While Democrats have parked themselves on TV screens and wailed uselessly about budget cuts being the functional equivalent of murder, Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky sat down and figured out how to keep the government running during a budget crisis. No “shutdown” is necessary at all… just agonizing pain for the acolytes of Big Government.
Paul has proposed the Government Shutdown Prevention Act of 2011, which he describes in detail on his website. “Absence of a continuing resolution does not shutdown government,” he explains. “My proposal seeks to alleviate the worries of people who rely on important services, and fill the gap created by non-passage of spending bills, while forcing Congress to deal with the unsustainable spending.” For the best multimedia experience, get a piece of aluminum and shake it to simulate the sound of lightning when you read the part in italics.
The first few provisions of Paul’s proposed legislation are simple enough. The Treasury pays all of our debt in full, Social Security sends out checks, and Medicare and Medicaid hum along normally. Troops are paid in full, while civilian employees of the Department of Defense get paid at 75% of normal, as do other federal employees. No one gets furloughed, and all federal employees are expected to “report for business as normal.”
Congress and the President aren’t so lucky. They get only 50% of their normal operating budget, while neither congressional representatives, nor the President, get paid until they pass a budget.
There is to be no funding for “any program created by ObamaCare,” and not a penny for “abortion services, or to agencies who provide abortion services.”
That’s all a bit uncomfortable for Democrats, but this is the part that really hurts: “All other non-personnel accounts for all other agencies that would be covered under a yearly appropriations bill are directed to operate at two-thirds of previously approved funding levels. Their budgets must be reduced by the amount saved during the emergency.”
In other words – assuming I’m following Senator Paul’s reasoning correctly – if the “emergency” lasts a month, every agency covered by annual appropriations bills loses the equivalent of one-third of a month’s funding from its budget, automatically and permanently. The longer it takes to arrive at a budget agreement, the more obvious it becomes that we didn’t need all this massive spending to begin with… and the more government flab Paul’s rules would liposuction away, without further debate.
That sounds like a great incentive to get a budget passed quickly! The longer intransigent Democrats hold out to protect big spending, the bigger the automatic budget cut becomes. Of course the Party of Abortion will never go for it – if they had the level of responsibility and discipline necessary to agree to such an idea, we wouldn’t be in this mess to begin with.