That is, "Pay-as-you-go," is back on the table. Here's a one sentence primer: Congress cannot spend money on something new without cutting something old, usually Medicare and SS. Clinton used it to great effect. Thing is, Clinton wasn't in the middle of a series of stimulus bills.

PAYGO is a good idea in the abstract, but I am having a hard time seeing how it is appropriate now. To pay for the stimulus, the administration would exempt large spending bills from the PAYGO, so that run-of-the-mill legislation would require cuts, while legislation spending 100X or more would be exempt. I hate to draw the comparison, but this is a little like Bush 43's move to keep Iraq spending out of the budget. It creates an incentive for anyone writing to a bill to first to have it included in the stimulus so as to benefit from the exemption; and the stimulus is broad enough to accomodate almost any expense.

1 comment:

David said...

You're correct - there is a tremendous cognative disonance here. Personally, I'd rather resolve it by torpedoing the stimulus bills, but hey, I didn't win the election...