Federal Spending: Tipping Point

, Allie Winegar Duzett, Leave a comment

“We need to get a grip on our budget,” Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) argued at this week’s Heritage Foundation Bloggers’ Briefing.  The spending is “out of control,” Rep. Ryan declared, adding that “there is either A) no desire to get it under control, or B) no capacity to get it under control, or a combination of the two.”  Rep. Ryan has recently sponsored a bill that would address this problem.

“Our bill … creates a legally binding budget, [and] gives the budget the force of law,” he stated.  “The problem is spending.  That’s where enforcement should be placed.”  He explained that his bill focuses on “real,” “enforceable,” and “firm” caps on spending, both discretionary and mandatory.

Rep. Ryan addressed the issue of “pay-go,” a term referring to a plan that would make taxpayers literally pay as they go with regards to federal spending.  “Pay-go is really nothing more than income taxes,” Rep. Ryan said.  That is why a bill to curb spending “has to include real spending caps on everything.”

According to Rep. Ryan, his bill would “require Congress to address mounting fiscal burdens heaped upon future generations,” as well as the  “huge unfunded obligations that are looming.”  This bill also would deal with what Rep. Ryan called “gimmicks”: “We also want to get rid of a lot of the gimmicks,” he said.  “Not only the unconstitutional version of line-item veto,” he suggested, but also “earmark reform, and budget for emergencies” should go.  He went on to state that these gimmicks were only started “to get around budget caps, such as they’ve existed, and we’ve plugged those holes [in the new bill]… we get at their gimmicks.”

“I really fundamentally believe we are at a very, very unique moment in our nation’s history,” Rep. Ryan said.  “I think everyone here understands this… We are nearing a tipping point in America whereby more and more Americans, a majority of Americans, will become more and more dependent on the government for their livelihoods, for their well-being, than they will be upon themselves.  More and more Americans will be more concerned about their security and their dependencies than they will be about their freedoms and their liberties.”  He went on: “If you turn on these new entitlements, such as the health care bill we’re looking at here, it is going to get out of control.  It is nearing that tipping point.”

Unless we get a grip on spending, “this will be the end of our exceptional experiment with prosperity and free enterprise and limited government,” Rep. Ryan warned.

Allie Winegar Duzett is an intern at the American Journalism Center, a training program run by Accuracy in Media and Accuracy in Academia.