During the 2012 Presidential Campaign, Paul Ryan seemed to be a bright light at the end of the black fiscal tunnel. I rejoiced in his in-your-face attitude regarding unbridled government spending due to the lack of a balanced budget. However, since the campaign, I’ve studied the government’s budgeting process and am now concerned that Representative Ryan may not be as righteous as I first believed him to be.
My studies revealed that in 1974, the US Congress enacted the Congressional Budget Act of 1974. Following the implementation of the Act, federal budget deficits and the national debt began to rapidly increase. I researched the Act and analyzed the subsequent historical budgets, deficits, and increases in debt – and I discovered an unbelievable fact. The Congressional Budget Act of 1974 established a federal budget process designed to automatically increase spending without any consideration of the available revenue (income).
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For clarification, I discovered that the federal budget process as established by The Congressional Budget Act of 1974 is based on setting this year’s federal spending level equal to what was actually spent last year after adding suitable increases for inflation and population growth. Therefore, because revenue has no part in the budgeting process, the spending will always be higher than last year (even if the budget is balanced). So it appears that the expectation that balancing the federal budget will eliminate the deficit and stop the rise in national debt is false – and that Representative Ryan’s current “balanced budget” proposal may in truth be a diversion from the real objective – a zero deficit.
Therefore, I challenge Representative Ryan to clarify his budget. Does it balance against revenue (in other words, does it immediately stop government growth and money borrowing/printing?) If the answer is no, Representative Ryan’s balanced budget is a fiscal red herring that the conservative base will view as an act of fiscal infidelity.
Photo credit: Gage Skidmore (Creative Commons)
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