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A "Balanced Solution" We Can All Agree On?



July 7, 2011

Whew! For a few weeks it actually looked like we weren’t going to get a debt ceiling deal. Fortunately, the President seems to have come to his senses by promoting a so called “balanced solution” in which higher revenues are part of a larger compromise.

In fact White House adviser David Plouffe said today,

“Our sense has been to make the numbers work, you’re going to have to have a revenue-positive situation.”

Perfect! So we agree.

In fact, achieving this “revenue positive situation” is as easy as…well…doing nothing.

The Congressional Budget Office’s Long Term Budget Outlook showed that revenues are expected to grow by more than seven percent each year, in large part due to a growing economy and population growth. In fact, by the end of the decade, revenue levels will exceed their historical average of 18 percent or Gross Domestic Product.

So we’ll cut spending by seven percent a year, leave revenues to grow as predicted, and watch as our deficit is erased in no time!

Having run the numbers himself, senior Cato Institute fellow Daniel Mitchell says that we really only need to cut spending by five percent each year in order to completely eliminate our deficit in just five years. In other words, because we conservatives are in such a giving mood, and so happy to compromise now that you’ve accepted a “balanced solution,” we’ll even go so far as to tilt the equation in your favor. In return for seven percent revenue growth you’ll only have to agree to five percent spending cuts.

Mitchell writes,

“So, Mr. President, do we have a deal? Should we use your “balanced approach” and eliminate today’s big deficit by cutting spending and raising revenue by equal amounts? You were serious about your request, right? Hello, is anybody there?

As you already realize, I don’t think the President actually means what he says about a “balanced approach.” Or, to be more specific, I think he’s happy to do a 50-50 deal, but only if “spending cuts” and “revenue increases” are defined in ways that enable the growth of government.”

Sadly, Obama does not mean what he says. He wants to raise revenue, above and beyond the increases that will take place naturally, pushing them to historically high levels. Likewise, he has no intention of actually cutting spending. Instead, he’s using an age-old Washington trick that allows him to call any reduction in the pre-planned growth of baseline spending a “spending cut.” Only in the crazy, mixed up world of Washington could spending be “cut” and yet increase year-over-year.

Conservatives fully support a balanced approach to reducing the deficit, if only the President were honest about what that actually entails.


 

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