It has been very quietly announced that Congress will be unable to pass the FY2011 budge. According to Nancy Pelosi, Congress has been very busy, just not on the things they are specifically responsible for accomplishing, like shaping a budget and balancing revenues (via taxes, and duties) with outlays for general welfare and government. Approving the budget, ensuring that our government’s system of checks and balances is functioning properly is one of Congress’ most important responsibilities. Under President Obama’s leadership, our Congressional leaders, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, decided that other more pressing and demanding issues must be urgently addressed than to perform their primary Constitutional duties.
They have been busy designing government directives that delve into every part of our lives. Right now, for example, Congress is ramping up efforts to push through an set of new regulations and expand a government takeover of much of the energy sector of the economy. Congressman Waxman held all hearings and felt compelled to include legislation requiring specific lights for private pools and legislating the temperature of hot tubs. Some members of Congress have turned their attention to baseball, and a botched umpire call that cost a Detroit Tigers pitcher a perfect game. It seems that Congress, with nothing more important to do, is turning its full attention to calling a man out at first base.
They have also had to deal with the oil spill crisis. Apparently the President, in assuming full responsibility for the government response, needed the support of congress. So they did one of the things they do best, they held more hearings to investigate the situation and attempt to fix blame. Of course in doing this they felt the best way to find out what happened was not asking the people working on the oil rig what happened. They did not call in the federal safety inspectors to find out why they had not required federal regulations to be followed and issued permits without actually inspecting the rig or equipment. No, they felt the best way to find out what happened was to call in the CEO of the company, a man who had been several thousand miles away at the time of the incident and had no day to day operational control or even contact, and after telling him that the company was being investigated and likely would be charged criminally, they asked him if BP made mistakes. Brilliant questions, artfully done and achieving exactly what you'd expect "I'm sorry, I was not there, I don't know".
At the same time, Speaker Pelosi has pushed through an almost endless stream of new legislation that expands entitlements and government spending on everything from health care, housing, unemployment, education, and even support for a small rodent called the Harvest Marsh mouse. While doing all this, she has had time to give speeches telling people it is OK to quite your job because the Democrats have made it so you won’t loose your health care. She has even told Catholic priests to ignore the separation of church and state clause of the Constitution (as long as they use the pulpit to tell people to support her social agenda).
The result has been that Congress hasn’t stepped up to its Constitutional responsibilities and approved an annual budget. So far, we have only seen silliness, and a never-ending stream of new government spending. The acknowledgment and acceptance by Pelosi, Reid and Obama that congress is unlikely to pass the budget illustrates their colossal incompetence and ignorance of consequences.
The federal budget (despite what the Obama Administration tries to tell Americans) is just like a budget for any business or family--just a lot bigger. No family focuses exclusively on expenditures or avoids paying for all its expenses, but that is exactly what our congress has done. They have no plan, nor any intention to develop a plan, to pay for these indulgences.
In failing to pass a federal budget, the Congress not only abdicates their Constitutional responsibility, but they allow the nation’s fiscal problems to worsen. Without a budget, Congress encourages inefficient programs and failed efforts that are supposed to be reviewed for effectiveness are allowed to limp on.
In the Gulf of Mexico, we see a painful example of these consequences. The Interior Department’s Minerals Management Service, in the news for their inability to effectively review drilling in the deep ocean, was, instead, focusing attention and $550,000 in tax payer money studying the giant squid. Without firm budgetary discipline, agencies often lose their focus.
It gets worse. Without a federal budget, pork spending projects that divert taxpayer money to special projects rewarding key constituencies is made much easier (something Harry Reid knows very well). Pork projects are easy to slip into one of the many bills, thereby bypassing the normal budgetary process required of any new spending bill. Congressional cowardice and irresponsibility at its best.
The November mid-term elections just cannot get here soon enough. We will all have to pay for their incompetence, and it is past time to find a more competent group of leaders then Obama, Reid, and Pelosi.
A little Musical Diversion: