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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

What's In the Budget Deal?

Over at the blog Hot Air, Matt Berman and Sarah Mims report on the budget "deal":

Here's something different: Congress has actually come to a bipartisan budget agreement. The budget team's leaders, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., announced the deal Tuesday night.
Here are the big numbers you need to know, from a Senate Democratic aide:
·         It's a $1.012 trillion budget for fiscal year 2014.
·         $85 billion in total savings over ten years.
·         $63 billion in sequester relief over two years, split evenly between defense and non-defense budgets.
·         $23 billion in net deficit reduction over ten years.
·         Does not include unemployment insurance extension. Includes federal employee pension pay-ins.

The reporters describe this “bipartisan budget agreement” as something different. How about: “no good can come from this?” Patty Murray is a spendaholic liberal, and Paul Ryan is the same Paul Ryan who blew off Tea Party Patriots with his support of immigration “reform” (see CTPP blog here) and then diluted his commitment to defund Obamacare.
And those bullet points: who takes seriously any “savings” over a ten year period? Future congresses can ignore any reductions or freezes at pleasure; they are not bound by past actions.
Heritage Action has more buckets of cold water here: 
“Heritage Action cannot support a budget deal that would increase spending in the near-term for promises of woefully inadequate long-term reductions.’’ said the group.
The opposition from Heritage Action could put new pressure on congressional Republicans to oppose the deal if, after the details are released, the group decides to “score’’ the vote in its annual analyses of lawmakers’ voting record on conservative issues.
The likely opposition of many conservatives to the emerging deal means that House Democrats will have to vote for the deal in significant numbers — and many liberals are also unhappy with the emerging deal because it is expected to include cuts in pensions programs for federal employees.
. . .
However other Republicans including Mr. Ryan argues that mandatory program cuts over time are a more durable contribution to fiscal austerity than immediate, one-time cuts. And others, including Ms. Murray and many economists, argue that it makes more sense in a still-fragile recovery to postpone spending cuts into the future when the economy is stronger and better able to absorb cuts.

(WaPo report is here.) Exit question: How does more government spending strengthen the economy? 

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