This is What Pay-Go is Supposed to Do

Remember when Dems put PAYGO in the rules package and people like me (who raised hell) were told not to worry because it would be waived off as necessary to pass important legislation?

— Stephanie Kelton (@StephanieKelton) July 18, 2019

I’m always that Pelosi’s insistence on Pay-Go rules was profoundly self destructive.

I used to believe that this was a short-sighted policy driven by a need to appeal to the inside the Beltway pundits for whom deficits are important whenever Democrats take power.

I increasingly believe the affection of Pelosi, and the rest of the Democratic Party establishment for Pay-Go is more about having an excuse for not doing the right thing, because they don’t want to do the right thing.

Case in point, Democrats using Pay-Go to gut funding on community health centers:

Several Democratic lawmakers are accusing members of their own party of advancing a plan that would have the effect of cutting health care services for millions of Americans in poor and rural parts of the country — a charge fiercely denied by the package’s supporters.

Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.), chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, is pushing a bipartisan plan that would provide flat levels of federal funding for hundreds of community health centers nationwide, at about $4 billion for the next four years. A similar plan is advancing in the Senate with the support of Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), the top Democrat on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee.

Lawmakers face a September deadline for the community health centers, after which their funding would begin to expire, likely leading to steep cuts.

Pallone said the plan would provide the security of the longest guaranteed funding commitment ever secured by the clinics, averting the September cliff. But flat funding would not keep pace with medical inflation, likely forcing the community health centers to serve about 4 million fewer people annually by 2023 than they do now, said Leighton Ku, professor of health policy at George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health.

There is always money for a free for the next bloated defense program, but when you want to provide poor people with basic healthcare, we must be fiscally responsible.

The neoliberal consensus of the Democratic Party leadership is bad politics and bad policy.

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