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This is what I'm talking about. As noted in the story, the President's initial budget proposal had a similar provision, but tougher provision. This is the type of rational thinking that can win over the American people, change the way government works, and put us on a path back to balanced budgets and rational debt (at the very least).

The President's plan calls for all spending legislation to be accounted for and covered in the next decade. His initial plan called for paying for it in the same year, but that was booted. This softer, gentler version should be a no-brainer to pass. If you can vote for the legislation to spend tax dollars surely you can account for a way to pay for it over the course of the next decade. It this type of rational budgeting that really would be change we can believe in and shut up the political talking point that this administration is mortgaging our future. Of course it can already be pointed out that the President offered a tougher proposal in his budget to pay as we go, but now this one is highlighted and already Republicans are attacking the messenger in the classic fallacy of those without a leg to stand on argumentatively:

"It's as if the administration and these Democrat leaders are living in an alternate universe," said House Republican Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia. "The quickest way to save money is to stop recklessly spending it."

This is a perfect time for Representative Cantor to tell us how the President's proposal will aide in reckless spending? Won't forcing Congress to pay for every dollar spent mean that A) They won't spend as much and B) What they spend won't be reckless because by definition it will be planned and paid for?

Sure this is not the best pay as you go legilsation, but as I have already mentioned twice, the President tried a tougher measure that was shot down in his budget. I would personally support a Balanced Budget amendment similar to the ones that constrain state governments.

My feeling is that Republicans won't be the major obstacle on pay as you go except for political reasons. They don't want the President to outflank them and strip them of a talking point. But at the end of the day they can't attack the president on spending and then vote against a pay as you go measure. Rather the real heat will come from Democrats.

I warn my fellow Democrats that this is not the time to embrace the spending habits of Bush/Delay/Frist/Rove etc... Just because we have taken power does not mean we should abuse it or consider ourselves secure on the throne. One way we gained power was advocating fiscal responsibility. Howard Dean was one of the fiercest advocates on this matter.

I want to make a couple of points to head off any concern or talking point against the president's plan.

  1. Fiscal Responsibility is not the same is cutting spending. It simply implies paying for what you need and want. There is no honor in accounting tricks or reckless deficit spending. That is the way of priming the economic pump like George W. Bush. You can be an advocate for health care reform, environmental reform, and infrastructure spending and be an advocate for fiscal responsibility. So this is not the President selling out liberals or throwing us under the bus to triangulate. We as a party ran on fiscal responsibility and the President repeatedly campaigned on paying as we go.
  1. Deficits are not completely crippling, but they do matter. Reagan did not prove that deficits don't matter. Rather he proved they can be smoked and mirrored for a while, but eventually matter (ask George H.W. Bush). Deficits are like problems in a marriage. Every marriage has problems. But problems not dealt with over time will destroy the marriage. Manageable deficits for necessities can be handled, but deficits of astronomical measures ignored over a long period can cripple an economy and no matter how much one wishes to ignore them they will return to bite you in the ass.

I hope that we all can get behind the President on this tenet of the party. Fiscal Responsibility is a political winner and a necessity.

Originally posted to Common Cents on Tue Jun 09, 2009 at 12:32 PM PDT.

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22%15 votes
50%34 votes
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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (9+ / 0-)

    http://www.democraticfreedomcaucus.org/dfc-platform/

    by Common Cents on Tue Jun 09, 2009 at 12:32:17 PM PDT

    •  Tell Obama to stop wasting billions OVERSEAS (0+ / 0-)


      1. Stop the crooked Foreign Occupations.
      1. Close the Foreign Military Basis.
      1. Bring our men and woman back home to their families.
      1. End the immoral pre-emptive War docterine.



      That's how you cut the damn budget deficit!

      _________________
      "All tyranny needs to gain a foothold, is for
      people of good conscience to remain silent."
           --Thomas Jefferson

      by FreeSociety on Tue Jun 09, 2009 at 01:54:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  "rein" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Common Cents, ericlewis0

    thanks.

    Screw "Hope" and "Change." Give me Determination and Improvement.

    by khereva on Tue Jun 09, 2009 at 12:41:25 PM PDT

  •  I just spent a lot of our savings (5+ / 0-)

    to buy equipment so my husband can become self-employed.  That deficit I do not mind.  It is likely that we will earn enough money to replace our savings.

    If I had borrowed money to pay gambling debts I would be even worse off than before.  Countries are like that too.  We have been bailing out gamblers (the banksters) lately.

    ...do the elites...actually believe that society can be destroyed by anyone except those who lead them? - John Ralston Saul -

    by Silverbird on Tue Jun 09, 2009 at 12:42:03 PM PDT

    •  I think there is rational debt. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sunbro, Gemina13, ericlewis0, FistJab

      The President's plan as it stands calls for spending to be properly planned as to be paid for within a decade. That sounds reasonable. That sounds like we force Congress to view our tax dollars as investments like you view spending your savings for your husband's self-employment venture.

      http://www.democraticfreedomcaucus.org/dfc-platform/

      by Common Cents on Tue Jun 09, 2009 at 12:44:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I want to hear (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sunbro, Common Cents, Gemina13

        what they intend to do about the 50% of our taxes that goes to the military.  That is the reason there is no money for anything else the country needs.  (pie chart at web site of the War Resistors League)

        Our military obligations and borrowing to fight whoever wherever is one thing destroying our country.  That must start changing.

        ...do the elites...actually believe that society can be destroyed by anyone except those who lead them? - John Ralston Saul -

        by Silverbird on Tue Jun 09, 2009 at 12:58:15 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I agree. Military adventurism costs money. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sunbro

          When you have a budget climate of smoke and mirrors and deficit spending that type of thing doesn't matter. What we can hope from PAYGO is that Congress begins to be restricted by common sense and what we can afford. And when they have to actually make decisions in the real world where printing money and deficit spending is not tolerated they will have to make hard cuts between helping the tax payers with taxpayer money or giving it to military contractors.

          http://www.democraticfreedomcaucus.org/dfc-platform/

          by Common Cents on Tue Jun 09, 2009 at 01:03:16 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  where's the 'rec a thousand times' button? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sunbro, Common Cents, Gemina13, FistJab

    Great diary, CC - this struck me as the most important news item of the day.

    Cheney tortured detainees to elicit false justifications for invading Iraq.

    by ericlewis0 on Tue Jun 09, 2009 at 12:45:11 PM PDT

  •  People's needs come first. The economy is only (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    askew, happy camper, limpidglass, Gemina13

    meaningful in that context.  Deficits and budgets are artificial ways of enacting measures that are needed right now.  The idea of balancing the budget as a principle to stand in the way of compassion is very right wing.

    An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

    by don mikulecky on Tue Jun 09, 2009 at 12:46:24 PM PDT

    •  I don't want to stand in the way of compassion. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ericlewis0, FistJab

      But I would point out that there are good ways of helping people that are sustainable and lift them out of desperate times and there are reckless or poorly planned ways of helping people in the short-term that end up hurting more people and dragging even more people into desperate times.

      I think we must balance our compassion with our ability to reason and plan for the future.

      http://www.democraticfreedomcaucus.org/dfc-platform/

      by Common Cents on Tue Jun 09, 2009 at 12:49:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  But Meanwhile Stimulus Is Paying Dividends! (4+ / 0-)

    Banks are paying back the TARP money they received earlier than expected, and at sums above what was scheduled.

    GO-Pigs will spin this as banks merely getting out from under the Obama Socialist Rule.

    But there's a reason these banks are liquid enough to pay back the loans.

    And if the corporation pays back the money it got that put it for a time under government rule ... that ain's socialism folks.  Call it what you want ... but don't call it what it aint.

    •  I saw that story. I think it is good news. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ericlewis0, FistJab

      I'm cautiously optimistic that we may be turning things around. Any balanced budget enthusiast that I know of always qualifies the concern for balanced budgets by stating extreme times call for extreme measures. This may well be one of those times, but as soon as possible we need to clamp down on expanding the deficit and I think the President senses that it is time to halt the expansion of the deficit at the very least.

      http://www.democraticfreedomcaucus.org/dfc-platform/

      by Common Cents on Tue Jun 09, 2009 at 12:51:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You are confusing (0+ / 0-)

      TARP and the stimulus bill.

      I do not see why these paybacks mean anything about whether the stimulus bill is paying dividends.

  •  well, if we were serious about cutting spending, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sunbro, Common Cents

    we would stop the bank bailouts and rebuild the banking system, and bring the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to a speedy end. Those are trillion-dollar endeavors. But those are non-negotiable in the current political climate.

    I don't mind spending. We do need to rebuild our infrastructure and develop alternative energy and sustainable technologies, which will cost a lot of money. I don't mind it because it is an investment in the future and will reap us great rewards.

    Reagan ran up the debt through military spending and cutting taxes on the rich. Not surprisingly, that led to a greater imbalance in wealth and the decay of our industrial base. But just because we have to spend money, doesn't mean we have to follow that path.

    The problem is never spending in and of itself, but spending on useless and fruitless things. And in times of economic crisis like this one, the government must step in and stimulate economic growth when the private sector fails.

    "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

    by limpidglass on Tue Jun 09, 2009 at 12:56:02 PM PDT

    •  PAYGO is not anti-spending. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sunbro, ericlewis0

      You make a coherent and logical point that I was less successful making in the diary. What PAYGO forces Congress to do is to plan for each dollar and account for it. It forces them to make each expenditure look like an investment. Spending on investments is not a bad thing.

      One hopeful consequence of forcing this type of thinking on those holding the power of the purse, is that they begin to look more critically of where they are spending money. Fiscal limitations then will shrink spending in areas where it is not actually needed...like the wars of choice where we attempt grand adventures in rebuilding other countries.

      http://www.democraticfreedomcaucus.org/dfc-platform/

      by Common Cents on Tue Jun 09, 2009 at 01:00:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  the key is, as Al Gore inarticulately said ... (0+ / 0-)

    When times are good, we need a lockbox.  You have to go into debt in bad times and pay it back, at least some of it, in good times.  We sort of elected Bush over Gore and got Iraq instead of that lockbox.

    I know the lockbox was for social security but since the SS trust fund was borrowed by the treasury, it amounts to the same thing.  

    Somehow though, our arguments on the progressive side always seemed to get nuanced and detailed and theirs are emotional.  Can we make nuance emotional?

  •  Bill Hicks - Deficit (0+ / 0-)

    Everything the Man of Steele touches turns to Kryptonite.

    by PorridgeGun on Tue Jun 09, 2009 at 04:01:54 PM PDT

  •  We need investment in infrastructure and (0+ / 0-)

    human capital more than we need a balanced budget. And at the moment we still need to pump a lot of money into the economy. That's how you get out of a recession.

    When the time comes to bring down spending, the military is the place. It's sucking us dry.

    "There -- it's -- you know, one of the hardest parts of my job is to connect Iraq to the war on terror." --GWB

    by denise b on Tue Jun 09, 2009 at 04:14:12 PM PDT

    •  We need investment, but we must afford it. (0+ / 0-)

      Throwing money at this problem is not the solution and without long-term planning it could be a symptom in continuing the problem.

      Again this is not an anti-spending measure. You can invest in the country you just would have to pay for it. Explain to me how that is a bad thing.

      http://www.democraticfreedomcaucus.org/dfc-platform/

      by Common Cents on Tue Jun 09, 2009 at 07:21:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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