March 10 2010 12:00 AM

Mark Schauer on PAYGO

You don’t need a degree in economics to know that our country simply can’t afford to keep racking up trillion dollar deficits each year. If the financial collapse of 2008 taught us anything, it is that the days of living beyond our means are over. Michigan families and small businesses have had to tighten their belts to make ends meet, and to get our economy back on track, it’s time for Washington to do the same.

That’s why I recently voted against raising the national debt ceiling to $14.3 trillion, and voted to send a bill to the president’s desk that will require Congress to offset the costs of tax cuts or increases in entitlement spending with new revenue or savings elsewhere in the budget. Simply put, under PAYGO, Congress can only spend a dollar if it saves a dollar.

The fiscally responsible pay-as-yougo law was originally signed into law by President George H.W. Bush, and helped create record budget surpluses during the 1990s under President Clinton.

Unfortunately, the measure was abandoned eight years ago under President George W. Bush and a Republican Congress, which helped turn a $5.6 trillion surplus into a $1 trillion deficit. If PAYGO rules had been followed over the past eight years, the projected deficit would be $5 trillion lower over the next decade.

Since President Barack Obama signed the new PAYGO bill I co-sponsored into law earlier this year, Congress has already taken action to pay for a critical piece of legislation that will help put people back to work fixing Michigan’s crumbling roads.

The Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act includes an extension of the Highway Trust Fund through the end of 2010 to provide states and localities with the certainty they need to make decisions on capital-intensive projects, and prevent the loss of Michigan road construction jobs.

The bill is fully paid for under PAYGO, by cracking down on overseas tax havens and delaying questionable tax breaks for multinational corporations that have outsourced jobs.

Turning our economy around and balancing the federal budget won’t be easy, but frankly, we can’t afford to keep raising the limit on the national credit card every three months. PAYGO is a step in the right direction that will force Congress to make tough choices about the budget so we can get our fiscal house in order and focus on putting people back to work.

— Mark Schauer U.S. Rep, D-Battle Creek

Friendship Baptist situation

On Feb. 27, at a special church business meeting, the Friendship Baptist Church received the procedure for excluding a member from the church. The right of a church to exclude a member is commanded in Matthew 18:14-18. A procedure for excluding a member from the church is established in the “Hiscox Directory.” The 1984 constitution and bylaws of Friendship Baptist Church are consistent with the commandments of Jesus and Hiscox regarding the exclusion of a church member. The 2007 constitution and bylaws do not contain the commandments of Jesus and Hiscox regarding the exclusion of a church member. Christ commanded exclusion, which should be used only after a member refuses to obey and respect the will and vote of the church. Every effort is to be made to restore a member with love, forgiveness and compassion. Therefore, the three spiritual principles of exclusion as taught in Matthew 18:14-18, Hiscox, church discipline, and the 1984 Church Constitution are: fairness, compassion, and accountability.

Fairness means that the process is fair and the people who subject to exclusion are treated fairly. In the element of fairness, it is important that the entire church membership is thoroughly informed about the exclusion, given an opportunity to review the process of exclusion, and an opportunity to express their thoughts and ideas about it. It is also important that the membership will be given proper notification about the date of the meeting when the church will actually consider the exclusion.

The element of fairness also means that persons will be notified and given an opportunity to come forth and make a presentation in defense of themselves. They will be made aware of the charges brought against them for exclusion and they will be given proper time and notice to bring supporting documents as a matter of defense. At the end of the day, it is important that the church feels that the entire procedure was handled fairly: opportunity for input in the process, notification of the meeting, and the vote that leads to exclusion or non-exclusion of the members. Compassion very simply means that a person will have an opportunity to acknowledge his or her error.

— Grandy323 From