Government Bytes


A "Balanced Solution" We Can All Agree On?

by Brandon Greife / /

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

In fact White House adviser David Plouffe saidtoday,

“Our sense has been to make the numbers work, you’regoing 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 BudgetOutlook showed that revenues are expected to grow by more than seven percenteach year, in large part due to a growing economy and population growth. Infact, by the end of the decade, revenue levels will exceed their historicalaverage of 18 percent or Gross Domestic Product.

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

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

Mitchell writes,

“So, Mr. President, do we have a deal? Should we useyour “balanced approach” and eliminate today’s big deficit by cutting spendingand 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 Presidentactually means what he says about a “balanced approach.” Or, to be morespecific, 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 ofgovernment.”

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

Conservatives fully support a balanced approach toreducing the deficit, if only the President were honest about what thatactually entails.