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Jan 21, 2013

Prudent Spending

Republican:  Your spending is out of control.
Democrat:  We are only continuing the Bush 2009 spending, so stop complaining.
Pub:  You exploded that budget with the $831 billion stimulus.
Dem:  And you agreed.
Pub:  But, that stimulus was supposed to be a one-time thing.
Dem:  Yes, but we are continuing the goodness. We want more stimulation. If you disagree, just vote against that spending.
Pub:  We are trying to, but you won't discuss a budget, or even support Obama's budget.
Dem:  You are trying to wreck the country by dismantling the government. Have you no shame?

Democrats say that Republicans are spinning lies about Democrat spending. Here are the Democrat talking points, and they are mostly true from a distorted perspective:

  • Bush's outrageous FY 2009 spending is causing our huge yearly deficits and exploding debt.
  • Obama has been stingy in increased spending since 2009, every year he has been in office.
  • House Republicans approve of US spending every year, so why are they complaining? First they approved increased spending, and now they are making a fuss about the amount of debt, which their spending must increase.
  • The House and Senate have passed a budget every year as a continuing resolution. Yet, Republicans claim that we have no budget.
  • Republicans want to block the established, default operation of our government.

The Rest of the Story

Approving a federal budget in "normal order" means constructing and approving a budget in each of the House and Senate, then reconciling differences, and presenting that legislation to the the President for signature, if he approves.

The last US budget established in normal order was for the 12 months ending Sep 30, 2009. That is FY 2009 (Budget year, or spending yearFiscal Year 2009). Obama became President in January 2009. No usual budget has been passed under his direction for four years. See below for why.

The 2009 flood

The unusual spending event in 2009 was the Wikipedia$831 billion of stimulus spending proposed by Obama, generally approved by Bush, and signed by Obama in Feb 2009. That was added into the spending limits for government departments in FY 2009, and implicitly into the 2009 budget. It was sold as a one-time kick-start to the economy. It increased the FY 2009 NPR.org - The federal government collected taxes of $2,300 billion, borrowed $1,300 billion, and spent a total of $3,600 billion in 2011debt by $831 billion and did little except reward Democratic government agencies and political groups.

Since that time, Obama takes credit for an historically slow increase in spending in the following years, a model of spending restraint. Democrats point to Bush's 2009 budget as the spending blowout that is creating all of our debt today. They don't mention the $831 billion increase to that budget pushed through by Obama.

A flood every year

What about following years?  Senate Democrat majority leader Harry Reid has refused to even hold budget conferences in the Senate since 2009. Instead, the House and Senate pass "continuing resolutions" which allow the President and executive agencies to spend what they did in the previous year, plus some. The $831 billion "kick-start" has become a repeated increase in spending every year. That is why the US is accumulating massive, unprecedented debt.

Why does the majority Republican House agree to these continuing resolutions?  They have proposed and passed budgets for each year 2010 - 2012,  just as they should. These budgets call for less spending. The Senate did not even consider them.

Irresponsible Republicans

If the Republicans forced the issue and did not agree to the continuing resolutions, then there would be no spending authorization, and the government would "shut down".  They don't want to face a politicized press, which would report this action as an irresponsible blocking of vital government services. So, the Democrats get their way on spending.

President Obama has submitted his own budgets for consideration. The Senate has voted unanimously against the outrageous spending contained in them. No Democrat wants it reported that he voted for such spending, or that he voted to reduce spending. So, Sen. Reid won't consider a detailed budget.

The common wisdom

We have the above set of talking points supposedly showing Obama's responsible administration of the government. It would be nice if the mainstream press explained what is really happening.

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