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, and maybe didn’t read my post on this topic here on EconomistMom.com, nor BlueDog’s comment on TaxVox, nor Rudy’s follow-up post.
There’s so much to point out that’s wrong in this piece that I don’t know where to begin. Most of it should be clear if you reread my earlier post. But apart from the additional budget geeky things I could point out (like paying for things with cuts in discretionary spending does not “count” as PAYGO compliant–and for good reason), what 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.