1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and 1600 Days Without a Budget
Today we have reached 1600 days without an operating budget for our country. But who’s actually counting right now? And why should we care?
Currently, we have Syria at the forefront of discussion, which has put any substantive monetary debates on the back burner. Besides the question of whether or not to authorize and spend money on Syria, Congress also faces both if and how to fund the government past September 30 in the form of a CR, whether or not to defund Obamacare, and what to do with the impending debt ceiling limit.
So here’s a little primer on the fiscal State of the Union.
According to the US Debt Clock, we are $16,970,000,000 in debt. The US Debt Clock is an unofficial tally of our excessive spending.
The federal deficit increased by $146 billion in August, as reported by the CBO four days ago. Yet this conflicts with reports from the Treasury Department.
Yet as reported by CNSnews, “According to the Daily Treasury Statements that the Treasury publishes at 4:00 p.m. on each business day, the debt subject to the legal limit has remained at exactly $16,699,396,000,000–or about $25 million below the legal limit–every day since May 17.”
This makes 118 days, with the September 12 report being the most current, that the debt has stayed at $16,699,396,000,000.
Why is this important? The current debt ceiling limit is $16,699,421,095,673.60. According to the debt clock, however, and if CBO reports for June, July, and August were added to the Treasury statements amount since May 17th, we would be way past the debt ceiling limit. In fact, August alone would have crossed the threshold. So what is our current debt?
Incidentally, the reason why Congress even has to consider the question of funding the government or shutting it down past September 30 (the last day of the fiscal year) is that there is no operating budget. The last time the Senate passed a budget was April 29, 2009. Nearly the entirety of Obama’s time as President has been this way. For the Senate to abrogate its basic fiduciary responsibilities in such a major way is unconscionable.
Today also marksthe five year anniversary of the Lehman Brothers Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing on September 15, 2008, the largest in U.S. history. This event triggered the instability of the stock market and marks the starting point for the economic stress and downturn that has plagued the nation for the last five years.
Obama has been at the helm for the duration of this financial crisis. Yet his fiscal policies have failed to relieve the nation of high unemployment:
“The unemployment rate in September 2008 was 6.1 percent—up from a relatively stable 5 percent that had been the peak unemployment for the 30 months preceding December 2007. The unemployment rate steadily rose throughout 2008 and the beginning of 2009, spiking at 10.2 percent in October 2009. We still haven’t gotten back to the prerecession levels of unemployment. We haven’t even gotten back to the mid-recession unemployment of five years ago. The employment picture for this August was particularly bleak, with an Obama-presidency-low unemployment rate of 7.3 percent masking sharp downward revisions to the previous months’ jobs gains. At August’s rate of job growth, it’d take nearly two years for the economy to get back to 5 percent unemployment.
Our fiscal health is poor today. Is the current state of our Republic how it was meant to be when our Founding Fathers created it? Thomas Jefferson wisely observed, “I place economy among the first and most important of republican virtues, and public debt as the greatest of the dangers to be feared”.
The CBO confirms the massive deficit spending that has characterized this administration. The Treasury reports reveal unexplainable debt data that don’t square up to with the CBO and may be masking a debt amount that has surpassed the statutory limit. And Obama’s Democrat-led Senate has failed to pass a budget in 1600 days, forcing an impending showdown for Congress and its excitable politicians who can’t decide whether to fund our government past another 15 days.
These are the fiscal realities facing the nation from the man behind the curtain at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Crossposted at alanjoelny.com