Tired of those messy debates about how to measure the growth on Pentagon spending?
Not to worry!
Should one use a straight percentage increase or decrease? Or should one adjust those numbers each year by factoring in inflation estimates (deflators, to use budget parlance, although I thought those were doohickeys to empty air out of a tire).
Should one say the Pentagon budget has increased, say by 4% (nominal), or by 1.8% (real) after adjusting for inflation (you know, the dollar does not buy this year what it used to).
House Republicans are determined to put an end to this pesky problem. The House is scheduled to take up this week H.R. 3578 , which they have given the title: “Baseline Reform Act of 2011.” (no, not ensuring that the Washington Nationals base paths are straight).
In the future, if Republicans have their way, we won’t have to worry about a “real” vs. an “actual” increase in Pentagon (or education or heath or highway construction) funding.
The bill would ban the Congressional Budget Office, the official congressional budget umpire, from using inflationary adjustments when figuring “baseline” or year to year spending estimates without considering new program increases or decreases.
In other words, if the Pentagon budget is $680 billion this year, the “baseline” estimate for next year would be $680 billion and $680 billion the following year – no need to adjust for inflation. Not need to worry about loss of buying power.
Don’t worry. I am sure this is a selfless act not motivated by politics or ideology, just good government.
Another bill House Republicans are offering would provide for so-called dynamic scoring : a way for Republicans to “prove” the future tax cuts spur economic growth and thereby decrease the deficit rather than increase it.
Simply put, a tax cut will more than pay for itself. Something George H.W. Bush once labeled voodoo economics “
So if the country has a budget problem or a deficit problem, it will be solved by new budget gimmicks.
Scouts honor. It will work.
Now if only the Senate would go along.