My Two New Favorite Budget Words

Mon, 21 Mar 2011 12:01:41 +0000

Here are two headlines and excerpts to make a budget wonk smile, both from The Wall Street Journal:

Promise on Taxes Sparks GOP Rift

Two decades after President George H.W. Bush abandoned his "read my lips" promise, some Republicans are chafing at their party's stand against new taxes.

A few prominent GOP lawmakers believe they will have to raise some tax revenue if they are to bring Democrats along on a bipartisan compromise to address the U.S.'s long-term fiscal problems. Many Democrats want higher taxes to cover at least part of future budget gaps. That has led to clashes between Republican lawmakers and a Washington advocacy group, Americans for Tax Reform, the self-appointed keeper of the party's anti-tax flame.

Democrats Split on Social Security

Democrats have broken ranks over a move to consider Social Security changes—including possibly raising the retirement age—to ensure its long-term fiscal health in combination with an effort to reach a deficit-reduction package.

The idea of putting Social Security into play has triggered a firestorm of opposition from several corners of the Democratic party. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.), two of the Senate's most powerful lawmakers, have said revisions to Social Security shouldn't be attached to a deficit-reduction plan. They argue the program's benefits are covered by giant trust funds that have no impact on the deficit.

Rift and split -- very nice.  (And clashes and firestorm, too.)  Does any sensible person really think we will (or can) achieve deficit reduction without new revenues?  Ditto for leaving entitlement programs with the same generosity of benefits that they currently entail?  Of course not.  It is about time that political parties and their dubious contributions to crafting better public policy took a back seat to the need to address our budget problems like adults.