Free Markets, Free People

Disaster relief and budget offsets

I guess I just don’t get this, given our fiscal shape.  Yesterday the GOP House passed a continuing resolution to fund the government until November (since we haven’t had a budget passed in the House for almost 3 years).  In it is a provision that pays for disaster relief by cutting spending elsewhere.   In other words, it tries to balance new spending on one side, even if the spending is on disaster relief, by cutting planned spending on the other side.   It is called prioritizing.   We all do it.  If the car breaks and it is going to cost $1,500 we may shave $1,500 dollars worth of vacation off of the planed vacation.  Household economics.  The car is a greater priority than a full 2 weeks of vacation.

However, when it comes to the government it seems that normal everyday concepts like living within your means somehow becomes a “dangerous precedent”.  Really?   Here’s TPM’s take:

But the bill received almost no Democratic support and faces an uncertain future in the U.S. Senate because Republicans have used the funding bill as a vehicle for disaster relief money, and insisted it be paid for by slashing funds for jobs programs Democrats support. Dems say the GOP legislation provides insufficient aid, and sets a dangerous precedent by requiring those funds to be offset with partisan budget cuts.

Yes indeed … removing the lefty modifiers to get to the real heart of the point, you are left wondering “why is this a bad thing”

“Dems say the GOP legislation provides … aid, and sets a … precedent by requiring those funds to be offset with … budget cuts”.

Uh, yes, yes, a thousand times yes.  Please, set the precedent, by all means.   That’s how all the rest of us do our business daily for heaven sake. 

Oh, and it is precisely the message the GOP candidates who won in the 2010 landslide were charged with doing.  Never mind the partisan nonsense from the Dems – insufficient aid is a matter of opinion obviously, the precedent is dangerous only because it requires disciplined spending offset by like cuts elsewhere and “partisan” budget cuts are only partisan to the side who’s ox is being gored.

The fact remains that this is how the House needs to routinely do business.  When something comes along that takes priority over something else for which spending was planned, the plan is changed.   The answer is rarely “go borrow money and do both”.

When it is, you end up in $14 trillion dollar debt.   I still don’t understand what it is about that concept that Democrats just can’t seem to grasp.

"It would be my hope that there would be some split the difference, the Republicans would come out and say we’re not going to go as high as you wanted…and we will have no offset. That I think would be a reasonable place to be," Pelosi said.

Yeah, that’s business as usual.  That’s why we’re in debt up to our necks.  No.  No thank you, Ms. Pelosi.  From a thousand little compromises like that grows economy crushing debt.  We’re there.  We’ve proven that.   No more.  That is no longer (not that it ever was) a “reasonable place to be”.  And it isn’t “radical” or “extreme” to point it out or ask that offsets be a part of any spending plan.

It’s sane.


Twitter: @McQandO

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11 Responses to Disaster relief and budget offsets

  • Sets a precedent that can always be undone when times are good again.
    “split the difference” with a lady who marched around with a big wooden hammer? No thanks.
    Off topic…what’s that Vicious Capitalism button thingy?

  • If one side wants to lower the debt and the other side wants to increase the debt by 10%, why is increasing the debt by 5% called compromise? It should be called losing by the side that wants lower debt.

    • You are obviously not a Democrat. Or a Republican. This has been a fine old Republian tradition for many many years. Both sides get more spending (let’s not pretend Reps are innocent), the Republians get to blame it on the Dems, and both sides don’t call the Reps losers. This is called compromise. Everybody wins. 

  • Can’t we pay for these cuts in 2015?  2016?  do we have to pay NOW?   Good heavens, we’re not trying to buy votes in 2015 yet!  We’re trying to buy them in 2012!   Don’t you understand!
    And usually I let my car just sit in the driveway broken down, and appeal to family, friends, neighbors and the city to help me instead of cutting my vacation short, I mean, seriously McQ, vacations are important, look at the number the President takes, they MUST be important.

  • It will be interesting to see if the Republicans hold out this time. Maybe a full court media blitz is in order starting with a public letter to the President from Boehner and McConnell asking him to help persuade the Democrats in the Senate to pass the bill. And a series of speeches and appearances on all media by various GOP bigs putting the issue succinctly: We passed a bill to provide for continued operations and to fund disaster relief. We took the responsible position of re-programming money from a debatable green car subsidy to disaster aid. In other words, the Democrats in the Senate are holding disaster relief funds hostage to subsidize something that might or might not work in the future.

  • (since we haven’t had a budget passed in the House for almost 3 years)
    They did pass a budget in the House by the April 15 date as required by law this year.  Former Speaker Pelosi was incapable of doing the same.  The Senate hasn’t done one in 30 months.
    There are presently 12 appropriation bills that haven’t been pass.

  • I’m not certain about this, but I think that the House did pass a budget earlier this year.  Granted, the Senate has not passed a budget in several years, and the one passed by the House did not make it through the Senate.  My recollection was that the House’s budget (which was a form of the “Ryan Plan”) earned 47 votes in the Senate.

    • But the Republicans are obstructionists, and so it didn’t pass.

      • How can you obstruct something that doesn’t exist, i.e. a Democrat budget plan?

        • The Democrats are just cowards.  They know if they actually passed a budget it would make somebody mad, so they refuse to pass a budget like a little boy trying to hide that he has pissed in his pants.

        • What?  You want reality?  no no no no, this is Wunderland on the Potomac, where getting less of an increase than you asked for is a cut, where spending cuts and balanced budgets are forecast out to take effect in the 22nd century, where you have to pass legislation in order to find out what’s IN the legislation.   You keep letting the reality of outside the Beltway intrude on your thinking.  You’re thinking in ‘out here’ mode. Out here where they won’t give you groceries if you can’t pay for them,  where  you can’t assign and commit the debt for your mortgage to the next person who moves into your house so you can take another trip to Europe this year.  You must do away with these outmoded methods of thinking and realize that your rich neighbors half a mile away, or over in the next town have screwed you out of YOUR fair share, and must be made to pay for your dreams and excesses.  Only then can you truly understand how the Republicans, without any kind of majority prior to 2010, managed to destroy the country from 2006 forward, and taint the Presidency of the Anointed One, the Presidency that was to herald in a world filled with Unicorns and Moon Ponies and free stuff for everyone without having to worry about how it would be paid for.