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Must Be an Election Year — Kagen’s Talking Fiscal Restraint

It’s only Feb­ru­ary, and already the bull­shit from everyone’s favorite “tall-tale spin­ner” (We still don’t know what’s hap­pened in that White House bath­room from Kagen’s point of view; and I actu­ally had the chance to speak to Karl Rove’s Deputy on the mat­ter.  He told me the allergist-turned Con­gress­man was ‘full of it.’) is back try­ing to tell us he actu­ally cares and lis­tens to con­cerns from his con­stituents when it comes to their con­cerns about gov­ern­ment spending.

Kagen is back today with a col­umn in today’s Gan­nett Wis­con­sin papers in Apple­ton and Green Bay talk­ing about the ‘evils of gov­ern­ment spend­ing and debt’ as he pulls the wool over our eyes with the Demo­c­ra­tic “spend­ing con­trol” oth­er­wise known as the fal­lacy of PAY-GO.

That’s rather rich when you think about it and look at the guy’s record.

1) If John Gard hadn’t run an attack ad on TARP, he prob­a­bly would have voted for it.

2) Only voted against Auto Bailout because he was urged to by local union­ized paper mill work­ers of a closed mill in Kim­berly owned by a sub­sidiary of Cer­berus; which also owned Chrysler.  (Since then Cer­berus has dropped both Chrysler and New Page from their hold­ings.  Both New Page plants in his dis­trict remain closed, one of which New Page is still try­ing to sell.)

3) Voted for and con­tin­ues to tout the $826 Bil­lion Stim­u­lus pack­age in the press and in press releases.

4) Voted JUST LAST WEEK to expand the national debt ceil­ing by nearly two tril­lion dollars.

So, here’s por­tions of Kagen’s col­umn.  After which, I’ll do what I always do when Kagen does his “I’ll fool ‘em” act on PAY-GO; answer a native Apple­ton­ian with another native Appletonian.

When I was elected in 2006, the peo­ple in power in Wash­ing­ton were pur­su­ing borrow-and-spend poli­cies that drove our econ­omy into the ditch. Money that our coun­try didn’t have was being spent on wag­ing two wars; simul­ta­ne­ously the wealth­i­est Amer­i­cans were given not one, but two cuts in their taxes; a $400 bil­lion hand­out was given to big drug com­pa­nies, and a tril­lion dol­lar bailout was made of Wall Street. And, instead of fig­ur­ing out how to pay for all of it, they asked our chil­dren and grand­chil­dren pick up the tab.

Enough is enough. We must all live within our means. Our gov­ern­ment must invest in our own peo­ple right here at home, not on Wall Street or over­seas, to rebuild our own econ­omy and grow the jobs we need to work our way through today’s recession.

Pay-As-You-Go rules were suc­cess­ful in the 1990s, and this is exactly the med­i­cine we need to begin to turn today’s enor­mous debts into future sur­pluses. That is why I strongly sup­ported the pas­sage of Statu­tory Pay-As-You-Go rules, just as I have seven pre­vi­ous times dur­ing my pub­lic service.

Statu­tory Pay-As-You-Go forces Con­gress to make the nec­es­sary choices on how our tax dol­lars are spent. Pay-As-You-Go requires Con­gress to off­set any new spend­ing with either new rev­enues or a cut else­where in the bud­get. If any leg­is­la­tion enacted by Con­gress increases the deficit, it would trig­ger an auto­matic across-the-board cut in cer­tain programs.

It is really a sim­ple, respon­si­ble idea: Wash­ing­ton must live within its means and pay its bills on time, just as we do around our own kitchen tables every month across Wisconsin.

Wow, sounds sin­cere huh?  Too bad it’s all bull accord­ing to the Her­itage Foundation’s top bud­get guy (and per­sonal friend of mine) Brian Riedl.

1) PAYGO has never been enforced

  • Dur­ing the 1991–2002 round of statu­tory PAYGO, Con­gress and the Pres­i­dent still added more than $700 bil­lion to the bud­get deficit and sim­ply can­celled every sin­gle seques­tra­tion that would have enforced PAYGO.
  • Since the 2007 cre­ation of the PAYGO rule, Con­gress has waived it numer­ous times in order to add $600 bil­lion to the deficit. In fact, the entire “stim­u­lus” bill vio­lated PAYGO; Con­gress sim­ply ignored the rule.

2) PAYGO’s design is flawed

  • PAYGO exempts all dis­cre­tionary spend­ing, and would also allow all cur­rent enti­tle­ment pro­grams like Social Secu­rity, Medicare, and Med­ic­aid to con­tinue grow­ing on autopi­lot. It affects only new enti­tle­ments or tax cuts that may be cre­ated in the future.
  • Even if PAYGO were fully enforced, enti­tle­ment spend­ing would still grow 6 per­cent annu­ally, and dis­cre­tionary spend­ing could grow with­out limit.

Already this year Obama expanded Med­ic­aid lia­bil­i­ties by $200 bil­lion over 10 years, and he is now push­ing a pub­lic health insur­ance option that would cost $452 bil­lion per year, or more than $6 tril­lion over a 10-year period. How does Obama plan to pay for all this new spend­ing under his new PAYGO leg­is­la­tion? He doesn’t.

1) PAYGO has never been enforced

  • Dur­ing the 1991–2002 round of statu­tory PAYGO, Con­gress and the Pres­i­dent still added more than $700 bil­lion to the bud­get deficit and sim­ply can­celled every sin­gle seques­tra­tion that would have enforced PAYGO.
  • Since the 2007 cre­ation of the PAYGO rule, Con­gress has waived it numer­ous times in order to add $600 bil­lion to the deficit. In fact, the entire “stim­u­lus” bill vio­lated PAYGO; Con­gress sim­ply ignored the rule.

2) PAYGO’s design is flawed

  • PAYGO exempts all dis­cre­tionary spend­ing, and would also allow all cur­rent enti­tle­ment pro­grams like Social Secu­rity, Medicare, and Med­ic­aid to con­tinue grow­ing on autopi­lot. It affects only new enti­tle­ments or tax cuts that may be cre­ated in the future.
  • Even if PAYGO were fully enforced, enti­tle­ment spend­ing would still grow 6 per­cent annu­ally, and dis­cre­tionary spend­ing could grow with­out limit.

Already this year Obama expanded Med­ic­aid lia­bil­i­ties by $200 bil­lion over 10 years, and he is now push­ing a pub­lic health insur­ance option that would cost $452 bil­lion per year, or more than $6 tril­lion over a 10-year period. How does Obama plan to pay for all this new spend­ing under his new PAYGO leg­is­la­tion? He doesn’t.

PAYGO is a fal­lacy, and will not con­trol spend­ing one bit. Kagen clings to it like Linus clings to his blan­ket because he believes if he can con­tinue to pull the wool over enough eyes by Novem­ber, he won’t suf­fer the fate of Robert Cor­nell and Jay John­son — short terms for a Demo­c­rat in Wisconsin’s 8th Con­gres­sional District.

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  • rono44o

    The Coun­cil for Cit­i­zens Against Gov­ern­ment Waste focused on forty-eight votes in the 2008 ses­sion of Con­gress, votes which had a direct neg­a­tive or pos­i­tive effect on the tax­payer. A 100% rat­ing means the con­gressper­son voted for the tax­payer all forty-eight times. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Kagan’s rat­ing was 8%, with a life­time rat­ing of 7%, the low­est of the Wis­con­sin del­e­ga­tion. For com­par­i­son pur­poses, Petri, Ryan, and Sensen­bren­ner scored 83%, 91%, and 93% respec­tively. A fis­cal con­ser­v­a­tive Kagan is not!

  • kev­in­bin­ver­sie

    <sarcasm>But Kagen likes to tell us he’s just like his dis­trict: Fis­cally
    Con­ser­v­a­tive and Socially Lib­eral. He wouldn’t be lying to us would
    he?</sarcasm>