Poking Holes In Budgetary Lies

Posted by | February 14, 2012 20:33 | Filed under: Top Stories

by Stuart Shapiro

Last summer, I got into an argument with a cranky old man who told me that the Democrats hadn’t passed a budget in three years.  I didn’t even understand his argument; if there was no budget passed, how did the government function for the past three years?  Well I later learned that this was an often repeated meme on right wing radio.  And now as a new budget proposal has been issued, it’s coming back.  Brian Beutler explains the problems with this canard.

But here are two things Republicans don’t mention about this 1000 days teapot tempest: First, Budget resolutions don’t have the force of law, and they aren’t the legislative tool that mandates what the government can and can not spend. That’s what appropriations bills are for, and for the last 1000 days Democrats and Republicans have worked together, however acrimoniously, to devise spending plans for the government.. .

But the much more important fact Republicans have left out is that the Senate passed a budget on an overwhelmingly bipartisan basis last summer — one that unlike an annual “budget resolution” has the force of law behind it. The Budget Control Act — the law that resolved the debt limit fight — set binding appropriations caps for this fiscal year and the next and instituted a mechanism to contain spending on domestic discretionary programs — education, research, community health programs and the like — through the next decade.

Well the truth should never stand in the way of a good sound bite.  Now I just need to remember to avoid discussions with cranky old men.

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Copyright 2012 Liberaland
By: Stuart Shapiro

Stuart is a professor and the Director of the Public Policy
program at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers
University. He teaches economics and cost-benefit analysis and studies
regulation in the United States at both the federal and state levels.
Prior to coming to Rutgers, Stuart worked for five years at the Office
of Management and Budget in Washington under Presidents Clinton and
George W. Bush.

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