Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Legislative Agenda Priorities
In another 'staged for TV event', President Obama stood in front of the cameras yesterday at the White House and clearly stated for the record, that the "time has come to fix once and for all" the broken system, according to an article in the UK Guardian. Now many of you might have suspected that the leader of the free world was finally accepting his responsibility for failing to deliver a budget to Congress on time, as mandated by law, in five out of the last six years in which he has served; and to finally broker a budget passed by both Houses of Congress during his tenure in office. The President's budget proposals have became rather famous (some would say instead notorious), not only for their consistent tardiness; but for being so out of line with political thought in this country that he has been unable to get even one of these proposals passed. More telling though, is that he has yet to receive a supporting vote from even one of the legislative members of his own party, let alone that of his political opposition, during this same period. If this was your assumption of his message however, like me, you would have been wrong.
Oh sure, you might have instead been looking at the President's statement as a goad to the United States Senate, a legislative house which his Democratic party has been in control of prior to and during his entire tenure in office. The Senate, for those of you who might have missed it, is the only group in Washington that's done worse on the subject of the national budget than the President. In violation of federal law themselves, Senators have consistently failed to pass a budget in each of the last four years, a record which they may finally be prepared to break. This failure, aside from allowing next to no control over the national spending process, has lived on a consistent diet of 'Continuing Resolutions' in the last few years, which does little other than continue the business as usual of automatic increases to 'Baseline Budgeting'; with annual increases and no effective limits. Budgets passed by the Republican (once known as the party of no) in the House of Representatives have been completely ignored and refused a vote by the very party that once so named them. Sorry again folks if that's what you thought though, for this laudible goal likewise had nothing to do with the President's statement.
Perhaps the President was speaking to a broader financial situation in the nation. It is once again after all, approaching another fiscal crisis as the National Debt Limit is about to be exceeded. Now the Senate budget proposal is one that seems to ignore this situation, and instead looks to increase taxes another $1 trillion dollars over increases that have already occurred either at the expiration of the Bush tax rates and the imposition of the taxes that are beginning to take effect as part of the "Affordable Health Care Act"; while never once addressing the amount of the budget that's in the red. The Congressional Budget proposal proposes no new taxes and seeks over ten years to instead balance the budget through the reduction of spending. Strangely there are actual points of agreement between the two offerings that the legislative branch is working to make larger.
Despite the claims by candidates on both sides of the aisle for both the executive and legislative branches in the last election that 'jobs are going to number one', nothing has yet been done or appears to be imminent in the budget plans in Washington DC to stimulate any other part of the economy than 'green energy'; and most of that has turned out to be throwing good money after bad to companies that only manage to provide a few temporary jobs before going bankrupt. The government has yet to come up with anything that addresses that it's spending 30% more than it's taking in, that it's paying for the debt incurred by printing money at a furious pace, selling the debt that foreign countries don't want to The Fed, and lending money to big backs at what is effectively 0% interest. Of course all of this will eventually lead to Inflation, but in the meantime the current batch of politicians is able to fiddle while the nation begins to burn; and continue to beat the dead horse of 'Sequestration' as the nag to blame for no better reason than it provides political cover for all the things that they're either too dense to recognize or too cowardly to address.
Oh, by the way. I may have forgotten to tell you what the President was talking about during his recent public event instead of what he wasn't. At a time when the President is late producing his own budget and doesn't expect to produce one until long after both the House and Senate have voted on their own proposals. At a time when fiscal cliffs pop up more often than three-day holiday weekends. At a time when the national debt has reached a level higher during his administration than at any time in its 237 year history, a debt that this President's Administration is responsible for accumulating faster than any other in its history; the President was instead looking at something entirely different than what should be the most important subject of his second term.
This President was once again changing the priorities of his legislative agenda (and that of Congress), and castigating that legislative branch for not addressing a completely different subject to his satisfaction; in spite of the fact that both Houses are working to come with a compromise for it that will pass both Houses. Instead of finally addressing an economy that the President has often called the worst since the Great Depression, the chief resident of the White House was instead attending a ceremony held instead to address something completely unrelated to the nation's economic malaise ... Immigration Policy.
Bravo Mr. President, for keeping your eye on the ball ...