Deficit Commission chair to kids: You need to focus more on debt and less on Snoopy Snoopy Poop Dogg

Words to live by, my friends, uttered here at 2:00 by a man I think of as part fiscal prophet, part Sheen-esque verbal shaman, and part “Walter, the grumpy old puppet.” My own preference has always been for Poop Dogg but there’s no denying the enema man’s talent. He’s got excellent, er, “flow.”

The clip’s long but worth watching in full, not merely because Simpson is cantankerously entertaining but because, as both a Democrat and a fierce deficit hawk, Erskine Bowles is a mythical creature come to life. Watch him lay into the insanity of our current budget “debate” at the very beginning. A new poll from The Hill shows that 95 percent of likely voters consider the national debt a somewhat or very important problem, a heartening sign that the public really has woken up to the gravity of the situation. Now all we need are solutions. A new idea to curb annual spending from Democrat Mark Udall and a tea-party-wooing Orrin Hatch:

In a major development on spending cuts, Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah and Democratic Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado are introducing a proposal for a new congressional committee focused only on eliminating duplicative and wasteful government spending…

The committee itself would consist of six Republicans and six Democrats. At least once a year, the committee would introduce legislation to reduce or eliminate duplicative or wasteful programs that would receive an up-or-down vote under the “reconciliation” rules that prevent a filibuster…

The Hatch-Udall team backing the bill also changes the landscape for a proposal once thought to only have a chance at passing the House. Now that the bill is “live” in the Senate, it could give momentum to the companion measure introduced in the House by freshman Republican Rep. Jeff Duncan of South Carolina.

I like it. Trimming the fat from redundant spending won’t balance the budget, but it should be hugely popular politically. And the more popular it is, the more leeway the committee might have to expand its jurisdiction beyond duplicative spending to look at discretionary (and nondiscretionary?) spending generally. It’s important to institutionalize the ethos of budget cuts, I think. A one-time deal, even on entitlement reform, can halt the inertia towards government bloat but unless there are institutional checks on it, it’ll eventually start grinding again. It pains me to say that more bureaucracy is better, but if it’s bureaucracy aimed at targeting the rest of the bureaucracy, at least it serves some virtuous end.

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David Strom 5:21 PM on December 09, 2022