Government Spending

Do We Need Politicians to Take a "No Debt Increase" Pledge?


As Grover Norquist's anti-tax pledge seems to be losing its force, Jonathan Bydlak at National Review argues it was never enough:

Imagine if instead of pledging not to raise taxes, all those politicians had pledged not to raise spending….That's why it's important to do for spending what Norquist has done for taxes: create a means for voters to hold elected officials accountable when they break campaign promises of fiscal responsibility.

…Given our ever-mounting debt, it is incumbent on all of us who care about the future prosperity of this country to reexamine the completeness of Norquist's approach. We have to look at more than the tax side of the equation.

Fortunately, some in Washington are taking aim at our political sacred cows. Doug Collins, Representative-elect from Georgia, and Ted Cruz, Senator-elect from Texas, both pledged to voters this cycle that they consider all items in the budget eligible for reduction. By signing the Reject the Debt pledge in addition to the taxpayers-protection pledge, they will vote against not only tax increases now but also spending increases that would amount to future tax burdens.

As one columnist recently wrote, "From now on, any politician who signs the anti-tax pledge without also signing the anti-debt pledge can be dismissed as a complete hypocrite." The companion to Norquist's no-tax pledge is the Reject the Debt pledge. Elected officials need to sign both.

Nick Gillespie from last week on why spending drives deficits.


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  1. I love that people think that politicians signing some fucking pledge will actually do what they say. That’s some delicious delusion right there.

    1. Except for the fact that it actually worked for a time.

      1. What worked for a time?

      2. Did it? Where are we now?

        1. At “it ain’t working anymoresville”

        2. Well, if we agree to tax raises today we will get big cuts in the future.

          Pending on a pinky swear of course.

        3. Where we are now is that Republicans are still holding up tax increases…or were you not aware of that?

        4. Yes, the republicans signed a no-new-taxes pledge so we borrowed instead.

  2. They could be like Ron Paul and insert riders into bills to bring back the bacon, then out of principle vote against the bill knowing that it will pass anyway.

  3. Why don’t we just pledge to pass a balanced budget amendment while we’re at it?

    1. And a term limit Amendment, and repeal the 16th Amendment, and abolish the BATF, and legalize drugs, and….

  4. I’m even more in favor of Richard Epstein’s idea of appending a “givings” amendment to the Constitution that, like a mirror of the Fifth Amendment’s takings clause, prevent the central state from spending money on anything that some tangible benefit was not returned.

    1. Hear, hear.

      1. Unless “keeping my ample ass in this leather chair” is then deemed to be a tangible benefit, that is.

    2. this is a terrible idea, because it gives power to whomever gets to decide what a tangible benefit is.

      1. I imagine a “bureau of benefits analysis”, run by the CBO. It also gives tacit approval to all sorts of “bribery/benefits”.

        If you wanted to couple it to a clause stating that no one who receives a salary or benefit benefit can vote (it’s a conflict of interest)… maybe. I say this as someone who is currently paid by the government so I would lose the franchise, temporarily).

  5. Here’s what I think the Repubs should do on the debt ceiling:

    Tell the Dems to submit the increase they think Obama will need through FY 2017 (theoretically, Obama will submit a budget for FY 2017 while in office in 2016), on the condition that no new increases will be made until after FY 2017.

    Let us know, right now, how much more debt you plan on running up. You want to avoid these disruptive fights goig forward, this is the way.

    Gets the Dems on record as to how many more trillions they want to borrow, and you’ve set them up for a real beating now and later.

    1. Nah, any future problems will be because of obstructions Rethuglicans. Period.

      And how would you get that figure from them, when the Donkey Party faction has not even put out a budget for 4 years?

  6. It would be awesome if we could get a “no new regulations” pledge.
    Imagine if we restricted the length of the tax code or the federal register to a specific number of pages or lines. If they want to add something they have to remove something else.

    1. They can’t remove anything. All regulation and legislation represents hard work and good intentions. If you remove anything then that means the resources used to pay the people who created it were wasted. That is just plain unacceptable. And it is an insult to their good intentions. That’s just plain mean.
      Nope. All regulation and legislation must stay.
      And there’s more coming because these people have families to feed, and they must continue to churn out reams of rules to justify their employment.
      Totalitarianism, here we come!

  7. This purely a tactical move. The Dems say debt ceiling fights are bad (and the Repubs do come out the worst on them anyway), and the debt ceiling always gets raised regardless, so how do you get some mileage out of it, if you’re a Repub?

    Make the Dems ask for/demand a shocking amount of new debt. That ought to be good for something.

    Then, when it turns out they lowballed you on even that shocking number, beat them mercilessly for running through that much so quickly, and try to get some leverage for the next round.

    1. You keep talking as if TEAM RED wants what you think it wants. IT DOESN’T. TEAM RED just wants what TEAM BLUE wants: to keep the gravy train rolling and to steal as much as possible. Stop projecting what you want on the pack of thieves and liars that will never want what you want.

      1. If it makes you feel better RC, I’ll want what you want.

      2. Point taken, Episiotomy. Still, to minimize the damage they take when trying to fool their base by pretending to oppose debt, they Repubs might try a different approach, is all.

  8. I do think that the writers need to take a “Alt text increase”.

  9. nononononofuckyoufuckyoufuckyoucutspendingyoufucks

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