Moving Deficit Goal Posts

New York Times, Monday, May 16, 2011

Political Memo, by Jackie Calmes:

Idea Rebounds: Automatic Cuts To Curb Deficits

Washington…”The goal of the continuing bipartisan negotiations
is to combine some action-forcing budget process with specific, deep spending cuts, allowing a deal to raise the government’s $14.3 trillion debt lemit and avert a potential financial crisis….”

In the past, politicians have evaded the debt limit including President Ronald Reagan and the first President George Bush “who avoided meat-ax cuts by fudging (manipulating) the numbers and moving the deficit goal posts.”  

One can move the goal posts by raising the numbers.  The Republicans and Democrats need to do something to avoid a fiscal catastrophe, perhaps a deal with a combination of spending cuts and raising the current debt limit.  This would move the goal posts.

My husband says I should punt trying to figure out why moving the goal posts makes it easier for congress when the goal posts will be set farther from the goal, while moving the deficit level  to a higher number will be harder for our children and grandchildren to address.  You can try!!

Well, punting or kicking the ball to the opposition is a football term, as is moving the goal posts, usually.  

This article has several other sports metaphors:  the fallback position would be to “combine what cuts the congress can agree to with budget procedures to enforce additional future savings”, but that just kicks the can (usually a child’s city game played on the streets) of budget process reforms to the next congress…”

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