Calling it a “sour deal,” the Heritage Foundation’s Romina Boccia offers these important points of information on “The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013,” a compromise bill sponsored by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., and Sen. Patty Murry, D-Wash.:
1. It busts through supposed spending “caps.” The way Congress operates, it’s ridiculous for Members to set spending caps. They just keep busting right through them. The deal announced yesterday raises discretionary spending above the bipartisan spending agreement forged in 2011 as part of the Budget Control Act. Spending for defense and non-defense domestic programs would be raised by $45 billion in 2014 and by $18 billion in 2015.
Once again, Congress has fallen into its old and destructive habit of trading more spending in one area for more spending in another. This is a bad “compromise” that keeps increasing spending, when just a little more effort to eliminate bad government programs and reduce wasteful spending could have saved taxpayers money instead.
2. It taxes and spends. The agreement says that the increased spending is fully offset elsewhere in the budget, using a mix of spending cuts and non-tax revenue. Make no mistake, raising revenue to spend more is simply taxing and spending. If anything, automatic spending cuts could be exchanged for targeted spending cuts. Trading spending cuts for more revenue, however, grows the burden of government. After all, Washington suffers from a spending problem, not a revenue one.
3. It spends now and delays savings till later. The budget deal would spend $63 billion over the next two years—but take 10 years to make up for this splurge. This is a common Washington gimmick. To the conferees’ credit, the deal suggests one-third in additional deficit reduction—the details of which remain to be evaluated.
Likewise, the Cato Institute’s Chris Edwards has criticized the bipartisan deal for blowing the sequester cuts of 2011, calling it a “dangerous precedent.”
“The 2011 Budget Control Act had been the GOP’s only major spending accomplishment in years,” Edwards says. ”Now Republican leaders are throwing it away in return for revenue increases and spending trims that are mainly tiny and phony.”