published Thursday, May 19th, 2011

Sen. Corker tackles red ink

With U.S. government spending having far transcended its constitutional boundaries for decades, Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., continues to push for a sensible solution.

Noting that the United States has reached its roughly $14.3 trillion borrowing limit, Corker lamented that Congress is being asked to raise the supposed “debt ceiling” for the 11th time in a decade.

“While some have suggested it will be catastrophic if Congress does not vote to increase the debt ceiling, I believe it will be more damaging if Congress allows this seminal moment to pass us by without finally getting our fiscal house in order,” he stated.

So Corker is reiterating his proposal to restrain spending. With bipartisan congressional backing, he is supporting the CAP Act, which he estimates would reduce spending by $7.6 trillion over the next 10 years.

The bill would restrict federal spending, discretionary and mandatory alike, by requiring that spending become a smaller and smaller percentage of the country’s gross domestic product (everything we produce in a year). The idea is to bring spending down from its current level, 24.7 percent of GDP, to its 40-year historical average of 20.6 percent.

If Congress refuses to meet the annual cap, the Office of Management and Budget would have to make evenly distributed cuts throughout the budget to reduce spending to the level stipulated. Corker’s proposal also would eliminate the “off-budget” treatment of Social Security — thus “providing a complete and accurate assessment of all federal spending.”

This plan isn’t painless or easy. No plan is easy when Congress has so grossly overspent that our debt is at a catastrophic level. But while many just deplore the problem, Corker proposes a solution. It should be adopted.

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Plato said...

The idea of capping expenditures as a percent of GNP has merit as hypothetically it forces congress to prioritize expenditures rather than just justifying them on their own and then using the credit card for payment. For instance they will have to decide between building schools and road in the US or building schools and roads in Afghanistan - then they will have to justify those votes to their constituents. It would be nice if some of these budgetary decisions could be put on public referendum.

AS a Democrat I often disagree with Senator Corker's votes but as far as economic and business matters go I think he has been a breath of fresh air.

May 19, 2011 at 11:51 p.m.
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