- Putin calls Internet ‘CIA project’ that must be controlled
- Muslims offended that 9/11 museum movie speaks of jihad
- Obama marks Armenian massacre, avoids using the word ‘genocide’
- Gov. Rick Perry: ‘It’s not a dare, it’s a promise’; Texas will fight BLM
- Howard Dean cheers Obama’s approach to Russian aggression
- Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s childhood nickname? ‘The Surprise’
- Democrat Grimes backs Keystone XL pipeline in Kentucky Senate race
- China spends for 17 new warships as U.S. cuts back military
- In Japan, Obama plays soccer with a robot and warns students of climate change
- FDA proposes ban on e-cigarette sales to minors
MILLER: Cutting Uncle Sam down to size
Budgetary reform is needed to end the culture of spending increases
Government has rigged the game so that it can always grow larger year after year. House conservatives are pushing legislation that would undo the built-in advantage that expansionists depend on when budget season rolls around. Washington can’t be allowed to cook the books any longer.
Rep. Louie Gohmert says this could be the year for change. “There is no family and no business in America whose budget automatically increases every year,” Mr. Gohmert told The Washington Times. “Washington thinks a ‘cut’ is a decrease in an expected increase but normal people think a ‘cut’ means spending less this year than you did last year.” He explained that legislation he has introduced would provide “a realistic system. If we cut, it’s a real cut. And if they want an increase to a program, by golly, they better come in and justify it.”
The Texas Republican’s Zero-Baseline Budget Act eliminates the automatic increase to discretionary spending that has been in place since 1974. Currently, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) assumes discretionary spending goes up every year by an amount based on inflation and other factors, generally from 2.9 percent to as high as 5 percent. When the White House and Congress submit their budgets, the baseline includes the baked-in increase from CBO. Zero baseline budgeting means that government programs would start at the same funding level they had the previous year.
In the House, Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, Wisconsin Republican, is on board and his committee will hold a vote before year’s end. Mr. Gohmert says Speaker John A. Boehner gave his word that the bill will have a floor vote once it gets voted out of committee.
Rep. Jim Jordan, chairman of the Republican Study Committee, is working to gather support. “The whole system is currently structured on a pro-spending bias,” he told The Washington Times. “We can’t tinker around the edges, we need fundamental, bold changes to be made in budgets in Washington.” The Ohio Republican said the public has “an anxiousness and weariness about the future of our country. We need to fix things very quickly.”
Mr. Jordan believes beyond this reform, a Balanced Budget Amendment is key to solving the debt crisis. “Louie has a great beginning, but ultimately we want what Gov. Chris Christie has done.” The New Jersey Republican chief executive introduced zero baseline budgeting to the Garden State this year, ending autopilot spending hikes. He went further by crafting a budget for fiscal 2012 from scratch, looking at the revenue available and then funding programs based on priorities. He told the Democratic legislature: “You fund what you need – this year – to succeed, not every relic from two decades ago that is still on the books.”
The American people spoke clearly last November. Inspired by the Tea Party, voters sent conservative Republicans to the Capitol with the mission of stopping the Obama administration’s runaway spending. With another election on the horizon, Republicans need to show they have done something to upset the status quo. That means adopting honest, common-sense budgetary reform that will make it harder for politicians to get away with spending more when the country has less.
Emily Miller is a senior editor for the Opinion pages at The Washington Times.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Emily Miller is senior editor of opinion for The Washington Times. She is the author of “Emily Gets Her Gun … But Obama Wants to Take Yours” (Regnery 2013). Miller won the 2012 Clark Mollenhoff Award for Investigative Reporting from the Institute on Political Journalism.
- MILLER: Mark Witaschek tax investigation follows D.C. conviction for muzzleloader bullet ammunition
- MILLER: Harry Reid's hypocrisy on 'Equal Pay Day': No women on top leadership staff
- MILLER: Maryland bathroom bill for transgenders is part of LGBT lobby for sex-change rights
- MILLER: Mark Witaschek surrenders to D.C. police 'Gun Offenders Registry'
- MILLER: Michelle Obama has media blackout in China while touting freedom of press
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
By Andrew P. Napolitano
Obama's veil of secrecy is pierced
Get Breaking Alerts
- Obamacare class-action suit opens a new legal front
- Obama avoids 'red line' for China, prepared to impose tougher sanctions on Russia
- 'Top Gun' for drones: Squadrons of carrier-based killers have Navy's approval
- Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy hailed as patriot, ripped as lawless deadbeat
- 'Conservatives' should feel exposed by Bundy's racist comments: Scarborough
- Texas is next! AG warns BLM wants 90,000 acres after Bundy ranch standoff
- Sold out: Ukraine's leadership swapped best military weapons for cash
- America is an oligarchy, not a democracy or republic, university study finds
- In its hunt for Senate, Republican candidates campaign against Harry Reid
- Opposition rising to Colorado gun control laws