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We Must End Baseline Budgeting


RUSH: Steve in Omaha. Great to have you, sir, on the EIB Network. Thank you for waiting.

CALLER: Yes, Rush. Tea Party and freedom lovin' dittos from the Heartland.

RUSH: Thank you very much, sir.

CALLER: It's an honor to speak with you.

RUSH: I appreciate that.

CALLER: Hey, you said something earlier in the show, Rush, that really gave me an idea. You said, "Whoever controls the language controls the argument," and that is so true. That brings up something you talked about a couple three, four weeks ago. You were talking about baseline budgeting and how they have a three, four, five percent increase cooked into the budget so the CBO has to score it. If they got a 4% increase cooked in the budget then the CBO has to "cut" 1% -- if they have it increase by 3% -- they gotta score that as a 1% cut.

RUSH: That's right.

CALLER: My proposal is: Hey, if the Republicans get control, which they probably will, one of the first things they gotta do is change this baseline budgeting thing so a 1%
increase is a 1% increase --

RUSH: Boy, that would be --

CALLER: -- over last year's baseline. If we increase it that's an increase --

RUSH: (trying to talk)

CALLER: -- if we go lower that's an increase and then we got real honesty about a budget.

RUSH: Yeah. Are you on a cell phone?

CALLER: Yeah, I am. Is that a problem?

RUSH: Yeah, I thought so. That would be wonderful if that would happen. I put this in the category similar to, "Gosh, wouldn't it be great if we could just have a flat tax." It sounds wonderful, and always gonna be some Republicans who are for it. But at the end of the day they're never gonna write themselves out of that much power. Do you realize the power that members of Congress hold with the tax code? It is the greatest single power for social architecture that exists in Washington today, the tax code; and to simply write that off, say, "Okay, guess what? A 15%, 20% flat tax, whatever, FairTax, whatever you want to call it be with great idea."

It makes total, perfect sense. But people who think that their job requirement number one is spending money are somehow going to limit their ability to do so? It is achievable I think on the baseline budgeting side. We have to get to the point where a cut is actually a cut. Remember this statistic: Because of baseline budgeting: The Republicans could propose, as a fix, a budget freeze. Just not spend anything additional for two years. Go ahead and factor in inflation, and you increase the budget by the inflation rate every year, but no more, not a dime more.

If they did that, because of the baseline, the CBO would score that as a $9 trillion "cut" over ten years. You say, "Whoa, whoa, whoa! Wait a minute! Nothing's been cut." That's right. But the baseline suggests the budget's gonna grow by $9 trillion over ten years or whatever it is. It's built in. And if the money isn't spent, it gets scored as a cut. That's the law. The law would demand the CBO score that as a cut. As long as that system exists, we can't win. We can't win a budget battle. Because as long as the word "cut" doesn't mean cut... This is how the school lunch program can grow by 3.5% and yet a major issue evolves: "Republicans want to starve kids!"

"Wait a minute. The school lunch budget's growing by 3.5%."

"No, no. It was supposed to grow by 7%. You're gutting the program!"

This was what happened back in 1995. So it's true. Whoever controls the language controls the debate. You may not have heard what the caller heard. Establishment Republicans in Washington do not like being called establishment. They run from it. They are trying to redefine conservatism so that they are conservatives, not us; that people like David Brooks would become the new conservative. The Republican establishment in Washington, the Republicans want to replace the word "Republican" with "conservative."

Because the term " Republican establishment" is not sitting well with them because it simply means, accurately, part of the Washington elite. The Democrat establishment and the Republican establishment are one and the same, in terms of their overall objectives and goals. So this is something the Republicans want, plus their undeniable lack of affection for conservatives in general coupled together. So there is an ongoing effort. You will not see this. There aren't any stories written about it; it's not a discussion item on cable news. You wouldn't even know that this internecine fight's going on if I hadn't mentioned it to you, but it is. Don't doubt me.

Brief time-out. Thanks much for the call, Steve.



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