Saturday, January 1, 2011

Paul Ryan is Merely the Nominal Czar of Spending

Republicans have decided to use the House rules to codify, once and for all, the fact that controlling the deficit is not very important; reducing spending levels is somewhat important; and shifting the tax burden from the present to the future under the guise of "cutting taxes" is really, really important. In addition, as a sort of threat to committee chairs and appropriations committees, in the event that no agreement on overall spending levels is reached, the chair of the House Budget Committee, Paul Ryan, is empowered to arbitrarily set them. But this is a bit of kabuki. Ignoring Ryan's spending targets is out of order on the House floor, but House Rules can be waived by a simple majority vote. As long as the White House and Senate Democrats recognize this for what it is—hot air—it shouldn't have much impact.

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