Isn't it time to limit government spending?
It's just a one, followed by a three and a five and a bunch of zeroes. But all those little digits add up big.
This year's predicted federal budget deficit — the amount of money the federal government will spend that is above and beyond existing federal surpluses and what tax revenues are collected — is $1.35 trillion, or $1,350,000,000,000.00
Now President Obama has proposed a new bipartisan Congressional task force to come up with ideas on how to reduce this year's and future deficits that are predicted to be just as significant for each year of the foreseeable future. On Tuesday, the Senate couldn't come up with enough votes to even consider the idea.
Apparently, there's enough representatives in the polar opposite groups of "no more taxes" and "don't cut services" that they actually served together to cancel out an idea that could get the ball rolling out of the red ink.
In an Associated Press story, New Hampshire Senator Judd Gregg, a Republican, said what I suspect most of the public believes, that the vote is "Yet another indication that Congress is more concerned with the next election than the next generation." Although he would be expected to say something like that — he was a sponsor of the plan — he's right that it surely appears that it's politics as usual in Washington, D.C., where protecting jobs, protecting influential electorate and protecting special interests takes precedent over any commonsensical cause.
Despite all the promised change, not that much has changed inside the beltway.
It's been decades since our last constitutional amendment, but maybe its time for the next one. If ever we needed a balanced budget amendment, it's now.
Ironically, there's probably not enough support in Washington to get it done, where it is far easier to spend money that doesn't exist than to say "no" to someone who can vote.