Home > Federal Bills, Federal Power > Rep Ryan willing to give up sequester cuts and raise taxes in budget proposal

Rep Ryan willing to give up sequester cuts and raise taxes in budget proposal

December 11, 2013

Last night Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) announced they had reached a two-year deal on the budget. A summary of the deal can be read here. If I were to summarize the budget in one word I think it would be ‘horrendous’. Any semblance of fiscal conservatism appears to be taken off the table with this budget proposal.

Here are two specific parts I have problems with:

budgetenforcement

Budget Enforcement section of Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 summary

The key here is to note the sequestration levels for both Defense Discretionary Spending and Non-Defense Discretionary Spending has been allowed to increase dramatically. This basically rolls back the slight fiscal victories that came from the sequestration process. It also proposes to “save” $28 billion because this sequester level will be used for the next ten years. The problem with that theory is it assumes the next budget will incorporate that sequester level. I don’t think anyone (including those working on this budget agreement) believe the next budget conference will bind itself to the sequestration level set by this budget conference.

airporttax

Airport Tax Increase section of Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 summary

Ryan has been touting that he reached an agreement with no tax increases. Yet if you look at the budget proposal summary in the Transportation section there is an item for “Aviation security service fees”. Fees is a chicken way of saying Taxes. Here is a description of these fees from 49 USC § 44940(a)(1):

(1) Passenger fees.— The Under Secretary of Transportation for Security shall impose a uniform fee, on passengers of air carriers and foreign air carriers in air transportation and intrastate air transportation originating at airports in the United States, to pay for the following costs of providing civil aviation security services:

The section goes on to say where the money goes. Basically it goes to the TSA so they can treat air  travelers like criminals before they can enter a plane. Let me reword that: air travelers in the United States are charged a “fee” on every plane ticket sold so the TSA can treat them like a criminal. This ‘fee’ is little more than a travel tax imposed at airports. It is quite dishonest for Rep Ryan to say no taxes were increased in budget proposal when the aviation security service “fees” were increased.

Until I can read the whole budget it is hard to make further comments. However from what I am seeing so far I can’t say there is any good news in this budget proposal.

To summarize my problems with the budget proposal:

  • Sequestration levels for both Defense Discretionary Spending and Non-Defense Discretionary Spending are being raised; taking away the small victory fiscal conservatives have won via the sequester.
  • Congress is supposed to keep these new higher sequestration levels for the next ten years. That is so unlikely to happen that it may as well be called impossible for Congress to restrict itself in such a manner.
  • The Aviation Security Service fee tax has been increased. Now we can pay more money to be treated like a criminal in airports.

If such easy to spot red flags exist in the budget summary I am almost afraid to read the full bill. At that time we can truly see how much Rep Ryan sold out fiscal conservativeness.

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