Tuesday, March 12, 2013

So Far the Sequester Looks Better ...

... than either of the "mainstream"  alternative proposals.

US Representative Paul Ryan's Republican proposal supposedly balances the federal budget -- over ten years. But it does so by keeping the taxes associated with "ObamaCare" while not delivering the programs associated with "ObamaCare." That's right -- you have to pay for socialized health care and then you don't even get the socialized health care. Oh, and Ryan insists that the federal government must continue to spend 4-5 times the maximum imaginably plausible amount on "defense."

US Senator Patty Murray's Democratic proposal is, if anything, even less convincing. It doesn't even pretend to balance the federal budget over any amount of time, and frankly it's mostly just vivid imagination -- it counts the prospective end of the Afghanistan war and hypothetical reductions in debt interest payments as "spending cuts" on one end, and predicts nearly a trillion dollars in increased tax revenues from "closing loopholes."

A serious 2014 budget proposal would be balanced, on the basis of 2013 revenues and tax rates. Period.

A serious longer-term budget plan would include:

1) Balancing the budget each year on the basis of the previous year's actual revenues;

2) Automatic appropriation of any end-year surplus for additional debt service;

3) An assumption, until and unless evidence to the contrary arises, that the US is smack on top of/in the middle of the Laffer Curve -- and that any proposed tax increases or decreases will therefore require corresponding spending cuts.

Anything short of the above is just  middle school horseplay.
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