“I simply asked for one thing in this broken process: a 15-minute vote on whether those caps should or should not be broken. The furor this request set off among leadership, the wailing and screeching among Big Government advocates in Congress and in the media — well, you would think I had asked them to shut down forever,” writes Senator Rand Paul in Time. He wanted them to act like spending matters, “Like the process matters.”
“The sad irony is that December’s Republican tax cut is supposed to save Americans $1.5 trillion over 10 years. But the new spending is essentially a $1.5 trillion tax hike imposed on people down the road,” writes my friend Chris Edwards, the director of tax policy studies at the Cato Institute. Chris continues:
The centrist group CFRB summarizes the irresponsibility:
No one who supports this bill can consider himself or herself a deficit hawk or fiscally responsible. … This bill not only reverses the sequester cuts without sufficient pay-fors, it also includes significant further increases in discretionary spending that reverse much of the pre-sequester caps. And to add insult to injury, it also proposes further spending meant to satisfy everyone’s Christmas list.
Politico notes, “The agreement increases defense spending this year by $80 billion and domestic spending by $63 billion beyond strict budget caps, according to a summary of the deal obtained by Politico. Next year defense spending will increase by $85 billion and domestic funding will be boosted by $68 billion beyond the caps.”
As during the George W. Bush years, the eagerness of Republicans to jack up defense spending has led them to cave in on nondefense spending:
“I’m not going to say every piece of it. But obviously we’re excited about the defense numbers,” said Marc Short, the White House legislative director. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders also told reporters the deal accomplished “our top priority,” with the defense boost.
So enjoy your tax cuts while you can because the pressure to repeal them will mount as rising spending pushes deficits over $1 trillion and ever higher levels after that.