Looking ahead to controlling Congress, Republicans again propose to eliminate Paygo, as they did under Bush. But this time they propose to replace it with a different rule, Cutgo, which would require that new spending be offset with spending cuts. That would indeed be an effective way to limit new spending programs. Of course, it would retain the ability to pass tax cuts with no offsets whatsoever. The decision once again reflects the core Republican belief that tax revenues do not need to bear any relationship to expenditures.I'd only add two things. One is that it is indeed a budget-neutral change to replace a rule that new spending has to be offset with either taxes or spending cuts with a rule that new spending must be offset with spending cuts. (Not that I like the rule -- I think budget rules should be neutral about the overall size of the government). The second is that we'll have to see what the details of prospective Speaker Boehner's actual proposal turn out to be. Will there be exceptions for GOP-favored programs? How easy or difficult will it be to waive the rule? So we really don't know yet whether the that part of it will in fact be deficit-neutral.
On the overall rule, however, Chait is of course correct: Cutgo may be a way for Republicans to achieve some of their goals, but balanced budgets are not one of those goal. Cutgo should properly be seen as a roadmap to higher deficits.