Warner Todd Huston
Fiscal responsibility lasted two weeks in Senate
By Warner Todd Huston
February 25, 2010

Two weeks ago the U.S. Senate passed new rules that would require new spending to be offset somewhere else in the budget, the so-called paygo rule. They did this because Democrats and Obama got tired of being called big spending socialists and wanted the veneer of fiscal responsibility with which to cloak themselves. It lasted two weeks before the Senate broke its own new Obama-sponsored rule and went headlong for just another big spending program with its supposed jobs bill.

On February 13 President Obama celebrated the paygo rule as a "common sense" rule that would "rein in spending." Obama then said that the new rule would assure that Congress would be forced to "pay for what it spends, just like everybody else."

It all sounds so grand. But it wasn't to last. Maybe that's why the Senate couldn't abide by the rule, it was too much "common sense" for them to put up with?

Two weeks ago the Senate Republicans stood against the President's "common sense" saying that the paygo rule didn't do a thing to dampen spending but only gave Congress the dispensation to raise more taxes in order to fund the spending levels desired. All 40 Republican Senators voted against the paygo rule two weeks ago, tough this week six voted to suspend the paygo rule for the jobs bill, newly seated Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts being one of them.

Regardless, Republicans were flabbergasted that the Senate could pass what was touted as a fiscally responsible rule one week and the next break that very rule.

    "I'm just not sure how you vote for this bill when it violates that rule, which you just voted for two weeks ago," said Sen. Judd Gregg, New Hampshire Republican. "It just seems to be a bit of inconsistency that's hard even for a political institution to justify."

The jobs bill is but more fuel for Obama's big government juggernaut by funding state projects while doing much of nothing for private sector jobs. But what ever the jobs bill is or isn't on its own merits the fact is after only two weeks of celebration about those "common sense" paygo rules the whole idea was thrown right out the window at the first opportunity.

What this episode shows is that there is no shame at all even in this wondrous age of Obama's "fiscal responsibility" and "common sense." No Congress can be trusted to observe even its own grand ideas of fiscal responsibility.

And will President Obama scold this spendthrift Congress for breaking a rule that hadn't even aged a month yet? One would not expect so.

Perhaps this is why Congress has a disapproval rating of between 65 and 80 percent at this point in time?

© Warner Todd Huston


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Warner Todd Huston

Warner Todd Huston's thoughtful commentary, sometimes irreverent often historically based, is featured on many websites... (more)

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