Pay-go a Goner

posted at 9:35 am on November 11, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Remember when Democrats insisted on pay-go rules in 2006 as evidence of their fiscal responsibility?  Recall how they scoffed when George Bush used the 9/11 attacks and the economic damage done by them as a reason for increased deficit spending?  Well, Democrats sound more and more like George Bush every day.  Pay-go, the Wall Street Journal notes, is officially a goner, and the Democrats are the ones reaching for rationalizations:

As Congress gears up to pass another spending “stimulus” bill, there’s one political silver lining: Democrats are being forced to abandon the pretense of fiscal conservatism known as “pay as you go” budgeting.

Late last week the leader of the House Blue Dog Coalition, Tennessee Democrat Jim Cooper, announced that with Barack Obama about to enter the White House, “I’m not sure the old rules are relevant anymore.” Why not? Because, Mr. Cooper said, “It would be unfair to the new President to put him in a budget straitjacket.”

Why call this a “silver lining”?  It’s more than just a demonstration of rank hypocrisy by the Democrats.  It removes one of their favorite rationales for tax hikes.  While Bush and the Republicans spent money between 2001-6 in a manner that would embarrass drunken sailors, Democrats claimed that the irresponsibility didn’t come from the spending, but from the failure to confiscate more money from taxpayers to fund it.

Voters bought this nonsense, apparently needing a break from the nonsense of the previous five years, in 2006.  Democrats quickly enacted their idea of pay-go by waiving the rule a dozen times on their way to crafting a $400 billion deficit.  While breaking their own rules, Steny Hoyer insisted that the Democratic caucus remained committed to pay-go, as long as it didn’t keep them from increasing spending as often as they liked.

Now that they won their second straight national election on the premise of fiscal responsibility and have a Democrat in the White House, Congress has decided that they don’t need that “straitjacket” any longer.  And why?  Not because of a war or trillions of dollars in damage after a terrorist attack.  No, they just want to spend money because of an economic crisis brought about in the main because of Democratic Party policies of interference in lending markets.


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Oh man, their first budget is gonna be tasty,

lodge on November 11, 2008 at 9:38 AM

I may stop paying my income taxes if these bailouts continue. Why should I support a bailout of UAW workers. The bailout of the auto industry is really a bailout of the UAW. Their benefits are far better than mine (I have none, sulef-employed).

bopbottle on November 11, 2008 at 9:39 AM

I can’t seem to spell this morning “sulef-employed”? Sorry…self-employed.

bopbottle on November 11, 2008 at 9:40 AM

Looks like the Blue Dogs have been neutered. but they aren’t critical to the Dem majority any more. So go along, or your consituents will suffer..

Wethal on November 11, 2008 at 9:41 AM

“I’m not sure the old rules are relevant anymore.” Why not? Because, Mr. Cooper said, “It would be unfair to the new President to put him in a budget straitjacket.”

Well who could have imagined that this was going to happen.

thomasaur on November 11, 2008 at 9:41 AM

Give the Dems 100% ownership of the auto bailout.

This is a good place to stop the bleeding.

Unify and denounce it.

artist on November 11, 2008 at 9:41 AM

Now that they won their second straight national election on the premise of fiscal responsibility and have a Democrat in the White House, Congress has decided that they don’t need that “straitjacket” any longer. And why? Not because of a war or trillions of dollars in damage after a terrorist attack. No, they just want to spend money because of an economic crisis brought about in the main because of Democratic Party policies of interference in lending markets.

Ed, nothing negative to you at all, but that entire premise is mind-boggling to say the least.

Democrats elected to be fiscally responsible?

Paging, Rod Serling…

kybowexar on November 11, 2008 at 9:42 AM

I can’t in a few years when all these gullible college kids who voted for him get their first job and see just how much “hope and change” is taken out of their paycheck.

Bet the limited government GOP won’t look so bad afterall.

gophergirl on November 11, 2008 at 9:42 AM

Sorry should be “can’t wait”

gophergirl on November 11, 2008 at 9:43 AM

These Democrats have never had any interest in fiscal responsibility of any sort. What a bunch of liars.

CP on November 11, 2008 at 9:46 AM

These clowns are already salivating. It’ll take a nation-wide tax revolt to stop the spending juggernaut.

whitetop on November 11, 2008 at 9:48 AM

“It would be unfair to the new President to put him in a budget straitjacket.”

*
Does this type of wording actually work on anyone? Does “budget straitjacket” equal “not going deeper into debt”? These people have no shame.

marklmail on November 11, 2008 at 9:48 AM

These Democrats have never had any interest in fiscal responsibility of any sort. What a bunch of liars.

CP on November 11, 2008 at 9:46 AM

All the EVER wanted was unbridled power!

grapeknutz on November 11, 2008 at 9:49 AM

I can’t in a few years when all these gullible college kids who voted for him get their first job and see just how much “hope and change” is taken out of their paycheck.

Bet the limited government GOP won’t look so bad afterall.

gophergirl on November 11, 2008 at 9:42 AM

I had a similar thought about the early 30s yuppies who either have two incomes and/or have young families. They have never known a federal income tax increase and one way or another thay are going to get one. They aren’t going to like it.

BigD on November 11, 2008 at 9:51 AM

“It would be unfair to the new President to put him in a budget straitjacket.”

Translated into English this is “It would be unfair to hold the new President accountable”

Wade on November 11, 2008 at 9:52 AM

What would happen if millions of people just refused to pay taxes? This is truly a case of taxation without representation..

americanpatriot on November 11, 2008 at 9:53 AM

Democrats…get it together. You don’t want to be ousted do ya? American’s won’t stand for tax increases on the wealthy without pay as you go. Sheesh.

DeathToMediaHacks on November 11, 2008 at 9:54 AM

Gird your loins! They’re coming out of straight-jackets!

batterup on November 11, 2008 at 9:55 AM

Democrats are known for being fiscally responsible the same way they’re known for championing individualism, entrepreneurialism, traditional family values, and low taxes.

In other words, they sometimes make the claim, but it’s one of those “with a wink” things.

When has the left ever cut a government budget for anything they weren’t politically opposed to?

Merovign on November 11, 2008 at 9:57 AM

Have the Blue Dogs been emasculated by the Dems at large?

DNRtheDNC on November 11, 2008 at 10:00 AM

I believe if the public united and refuse to pay taxes in light of the bailouts we don’t won’t, I mean the will of the people has been thrown out, surely we could get some real change. Surely we can’t just sit idly by and let them do this to us.

americanpatriot on November 11, 2008 at 10:01 AM

Democrats — Face first into the federal treasury, yipppeee, wheee, wooot.

So why is it that Democrats are trusted with the economy again? And who is pushing this lie the hardest?

Did you ever consider America would be better off without a free press?

tarpon on November 11, 2008 at 10:03 AM

All the people … young and old … that voted for the One did so after learning from Him that Selfishness is Not a Virtue…. They will, therefore, be HAPPY and EAGER to give more of their hard earned money to the government to pass on to those with their hands out.

el rey on November 11, 2008 at 10:03 AM

What free press?

americanpatriot on November 11, 2008 at 10:04 AM

Satan is a Democrat.

Akzed on November 11, 2008 at 10:09 AM

Unfortunately, government spending is not an issue most people care about. It’s only when taxes are increased, and people see a direct effect, that revulsion of government takes place.

So the Democrats rightly believe that they can spend as much as they want for a while, as long as they hold off on large tax increases. But one of the promises that Obama will break is a “middle-class” tax cut.

pilsener on November 11, 2008 at 10:10 AM

Worst.Congress.Evah!!

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on November 11, 2008 at 10:11 AM

If we ever get control back, we should ram through a radical revision of the method of withholding.

People ought to WRITE A CHECK to the government every quarter like we self-employed do.

The scam of automatic payroll withholding has caused absolute fiscal retardation among the working folks, and this is exactly what democrats wanted.

Transparency now.

jeff_from_mpls on November 11, 2008 at 10:12 AM

Paygo was a myth anyways.

Is anyone surprised?

Republicans should delay any auto bailout till January and then say that “we were suckered into supporting a 700 billion bailout that was never necessary. We will not support any further bailouts.”

lorien1973 on November 11, 2008 at 10:12 AM

jeff_from_mpls on November 11, 2008 at 10:12 AM

Damn straight.

And then pass an amendment to the constitution saying that any tax increases must be passed by a super majority in the house and senate.

lorien1973 on November 11, 2008 at 10:13 AM

Just think if we’d passed the balanced budget amendment with the contract with america.

lodge on November 11, 2008 at 10:16 AM

Gird your loins! They’re coming out of straight-jackets!

batterup on November 11, 2008 at 9:55 AM

Quite accurate..and hilarious! LOL.

Itchee Dryback on November 11, 2008 at 10:22 AM

No, they just want to spend money because of an economic crisis brought about in the main because of Democratic Party policies of interference in lending markets.

Hopefully, the Dems won’t use the financial crises to grow government in ways that will be with us for 100 years–as FDR and LBJ did.

However, the economic crisis has much more significant causes than the Dem interference in lending markets. Also, regardless of whoever was elected, fiscal restraint would been the wrong medicine at this time. If there is ever a time for a bit of Keynsianism, that time is now.

dedalus on November 11, 2008 at 10:22 AM

You can’t straight jacket a jackass it seems.

Kevin in Washington State on November 11, 2008 at 10:29 AM

A Democrat not wasting money? If we are broke, then where are they getting the money? When are they going to do something for us? Since it was our money? Flat or Fair Tax>? Guess they are not that concerned then.

sheebe on November 11, 2008 at 10:30 AM

I want my check so i can use it to buy a new gun that Obama I am sure will ban when he gets the chance!!!

Come on start printing!

HoosierCon on November 11, 2008 at 10:30 AM

I can’t wait in a few years when all these gullible college kids who voted for him get their first job and see just how much “hope and change” is taken out of their paycheck.

Bet the limited government GOP won’t look so bad afterall.

gophergirl on November 11, 2008 at 9:42 AM

The next cohort of new voters will be conservative. My 15-year-old supported McCain and so did all of his friends. In the national Kids Vote election, McCain carried the 15-16 year old group. There is a viral email going around among these kids about the national debt and how much each current 16-year-old is going to owe when they get out of college. These kids can see what is coming for them and they don’t like it. They will all be eligible to vote in 2012. If Republicans can recapture this issue they will own the next generation of voters.

My vision is for the RNC to produce a real-time national debt counter widget, which can be placed on every blog, MySpace, Facebook, etc. and inserted in emails so that all young people can see how much more debt the government is piling on them every day. This should be backed up with Republicans in Congress voting against every increase in the debt ceiling and every new item of spending – especially any new bailouts for the auto industry or state and local governments.

rockmom on November 11, 2008 at 10:31 AM

Our POTUS-Elect and the left wing of his party have not seen a dollar they did not want to spend. Now they do not have to pretend that they care that they are spending America into oblivion.

OUR MONEY…THEIR WHIMSY

Hope and Change indeed.

kingsjester on November 11, 2008 at 10:35 AM

I believe if the public united and refuse to pay taxes in light of the bailouts we don’t won’t, I mean the will of the people has been thrown out, surely we could get some real change.

americanpatriot on November 11, 2008 at 10:01 AM

You’d get change alright. It would give them and excuse to seize your property.

RushBaby on November 11, 2008 at 10:36 AM

Well, if democrats create massive inflation, it will increase housing prices. The loss of value for the dollar will be like a VAT or consumption tax.

That’s not a ‘silver lining’, but it will do for those with tinfoil hats.

Buy gold and guns.

Right_of_Attila on November 11, 2008 at 10:37 AM

The next cohort of new voters will be conservative. My 15-year-old supported McCain and so did all of his friends. In the national Kids Vote election, McCain carried the 15-16 year old group. There is a viral email going around among these kids about the national debt and how much each current 16-year-old is going to owe when they get out of college. These kids can see what is coming for them and they don’t like it. They will all be eligible to vote in 2012. If Republicans can recapture this issue they will own the next generation of voters.

This is a great way to circumvent the public school systems indoctrination into accepting Marxism that will be shoved down their throats.

thomasaur on November 11, 2008 at 10:42 AM

I can’t in a few years when all these gullible college kids who voted for him get their first job and see just how much “hope and change” is taken out of their paycheck.

Bet the limited government GOP won’t look so bad afterall.

gophergirl on November 11, 2008 at 9:42 AM

I would be careful of the generalizations that you make. I’m 25, pursuing a post-grad degree, if you’ll pay attention to the polling and the facts on Gen X vs. Gen Y, Gen X and baby boomers HEAVILY outnumber The greatest Generation, the Silent Generation, and Gen. Y combined.

Before you start pointing your big ass finger at the tiny margin of “those gullible college kids… GRRR!!!”, you might want first realize that “gullible college kids” don’t make up any majorities.

I’m not proud of those in my generation that did vote Obama, but at least we can lay claim that we aren’t stupid enough to have experienced a Carter-era, and then voted in the same situation like every generation before us did.

leetpriest on November 11, 2008 at 10:42 AM

Pay-go is a ridiculous concept if you aren’t willing to recognize that if you cut spending, you can pay for new stuff with spending cuts.

I wonder when I’m going to get a bailout to pay my taxes.

3 TRILLION dollars people. . . that’s how much this year’s budget was. If that’s not enough, it won’t ever be enough. 4 trillion, 5 trillion, 6 trillion, none of these numbers make our congressmen blink – because it’s not their money, it’s just money they are spending.

It is getting very near time for another Boston Tea Party. I don’t understand why it is so difficult for Biden to recognize that the Revolutionary War started because Americans didn’t want to pay taxes. Paying taxes is the farthest thing from ‘patriotic’ as you can get in America.

ThackerAgency on November 11, 2008 at 10:45 AM

There is a viral email going around among these kids about the national debt and how much each current 16-year-old is going to owe when they get out of college.

rockmom on November 11, 2008 at 10:31 AM

I would like to see that. And your debt counter idea is great! The 15-16 kids need fiscal conservatism as their mantra.

Kevin in Washington State on November 11, 2008 at 10:45 AM

My vision is for the RNC to produce a real-time national debt counter widget, which can be placed on every blog, MySpace, Facebook, etc. and inserted in emails so that all young people can see how much more debt the government is piling on them every day. This should be backed up with Republicans in Congress voting against every increase in the debt ceiling and every new item of spending – especially any new bailouts for the auto industry or state and local governments.

rockmom on November 11, 2008 at 10:31 AM

Not a bad idea. It could include fields to view the number as a percentage of GDP and the cost per year to service, to help people understand what part of their tax bill is to pay for past spending.

dedalus on November 11, 2008 at 10:48 AM

I can’t in a few years when all these gullible college kids who voted for him get their first job and see just how much “hope and change” is taken out of their paycheck.

Bet the limited government GOP won’t look so bad afterall.

gophergirl on November 11, 2008 at 9:42 AM

What job would that be, The Great Obamessiah will provide all they need. These hopeychangelings need to pull their heads out of their collective asses and move the fuck out of their parent’s basements

UNREPENTANT CONSERVATIVE CAPITOLIST on November 11, 2008 at 10:50 AM

So much for fiscal responsibility, but who in their right mind would expect this from a Democrat or most RINOs. I can hardly wait to see what the national deficit will be when these bozos are through.

ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒE (mo-lone lah-veh) Translation: Come and take them!

Retired USAF on November 11, 2008 at 10:53 AM

The DNC’s new book: How to Lie Your Way Into Victory and Success

DL13 on November 11, 2008 at 11:14 AM

What job would that be, The Great Obamessiah will provide all they need. These hopeychangelings need to pull their heads out of their collective asses and move the fuck out of their parent’s basements

UNREPENTANT CONSERVATIVE CAPITOLIST on November 11, 2008 at 10:50 AM

As do the Latte-sipping liberals in their 30′s 40′s 50′s and 60′s. Ultimately, we can blame all former generations for the way that “those damn college kids” turned out.

I guess had all of us “damn college kids” had decent parents, we wouldn’t have turned out to be “hopeychangelings need to pull their heads out of their collective asses and move the fuck out of their parent’s basements”.

“Capitalist” is spelled with two “a’s”, not an “o”, friend.

leetpriest on November 11, 2008 at 11:21 AM

Hopefully, the Dems won’t use the financial crises to grow government…

That’s funny.

myrenovations on November 11, 2008 at 11:22 AM

“Capitalist” is spelled with two “a’s”, not an “o”, friend.

leetpriest on November 11, 2008 at 11:21 AM

Perhaps we are all becoming Capitolists, now that more of our economy will be managed from Capitol Hill?

dedalus on November 11, 2008 at 11:27 AM

The ‘silver lining’ part is that we won’t be hearing 10 trillion dollar deficit from every moonbat anymore.

Sir Napsalot on November 11, 2008 at 11:31 AM

What would happen if millions of people just refused to pay taxes? This is truly a case of taxation without representation..

americanpatriot on November 11, 2008 at 9:53 AM

Boston tea party? Oh, wait, these are not foreigners….

Sir Napsalot on November 11, 2008 at 11:35 AM

Unfortunately, government spending is not an issue most people care about. It’s only when taxes are increased, and people see a direct effect, that revulsion of government takes place.

Correction, it’s only when their taxes are increased that people get upset.

Raising other people, especially if those other people have spent their lives working hard, resulting in them having more than you do, that’s ok with most people.

MarkTheGreat on November 11, 2008 at 11:41 AM

However, the economic crisis has much more significant causes than the Dem interference in lending markets. Also, regardless of whoever was elected, fiscal restraint would been the wrong medicine at this time. If there is ever a time for a bit of Keynsianism, that time is now.

dedalus on November 11, 2008 at 10:22 AM

Keynsianism has never worked. Not once. Even a basic understanding of how the economy is enough to demonstrate why it can’t possibly work.

Unfortunately even a basic understanding of anything is beyond your average liberal.

MarkTheGreat on November 11, 2008 at 11:44 AM

If Republicans can recapture this issue they will own the next generation of voters.

rockmom on November 11, 2008 at 10:31 AM

Thanks to the utter irresponsibility of the current Republican leadership, it will be very hard for the Republicans to recapture this issue. Given the way they outspent even the Democrats when they were given the chance to control both branches of govt, why should anyone believe them when they claim that this time, they will be responsible?

MarkTheGreat on November 11, 2008 at 11:48 AM

Anyone see the deficit this year? The Democrats nearly tripled it from what the Republicans left them. Didn’t get alot of news.

Throw Obama in there to do away with what meager vetoes Bush was throwing and we’ll be looking back at the “fiscal conservatism” of the 2000-2006 GOP Congress with nostalgia.

Chuck Schick on November 11, 2008 at 12:08 PM

Why call this a “silver lining”? It’s more than just a demonstration of rank hypocrisy by the Democrats. It removes one of their favorite rationales for tax hikes. While Bush and the Republicans spent money between 2001-6 in a manner that would embarrass drunken sailors, Democrats claimed that the irresponsibility didn’t come from the spending, but from the failure to confiscate more money from taxpayers to fund it.

Ed, you naiive softie. The Dems will raise taxes without the “constraint” of Pay-Go; it was, as you later pointed out, just a bludgeon to keep down the spending of the less-liberal half of the bipartisan Party-In-Government.

steveegg on November 11, 2008 at 12:46 PM

This amounts to rape and pillage of the working class to bail out the spending class.

indyrowe on November 11, 2008 at 1:10 PM

Now that they won their second straight national election on the premise of fiscal responsibility…

I don’t recall anybody talking about fiscal responsibility. And judging from the outcome the voters didn’t care about fiscal responsibility either.

peterargus on November 11, 2008 at 1:15 PM

Keynsianism has never worked. Not once. Even a basic understanding of how the economy is enough to demonstrate why it can’t possibly work.

Unfortunately even a basic understanding of anything is beyond your average liberal.

MarkTheGreat on November 11, 2008 at 11:44 AM

WWII was a public works project with an enormous Keynesian government spend.

Currently, the world is going through a massive deleveraging. Moving up capital expenditures by governments can help keep employment numbers from rising too high and also keep revenues from dropping too far for U.S. corporations.

dedalus on November 11, 2008 at 1:22 PM

Look at it this way. For every billion in bailout spending the government is taking away about $3.33 for every legal man/woman.child in America. My family of four is being charged $13.32 per billion. That’s $9,324 for the Wall Street bailout, $1,132.20 for the first AIG bailout, $1,998 for the first stimulus package earlier this year and $865.80 for the additional AIG request. All told my family is out $13,320 since this summer.

Makes sense to me…

NOT!

cannonball on November 11, 2008 at 2:53 PM

You can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig.

257 pigs at the trough in the House, and Pelosi wears lipstick.

Steve Z on November 11, 2008 at 3:18 PM

Boston tea party? Oh, wait, these are not foreigners….

Sir Napsalot on November 11, 2008 at 11:35 AM

How about a Chicago tea party in Barry’s backyard pool?

Steve Z on November 11, 2008 at 3:20 PM

cannonball on November 11, 2008 at 2:53 PM

A question would be what is the net cost? We don’t know, of course but the collapse of Lehman had a much greater effect on the markets than Treasury thought, increasing borrowing costs and causing a money market to break the buck which then caused the Fed to step in and guarantee money funds.

The market decline has already caused more than a trillion dollars of potential tax revenue to disappear. Would the declines in the market have been steeper if AIG had collapsed? Almost certainly, but they were so interconnected through CDS instruments and derivatives that nobody really knew how big a crater would be formed by their failure.

One other consideration is that the U.S. received warrants or preferred shares in AIG and the big banks in exchange for the liquidity they pumped in. The value of the shares may go up or down but there is a market value that can be estimated.

dedalus on November 11, 2008 at 3:21 PM