Incoming congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York announced she will vote against bylaws to govern the 116th Congress that are supported by House Speaker-apparent Nancy Pelosi, citing her objection to the “pay as you go” budgetary rule included in the package.
“The ‘pay as you go’ rule, commonly known as PAYGO, requires that any increase in entitlement spending be offset by cuts in other entitlement programs, or by new revenue raisers, in order to prevent the deficit from increasing,” CBS News reported.
Ocasio-Cortez tweeted on Wednesday, “Tomorrow I will also vote No on the rules package, which is trying to slip in #PAYGO.”
“PAYGO isn’t only bad economics, as @RoKhanna explains; it’s also a dark political maneuver designed to hamstring progress on healthcare+other leg. We shouldn’t hinder ourselves from the start,” she argued.
Tomorrow I will also vote No on the rules package, which is trying to slip in #PAYGO.
PAYGO isn’t only bad economics, as @RoKhanna explains; it’s also a dark political maneuver designed to hamstring progress on healthcare+other leg.
We shouldn’t hinder ourselves from the start. https://t.co/WW3UaBs7vh
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) January 2, 2019
Ocasio-Cortez included a tweet from fellow progressive Rep. Ro Khanna of California, who wrote, “I will be voting NO on the Rules package with #PayGo. It is terrible economics. The austerians were wrong about the Great Recession and Great Depression. At some point, politicians need to learn from mistakes and read economic history.”
The congressman tagged New York Times economic columnist Paul Krugman and former Clinton administration Secretary of Labor Robert Reich in his tweet.
In a piece published the day after President Donald Trump’s election, Krugman, a Nobel-Prize winning economist, famously predicted that the ascension of the New York businessman to the White House would cause the stock market to plummet and lead to a worldwide global recession.
The stock market in fact rose from approximately 18,500 the day of his election in November 2016 to its present approximately 23,300.
In 2018, the U.S. economy had its strongest annual growth in over a decade, with the Gross Domestic Product likely topping 3 percent, while the nation experienced its lowest unemployment rate in 50 years.
Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff Drew Hammill pushed back against Khanna’s tweet with one of his own, arguing that PAYGO would replace the Republican House rule of “CUTGO.”
The latter requires cuts to existing programs to offset new spending, while PAYGO allows for new taxes to be passed to pay for new programs.
“We must replace CUTGO to allow Democrats to designate appropriate offsets (including revenue increases),” tweeted Hammill. “A vote AGAINST the Democratic Rules package is a vote to let Mick Mulvaney make across the board cuts, unilaterally reversing Democratic initiatives and funding increases.”
We must replace CUTGO to allow Democrats to designate appropriate offsets (including revenue increases). A vote AGAINST the Democratic Rules package is a vote to let Mick Mulvaney make across the board cuts, unilaterally reversing Democratic initiatives and funding increases. https://t.co/eP5eNxrQ7b
— Drew Hammill (@Drew_Hammill) January 2, 2019
Ocasio-Cortez, who identifies as a Democratic socialist, campaigned on creating new or expanding existing federal government entitlement programs.
Most prominently, the New York representative has called for Medicare for all, a federal jobs guarantee and “housing as a human right.”
CBS News reported Medicare for all would increase the federal government’s healthcare costs by $32.6 trillion over 10 years, based on a study by the libertarian Mercatus Center.
In August, CNN host Chris Cuomo pressed Ocasio-Cortez on how she proposed paying for Medicare for all, noting Vermont tried to institute universal healthcare but had to reverse course because the cost to taxpayers was prohibitive.
She responded, “Every other developed nation in the world does this, why can’t America?”
Ocasio-Cortez continued, “We have done these things before. We write unlimited blank checks for war. We just wrote a $2 trillion check for the GOP tax cut, and nobody asked those folks how are they going to pay for it.”
Regarding the tax cuts, Trump and outgoing House Speaker Paul Ryan have noted reducing tax rates historically stimulated the economy, which ultimately led to more jobs, less government dependency and ultimately higher revenues.
In pitching the tax cut, Trump quoted Democrat President John Kennedy who observed that recessions more than “wild-eyed” spending lead to larger budget deficits.
“In short, it is a paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high today and tax revenues are too low and the soundest way to raise the revenues in the long run is to cut the rates now,” Kennedy said.
The federal government in fact collected an all-time record $1.6 trillion income tax revenues in fiscal year 2018 as the tax cuts were being implemented, according to CNS News.
The main source of the nation’s current spending are existing entitlement programs, which make up approximately 60 percent of the budget.
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