Confirmed: Senate Democrats' Budget Accelerates Spending, Never Balances

Posted: Mar 14, 2013 9:15 AM

They say the best time to release damaging information is during a major news event.  Yesterday, the world welcomed a new Pope,  and Senate Democrats released their first budget in four years.  If you've been following our coverage for the last few days, the new blueprint contains few surprises.  It jacks up taxes by one trillion $1.5 trillion dollars* (see update), passes on crucial entitlement reforms, relies on gimmicks for most of its spending cuts, and -- as we reported yesterday -- it actually increases spending compared to the current unsustainable baseline.  According to the document's own tables, the Reid/Murray plan calls for a $162 billion spending jump from this year to the next, and spending continues to rise every year.  That second clause also applies to the Ryan budget, incidentally, which increases spending by an average of 3.4 percent per year -- significantly less than the 4.9 percent average hike under the current path.  Democrats' plans will exceed even that rate of increase.  They propose to spend at least $46.4 trillion in the next decade (compared to $41.5 trillion in the Ryan budget), roughly $645 billion higher than the already-elevated current path.  As expected, Democrats try to hide this reality by leaning on accounting tricks, such as "savings" conjured from a fraudulent Afghanistan war baseline.

Even with all the (real) tax hikes and (fake) "cuts," the Democrat budget never even approaches balance.  Based on their own numbers, the closest Democrats say they'll come to balancing the budget over the next ten years is in 2016, when they project an annual deficit of $407 billion.  By contrast, Ryan's budget crosses into surplus in 2023, and pushes annual deficits below the $100 billion threshold seven times in ten years.  Another point of reference: President Bush's average annual deficit was $250 billion (although it can be fairly argued that he deserves a share of 2009's monster shortfall), so Senate Democrats' best expected deficit is still more than $150 billion higher than Bush's average. Also, for the record, the last time a Republican Congress and a Republican president passed a budget (FY 2007), the deficit was $161 billion, even with two active wars at their peak.  Sen. Jeff Sessions, the ranking Republican on the budget committee, tees off:

Four years have passed since the last time Senate’s Democrat majority attempted to pass a budget. Four years of trillion-dollar deficits. Yet, to my amazement and deep disappointment, the majority has come forward today with a proposal that does nothing to change our unsustainable debt course. Next year alone, their budget increases spending $162 billion above what we are spending today. That is astonishing. They offer no plan—no proposal, no attempt—to reform taxes, grow the economy, reduce poverty, fix our entitlements, or that would create good-paying jobs and rising wages. We know from academic studies that our debt over 90 percent of GDP destroys jobs and wages—their proposal locks these dangerous debt levels in place. Republicans believe we must balance the budget in 10 years, but the majority proposal never balances—ever. 

...In the majority’s plan as it now exists, debt increases $7 trillion from today’s levels, despite a massive tax hike. Their proposal increases the federal budget from $3.6 trillion today to $5.7 trillion 10 years from now—an increase of 62 percent. This represents a net increase of $208 billion above the projected surging spending growth in our existing baseline. In other words: it’s a tax-and-spend budget. Democrats are saying to the American people: you are the problem. Washington doesn’t need to change. You need to send us more money. Their proposal goes to extraordinary lengths to shield the federal bureaucracy from any reform, even as millions of Americans are trapped in failed government programs. The Democrat budget enriches the bureaucracy at the expense of the people.

He's exactly right.  When you hear the term "tax and spend liberal," these are the sorts of actions and priorities that are being referenced.  It massively increases taxes, yet never approaches balance because it continues to spend more and more, faster and faster.  But as we learned yesterday from our normally balance-obsessed president, balanced budgets aren't really that important.  The debt beat goes on.  I'll leave you with Senate Budget Committee Chair Patty Murray offering a tendentious history lesson, in which she largely credits the Clinton tax hikes with the economic/tech boom of the 1990's:

She apparently believes that tax increase cause economic growth.  As I've written before, Democrats love talking about the Clinton tax rates.  After the fiscal cliff deal, they've got 'em, at least for "the rich."  But they never, ever talk about the Clinton spending rates.  In his final budget, Clinton called for $1.77 trillion in federal spending.  We've now had four straight trillion-dollar deficits, and next year the government will spend more than double what Clinton proposed in the year 2000.  If Senate Democrats have their way, we'll spend $5.7 trillion in 2023.   We have a spending problem.  Denialist Democrats disagree, and prattle on about "balance" without applying that basic standard to their own budgets.

UPDATE - Republicans on the Senate budget committee now contend that a deeper dive into the Reid/Murray budget reveals $1.5 trillion in tax increases, a half-trillion jolt above the number Democrats leaked to the press.