The great budget train wreck in Congress
April 8, 2011 at 8:01 p.m.
Updated April 8, 2011 at 11:09 p.m.
The current furor over the national budget is ample proof of the fact that federal budgets should be completed in time and based on reality, and not based on welfare-state politics.
Instead, Congress keeps kicking the can down the road by enacting so-called CRs (Continuing Resolutions) that have become nothing more than legislation that allows Congress to enact all the legislation they could not get through standing on their own.
Example: the infamous Boland Amendments (1982 and 1984), which while outlawing assistance to the Contras fighting the leftist Nicaraguan government, at the same time allowed assistance to them for what was called "other purposes."
That's called "weasel wording."
Let's face facts. The government of the United States of America is broke - flat broke. We are up to our ears in debt, thanks to Congresses that spent money that wasn't there on programs not needed, but created to buy votes with the voters' money, piling a mountain of debt on our children and grandchildren.
My father, President Reagan, fought the battle of the budget by finding areas of agreement with Congress, and went on from there to hammer out a budget.
Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., has offered what he calls a "roadmap for the future," which attempts to deal with the looming fiscal and economic crisis created by the ever-burgeoning federal spending on health care.
His roadmap would, in the words of Heritage Foundation experts Robert Moffit and Kathryn Nix, "reduce the deficit, allow Medicare to become truly sustainable, establish equity and efficiency in the federal tax treatment of health insurance and improve access to health care for middle-class and low income families."
While Washington burns, however, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and President Obama continue to play the legislative fiddle as did Nero when Rome was afire. To them, the welfare of the Socialist-leaning Democrat Party comes before the welfare of this nation.
House Republicans are proposing more than $4 trillion in federal spending cuts over the next 10 years by reshaping popular programs like Medicare, the Budget Committee chairman said Sunday, setting off a new battle in the budget wars
Appearing on "Fox News Sunday," Rep. Ryan said Republicans would call for strict caps on all government spending, requiring cuts to take effect whenever Congress exceeds those limits.
"We are going to put out a plan that gets our debt on a downward trajectory and gets us to a point of giving our next generation a debt-free nation," Rep. Ryan said, even as he predicted that the politically charged initiatives he intended to lay out in the 2012 budget beginning Tuesday would give Democrats a "political weapon to go against us."
"But they will have to lie and demagogue to make that a political weapon," he said.
Democrats quickly proved him correct when liberal Democratic political strategists such as Donna Brazile assailed fiscal conservatives for "taking medicine from seniors" and cutting taxes for "the rich and their corporate donors."
That's called demagoguery! And, of course, it's untrue.
Now looming in the immediate future is the possibility that the government might be shut down if an agreement on the budget cannot be reached.
That cannot be allowed to happen. It is not in the interests of the American people for the government to shut down.
Congress is fighting over some $73 billion - a pittance in relation to the entire budget. They need to get their act together and pass a budget based on reality.
Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan, a political consultant, and the author of "The New Reagan Revolution" (St. Martin's Press, 2011). He is the founder and chairman of The Reagan Group and president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation. Email comments to Reagan@caglecartoons.com.