The 2011 budget – a battle of words meaning nothing

Today President Obama announced that yet again, Democrats and Republicans failed to come to terms on the 2011 national budget. The difference between the 2 sides is largely $40 billion dollars. A huge sum, unless you are speaking about the amount of the American budget (roughly $3.46 trillion dollars).

The hypocricy of the arguement is highlighted by 2 key points.

First there is the reality that Democrats, in 2010, had the ability and numbers to pass ANY budget they wished all year long. Starting with the supermajority of Democrats, to the clear majorities, and then the lame-duck session of Congress, Democrats were capable of rectifying this problem – though the result would have been Government spending at even higher levels than is currently in dispute. Still that would have been a resolution.

Why was that not done in 2010? Politics.

For no reason other than Democrats feared discussing the continued spending spree in front of the American public. The major factor of this fear was that 2010 was a mid-term election year. Democrats knew that the American public favored spending reductions and a decrease in the national deficit. The backlash from the Health Care Reform, the complete failure of the Obama Stimulus, the mockery that was Cash 4 Clunkers and Cash 4 Caulkers, as well as the inattention to job creation efforts and international crisis were all leading to the rout that was the 2010 mid-term elections. Adding a debate about ever increasing Government spending would only have made the rout even broader.

Thus, the concern of Democrats in 2010 was preservation of power and political ideals – not the public. A stance that directly can be attributed to former Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and President Obama.

The other key point in the on-going debate is the reality of the economic environment that has endured since 2007. Americans across the country have had to cut back on everything. Fewer presents for kids, shorter vacations closer to home, forestalling renovations on homes and cars, overall making due with less because the money is just not there. Which says nothing of the phenomenal increases of healthcre insurance costs, hidden inflation (the reduction in portion sizes of consumables while maintaining the same price), and the millions without work for the longest extended period of time at least since the Great Depression.

In such an environment the spending of the Government has INCREASED year over year. Revenues have not improved, thus requiring greater debt borrowing – which is only marginally justifiable due to the extremely low interest rates currently. In effect the Government has done the exact opposite of the public.

Were an individual to act in the same irresponsible manner as the Government, they would likely be charged with fraud, their credit cards destroyed, placed into deep collections, their assets stripped by creditors, and disallowed to purchase anything except with cash in hand. Such an outcome is spared Government, for no apparent or beneficial reason beyond the desire to maintain political power.

Currently $40 billion dollars have been cut from the 2011 national budget, due to the short-term continuances allowed by the now Republican controlled House. This is some 6x more in cuts than originally proposed by Senater Majority Leader Harry Reid at the beginning of the year (a proposal of $6 billion in cuts). Democrats are now trying to win a popularity battle with the public in offering $33 billion in cuts, phrased as $73 billion because of the spending cuts already in place against their will.

Republicans for their part are trying to uphold a target of spending cuts of $100 billion, which many ran their (re)election bids on. Currently they are insisting on an additional $60 billion in cuts.

Even if the proposed cuts by the Democrats and Republicans were to be combined, and added to the $40 billion already established, the net total would only be $133 billion in spending cuts. That still does not amount to 10% reduction in Government spending. Which is a farce.

Americans across the country have had to reduce spending on essential items for their families some 25% in places, with many cutting back 40% or more. There are literally hundreds of thousands if not millions of Americans that have lost jobs, and/or small businesses, that have had to cut back over 65% of their spending and budgets – due to lack of work and/or gaining employment in minimun wage or entry level positions. Because that is all that is available to them, and to not do so would mean a complete loss of everything.

Comparing the experience of the public, with dramatic changes in their lifestyle and efforts to provide for their families, to the petty political partisanship of both Parties, there is no clear defense for the actions in Government.

We continue to believe that any claim denying that the Government cannot reduce spending by 10% a year is as close to a lie as is possible. Government efficiency, in EVERY Department and Agency is so inept that if they were private corporations they would have failed several decades ago. Waste of Government funds is so entrenched that it is often impossible to even determine how much waste is occuring (like the overages of the Obama Stimulus, which seems to have eluded the notice of all the major news media). Therefore the entire posturing of Democrats, Republicans and the President is merely an attempt at one thing.

Political survival in the 2012 elections.

The 2011 budget, immediately to be followed by the battle over the 2012 budget due in October, is simply the early salvos in the battle for the Presidency in 2012. The “winner” of this debate will take an early lead in the display of leadership that much of the nation has come to feel is lacking currently. Such a publicity victory will buoy frontrunners for the election cycle, possibly providing momentum through the Primaries next year.

No matter who “wins”, neither Party is acting in a manner to benefit the public. Neither is creating a spending policy that is capable of being described as other than falling off a cliff. With Democrats the fall may be slightly faster, but with Republicans the ground is rushing towards us at no safer a breakneck speed. The ultimate truth is that the national budget is unsustainable; a fact that will be beyond apparent if interest rates increase a mere 2%.

Summarily, listening to President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and House Speaker Boehner point fingers and posture on television only provides us one thought. Where are the politicians that are actually concerned with the ultimate good of the nation and the public?

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About the Author

Michael Vass
Born in 1968, a political commentator for over a decade. Has traveled the U.S. and lived in Moscow and Tsblisi, A former stockbroker and 2014 Congressional candidate. Passionate about politics with emphasis on 1st and 2nd Amendments.

2 Comments on "The 2011 budget – a battle of words meaning nothing"

  1. The US budget in 2010 is not $1.6 trillion, but $3.46 trillion.

    Source: http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/120xx/doc12039/HistoricalTables%5B1%5D.pdf

  2. Rob,

    I stand corrected. I was thinking of the deficit. But I will amend the article. Thank you for noticing.

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