StanCollender'sCapitalGainsandGames Washington, Wall Street and Everything in Between

The PAYGO Tea Leaves On A Stimulus Bill

16 Jan 2008
Posted by Stan Collender

It looks like House Banking Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-MA) and House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller (D-CA) are going to be the designated leaders for a stimulus bill in the House.  Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) may play the same role in the Senate.

Note who has not been designated: House Budget Committee Chairman John Spratt (D-SC) and Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND).

This should end all talk about whether there will be much discussion about the pay-as-you-go rules this year.


More of a general question, than a comment. What are the realistic chances of PayGo ever becoming operational in the Congress, even as an approximation to fiscal discipline? It seems the words are there in Congress. However, the analysis (which CBO has done or can do) to find out where the budget can be reduced to pay for a new initiative is not something the Congress wants to use. Just as a practical matter, looking at the DoD budget, this cannot be continuously wrapped around the rationale that all these extra billions for big cost, Cold War-like weapons and other military hardware -- to not fund them will be "against the troops." Have to recognize that politics in a democratic system is not perfect, but with the looming shortfall in Social Security and Medicare trust funds, it certainly would be nice if members of Congress would show some leadership beyond winning the next election. Perhaps, I am too much of an idealist, but fiscal crunch time is coming up fast for the U.S.

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