Free Markets, Free People
In this podcast, Bruce, Michael, and Dale discuss this week’s government shutdown battle and the Wisconsin Supreme Court election.
The direct link to the podcast can be found here.
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Obviously the first and most important point to be made about the possibility of the government shutting down this week is the fact that had Democrats, who held a majority in both the House and Senate last year, done their basic job of passing a budget, this wouldn’t be an impending problem.
Now, unsurprisingly, it has devolved into a political battle pitting the Republicans on the side of cutting spending as their constituency insists upon (and voted for) against Democrats who, failing to do their job last year, now are dragging their feet in the Senate (the House passed a continuing resolution to fund government 46 days ago) and making veto threats from the White House.
Funny, how politics works, isn’t it? Those who didn’t do their job last year or provide any leadership on the subject are now actively working against passage of a stop-gap funding measure and prepared to blame those who are attempting to fix the problem for any government shutdown which might occur.
While he had every opportunity to weigh in on the budget last year when Democrats didn’t pass one, now that he sees political advantage in weighing in (he just started his 2012 re-election campaign remember) we finally hear from President Obama:
“What we can’t be doing is using last year’s budget process to have arguments about abortion; to have arguments about the Environmental Protection Agency; to try to use this budget negotiation as a vehicle for every ideological or political difference between the two parties. That’s what the legislature is for, is to have those arguments, but not stuff it all into one budget bill.”
Now he takes a stand. When his party failed to pass a budget last year? Crickets. Apparently fully prepared to live on continuing resolutions during the tenure of the Democratic controlled Congress, now he’s putting his foot down. Instead of working to ease the situation and negotiate a settlement that would be acceptable to both parties, he threatens a veto.
“On the issue of a short-term extension, we’ve already done that twice. We did it once for two weeks, then we did another one for three weeks. That is not a way to run a government.
No kidding. But where in the heck was the president last year when Congress failed in its duty and set this predicament up? The government has been working on “short-term extensions” since October of last year. Now, suddenly, they’re a problem.
I don’t disagree with Obama’s points, I just am disgusted by the disingenuousness of the argument. Not that it surprises me, however, at all.
But when government shuts down, and the blame game begins, remember the reason that such a situation even developed in the first place. Congressional nonfeasance and lack of presidential leadership.
Apparently, according to a Rasmussen poll, a majority think a government shutdown would be a good thing if it led to deeper cuts in spending.
I’m not sure how seriously to take this in light of other polls which say Americans want cuts but not to any number of our most expensive entitlements.
That said, let’s look at the numbers in the Rasmussen report. Again, as far as I’m concerned, the key demographic here is “independents”. They’re the swing vote in any national election.
Fifty-four percent (54%) of Democrats say avoiding a government shutdown is more important than deeper spending cuts. Seventy-six percent (76%) of Republicans – and 67% of voters not affiliated with either of the major parties – disagree.
That works out to 57% of the total saying that deeper spending cuts are more important than avoiding a government shutdown.
To most that would mean the GOP is on the right track pushing deeper cuts.
Oh, and one little note here, just in passing – all of this could have been avoided if the Democratic Congress had done its job last year and passed a budget. As it turns out, I’m glad they didn’t because just like the health care bill, I’m sure we’d have been stuck with an expensive monstrosity. But what’s happening now about “government shutdown” is a direct result of Congressional Democrats not doing their job.
That said, let’s look at another interpretation of the numbers from Rasmussen. This one shows the divide between “we the people” and “they the politicians”:
There’s a similar divide between Political Class and Mainstream voters. Fifty-two percent (52%) of the Political Class say avoiding a shutdown is more important than deeper spending cuts. Sixty-five percent (65%) of Mainstream voters put more emphasis on spending cuts.
Seventy-six percent (76%) of Political Class voters say it is better to avoid a shutdown by authorizing spending at a level most Democrats will agree to. Sixty-six percent (66%) of those in the Mainstream would rather see a shutdown until deeper spending cuts can be agreed on.
Most of those in the Political Class (52%) see a shutdown as bad for the economy, but just 38% of Mainstream voters agree.
So … what is it going to be GOP? Stick with your guns or cave?
BTW, using the Rand Paul “we spend $5 billion a day in government” standard, a shut down sounds like a money saving opportunity doesn’t it. Call each day a defacto spending cut. 10 days, $50 billion.
I like it.