Thursday, January 04, 2007


As connoisseurs of science fiction understand, the last desperate attempt at fixing an intractable dilemma is to toss caution to the wind and reverse the polarity. So today the fiction of wise leadership flips over in Washington and the candidates for best new political buzzword of 2007 begin their quest for glory. Let me nominate this gem.

PAYGO: The PAYGO or pay-as-you-go rule compels new spending or tax changes to not add to the federal deficit. New proposals must either be "budget neutral" or offset with savings derived from existing funds.

How lovely and inoffensive is the tiny phrase – budget neutral. What sinister intentions would ever dare to be wrapped in such gentle blandishment? Isn’t neutrality the very definition of harmless? Only a heartless Republican could find danger lurking in so innocent a small phrase.

QandO: Democrat supported PAYGO rule "Timid" and "biased toward new taxes" Those are the conclusions which Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) reached after reviewing the new PAYGO rules the Democrats have been talking about as a part of their incoming Congressional agenda. … ” It is essentially a plan to raise taxes as it mostly ignores spending.”

The Wall Street Journal sounds the same concerns in a slightly less tactful way.

Opinion Journal: Most slippery is the attempt by Democrats to disguise so-called "pay as you go" budgeting, or paygo, as ethics reform. This is supposed to be a mechanism for reducing the deficit, but in practice it keeps the spending spigots open and makes tax cuts next to impossible. Under paygo, tax cuts must be offset by less spending, but existing entitlement programs that grow automatically every year are exempt from the rules. Under paygo rules, the Bush tax cuts that expire in 2010 have no chance of being extended--as Democrats well know.

Budget neutral means any spending requires new taxes because otherwise the arbitrarily assembled collection of wish lists known as the budget would suffer. No one wants suffering do they? My favorite take, however, is a foam-speckled rant of a misanthropic conservative Roman Catholic: leopardprintmuumuu. I’m not going to parse such eloquence.