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A Lousy Budget Deal

A budget deal has been reached in Washington to avert a government shutdown and keep the government running. Unfortunately for the American people, the budget fails to do anything about our long-term spending problems and actually increases spending in the short-term.

The negotiations have been led by Republican House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan and Democratic Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray. While there is a lot to be said for working to find common ground, unfortunately this issue of our financial future is too important to make merely minor changes.

Here are some of the details of this budget deal:

- It restores some of the cuts made by sequestration. Under sequestration we were supposed to spend $967 billion in Fiscal Year 2014 and $995 billion in 2015. Instead, discretionary spending will rise to $1.012 trillion and then to $1.014 trillion in 2015.

- Discretionary spending therefore increases by $63 billion under this deal – $45 billion for 2014 and $18 billion for 2015.

- It imposes “user fees” (a fancy way to say “taxes”) on things like airport security. Though technically the deal does not increase any taxes.

- It does not address expiring unemployment benefits.

- It supposedly will cut $85 billion in mandatory spending by making changes like not sending entitlement checks to dead people, according to Jamie Dupree. He has the text of the bill, if you would like to read it for yourself.

Needless to say, the deal has generated reaction from many in Washington:

Republican Rep. Paul Ryan:"This isn't the greatest agreement of all time. We have a long ways to go to get this deficit under control. This is a step in the right direction.”

Republican Senator Marco Rubio: “We need a government with less debt and an economy with more good paying jobs, and this budget fails to accomplish both goals, making it harder for more Americans to achieve the American Dream. Instead, this budget continues Washington’s irresponsible budgeting decisions by spending more money than the government takes in and placing additional financial burdens on everyday Americans.”

Republican Senator Rand Paul: He called the deal, “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.” He says, “I think it’s a huge mistake to trade sequester cuts now, for the promise of cuts later. The small sequester spending cuts were not nearly enough to address our deficit problem. Undoing tens of billions of this modest spending restraint is shameful and must be opposed. I cannot support a budget that raises taxes and never balances, nor can I support a deal that does nothing to reduce our nation’s $17.3 trillion debt.”

Republican Senator Tom Coburn: According to the AP, “Republican Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma says the accord announced by GOP Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington state likely was the best that could be achieved, but says he can't support it.”

Speaker John Boehner: “While modest in scale, this agreement represents a positive step forward by replacing one-time spending cuts with permanent reforms to mandatory spending programs that will produce real, lasting savings.”

President Obama: “Earlier this year, I called on Congress to work together on a balanced approach to a budget that grows our economy faster and creates more jobs – not through aimless, reckless spending cuts that harm our economy now, but by making sure we can afford to invest in the things that have always grown our economy and strengthened our middle class. Today’s bipartisan budget agreement is a good first step … This agreement doesn’t include everything I’d like — and I know many Republicans feel the same way. That’s the nature of compromise,” he said. “But it’s a good sign that Democrats and Republicans in Congress were able to come together and break the cycle of shortsighted, crisis-driven decision making to get this done.”

Heritage Action for America: “Unfortunately, the budget agreement struck by Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Patty Murray is a step backward.”

What's blatantly clear is that Washington has a spending problem. This is something that we absolutely have to get under control. So what is the current solution? To increase spending! It's absurd.

There are common sense solutions, such as the Mack Penny Plan, that would start the process of getting our country back on track. It's a simple, achievable plan that requires government to cut one penny from every dollar it spends. If you do this, along with capping spending at a historically reasonable 18% of GDP, we could balance the budget within a decade.

When it comes to our fiscal troubles, we are looking at having to climb Mount Everest. What we are looking at with this current budget deal is about the size of an ant hill. Right now Americans are apprehensive about “comprehensive,” big deals in Washington. I understand their hesitation, but giving up on conservative principles, even on the little stuff, won't help when we are forced to make those big decisions.