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  • Stop the Spending Now

    Federal spending is out of control. Even President Obama knows it.  To really stop the madness, Reps. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), Mike Pence (R-IN), and John Campbell (R-CA) have proposed a simple solution – a constitutional amendment capping federal spending at 20 percent of the economy. Their proposal puts the debate squarely where it should be: exploding federal spending and the size of government.  The authors of the amendment write that “Fiscal reform must begin and end with significant spending restraint.  If not – if spending continues unchecked – this generation will prove to be the first to mortgage the future of its children and grandchildren instead of leaving a better and more prosperous future”.  So true.  Congress has proved itself incapable of fixing the massive fiscal mess they created.  Now it must fix the legislative process and begin to propose real spending reforms.

    Under the excesses that occurred under President Bush, the automatic explosion of entitlement spending on Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security seemed a distant economic threat. But the recent spending binge has changed the game so that, when coupled with the remainder of President Obama’s stunning agenda, Washington is today building a bridge of debt to our  long-term entitlement meltdown.  This spending-driven debt is a symptom of the system allowing budget policy to go desperately wrong.

    If lawmakers want to fix the problem, they must come to grips with the real causes of spiraling deficits and debt. As Brian Riedl explains, federal spending is climbing to rates not seen since the 1960s, and now exceeds $30,000 per household. While tax revenues are projected to remain close to the historical average of 18 percent of the economy, spending is rising dramatically over the historical average 20 percent of the economy to 24.7 percent in 2009.  Spending will reach 26 percent by the end of the decade and keep on climbing as the entitlement tsunami really kicks in. As Clinton would say, it’s the spending stupid.

    By contrast, the balanced budget proposal from House Blue Dogs, introduced by Rep. Bobby Bright (D-Ala.), would take entitlement spending on Social Security and Disability off the table, actually creating a class of benefits  with special protection.  Regardless of whether that would stand the constitutional test or not, the simple fact is that entitlement spending is so huge, the budget cannot be controlled unless entitlements are reformed.  All of them.  And by focusing on the deficit only, the Blue Dog proposal would likely lead to punitive tax hikes.

    As Pence, Hensarling and Campbell show, Congress must be forced to operate under tough controls rather than gimmicks that cannot be simply ignored, like PAYGO.  Policymakers cannot tout the need for fiscal restraint in one breath and vote for (or sign) colossal new spending – SCHIP, Stimulus, bailouts, a new health benefit, etc. – in another. Spending limits must force all federal programs – discretionary and entitlements, current and proposed – to compete against each other for tax dollars and Congress must set real priorities for the nation.

    The Spending Limit Amendment would not solve all budget problems. To gain support the long-term fiscal situation must be made explicit – front and central in the annual budget decisions. Americans must be told that Social Security and Medicare’s excess costs are $44 trillion, or $184,000 for every man, woman, and child in the nation.

    And it takes time for a constitutional amendment to become law.  Time we don’t have.  Their amendment should go hand in hand with other strong controls to make it workable.  Entitlements should not be allowed to grow on autopilot and crowd out other priorities, but should be put on real budgets like defense, anti-poverty programs and education are today.  Any savings must be captured and preserved to fix the fiscal mess – not to pay for expensive new benefits.

    Congress must also get down to the business of serious budget reforms to rein in current spending.  Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) “Roadmap for America’s Future, 2.0.” lays out such a plan. It also shows the tough work Congress and the nation must do to derail the current spending trajectory along the lines envisioned by the Spending Limit Amendment.

    These are the kind of steps necessary to protect the family budget from the federal budget.

    Posted in Economics [slideshow_deploy]

    24 Responses to Stop the Spending Now

    1. Mark, Spokane WA says:

      The right answer to the fiscal situation we find ourselves in is 1) eliminate the structural deficits created by the Bush tax cuts, and 2) pass meaningful health care reform that will allow costs to be controlled and thereby keep Medicare costs, the driving factor behind the "entitlement explosion," under control. The obstacles to doing this are Congressional Republicans and right-wing ideologues at organizations like, yes, the Heritage Foundation.

      • Bob says:

        Idiot, keep blaming Bush, this is the best you can do! Your man has been in office for almost three years and has worked real hard to increase unemployment, double the debt, created an enviroment for business and people to fail. That is what you get when you elect a community orginizer.

      • JIM, MASSACHUSETTS says:


    2. jason says:

      so mark, your solution then is to:

      1. raise taxes on hardworking americans

      2. create more government spending and control under the guise of health care reform.

      yep, makes sense.

    3. Floridacracker from says:

      Obama is inexperienced and should have never been put in a position where he can spend the American taxpayers money because he clearly doesn't know what he's doing. The stimulus money should be given back to the people, just like Scott Brown MA wants to do for his state and should be given to all states and this spending must cease!

    4. Rich Stewart, Carlis says:


      You might want to run out real quick and get an antidote for that Kool-Aid you have been drinking.

      Tax cuts do not cause deficits – spending, spending, and more spending is the cause of deficits.

      The U.S. House of Representatives can't even run their own cafeteria effectively; they most certainly cannot craft programs to reduce the cost of health care or anything else more complicated than cold roast beef sandwich. The U.S. Senate may be a little better at running a cafeteria but that hardly qualifies them to dabble in the economy.

      What Congress can do is eliminate programs, regulations, other foolishness, and get out and stay out of the business of tinkering with the economy. Not in their charter in the constitution. No government anywhere at anytime under any circumstances ever created any wealth; period. Government is a cost center not a revenue center.

      Sticking to their knitting is the answer; stepping back and reviewing those things bounded by Article I – Section 8 or the U.S. Constitution would be a good place for them to start. Any Congressman having lost or misplaced their copy of the constitution can get one for free from the Heritage Foundation. It's also available on the Internet. Really good reading. More of them should give it a try.

    5. Billy Stagg says:

      Sorry Mark, but if you use your logic, then the fact that Medicare reimbursements are set by the government, those rates are what are causing the costs to sky rocket. How then, if the government takes over the whole system is that going to help?

      By the way, there is an iphone app that you can download with a copy of the constitution on it.

    6. Nick - LA says:

      I'd like to see some examples about where these cuts should come from. Are we cutting Medicare, Social Security, the Military? Those make up 79% of the budget. Do all of you agree that substantial cuts in those three programs are on the table?

    7. linda says:

      we just need to repeal obamacare

      • Jerry says:

        Obama care must go along with the irresponsible spenders that helped him push it through. If we ran our household finances like Obama and the Senate has spent the last two years we would be bankrupt, which is the way the country is headed without our elected officials giving us a balanced budget agreement. I think that we will not collapse if we do not raise the debt limit, I think raising it will pull us closer to the collapse of our economy. Perhaps this is what the ones who are so adamant that conservatives are the enemy really are seeking. Alls I know is that it took two years for prices to start spiraling upward so I have even less money for my household and family needs. Thanks to all the caring left wing idiots, I am slowing going broke and can't even rely on the SS program, not secure you see.

    8. PastorCarmen says:

      I am not Taxed enough take it all. What a bunch of dung that is.

    9. Alan Armstrong says:

      Paul Ryan's Plan seems very sensible to me. Why invent anything else?

    10. Jason - Oregon says:

      The "occupiers" are getting away with breaking the law by having enough numbers to where the cops won't do anything about them. How about we all refuse to pay taxes and see how the IRS tries to enforce it on everyone. We won't pay taxes until the government stops spending.

    11. Roland C. Brunelle says:

      Yes, stop the spending now, cut the spending now, reduce the regulations now. and cut taxes now,and leave us alone, and jobs will come. Liberty is what we want.

    12. H. Daniel Stout says:

      Stop the spending, now!

    13. jean wollenschlager says:

      I see two things happening if we do not stop this madness called spending our way out of debt. It has to stop now not later. If not now, you will, congress, answer to the people by seeing riots and marshall law put into effect. Of course this may be part of the plan. I personally want to see my grandchildren grow up and live in a freee American without all this debt on their shoulders. You people in high offfice are not only corrupted by the system, you actually enjoy this corruption or else you would change now.

    14. Don says:

      It constantly befuddles me that someone like our President could be so ignorant. Why doesn't he resign his position effective immediately. He is constantly degrading our country when talking to other Middleastern countries. What does he mean we are "soft"? We are the only country that has tried to assist Iraq with their recovery. We haven't gone in to take over their oil. We've spent billions to assist Iraq in trying establish a democracy where their people don't have to live in fear but instead have some hope. We've lost over 4,000 troops and we are "Soft", I think not Mr. President! I've never seen a President who is as divisive as Mr. Obama. I think he should resign.

      • christina says:

        I agree!!!! He should be held accountable for all those amazing changes he has caused in America in a remarkably short period of time for someone who has a questionable upbringing and no or very little experience. Most of these changes are detrimental to America. From the simple change of a lightbulb — I've been told mercury batteries containing less than these lightbulbs have been pulled off shelves because of the harm it can cause to people n the enviroment, and that again is one of his minor changes, yeah-How is this green?????Anymore than he and his wife flying constantly(
        n sometimes seperately)- talk about a footprint They have to be Mr. & Mrs. Jolly Green Giant-huh? Those, of course, that are waiting for a handout, waiting for increases in all their so-called entitlements, and those liberal democrats are the ones supporting this hypocrit., How can their be that many ignorant Americans out there? Take the blinders off n save our country before we become ——————–part of China? Hope thats a joke.

    15. Hectoer Vonheeder says:

      to think my grandchildren already owe 40k in taxes and are not even in the workforce yet, its obsurd. obama is now asking for another stimulis,what the hell did he do with the first.he is destroying my country and he knows it. he needs to go now.

    16. ed o'rourke says:

      pls help our gov't stop the out of control spending

    17. E. Grice Galleher says:

      When it was decided that it was the government's job to help those in need rather than the responsibility of the person or his family, friends or voluntary contributions, the country was doomed. There will always be someone who needs or thinks he needs something he hasn't earned. Half of the population pays no taxes and a huge portion of the rest of us works for government. Too bad there is no other country we can flee to.

    18. Jim Wylam says:

      Stop the spending as if "YOUR" job depends on it!

    19. samuel shinjer says:

      we want opportunities,not dependency

    20. christina says:

      What's there to comprimise or negotiate? To me what's right is right n what's wrong is wrong-period.! If we have no money how can you spend- bad example for Americans – throw away the political credit card- poor credit risk- nothing to back it. The golds gone , the markets gone, and the old fashioned American common sense (i guess) is gone(?).

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