Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Much Ado About Nothing

For all the hoopla being made in the media the last few days over the President's budget proposal for 2012, some people might think he'd proposed to make killing certain doctors legal (which President Obama would never do - but which the South Dakota legislature is actually proposing to do).

The facts surrounding the President's budget proposal paint different kinds of fiscal pictures, depending on who is viewing them. However, the President's proposal is just as we noted yesterday: more of a political guiding budgetary document than a hard and fast set of numbers etched in stone.

At least the President is being fairly serious with his budget proposal.

So far, in the House of Representatives, they haven't even passed a draft of their proposal for the 2012 budget. They've promised much, but delivered nothing. In short, their budget proposal doesn't technically exist, at least in the same completed form as the President's does.

Of course, that hasn't stopped them in their various political gyrations.

So far, there have been more than 400 amendments drafted - mostly by Republicans - that Congresspersons have wanted to add to their own budget proposal. For a political party that claims to be all about following sensible rules of business, the House GOP has acted like more like a group of unruly Girl Scouts than a group of business-minded adults. At least Girl Scouts offer cookies.

So far, GOP house members have offered amendments to the budget such as those that would eliminate banning the Federal government from using any federal funds on vacant federal properties, for ANY reason. Not only would this make the federal government a negligent landowner in many cases, but it would also mean federal buildings under construction would have to stop being built - because they're not technically occupied.

Or how about the amendment that would ban federal funds from being used to buy and maintain teleprompters for the office of the President? If that happened, we'd probably end up with someone in the Office of the President who appeared to speak poorly and be a bumbling fool - but we already did that for eight years this century and that didn't work out too well.

Those examples are merely the beginning of the amendment insanity.

In the meantime, House Speaker John Boehner continues to allow his Republican colleagues to hang amendments on their budget proposal like high school kids with a case of TP in a forest. Mr. Boehner further displayed his incredible level of obtuseness on Tuesday when he said that if federal workers lose their jobs because of the budget actions by Congressional Republicans, "So be it."

When the election of 2010 was finished, Republicans said they "got the message" and understood what voters wanted.

Voters made it blindingly clear what they wanted from Washington: jobs, period.

If this is the Republican version of 'giving 'em what they want', we think GOP lawmakers need to go back to rehearsal behind closed doors - and not come back out again until they're ready to act like serious, professional legislators.

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