Editorial: Dems Refuse To Deal With Their Fiscal Mess
Leadership: It's been over two years since the Democrat-led Senate last passed a budget, a fact that puts it squarely in violation of the law. So when will the arrests begin?
We say that only partly tongue in cheek, because the refusal of Democrats in Congress to pass a budget or take meaningful steps to head off our looming fiscal disaster is nothing short of a national disgrace.
This hasn't happened since the budget rules were changed in 1974. Though required by law to pass a budget, Democrats have just said no. Yet the media have largely given them a pass on this willful lawlessness. Why?
In the recent budget talks, Democrats have whined about Republicans not agreeing to raise taxes as part of a budget deal. But the Republicans have put up plans, serious plans, to cut spending, debt and deficits. What have the Democrats produced? Nothing.
President Obama issued a do-nothing, status-quo plan in February that even members of his own party took as a joke. It was voted down last week 97-0 in the Senate.
Next, the president asked for a "clean vote" — without any pesky spending cuts added — on raising the nation's debt limit by $2.4 trillion. He got one Tuesday, and lost by a convincing 318-97 margin in the House.
Even so, Republicans on Wednesday trudged dutifully to the White House for talks on the budget and future spending. If they hoped for anything concrete from the president, they were disappointed. Other than vague promises that he'd be "generous" in any dealmaking, Obama again produced no specific proposals that could be scored by congressional budget makers.
"We have a budget crisis," said House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, speaking Wednesday on the House floor. "We've got a $1.5 trillion deficit. We've got a debt that is getting out of control. And what do you do when you have a problem like that? You pass a budget."
Why have Democrats gone rogue and refused to address our fiscal mess or even propose a budget? Pure politics. Simply put, they don't want to face the voters after raising spending nearly a third in just two years.
So they do nothing. Well, not nothing. They've called for massive, economy-killing tax hikes.
Obama and congressional Democrats blame President Bush and the GOP for the budget mess — as if they'd done nothing to create it. Talk about chutzpah.
Well, for the record, in Bush's last year in office, the deficit was just $258 billion; this year, the red ink will hit $1.7 trillion, a 559% jump.
Spending in 2008 stood at $2.9 trillion; this year, it'll reach $3.8 trillion, up 31%. As for total federal debt, it's soared 44% from $9.9 trillion to $14.3 trillion.
Absent a budget deal by the middle of July, Moody's says it may cut America's credit rating to reflect the likelihood of a default. But, as the GOP knows, it's hard to make a budget deal when only one side is dealing.
Far worse, unless spending is cut sharply and future debt is curbed, millions will remain unemployed and the economy will continue to sputter — perhaps for decades to come. Is that what the scofflaw Democrats meant by "hope and change"?