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Posts Tagged ‘continuing resolution’

What Needs To Be Said About What Needs To Be Done

Its spring and I’m in a motel snowed in for the second time in three days.  This past weekend I spoke at a symposium hosted by the Tenth Amendment Center at Southern New Hampshire University.  It was a power packed event.  A full day surrounded by people who not only see the hand writing on the wall but who also believe they know what the words mean left my head swimming with the ideas presented and the inevitable optimism created when people see a problem and take action.

Lead, follow, or get out of the way!  This has long been the battle cry of the do something even if it’s wrong lobby.  It also appears to have been the guiding philosophy of George the Second’s TARP and Obama the Only’s stimulus.

I once knew the manager of a Rock-N-Roll band famous for the on the road antics.  A constant string of motel mayhem, bar room buffoonery and generally boorish behavior devoured his attention.  He always managed to get the boys out of trouble and on to the next town.  I asked him once how he managed to smooth so many ruffled feathers.  His answer and his policy for living large in the Rock-N-Roll lifestyle, “Do whatever you want, and choke them with hundred dollar bills.” Or as our politicians lead by example, “Come on let’s throw some money at the problem maybe that will make it go away.”

On my way to my second snow day I drove past miles and miles and miles and miles of orange barrels blocking half the highway.  I could almost count them since the speed had been cut by about 30%.  After a minimum of twenty miles the construction ended, and I could once again drive at normal speed.  During all that time I saw not one worker, machine, or any evidence of human activity except the barrels. Our President has admitted that even though he sold us a trillion dollar pig-in-poke with the catchy little phrase there is no such thing as a shovel-ready job.  It now seems the Stimulus the Progressives foisted upon us was clearly a make-work boondoggle.  Now we are paying people to make signs telling us what wonderful things the Stimulus is accomplishing.  We’re paying people to put the signs up.  Paying people to put out the orange barrels, and then paying someone to pick up the barrels and take down the signs.  What’s next? Do we hire people to dig holes and then hire people to fill them up?

Once Americans said things like, “Millions for defense but not one cent for tribute!”  Once we said, “Damn the torpedoes full speed ahead!” And “I have not yet begun to fight!”  Today the whine seems to be, “Where’s my share?”  “How about me?” and “Don’t touch my entitlement. Cut someone else.”  We have trillions for the political hacks, sweetheart deals for the unions, bail-outs for crony capitalists, and all the other hucksters, but no one with the courage to say what has to be said or do what has to be done even if it won’t cost one cent.

What has to be said is that we’ve squandered all the treasure and we’re about to kill the economy which has always been the goose that laid the golden egg.  Generations of over-the-top spending have finally brought us to the day when the credit cards are about to be cut up and the notes are about to be called.

What has to be done is stop the over spending.  Every household in our transformed America is facing the reality of cutting the expenditures to meet the income.  It’s time the government did the same thing.  We don’t need to have a series of continuing resolutions providing token cuts in exchange for an Amen to continued spending at astronomical levels.  And we don’t need to raise the debt ceiling if we will begin to spend no more than what comes in.  Since we are currently borrowing approximately 40 cents of every dollar Washington spends this will of course mean austerity such as we have never known.  But what is the alternative, insolvency, default, and an America which will slide from the first world to the second.

This isn’t what we inherited from our parents and it isn’t what we should leave for our children.  The people who met to uphold the Tenth Amendment know that, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”  And we never delegated the power to spend us into serfdom or charge us into bankruptcy.  So the next time you crawl past miles of closed highway with no work going on make a mental note to contact your Congressman and Senators and tell them to quit the spending and quit digging holes you can’t afford to pay someone to fill up.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College.  He is the author of the History of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com View the trailer for Dr. Owens’ latest book @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ypkoS0gGn8 © 2011 Robert R. Owens dr.owens@comcast.net  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook.

Call Reid's Bluff

Gallup released a poll this morning showing that the American people dislike this 111th Congress more than any Congress ever. Specifically, a full 83% of Americans disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job while only 13% approve. That is the worst approval rating in more than 30 years of tracking congressional job performance.

Why do Americans so despise this Congress? The reckless way it spends other people’s money, for starters. One would have thought that after getting “shellacked” at the polls this November, Congress would have gotten the message. No luck. Majority Leader Harry Reid introduced a $1.27 trillion 1,924 page omnibus spending bill last night that contains 6,000 earmarks worth $8 billion. Oh, and all this has to be approved by midnight Saturday or the government shuts down.

Defending the trillion dollar spending bill, Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI) told the USA Today: “Who among us believes we should base our spending recommendations for defense, homeland security, and veterans on whatever level was needed last year?” This is a morally repugnant statement. Defense, homeland security, and veterans can all be funded at current levels for one month through a continuing resolution, and then the next Congress could adjust our defense needs. Inouye is attempting to hold the troops hostage? And for what? Taxpayers for Common Sense reports that among the 6,600 earmarks in the bill is $6 million for parkland acquisition in Hawaii. No wonder Americans hate this Congress.

Other vanity projects buying votes in the bill — there are plenty of Republican earmarks in the bill too — include $18 million for groups named after the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and Rep. John Murtha (D-PA); $349,000 for swine waste management; $2.9 million for Grand Forks International Airport expansion; and $3.5 million for termite research in Louisiana.

But as bad as the earmarks are the spending increases are even worse. The bill adds $5.4 billion in new labor, education, and health spending including money for the failed Head Start program, the failed Race to the Top program, Pell Grants, and $1.25 billion in spending on Obamacare. No conservative who promised to repeal Obamacare can possibly support this bill.

By waiting until late yesterday to unveil this 1,924-page monstrosity, Reid is playing a high stakes game of chicken with small government conservatives. Since the FY 2010 budget expired on September 30th, the federal government has been operating on a series of continuing resolutions (CR). The most recent CR expires on midnight Saturday. If the Senate does not pass a bill by then the federal government shuts down. Reid believes that conservatives do not have courage to back up their spending cut convictions. Conservative Senators should call Reid’s bluff.

This is the first Congress, in the history of the budget process, that failed to even vote on a budget for next year. A responsible Congress would have passed a budget resolution and all the necessary appropriations bills months ago. By failing to even bring a budget resolution to a vote, let alone the actual spending bills, Majority Leader Reid has already proven he is completely irresponsible. He has no legitimate claim to be dictating spending terms to the American people.

The American people thoroughly rejected this Congress’ spendthrift ways at the polls last month. There is no reason this business-as-usual omnibus should be the only spending option. The 111th Congress has forfeited all rights to set spending levels for the next year. A one-page continuing resolution that keeps the government funded at current levels, for a month or two, until the next Congress is sworn in, is the only way to go.

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