Today we have yet another example of Republicans and Democrats teaming up to protect a special interest at the public’s expense. A few hours ago the Senate voted 50-46 to kill an amendment from Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) that would have phased out subsidies and supports for the sugar industry.
Farmer-friendly members of Congress are such a target-rich environment for ridicule when it comes to poor agriculture policy that it would be a full-time job just blogging about their utterances. So I try to spare you, most of the time. (You’re welcome.) But occasionally a quote passes my desk that is so ridiculous that I just have to share.
The Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) has come out against bipartisan spending restraint. The BPC has issued a report highly critical of the sequestration spending cuts that were agreed to in the bipartisan Budget Control Act of 2011.
Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) introduced three amendments to the recently passed Energy & Water appropriations bill that would have eliminated a slew of business subsidies at the Department of Energy. Unfortunately, House Republicans once again teamed up with their Democratic colleagues to keep the corporate welfare spigot flowing.
The new issue of International Economy has an article by Canada’s Liberal finance minister from the 1990s, Paul Martin, who succeeded in shrinking that country’s federal government. If a new President Mitt Romney wants to cut spending in Washington, Martin has some tips for him, such as cutting spending broadly, forecasting conservatively, and aiming to eliminate the deficit in a fixed time frame and sticking to it. (I’d also advise President Obama to follow the Canadian example, but he’s issued four budgets so far and seems to be more interested in following the Greek fiscal approach).
I testified today to Paul Ryan’s House Budget Committee regarding corporate cronyism and the opposite policy of free-market entrepreneurialism. Also testifying was former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.
My colleague Chris Edwards testified before the House Budget Committee this morning on “Removing the Barriers to Free Enterprise and Economic Growth.” The first half of Chris’s testimony focused on the problems with corporate welfare spending, which costs taxpayers almost $100 billion annually and is the topic of my forthcoming study.
Policymakers have been kicking the fiscal policy can down the road for years. That can is going to reappear shortly after the November elections when policymakers will be forced to confront scheduled tax increases, mandated spending cuts, and – once again – the debt ceiling. (I’m assuming, quite confidently, that nothing gets resolved before the elections.) The combination of events is being called the “fiscal cliff” as the failure to resolve these issues would cause the economy to go back into recession in 2013 according to conventional economic forecasters.