Today’s headline says it all; Big obstacles to clear by New Year’s. Since Obama has entered the Oval office, our federal government has gone budgetless. This indifference to a Constitutional mandate now totals five years. What’s the old saying, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it?” Not only is this injustice not broken, this Constitutional defiance has reaped untold dividends since it has placed the Republican camp in a losing and catch up mode.
Something refreshing is happening in Congress. For the first time in years, our legislative process finally has the chance to cut spending in a nontraditional but highly democratic way by passing a series of small consecutive spending bills. This partisan deadlock offers us a novel opportunity to reach consensus: pass the budget one line item at a time (often described as "passing the budget piecemeal" by its liberal opponents).
Thursday’s headlines from Washington, D.C. will likely read that the House of Representatives passed a ten year path to a balanced budget proposed by Representative Paul Ryan. While the Ryan budget is a gigantic step in the right direction, a proposal by the House Republican Study Committee that brings the budget into balance in four years is likely to be ignored by many in the media. It should not be.
Somehow, despite sequestration, the sun rose today, and it will set. Schools opened as scheduled. The children were still picked up and dropped off by their buses. Hospitals, police, and firefighters all remained on call should the need arise. Remarkable when one considers that on March 1, the government cut a part of the $3.538 trillion budget by a mere $54 billion, or by 1.5 percent.
Time for a little history lesson. Sequestration may in fact have been Obama’s idea, but it was brought to the floor in the House of Representatives not once, but twice by Republican leaders. There, it was approved not once, but twice. In the Senate it passed easily with bipartisan support. Republicans let it pass the House and Senate, and Obama signed it.
The only things propping us up right now are a printing press, the good will of China and Saudi Arabia buying treasuries and trading in dollars, low interest rates, and yes, a weak economy keeping inflation at bay. Minus that, we face certain insolvency in the time it takes a baby to grow up and graduate college — if not sooner.
Five and a half days worth of government spending is all that would be cut if the sequester goes into effect on March 1. Having to eliminate five and a half days of spending is hardly the calamity that is coming out of every federal government agency and the White House at a steady clip. The reason for the howling is two-fold.
Yesterday, the South Dakota State House Taxation committee made the wise decision to kill HJR 1003, a bill to make " formal application to Congress to call a limited constitutional convention for the sole purpose of proposing a federal balanced budget amendment." As I pointed out recently, while we desperately need a balanced budget, calling a constitutional convention could easily get out of control and scuttle what remains of our constitution.
U.S. Senator John Thune (R-S.D.) today reintroduced legislation that would transform Congress’ broken budget process. The Budget Reform Act of 2013 (S. 280), based on a plan first introduced by Thune in 2010, would require Congress to establish a biennial budgeting timeline in which Congress would pass a two-year biennial budget and appropriation bills in the odd numbered years, and in even numbered election years Congress would concentrate on oversight of government spending.
Instead of providing a sober assessment of the budget, as is required under law, the White House decided instead to proffer a misleading “fact sheet” right before the weekend to incite hysteria. And the more hysterical their claims become, the more obvious it should be they are full of it. Perhaps their biggest fear is that if this mere 2.4 percent cut to the budget actually is allowed to go into effect — nobody will notice.Next Page »
"We don't intend to turn the Republican Party over to the traitors in the battle just ended. We will have no more of those candidates who are pledged to the same goals as our opposition and who seek our support. Turning the party over to the so-called moderates wouldn't make any sense at all." - Ronald Reagan, Nov. 10, 1964