Brian Reidl: PAYGO Has Never Been Enforced

Posted on June 10, 2009 at 3:44 pm

You’ve probably heard the social drinker’s jovial party line, “I don’t drink any more.  (dramatic pause)  Don’t drink any less, either…”


Today’s Morning Bell says this joke pretty much sums up Obama’s proposal for pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) legislation which comes equipped with an exception for entitemlement spending.  Their quoted quip: 

Commenting on President Obama’s exemption for entitlement spending in his PAYGO legislation, Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget President Maya MacGuineas said: “This is like quitting drinking, but making an exception for beer and hard liquor.”

Here’s a clip from the piece:

In theory, PAYGO sounds like common sense: Congress can only spend a dollar if it saves a dollar elsewhere. In reality, PAYGO is nothing more than a political gimmick that only enables higher spending and exploding deficits. Heritage fellow Brian Riedl explains:

1) PAYGO has never been enforced

  • During the 1991-2002 round of statutory PAYGO, Congress and the President still added more than $700 billion to the budget deficit and simply cancelled every single sequestration that would have enforced PAYGO.
  • Since the 2007 creation of the PAYGO rule, Congress has waived it numerous times in order to add $600 billion to the deficit. In fact, the entire “stimulus” bill violated PAYGO; Congress simply ignored the rule.

2) PAYGO’s design is flawed

  • PAYGO exempts all discretionary spending, and would also allow all current entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid to continue growing on autopilot. It affects only new entitlements or tax cuts that may be created in the future.
  • Even if PAYGO were fully enforced, entitlement spending would still grow 6 percent annually, and discretionary spending could grow without limit.

Already this year Obama expanded Medicaid liabilities by $200 billion over 10 years, and he is now pushing a public health insurance option that would cost $452 billion per year, or more than $6 trillion over a 10-year period. How does Obama plan to pay for all this new spending under his new PAYGO legislation? He doesn’t.

Obama is banking on trillions in exemptions to PAYGO over the next decade, including the one for his health care reform plan which will have to run big deficits if they get it passed.  PAYGO is a farce, sham, mockery, etc.  As is politics in this country.

Pass the vodka, please.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

4 Comments to Brian Reidl: PAYGO Has Never Been Enforced

Jamie Holts
10 June 2009

Just wanted to say HI. I found your blog a few days ago on Technorati and have been reading it over the past few days.

10 June 2009

I’m thinking that Obama is either bi-polar or schizophrenic. How can the man burying us in debt suddenly tell Congress that we need to pay for stuff as we go? He is ill. He is dangerous.

Go Red Sox!

Brandon Kiser
11 June 2009

Great post, E!!. Coincidentally, I did a post quoting Heritage’s article on PAYGO, too.The whole PAYGO thing is an absurdity and we can stand for this kind of hypocrisy.

PS – I’m adding you to my blogroll, I didn’t realize you changed URLS. Are you still with blogivists?

Brandon Kiser
11 June 2009

Er, we *can’t* stand for this kind of hypocrisy. Sorry.

Leave a comment