I am going to make a grand pronouncement. Perhaps a grand pronouncement that will be filled with that which fertilizes the corn and attracts swarms of flies and dung beetles. But nevertheless, I believe our current dissolving budget process will argue strongly in favor of the proposition that all powerful and centralized governments devolve into dictatorships driven by aristocracies of pull.
I make this grand pronouncement because yesterday Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND) awoke to the realization that he had both a problem and an opportunity. He had a problem because he is in charge of passing a budget through this year’s Senate. In a rational world, with 59 hyper-partisans at his side, he should find this task no more daunting than a Super Bowl Match-up vs. the 70’s Vikings or the 90’s Bills.
The world ain’t rationale and the budget is not even likely to make it to the floor prior to this fall’s midterm elections. Yet, the financial lubrication required for the wheels of state to grind still must be applied. Herein lies Senator Conrad’s opportunity to wreak mischief.
He still has to get the money out the door somehow, and that somehow is no longer constrained by the Constitutional safeguards and public debate inherent to an orderly budget build-up, through appropriate committees, to the HAC and the SAC. Thus, Senator Conrad has the opportunity to assume WAY more power over next year’s budget than one Senator of either of our corrupt and morally bankrupt political parties should EVER be allowed by a sane and engaged electorate.
Yet Senator Conrad accepts this authority - perhaps with an evil gleam in his eye. He made the following statement regarding our national train wreck of a budget process.
“I have told my staff we’ve got to look at all options because it appears that the chance of doing a budget resolution in both chambers is fading,” Conrad said.
One of those options he has laid upon the table is our good friend The Deeming Resolution. The Hill.com kindly explains the Machiavellian machinations below.
President Barack Obama and Democratic congressional leaders want to extend the tax cuts for the middle class but not for the wealthy. Republicans are pushing to extend all of the tax cuts. Conrad wrote a budget draft that included reconciliation instructions allowing “jobs legislation” to advance in the Senate with a simple majority instead of 60 votes. That would make it possible for Democrats to approve an extension of only the middle-class tax cuts with no GOP support.
Senator Conrad also plans to expense the ongoing war in Afghanistan the same way. This is because it gives Conrad power through increasing the uncertainty of program beneficiaries and thereby increases their dependence upon receive Senator Conrad’s good favor. “How so?” Asks any good, logical skeptic.
The Hill.com again provides excellent insight.
One option Conrad said his staff is now looking at is a deeming resolution. Like an actual budget measure, the deeming resolution would set the discretionary spending levels for the next fiscal year. But unlike a budget resolution, the deeming resolution would allow Democrats to avoid laying out their fiscal policies for 2011 and beyond.
As another leading Democrat put it, you’ll just have to vote “Yea” to see what’s in the bills. Fortunately, there are actually still two parties in Washington, DC. Rep. Chris Lee served his proper partisan function by awarding the Democrats a condign grade of “F” for their botched fiscal stewardship.
“And now, after leaving taxpayers on the hook for massive ‘stimulus’ programs and permanent bailouts, Democrats in Washington have no credible plan to put our fiscal house in order,” Lee said. “In fact, House Democrats may not even offer a budget this year.” Lee referred to Congressional Research Service tracking in noting that the House has passed a budget every year since the Budget Act of 1974 was enacted. “This is a remarkable failure of leadership: according to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, not passing a budget resolution would be unprecedented in the modern era,” Lee said. (HT: The Hill.com)
The US House of Representatives has one overriding constitutional mandate. It has one fundamental power that supersedes all other fiats of the other branches of America’s Leviathan. It can direct the nation’s expenditures via the imposition of a Federal Budget. It will not do that. It unilaterally disarms on that priority because it does not want to admit to the people on public record that it has urinated away our nation’s wealth on a squalid, back alley garbage heap of special interest give-aways like the “Stimulus Plan” or “Obamacare.”
It’s like that under an Aristocracy of Pull. The government exists to do what its leadership is paid for. These tasks bear no fundamental resemblance to the time-honored constitutional mandates like defending the people, guarding the borders or laying out an honest and orderly public budget to govern the disbursements of the fisc.
Napoleon Bonaparte once remarked he came to rule France because he bent over and retrieved the crown from a gutter. Senator Kent Conrad will take over and ram through this year’s pathetic facsimile of a budget in much the same manner. He will do so to loud acclaim as every frightened incumbent wants someone else to use as a blame toilet. The Star Wars movies tell us that this is how a Republic dies - not to protest but to ringing applause.