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The Real Problem With Funding the Government

April 7, 2011 - by Donny Shaw

After meeting late Wednesday night with House Speaker John Boehner [R, OH-8], Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid [D, NV] took to the floor this morning and said that agreeing on a topline budget number isn’t the thing blocking a deal on preventing a government shutdown Friday night, it’s social policy. “Our differences are no longer over the savings we get on government spending, Reid said. “The only thing holding up an agreement is ideology.”

When the House passed the budget bill, the Republican majority added an unprecedented number of policy riders to it, touching on just about every major political issue you can think of. While budgets always affect social policy, decisions on which programs to cut and which to fund should be made in the regular appropriations process that allows for committee review and public input. Of course, the Democrats failed to complete the appropriations process last year when they controlled Congress, and that’s why we now have to do the budget through a continuing resolution. But that doesn’t justify the Republicans bypassing congressional deliberation and public review now.

For a taste of the policy riders that are currently in the budget bill and preventing the Democrats and Republicans from reaching a deal, I’ve highlighted a dozen or so below. Links go to the actual legislative text of the riders.

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Displaying 31-49 of 49 total comments.

Spam Comment

mblockhart 04/08/2011 7:33am

This isn’t about budgeting, spending or revenue. It’s called “backdoor legislation.” Although the budget is approved by a bill it is not “legislating.” Legislating is where the governing bodies pass a bill that does, undoes or modifies some sort of government function. The reason why Republicons are attempting this backdoor legislating is they know the real legislation won’t pass. They’re too chicken to put their ideas to the test of hearings, debate and voting. They may know that it won’t pass because it’s the wrong thing to do (e.g., cutting EPA regulation). Or, as in the case with PP defunding, the idea has been rejected and they won’t take no for an answer. They don’t believe in democracy. They think they should dictate policy to the rest of government, ignoring the balance of powers in the Constitution. They claim that the mandate of the 2010 election was to cut spending when it actually was not. And these policy riders do not reflect the wishes of the American people.

fishin54 04/08/2011 6:16am

Has everyone forgotton that we are going thru the worst economic chrisis since the great depression, and that the housing bubble was created buy capitalistic greed, and that we are involved in 2 major military conflicts. This deficit didnt happen since the present administration came to office. Change needs to come to spending yes, but in a thoughtful manner, not just a knee jerk reaction by a select few.

Tim88401 04/08/2011 6:16am
in reply to bingocimo Apr 07, 2011 8:31am

Close the tax loop holes on the multi-nationals, agreed. But even if you taxed the richest 1% at 90 – 100% it wouldn’t help. How much tax is enough?

Cut military spending? How about cutting all aid given to foreign countries? Or even, no welfare to illegals?

eth111 04/08/2011 2:28am
in reply to luminous Apr 07, 2011 9:15pm

What about the 51% of Americans who pay no taxes? The ones who extract more from the system than they put in? Get off of the economic class warfare bandwagon and realize that the only class warfare that truly exists in this country is between the politically connected and the rest of us.

The problem isn’t the tax system, the problem is spending. Read Bastiat’s “The Law” and “Economic Sophisms”, Hayek’s “Road to Serfdom”, and Spencer’s “Social Statics”. All of them point out the fallacious nature of both government redistribution of wealth and empire building. The high minded, well intended programs created over the last century are rife with unintended consequences. When those unintended consequences come to light, the solution is not termination of the original plan, it is another plan with its own issues.

When will the People (I capitalized that on purpose) wake up and realize that the government has spent the last century usurping individual liberty in the name of social justice.

Spam Comment

justoneeagle6 04/08/2011 1:20am

I totally agree with luminous above. It just keeps getting tougher for the Battler’s while the rich get richer and continue to fill their pockets. Clearly we’re in a state of uncertainty in this country. It’s basic money principles 101. After the global financial crisis the people don’t have confidence anymore. The government needs to learn that if we don’t have the money, there is no money to spend.

Spam Comment

luminous 04/07/2011 9:15pm
in reply to Mahlalie Apr 07, 2011 5:17pm

middle class wages have been stagnant for the last 30 years, while upper income earnings have been sky rocketing.

The reason the upper brackets paid a larger percentage of the taxes is directly because the lower brackets don’t have the money anymore.


End the Bush tax holiday(hell End the Reagan tax holiday for that matter)!!!

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Mahlalie 04/07/2011 8:53pm
in reply to hawkeye4u Apr 07, 2011 8:20pm

To be fair, this isn’t just the Dems’ mess. This has been building up for quite a while now. While they weren’t as bad as Congress has been over the last couple of years, the Dubya-era congressional Republicans were terrible as well.

hawkeye4u 04/07/2011 8:20pm

We need to cut spending. Not just 61 Billion. We need to cut trillions. Everyone is going to get hit for the Debt is so great this is what it is going to take to get us on track to balancing the Budget. This is the Dems mess and now the Repubs. are trying to clean up there mess and they the Dems don’t want to get serious and do some very serious cutting. All they know is to spend. We are taking the blank check from them and they are having a temper tantrim. Dems need to grow up and man up and face this problem that they have made 4 times worse and come with some solid and workable solutions instead of blaming Bush and the Repubs. They had several months to come up with a Budget but declined becasue of the election of 2010. Thats not what they are saying but thats the real reason they did not pass the Budget last year. This is there Conressional Duty under the Congressional law. Wait for the big battle when they have to take on the 2012 Budget. Won’t that be fun.

Mahlalie 04/07/2011 5:17pm
in reply to bingocimo Apr 07, 2011 8:31am

Please do some research before you make such a ridiculous statement. The top 1% of income earners (those making $380,354 or higher) paid 38.02% of all taxes in 2008. That’s nearly double the tax income for which they were responsible in 1980 when they accounted for 19.08% of all tax income. The top marginal tax rate in 1980 was double today’s 35%.

eano 04/07/2011 1:36pm
in reply to grant3719 Apr 07, 2011 10:21am

We have a budget deficit because the government spends too much money plain and simple.

From the foundation of our country up until the day Obama got elected we overspent 10 trillion dollars which is inexcusable. But Obama’s administration has been the worst of all previous administrations. While it took a little over 200 years to spend us into a 10 trillion dollar deficit, Obama has managed to spend nearly nearly 5 trillion more dollars in deficit spending in just 2 years! Don’t tell me that it is because the rich don’t pay taxes.

And in a day when we face terrorist threats from every border you suggest we should cut our military funding? The government’s job is to protect the American people from foreign threats not to be our nanny.

1. Invest in the military.
2. Cut spending.
3. Create jobs by cutting taxes.
4. Let the free market drive the economy.
That is the formula for getting us out of this crisis.

Stubbs 04/07/2011 10:36am
in reply to emoquin Apr 07, 2011 8:11am


-A look on NASA’s website shows that they believe global warming is anthropogenic.

-Defunding Planned Parenthood does not mean that private groups will immediately replace it. But I guess it would be a funding cut, so I’m fine with it (even if I disagree politically).

-The FCC rider doesn’t cut their funding, it just prevents them from implementing certain rules. And what’s this about the Constitution? I don’t think it mentions the internet (you couldn’t have thought that, either).

-EPA rider: The Supreme Court told EPA that CO2 is a pollutant and gave them the right to regulate (or not). You also said we should “cut that funding,” but it doesn’t really exist. All that exists so far is reporting requirements.

Besides, this is a budget bill, some of these riders can be discussed later.

grant3719 04/07/2011 10:21am
in reply to bingocimo Apr 07, 2011 8:31am

If you don’t have money in your bank account you just don’t spend money. It’s that simple. The Government does not have money in the bank so we just don’t spend it. I would go to jail if I handled money the way the Government does. so we just can’t spend what we don’t have. It realy is that simple!

bingocimo 04/07/2011 8:31am
in reply to emoquin Apr 07, 2011 8:11am

We have a budget deficit because multi-national corporations and the richest 1% don’t pay their share of, if any, taxes.

Further why isn’t there anything about reducing military spending, which takes up FAR MORE of our budget than all of these combined and multiplied.

The GOP is a joke and the Dems aren’t much better at this point.

emoquin 04/07/2011 8:11am

If we can’t afford it…we can’t afford it. That being said, We need to stop funding an organization that we pioneered that now dislikes us…The UN. Especially, and after Obama redirected what NASA does saying he wants them to study Climate change, and NASA has recently said that the famed theory of Global Warming being a result of terrestrail beings, is bunk! Planned parenthood is better suited as done by NPO’s and individual community work. The FCC is a draconian agency that actually should be almost completely dismantled. U.S> Constitution forbids the government from having any power over the internet, especially since it is a global network. The EPA has gone around Congress and behind the backs of this country to impliment regulation on greenhouse gasses that congress voted down laws year. Draconian and illegal. Cut that funding for sure. Cap and Trade was voted down. I could go on and on but I will not…I hope you get the picture. Sorry. GOP is right on this one.

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