(Published in the Leavenworth Times, April 21, 2011)
When two parties have opposite views and opposing basic principles, strife happens.
The continuing resolutions to finance the government and the threats or reality of government shutdown, are the result of this strife. The truly sad thing is, it could have been avoided it the President and the Congress had done their job last year. They failed to pass a budget for fiscal 2010-11. We have operated on continuing resolutions since last October, the beginning of this fiscal year. Each CR left just enough time for Congress to pass the next one. At last, we have agreement for now. No more CR’s in the 2011 budget.
In January of 2009, Democrats gained total control of government. They held complete power until January of this year, at which time control of the House was taken over by Republicans, which left the Presidency and the Senate under the Democrats. During their period of total control, Democrats raised federal spending so much that the projected deficit for this fiscal year is around 1,600 billion (1.6 trillion) dollars. This will add to the 14,000 billion (14 trillion) dollar national debt, which is about equal to the annual gross domestic product (GDP) of the United States. Much of the debt is held by China. That is a signal to other countries that perhaps they should no longer trust the dollar as the world’s reserve currency. It threatens the possibility of a major economic collapse, probably characterized by massive inflation. Other countries which have allowed their debt to balloon out of control are experiencing severe economic problems. Greece, Portugal, Ireland, and Spain are examples.
It is amazing to many that the President doesn’t seem to see the urgency of our financial situation. He did propose a budget for the next fiscal year – at least he did that much of his job – which was dead on arrival in the House because it proposed no meaningful reduction of spending. His total lack of leadership on the debt and the deficit was obvious.
Our constitution gives the power to initiate fiscal legislation solely to the House. When they create and pass a budget or an appropriation, if the Senate rejects it, the House is under no obligation to create another one. Shutting down the government, if the Senate or the President has rejected a continuing resolution, an appropriation, or a budget duly passed by the House, can only be blamed on the Senate and the President.
There is much demagoguery going on. (Demagogue – as a noun, a leader who obtains power by means of impassioned appeals to the emotions and prejudices of the populace. As a verb, one who acts as a demagogue.) The current group of Democrats are, in my opinion, major demagogues, and use prejudice and emotion rather than logic to defend their position and attack Republican efforts at fiscal responsibility. They misrepresent or ignore facts in the process. They ignore the will of the people, as expressed last November.
The truth is, they need to recognize that America is in a fiscal crisis, and we can’t “keep kicking the can down the road” – passing the problem on to future politicians so that current ones don’t have to take any risk.
The resolution of the debt ceiling and the 2012 budget with possible serious entitlement reductions are the new battles. President Obama could aggressively go after the debt and the deficit, thereby enhancing his chances for re-election. But I believe that he, the Democrats, and the RINO’s — Republicans in name only — will merely say they are making a real effort, but will try to block significant changes – and baffle us with smoke, mirrors, and demagoguery.
I’m betting they’ll try to give the can another kick.