Bipartisan Senate Effort Predictably Kills Rand Paul’s Plan to Balance the Federal Budget

Eric Boehm:

“We teach our children that money doesn’t grow on trees, and then they grow up watching politicians pretend otherwise,” Paul said before the vote. “Meanwhile, our debt soars past $22 trillion, endangers our country, and artificially limits what our nation can achieve.”

Paul’s proposal called for cutting 2 percent from all federal line items for each of the next five years and would reduce federal spending by about $11 trillion over the next decade—even though spending would rise after the first five years. It’s an adaptation of the so-called “Penny Plan” that Paul has been pushing for several years, though he now says an additional penny in cuts for every federal dollar spent is necessary to get the budget to balance.

Indeed, the gap between what the federal government spends and what it takes in is growing wider. During the first seven months of the current fiscal year, which began in October 2018, the federal government ran a $531 billion deficit. That’s a 38 percent increase over the same period of time last year.

According to an analysis from the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, about 60 percent of this year’s expected deficit is the result of policies—mostly last year’s huge increase in spending that shattered those Obama-era budget caps—put in place by current legislators and signed by the current president.