April 29, 2013 marks four years without a true operating budget for our country. 1461 days and running. In the realm of budget history, April 29 is an historic day.
First, an interesting juxtaposition exists between April 29, 1909 and April 29, 2009. On April 29, 1909, the world’s biggest Superpower — Great Britain — introduced the “People’s Budget”, which is famously noted for being the first budget in the history of Britain with the “expressed intent of redistributing wealth” among the British people. A century later, on April 29, 2009, the world’s biggest Superpower — the United States — passed its last operating budget, the first budget in the history of the United States with the expressed intent to run a trillion dollar deficit.
Back in Great Britain, it took both a full year and the threat of adding additional Liberal “peers” (seats) in Parliament by the British King to garner enough votes in Britain to actually pass the “People’s Budget”. This ultimately succeeded exactly a year later on April 29, 2010. Winston Churchill’s biographer observed that this budget, which Churchill supported, was a “revolutionary concept”.
Here in the United States, it has taken Congress a full four years of continuing resolutions, Supercommittees, Fiscal Cliffs, Sequestrations and trillion dollar deficit spending, and still we have failed to pass a new budget for the people of the United States.
Of course, there have been budget attempts. President Obama, for his part, submitted a budget late to Congress every year except for 2010. His last two budgets prior to this year’s submission, however, were so outrageous that not even one Democrat from his own Party either year would sponsor or vote for his budget proposals.
In 2010, the Democrat-led Senate chose not to offer their budget plan on the Senate floor. The GOP-led House of Republicans passed a budget for $1.2 trillion.
In 2011, the GOP-lead House passed a budget for FY2012, cutting $6 trillion in comparison to Obama’s budget, which failed 0-97 in the Senate. The Senate did not offer their own budget that year. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said that would be “foolish”, while Senator Schumer remarked ““To put other budgets out there is not the point.”
In 2012, the GOP-lead House passed a budget for FY2013, while Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced in February that the Senate would not consider a budget yet again. The House this time voted on President Obama’s $3.2 trillion budget, which failed 0-414.
Now in 2013, both the GOP-lead House and the Democrat- led Senate passed their own budgets for FY2014 (the first for the Democrats in four years) President Obama presented his budget 2 months late on April 10, totaling $46.5 trillion over the next 10 years without ever balancing. It is also noted for even more taxes on the wealthy to pay for more social programs, a generous helping of wealth redistribution. But nothing has been agreed upon by Congress.
This past Saturday, President Obama described the “pain” of the current operating scenario from sequestration, and further urged,
“There is only one way to truly fix the sequester: by replacing it before it causes further damage…A couple weeks ago, I put forward a budget that replaces the next several years of these dumb cuts with smarter cuts; reforms our tax code to close wasteful special interest loopholes; and invests in things like education, research, and manufacturing that will create new jobs right now.”
Sounds similar to the threats of the British King used to pass the “People’s Budget”.
So here we are, 4 years without an operating budget for our nation. We also now consistently have yearly, trillion dollar deficits on top of the additional, higher taxes. Many will likely observe that — to borrow from their UK counterparts a century ago — this budget status, this new modus operandi for the United States is also a “revolutionary concept” for the land of the free and the home of the brave.