We Don’t Need No Stinking Budget
Posted on June 22, 2010The President’s top budget guy announced today that he’s leaving.
That should come as no surprise. After all, Congressional Democrats announced that they weren’t going to do a budget this year anyway.
Who needs a budget?
Our country is doing fine financially.
Sure, we've got historically high debt to deal with. Sure, we have tax policy that is about to get a lot more interesting at the end of the year, when a bunch of tax provisions expire. Sure, we have Social Security starting to go broke quicker than anybody anticipated. Sure, we have a huge problem with chronic unemployment in the private sector and bursting employment in the public sector. Sure, almost every state seems like it is ready to go belly-up financially.
Sure, we have all of those problems, problems that are all budget-related. But that doesn’t mean we should do a budget.
We don’t need no stinking budget.
Budgets require tough choices. Budgets require (at least notionally) that the numbers all add up. Budgets require leadership.
We aren’t going to get much leadership from the guys running the country these days.
There are basically two approaches to budgeting. Liberals believe that during tough economic times, taxes must go up on the wealthy and the middle class to help pay for the welfare payments for those who are unemployed.
This necessarily means that government spending will increase, especially as a percentage of the GDP in comparison to the private sector. The private sector is forced to pay for the bigger government, making it more difficult for them to hire more people, which of course means that more people are stuck on government welfare longer.
The conservative approach is to cut government spending, and either keeps taxes at the current rates or cut them, depending on the situation. The theory here is that by cutting taxes, the private sector will expand more than the public sector, and the business sector America will expand hiring as a result of the stimulus that comes from the tax cuts.
Both sides have their political drawbacks. Raising taxes on middle-class workers is politically very painful. Cutting spending on the poor is not a walk in the park either.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer recently let the cat out of the bag when it came to the Democrats budget plans long term. He said that the Democrats were going to break the President’s pledge from the campaign and that they were going to raise taxes on middle class Americans.
This is no surprise, because that is what Democrats do whenever they face a budget problem. They push for tax increases on middle-class Americans.
But if they actually did a budget, they would have to explain that in no uncertain terms in a budget document, which is not something they wanted to do.
Obviously, the President’s budget guy, Peter Orszag, did not want to deal with that reality either.
Orszag is leaving government to get a job in the private sector. Congressional Democrats are not doing a budget because they want to keep their government jobs this November.
It is nice that Orszag and the Democrats are worried about jobs. I bet, though, that the American people would really appreciate it these “leaders” would worry less about their jobs and more about the jobs of the millions who are unemployed today.