How Obama and Ryan Can Become Bipartisan Budget Bedfellows
By Former Rep. Jim Nussle (R-Iowa)
Now that both President Obama and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) have drawn their lines in the sand with their spending priorities, it’s clear that as we approach the midterm elections, the budget road ahead will not be easy. Bridging the two approaches will take tough but necessary choices to restore our nation’s strong fiscal footing and put us on a path toward economic growth. Finding that path depends on the willingness of lawmakers to reject entrenched ideals, stand up to special interests and refocus their attention away from how much government spends and more on how government spends our money.
Today, less than $1 out of every $100 of government spending is backed by even the most basic evidence-based evaluation. This is simply unacceptable. As our population continues to grow and we face more competition on the international stage – every dollar we spend counts and in no other area is that more important than in domestic discretionary spending; the money spent on solving problems right here at home.
Especially in this time of abundant challenges and limited dollars, we must seriously reexamine how efficiently money is being spent at all levels and the results that are produced. Chairman Ryan’s budget proposal scratches the surface of this issue by eliminating programs like the Social Service Block Grant that do not provide evidence of its effectiveness. As a former chairman of the House Budget Committee, I applaud Ryan’s efforts but would also like point out that he may find an even more effective solution for his pending budget proposal in an unlikely place – President Obama’s budget evaluation requests.