About that 'trigger' to automatically cut spending if Congress doesn't act...

Bloomberg points out that this wouldn't be the first time it's been tried. And that when it has been attempted in the past, the "trigger" mechanism has often failed: Hoagland said this particular trigger may not be effective in reducing the nation's debt because discretionary spending covers only roughly 18 percent of the federal budget. "The real problem remains the health-care entitlement programs and the revenue side," he said. The 1990 agreement also featured a pay-as-you-go requirement for mandatory programs and revenues. A trigger was enacted to enforce the caps and the "paygo" requirement. Still, Congress overrode the enforcement provision two out of the three times it was triggered, according to an April 28 report by the Peterson-Pew Commission on Budget Reform. And in 1985, the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control, or the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act, included a trigger to enforce deficit targets. If the year's target wasn't met, spending cuts were triggered. In the...(Read Full Post)