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An Incontrovertible Truth About Budget Deficits

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U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison
December 7, 2011 | 1,786 views | 1 comment

Winston Churchill once said, “The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.” Here’s the incontrovertible truth about budget deficits: spending is (still) out of control.

The national debt is now more than $15 trillion. The budget deficit for this fiscal year alone will be more than $1 trillion. This mountain of debt is a growing obstacle to economic recovery and is literally crushing our children’s futures. But for many in Washington, it’s still business as usual.

The same budget gimmicks and accounting tricks are being used to frustrate earnest attempts to rein in spending. We cannot restore financial responsibility to Washington until we put an end to dishonest budgeting. That is why I have joined 20 Senators as a cosponsor of the Honest Budget Act, which will outlaw no fewer than nine commonly used tricks to hide unnecessary spending.

Here are a couple examples of the badly needed reforms that our Honest Budget Act would make:

•Take down the Christmas tree. This isn’t to spoil the holiday season, but to halt adding tens of billions of dollars in pet spending projects to emergency spending bills. Congress sometimes needs to make special appropriations to cover the costs of unanticipated military operations or natural disaster assistance. These bills should be limited to true emergencies only.

•Outlaw the budgetary shell games. Like the sleight of hand practiced with three walnut shells and one pea, one of the budget games played most often is shifting funds -- from one year to another, from one account to another to frustrate accurate counting. What it all adds up to is more deficit spending.

In total, these and other such gimmicks included in HBA have resulted in $350 billion in unnecessary spending since 2005 -- all of it added to the national debt on which we -- and our children -- will be paying interest for decades to come. The nine common sense reforms in our bill would require accurate accounting and put an end to the budgetary game-playing, and prevent additional hundreds of billions of dollars of unnecessary and unauthorized spending.

Leaders in Washington remain divided over starkly different visions about the proper role of government in a free society and about the best approach for re-energizing our economy. This ongoing debate about the size, scope, and proper role of the federal government may not be resolved until the national elections in 2012. But the Honest Budget Act advances principles that Republicans, Democrats, and Independents can agree on: accountability, honesty, and transparency in spending taxpayers’ money.

These common sense reforms are long overdue. Congress should enact the Honest Budget Act.

Kay Bailey Hutchison is the senior U.S. Senator from Texas.
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Your Opinions and Comments

Rock'n chair Rambler  
Over Taxed, TX  
December 9, 2011 11:51am
"Congress should enact the Honest Budget Act." Congress should do a lot of things, but, it won't. It won't because it can't. The system that perpetuates the insanity will not allow it. "the Honest Budget ... More ›

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