Friday, March 27, 2009

Budget Fact #12

Making Budgets Look Better On Paper

The Facts About The Democrats' Budget:

Editorials Criticize The "Gimmickry" In The Democrats' Budget: According toThe Washington Post, Congressional Democrats are resorting to "gimmickry" in an attempt to make the budget "look better on paper." However, this "does nothing to improve a dangerous fiscal picture" under the Democrats' budget which CBO estimates could lead to as much as $9.3 trillion in new debt over the next ten years. The USA Today also wrote about the Democrats' "underwhelming display of short-term tinkering to whittle down the cost" of the budget. Despite the calls for an "honest" budget, the Democrats have produced a budget that now looks better on paper only.

The Democrats' Budget Gimmicks: Last month, the President announced his budget claiming that it would be "honest" and "transparent." However, in light of the analysis from the CBO, Congressional Democrats have made a number of changes to the budget to get costs on paper down:

- Financial Stabilization Efforts: "Mr. Obama put aside $250 billion for more funding for fiscal stabilization. Mr. Conrad and Mr. Spratt strip that, though they have no reason to believe it won't be needed." (Editorial, "The Budget Gimmick's Return," The Washington Post, 3/26/09)

- Disaster Funding: "Mr. Conrad eliminated the contingency fund for natural disasters, and Mr. Spratt cut it in half." (Editorial, "The Budget Gimmick's Return," The Washington Post, 3/26/09)

- The Alternative Minimum Tax: "And Conrad assumes that the alternative minimum tax will strike millions of middle-class families, generating billions of additional dollars in 2013 and 2014, though Congress has acted repeatedly to prevent that." (Lori Montgomery, "Democrats Take Knife To Obama's Budget," The Washington Post, 3/25/09)

- Time Frame: "Mr. Obama's budget endeavored to be more honest. His was a 10-year financial plan. Like President George W. Bush, Mr. Conrad and Mr. Spratt look ahead only five years, which allows a lot of the red ink to be concealed." (Editorial, "The Budget Gimmick's Return,"The Washington Post, 3/26/09)

Rushing To Raise The Deficit: Democrats have crafted budget reconciliation instructions that will be used to force through their high-spending priorities. Reconciliation has traditionally been used for deficit reduction and tax cuts. Instead, Democrats are using the tactic to rush their priorities through Congress. Prominent Democrats like Senate Budget Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND) and Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV) oppose using this procedural tool.

Posted by: Press Secretary

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