Rudy Penner Is too Smart too Spend His Time Playing Budget Three-Card Monte
National Journal Death Spiral Watch

Why Deficit Hawks Shouldn't Vote for Republicans

"He talks a good game in private. He always talked a good game in private," said one of my lunch companions a few weeks ago. "But then [Senator Pete] Domenici would vote the Republican Party line on the budget every time. His deficit hawkishness is just to make me and people like me feel good."

EconomistMom explains why the only real deficit hawks left are in the Democratic Party. I don't know what to call these Republicans: Deficit doves? Deficit chickenhawks? Deficit chickens? According to this new policy paper on the Senate Republican Policy Committee’s website, the reason (or rather the latest reason) the Senate Republicans have refused to pay for tax cuts a la the PAYGO rules is not “just because,” and not because they don’t believe in fiscal responsibility, but because PAYGO isn’t fair to tax cuts. 

Apparently they buy into the line of argument made on the Tax Policy Center’s TaxVox blog by Rudy Penner.... There’s so much to point out that’s wrong in this piece that I don’t know where to begin.... [W]hat I really want to scream about is their last couple paragraphs in the executive summary, where they first chastise Democratic lawmakers for not complying with PAYGO “again and again” (gee, why was that?…) and then scold those same lawmakers for complying with PAYGO with increased taxes (aha, there’s the real problem…).

And then the last paragraph in the summary refers to lawmakers using PAYGO as just a “mask of fiscal responsibility.”  Mask?  That would mean a facade–something used to hide one’s true character, as if those members of Congress who have been insisting on PAYGO (such as the Blue Dogs) are actually engaged in some grand deception, fooling the American public into liking them for their popular(?) positions on raising taxes and restraining spending, when all they really want to do is increase the deficit.  Wow.  Really?

I like to think of PAYGO as a “fig leaf” rather than a “mask.”  It seems that it’s the only shred of anything to cover our vulnerable fiscal parts, the only little thing that’s keeping the fiscal situation from getting even more obscene.