Playing by the Rules

Special Guests: Robert L. Bixby

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On the latest Facing the Future program, Concord Coalition Executive Director Robert L. Bixby discusses the partial government shutdown and rules changes in the U.S. House.

Some of the rules changes that resulted from the change in House leadership have a bearing on fiscal issues, Bixby said.

“Probably the most significant one is that the new House rules reinstate the old Pay-As-You-Go rule, PAYGO,” he said. “Which means that, if you’re going to enact a new entitlement program . . . you have to find a way to pay for it or cut other mandatory spending so it doesn’t make the deficit worse.” This also applies to tax cuts.

“It’s a positive that the new leadership stuck with PAYGO,” Bixby said.

He said the partial government shutdown seems to hinge on the president’s push for border wall funding, even after the House and Senate had initially come to an agreement on funding for Fiscal 2019.

“They had agreements on all spending bills, and thought they had the president’s agreement until he changed his mind at the last minute,” Bixby said. “We actually had an unusually smooth appropriations process, a pretty bipartisan process.”

“Now, it’s just dug in and become this colossal battle for the ages out of nowhere,” he said.

Alex Talcott, a financial advisor, attorney and Concord Coalition state advisory board member for New Hampshire, also joined the program to share his thoughts on differences between personal and government finance, the New Hampshire primary and why he got involved with Concord.

“I like to get real about fiscal reform in Washington,” he said.

Talcott had previously invited me into one of the college classes he teaches to facilitate Concord’s federal budget exercise. He said the experience showed how the democratic process can work to reduce the nation’s deficits.

“Not everybody needs to run for office, but they shouldn’t run from contributions that they can make,” Talcott said.


Hear more on “Facing the Future.” I host the program each week on WKXL, (N.H.), and it is also available via podcast. Join me and my guests as we discuss issues relating to national fiscal policy with budget experts, industry leaders, elected officials and candidates for public office. Past broadcasts are available here. You can now subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Google Play or through RSS.

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