The Baseline Budgeting Scam
By Lewis Shupe, Contributor, Freedom Fighters of America
Baseline budgeting is a method whereby automatic increases in spending are built into each year’s budget through a baseline – a complex system known legally only in general terms that allows the Office of Management& Budget (OMB) and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to essentially determine and “score” the level of increase for each department.
This system creates a built in bias that always causes federal spending to increase. Even more deceitful is the way this is presented to the public. So, for example, let us say that the baseline for the Department of Education was 8%. This would mean that in the next fiscal year the Department of Education budget would increase by 8%. If the Department of Education only received a 4% increase from Congress it would be “scored” that the government had “saved” 4%. If the Department of Education budget was $100 billion in year 2001 and should have gone to $108 billion in 2002 but only received $104 billion, it was called a budget reduction and a “savings” of $4 billion.
Even more incredible is the outcry when supposedly responsible legislators call these results “budget cuts in education” and assert that people who sponsored and supported such cuts “want to cut funding for education and damage our children’s education.” The level of deceit in such rhetoric is beyond reprehensible.
The baseline budgeting scam works something like this. Phase one is to load up the OMB and CBO with people you can control and share your vision that more government is the answer to all problems. Phase two is to be certain that the rules are so muddled that no one understands how the baseline is computed. Phase three is to get the baselines set as high as can possibly be justified with some pseudo-rational explanation based upon some mind-numbing technical jargon that no one understands. Phase four is to come in just slightly under the total increase so you can claim you are cutting the budget. Phase five is to whine about the budget cuts and pretend you are fighting for “the children” or “the poor” or “old people” or any other group that arouses sympathy while you are still claiming to be fiscally responsible. Phase six is to demand more spending next year since we will all be suffering because of these “cuts.”
I have said this before but I’ll say it again. Do not believe any number that comes from this administration. People that support and administer such a system are either delusional or are intending to deceive. Since most Congressmen are not delusional you can say with reasonable certainty what they are intending.