Even as the Democrat Party was applauding President Obama’s silly War on Oil Speculators, and salivating at the thought of injecting another $52 million worth of regulators into the economy, they were continuing their disgraceful failure to discharge their actual duties… such as passing a budget for the federal government.
That’s right, voters! For the third year running, Senate Democrats decided not to offer a budget resolution… and they told us not to expect one until after the election.
Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND) was seriously thinking about getting a budget on the table, but according to The Hill, he “bowed to pressure from fellow Democrats on Tuesday and postponed a committee vote on a 2013 budget resolution, most likely until after the November elections.”
Ranking Republican Jeff Sessions (R-AL) said, “I believe Conrad was prepared to go forward … I was very, very surprised. It is very clear that members of his committee and the entire Democratic Conference and the leader did not want his members to cast votes.”
I don’t know why Senator Sessions would be “surprised” by this. The Democrats have been getting away without a budget for three years, and haven’t paid much of a price for their intransigence.
Budgets are frustrating obstacles to the acquisition of power. Even back when our titanic federal government was doing budgets, they weren’t really “budgeting” the way normal people understand the term. A budget involves allocating limited resources, setting priorities, and making sacrifices. You’re not “budgeting” when your expenses vastly exceed your income, and your response is to shrug and whip out a stack of credit cards to cover the difference… especially when those credit-card bills will be sent to your children.
It’s hard to remember this now without laughing, but once upon a time, the Democrats made a very big deal about their commitment to budgeting in the real-world sense of the term. If you aren’t a political junkie, the phrase “Pay-Go” probably means nothing to you, but that was the Democrats’ ostentatious 2006 promise that new spending would be immediately covered by spending cuts elsewhere, or tax increases, to keep the deficit from growing.
As you can see from the deficit explosion that began once Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid were in charge of Congress, and became a mushroom cloud once Barack Obama arrived in the White House, this promise didn’t last long. They loved the “tax increase” provision, of course, but they realized they don’t want to be honest about the tax increases necessary to cover their spending binges – they want to pretend faceless “millionaires and billionaires” can pay for it out of petty cash.
And they really hated the idea of reducing spending elsewhere to fund new priorities, something the rest of us have to do on a regular basis, even though we don’t like it either. In fact, the Democrats became absolutely livid when Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY) tried to make them live up to it. They wanted to conjure a fresh new shower of dollars from the sky to extend unemployment benefits, but Bunning reminded them of their Pay-Go promise. The Democrats circumvented the rule by claiming that this new spending was an “emergency,” which means they really, really, really wanted it.
Now the same party has reached three years without a budget, and abandoned all pretense of prioritizing or offsetting anything. The only limits upon Washington’s acquisition of power are the momentary passions of the electorate, and they are far easier to manipulate than a balance sheet. Once the public has accepted the basic premise of functionally unlimited government money, the concentrated enthusiasm for new spending will generally outweigh diffuse resistance to incurring further debt.
Of course, one day soon, it will become impossible to avoid paying those bills any longer, and the middle class will be astonished at the size of the tax bill mournful class warriors are simply forced to hand them… but, as Kent Conrad’s party just reminded him, that’s probably going to happen after the next election. Why create a political vulnerability by exercising responsibility?
Strict, balanced budgetary requirements are the future’s sole defense against getting pillaged by today’s politicians. We once fought a revolution against taxation without representation. The Democrat Party just dared you to do it again, this November.