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All Da King's Men

Budget SNAFU

By David King Published: March 15, 2013

For years, I've wondered why anyone takes House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) seriously. Virtually every time I hear the woman speak, I want to cringe at the vapidity emanating from her blowhole. Her latest utterance was no exception. Here's San Fran Nan opining on the budget:

“By and large,  the approach the Republicans take is that they are there to shrink the role of government to the point where it really recalls to mind a statement of President Washington who cautioned about a political party at war with its own government...we [Democrats] don’t want any more government than we need,  but we respect the public role: public private partnerships, and putting a referee on the field . . . to monitor clean air, clean water, food safety; a cop on the beat for the protection of our neighborhoods.”

Really dumb, and an insult to our collective intelligence.

First of all, George Washington's astonished jaw would hit the floor if he witnessed the size and scope of today's federal government. He would not be on the side of the Democrats in the budgetary debate. He'd more likely call Pelosi and her ilk tyrants.

Secondly, Pelosi's statement that limiting the size of government (the evil Republican plan, cue the theme from Jaws) would somehow end clean air and water, imperil food safety, and remove cops from our neighborhoods is inane. I've grown tired of Democrats pretending limited government means NO government.  That's a bogus argument. If we can't manage to get clean air and water, safe food, and cops on the streets for $3.795 trillion (the FY2012 federal budget), then something is SERIOUSLY amiss in this country.

Let's discard Pelosi and move on to this year's competing budgets.

In the budgetary process, the President's budget proposal is supposed to come first. By law, President Obama was supposed to produce his budget by february, but Obama broke the law for the third year in a row. They say his budget will be ready sometime in April. You might wonder what Obama's penalty was for violating the law and missing the deadline. As near as I can figure, he was sentenced to play golf with Tiger Woods. !!! Not exactly three strikes and you're out. I imagine Obama's not been scared straight yet. The lesson here is, if you're powerful enough, the law doesn't apply to you. Hope and change, baby.

While we don't have the President's budget yet, the White House budgetary website page says "it is time to construct an economy that is built to last". That would certainly be a welcome change from the dizzying trillion dollar deficits we've been getting during Obama's tenure, which represents an economy that cannot possibly last, but I'm not going to hold my breath after what Obama said the other day:

“We’re not going balance the budget in 10 years because if you look at what Paul Ryan does to balance the budget, it means that you have to voucherize Medicare, you have to slash deeply into programs like Medicaid.”

This President must have a different definition of "built to last" than I do. I'll get to Ryan's budget in a minute, but Obama just blew off fiscal responsibility for another DECADE. What a loser, er, I mean, leader.

There is a positive development for Democrats in spite of President Absent's dithering. For the first time since 2009, SENATE DEMOCRATS GOT OFF THEIR FAT REARS, DID THEIR JOBS, AND HAVE PRODUCED A BUDGET PLAN !!!  Wow !!! Knock me over with a feather. Let's have a rousing golf clap for the Democrats !!! They are worth every penny we pay 'em, I tell ya. Every penny.

The Democrats say their plan, put forth by Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) will shrink the deficit by $1.85 trillion over the next decade, which is a politi-speak way of saying it will actually ADD $5.2 trillion in new debt over the next decade. Strike one. Let me check to see when the Democrats balance the budget....checking...checking....um, that would be NEVER. Strike two. The Democrats proudly proclaim that their budget runs deficits of ONLY $400-600 billion per year, as if that's a good thing. Strike three. The Democrat plan also claims to raise revenue by $975 billion via the closing of unspecified tax loopholes. Um, didn't Romney get crucified by the Democrats in 2012 for a similiar unspecified tax loophole closing proposal ?  Now the Dems are doing the same thing.  Go figure. Politics would be hilarious if it wasn't so pathetic and twisted.

The Democrats have struck out, so we better look at the Republican plan, namely, the Paul Ryan (R-WI) plan. His plan slashes $4.6 trillion from the deficits and balances the budget in ten years (2023). I consider a balanced budget within ten years kind of a minimum qualification for a serious budget proposal, so I'm still listening. The Democrats lost me by never balancing the budget.

In order to balance our budget going forward, everybody knows what has to be addressed. We have to address the growing, unsustainable, and unfunded entitlements. In particular, that means Medicare/Medicaid and rising health care costs. We either have to cut Medicare spending (or some other spending) in some way, enact some MAJOR tax increases to pay for what's coming, or do some combination of both. WIth their budget plan, the Democrats basically ignored the coming Medicare problem like the political cowards they are, and that's why they can't balance their budget. Ryan has the courage to face the problem, and to face the criticism he will receive along with it. Here are a few details:

Ryan's plan benefits from a $620 billion tax increase on the wealthy enacted in January, but will not levy any more new taxes. It calls for repeal of President Barack Obama's health care reforms for savings of $1.8 trillion.

For the third year in a row, Ryan has proposed major changes to the Medicare health care system for the elderly, converting it after 2024 to a voucher-like system that gives seniors a subsidy to purchase private health insurance or coverage through the existing fee-for-service Medicare program.

I applaud Ryan for facing the actual problem, even if I don't love his solution, but color me confused. We have a Democrat in the White House, and Democrats in control of the Senate. How in the world does Ryan think he's going to get ObamaCare repealed in such an environment ??? He CANNOT. They say politics is the art of the possible, but what Ryan's attempting here is IMPOSSIBLE.  Therefore, it's merely an exercise in futility.

In summary, we have nothing from the President, a plan from the Republicans that balances the budget but has ZERO chance of being implemented, and a plan from the Democrats that never balances the budget even though it raises taxes by a trillion dollars........in other words......Situation Normal, All Fouled Up.

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