Coalition to Reduce Spending

Coalition to Reduce Spending blasts Paul Ryan’s budget hypocrisy

A nonpartisan group focused on reducing spending and the national debt has blasted Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) for having a “short-sighted view of the nation’s spending crisis” and “hypocrisy” for not putting defense spending under the same scrutiny as other parts of the federal budget.

Ryan penned an op-ed this week for Real Clear Defense in which he decried President Barack Obama and administration official’s “cuts” to the Defense Department and the military. The Wisconsin Republican argued that his budget “would change course,” spending “$274 billion more than the President’s request.”

Jonathan Bydlak, president of the Coalition to Reduce Spending, says that Ryan’s criticism is off the mark, offering it as an example of why Republicans lack credibility to claim that they can deal with the United States’ fiscal woes.

“With his Wednesday statements, Rep. Paul Ryan offers a stunningly shortsighted view of the nation’s spending crisis and shows clearly why so many Republicans have no credibility on the spending issue,” said Bydlak in a press release.

“Ryan seems to be working from the clichéd and dubious assumption that President Obama is ‘gutting’ the military,” he said. “President Obama and Defense Sec. Hagel have a different approach to military funds, to be sure. But Pentagon-budget slashers they are most certainly not.”

Conservative group: Budget deal a “lose-lose compromise” for taxpayers

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), chairs of budget committees in both chambers of Congress, reached an agreement last night that will partially roll back the bipartisan spending cuts mandated by the bipartisan Budget Control Act of 2011.

Jonathan Bydlak, president of the Coalition to Reduce Spending, warns that the looming budget promise is “disastrous” for fiscal conservatives because reversal of some of these reasonable spending cuts and does nothing to address entitlement programs — the real drivers of federal budget deficits.

“This deal would be a disastrous lose-lose compromise that kicks the can down the road while refusing to address the core of our national fiscal crisis,” wrote Bydlak in an email blast before the agreement was formally announced.

RELATED: United Liberty chats with Jonathan Bydlak

“At this point, sources have reported that the deal will likely replace less than half of the sequester cuts for 2014 and 2015, and not touch major entitlements and the tax code,” he continued. “[W]e’re hearing rumors that the disastrous deal could…include spending around $980 billion to $1 trillion, along with raising revenues through increased federal employee benefits contributions and air ticket taxes, among other things.”

Syria intervention would come at a real cost

Even as Congress is contemplating military action in Syria, few are asking questions about the cost of even a brief campaign against Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

During yesterday’s House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, a few representatives brought up the cost of limited strikes in Syria. But those concerns were hardly the focal point of the hearing, nor will it play a factor for many members when they cast their votes on the issue in the next week or so.

We know from the Obama Administration intervention in Libya that even a limited airstrike campaign can come with a hefty price tag. In 2011, the administration spent over $1 billion to help depose Muammar Gaddafi. That was a seven month air strike campaign that didn’t involve troops on the ground.

CNN Money reported yesterday that the budget implications of military strikes against Syria would be relatively small, provided the United States doesn’t get sucked into a broader campaign involving troops on the ground. And despite what the Obama Administration is saying, no one guarantee that American soldiers won’t eventually be pulled into the conflict.

Chatting with Jonathan Bydlak, President of the Coalition to Reduce Spending

Jonathan Bydlak

“The sequester is quite possibly the greatest thing to have happened to the fiscal conservative cause, at least in quite some time as far as I can remember.” — Jonathan Bydlak

It’s that time of year when spending battles come to the forefront of political discussion in Washington. Various congressional committees are currently debating appropriations measures that will divvy up taxpayer dollars to fund the federal government and a litany of government programs.

Most free market groups place heavy emphasis on taxes and regulatory concerns. But the Coalition to Reduce Spending, as their name suggests, seeks to focus its efforts on spending and budget deficits.

United Liberty recently talked with Jonathan Bydlak, president of the Coalition to Reduce Spending, about his organization’s very specific focus on the river of red ink that has been flowing from Washington.

“When you think about which groups in DC tend to be the most effective, it usually, in my experience, are those that have a very focused mission and execute on that mission very effectively,” Bydlak told United Liberty. “So there’s a reason why people pay attention to the NRA or the ACLU — because their mission is very focused and they build an interest group and they are very successful at accomplishing that mission. Nobody’s really done that for the issue of spending.”

SC-01: Curtis Bostic’s Big Government Spending Record

Curtis Bostic

Republicans in South Carolina’s First Congressional District will once again head to the polls a week from today to determine their nominee.

Mark Sanford, who represented the district from 1995 to 2001 and served as governor from 2003 to 2011, is well-known and has a solid record when it comes to fighting government spending. His opponent, however, has been running a platform, but he’s not doing much to sway voters on substance.

Curtis Bostic, who will face Sanford in the runoff, hasn’t offered much in the way of details on spending. He devotes a page to the issue on his website with handy charts from the Heritage Foundation, but doesn’t say what he would cut nor does he mention anything about entitlement reform. In fact, half of the page is about taxes.

Bostic has signed Americans for Tax Reform’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge, which is important. However, spending is just as much of an issue — one that deserves more than just rhetoric. And despite all his talk about cutting the budget, Bostic was one of two candidates in the primary who didn’t sign the Coalition to Reduce Spending’s Reject the Debt pledge.

This isn’t a tough pledge. It simply states:

I, [candidate name], pledge to the citizens of my state and to the American people that, except when related to a congressional authorization of force, I will:

ONE, consider all spending open for reduction and vote only for budgets that present a path to balance; and

Taxes and Spending Are Only Part of the Equation: Don’t Forget Regulations

Grover Norquist

Much hash has been made lately over Grover Norquist’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge, from his organization, Americans for Tax Reform. The Pledge forces anyone who signs it to not vote for tax increases, unless there is reduction in taxes elsewhere (for instance, voting to raise excise taxes but cutting income taxes, though don’t quote me on that.) It’s also been in the news because some Republicans have backed away from the pledge, not wanting to be feel like they’re in a straight jacket while engaged in fiscal cliff negotiations.

Jonathan Bydlak, president of the Coalition to Reduce Spending, writes in National Review that while Grover’s push is admirable, it’s not entirely sufficient:

For years, Grover Norquist and Republicans have tried “starving the beast” of the federal government by capping taxes. While they’ve been highly successful at preventing tax increases, they have been less effective at addressing one problematic aspect of fiscal policy: the ability of the Federal Reserve and Treasury to borrow more and more to finance massive spending, as they have done under the Bush and Obama administrations. It’s simple: Borrowing today means a higher tax burden tomorrow when the debt comes due. True fiscal responsibility, then, requires us to curb spending in addition to limiting tax rates.

Should spending be the primary focus of conservatives?

Grover Norquist

Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), has received a substantial amount of attention in recent weeks thanks to a handful of Republicans who have indicated that they are willing to go back on their pledges not to raise taxes on their constituents.

For years, the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, which is sponsored by ATR, has been a valuable tool in primaries as candidates frequently use it to show their commitment to fiscally conservative principles. As noted previously, the Taxpayer Protection Pledge simply states that the candidate will “oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses” and “oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates.” This pledge is not made to Grover Norquist, Americans for Tax Reform, or Republican leadership in Congress. It’s made to taxpayers inside that candidates district or state.

However, there are some that feel that there is too much of a focus on taxes and not enough on spending. Jonathan Bydlak, President of the Coalition to Reduce Spending, expressed this sentiment last week in a piece at National Review:

Coalition to Reduce Spending announces pledge signers

National Debt

With the budget deficit for FY 2012 quickly approaching the $1 trillion mark — the fourth year in a row of such a depressing feat — and the national debt closing in on $16 trillion, Ted Cruz, a candidate for U.S. Senate in Texas, and others have signed on to the Coalition to Reduce Spending, a new organization that seeks to manage the country’s fiscal issues by urging Congress to make cuts, not raise taxes.

Richard Lorenc and Jonathan Bydlak introduced the group and explained their goals yesterday at The Daily Caller:

Using the growing national debt as cover, the real impetus for this renewed call to raise taxes on households making $250,000 or more annually is to create tax policy that appears fair. Even raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans to 100 percent will do little to address the national debt.

Such political shenanigans are, unfortunately for everyone, par for the course. Frighteningly few politicians care to discuss how lower tax revenues combined with historically high levels of government spending are a surefire recipe for increasing the national debt.

Seriously addressing our current problem requires clear thinking on the precise cause of debt. Debt itself is not so much the problem as the behavior that creates it. Duquesne University economics professor Antony Davies argues this point succinctly, saying, “People say that the government has a debt problem. But debt is an effect. The cause is deficits.”


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