One should be happy that Senate Democrats have produced a budget plan. After all, it’s been a few years since that responsibility was fulfilled. Earlier this month, one was finally unveiled by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash. Simply stated, the plan stinks. It’s an avowed evasion of fiscal responsibility.
The Republicans also have a budget, pushed by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc. It’s far from perfect, but it does have a goal that the Democrats completely ignore. It seeks to balance the budget. The Senate Democratic plan has no intention of even trying to eventually attain a balanced budget. It calls for deficits in perpetuity.
Consider this. The Republican plan seeks to balance the budget — something President Clinton achieved often during his term — by 2023. The Senate Democrats have no plans to balance the budget, apparently regarding that task — mandatory in most households — as too difficult. The Senate Democratic plan slashes the percent of the economy that is debt from its current 77 percent to a mere 70 percent. The GOP plan trims the debt percentage to about 55 percent.
Consider the projected deficit in Murray’s Democratic plan for 2023 alone. It would be $566 billion. Given that projections for years ahead by budget-makers tend to be optimistic, it’s disheartening that the Democrats see as $566 billion annual deficit 10 years hence as the most optimistic scenario. In fact, over 10 years, the Senate Democratic plan assumes more than $5 trillion of debt, added to a current national debt that is close to $17 trillion.
The problem with Democrats and their budgeting is that they no longer want to reduce debt, they want to keep it where it is, close to or just above 75 percent of the economy. That might have worked a long time ago, when debt was still comparatively small. But it’s at $17 trillion now. The entitlement obligations of the future will only grow, and destabilize the debt, bloating any Democratic Party’s budget far beyond its 70 to 75 percent share of the economy.
Assuming a majority Democratic Senate passes the Murray plan and a Republican House passes the Ryan plan, there will be a contentious conference to try to reach a compromise. Before that happens, the Murray plan should be trashed and another substituted that achieves a balanced budget. Without that goal, the plan stinks.