Watergate-Weakened Nixon Administration Allowed Dems Invitation to Big Government

How Democrats stacked the deck in favor of big government

By Matthew Sheffield|Washington Examiner

One of the biggest errors of the last Republican congress was its failure to consider a sufficient level of reform to congressional spending processes. The topic may seem dreadfully boring at first but  its significance is great when you realize to what degree the appropriations process has been stacked in favor of spending enablers and against those trying to put federal spending on a long-deferred diet.

While they’ve not focused rhetorically much on issues like immigration or reforming the Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid behemoths, would-be House speaker John Boehner has gotten one thing right: the importance of changing the spending culture by changing the rules that enable it. The Wall Street Journal has a great editorial today on how Boehner’s efforts on this score deserve credit from limited government advocates:

Most intriguingly, Mr. Boehner suggested that:
“We ought to start at square one and give serious consideration to revisiting, and perhaps rewriting, the 1974 Budget Act.”
Now he’s getting somewhere. That law, passed over the veto of a Watergate-weakened Richard Nixon, further rigged the budget process to abet spending. It killed the President’s impoundment power not to spend money, and it established the annual “budget baseline” that makes spending increases automatic. Thus even a reduction in the amount of spending increase in a program becomes a budget “cut” that special interests can attack. Mr. Boehner should consult Budget ranking Member Paul Ryan and former Member Chris Cox for reform ideas.