President Barack Obama, Adult-in-Chief. Image by DonkeyHotey via Flickr
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT…
Our federal government is on the verge of shutting down. And President Obama wants Congressional Republicans to do what he says (pass his budget), not what he does (ignore their budget).
The United States government doesn’t have a budget for fiscal year 2011, yet. If it doesn’t pass one by Friday, the government will shut down. This means, as others have pointed out, that we may see something like what happened in 1995 and 1996:
[I]t actually cost the government money in back wages, lost revenue from shut-down national parks and the local economies and businesses surrounding those parks. Not all government workers go on a mandatory vacation, either. Essential staff still stay on duty – FBI and TSA workers, VA hospitals and military bases stay open, as would the US Postal Service, the prez and his employees and all members of Congress.
So, naturally,with a shutdown threatening due to Congress’ and the President’s inability to work out a compromise, what do our elected leaders do? Get down to the thumb tacks, pound out a compromise that moves our country on the path to get out of debt, and works to lighten the load on Americans?
Nope. They trade insults.
President Barack Obama on Tuesday called on congressional leaders – especially Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) – to act like “grown-ups” and avert a government shutdown after they made no apparent progress in reaching a budget agreement at a White House meeting earlier in the day.
In response, Congressional Republicans said that they were going to take their toys and go home…
Oh, wait. No they didn’t. Rather, they released a plan to cut $6.2 trillion out of the budget over the next four years, including reducing the deficit by $4.4 trillion, a number three times the Administration’s (and, consequently, the amount that the Administration has added to the bottom line over the last few years).
Naturally, with Rep.Paul Ryan wonkishly talking policy and throwing around statistics, numbers, and budgets that save money, maintain retirement benefits, decrease our federal deficit, and, well, make sense, an insult was the best the President could come up with on the spur of the moment. After all, the upstart Congressman from Wisconsin is making him look bad.
Ironically, Rep. Ryan’s plan isn’t even considered to be that great. It’s just better than the President’s.
Politics is the realm of the possible, blah blah. Only in a government situation where we’re facing a shutdown on Friday and a debt limit squeeze around the same time – after a decade of completely bipartisan raids on fiscal sanity – can Ryan’s plan be considered the realistic plan.
It’s just better than the alternative.
From there, and by “there” I mean “a plan that cuts the deficit and salvages the future for our children,” the President decided to pull out the big guns: he accused the Republicans of partisanship because they want to include in the budget cuts cutting off funding for a few of the Golden Calves of the political left (Planned Parenthood, EPA, etc).
We can debate abortion and environmental regulation later. Right now, if we don’t get our fiscal house in order, it may not matter whether Planned Parenthood and the EPA keep federal handouts or funding, because entitlements are going to take over the budget completely.
MEANWHILE, in other news, the adults are busy coordinating President Obama’s reelection campaign…