Keane observations about life, politics and sports.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Is Another Continuing Resolution Defensible?

We are about six months into the current federal fiscal year yet we are operating without a budget. When the legislature is unable to get a budget passed and signed into law, there is no authorization to continue to fund the government. When that happens the legislature passes a stop gap measure to keep essential government functions running. That measure is called a Continuing Resolution (CR). The CR is supposed to be for a short time frame while the finishing touches are put on the budget. Well, like anything with the government, it has grown to be quite different from what it originally was intended. Not only are we nearly half-way through the year for which the budget is for, but we are not close to a finished product.

A number of new members of congress are opposing the idea of approving yet another CR. They correctly believe no real effort to pass a budget will be seen as long as the CR's keep getting approved. Support those members. They need to understand that the media will by and large paint a government shutdown as a negative and will assign blame to Republicans. They should not pretend it won't happen. Instead they must get out front of the issue and educate the populace. Some people will not understand no matter how well it is explained. However, if they leave it to the media to educate the man on the street you can be certain they will misunderstand the situation. Also, don't lecture as though speaking to a masters level economics class. Stick to the basics. Make sure people understand this is a budget that should have been passed last year before the elections were held. Explain that Dems had both houses of congress, but were afraid to pass a budget that could hurt them in the mid-term elections. Explain the danger of the ever expanding debt. Don't talk trillions. To people struggling to pay for a tank of gas, a million, a billion and a trillion might as well all mean the same thing. Instead of trillions, explain how many thousands they personally owe as their share of the debt. People understand thousands.



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