Friday, January 05, 2007

PAYGO back on the menu

The AP ran a story this morning on the efforts of Congress to put some teeth back into the PAYGO measure. This law requires the Federal Government to Pay for Things As and when It Spends the Money.

I know, this sounds like old fashioned Eisenhower Republicanism. So why am I (a rabid Democrat) so happy to see it back on the table? Well...

While PAYGO might be opposed by those who are seeking to expand entitlement programs for the poor, there is another group in Congress who will not be happy to see it enacted:

...most Republicans were likely to resist the Democrats' move to reimpose the PAYGO rule requiring tax cuts or spending increases in entitlement programs such as Medicare or farm subsidies to be "paid for" with tax increases or spending cuts elsewhere in the budget.

The PAYGO stuff wreaks havoc on tax cuts," Flake [R-Arizona]said.

Those on the left might be tempted to oppose this type of thinking. Instead, they may insist that we begin to put needed entitlement programs in place immediately. But as far as I am concerned, the number one priority should be the restoration of the health of the Federal Government. To me, this is more important that welfare, education, infrastructure rebuilding...anything.

Another quote:

Democratic budget hawks, especially the moderate-to-conservative "Blue Dogs," say that restoring the rule is crucial to curbing the budget deficit. Various forms of PAYGO were in place from 1990-2002, however, and Congress often found ways around it.

Why do I think that restoring the health of the Federal Government is the first priority?

Because Republicans like Grover Norquest have made the "drowning" of the Federal Government their number one priority. (Republicans? Hardly...in name only...right wing wack jobs, really). Knowing that the American People would never approve of an outright attempt on the life of their Government- the strategy of the wack-job right has been to force feed the Federal Government into spending itself to death (Tax Cuts and Missiles during the Reagan Era, Tax Cuts and War during the Bush Administration).

Eventually, there will be no money left for We the People to pay for things like Social Security, the Security and Exchange Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency, and, of course, the I.R.S. The Federal Government will, in effect, be "dead".

With the Federal Government "dead", there will be no instrument which ordinary Americans can use to counter act the drive to power by the wealthy. This will leave the nation free to function according the most basic and brutal of natural laws. Call this law what you will, "Social Darwinism", the "Law of the Jungle", or "laissez faire": it all amounts to the same thing: Might (money, power) Makes Right.

With the death of the Federal Government, there will be no force which demands that everyone contribute to society. With the "death" of the Federal Government, there will be no more "referee" to impose at least some small modicum of fairness on American Society.

So, I for one, applaud Congress, and especially the "Blue Dogs" for realizing that THIS is job number one, and that if we ever hope to build (or rebuild- Democrats build well in during the Roosevelt, Truman, and Kennedy years) an American society that combines the efficiency of Capitalism with a sprinkling of social justice, this is the place we must start.

AP: Paygo Debate (from the Houston Chronicle)
Wikipedia: Grover Norquist

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