Thursday, August 04, 2011

Lugar Explains Debt Ceiling Vote

Sen. Richard Lugar sent out an e-mail today attempting to put a lipstick on the $2.4 trillion debt-raising pig he voted for on Tuesday, which Congress has mislabeled the "Budget Control Act."

Though the Budget Control Act which passed Congress this week is not the Cut, Cap and Balance Plan that I co-sponsored, it is still a victory for conservatives over President Obama's out-of-control spending and big government policies.
We succeeded in gaining substantial cuts in spending and stopped Obama's efforts to increase taxes dead in its tracks. We guaranteed the opportunity to send the Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution to the states - a measure I have supported 16 times.
The failed economic policies of Barack Obama have been exposed. Bigger government is not the foundation for a bigger economy . . .
My candidacy offers the best opportunity to accomplish these goals for Hoosiers. Let's keep Indiana in Republican hands, achieve Republican control of the Senate, and defeat Barack Obama and his policiesIn addition, we avoided default - a risk too great when Hoosier families and businesses are struggling with a weak economy, high gas prices and declining home values.
Lugar claims this legislation made "substantial cuts", but that is simply not the case. The only thing we know for certain it achieved is the raising of the national debt ceiling to support an increase of 8% in this year's federal budget and another 8% increase in next year's budget. The legislation leaves it to a Super Congress to decide what, if any, real cuts in federal spending called "investments" in Washington parlance, will occur. Any "cuts" will likely be mere reductions in the "baseline numbers," or what are otherwise known as automatic built-in increases that are expected to occur whether revenues support the spending or not. And it provides no assurances that tax increases won't be imposed to achieve "savings" or reduce "tax expenditures," pick your poison.

The Balanced Budget Amendment is simply a bone thrown out to sweeten a medicine true fiscal conservatives could never swallow in the form of the deal that has been dealt them by Congress. It is highly unlikely 38 states would ever vote to enact the amendment, the 3/5 vote required for adoption, and even if they did, it's unlikely to make much of a difference. Most states already have balance budget requirements in their state constitutions, but it hasn't stopped state legislators from finding a way around the requirement. According to the National Council of State Legislatures, every state except Vermont has either a constitutional or a statutory requirement that their budgets be balanced. "What is meant by a balanced budget is not as clear as may seem intuitively," reads an NCSL primer on the various state laws. Last year, California ran a budget deficit greater than $25 billion. Neighboring Illinois grappled with a $6 billion budget deficit. Both states have constitutional requirements that their budgets be balanced.

Lugar will have been in Congress for 36 years at the end of his current term. During his tenure, the size of the national debt has grown from just over $150 billion to well north of $14.5 trillion. Neither the current president nor this Congress has any viable plan to deal with the debt problem. It isn't at all clear that the problem is even fixable at this late date given the enormity of the size of the national debt. It looks to me like Lugar has a tough sale convincing Indiana voters that he is the best candidate to tame this monster, if anyone alive is actually capable of doing that.

1 comment:

Marycatherine Barton said...

Any body who voted yes, to that "debt raising pig" (well put, AI} should be escorted by freedom-loving Americans out of Congress, certainly not reelected. No excuse for that yea vote from Sen. Lugar could be acceptable, short of someone was holding a gun to his head, or such.