Rep. Howard C. Nielson, R-Utah--a former BYU statistics professor - told Congress Tuesday to quit using "smoke and mirrors" in its budget numbers or possibly create national economic chaos.
Mentioning his background with numbers and statistics, Nielson told the House Budget Committee, "I have come here today to advise you that the time for using smoke and mirror budgeting techniques is over."Our nation stands at the edge of economic chaos and what we do here, during this session of Congress, either will make or break the delicate balance currently at work in the marketplace."
He said because Congress has delayed meeting goals of the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings budget-balancing act, Congress must cut $85 billion from the 1990 budget or it will still be off-track.
If goals are not met, the act will require an automatic, across-the-board cut of 10 percent in all programs - regardless of the effects cuts would have.
Meanwhile, Nielson said Congress seems relatively unconcerned and "the pressure to increase spending and to adopt new programs continues as if Gramm-Rudman-Hollings had never existed."
Nielson encouraged Congress to use a "flexible freeze" plan to eliminate the budget deficit. It would freeze spending - with exceptions made for needy programs - and use extra revenue to balance the budget.
He also encouraged adoption of a balanced budget amendment and a presidential line-item veto as tools to help ensure that a deficit does not return.
He also told the committee that Congress has too long worried about how economic trends may affect the budget instead of worrying about how the budget affects those trends.
"In the cycle of inflation, it is the non-productive government that begins the spiral. It is Congress where the cycle begins and it is Congress that perpetuates the upward trend.
"Rather than consider how economic trends might impact the federal budget, I believe it is more important for us to consider how the federal budget might impact the economy. If we do our jobs the impact will be minimal. If we do not, then the impact on producers increases."