President Obama claimed last night that his jobs plan would be paid for. “Everything in this bill will be paid for. Everything,” he said. In politics, it never gets more clear than that. Of course, obviously I question it. I question everything any politicians says. What surprised me was that even the Associated Press is questioning it.
THE FACTS: Obama did not spell out exactly how he would pay for the measures contained in his nearly $450 billion American Jobs Act but said he would send his proposed specifics in a week to the new congressional supercommittee charged with finding budget savings. White House aides suggested that new deficit spending in the near term to try to promote job creation would be paid for in the future – the “out years,” in legislative jargon – but they did not specify what would be cut or what revenues they would use.
Essentially, the jobs plan is an IOU from a president and lawmakers who may not even be in office down the road when the bills come due. Today’s Congress cannot bind a later one for future spending. A future Congress could simply reverse it.
Thank you AP.
For the record, this is the same problem one runs into when talking about spending cuts. Most of those cuts are deferred to the out years to ease the pinch in the short term, and most never materialize because, as the AP points out, Congress can’t tell a future Congress what they have to spend.
Regardless of what you think of the President’s jobs plan, his claim it will be paid for is dubious at best. As the AP piece points out, Obama must send his proposal to the Super Committee – which he does not control – and hope they accept it, then get it through Congress and then hope that these proposals are adhered to in the future.