The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008


Obama Backs Pay-As-You-Go Law

By Lori Montgomery
President Obama today threw his weight behind a new law to rein in federal spending, cheering fiscal hawks in the House who have been pressing for a vote on such a measure since Democrats claimed control of Congress in 2007.

In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Obama urged Congress "to work with me" to enshrine the concept of pay-as-you-go spending in federal law.

"The Budget that I have proposed and that is currently being considered by Congress would cut the deficit in half by the end of my first term ... an important step in restoring fiscal discipline," Obama wrote. But "it is not enough. After years of fiscal irresponsibility, returning our nation to fiscal health also requires a budget process that can help make those plans a reality."

Obama is battling a budget deficit projected to hit nearly $1.9 trillion this year, and $1.2 trillion in the fiscal year that begins in October. Despite those massive sums, the president wants to extend some of the tax cuts enacted under former president George W. Bush and make other changes that would dramatically increase future deficits compared with current law.

Fiscal conservative in the House Democratic caucus, known as Blue Dogs, have agreed to back the president's tax plans, but only if Congress takes a vote to give legal power to the pay-as-you-go concept, known as PAYGO. In budget talks late Thursday, House leaders agreed to such a vote, but the Blue Dogs were still pushing for a similar pledge from Senate leaders. Obama's letter, aides said, gives them hope that the president will support them in that fight.

The White House has previously endorsed PAYGO, but today's letter marks the first time since he became president that Obama himself has called for passage of a PAYGO law. Such a measure would prohibit tax cuts or new spending on entitlement programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid unless the cost of those moves were offset by tax hikes or spending cuts.

"In the 1990s, statutory PAYGO encouraged the tough choices that helped transform large deficits into surpluses, and I believe that it can do the same today," Obama wrote. "Both houses of Congress have already taken an important step toward righting our fiscal course by using congressional rules to enforce the PAYGO principle. But we can strengthen enforcement and redouble our commitment by enacting PAYGO into law."

Posted at 6:55 PM ET on Apr 24, 2009
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Yes, paygo does sound a little lame at this point but we have to start sometime.
As for conspiracy stories, I suggest state of play.
Does a newsroom really look like the inside of a hamster cage?

Posted by: seemstome | April 25, 2009 11:27 PM

LOL! :-D

The Muslim who Gobbled up more Pork than the World has Pigs;

is Talking about controlled Spending!

With his Mouth Full!

Posted by: SAINT---The | April 25, 2009 3:16 PM

Yes, a dichotomy that is not lost upon the electorate... multi-billion- dollar bailouts, a trillion-dollar budget, and now "paygo"?

Soon Americans will come to realize that the financial "crisis" was a huge Robin Hood-in-reverse larceny of deception, orchestrated by the outgoing Bush administration to enrich themselves and their fat-cat cronies and leave Barack Obama holding the bar tab.


"When you see the abuse of power, you've got to speak."

-- VP Joe Biden


Google it.

Any American -- YOU, or someone close to you -- could be its next victim.

Unless Team Obama -- especially AG Holder, SecDef Gates, SecDHS Napolitano, SecTreas Geithner -- take down the draconian Bush-Cheney extra-legal "torture matrix..." array of secret, extrajudicial "programs of personal financial destruction" and government-funded vigilante, terroristic "community stalking"...

...coupled with the proliferation of mind- and body-degrading "directed energy" microwave radiation weapons -- the Zyklon B of a grassroots, government-enabled American Gestapo that continues to "target" untold thousands, if not millions, of U.S. citizens...

...citizens who have not been charged with any crime, but who have been condemned by a covert American Gestapo to a life of "community gang-stalking" and physical degradation...

...tracked with covert GPS devices over a network known to EVERY police force in the nation -- and to federal security, military and intelligence operatives.

Attorney General Holder, you must act NOW to restore human and civil rights in America.

Before the naivete of liberals empowers the saboteurs and Dr. Strangeloves who say "No!" to change.

OR (if links are corrupted/ disabled):

Posted by: scrivener50 | April 25, 2009 11:48 AM


He asked for ideas from employees and the public - so if you have useful ideas - send them in!

We all have to learn to do with less, and rebuild our Great Nation's infrastructure to be in position for this century.

Other nations are doing health care and high speed rail, alterntive fuels, energy independence - Americans have always been able to reach way down inside and pull up the right stuff...

It is sad that so many whiners, obstructionists and cry babies, greedyguts that got theirs and don't want anyone else to benefit are here... but we'll just have to work around them.

Posted by: dutchess2 | April 25, 2009 10:02 AM

You can't institute PAYGO AFTER you've spent us into oblivion. The idea should be to get our fiscal house in order AND THEN institute PAYGO. Doing it this way is a veiled attempt to justify raising our taxes today to cover past expenses.

The American taxpayer is smart enough to recognize this....but is their representation in D.C. equally observant?

Posted by: boosterprez | April 25, 2009 10:01 AM

What happened to the budget hawks? How can we be on the verge of committing to another $1.2 trillion dollars in debt next year with so little public discussion or debate?

The idea of instituting paygo now is ludicrous and insulting. That Obama talks about cutting the deficit in half, after her and Bush caused it to quadruple this year, is positively Orwellian. Frankly, it reminds me of when Bush said that we'd have to invade Iraq to preserve peace.

When Republicans criticize the deficits today, Democrats rightly point out that they didn't care about them when Bush was president. But why don't the Democrats who criticized Bush then criticize Obama now? Does anybody in Washington dare to speak up?

Posted by: orange2299 | April 25, 2009 1:22 AM

Backing "pay as you go" now is like installing a smoke detector after your house has burned down. It will just be used as justification to raise taxes not to reduce spending.

I have to give credit to the President for being able do this and keep a straight face.

Posted by: danielhancock | April 24, 2009 11:46 PM

3.5 Trillion is a lot to cover. Also, as part of the deal for the States to get the porkulus funding they had to agree to continue to fund these entitlements going forward. So will the Pay as you Go apply to that? Not.

The States will have to raise taxes to continue to fund these entitlement programs.

Posted by: Bubbette1 | April 24, 2009 9:48 PM

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