The courage of the Democrats

In 2010, the Democrats who controlled both Houses of Congress decided not to bother with anything as silly and unnecessary as a budget, because, horrors! they might be called to account for it by the voters. Neither the House nor the Senate passed a budget bill, and of the twelve annual appropriations bills, the House passed just two of them . . . which was two more than the Senate passed. FY2011 was life by continuing resolution, and finally an omnibus appropriations bill to fund the government through the end of the fiscal year.

As it happened, not passing a budget, not doing their jobs, didn’t seem to help the Democrats much when it came to the elections. Perhaps, you might think, the Democrats learned a lesson from that, learned that the American people actually expected them to do their jobs. But, if you thought that, you’d be wrong:

Democrat Senate Punts On Budget Yet Again

By William Teach | April 18, 2012 – 10:56 am
It’s not like passing a budget is a Constitutional duty and law or anything (via Hot Air)

(The Hill) Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) bowed to pressure from fellow Democrats on Tuesday and postponed a committee vote on a 2013 budget resolution, most likely until after the November elections.

Conrad on Wednesday will begin a committee markup of a resolution based on the Bowles-Simpson deficit recommendations, but told reporters there is no date scheduled on which the markup vote would occur.

“This is the wrong time to vote in committee; this is the wrong time to vote on the floor,” he said. “I don’t think we will be prepared to vote before the election.”

It’s been 1059 days since the Senate last did their Constitutional duty and passed a bill. And, as Keith Hennessey points out

It’s not a markup if you don’t vote.

The job of a Member of Congress is to vote on legislation, not to talk about legislation.  Talk is sometimes helpful but if Members of Congress are not voting they’re not doing their job.

Democrats are simply getting together for a pow-wow to make it look like they are Doing Something, when, in fact, they are accomplishing as much as a bunch of drunken college students having a bull session about how they are going to change the world. Then pass out.

It shouldn’t be necessary to point this out, but knowing the protests which will be raised by the Democrats’ apologists, there is nothing stopping the Senate Budget Committee from voting, other than their own unwillingness to do something really radical, like go on the record and do their jobs; there is no filibuster in committee.

Any budget is going to be one of three things:

  1. a very austere, painful budget; or
  2. another bloated, profligate spending budget; or
  3. some combination of the two.

The Democrats certainly don’t want the first option, and they know that they’ll lose in the election again if they try to run on the second. And even the third, a budget with major cuts to some programs but continued high spending on others, still leaves them open to political attacks by their more sensible Republican opponents.

The Republicans? They campaigned on cutting spending and doing their jobs, and, true to their word, the Republicans did pass budgets in the House of Representatives — the only chamber they control — on March 29, 2012, by a 228-191 margin. It’s an austere budget, the Paul Ryan budget plan, and it certainly leaves the Republicans open to political demagoguery, as in the Paul Ryan throwing granny off a cliff commercial. I’ll give the liberals credit: it’s a good commercial!

But if they get credit for being good at demagoguery, they sure don’t get any for doing their jobs! The Republicans, at least, did their jobs, took an stand, and were honest with the American people about just what they plan to do. That leaves them open to criticism, sure enough, but an honest person has to at least respect the Republicans for doing what they said they would, for doing their jobs.

The Democrats? No budget, and no balls. All that they want is a campaign issue, to try to win the election, but how can they even ask for people’s votes if they aren’t going to do their jobs, aren’t going to say what they will do? No honest person can respect the Democrats for their cowardice.

It’s hardly a surprise, of course. We already noted when Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner testified to Representative Ryan’s committee that the Administration had no plans at all to deal with the long-term debt problem:

We’re not coming before you to say we have a definitive solution to that long-term problem. What we do know is we don’t like yours.

That’s because the Obama Administration simply lacks the courage, and probably the intelligence, to deal with our huge debt problem.

But, one could almost forgive the Democrats, because there is no liberal solution to our debt crisis. President Obama wants to pass the idiotic Buffett Rule, to increase taxes on the top producers, but it would be the merest drop in the bucket. We could tax the top 1% of earners 100% of their income, and we’d still be running a deficit, because we spend too much!1

The last time we had a balanced budget was FY2001, when total federal spending was 18.2% of GDP. If we were spending that amount now, our budget would be in check, and close to balanced. But President Obama and the Democrats want to spend more than 22% of GDP at the federal level, and that is wholly unsustainable. Liberal programs, entailing liberal spending policies, drive the deficit, and thus the debt, and there is no liberal answer, because they won’t stop spending so much!

The Democrats have no courage, because they have no answers, or at least none they are willing to accept.


  1. In tax year 2009, the top 1% of earners (with a cut-off point of $343,927.00 in Adjusted Gross Income) had a total AGI of $1,324,572,000,000, and paid a total of $318,043,000,000 in federal income taxes, leaving them with $1,061,839,000,000. (Source.) But the budget deficit for FY2009 was $1,413,000,000,000, or over $350 billion more than could have been received had we taxed the top 1% at 100% of their income.

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