The controversial budget deal reached by Representative Paul Ryan (R–WI) and Senator Patty Murray (D–WA) has been criticized by experts on both sides of the issue for delaying needed budget reforms.
Romina Boccia, Heritage’s Grover M. Hermann Fellow in Federal Budgetary Affairs, discussed the deal with Obama’s car czar Steven Rattner and president of the American Action Forum Douglas Holtz-Eakin on the PBS NewsHour.
Boccia argued that the budget deal increases deficit spending in the short term, and as a result, “our immediate fiscal situation becomes worse. The deficit goes up immediately for promises of future spending cuts.”
While Holtz-Eakin said that the deal is “far from ideal,” and Rattner conceded that “something needs to be done in the long run for the deficit,” both agreed that the budget deal was a positive step, helping to avoid a government shutdown and increasing spending in the near term for additional deficit reduction in the long term.
“The sequester, in and of itself, was a promise of a future spending cut that came about as a trade-off for a $2 trillion increase in the debt limit. So now we’re pushing those savings off even further into the future,” said Boccia in response.
Those savings will not be coming any time soon, noted Boccia, as “half of the deficit reduction included in this deal wouldn’t occur until after 2022.”
Boccia further argued that the budget does not address the root causes of Washington’s deficit spending: “There aren’t any real reforms that help address our debt. I think that Congress needs to go back to the drawing board and do that.”
Delays in making those necessary reforms will hurt Americans down the road. This is a major side effect if this budget deal passes: It gives Congress a pass on addressing spending and the debt with substantive budget reforms.
As Rattner said, “My biggest concern about this is that it is a two-year deal, which I think takes the pressure off of Congress for the next two years to do anything substantive. Other people may disagree with that. I hope I’m wrong, but that’s—that’s the way I perceive this.”
“[T]he changes that we will have to make eventually if we wait too long will just have to be much bigger and more painful for Americans,” concluded Boccia. “And that’s unnecessary pain.”
Watch the full clip on PBS.