WSJ: GOP Should Stand Firm on Budget Caps, Sequester

Image: WSJ: GOP Should Stand Firm on Budget Caps, Sequester

Monday, 14 Oct 2013 12:21 PM

By Dan Weil

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Republicans should avoid giving in to Democratic demands to jettison the spending caps and the sequester that are now in place, according to a Wall Street Journal editorial.

"The way the budget showdown is going, Democrats may soon require the Republicans to pay ransom before they'll allow the GOP to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling," Journal editors write.

"That's how badly the party's Ted Cruz faction has messed up the politics of all this. But we sure hope part of that price won't be to abandon the budget caps that are the only restraint on President Obama's spending plans."

Urgent: Do You Support Sen. Ted Cruz's Efforts to Defund Obamacare? Vote Here.

Democrats are opposed to that restraint because it cuts spending for their favorite domestic programs, the editorial says. Government spending is on track to decline two years in a row for the first time since the end of the Korean War.

"Meanwhile, the Congressional Research Service has released a new report that shows the sequester caps are providing better fiscal discipline than any budget deal has since 1980," the editorial says.

"Adjusting for inflation, the report finds that the Budget Control Act's estimated deficit reduction over five years will be second only to the 1990 George H.W. Bush-George Mitchell deal."

And unlike in 1990, deficit reduction this time around doesn't include tax increases. "This means the current sequester isn't hurting economic growth by reducing incentives to save and invest," the editorial says.

The public certainly doesn't object to the sequester, the editorial says. A United Technologies-National Journal poll released last week shows that 74 percent of Americans haven't seen any impact of the cuts in their community.

"The harm that President Obama predicted in January, and that Democrats keep claiming, simply hasn't appeared," the editorial says. "This polling on the sequester is a lot better for Republicans than the blame they're getting for the shutdown."

Ideally Congress should pass individual spending bills rather than relying on the automatic spending cuts, the editorial says. Defense spending reductions must be limited, for example.

"But the sequester is the only leverage that Republicans have in any negotiation with President Obama once the debt ceiling is inevitably raised and the partial shutdown ends," Journal editors write.

"If Republicans abandon the sequester now as the price of reopening the government, they will be back at the same old stand of Mr. Obama insisting on another tax increase in return for any entitlement reform. It would turn a political retreat into a policy rout."

Urgent: Do You Support Sen. Ted Cruz's Efforts to Defund Obamacare? Vote Here.

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