01.25.2012 11

1000 Days of Dysfunction

Caricature of Harry ReidBy Howard Rich — When U.S. President Barack Obama strides into the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives this week to deliver his fourth State of the Union address, it will mark exactly 1,000 days since the Democratic-controlled U.S. Senate has passed a budget.

The last time the Senate passed a budget was April 29, 2009 – three months after Obama was sworn into office. Since then the federal government has spent $9.4 trillion – including $4.1 trillion in money it didn’t have (and thus had to borrow from future generations of taxpayers). As a result the U.S. debt has soared from $11.1 to $15.2 trillion over the past 1,000 days – and is projected to climb to $16.4 trillion by the end of 2012.

Does this sound like responsible stewardship of taxpayer resources to you?

In fairness to the dysfunctional Senate there is plenty of budgetary blame to go around, though. In 2010, for example, the Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives failed to pass a budget for the first time in 36 years – neglecting to perform what their own Majority Leader once referred to as “the most basic function of governing.”

Why didn’t the House pass a spending plan that year? The same reason the Senate refuses to do so today – sheer spinelessness.

“No one wants to spell out what they would do given that the choices are humongous deficits or tough policy choices, all in an incredibly tense election year,” Maya MacGuineas, president of the bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, said two years ago. “The budget never really had a chance.”

Another reason? In 2010 House leaders were too busy concocting procedural loopholes to force Obamacare down our throats, creating yet another costly long-term obligation at a time when taxpayers can’t afford to pay for government’s existing entitlement behemoths. And while Republicans in Congress unanimously opposed Obamacare – it’s worth noting that many of the GOP’s loudest critics previously supported President George W. Bush’s ill-conceived prescription drug benefit, part of a dramatic ramp-up in federal spending that took place under the guise of “compassionate conservatism.”

And while the Republican-controlled U.S. House did pass a budget in 2011, its leaders in both chambers have been far too eager to accommodate Democrats in reaching short-term spending “compromises.”

Regardless of which chamber or party is responsible for the dysfunction, though, failing to pass an annual appropriations bill is inexcusable fiscal policy.

When government is funded in monthly or bi-monthly fits and starts (called “continuing resolutions”) the very worst in Washington spending habits are perpetuated. Meanwhile desperately-needed spending reforms are ignored. The result is a budgetary climate in which short-term deals aimed at averting immediate political consequences take precedence over a long-overdue reprioritization of core government functions.

Failing to pass an annual budget puts politicians’ desire to approve high-time spending on steroids – causing them to “kick the can down the road” even faster than usual, resulting in bad decisions, bigger deficits and more debt.

Six years ago, then-U.S. Senator Obama had some harsh words for Republicans on this very subject.

“America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership,” Obama correctly observed at the time.

Sadly, both our debt and Washington’s “failure of leadership” have assumed truly frightening dimensions under his watch – with disastrous consequences for our nation.

Despite the unprecedented barrage of new government spending over the last 1,000 days, a record 146.4 million Americans are now classified as poor or low income – including 13 million Americans who are currently unemployed. A record 46 million Americans are on food stamps, and 22 percent of our nation’s children are living in poverty.

Against such a backdrop, it is Washington’s responsibility to acknowledge the failure of its current approach to budgeting and embark on a path that reverses our current course and puts the private sector in charge of promoting prosperity. Maintaining the status quo in Washington with respect to the budget will not only add explosive power to a ticking fiscal time bomb, it will perpetuate the descent of our nation into third world status.

The author is chairman of Americans for Limited Government.

  • Marcelle Ward

    And this is exactly why rich folks are richer and poor folks are poorer? Is this the reason why? Nonsense. This is the greatest disparity among poor and rich that there has ever been, statistically, since the Great Depression. I despise cowards like you spouting boundless arguments through witless blogs, hiding behind your sheer will to see the Republican regime put back in place. You sicken me.

  • Anonymous

    Are you kidding me? Have you not read about the facts of who was in charge and for how long??  Republicans have done their fair share of damage, so I do not applaud their record. But the dems were in charge of both houses for six years until Congress was taken back by Republicans. EVERY bill passed for job creation, budget have been either vetoed by the Senate or just not even brought up for consideration by Harry Reid.  If the dems were really interested in improving and creating jobs, and restoring the greatness of our nation…they would honestly work with Republicans and others who only ask for consideration of the very bills that would help all of us.
    I am sick to death of Reid, Pelosi and some others (in both parties) who are only interested in obstructionism and being little despots! 

  • Anonymous

    what can you expect from the weazel reid

  • Wayne

    You’ve made a good point, but take it to the next level. So-called ‘moderate’ republicans are as much to blame as anyone for allowing the dems to get away with all of this. Let’s quit pointing fingers. Let’s bombard these knuckleheads with so much e-mail and tweets that they’re forced to do what they were elected to do.

  • Harold

    You were already sick, don”t blame it on anyone else.  Anyone who would vote for a socialist has to be sick or mentally impaired!

  • Anonymous

    Thus, the reason we have the new book “Throw Them All Out”.  Sorry, I don’t have the author’s name on hand right now, but you can Google it.

    These SOBs in Congress (both parties) have gone 1000 days w/o a budget.  Try doing that in your house, and let’s see how long you stay married!

    I’m so sick and tired of these bums living off the taxpayer’s dime and what do we get in return — more big govt., more loss of freedoms, more lying from these politicians, a DOJ that is more akin to a DOI (Dept. of Injustice).  I’m telling you America, are you as sick and tired of all this BS we keep getting hammered with every day, 365 days a year?!  Well, I am damnit!

    I can’t wait for Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Cold Case Posse report on Obama’s past and whether or not he’s eligible to be POTUS.  Well, c’mon people, we already know he’s not eligible, but we have to be good little puppets and PROVE he’s not eligible.  O.k., if that’s what we must do, so be it.

    Thanks Judge Malihi in Georgia.  Your a good man.  Many thanks and praises for actually honoring your oath of office.  I do know one thing, and that is Obama’s not going to be in your court tomorrow on the 26th.  Oh no, he’s much too busy doing the people’s work to be bothered with appearing in your court to actually prove he’s eligible to be on the ballot for president.  God forbid, he’s the PRESIDENT!  President, schmezident, PROVE YOUR NOT A FRAUD, OBAMA AND WE’LL PROMISE TO LICK YOUR BOOTS.  Fair enough?!

  • Anonymous

    “Let’s bombard these knuckleheads with so much e-mail and tweets that they’re forced to do what they were elected to do.” O.k., but first let’s get the evil out of our govt. starting with the ineligible Obama and then we really need to get Holder out of there.  Both of these criminals are just that, criminals.  They’ve usurped their positions and are utterly despicable people.  They don’t come more un-American than they do!


    But, isn.t this what the Imposter Wanted?

  • DEL

    If all these billionnares love this country so much why don,t they pool some of there weath and bail this mess where in out Also all these ceo that took us working peoples money.There the weazel.Capitalism now is for rich not the poor.A handful had all the wealth in the thirtys and we had a depression.We call it greed…

  • Fatgunman

    Del, What you said should embarrass you because of the lack of thought. The “Eat the rich” baloney dismisses one vital thing, mathematics. Sir a billionaire owns assets in excess of 1 billion dollars. One trillion dollars is far in excess of any group of billionaires you would like to strip. The fact is that a billionaires assets are usually not all that liquid. So this would not work, but if you stripped all USA millionaires and billionaires and became so opressive and communiost that you drove all production and their jobs from our shores and left the upper middleclass and the “rich” with just their clothes on their backs. It still woul d come nowhere close to satifying the debt that congress and Obama alias Soetoro have gotten us into. You couldn’t get close. What you need to do before you embarass yourself by going from Gramschism to straight out Marxism Is to go where there is a graphical representation of what 1 trillion dolars looks like, obviously the numbers are not sinking in. Also sign up for the next Econ. 101 class and go to the clossest mint so that you can see the bills being printed.  You see the government is the one who prints money and it is they who took your money. We do not have a “Zero sum” system. The government raises taxes when they want to and they print money when they want to. one of their popular games is to print money to cover their debt. Money in excess of what is needed by the economy. This extra money in the system reduces your dollars value  and you and I struggle to buy a pot roast at the grocery store while Moochelle Obama spends millions on her tripps to Spain and Africa etc. Look at her new 2 thousand dollar dress. Now look at your $40.00 Jeans. Now what did she do to get that money? You worked for your jeans. She planted a garden and preached about nutrition. the last time the government was after us to plant a garden was just before rationing. Think ThinkThink!

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