Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted on a package of rules that include a “pay-as-you-go” or “PAYGO” provision, which mandates that new spending be offset by matching cuts or increases in revenue. Demos supports efforts to eliminate PAYGO requirements in federal law.
Statement to be attributed to Demos Associate Director of Policy and Research, Amy Traub:
In the 2018 elections, Americans of every background mobilized to elect the most diverse, multiracial Congress in history. This year, that Congress has tremendous potential to advance policies that genuinely address the challenges faced by working families. Many critical policies, including Medicare for All, establishing debt-free college, promoting climate equity through a Green New Deal, and guaranteeing a right to housing, will require substantial public investment to improve people’s lives and our nation’s long-term prosperity.
Yet, PAYGO requirements and a mentality of deficit fear-mongering have repeatedly blocked policymakers from enacting laws that truly address the scope of the problems confronting the American people. Policymakers’ failure to adequately tackle persistent problems lays the groundwork for a false populism that blames the difficulties we face on poor families, communities of color, and new immigrants.
After a $717 billion annual military appropriations bill and an unpaid-for $1.5 trillion tax law that delivered a windfall to wealthy corporations and households, insisting on PAYGO now asserts that in a nation of abundant resources we cannot afford to provide quality childcare to working families or retirement security to our seniors. The PAYGO mentality ignores the well-documented reality that smart public investments in fundamentals like education, health care, clean water, and transportation form the foundation of thriving communities and economies.