Well we’ve gotten through a tiny, 2.3 percent reduction in the scheduled growth of federal spending — the big nothing burger called “sequester” that the political class and the media tried to portray as “massive” and “enormous” and “severe” and whatever else.
You know, it’s funny: When I was running for president, political types had a problem with my candidacy because my background (among other things) was in running a pizza company and not in politics.
Even the most incompetent pizza company executive in America would have no trouble cutting 2.3 percent from a budget without going into histrionics about the onset of doom and despair. But those who are steeped in the ways of Washington politics run screaming from the building at the mere thought of it.
Now it’s on to the next crisis — the potential government shutdown that looms over expiration of the continuing resolution — not to be confused with the last crisis over the fiscal cliff, or the just-passed sequester crisis, which is not to be confused with the debt ceiling crisis of this year or last year.
Remember when a crisis was, say, thousands endangered by some disaster? Now we’ve grown accustomed to the idea that a “crisis” is the mere refusal of our elected leaders to perform the most basic functions of their jobs without tempting the fate of institutional collapse every few months.
This has become so common that I wonder if people have forgotten how grownups would run the government. It would work (and has worked throughout our history until Barack Obama became president) like this:
The president proposes a budget. The Senate proposes a budget. The House proposes a budget. All three are different, but no one freaks out about this because it’s a normal part of the process.
Through negotiations, the three parties come to an agreement they can live with, and a budget passes both houses and is signed into law by the president. This is supposed to happen like clockwork every year. Thus, all questions about spending, taxation and so forth are answered for the coming year.
There are no automatically expiring tax rates that loom at the end of the calendar year.
There is no expiration of spending authority in the spring. There is no showdown every 18 months or so over borrowing authority.
This is all taken care of, once a year, in this strange thing called a budget, which the Constitution says we are supposed to have, but which Barack Obama, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi have not bothered to pass or even propose since 2009. Their preferred method of governing is a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants, make-it-up-as-you-go-along game.
They get by with a series of constantly expiring continuing resolutions, complete with a never-ending array of temporary tax measures and massive borrowing that is always bumping us up against the statutory debt limit.
Reid would have you believe that a budget is a silly idea — an impossible task during a time of divided government. He is counting on you not to know your history.
This is hardly the first time in America that power has been divided between the two parties. During the first six years of the Reagan presidency, the Senate was Republican and the House was Democratic.
They didn’t agree on much, but we still had a budget passed into law every year. Was it a battle? Oh yes. But it got done. No one thought it was an option to simply not bother with it. We didn’t have the constant intrigue of a huge fiscal showdown every few months back in those days. And no one seemed to mind, either.
By the way, it takes both houses and the president’s signature to enact these continuing resolutions, so don’t let anyone tell you that partisan gridlock is the reason we don’t have a budget. Congress can pass what it really wants to pass. The Democrats don’t want a budget because a) they don’t want to document their irresponsible borrowing and spending in a way that everyone can see; and b) they benefit politically from these constant showdowns with Republicans, as the lapdog media always portrays the GOP as the bad guys.
The Republicans don’t insist on a budget because, if the Democrats refuse and the GOP hangs tough, it threatens a government shutdown. Republicans are afraid of the beating they would take from the media if that were to happen.
So we have a government that does not budget and does not govern, but keeps itself busy with the constant task of managing the crises it knowingly and willingly manufactures. All the while the media covers the intrigue, but misses the larger point that this is not how responsible people do their jobs.
Following the conclusion of his presidential campaign, Herman Cain established The Cain Solutions Revolution, an organization whose mission is to educate the public and advocate for the policy solutions that drove his campaign for the presidency. Read more reports from Herman Cain — Click Here Now.
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