Pence: Why is Deficit Commission barred from recommending discretionary cuts?

There are two ways to reduce deficits: spend less or take more. Looks like the new bipartisan deficit commission will be limited to just one option, according to Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN), as he blasts the idea as “toothless” on the House floor today. Furthermore, the idea that Democrats want to get serious about fiscal responsibility after increasing spending 24% and demanding to lift the debt ceiling another $1,900,000,000,000 is nothing short of breathtaking:

Well, if you are concerned about runaway federal spending and a rising national debt, you won’t find a lot of comfort in today’s headlines. After passing a government takeover of health care costing over a trillion dollars and budget that will triple the national debt in the next ten years, Democrat leaders are now talking about actually bringing legislation that will raise our debt limit by $1.9 trillion. But we are told by the same Democratic leadership that they are going to get serious in 2010 about fiscal discipline. I guess along those lines, President Obama is expected to announce a bipartisan commission that will look for ways to reduce deficits in the future. Sounds like an appealing idea, but the devil’s always in the details in Washington, D.C.

The president’s commission, on close examination, actually looks like a guard dog with no bite. Looks like fiscal discipline but it could easily be ignored by Congress. Remarkably, the president’s proposal, as I have heard about it, is prohibited from recommending cuts in any discretionary spending. That will be about $1.4 trillion, and the ‘Bridge to Nowhere’ that’s completely off limits. And as many of us know, with the partisan bias and the structure of it, as reported, it’s likely this commission would just be an excuse to raise taxes.

The American people don’t want more government, more taxes and more political posturing about spending. They want this Congress to show the character and the strength to make the hard choices to put our fiscal house in order.”

As I wrote last month, the entire notion of a bipartisan commission on budgeting is ludicrous.  We already have one: it’s called Congress, and the citizens of the US send their representatives to Washington to make those decisions in the open, not in some smoke-filled backroom that allows Congress to escape accountability.

It’s expressly designed to hike taxes rather than cut spending, and the clarity of this is rather obvious if one thinks about it.  Would Congress suddenly become wildly unpopular if it cut 10% from the federal budget in an open process?  Would Congress become wildly popular if it raised taxes 10% in an open process?  The answer to both questions is a resounding no, which tells you why Democrats desperately want the fig leaf of a bipartisan commission to provide cover for the tax hikes they need to pay for their radical legislative agenda.

Pence has this exactly correct — and it’s no accident that one of the voices demanding this commission is Evan Bayh, the man Pence may well challenge in this year’s Senate race in Indiana.  Bayh’s attempt to look moderate is nothing more than a cover for a radical tax hike that will kill whatever weak economic recovery we can muster in 2010.