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Congress battles over budgets

Lawmakers in Washington are eager to get out of town for their Easter vacation, but not before tackling budget issues.

Today the Senate will be working on extending funding for our government to get us through the rest of the fiscal year (September 30th). I've already pointed out some of the more egregious spending included in the continuing resolution, including money to build robot squirrels and to promote caviar.

Once the Senate finishes work on the continuing resolution, they are expected to then move on to the budget. It's been 1421 since the Senate passed a budget resolution, but I guess you could say better late than never? The Senate Democrat budget proposal, proposed by Democrat Patty Murray, has caught a lot of flack from Republicans. Rightly so.

- The Democrats label the plan “balanced,” when it never, ever actually balances the budget.

- The budget also claims to reduce the deficit over 10 years by $1.85 trillion, but this is only accomplished using budget trickery and Washington calculators.

- In the end, the Senate Democrat budget proposal will add another $7.3 trillion to our national debt over the coming decade, an increase of $50,000 owed by every household in America.

- It also relies on increasing taxes by over $1 trillion. Today in the Wall Street Journal, there is an excellent piece explaining how our progressive tax code is only leading to higher deficits. The Senate Democrats with this budget only want to amplify this by increasing taxes on the rich. Michael Solon in the WSJ explains:

“By consistently pushing for higher tax rates on top earners, and tax credits and lower rates for lower- and middle-income earners, Democratic tax policies have unintentionally left the government dependent on the prosperity of upper-income taxpayers. Since the current recovery is so dismal, revenues have tanked.”

On the other side of the Capitol, Republicans in the House are debating the various budget plans, including another conservative plan that balances the budget in just four years. All of these are unlikely to pass in lieu of the Ryan budget plan, which pleases many Democrat strategists. While the Ryan budget plan still increases spending, it simply slows the rate of growth, it doesn't increase taxes and it reform entitlements. By doing all of these things, we get to a balanced budget in 10 years. A few days ago in the Wall Street Journal there was a column explaining how the House budget would boost the economy. Here's what these economics professors from Stanford (not exactly a conservative institution) say the economic impact of the Ryan budget would be:

“According to our research, the spending restraint and balanced-budget parts of the House Budget Committee plan would boost the economy immediately. With the Budget Committee's proposed tax reform included, the immediate impact would be even larger. The entire plan would raise gross domestic product by one percentage point in 2014, equivalent to about a $1,500 increase for each U.S. household. Ten years from now, at the end of the official budget horizon, we estimate that the entire plan would raise GDP by three percentage points, or more than $4,000 for each U.S. household.”

This should be thrilling news to lawmakers in Washington who claim they are trying to get our economy moving and Americans back to work. But instead, the Democrat Congressional Campaign Committee is pouncing on the Ryan budget, essentially labeling it political suicide for anyone who chooses to support it. In a video released yesterday it states, “In 2012, Democrats knocked out 16 incumbent House Republicans who voted for the Ryan budget. Get ready for more in 2014.” Then, of course, there is the obvious demagoguing from Democratic lawmakers, claiming that the budget would hurt the poor, the elderly, the disabled, minorities, etc. These are the same-old tired complaints that we've heard from Democrats on any plan that attempts to reform entitlements.

Meanwhile, where is the president's leadership in all these budget talks? Well, he was too busy filling out his NCAA tournament brackets to have time to work on his budget. He's delayed submitting his budget until two months after the deadline, April 8th.