To come up with a stop-gap funding fix half-way into the budget year that goes nowhere is not much of an accomplishment. The current crop of legislators only seem to worry about fooling the people to get re-elected and keep their cushy, privileged jobs. They all need to be replaced.
I know I sound like some kind of radical or super reactionary saying this, but here goes: Maybe the solution is to start from zero on the budget and go from there. From now on, all programs but the most basic of government functions (and you can argue about what they are) will have to have a specific funding source (tax) and depend upon that.
Of course we should have realized that the government would not shut down, that the two sides would come to an agreement just before the clock ran out (although they have let things go all the way to shutdown in the past).
What really seems to be going on here is a game of chicken by both sides of the budget debate to see who blinks. In this case, I would say the Democrats did, agreeing to a reported $38 billion in budget cuts which will no doubt affect the neediest the most.
Trouble is neither side is yet serious about fixing the long-term deficit which is in the multi trillions.
And I should add here that I am glad that it was not necessary to hold back military pay, as had been threatened in a cynical game of blackmail used by both sides to discredit each other at the expense of troops and other government employees.
Probably the long-term solution has something to do with both making cuts where necessary, along with increased efficiencies but also raising taxes, and since the major corporations are the ones with the most money, their deep pockets might be a good place to start. If they want to do business in the United States, and if they want the protection of the United States (the military, the courts, infrastructure, and various government services) then they should pay taxes.
Government is necessary for a civilized society and no one has ever figured out how to run a government without taxes.
This nation is not really in the poor house. Look around, there is wealth. But we could use a lot more production that would help enrich our lives and give us a mechanism for sharing the wealth by way of industrial jobs, as well as increase the tax base.
Incentives to rebuild our industrial base would help, along with better (read fairer to us) trade agreements, and tariffs where necessary would help too.
If we cannot create more wealth by an expanded GDP we can never pay off the debt, which threatens to drown us, as I understand it.
Right now we are mired in tremendously costly wars in the Middle East. The only real goal there, whether stated or not, is to do what we can to secure an oil source, but maybe while we research other forms of energy, we should just continue to buy oil there without the military backup. If we lose that source, maybe that will be an incentive to go elsewhere. Anyway, oil is worth nothing to anyone if they cannot sell it. We do face competition from China there — strangely though, China has committed no military there (who’s being played for the fool in this?).
The big stumbling block over how to solve the deficit is the fact that the politics required to get to that solution are mired in an ongoing ideological and culture war: conservatism vs. socialism/liberalism/progressivism (using the usual left-right designations I have it backwards, don’t I?) .
But the solution that will best satisfy the majority of us probably does not fall wholly within the confines of the listed ideologies.
No statesmen who can transcend the ideological straight jackets have emerged, of which I am aware.
President Obama has seemingly tried at times to be Mr. Reason and Mr. Cooperation, but he has not yet come across as Mr. Solution, and don’t even look to congress — with one caveat here: I do not have a grasp yet of the much-talked about Ryan proposal. I’ll look into it, but I’m guessing it is mainly another cut social programs and protect the rich scheme.
A CAUTIONARY NOTE: I sometimes think about things like this: what if you fired all those government workers and made all the loafers on welfare get a job? Would they then be out there to replace you? Just a thought. Government workers with a lot of skills might go after relatively high-end jobs and those on the dole with little work experience would put pressure on low-end jobs.
Not a good excuse, but in a previous post I was in a hurry and tired and incorrectly identified the Secretary of Defense as “William”, instead of the correct name of “Robert” Gates. I subsequently have corrected that version (and of course that had to be a post a lot of people — relatively — were clicking onto — such is the agony of writers).