Maryville Daily Times Editorial: We should be proud Tennessean leading call to cap budget

Feb 6, 2011

Whether a non-voter, Independent, Tea Party member, Democrat or Republican, we as Tennesseans should be pleased with the year long campaign by U.S. Senator Bob Corker. 

He has made the best effort so far to place a cap on runaway national spending. Someone is finally seriously listening to what Americans have been saying for far too long. 

His proposed CAP Act introduced in the Senate this past week is the first major piece of legislation introduced in the 112th Congress that attempts to address how much the federal government will spend in the long term. 

It came in light of a recent Congressional Budget Office report that the 2011 fiscal year budget deficit would be $1.5 trillion. We are approaching our current debt limit of $14.29 trillion.

The bill would cap all spending, both discretionary and mandatory, as a percentage of the gross domestic product, the total output of the U.S. economy. That percentage would be lowered over a 10-year period until it reached 20.6 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP), the market value of all final goods and services produced within our country in a year. The 20.6 percent of GDP is the average over the past 40 years.

By including Social Security and Medicare under the cap, Corker noted it was the first time in the entitlement era that we have tried to put everything on the table in a global, comprehensive way.

The Tennessee senator has presented his proposal at more than 40 occasions across the state during the past year. Corker said his bill “has no ideological base” and that “both parties have contributed to the situation we are in.” 

If Congress failed to come up with a budget that stayed within the spending caps, the White House’s Office of Management and Budget would be authorized to make evenly distributed spending cuts across government agencies and programs.

“The bill puts a straightjacket on Congress,” Corker said.

What he didn’t mention, which likely would be a side effect, is it would reduce the number of lobbyists in Washington. They now outnumber the members of Congress. If there were less water (money) in the well which might be available for them to tap for their clients, their number would likely dwindle until they figured out a different approach to tapping taxpayers’ funds.

 

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