Saturday, November 25, 2006

The debt owed to (or rather, owned by) the Republicans

The Republicans in congress have not only had a pitiful record of balancing budgets but cannot even bring themselves to pass a budget for the current budget year. In place of a budget they are presenting the American public with continuing resolutions for temporary funding of our national defense as well as the rest of the federal government with continued deficit spending. This is from the party that had prided itself in the past for fiscal responsibility.

Yesterday’s New York Times put it this way:
The departing Republican majority in the U.S. Congress is about to leave the nation a memorial to its own shameful history as the grand enabler of record debt and deficits. Republican leaders are preparing to walk away from their most basic constitutional responsibility - passing a budget.

Instead of finishing work on government spending bills needed for the next year, they're reported to be planning nothing more than a cut- and-paste, short-term continuing resolution, leaving the mess to the incoming Democrats in January.

Stopgap resolutions create a budget autopilot that does not allow for shifting conditions and costs in education, housing and other major agencies. Conservative Republicans have the gall to portray themselves as principled budget hawks blocking pork- barrel spending "earmarks" - this after years of earmarking and rubber- stamping the upper-bracket tax cuts of President George W. Bush that tossed all budget discipline to the four winds. The Republicans depart leaving the nation in ever deeper hock to China and other potent bankers, with taxpayers stuck with the bill.

The Democratic majority will have more than enough to do in preparing the 2008 budget plan and dealing with an estimated $130 billion supplemental bill from the White House to continue the Iraq war. The new leadership must begin moving the government back toward the "pay- go" discipline that produced budget surpluses a decade ago. In a grim way, it's fitting that a dis-elected majority slink off in a final bit of the budgetary hubris that marked their incumbency. Far from budget hawks, they enter Capitol history as fiscal four-flushers.

1 comment:

Early Riser said...

This obsession with debt and deficits is a distraction. Yes, the numbers are big... you have to, however, look at them in a relative sense. Our current 'national debt' is about 65% of our ANNUAL GDP. Quite reasonable as compared to other industrialized nations.