‘Tis the season for sales. But beware of this enticing line: “The more you buy, the more you save!”
Because, when the bill comes, the truth is: The more you buy, the more you spend.
Some Members of Congress are using this logic in their latest budget proposal. They’re promising savings—but they’re actually just spending more (of your money).
Yesterday, Representative Raúl Labrador (R-ID) expressed strong opposition to the budget plan, explaining, “We are making promises of future spending decreases again, for actual spending increases today.”
Promises of future spending cuts. That should sound familiar. As Heritage visiting fellow Patrick Louis Knudsen has explained, this is one of several tricks Congress uses to make its proposals sound appealing in the short term. He calls it “Spend Now, Save Later.”
“This time-honored practice does just what the name implies: It spends money up front with the promise of cutting spending and reducing deficits later.”
Sure enough, the latest budget plan promises it will reduce the deficit—later. But not without raising the deficit first!
The Ryan-Murray budget plan would increase the deficit by $45 billion over the next three years. But later on—maybe in about nine years?—it will start reducing…the deficit it just increased.
It spends long before it saves. The more you buy, the more you spend. Spending is the now—and the later may never come.
Speaking of faulty promises, you may have heard that the proposal includes increasing TSA “user fees” for travelers. Even this characterization is a bait-and-switch: The fee increase would not have anything to do with making your air travel safer or smoother. Instead, it would pump new money into the Treasury’s general fund for more government spending.
Congress will not make any progress toward balancing the budget—and avoiding future debt ceiling and government shutdown fights—until it gets serious about hitting the brakes on spending your hard-earned money. The more they spend, the more we pay.
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