• 73°

Big deal & short memory

My brother is nine years younger than I am. When he turned 13, I asked him what he’d like for his birthday present. He said, without hesitating, “A million dollars.”
I didn’t hesitate either. I wrote a check and handed it to him.
He was gleeful. Later, when my dad explained to him that the bank would never give him a million dollars, his joy evaporated. Obviously, having maybe $2,000 in my account, I had no concern that the bank would expect me to make the check good or charge me an overdraft fee.
This is the game Congress is now playing with the national budget.
Congress is so proud of itself. Both the House and the Senate passed budget bills last week. In fact, to avoid a crisis next year, Congress passed a two-year budget bill, an idea that has been floated by some since Congress is elected for a two-year cycle.
This budget was the first major bipartisan legislation Congress has passed since President Obama was elected. (Don’t expect that to happen again.)
More House Republicans supported the bill than Democrats with 169 Republicans voting for the bill and only 62 against it. Though only 12 Republican senators supported it, the 67-33 vote was well above the 60 votes needed to avoid a filibuster in the Senate. Leaders of both parties in both chambers declared that the Tea Party’s influence had finally been pushed aside. (Don’t hold your breath on that either.)
The budget deal was rather modest. For the most part, it continued government spending at last year levels. It didn’t raise taxes, reduce entitlements or address health care costs. The bill restored — that is, increased — military and other spending by $63 billion that was cut last year by the so-called sequester when Congress couldn’t agree on a budget. This compromise will reduce this year’s deficit by $23 billion compared to last year. Even so, the total deficit for the year will be $600 billion.
Like my brother holding his check for $1 million, Congress seemed delighted with itself.
But also like my brother realizing that his check was worthless, Congressional Republicans on the next day were out in force proclaiming that the same deficit spending they had just supported was too high. And to prove their commitment to cut spending, they announced that they would not allow the government to borrow money beyond the debt ceiling — the maximum the federal government can borrow — without “taking hostages.”
In other words, Congressional Republicans overwhelmingly approved a budget before announcing that it would not provide the money to pay for it.
That check I gave my brother was intended to be a joke, and when he realized that, he wasn’t happy. The budget Congress passed was not intended to be a joke, but it’s going to look like one when Republicans refuse to finance it. Congressional Republicans are counting on the public forgetting that they voted for this budget because they will surely blame the Democrats for wasteful deficit spending.
It’s been over 40 years since I gave my brother that check. He still remembers and reminds me. If the public can remember for only two months that Republicans supported this budget, maybe it can remind them when they take the national checkbook hostage.
David Post lives in Salisbury.

Comments

Comments closed.

Crime

Blotter: April 14

Elections

Former North Carolina Gov. McCrory enters US Senate race

Crime

Salisbury woman arrested in Myrtle Beach for abducting child

Health

County updates health director job description, will advertise for position

High School

High school tennis: East beats Carson, still hopes to share NPC title

Elections

Board of Elections to purchase upgraded voting equipment using federal grant

Kannapolis

Kyle Seager drives in winning run in first game as Mariners split doubleheader with Orioles

Local

City exhausts this year’s funds for Innes Street Improvements, Municipal Services District grant programs

Landis

Landis adopts amendments to Zoning Ordinance related to signs, Planning Board terms

Nation/World

Cop, police chief resign 2 days after Black motorist’s death

Nation/World

Expert says cop was justified in pinning down George Floyd

Crime

Blotter: April 13

Coronavirus

County switches vaccines for Livingstone clinic after federal, state guidance

Coronavirus

US recommends ‘pause’ for J&J vaccine over clot reports

Education

Superintendent talks first 100 days, dives into district data

Business

‘It was an answer to a call:’ TenderHearted Home Care celebrates 10 years of providing care at home

News

Political Notebook: Local polls find increasing number of North Carolinians want COVID-19 vaccine

News

Trial begins on challenge to latest NC voter ID law

Local

Burch, Fisher, Marsh honored as 2021 recipients of Elizabeth Duncan Koontz Humanitarian Award

Landis

Landis board talks revenues, budget planning, department updates

College

College baseball: Catawba rolls 7-1 and 24-1

Nation/World

Student fires at officers at Tennessee school, is killed

Nation/World

Police: Minnesota officer meant to draw Taser, not handgun

Crime

Man receives consecutive prison sentences for sex offenses