Here is a question that many of you might have thought to ask after last week’s arrival of the President’s budget; why do a budget in the first place? Budgets traditionally mean that the budgeter has some grasp on why they are budgeting in the first place. Trying not to spend what you don’t have and better control what you do. Yet, there seems to be only one reason to do a Federal budget anymore. To appease the masses, or as the Wizard of Oz so aptly showed us; just put out a lot of smoke and noise and hope everyone will be in awe and leave you alone!
As of late, budgeting is akin to turning the lights on and off in a room that has no light bulbs in the fixtures; an exercise in futility. If we add to that the general assumption that most of the government officials are blind to the reality of what income and outcome really mean, we quickly begin to understand why that light switch is getting worn out. The new reality in Washington is that once you are elected your main job is to make sure you get a good cut of federally obtained funds for the folks back home. Murtha-nomics aside, that isn’t the main reason we have a government. Oh to hear a good debate that doesn’t involve money related issues!
Add to this that it seems the only one that takes the budget seriously is the party that is not in control and maybe you begin to see that a budget is not a template for spending based on income but rather a tool for the party out of control to rally around. When this one arrived, the minority party ran screaming to the tea party people, the elderly on the brink of bankruptcy and anyone who thought they have been treated poorly the last year or so to get them more upset with the President.
The President, shortly after his budget was released, smiled and conferred it had some serious deficits attached to it. But it was the best he could do, given the fact that the guy before him had failed to include the cost of a couple of wars in his budgets and that the bills were now coming do. He also explained that he was freezing certain aspects of government spending, albeit next year as a partial solution to the grave imbalances the budget presented. Hmm. Again why are we doing this?
Some economists have gone so far as to say that we would be in a lot worse shape if we didn’t have the deficits. Not sure how being broke all the time helps the economy but when you get into that type of thinking, we all need to realize solutions to turn things around aren’t going to come from anyone on Capitol Hill regardless of who gets the job.
The President was quickly off to Florida to extol high-speed train and rail service that will cost billions to build and design and hopefully once in place be able to spark local economies! Not sure how you carry a John Deere Tractor or a refrigerator on a high-speed train, but woe to the trucking industry once they do! Republican solutions to solve the problem have not changed; lower taxes for the rich always help. If I ever get rich I’ll let you know on that one.
Our economy is reminiscent of Humpty Dumpty lore, and does not appear to be something that can easily be put back together again by neither the Kings men nor the King. Yet apparently better accounting methods are a start. Go fish!