More of the same.
If you haven’t looked at the U.S. Debt Clock lately then you might want to check it out. If all of the very big, fast moving numbers start to confuse you then simply pay attention to the U.S. National Debt number on the top-left. Right now it equals $14.396 trillion! Comprehending a number of that amount is hard to do, but this visual will give you some perspective:
President Ronald Reagan once famously said that a stack of $1,000 bills equivalent to the U.S. government’s debt would be about 67 miles high.
That was 1981. Since then, the national debt has climbed to $14.3 trillion. In $1,000 bills, it would now be more than 900 miles tall.
In $1 bills, the pile would reach to the moon and back twice.
Pretty shocking, huh? And remember that the deficit is somewhere around $1.6 trillion. So without question we are in a ship in the middle of the ocean taking on water fast! If the hole is not plugged – and plugged quickly – then we will find ourselves jumping overboard just to save our own lives. What that means exactly I do not know. I do not want to find out either!
Some people might want to find out though. Rep. Paul Ryan’s 2012 budget plan which cuts about $4.4 trillion over ten years has already passed the House. While $4.4 trillion is both a very large budget cut yet also small in comparison to our national debt over time it is an excellent place to start. Therefore Democrats unanimously opposed it. From The DC:
In what was largely a symbolic vote, the Senate on Wednesday defeated the House Republican budget proposal crafted by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan to cut trillions in federal spending.
Democrats unanimously voted against the measure and were joined by five Republicans, who offered various reasons for voting it down. Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul, for example, voted against the budget because it cut too little, while Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts and Sen. Susan Collins of Maine pointed to discomfort with the Medicare provisions.
The bill, which passed by the House in April, would cut federal expenditures by $4.4 trillion over ten years, repeal the Affordable Care Act and slow the growth of the cost of some of the nation’s most expensive entitlement programs.
Next comes the finger pointing:
Democratic leaders, including Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York and Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, said this week that the decision to put the proposal to a Senate vote was intended to force the GOP to take a public stand on the issue, despite knowing that it would fail. The party plans to use the Medicare vote as a campaign issue in the 2012 elections.
Republicans hit back, pointing out that under Democratic leadership, the Senate has not passed a budget resolution in 756 days. Congress is supposed to put forth a budget resolution every year according to the Budget and Impoundment Act of 1974. Democratic leaders have not indicated that they have any intention to pass a budget resolution this year. Instead, they are looking to closed-door negotiations between the parties to set spending caps that will be tied to a vote to raise the nation’s debt ceiling.
It is hard to say what will happen from this point. Democrats are making it very clear that they cannot find anything to cut out of the federal budget. Republicans have shown that they can be bought by weak compromises such as the deal that allowed the 2011 budget to pass. Are you still hopeful that Congress can pass a 2012 budget that seriously addresses the budget concerns our nation faces? You can call me skeptical!