Rep. Mike Pence Assumes a Can Opener — Josh Barro

There’s an old joke about a chemist, a physicist and an economist stuck on a desert island. The castaways possess plenty of canned food, but no tools. The scientists set about an elaborate scheme to build a fire and explode the cans open. But the economist proposes a more elegant solution — “First,” he says, “assume a can opener.”

Last week, Republican Representatives Mike Pence and Jeb Hensarling introduced a proposal that is the budgetary equivalent to that economist’s approach. With federal spending projected reach 24% of GDP by the end of this decade (or 23% if health reform dies) and continue rising thereafter, they have proposed a Spending Limit Amendment, which would cap federal spending at 20% of GDP.

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