), but it’s still worth reading this rebuke from Ron Paul, whose anti-spending credentials can be doubted by nobody.
Here’s the key points. Basically, right up front he’s calling House leader liars.
First, it purports to eventually balance the budget without cutting military spending, Social Security, or Medicare. This is impossible. These three budget items already cost nearly $1 trillion apiece annually. This means we can cut every other area of federal spending to zero and still have a $3 trillion budget. Since annual federal tax revenues almost certainly will not exceed $2.5 trillion for several years, this Act cannot balance the budget under any plausible scenario.
Second, it further entrenches the ludicrous beltway concept of discretionary vs. nondiscretionary spending. America faces a fiscal crisis, and we must seize the opportunity once and for all to slay Washington’s sacred cows– including defence contractors and entitlements. All spending must be deemed discretionary and reexamined by Congress each year. To allow otherwise is pure cowardice.
Third, the Act applies the nonsensical narrative about a “Global War on Terror” to justify exceptions to its spending caps. Since this war is undeclared, has no definite enemies, no clear objectives, and no metric to determine victory, it is by definition endless. Congress will never balance the budget until we reject the concept of endless wars.
Finally, and most egregiously, this Act ignores the real issue: total spending by government. As Milton Friedman famously argued, what we really need is a constitutional amendment to limit taxes and spending, not simply to balance the budget. What we need is a dramatically smaller federal government; if we achieve this a balanced budget will take care of itself.
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