Perhaps no form of out-of-control government spending is more exasperating than the money the federal government pretends it doesn’t spend. Since 2005, accounting tricks and budget gimmicks have enabled more than $350 billion in additional deficit spending. That’s why, about a month ago, Sen. Jeff Sessions and Sen. Olympia Snowe introduced the Honest Budget Act to eliminate the nine most common deceptive budgeting practices Washington routinely employs. You might remember me writing about it.
It’s a sound piece of legislation — one that would restore somewhat the American people’s confidence in their legislators, one that would actually save money. Little by little, it’s acquired significant support in the Senate: The number of co-sponsors is up to 11, with Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) signing on today. But, now, GOP senators have another reason to support the bill: It’s extremely popular with voters.
Last night on “Your World with Cavuto,” Republican pollster Frank Luntz described it as “legislative perfection” and reported that the bill polled better than anything he’s tested all year. The Cavuto clip is illuminating, as the scenes from Luntz’ focus group reveal just how committed voters are to the concept of honesty in budgeting — even when they despair of its possibility. They want legislators to at least try to restore integrity to the budgeting process.
This is a no-brainer: Does any politician actually want to stand up and defend dishonest accounting?