The budget deal announced Tuesday by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) would boost federal spending by around $65 billion over the next two years. This new spending is offset by increasing user fees, boosting pension contributions by federal employees and the military, and other minor changes. Ryan and Murray also say that the deal will reduce the deficit by $23 billion over the next 10 years. This reduction, however, doesn’t start until 2022.
According to a 4-page summary document of the deal obtained by Breitbart News, “[t]he budget proposal saves $28 billion over ten years by requiring the President to sequester the same percentage of mandatory budgetary resources in 2022 and 2023 as will be sequestered in 2021 under current law.”
The sequester is currently scheduled to run through 2021. The Ryan-Murray deal pushes it out two years and directs a future President to enforce the same level of cuts to mandatory programs, i.e. entitlements. This move, which has no chance of actually happening, accounts for half the spending cuts in the deal. According to a source on Capitol Hill, without these cuts, the ratio of spending cuts to increased revenue in the Ryan-Murray deal is 1:1.
Congress can’t bind a future Congress on spending decisions. Just a few weeks ago, federal discretionary spending next year was “mandated” to be $967 billion. The Ryan-Murray deal lifts that spending to just over $1 trillion. It is not likely that a Congress a decade from now will feel obligated to follow the terms of this deal.
The cuts scheduled for 2022 and 2023 exceed the total amount of deficit reduction promised by Ryan and Murray. The cuts a decade from now total $28 billion, while the total deficit reduction claimed in the deal is $23 billion. As a result, this deal contains no actual deficit reduction.
There are, perhaps, political reasons to accept this deal. There are reasons of national security, since many feel that, without greater flexibility, the current sequester cuts would devastate the military.
There are no sound fiscal or budgetary reasons to support this deal, however. It increases the deficit for the next two years. It takes billions more out of the economy. It uses the easiest spending cuts or reforms to finance additional spending, not reducing the deficit. Any reduction in the deficit is put off for 9 years.
For decades, Washington has passed budget that increased current spending and raised taxes with the promise of spending cuts in the “future.” It’s a process that held drive our nation towards a $17 trillion debt. The Ryan-Murray deal simply offers more of the same.