Column - When politics and budgets collide -- we end up paying the pricePoliticians have a very nasty thing they have to deal with, and they avoid it as much as they can. It is called a budget, and we have not seen one out of Washington, D.C. for over three years. You may ask, “How can they run the government without a budget?”
By: DuWayne Paul, Echo Press columnist, Alexandria Echo Press
Politicians have a very nasty thing they have to deal with, and they avoid it as much as they can. It is called a budget, and we have not seen one out of Washington, D.C. for over three years. You may ask, “How can they run the government without a budget?”
There are two reasons for that. The first is simple. They just don’t want to deal with it. It is a very unpleasant thing to either tell the public that they have to pay more in taxes or they have to take less in government benefits and programs.
The second reason is called a “continuing resolution,” which is a way of writing the checks without a budget. This method allows Washington politicians to take a vote every few months to spend more money and keep the government in business — all of it without accountability.
Congress is obligated by law to submit a budget every year. That law has been broken for three years running and they get around it by using continuing resolutions. The House of Representatives has sent over 20 budget proposals to the Senate, and not one of them has even been heard in the Senate Budget Committee.
So, why can’t they make a budget? In considering current revenues and expenditures of the federal government, it is impossible to balance a budget; and therefore, it is too politically explosive and painful to deal with the truth and the reality of the situation.
The federal debt (what we owe) is projected to be $26 trillion by 2021.
Recently I did more than just wonder about this and looked into the current proposed federal budget submitted by the White House (not passed or utilized). The numbers are startling and sobering. This budget proposal lays out 10 years of budgets starting with the raw numbers of the most previous year (2011). Just looking at year 2012 tells me that there is “something very wrong in Who Ville.”
In Table S-5 on page 210 of the Proposed Budget by Category, it tells us where the money is to be spent. Here are the basic numbers for 2012:
1) The federal government will take in about $2.5 trillion and spend about $3.8 trillion, resulting in a $1.3 trillion deficit. That money has to be borrowed. We are borrowing about 35 percent of what we spend. That is like using your credit card for 35 percent of your expenses, not paying it off, and piling on another 35 percent to your credit card balance every month.
2) Of the $3.8 trillion in expenditures, $2.47 trillion are for mandatory programs (Social Security, Medicare, etc.) and $1.32 trillion are for discretionary spending (security, education, energy, etc.).
3) $230 billion is spent on interest for the debt. In simple terms, the mandatory spending and interest payments are obligated, and the only way to balance the budget is to eliminate the federal government. (We spend $1.3 trillion on discretionary government spending and we have a $1.3 trillion deficit.)
Should the federal government be shut down? Of course not. We need a government as set up by our Constitution in the form of a republic. Here is what I suggest:
Elect our politicians based on the following principles. 1) Admit the problem; 2) Explain the problem no matter how painful it is; and 3) All of us have to face the pain of fixing it. That pain is in reforming entitlements, reducing spending, and creating a fairer and more appropriate tax code.
I’m just sayin.
“We might come closer to balancing the budget if all of us lived closer to the Commandments and the Golden Rule.”
— Ronald Reagan
DuWayne Paul of Alexandria is a regular contributing columnist for the Echo Press.