Democrats and the ‘gimmick Olympics’
The framework agreement the White House and congressional Democrats are (for now) using as the basis for a slimmed-down spending proposal has taken center stage. It’s supposedly more restrained, more fiscally prudent. Who could possibly oppose such green eyeshade lawmaking?
Anyone who looks at the finer print. Brain Riedl has, and what he sees is a swarm of gimmicks that mask the true – and far larger – cost of the allegedly slim spending plan:
…welcome to the gimmick Olympics, where progressives are using classic accounting tricks to hide the true cost of the bill.
Instead of producing legislation that truly costs $2 trillion over the decade, lawmakers are crafting as much as $4 trillion worth of new initiatives, but simply using fake expiration dates to score only a few years of each proposal. The idea is to create new federal programs, hook the constituencies on new federal benefits, and then assume that future Congresses and presidents will not dare to allow them to expire. Those assumed extensions will then blow up the cost far above today’s $2 trillion sticker price.
How much beyond the $2 trillion figure?
Putting it all together, these fake expiration dates could set the stage for $2 trillion in policy renewals that are not included in the original cost of the reconciliation bill. So $2 trillion becomes $4 trillion, and then combines with the March stimulus law ($1.9 trillion), infrastructure bill ($550 billion), and 10-year cost of higher discretionary spending ($1 trillion) for a total of $7.5 trillion in legislation enacted in one year. And that is on top of a $12 trillion baseline deficit over the decade in this historic borrowing binge.
Just add it to the grand kids’ tab. They can’t vote to stop it now, and we won’t be around to hear them complain when the bills come due.