Wall Street Journal Editorial - Stephen Moore
A day after beating incumbent Arlen Specter in a Pennsylvania Democratic Senate primary contest, Rep. Joe Sestak announced that he would make "enforcement of the pay-as-you-go budget rules" a priority if he wins in November. Good luck to him.
Pay-as-you-go, or paygo, rules require that new entitlement spending and new tax cuts must be paid for dollar-for-dollar with entitlement spending cuts or tax increases. As Paul Ryan, the ranking Republican member of the House Budget Committee has noted, the Democrats under Speaker Nancy Pelosi "have violated pay-as-you-go rules by nearly $1 trillion" over the past three years.
And they're not done. In the coming weeks, say Congressional Republicans, we should expect some $300 billion of expenditures that Democrats will declare "emergency spending" and thus do not have to be offset by other spending cuts. The list includes $60 billion for a military supplemental spending bill; $23 billion for education; and $170 billion for jobless and other welfare benefits. All said, the deficit could climb to $1.7 trillion from the current record high $1.4 trillion. "I really can't think of the last time the Democrats paid for anything they want to spend money on," Mr. Ryan grumbles.
The reality is that paygo is designed to stop tax cuts rather than check spending, which is why Democrats will soon return to singing its praises. Before the end of the year, look for Republicans to push for a continuation of the Bush tax cuts. And look for Democrats to insist they must be paid for.