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Trigger Lock! Democratic House Rules Thwart Fiscal Responsibility
Posted By Nicola Moore On January 7, 2009 @ 1:38 pm In Economics | Comments Disabled
Two days into the new Congress, the majority has signaled they are unlikely to take their promise of fiscal discipline seriously. House democrats have turned off the Medicare trigger  under the rules package for the 111th Congress, which means they are unlikely to even debate entitlement policy, let alone engage in necessary reforms.
The prevent Medicare from crowding out other programs  that rely on general revenue funding. Second, it forces Congress to debate the President’s proposal, shedding light on the ballooning costs of entitlements. 
Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D – MD) claimed  that turning off the trigger was necessary because it was “an ideologically driven target based on a misleading measure of Medicare’s financial health.” This causes one to wonder exactly what “measure” Hoyer is using. The Congressional Budget Office, The Medicare Trustees, and The Government Accountability Office  have all warned that entitlement spending—driven primarily by Medicare—is unsustainable in the long-term. Medicare alone will double in the next 30 years  as a share of GDP, and excess costs in the program currently exceed $85 trillion. That’s the equivalent of more than 120 $700 billion bailouts—and even this figure underestimates the real fiscal woes  in the Medicare program.
Ironically, economists on the left and right agree  that triggers  are a vital tool to force Congressional action to curb spending, tame entitlements, and get our long-term budget back on track. With today’s announcement that the deficit will reach $1.2 trillion  this year, it’s a shame the 111th Congress doesn’t agree.
Article printed from The Foundry: Conservative Policy News from The Heritage Foundation: http://blog.heritage.org
URL to article: http://blog.heritage.org/2009/01/07/trigger-lock-democratic-house-rules-thwart-fiscal-responsibility/
URLs in this post:
 turned off the Medicare trigger: http://www.rules.house.gov/111/LegText/111_hres_ruleschnge_smmry.pdf
 prevent Medicare from crowding out other programs: http://www.heritage.org/research/features/BudgetChartBook/fed-rev-spend-2008-boc-P4-Entitlements-Alone-Will-Eclipse.html
 ballooning costs of entitlements. : http://www.heritage.org/Research/Budget/wm1796.cfm
 claimed: http://majorityleader.gov/docUploads/RulesPackageFactSheet010509.pdf
 The Congressional Budget Office, : http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/88xx/doc8877/12-13-LTBO.pdf
 The Medicare Trustees, : http://www.cms.hhs.gov/ReportsTrustFunds/downloads/tr2008.pdf
 The Government Accountability Office: http://www.gao.gov/special.pubs/longterm/d08783r.pdf
 double in the next 30 years: http://www.heritage.org/research/features/BudgetChartBook/fed-rev-spend-2008-boc-P1-Entitlement-Spending-Will-More.html
 underestimates the real fiscal woes: http://www.heritage.org/Research/Budget/bg2174.cfm
 economists on the left and right agree: http://www.heritage.org/Research/Budget/wp0408.cfm
 triggers: http://www.urban.org/UploadedPDF/411524_future_fiscal_policy.pdf
 deficit will reach $1.2 trillion: http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2009-01-07-budget_N.htm
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