The Budget Tragicomedy in Congress

The drama is overwrought, and the debate is thundering.  But the substance is trifling.

On february 20 The Republican House of Representatives passed a bill that would cut a mere $61 Billion from the Obama’s $3.5 Trillion spending plan for 2011. My first reaction was disappointment after such big talk during the campaign.  

I was considering a scornful critique of the GOP when the Democrats distracted me with hysterical language that was even more out of touch with reality than the the GOP’s timorous spending cuts.  Senator John Kerry was typical.  Appearing on Face the Nation he bellowed:

I don’t believe what we have from the House is a serious economic plan. I think it’s a ideological extremist reckless statement. If– if that were to be in fact, put in place, it would– it would contribute to the reversal of our recovery. It might even destroy our recovery. It will certainly deny us the competitiveness that we need to go– to– to move with China, India and other countries into the future. I think it’s a very dangerous plan.

On the floor of the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called the trifling cuts mean-spirited and actually defended an annual appropriation for the “Cowboy Poetry Festival” in his home state of Nevada.

President Obama and Senate Democrats placed a counter offer on the table: $6 billion in cuts, a number so small it must have been meant as a joke.

To reduce the government’s fiscal position to more easily grasped numbers imagine a family with an income of $6,000 per month after taxes.  Imagine that by continuously borrowing they have managed to spend

$10,000 every month for years.  Finally Mom & Dad begin to think maybe they should cut back a little.

Mom suggests they cut one of dinners the family eats in fine restaurants each month, saving about $160 or 1.6% of their spending, as the Republicans proposed.  They would still be borrowing $3,840 every month.

But Dad says that’s just too much to handle right now.  He would rather commit to one less family outing to the ice cream store each month, saving $20 or 0.2% as the Democrats propose.

Congress is no less absurd and irresponsible than this family.  It’s time for mass emailing.

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