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Concealing the grim budget news

Posted by Richard on May 26, 2010

Rick Manning of Americans for Limited Government:

House Democrats plan to leave the country without a budget according to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer who stated, “It’s difficult to pass budgets in election years because they reflect what the [fiscal] status is.”

Now that’s courage, leadership and transparency.

Remember, the Democrats hold 59% of the seats in the House with a 255 to 176 advantage over the Republicans, yet it is too hard to put a budget together?

For perspective, consider election year 2002 when Speaker Dennis Hastert enjoyed a slender 222 to 211 advantage, yet our nation was not left without a budget.

The ranking Republican on the House Budget Committee, Paul Ryan, has called this decision, “an unprecedented failure to govern.”

I call it unprecedented cowardice and dereliction of duty.

I call it a calculated and cynical attempt to hide the ugly truth from the American people during the run-up to the November elections. Will it work? Maybe not this time. Michael Barone thinks there's something different about the current mood of the country: 

It has long been a maxim of political scientists that American voters are ideologically conservative and operationally liberal. That is another way of saying that they tend to oppose government spending in the abstract but tend to favor spending on particular programs.

In the past, rebellions against fiscal policy have concentrated on taxes rather than spending.

The rebellion against the fiscal policies of the Obama Democrats, in contrast, is concentrated on spending. The Tea Party movement began with Rick Santelli's rant in February 2009, long before the scheduled expiration of the Bush tax cuts in January 2011.

What we are seeing is a spontaneous rush of previously inactive citizens into political activity, a movement symbolized but not limited to the Tea Party movement, in response to the vast increases in federal spending that began with the TARP legislation in fall 2008 and accelerated with the Obama Democrats' stimulus package, budget and health care bills.

The Tea Party folk are focusing on something real. Federal spending is rising from about 21% to about 25% of gross domestic product — a huge increase in historic terms — and the national debt is on a trajectory to double as a percentage of gross domestic product within a decade. That is a bigger increase than anything since World War II.

I hope Barone is right — and that this long-overdue revolt against government spending is not too little or too late. 

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