FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
The Budget Battle (I May Not Be Smart Enough To Solve This One).
Conservatives worked hard last election to change our nation’s direction. They reposed their trust and their confidence in the GOP. The GOP got control of the House of Representatives and promised a whole lot more Halloween Candy than they can possibly deliver. I’ve posted two separate thoughts on this mess that may well explain why the current budget debate isn’t working more in our favor.
The first was in response to an honorable, yet sincerely frustrated Conservative who has posted here for quite a long time. In response to his rather level-headed expression of hope comingled with disappointment, I offered the following explanation of why anything the House does is dead upon arrival at the Senate.
The Dems solved an optimization problem in 2009. They got the best budget in terms of amount and ideological slant that they are going to probably get for the next 20 years. Any future budget that gets passed during Charles Schumer’s regrettable lifespan will be at least a partial failure in Sen. Schumer’s august opinion. As long as Sen. Schumer’s party controls the Senate, he and his partisans will have to be dragged kicking and screaming into anything remotely resembling an honest budgeting process. They would prefer that history end in 2009 A.D.
Now that’s admittedly paranoid. But as an Operations Research Analyst, I’m trained to seek optimal solutions. Politics doesn’t offer those up very often. Objective functions are murky and often conflicted with political questions. However, you, I and The Man on The Moon know the Democrats would lose Cowboy Poetry funding if they budget via the legal process.
So the Democrats block progress on a budget for any year other than 2009. For Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, a continuing resolution based on 2009 is a successful defense of status quo. He won. He wants to continue trumping us on that as long as possible.
Either we take back the US Senate, or we won’t have a budget process until the Left actually needs something. Why go to all the hassle when the problem has been successfully solved? We are facing a reactionary rump.
So that explains the Democrats. They got what they want. They won’t give it back. They’ve built their Motte and Bailey and will defend it to the last marginal Democratic Senate Seat. So what explains the risible reticence of the new GOP majority? They work for us.
We (meaning anyone not named Michael Moore or Michelle Obama) want the Federal Government to spend less. We all understand that someone will suffer pain from making this happen. The statistics regarding America’s debt were enough to make another worthy, Conservative gentleman put down his newspaper in utter disgust. “How could people not get this?” He rightfully wonders.
I attempted to answer his question and was too terse to explain what I meant. My partial and incomplete response to a great question follows below.
People will think that deficits are a problem when they line up for Food Stamps and get IOUs that Kroger refuses to accept instead.
Now that I’ve backed off and thought a little more, here’s what I meant. We understand pain on two levels. We have an intellectual understanding of pain and an emotional understanding of pain from regrettable experience. I can say “It would suck to break my ankle.” That is a rational statement that broken ankles probably hurt.
A few years back, on a rugby pitch, I attempted to tackle a man much tougher and stronger than myself. I got to feel my ankle snap off at the heel. It would have been perversely funny if someone had traced a chalk outline around my prostrate carcass. That was a much more informative learning experience than scratching my noggin and announcing that it would suck to snap an ankle.
So how does this juxtaposition in intensity between understanding pain and actually experiencing pain hand-cuff John Boehner in his efforts to reduce government spending levels? Having posted two diaries that recommended specific cuts in actual Federal programs, I can offer at least limited enlightenment. I’ve written diaries that have called for cuts in both Pell Grants, and Social Security.
In return for my heretical apostasy, I’ve been referred to as “An Everyman For Himself Conservative” and a traitor. This is not because I’ve joined Al Qaeda or stated any intention to chuck women and children out of life boats. This harsh appraisal of my motives and moral beliefs comes from the fact that people surviving on these programs have felt a threat. That threat took place as soon as their particular program got put in the cross-hairs of any hypothetical proposal.
It comes down to the difference between the concept of pain and that ankle going snap. As a result of my own inability to overcome the consequences of this epistemological paradox, I feel I have thus far failed in my objective to make America a better nation by being a Conservative Activist. Unless someone else can put forward better ideas and more intelligent arguments than I have, Conservative America will not win the argument respecting the proper size of America’s various governments. As a result government will grow inexorably larger until it explodes as a result of the gaseous bloat. I humbly appeal to my five or six Constant Readers for help in preventing this dystopic turn of events.