Sunday, June 5, 2011


Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid recently said (via the L.A. Times):

"There's no need to have a Democratic budget in my opinion," Reid said in an interview Thursday. "It would be foolish for us to do a budget at this stage."

Let me repeat that last bit: "It would be foolish for us to do a budget at this stage". Really? The Senate has not passed a budget in over 750 days - more than two years.  Isn't that a bit foolish, Sen. Reid?  Passing a budget is essential for the economic health of this country.  Not doing so would mean a repeat of the squabbling over bi-weekly continuing resolutions from earlier in the year, something we can ill afford to do again.

What Reid is willing to do is finally bring the House-passed 2012 Ryan budget proposal up for a vote, where it was voted down 57-40.  Why, all of a sudden, was he ready to bring the bill to the floor after letting it languish for more than a month?  He was striking while the political iron was hot, of course.  The NY-26 special election republican loss is being spun as a referendum against Rep. Paul Ryan's budget, particularly his take on Medicare reform.  Reid's only motive is to get republicans on record as voting for the budget so it can be used against them in the wider mediscare campaign democrats are going to embark on in the coming months in a desperate effort to keep their majority.  It's all about politicking, not the well-being of the nation.

Reid also brought President Obama's original budget proposal introduced back in February to the floor for a vote shortly after the vote on the Ryan plan, where it was defeated 97-0.  In fact, the Senate voted down not two but four budget proposals that day, without offering up even the merest hint of a plan of their own.  And try as they might to paint Rep. Ryan's proposal as "radical", it still fared a heck of a lot better than Obama's.  You'll be shocked - shocked - to learn there is zero media coverage of the complete repudiation of Obama's fiscal plans for 2012 - only the failure on party lines of the extremely extreme, radically radical Ryan proposal. 

Now that Senate democrats have put the kybosh on those budget proposals, one would expect them to introduce one of their own.  That's normally how things work.  It's really the heart of the negotiating process.  Obama's own fiscal commission cautioned against exactly what is going on right now in the preamble to their report:

"Don’t shoot down an idea without offering a better idea in its place."

So what does Reid offer in place of the budgets he just voted down?  Nothing.  Squat.  Zippo.  Nada.  Zilch.  Well, aside from the usual demagoguing, of course.  Demagoguery is rather like jello for left-wingers - there's always room for some.  Unfortunately, it makes it seem like the welfare of this country and it's people is not at the top of the list of priorities for this administration.  The agenda must be implemented, no matter how much pain it inflicts (or how vehemently it is rejected).

It's tempting to make the case for incompetence as an excuse for this bizarre budgetary inaction in the face of a potential double-dip recession.  The thing is, who's going to buy that almost an entire administration is incompetent?  It then begs the question: Does incompetency on such a grand scale deserve to be in power?

President Obama's own fiscal commission co-chair, Erskine Bowles, has called the coming fiscal collapse:

“the most predictable economic crisis in history.”

And yet, even now, this administration refuses to make any serious proposals, or even tap the brakes on the runaway spending.  Obama's 2012 budget proposal, introduced well after the fiscal commission gave it's recommendations to bring down spending and fast, actually increased spending by $200 billion over the most recent budget democrats passed - for FY 2010.  Yup, his own commission strongly recommended immediate, deep spending cuts - including entitlement spending - and Obama's response was to increase spending in his budget proposal.  Incompetence or willful negligence?

Steny Hoyer is on the record saying we are not broke and Harry Reid is lamenting the possible loss of funding for such vital necessities as cowboy poetry at the hands of those mean-spirited old republican meanie-heads.  President Obama is jetting around the globe shaking hands, kissing babies and ignoring such petty details as debt ceilings and budgets in favor of promising aid we can't afford.  In fact - and this is a longstanding issue that predates Obama but which has only increased under his administration - it turns out that there is quite a circle jerk going on with foreign aid.  We give financial aid to wealthy nations and then ask to borrow back ten times as much.  Talk about insanity!  Wall Street is faltering (if a 279 point one-day drop  and the longest slump since 2004 can be called something as mild as 'faltering'), house prices continue to tumble, inflation has caused Memorial Day celebrations to cost an estimated 29% more this year than last, gas is still over $3.60 per gallon, unemployment is back up to 9.1%, manufacturing is down, consumer confidence is dropping and experts are starting to talk about a double-dip recession again - even liberal ones

Demagoguing the issue will only be tolerated for so long; certainly not all the way up to the election .  Even some liberal talking heads are starting to remark on the lack of a fiscal plan from the left.  It's time for Harry Reid and President Obama to get serious and put up a plan for getting us out of this mess instead of just attacking others.  What sounds like great politicking inside the beltway looks like a complete disregard for the economy and the people suffering under it outside the beltway.

It's time for a democratic plan that can be compared to the republican's offerings.  Negotiation requires that both parties bring something to the table.  What is going on now is nothing more than fiddling while Rome burns.  It is said that Nero allowed Rome to burn so that he could rebuild it to his specifications.  Sound familiar?