Brian Reidl: PAYGO Has Never Been Enforced


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.


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Another Great Tax Plan from Obama

Posted by E!! on April 16, 2009
Barack Obama, OMG, Socialism, Taxation / 4 Comments

Well, I guess we need to have another Tax Day TEA Party ASAP!  What part of “get out of our wallets” and “stop ‘helping’ us!” and “stop spending money that doesn’t need to be spent” and ”stop hiring government employees to do things we can do ourselves” does the government not understand…?   Good grief!!

This “plan” from the White House is so outrageous and hair-brained and so likely to have the opposite of the intended effect that it is hard to even believe (copied and pasted from The Corner to save time):

Obama Calls for Simpler Tax Code   [Veronique de Rugy]

In response to the thousands of tea parties that took place all over the country yesterday, President Obama promised that he would simplify the tax code.

“I want every American to know that we will rewrite the tax code so that it puts your interests over any special interests,” Mr. Obama said. “And we’ll make it easier, quicker and less expensive for you to file a return, so that April 15th is not a date that is approached with dread every year.”

Does it mean that he is ready to push for a flat tax? Nope. Under his plan, bureaucrats (likely unionized treasury ones) are going to be preparing taxpayers’ tax returns for them. At first, the plan will focus on taxpayers whose sole income comes from one employer and whose interest income comes from one bank. I am assuming it means that the taxpayers will be taken out of the loop and that the IRS will receive taxpayers’ W2 and the bank will report directly to the IRS. Then, it could be expanded to more taxpayers.

According to Austen Goolsbee, one of Obama’s economic advisors and the genius behind the idea, this plan would save taxpayers a lot of money:

Mr. Goolsbee has estimated the plan would save as many as 225 million hours of tax-preparation time and more than $2 billion a year in tax-preparation fees. White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the White House is “studying the implementation” of the campaign proposal.

Really? Let’s see. Leaving the obvious privacy aspect of this plan aside, I am not quite sure how this will save money. Obama will have to hire more IRS bureaucrats to do the work that tax preparers do right now. Right? Many more bureaucrats. And actually, today, taxpayers with one income from one employer and with no investment income probably don’t spend that much time doing their taxes and are probably not paying anyone to prepare their tax return. So the plan is to have a bureaucrat do a job that the taxpayer was doing himself at very low cost? As for the more complicated returns, without a true simplification of the tax code, it will take IRS bureaucrats as much time, and likely much more time, to prepare the returns than private tax-preparers. This doesn’t sound like a money saver to me.

One last thing: President Obama needs to stop taking about how he is cutting taxes. Tax rebates and credits are not tax cuts. They are just more spending.

Read the whole thing here.

Here’s a good comment from the reader who sent it to me:

What this plan would (also) really do is to remove “awareness” of how much the government takes.


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Hot Air Headline: Staged Military Photo Ops Suddenly Awesome

Posted by E!! on April 14, 2009
Barack Obama, military / No Comments

Remember when the Left snarked at Bush for the orchestration of various photo opps with the U.S. military? 

Apparently Obama’s PR people have decided to adopt the practice.  Including pre-screening and special-stamping military personnel based on who they voted for in November.

Here’s a great piece on it (on Hot Air).


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Obama Reaches Out to the Moderate Pirate Community

Posted by E!! on April 10, 2009
Barack Obama, LOL / 2 Comments

I’ve shamelessly swiped that terrific header from Jonah @ NRO.

The linked-to piece – from ExurbanLeague - is here.  An excerpt (satire alert):

Obviously, this incident has raised many concerns among Americans. There have been calls for justice and even violence against the misguided perpetrators. But such an emotional reaction has led to the disparagement of entire groups with which we are unfamiliar. We have seen this throughout history.

For too long, America has been too dismissive of the proud culture and invaluable contributions of the Pirate Community. Whether it is their pioneering work with prosthetics, husbandry of tropical birds or fanciful fashion sense, America owes a deep debt to Pirates.

The past eight years have shown a failure to appreciate the historic role of these noble seafarers. Instead of celebrating their entreprenuerial spirit and seeking to partner with them to meet common challenges, there have been times where America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive.

Some of us wonder if our current Overseas Contingency Operation would even be needed had the last administration not been so quick to label Pirates as “thieves,” “terrorists” and worse. Such swashbucklaphobia can lead to tragic results, as we have seen this week.


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Obamas Are Etiquette-Challenged

Posted by E!! on April 03, 2009
Barack Obama / No Comments

If we had a Special Olympics for people who can’t function without committing grave social gaffes at every turn, the Obamas would surely compete.  Examples:

Obama bows deeply to the Saudi king hereAmerican Thinker calls it “unbecoming” an American presisdent.  I would say so.  And would add that it’s more than a little creepy.

Although it is reported that the Queen of England was actually agreeable to receiving a hug from Michelle Obama, I wonder what Her Majesty thought of the iPod the Obamas gave her as a gift?  Granted:  it contained footage and photographs from her 2007 US visit, but so what?  Do the Obamas think no one in the Queen’s huge entourage – including the British press – was in possession of a camera during her trip?  Or that she cannot afford her own iPod?  (It’s been reported that she already owns one.)

After the British prime minister presented Obama with a pen holder crafted from the timbers of the 19th century British war ship HMS President (whose sister ship, HMS Resolute, provided the wood for the Oval Office’s desk) AND a first edition of the seven-volume biography of Winston Churchill by Sir Martin Gilbert…Obama gave the British prime minister 25 DVDs of classic American movies.  The package could be purchased anywhere for about $200.  And the discs that were given don’t even work across the Atlantic (different formatting).

Is there no one on Obama’s staff with a clue about international diplomacy and etiquette?  Or, for that matter, with a lick of common sense?  I’m pretty sure my thirteen year old son could come up with better gift choices for world leaders.


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Summary of Obama’s Budget

Posted by E!! on March 25, 2009
Barack Obama, Economy, Government Spending / 1 Comment

Whatever your political leanings, you should give yourself the gift of a quick education and read this 12-page report from Veronique de Rugy of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.  It is an excellent overview and contains many easy to understand charts, graphs, and summaries.

There is no denying that this budget contains enormous spending increases and will lead to unprecedented levels of national debt.  And Obama’s ”spending cuts” are nowhere to be found.  (Where is the promised scalpel, sir?!)  For example: 

– Obama proposes to move some items from the “discretionary” to “mandatory” spending category, but that is just re-arranging chairs.

– About half the total “savings” come from tax increases.

– Another large chunk of “savings” is really just money ($170 billion a year) that won’t be spent in Iraq after 2012.  But the Bush administration never planned to extend anything like the current levels of spending beyond 2012.  It’s not “saving” to not spend money that was NEVER going to be spent.

Fake savings and tax increases aside, this budget is scary because it is a permanent expansion of the federal government as a percent of GDP.  The simple chart on page 12 sums it up very nicely.  De Rugy, an expert in her field, predicts “slower growth rates, higher unemployment rates, lower standards of living, and higher levels of poverty.”

Change is definitely on the way, folks.  And you better hope your family is spared.


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No, YOU’RE wrong, Colonel Sanders!

Posted by E!! on March 19, 2009
Harry Reid, Yucca Mountain / No Comments

That’s a line from one of our favorite Adam Sandler movies, Waterboy

He yells it at a KFC colonel look-alike professor who is trying to convince him that contrary to what his back woods Mama Says – “alligators are angry because they have all them teeth and no toothbrush” - alligators are ornery because they have an enlarged medula oblangata.

“So you see, Bobby Bouche, your mama is just wrong.”


And on the subject of being wrong, Max Schultz claims Yucca Mountain is not dead.  Enough money to keep the project alive (see Obama’s budget) is all the proof we need.  No matter what Harry Reid says.


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