Tag Archives: budget resolution

GRUMPY – The Party that Dwarfs all Others!

Sound the trumpets!  Hang the banners!  Unfurl the flags!  It is time to unleash a new political party in the United States.  Move over Democrats.  Tremble with fear Republicans.  The newest and greatest political party to appear in the history of the United States of America is making its debut!

The name?  Our new party is called  ‘Government Revisions Utilizing Many Practical Years’  party.  If you are having a difficult time remembering the name, it is perfectly acceptable to refer to the ‘party’ by its acronym.  We are the ‘GRUMPY’ party!

In lieu of having a donkey or an elephant as a mascot, we will use Grumpy from the fairy tale Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs as our mascot.  Why?  First of all, Grumpy is a person, not an ass or a mammoth.  Secondly, Grumpy looks a lot like me and most of my readers, both in appearance and temperament!

Our party is founded on the basis and belief of ‘common sense.’  As the party chair, I make a motion that we accept the definition of common sense as follows:  Common sense is knowing the difference between right, wrong and stupid!  All in favor of accepting this definition signify by saying aye?  Opposed?  Motion carried unanimously!  (Could it get any easier?)

The GRUMPY party will now establish the party plank.  The following items have been submitted for the GRUMPY party plank.

Balance the budget,

Term limits,

Uphold the constitution

Support our military and law enforcement officials,

Stop illegal immigration,

Reduce corporate taxes,

Birth control,

Attack terrorism wherever it rears its ugly head,

Balancing the Federal Budget

Balancing the budget will never be an easy task, but it will always be a necessary one.  No other item poses as much of a threat to the US, or our way of life, than our mounting national debt.  We may think that external enemies are our largest threat, when in fact, it is our internal fiscal policies that will eventually have a greater and more devastating effect.

Social/welfare programs take up the largest share of our budget.  There are 79 welfare programs managed by the federal government!  These programs, in fiscal year 2011 cost America $717 billion!  Social security cost us $785 billion.  Medicare costs totaled $574 billion.  That accounts for $2.1 trillion of our $3.7 trillion total budget!  How can we afford this?  The short answer is that we can’t, so the government continues to borrow.  The current interest on this debt is about $260 billion every year.  This is the  interest cost during a time when the interest rates are historically low.  It is anticipated that, when the fiscal 2013 figures are released, all of these expenses will increase.

There was a ‘talking head’ on television yesterday that forewarned that at our current rate of government borrowing, and with interest rates expected to rise to a modest 6%, that by the year 2022, the interest rate costs on our growing debt will exceed $1 trillion!  That is only 8 years away!

Social Security, Medicare and the other welfare programs need to scrutinized and revamped or eliminated altogether.

Currently, the federal government pays 75% of the welfare costs, with the state governments paying 25% for the 79 programs that exclude Social Security and Medicare. The states provide the administration for these programs.  During the Clinton administration, there was a bill passed that put the limit for receipt of welfare to a 5-year term.  Do you think that is being enforced at the state level? Probably not, with the ‘big brother’ federal government footing 75% of the cost.  Our party plank proposes that the federal government cuts their welfare contribution for the 79 programs to $210 billion, which matches the states’ contribution.  That would save over $500 billion.  You can rest assured the state governments would become much more ‘efficient’ out of necessity.

Here are some suggestions for further reduction of government spending. We could eliminate most, if not all, of the czars.  We currently have 38 czars drawing salaries and employing their own staffs.  We could eliminate the Asian carp czar, bird flu czar, climate czar and the Great Lakes czar without much governmental degradation!  (Yes, these are real czars!) We could eliminate the Department of Education and the Department of Energy.  They are both unnecessary and were not a part of the administration until Jimmy Carter became POTUS. The country survived before their presence.

Term Limits

The GRUMPY party recognizes that balancing an inflated budget requires smart people with a sense of what is right for America.  Most of the people currently representing our electorate are more concerned with getting re-elected than with doing what is right for our country.  Thus the term limits.

During the early 90s, there was a groundswell movement to place term limits on our federal officials.  It was popular with the majority of the people in the United States, but it never became a law. Why?  Because the Supreme Court, that group of legal adventurers that do not have any term limits, determined that it was unconstitutional.

Grandpa T’s Rule Number 1:  Politicians are more concerned about getting re-elected than they are about doing what is good for the country.

We need to raise that groundswell again.  Additionally, we should put term limits on the Supreme Court.  They should not be allowed to fossilize while sitting on the bench!

Uphold the Constitution

Our forefathers agonized and debated over what would be in our Constitution.  They masterminded a document that has not only been a model for this country, but for other democratic countries that followed us.

So does it not appear that more effort is being placed on circumventing the constitution than on enforcing it?

Obamacare?  How exactly was that determined to be constitutional by the fossils, oops, I mean the Justices of the Supreme Court?  Politics!   You can imagine the pressure placed on these Justices to further this program because it would garner votes for the Democratic party.  It was another ‘feel good’ program that was not affordable and now appears to be unmanageable.  Remember, the Republicans have been strongly criticized for opposing this program.

The Constitution and the Bill of Rights have insured individual freedoms.  Yet, we have people continuously attempting to chip away at both in the hope of converting this country from a democratic nation to a socialistic nation.

The GRUMPY party position?  Defend and enforce the Constitution!

Support our Military and Law Enforcement Officials

The GRUMPY party supports our Military and Law Enforcement officials for all of the sacrifices that they have made to protect our country and to ensure our safety.

We, oftentimes, overlook the dangers that law enforcement faces.  I have known many people that were in the military but were also cops.  I have often said that I would rather be in the military, because you normally knew who the enemy was.  When you are a cop, the enemy looks just like anyone and could strike at any time without warning.  A routine traffic stop can turn into a policeman’s fatality.

If you don’t support these people, then imagine yourself in the position to replace them and do the job yourself.  You would appreciate their service all the more!

I find it interesting that our current POTUS has taken it upon himself to criticize the law enforcement community on numerous occasions.  Trayvon Martin and the current situation in Ferguson comes to mind. Aren’t the Secret Service basically policemen?  Isn’t their mission to protect and to serve? What would the POTUS do if they walked off the job?  Hmmmm.

Stop Illegal Immigraton

There are ways to become a legal US citizen.  It takes time and effort to become a legalized US citizen.

Allowing 10,000 illegals to cross the border every day is not the way to develop a stronger America.  Our southern border is so porous that it has been used by terrorists.  Many of these people are illiterate, diseased and of questionable character.  Yet, the POTUS has deemed “mean” the Republicans  that want to strengthen our southern border.

A policy that allows temporary work permits needs to be put in place.  The borders need to be regulated.

The GRUMPY party position is that we do not want people in this country whose first act was to commit a crime by entering it illegally.  There are laws and we need people to have the guts to enforce them.

Reduce Corporate Taxes

We exist in a global economy and yet we expect our corporations to compete globally  while paying the highest corporate taxes in the world.

The real way to strengthen our country, increase employment and expand our economy is through private businesses and corporations, not by increasing the size of government.   Corporate taxes represent about 16% of the federal taxes received.  That means that 84% come from working, tax-paying individuals.  Reduce corporate taxes and we will really stimulate the economy, not artificially stimulating the economy as the Federal Reserve has been doing.  Reagan did it.  Even JFK reduced corporate taxes to stimulate the economy.

Grandpa T’s Rule Number 2:  Corporations and businesses are in business to make a profit.

The GRUMPY party  supports cutting corporate taxes in conjunction with cutting government spending.

Birth Control

Here is the GRUMPY party’s most controversial position concerning birth control and abortion.  The GRUMPY party has decided not to have any position!

Yup.  As a man, I have never understood how something as personal as birth control and abortion have made it to the national arena.  Isn’t this a very personal item?

I have my opinions, but I also firmly believe this issue should be at the state governmental level or lower.  I would be perfectly content with allowing any woman to choose her own option concerning this matter.  As mentioned, I have difficulty understanding how this has been elevated to a national issue.

Terrorism

ISIS is a well funded, well organized terrorist group that has already killed Americans and is holding other Americans hostage.  Where did they get their money?  Which countries are giving them military and financial support?

Whether you call them ISIS, Hamas, Al Qaida or any of a number of other names, it all boils down to the same thing – they are all terrorists. They will kill innocent people without mercy.  They particularly relish nabbing and killing Christians or people of any religion that differs from their fanatical teachings.  They especially enjoy capturing American Christians, which equates to being a ‘terrorist twofer.’

The GRUMPY party position?  Kill and engage any terrorist organization that rears its ugly head. (I would like us to go to the sponsors of these terrorists, but I would sound like a warmonger if I were to say that Iran and Saudi Arabia would be prime suspects.  Saudi Arabia, you ask?  Remember, most of the 7/11 terrorists were Saudis.  Yet the POTUS knelt to kiss their king’s hand.)

There you have it.  We have launched a new political party and have established a party plank.  This is much more of an accomplishment than what has been done in Washington during the month of August.   I can hear the groundswell for GRUMPY party support gaining momentum as my fingers fly over the keyboard.  And just like the Russians invading the Ukraine, we launched our party during the Congressional summer recess and while the POTUS was golfing.

Sometimes, it is just too easy.

Poverty, Fostered by the Cocaine of Dependency

Grandma P and I have been fortunate in that we have done extensive traveling and have visited over fifty countries.  Many, but not all, of these visits were done from the comfort of a cruise ship.  In many instances, a one-day visit was more than enough.

The one thing that Grandma P and I agree on during these travels is the definition of poverty, of being poor.  We both agree that most Americans have not seen what real poverty looks like.  How many people live in the United States in houses that lack both windows and doors and have dirt floors?  Not too many.  Yet, we have seen it many times in countries in the Caribbean and in both Central or South America.

Many people have to grow the food they eat.  We saw this on a recent trip to the South Pacific.  Did you know there are two Samoas?  Yup.  One Samoa is Western Samoa which is directly north of New Zealand and is also an independent country.  It is beautiful!  What was memorable about Western Samoa was that everyone, regardless of their meager homes, had beautiful gardens that provided fruit and vegetables.  Many raised animals.  Everyone was busy making a living in whatever manner was available.  Everyone was outwardly happy and appeared to be productive.  There are no welfare programs in Western Samoa.  It gets back to that age-old principle of, ‘you eat what you kill.’

The next day we went to Eastern Samoa, more commonly known as America Samoa.  It is the only US protectorate of the four US protectorates in the southern hemisphere.  It was also beautiful.   As we were touring America Samoa, the gardens were not as prevalent.  Many yards did not have gardens.  The homes and yards were not as well kept as we had seen at Western Samoa.   I noticed this and could not figure out the reason for the big differences between the two islands.  This was especially perplexing as many of the people on both of the islands are related.  The airplane shuttle service between the islands is always busy.  As we were at the end of the tour and heading back to our ship, the answer became evident.  As we were passing one of the biggest groceries on the island, there it was – the answer– in big letters prominently displayed in the window – ‘We Accept Food Stamps.’

Who knew?  Did you know that our protectorates receive welfare?  Want to guess who is paying for this?  Oh yeah, the American taxpayer.  We are also paying for Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

I digress.  One of the most poverty stricken cities we have visited is Cairo, Egypt.  Pretty much everything is filthy and dust covered.  The Cairo system of garbage removal is to push all garbage into the Nile river.  When the spring floods come, it all gets washed north to the Mediterranean.  If Egypt did not have the pyramids or the sphinx, tourists would never go there.  Talk about poverty!

Now I am going to do something that I have not done in over a year of writing this blog.  I am going to republish an article that appeared in my local newspaper this week in its entirety.  I am doing this for three reasons.  Firstly, the winter Olympics are on, and I am an Olympic junky.  I have been since 1960.  Secondly, I have four brothers-in-law and four sisters-in-law coming to stay at our house this week.  I need to store up my limited amount of ‘niceness, best behavior and tolerance.’  Lastly, Walter Williams has punched this poverty/dependency issue squarely in the face and has done an excellant job of writing about it.  Walter’s columns are syndicated, but obviously do not appear in many newspapers.  I never knew who he was, or saw his columns until I moved to the South from the Midwest.   Why?  He is black, and he is conservative.  That does not bode well in the blue states or in the liberal media.  He is a professor of economics at George Mason University.  His article:

America’s problem isn’t poverty, it’s dependency ( by Walter Williams)

“There is no material poverty in the United States.  Here are a few facts about people whom the Census Bureau labels as poor.  Dr. Robert Rector and Rachel Sheffield, in their study “Understanding Poverty in the United States: Surprising Facts About America’s Poor,” report that 80 percent of poor households have air conditioning, nearly three-quarters have a car or truck and 31 percent have two or more.  Two-thirds have cable or satellite TV.  Half have one or more computers.  Forty-two percent own their homes.  Poor Americans have more living space than the typical non-poor person in Sweden, France or the United Kingdom.

What we have in our nation are dependency and poverty of the spirit, with people making unwise choices and leading pathological lives aided and abetted by the welfare state.

The Census Bureau pegs the poverty rate among blacks at 35 percent and among whites at 13 percent.  The illegitimacy rate among blacks is 72 percent and among whites it’s 30 percent.  A statistic that one doesn’t hear much about is that the poverty rate among black married families has been in the single digits for more than two decades; it’s currently at 8 percent.  For married white families, it’s 5 percent.

Now the politically incorrect questions:  Whose fault is it to have children without the benefit of marriage and risk a life of dependency?  Do people have free will, or are they governed by instincts?

There may be some pinhead sociologists who blame the weak black family structure on racial discrimination.  But why was the black illegitimacy rate only 14 percent in 1940, and why, as Dr. Thomas Sowell reports, do we find that census data “going back a hundred years, when blacks were just one generation out of slavery…. showed that a slightly higher percentage of black adults had married than white adults.  This fact remained true in every census from 1890 to 1940.”

Is anyone willing to advance the argument that the reason the illegitimacy rate among blacks was lower and marriage rates higher in earlier periods was there was less racial discrimination and greater opportunity?

No one can blame a person if he starts out in life poor, because how one starts out is not his fault.  If he stays poor, he is to blame because it is his fault.

Avoiding long-term poverty is not rocket science.  First, graduate from high school.  Second, get married before you have children, and stay married.  Third, work at any kind of job, even one that starts out paying the minimum wage.  And finally, avoid engaging in criminal behavior.

It turns out that a married couple, each earing the minimum wage, would earn an annual combined income of $30,000.  The Census Bureau poverty line for a family of two is $15,500, and for a family of four it’s $23,000.  By the way, no adult who starts out earning the minimum wage does so for very long.

Since President Lyndon Johnson declared war on poverty, the nation has spent about $18 trillion at the federal, state and local levels of government on programs justified by the “need” to deal with some aspect of poverty.  In a column of mine in 1995, I pointed out that at that time, the nation had spent $5.4 trillion on the War on Poverty, and with that princely sum, “you could purchase every US factory, all manufacturing equipment, and every office building.  With what’s left over, one could buy every airline, trucking company and our commercial maritime fleet.  If you’re still in the shopping mood, you could also buy every television, radio and power company, plus every retail and wholesale store in the entire nation.”

Today’s total of $18 trillion spent on poverty means you could purchase everything produced in our country each year and then some.

There’s very little guts in the political arena to address the basic causes of poverty.  To do so risks being labeled as racist, sexist, uncaring and insensible.  That means today’s dependency is likely to become permanent.”  (the end)

Whew!  I could not have said any of this better than Walter Williams himself did in his article.  If you are not familiar with any of Walter’s articles, you should acquaint yourself – right after you read mine.  His perspective is both astute and refreshing.

My heart rate has just jumped!  Olympic curling is back on the TV.  You must be familiar with curling.  It is the only Olympic sport where a fat man with a beer gut can realistically fantasize about being an Olympic medal winner!  Those other sports are too physical and would actually require me to move off the couch and train!  Pass the pretzels.

Five Keys to a Better Kingdom

I realized recently that I have lived through the administrations of twelve different Presidents: six Republicans and six Democrats.  Some were very good Presidents, and some contributed very little to society or our country. That is  the subject of a later post, however.

Having lived through these twelve administrations, I can say (with an elder statesman’s  degree of certainty) that there are some improvements that could be made to our government.   There is always room for improvement.  Right?  So I am presenting the five most important changes that I believe would greatly enhance life in the United States. (All of these issues have been addressed in greater detail in previous blogs.)

Sooooooooo, I want you to use your imagination. (while imagination is typically a liberal trait, I need my conservative friends to exercise the left side of their brain for the purposes of this blog!)  Similar to the imagination it took to create that classic movie, ‘Wizard of Oz’; and that recent movie, ‘The Butler’, I want you to imagine that I, Grandpa T, am not only a blog writer of no reputation, but am now ‘King Grandpa T the First’,  King of the United States of America.  You can refer to me as KGTF, for short.  Ready?  Imagination activated?

Hear ye!  Hear ye!

1.  INITIATE TERM LIMITS

If I could wave my magic wand, (as no doubt King Grandpa T would have) the first decree would be to institute term limits across the kingdom.

In colonial times, our federal representatives had to leave their occupations for the privilege of serving the people.  Once they had done their duty to the country, they returned to their previous occupations.  Many of these representatives faced financial burden by not being able to oversee their day-to-day interests.

Today, we have too many professional politicians.  They begin their careers at the local, county and state levels, and they eventually work their way to a federally elected position.  My opinion is that all of these elected officials be limited to 12 years of federal service.  Representatives could serve up to six two-year terms, and Senators could serve two six-year terms.

There was a huge groundswell for term limits in the early 90s, but it was not passed by our federal representatives.  Many of the current states do have term limits for people elected to state offices.

Power corrupts.  Even though many of our elected officials begin with the best of intentions, they soon put forth more effort in getting reelected than in managing affairs that are good for the country.  They succumb to special interests, especially those special interests that come with campaign contributions and votes.  These special interests do not always convey principles that are good for the realm (country).

In short, we need fresh people with fresh ideas to meet the challenges of a changing world

2.  REPEAL AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE(OBAMACARE)

As king, I would behead anyone that would present a proposed law for the land that is 2,000 pages long, and requires 20,000 pages to administer. (Or at the very least, I would have them fired!)  But lo and behold, it is currently acceptable for the Council of Jesters in that foreign land called Washington, DC.  They passed it without having read it!

Not only was it proposed and passed, but it is also a law that is unconstitutional, unaffordable, and was directly responsible for a five-year economic spiral from which we are just now beginning to recover.

Really?  The Constitution of the United States says that health care is a mandate?  Not hardly!

If you think current health care is expensive, then pass laws limiting medical malpractice awards and halting frivolous lawsuits.  You would be amazed at how much would be saved in health care costs.  Every doctor you know is paying over 6 figures (that’s over $100,000!) for medical liability insurance.  How much do you think pharmaceutical companies pay?  Your drug cost reflects a large percentage of drug company liability insurance costs.  Watch television?  How many times have you seen, “If you suffer from any of the following 169 symptoms, and use the drug XYZ, you may be entitled to a settlement.”  The barristers sponsoring these ads are doing it to sue your drug company!

Businesses are in business to make a profit.  Once this law was passed, businesses downsized their workforces in anticipation of the additional 20-25% increase in their labor costs attributed to Obamacare.  They did this 5 years ago in anticipation of the full implementation of the program.  That coincides with the increase in unemployment, the downturn in the economy, and the decreasing value of real estate.  Coincidental?  I think not.  Obamacare is directly responsible for all of these events, and the sooner someone has the fortitude to face it and repeal it, the sooner we will be on the road to recovery.

Therefore, I, King Grandpa T decree that all proposed legislation is to be 50 pages or less, clearly written in language understood by my subjects, and not place any excessive burden on the Exchequer.  Punishment for failure to do so will result in dismissal from the court!

3.  PREVENT VOTER FRAUD/REQUIRE VOTER ID

Before I was King, I would feel downtrodden when my favorite politicians did not win an election.  Now I get downright belligerent when I think an election has been stolen.

Remember, an election is only as honest as the election supervisors.  Don’t you get a little concerned when you hear that there were 18,000 votes cast in a district with only a maximum of 10,000 eligible voters?  Do you get concerned when there are 19,500 votes cast in one district, all for one candidate without one dissenting vote?  Both of these events took place in the last presidential election.

Why, oh why, do all the states not require a picture ID to vote?  I have to show a picture ID three or four times a month.  It is painless. Yet, my former Midwest home state failed to pass an amendment requiring a picture ID during last years election.  The favorite argument was that it would cost the state just under $60 million to assure all of its eligible residents had photo ID’s.  They thought this cost was excessive, so the state had decided to build a $1 billion football stadium instead.

Come up with any argument you want, but in my realm, all eligible voters will be required to produce a photo ID to prove they are a subject of the kingdom.  Then they can vote for the jester of their choice.

4.  BALANCE THE BUDGET

I am glad to say that the majority of my subjects that read my decrees know how to balance a budget.  In my kingdom, Queen Grandma P the Only, sees that there are adequate funds in the Exchequer.

In that foreign land of Washington, the Council of jesters and their leader are overspending the funds in their Exchequer at the rumored rate of $200 million an hour!  How long can these people expect this to go on before their kingdom is bankrupt?  (Rumor also has it that they print their own money, and pay their debts with it.  They call this economic stimulus.)

If they were to seek my counsel, I would tell them to eliminate the Departments of Energy and Education.  These two, outdated departments were both established by that head jester, Jimmy Carter.  They serve no justifiable purpose for their realm.

I would advocate the repeal of Obamacare in an effort to save the 16,000 additional IRS jobs that are required to administer the program.

I would propose a simple, flat tax across their realm.  In this way they could save the expenses required to support the existing 128,000 member IRS Army by reducing it to less than 25,000.

Many smart people in Washington who have had business experience would be both willing and capable of offering excellent suggestions on how to get their Exchequer out of the red.  But the head jester and his cabinet of jesters and advisors have only 9% of their people with experience in the private sector of their economy.  They do not have experience with making money in the capitalistic kingdom, only experience on how to spend other people’s money.  They have proven to be overachievers in their endeavors.

5.  REFORM WELFARE

In that foreign country of Washington, there are 84 agencies associated with different welfare programs.  Whew!  Many of these programs were begun with the best of intentions, but ran amok.  Many were supposed to be temporary but developed a pulse to become permanent.

Additionally, 15% of the people of that kingdom receive food stamps.  That equates to 1 out of 7 of their subjects!

The total cost of all these programs exceeds $800 billion per year!  This represents the largest single expense in the budget within the kingdom of Washington.  Something needs to be done to reduce the subjects’ reliance on these programs.

A reformation of these programs would go a long way to assist the balancing of the Exchequer.

Back to reality.

There you have it!  My five suggestions for items greatly improving life in the United States.  I have more, but I am limiting myself to the five about which I feel most strongly.  I now have to give up my title and my throne because Grandma P says it is time to cut the lawn and slap another coat of paint on those lawn ornaments.  You can see who wears the pants in this family!  (I do wish she would take off that damn tiara!)

Government Gridlock – Costing our Country its Future

Anyone with two eyes, two ears, and an IQ higher than a turnip knows that our federal government is having budget difficulties.  It is because of the Great Recession.  It is because of lost revenues due to a high unemployment rate.  It is because of rampant spending on the part of our elected officials.   You would think that with all the press given to the “fiscal cliff” and to the negative effects of reaching that cliff, our federal representatives would be feverishly working to balance our budget to avoid our great nation from falling off that cliff.  So are they?

Here is a simplified synopis of how the budget planning process is supposed to work.

Since the passage of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Senate and the House are supposed to pass budget resolutions in the spring.  These budget resolutions set the framework for taxation, spending and other fiscal considerations for the coming year.  They also lay out general plans for the next four years.  If the budget resolutions differ, the Chambers are to hammer out a compromise.

Budget resolutions are policy plans.  They are not appropriations bills, or spending bills, which actually allocate monies for specific purposes.

If a budget resolution does not pass, the federal government does not go dark.  In the absence of a budget resolution, appropriations bills will continue to allocate money.   (This last sentence is the weakness in our system, which allows a bad situation to get worse!)

This all brings us back to the question: What are our federal representatives doing about balancing our budget?  And when was the last time that a budget was approved?…………tick………………tick…………………tick…………  Time is up!  April 29, 2009.

In 2012, not one single annual appropriations bill has was brought to the Senate floor!  The U.S. House passed seven of the 12 annual appropriations bills that year and sent them to the Senate for consideration, according to the status report by Republicans on the Senate Budget Committee.  The Senate Appropriations Committee also approved 11 of the 12 spending bills and sent them to the full Senate for consideration.

So what happened?  It actually sounds as if some of our federally elected officials were indeed working at attempting to provide a budget.  Read on……………

None of the bills approved by the House or the Senate Appropriations Committee were ever brought to the Senate floor for a vote.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., who decides which bills will be considered, told reporters on July 10, 2012, that no spending bills were likely to be approved in 2012 due to an ongoing dispute with House Republicans over how much the federal government should spend.  No fooling?

True to his word, Reid so far has not brought any of the annual spending bills to the floor since that statement in July, necessitating the short-term budget measure to keep the government running for another six months.  This also means that there are not any four-year plans provided for future budget planning.  There is no shell of a federal budget, much less a framework for future budgets.

Everyone who knew we did not have a budget for almost four years, raise your hands.  Yup, that’s what I thought.  I had no idea either.  I haven’t heard much about this in the media.

I know I have higher aspirations for the people who are elected to oversee the welfare of our country.  And what do they do?  They are playing patty-cake politics at our country’s expense.  It would be fair to assume that this group, regardless of political party, are flying by the seats of their pants (or skirts) and that they really do not have an original thought or plan to get our country out of this financial mess.   One person, a man from Nevada who won his last election by 40,000 votes, has decided that because those mean, vicious Republicans want to cut spending, he will circumvent the debate and compromise process by not introducing budget bills on the Senate floor.  Why, exactly, are these people in Washington?

Don’t get me wrong.  This is not just a Democratic party issue.  There have been other times in our nation’s history when the Republicans did not pass a budget when they were in the majority.  But I must admit, the Democrats have been overachievers in not getting a budget approved since 2009.   We have had three years without a budget, and we have an excellent chance of extending the record.

The irony of all of this, is that our country is still on the brink of the financial cliff.  The fiscal cliff was going to hit on January 1 of this year.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, I expected the gutless wonders we have elected to Congress to postpone making any decisions.  They did just that, and now the new cliff date is March 27, 2013.  I suspect that when that date approaches, they will again delay by passing temporary appropriations bills to keep the country running.  All of this without any permanent solutions for what are becoming huge permanent problems.  Social security, Medicaid, Medicare, defense, unemployment; all of these issues need to be addressed, as this country cannot afford to continue on its present path.  Let me be perfectly clear.  We need to reduce spending!

Suffice it to say that if the US military operated as inefficiently, ineptly and with as little direction as our present Congress, we would still be fighting the Civil War.

So what has been accomplished thus far in facing the realities of the pending fiscal cliff?  For one thing, the POTUS (President of the United States)  asked for and received higher income taxes on higher income wage earners.  You certainly heard his continuous promotion of class envy by using the word “rich” like it was a dirty four letter word during the presidential debates.  Congress approved this increase at the end of last year, mostly hitting families with a combined household income of over $450K per year.  In their infinite, but vanishing, wisdom, Congress also complicated the IRS tax codes by making federal income tax a four-tier process, with a number of caveats at each level.  So much for trying to simplify the tax codes.  The Republicans relented  and approved these increased tax measures on the assumption that the other end of the shovel would be spending cuts.  But now, after getting the increases, the POTUS and the Democrats are balking at any spending cuts.  And of the cuts that they may actually approve, 50% come from the Defense Budget, which is about 22% of our federal budget.   At the same time, the Democrats are trying to preserve all the social welfare programs, which consume well over half of our federal budget.   Stay tuned as to how this will all flesh out.

Last night, Grandma and I attended an investment seminar with a guest speaker from Washington, D.C.  He offered his insight into our inability to compromise and to do what is best for the country.  His theory?  He says that the United States political picture is currently divided into thirds: 1/3 Republicans, 1/3 Democrats, and 1/3 Independents.  The Independents are in the middle, expecting compromise.  The other two parties have gone respectively to the extreme left and extreme right to hold onto the political base that got them elected.  The result of all of this is that the two extremes are our federal representatives.  Gridlock ensues as both sides are too far apart to consider compromise.  Like Nero, they are fiddling in Washington, while the country burns.  I blame both sides.  We need leadership more than ever from people who are incapable or unwilling to lead.   Most people do not want to face the reality that we may all have to sacrifice some, to protect the whole.  In this case, the “whole” is the United States of America.

Originally, I was going to do a post on welfare.  During my research on the welfare programs in the US, I ran across this information as to how our government if functioning in Washington.  The verdict?  It is not functioning for the benefit of the country!  It is working overtime to gain reelection.   I am both appalled and irritated by how our country is being managed.  I must be naive, because I expect more from supposedly smart leaders.  Much of these problems would not exist if we had term limits.  It is obvious that too many selfish, egotistical people feel comfortable “nesting” in Washington.

The next post will be on welfare programs in the US.  These programs are at the heart of possible budget cuts.

Have you talked or written to your Congressman lately?  If the silent majority (the common sense people) do not make themselves known, we become abetters by allowing our government to continue on its present course.

PS:  On Saturday, March 23, the Senate passed a budget for the first time in about four years with a vote of 50-49.  This budget will not be implimented, as it is to diverse from the budget passed by the House.  Stay tuned for more gridlock and ineptness.