Finally, the President actually does something fiscally that makes sense.
PAYGO, a simple stragety for bringing down the deficits in the budget, is being pushed by President Obama.
"The 'pay as you go' rule is very simple. Congress can only spend a dollar if it saves a dollar elsewhere," Obama said, as he announced that he was submitting to Congress a proposal to make PAYGO law.
This is part of the same system used in the 1990s to bring down the Federal Deficit, under President Clinton and the Republican Congress.
Obama repeated his vow to halve the deficit by the end of his first term, and he said PAYGO is an important step toward making that happen.
"Paying for what you spend is basic common sense. Perhaps that's why, here in Washington, it has been so elusive," the president said Tuesday.
It would be nice if the Feds could do what the average citizen's household must do: Not spend more than we make, and pay back what is borrowed.
But Republicans were quick to question the administration's sincerity.
Republican Whip Eric Cantor charged that the administration's focus on PAYGO "seems more driven by polling and PR strategy than a serious commitment to fiscal discipline."
"It seems a tad disingenuous for the President and Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi to talk about PAYGO rules after ramming trillions in spending through Congress proposing policies that create more debt in the first six months of this year than in the previous 220 years combined," Cantor, R-Virginia, said in a statement Tuesday.
Republicans point to the $787 billion stimulus package as evidence that Obama is not following
his own advice.
Cantor and the Republicans have a great point here.
However, a group of fiscally conservative Democratic representatives known as the Blue Dogs say Obama's proposal is responsible and necessary.
"President Obama inherited an economy in free fall and a $10.6 trillion national debt," said Rep. Jim Cooper of Tennessee, vice chairman of the Blue Dog Budget and Financial Services Task Force. "While short-term spending was necessary to get the economy moving again, our long-term fiscal problems became that much more urgent."
I know this seems very partisan. The Republicans against it no matter what Obama proposes, and the Dems supporting it. But I think it goes further than that. The Republicans, while it is true that they come off as whiny, have a great point. Obama, so far, has done the opposite of what he is proposing.
And the flip side, the Blue Dog Democrats, are supporting it. But I think it goes beyond blind support: they believe PAYGO is a good step, but even they doubt the President's promise to halve the deficit:
But when it comes to reducing the deficit, even the Senate Budget Committee's Democratic chairman doubts the president can deliver on his promise.
Asked if Obama could halve the deficit -- given the recent government spending --- Sen. Kent Conrad said, "I don't believe so. I don't believe anybody could."
So, to summarize, the President is finally doing something fiscally responsible. PAYGO is a great and much needed step. But it isn't enough. Let's see some more of THAT, please.
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