Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Cliffhanger Budgeting

Back in 1995 Bill Clinton discovered the advantages of cliff-hanger budget battles.  He shut down the government rather than agree to the evil Republican appropriations of the newly elected first-Republican-Congress-in-40-years.

And he won!  He got the American people to agree that it was Congress that shut down the government, not his veto.

So it is not surprising that President Obama has used and perfected the same tactic.  He got himself a cliff-hanger debt crisis in the summer of 2011 and now we have the "fiscal cliff" crisis of December 2012.

Part of the game plan is to have some poor victim group that will suffer if the crisis isn't resolved.  This time it's the folks on long-term unemployment benefits.  Wouldn't you know that they are scheduled to expire four days after Christmas!

For years and years people used to complain about the venal process of Congressional appropriations, the deals, the log-rolling, the Iron Triangles.

But now it seems that we have got to a worse place, a world in which Democrats in Congress don't bother to obey the law (the Budget law that Democrats passed in the 1970s to put a curb on President Nixon) and all appropriations are rolled into a single continuing resolution and a crisis between Congress and the president.

You have to wonder: is this really the world that Democrats want?

Who knows?  Like I wrote in my American Thinker piece this week: despite appearances, the Democrats are hurting. They are no longer the confident ruling class they used to be.  That is why they have to cheat.  And that is why they have to resort to transparent shenanigans to get elected, dishing out more and more entitlements and benefits to keep their support.  That is why they have to stage big publicity crises to panic the American people into more spending.

Now even liberals like Nicholas Kristof are discovering the rotting culture that the administrative welfare state promotes.

But really, liberals are not going to stop doing the Obama, dancing to get the biggest state with the biggest entitlements that the politics of the moment can obtain.  That's what they know; that's what they do.

And that's why big government never goes quietly into the good night.  It always end in default, riot, and mayhem, when all of a sudden the game is up.

But the Obama years do the impossible.  They make the old Congress of powerful committee chairmen and old bulls seem like a kinder, gentler age.

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