If you don’t tie our hands we will keep stealing…
So says Virginia Democrat Congressman Tom Perriello to a rally of angry Tea Partiers.
The whole quote is revealing:
“If there’s one thing I’ve learned up here (in Washington) and I didn’t really need to come up here to learn it, is the only way to get Congress to balance the budget is to give them no choice, and the only way to keep them out of the cookie jar is to give them no choice, which is why – whether it’s balanced budget acts or pay as you go legislation or any of that – is the only thing. If you don’t tie our hands, we will keep stealing”
Compare this to a quote from Milton Friedman during an interview with Peter Robinson on March 10, 2000:
In the long run government will spend whatever the tax system will raise, plus as much more as it can get away with. That’s what history tells us, I think. So my view has always been: cut taxes on any occasion, for any reason, in any way, that’s politically feasible. That’s the only way to keep down the size of government.
Friedman had it right, and even a Democrat politician has to agree, at least when he is being shockingly, brutally honest.
Congressman Perriello is, of course, not really being honest. When he mentions “pay as you go” legislation, or “PayGo” as it is popularly known he is being disingenuous. Paygo is not designed to make Congress reduce spending. Paygo has one purpose and only one purpose and that is to make tax cuts more difficult to achieve. Paygo is not an example of tying Congress’s hand, it is just the opposite.