Semi-Daily Journal Archive

The Blogspot archive of the weblog of J. Bradford DeLong, Professor of Economics and Chair of the PEIS major at U.C. Berkeley, a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Why Oh Why Are We Ruled by These Idiots?

Stan Collender is shrill:

BUDGET BATTLES : Avoiding Decisions Is Not Fiscal Discipline: By Stan Collender: Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2006: The Republican congressional leadership's decision to delay dealing with almost all FY07 appropriations until after the election, even though they won't be enacted until months after the fiscal year begins, should not be called a "failure." "Failure" implies that an attempt was made. In this case, the leadership has decided not even to try. The appropriations process can't be said to have "crashed and burned"; that implies it rose high enough in the first place to fall.

The overall strategy isn't "gutsy," "bold," or "dramatic" because it's really the exact opposite. And "irresponsible" is much too clinical a description for something that is far more politically infuriating than it is legislatively technical.

Getting appropriations enacted by the start of the fiscal year used to be one of the "promised lands" on Capitol Hill. Even though it has seldom been achieved, up to now it has always been at least a persistently stated objective, regardless of the leadership in place. After all, the leadership is supposed to make the trains run on time.

House and Senate Appropriations Committee members used to feel that getting the bills done by the start of the fiscal year was their job and they were both angry and embarrassed when it didn't happen.... The word that most comes to mind is "avoidance." Rather than deal with what has traditionally been considered one of Congress' most basic core responsibilities, the Republican leadership has decided not to do anything.... Avoiding appropriations decisions is not comparable to trying and failing. A continuing resolution is not equivalent to reducing or eliminating programs. Not dealing with appropriations is not fiscal discipline.

There is no excuse for anyone literate in public finance to vote for or carry water for this crowd. No excuse. None.


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