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House GOP budget plan gets it right. March 19, 2015

Posted by JP in Politics.

Tom Price, the new chairman of the House Budget Committee, has just released the GOP budget blueprint for the years ahead this week. This will have a big impact on how the government spends more than 20 percent of our economy, and where the revenues will come from to fund this behemoth operation.

I got an advance copy of budget Monday night. My sneak preview finds it packs a conservative punch. It is a pro-growth, pro-fiscal discipline game plan that would put the nation on a path to a balanced budget and stay true to the Republican principles that won them majorities in the House and Senate in the first place.

Mr. Price tells me: “My budget stays faithful to the budget caps. We repeal ObamaCare. We eliminate hundreds of programs. We make room for tax reform. And we block grant many of the welfare programs back to the states.” The goal here, the Georgia Republican says, “is faster economic growth and more spending discipline. That is what our party should stand for.”

Mr. Price has it right. One of the greatest long-term threats to our nation’s security is our out-of-control economy — our massive $4 trillion budget and the $18 trillion national debt that keeps growing by nearly $1 trillion a year.

It’s pretty much the antithesis of the Obama budget that was released last month. President Obama wants to grow the government by $500 billion through 2017 and raise tax rates across the board on workers, investors and employers to pay for it. Mr. Price doesn’t run from that fight. He ‎tells the White House, in effect: Bring it on. Just three months ago voters went to the polls and flat out rejected the Obama-Pelosi-Reid vision of income redistribution and government expansionism in Washington.

But the highest hurdle Mr. Price must clear may not be the liberal Democrats – but the spenders in his own party. Appropriators want to eliminate the 2011 Budget and Control Act spending caps and sequester cuts. These caps have been an effective electric fence around the Obama spending ambitions of late. Thanks to the caps, spending is lower today than it was in 2011. This is the first time that has happened since the 1950s.

Holding the sequester is essential to keeping the budget under control. Before the sequester, federal expenditures from 2007-11 exploded by $874 billion, a one-third blowout rise in spending. But with the sequester in place, federal outlays have fallen by $168 billion – a 16 percent decline relative to inflation.

To some Republicans that’s too much of a good thing. They want to return to the days of that old hit song, “Let’s Twist again, like we did last summer.” But in their case it’s a new version, “Come on let’s spend again, like we did last summer…”

Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, wrote last week in the Wall Street Journal that “the country cannot meet its national security responsibility within the caps on defense spending imposed by the 2011 Budget Control Act (BCA) and sequestration.”

What he didn’t say was that during the six full remaining years subject to the BCA caps (2016-2021), baseline defense spending is permitted to rise every year, and by $68 billion over the period – a 13-percent increase.

Only inside Washington is that considered a cut.

Can it really be true that a more than half-trillion-dollar annual Pentagon budget – at least twice what any other nation spends – is not enough to keep us safe? Why not start by cutting the $7 billion of green energy programs in the DOD budget?

Mr. Obama desperately wants to repeal the spending caps and sequester as well. He calls it a “mindless” budget reduction tool because it cuts spending across the board. But this is only because the White House and Congress won’t cut spending in any other responsible way.

Here’s the worst-of-all-worlds option that Mr. Price hopes to avoid. ‎President Obama has offered Republicans as much as $70 billion more in defense spending in exchange for as much as $70 billion more for liberals to pass out on domestic programs. That’s the typical Washington insider’s deal: All the lobbyists go away happy – and taxpayers get shafted.

Mr. Price has it right. One of the greatest long-term threats to our nation’s security is our out-of-control economy — our massive $4 trillion budget and the $18 trillion national debt that keeps growing by nearly $1 trillion a year. As Ronald Reagan taught us all so well: When you’re weak at home, you’re weak abroad.”

“Every percentage point of added GDP growth reduces the budget deficit by $3 trillion over the next decade,” Mr. Price says.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who supports more money for the Pentagon, says this budget is “a defining moment for our party.” But if fiscal restraint, balanced budgets, growth and tax cuts don’t define the GOP, what does?

Stephen Moore is a Fox News contributor


Published March 17, 2015





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