Congress

The Government Shutdown Shows Congress Is More Incompetent Than Ever

America's most powerful legislative body can't do its main job. And things are only going to get worse.

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JOSHUA ROBERTS/REUTERS/Newscom

The primary job of Congress is to pass a budget. Yet year after year, its members fail to do their job. This year is no different. The week before Christmas, and in the midst of a budget deficit that's exploding along with the national debt, the Senate rushed to prepare a stopgap spending bill to keep the government open for a couple months. The effort failed, and as of Thursday, the government was entering the sixth day of a partial shutdown.

It's worth noting that no matter what you read in the media and what talking points you hear from the Washington establishment, there's a lot of exaggeration about what a government shutdown really means, since 75 percent of the budget is already funded. That includes all of the mandatory programs (e.g. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and interest payments on the federal debt) plus six federal departments, including the Department of Defense.

But even though shutdowns aren't the wide-scale calamity that many imply, it displays yet again the incredibly irresponsible members of Congress who seem to be chronically unable to perform their No. 1 job. And I when I say "chronically," I really mean it. While people like to talk about how "the budget process is broken" or "things are getting worse," the truth is that Congress has suffered for decades from this shameful inability to do its job.

According to a January 2018 report by the Pew Research Center, "in the four decades since the current system for budgeting and spending tax dollars has been in effect, Congress has managed to pass all its required appropriations measures on time only four times: in fiscal 1977 (the first full fiscal year under the current system), 1989, 1995 and 1997."

Four times in 40 years! Imagine if you were to only do your main job 10 percent of the time. How long would it take for you to get fired? Not long, I bet. And yet this is what members of Congress have done since before the turn of this century. As you can imagine, this malfunctioning process isn't conducive to finding ways to cut down our soon-to-be $1 trillion deficit and $22 trillion debt.

And yet we keep reelecting the same members to Congress. Occasionally, we elect new members, but they soon follow in the steps of their older colleagues. It's crazy.

Furthermore, although it's very fashionable to talk about budget-process reform, no such reform will address the issue as well as people might think. That's because even the best possible budget-process reform won't change this sobering reality: Every year, the spending that's under Congress's full purview—so-called discretionary spending—becomes a smaller and smaller share of the budget. That's because the rest of Uncle Sam's spending grows automatically. Back in 1970, the share of discretionary spending was 62 percent of the whole budget. Today, it's down to 30 percent. Absent fundamental fiscal reform, by 2040 it'll be south of 20 percent.

This reality has two main consequences:

First, we're left with uncontrolled federal spending and deficits due to that automatic growth of entitlements under existing budgetary arrangements.

Second, when left with a smaller share of the overall budget to divide amongst themselves and their particular constituents, politicians from both sides are left wrestling for whichever of their priorities or pet projects they can fund. When you have hungry dogs fighting over smaller and smaller bowls of food, you shouldn't be surprised that they fight for every bite more viciously.

The failure of our "leaders" to lead in addressing this issue is why our budget process has spiraled ever more wildly out of control. It's why the government is always on the verge of shutting down. And it's why the national debt continues to explode.

Unless and until we address the mandatory-spending framework that undercuts Congress's ability to manage the entire federal budget, no other process reforms will matter. Chaos will persist.

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  1. Awesome!!!

    Happy Nude Year!!!

    1. We wish 🙂

    2. There are those among us that you never want to see nude.

  2. A shutdown certainly is not ideal by any means, but Trump is standing his ground when they are trying to block him every step of the way towards making America safer!
    https://aladyofreason.wordpress.com/

    1. Do you think America is in any way dangerous?

  3. Passing a budget might be in the congressional job description, but what most people want now is political theater, and they vote accordingly.

    Would you be surprised if a few hundred Hollywood and Broadway actors also failed to pass a budget?

    1. Exactly, fiscal responsibility is a political loser. The give the goods is a winner. So they wait until the last moment and say if you don’t vote for all this you will be blamed for shutting down the government who is the giver of the goodies.
      I actually hope the shutdown lasts for a while just so people can realize it is not a big deal to 99% of the population and maybe this garbage spending strategy can die.

      1. No one cares about government shut downs. Most people won’t rememebr in a year, let alone two. Except the people who have already made up their minds how they will vote.

  4. But even though shutdowns aren’t the wide-scale calamity that many imply…

    Imply? Outright state. Almost every news outlet is decrying the shutdown as devastating. And as for Congress and the budget, this commenter puts the blame squarely on you, the American citizen. If you wouldn’t stop demanding that legislators buy your vote with federal freebies, they might be incentivized to pass a budget that controls spending.

    1. Meh. Short of actual reform (and a restructuring of political power), bread and circuses is about all congress has to offer.

      I’m not even upset about Trump digging in his heels over the wall. The last time Trump hand-waved a budget under the assurance that at least formal discussions about the wall take place. That didn’t happen, and here we are.

      Nothing is going to change under the current system. Just lock-in and enjoy the show.

      1. Forget budget-process reform, we need Congressional reform. And by “reform” I mean the sort of reforming whereby a cow is reformed into hamburger patties.

      2. >>>Short of actual reform (and a restructuring of political power)

        unlikely.

        >>>bread and circuses

        in perpetuity. but I’m an Optimist.

    2. A budget which automatically assunes 3% soending growth before adjustments are made will never balance. End baseline budgeting.

  5. The problem isn’t being on time. The problem isn’t the politicians. The problem is the national debt and that voters don’t care about it. The kids really should be out on the streets protesting it. After all, they are the ones going to be enslaved to pay it back. Instead they are silent. They care only about gun control, which will actually further endanger their lives and rack up more debt. Crazy world.

    1. Hey now. They are suing over climate change too. Its what indoctrination at a young age does.

  6. Pass the bill using reconciliation now, Mr. McConnell. You only have a couple of days left!

    It’s completely within the senate rules, and you know it. It’s how the dems passed Block Yomommacare, and you can damn well do the same exact thing.

  7. The kids really should be out on the streets protesting it. After all, they are the ones going to be enslaved to pay it back.

    If the Boomers and Gen-Xers didn’t do so, considering that is when this debt buildup actually began, the Milennials certainly won’t.

    And I don’t see any indication that this will all be “paid back” at any point. We haven’t paid down the national debt on an annualized basis since 1957. The US will likely break apart long before any of this is ever paid back again.

    1. I seem to recall something about the TEA Party and Ron Paul revolution back in the day. Hard to hold Milennials accountable when they were still in diapers and could barely count to ten.

      Of course, the next zeitgeist of reform is likely to happen when Gen-X is back in diapers and can barely remember how to count to ten.

      1. “Hard to hold Milennials accountable when they were still in diapers and could barely count to ten.”

        You seem to have a problem woth time space distortion.

    2. What is never mentioned is the reason why those kids are not out there protesting it. It is not because they are lazy or don’t care. It is because they don’t want to have to take care of their parents and want the government to do it. That is what none of these wonks like DeRugy who are constantly talking out of their asses don’t ever seem to understand; if you cut off Social Security and Medicare, it won’t be the old people who suffer it will be their children who suffer as they now have to take care of their parents. That is a good thing since people should be taking care of their own rather than the government. But, whatever you think of it, it is why those programs are so popular. It is not as simple as a bunch of greedy old people stealing from the young as dingbats like DeRugy pretend it is.

      1. That is a good thing since people should be taking care of their own rather than the government. But, whatever you think of it, it is why those programs are so popular. It is not as simple as a bunch of greedy old people stealing from the young as dingbats like DeRugy pretend it is.

        I’m honestly surprised that government-funded end-of-life care such as “free” rest home living hasn’t become more of an issue as the Boomers have entered their hip-replacement and dementia stages of their lives. I disagree with you in part in that I do think Gen-Xers are going to be more inclined to take care of their Boomer parents as they age. Keep in mind that a lot of them have already been rather self-sufficient, thanks to so many being latch-key kids to a generation that stubbornly clings to pretensions of youth. However, because Gen-Xers have never had the population numbers to influence much outside of a very brief window in the 1990s and early 2000s, they will go along with whatever the media narrative happens to be.

        Milennials are likely going to be a crap shoot because they’ve been indoctrinated since elementary school with socialistic fever dreams.

        1. The problem with Millenials is that so many of them lack the basic education and reasoning skills necessary to even understand what is happening to them and why. It really is generation retard.

          1. They like socialism despite an ongoing example of socialism on Venezuela. The kids are idiots.

  8. I think most people here realize that we won’t get out of this mess unless we seriously reform entitlements, but the average American voter doesn’t want to hear anything about that. It’s political suicide for any pol to talk about serious entitlement reform.

    Until that changes, there’s no hope of returning to fiscal sanity. My guess is that attitude won’t change until it’s too late, if it isn’t too late already.

    1. Nothing will be done until the crisis happens. Government is reactive, not proactive and people vote for what they want to hear, not what they need to hear.

  9. Chaos will persist.

    It’s almost like that’s the natural way of things.

    1. It is. What’s scary is we’ve never had so far to fall…

  10. Congress did pass a budget last year for the first time since 2006. It also passed a good portion of a budget this year. This is why the shutdown is only partial. The only reason there is a shutdown is that the Democrats in the Senate are filibustering funding for DHS and a few other agencies to defund the border wall. The Republicans could solve this by just eliminating the filiabuster on budget bills and passing the remaining portion of the budget. I think that is what they should do. But, I seriously doubt DeRugy would like that very much.

    The problem with this article is the DeRugy is lying. She is not angry that there is chaos or that there isn’t a budget. Congress went without a budget for over a decade and she never said boo about it. She is angry that the Republcans are not rolling over and giving the Democrats what they want but isn’t honest enough to say so.

    1. The problem with this article is the DeRugy is lying.

      You’re my hero.

      1. Do you do anything but whine and moan about anyone criticizing the Reason staff? You don’t even know these people. Yet, you are so personally invested in defending them and bitching and moaning about anyone criticizing them. People used to claim Shreek was really Dave Weigal posting as a sock, but I am starting to wonder if maybe you are not some staffer or former staffer sock puppeting. If they didn’t want people kicking them around on the internet, they wouldn’t have signed on to work for an obstensively libertarian publication. So, don’t worry, they are big kids and can handle it. They don’t need a fan club to defend them.

        1. On the contrary, I know the level of bravery it takes to call someone a liar on the Internet.

          1. Since you do it pretty much every day on here, I suppose you would. Why you think anyone gives a shit that other people doing so offends your delicate sensibilities is a mystery known only to you.

            1. Why you think anyone gives a shit

              It’s funny that you won’t follow your own advice.

              1. You appearently give a shit. You are forever bitching and moaning about my insulting the staff. So, I have at least one fan.

                1. You appearently give a shit.

                  Nah. Like you said, they’re adults. I just find it funny how pissed you get when people disagree with you. And don’t even try to lie and say you don’t get pissed.

                  1. That is the fun of the internet, it means so little and therefore it is easy to blow off steam that can’t be blown off about things that matter. Moreover, people like DeRugy bug me more than anything because they are given platforms their intelligence and accomplishments really don’t warrant. All of it is just people talking out of their asses and pretending they somehow are not.

                    1. That is the fun of the internet…
                      All of it is just people talking out of their asses and pretending they somehow are not.

                      Exactly. Which is why I can’t figure out why some people get so riled up about it.

                    2. I don’t think John is as riled up as you say. One thing I like about Reason is it’s almost the only news/opinion/blog comment on the net that is halfway readable and it’s fun to get into it and have a back and forth, actually get somewhere, or nowhere. If you check out more heavily moderated places the arguments get shut down quicker and rarely make it past the dissenter getting told what he thinks. John has a direct and slightly abrasive (?) approach (he’s unbelievably polite compared to the wider internet) but even when/if I might disagree with him I enjoy his posts because they have some substance to them. He’s one person in a pretty diverse crowd here and maybe the most rational of the voices to consistently defend the R’s, whether you agree or not. Arguments rarely get past innuendo and trash talk online but the beauty of Reason is arguments can and do get beyond that. Sure your mother might still be a whore, but way more interesting discussions can flourish here than at a hell like WaPo or Fox (if either even have comment now).

                      I had a ding dong with our beloved Tony yesterday and it occurred to me that I actually enjoy it even if I think he’s a one track bore, and I’m pretty certain he wasn’t riled up (he’s had a lot worse). It’s just something you can walk away from at any point because so many here seem to get that it’s just a f’n comments section on a (relatively) fringe publication. I enjoy it. I like John. He’s like a curmudgeonly uncle.

                    3. As aggrivating as Tony is, all you have to do is spend five minutes reading the comments to a Washington Post or New York Times article to realize he is in fact one of the saner and smarter progs out there. It is terrifying to contemplate.

                    4. It’s just something you can walk away from at any point because so many here seem to get that it’s just a f’n comments section on a (relatively) fringe publication.

                      It’s a hobby for lunatics that is less disruptive and more socially acceptable than standing outside screaming at clouds. I get that. There are some here who take things way too seriously and genuinely believe that they aren’t one of the crazies.

                    5. “There are some here who take things way too seriously and genuinely believe that they aren’t one of the crazies.”

                      This isn’t your psychologists office, we don’t care about your admissions.

                    6. It’s a hobby for lunatics that is less disruptive and more socially acceptable than standing outside screaming at clouds. I get that.

                      No you really don’t because you continue to come on here. If you really believed that and understood what it means, you would not be on here at all. Instead you seem to think that it is a hobby for lunatics except when you do it. Either leave or stay and stop bitching about people doing the same thing you are doing.

                    7. Instead you seem to think that it is a hobby for lunatics except when you do it.

                      Says who? I was including myself in my statement.

                    8. ” Which is why I can’t figure out why some people get so riled up about it”

                      I also wonder why you get so riled up about it. You’ve been bitching and moaning at me for years.

                    9. Gee Sparky, you expend a good amount of energy engaging John. You’re clearly hanging on his every sentence,

                  2. “And don’t even try to lie”

                    You mean like you did when you said “Nah”?

        2. Do you do anything but whine and moan about anyone criticizing the Reason staff? You don’t even know these people.

          It’s so obvious that he either IS one of the people on the staff, or he’s closely connected to one of them.

          1. So obvious.

            1. That’s right. It’s why you’re such a defensive, passive aggressive whiny little bitch.

              1. It’s not my fault your mother hates you so stop including me in your pathology.

                1. “It’s why you’re such a defensive, passive aggressive whiny little bitch.”

                  Gets a response of

                  “It’s not my fault your mother hates you so stop including me in your pathology.”

                  You could have just said “fair cop” and saved a bunch of words.

  11. Also, I guess that the day after the day after Christmas is another holiday for the “roundup” crew? Apparently they get more holidays than the French.

    1. I’m surprised that as Lizzy’s stalker you didn’t note that she plainly said she’d be off this week.

      1. Gee, I didn’t realize that the Roundup department was now an army of one. Soave is around, and he wastes just as much time tracking stuff on Twitter as she does.

        1. Maybe if you write them a sternly worded letter they’ll get around to tending to your needs.

          1. No, instead I’ll just continue to mock your lazy, dumb asses.

            1. The real reason there is no Roundup this week is because you’ve been slacking in your insults lately. They can’t function properly without you constantly calling them lefty hack fake libertarian Weigelian JournoList scumbagettas.

              1. Don’t let his insults bother you so much.

  12. I am glad I can always trust Reason to do a piece on the budget and always blame the deficit on the safety net programs that help poor people, while ignoring our military budget, tax cuts for the rich and cooperate welfare.

    1. The government collects more money today even accounting for inflation than it has at any time in its history. So whatever the problem is, it isn’t that we don’t tax the evil rich enough.

      You do, however, make a valid point about how sticking it to poor and old people is always reason’s go to way of cutting the deficit. That point would have a lot more force if it wasn’t paired with the idiotic idea that the government’s problem is that it just doesn’t steal enough from the public.

    2. “I am glad I can always trust Reason to do a piece on the budget and always blame the deficit on the safety net programs that help poor people, while ignoring our military budget, tax cuts for the rich and cooperate welfare.”

      And it’s always a pleasure to see some lefty dimwit who can’t add 2 and 2 show up with some idiotic claims.
      Hint, imbecile: If we cut military spending to zero, it would not begin to cover the handouts you favor.
      Oh, and fuck off, slaver.

      1. You know there is a middle ground between absurdly high military spending and zero?

        1. MollyGodiva|12.27.18 @ 10:32AM|#
          “You know there is a middle ground between absurdly high military spending and zero?”

          So not only can’t you get 4 by adding 2 and 2, you can’t read besides?
          Lefties really do need some sort of handouts in the hopes they can buy a brain cell or two.

        2. You know there is a middle ground between absurdly high military spending and zero?

          You know that defense spending took up approximately double the share of federal spending during the “high tax” years than it does today?

          I’m willing to go back to Eisenhower-era tax rates if you’re willing to go back to Eisenhower-era budgets.

        3. 2% GDP is absurdly high? Did you know half of the military budget pays for troop pay, healthcare, and housing? I bet you didnt.

        4. So? Even if you gut the kind.tary, it doesn’t out a dent in the spending problem, and al,so creates other problems. And of course, defense is actually called for in the constitution. Free shit for people is not.

          1. The Constitution does not call for a large standing army. Congress is allowed to use tax revenue for defence “To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;”

            The Founding Fathers were pretty explicit about favoring state militias in order “to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions”. America’s current imperial venture is certainly in contravention of the spirit of the Constitution.

    3. Defense spending (both as a share of GDP and as a share of total spending) is still close to U.S. historical lows, and the United States already has the most “progressive” system of taxation in the world.

      And besides, William Kurt Hauser has already proven that changes in marginal income tax rates have no effect on federal revenue in the United States, which has been relatively constant relative to GDP for several decades.

    4. Reason does plenty to go after the defense budget, and I’m constantly excoriating some of them for defending social welfare programs–especially Medicaid.

      You’re arguing with the libertarians in your head. Actual Reason staff share your opinion (as expressed in this statement) so closely, it’s alienated a large number of libertarians.

      1. Booya. Ken one-hands another three-pointer.

      2. +1000

    5. Tax the rich, feed the poor ’til there are no rich no more. It’s the socialist way! Mama and Papa Government need to do a fairer job of passing out the allowances they so graciously give us.

      1. From each according to their ability; to each according to their need.

        That plus government/labor ownership of the means of production is what we’re talking about when we’re talking about socialism. That’s for sure.

        Why shouldn’t capitalists criticize socialism?

        They act like it’s inviolate. It’s a demonstrable disgrace.

    6. Tax cuts do NOT = spending.

  13. The question for me (now and in the past) isn’t whether there’s a shutdown and what that says so much as why there’s a shutdown. Not all shutdowns are created equal.

    In the present, I see little here but an attempt by the president to keep a campaign promise and the Democrats attempt to prevent him from keeping it. Going back through the Gingrich Congress, I don’t think there’s ever been a time when the Democrats in Congress refused to fund the government on principle, and Trump is making a pretty good bet that they’ll cave because of that. Since when have the Democrats ever refused to fund the government on principle?

    In past shutdowns, there have been times when various factions within the Republican party (Contract with America guys of ’94 and Tea Party guys) refused to fund the government–even over the objections of their own Republican Speaker. John Boehner fought the Tea Party faction within his own party to spend more money on behalf of Barack Obama, and that’s ultimately why he ended up being kicked to the curb.

    Missing an interest payment would be another matter, but, apart from that, fiscal conservatives shutting down the government is an excellent example of responsible governance if you ask me.

    1. The government will not miss an interest payment. it is universally agreed that the President has the power to make interest payments without the specific authorization of Congress. Trump isn’t going to miss an interest payment or really do anything to bring this to a head. He has all of the leverage. All of the parts of government that people notice are either funded or working as essential employees. He doesn’t have to do anything except wait for the Demcorats to crack.

      1. And there is no grassroots movement within the Democratic party for fiscal conservatism. They’re not doing this on principle. To the extent that the Democrats refuse to give Trump an extra $3.5 billion for his wall on the principle of letting illegal immigrants into the country, they hurt themselves in rust belt swing states. Those Democrats who want to run for president and challenge for the primary come 2020 may score some brownie points by standing in the way of the wall, but after they win the primaries, they’ll need to turn around and carry rust belt swing states in the general election. Trump fought for the wall and you fought against it–how are they going to walk that back?

        Trump wins on this issue even if he loses the fight over the budget. From a reelection standpoint, this issue is almost as easy as standing up against dissing the flag during football games. What issue will the Democrats hand him next? Didn’t I tell you they would go after Trump for withdrawing from Syria?

        1. The thing that makes Trump smarter than previous Republicans is that he is smart enough to understand that you have to offer something to get something. For example, when the Republicans shut down the government over funding Obamacare, they never offered Obama anything in return for agreeing to their demands. So, there was no downside to Obama saying no. Trump in contrast is offering the Democrats a chance to formalize DACA and will probably offer them more on top of that. This makes it much harder for Democrats to say no and forces them to pay a price for doing so. How can Demcorats claim to care so much about DACA recipients when they just refuse to give them a pathway to citizenship over a few billion dollars for a wall?

          1. The Democrats could absolutely counter Trump’s offer with a lower wall payment and keeping DACA in place.

            The Lefties dont know how to negotiate when it involves politics.

            Socialists are used to demanding something and then using force to get it. Voluntary deals are their forte.

            1. They’ve already offered a lower wall number. He refused to take yes for an answer because Ann Coulter was mean to him.

              Now Democrats know that the shutdown will be pinned on him, and nobody can explain how they have any incentive whatsoever to cave.

              1. Your citation fell off.

                What lower wall number?

                1. They offered $1.3 billion in mid-December.

                  1. Citation or it didn’t happen.

              2. Ann Coulter was right. He gets the whole $5 billion.

          2. Trump can’t offer to formalize DACA without alienating his base. Most Trump supporters want immigrants to leave the country, not get “formalized”.

            1. Sure he can. Your articulation of what ‘most Trump supporters want’ isn’t close to accurate.

    2. The democrats have made it abundantly clear that they won’t agree to having a more secure southern border under any circumstances whatsoever. They wouldn’t agree to it even when they were offered a more than fair deal that would have given them several things that they want, so of course they’re not going to agree to it for nothing.

      The only way that the border will be secured is the republicans have to ram it through over their objections the same way the democrats rammed through Obamacare. But there are only a couple of days left to do this. San Fran Nan and her crew will keep parts of the government shut down forever if they have to in order to prevent it.

      1. The whole thing shows how dishonest they are. They claim that DACA is the most imprtant thing ever and that the wall is a waste of money and won’t work but won’t fund the wall in return for a deal on DACA. Meanwhile, Trump is happily deporting more of the DACA recipients every day. The Democrats are willing to let all of these people they claim to care about get deported rather than spend a few billion dollars funding a wall they claim won’t work anyway.

      2. You’re lying or don’t know what you’re talking about. The Democrats have never not supported increased border security funding. The president, at the behest of Ann Coulter, is the one refusing to negotiate because he wants his stupid ass wall and the Senate won’t give it to him.

        1. But Tony you just said above that Democrats DID support a lower wall funding amount.

          Poor Tony… Liar liar

          1. I’m pretty sure you once said the federal government shouldn’t waste money on useless things.

            1. You’re such a bullshitter. Your drivel is even more tedious (didn’t think that was possible) when I’m high.

              Stupid boy fucking commie sociopath.

  14. Urgent breaking news about the world’s leading rogue state!

    Russia’s ‘invulnerable’ nuclear missile ready to deploy, Putin says

    Invulnerable. Nuclear. Missile.

    As if Drumpf’s desire to “cut and run” from the Middle East wasn’t bad enough, now we learn Putin is building the ultimate doomsday weapon. The United States needs a President who’s willing to confront Russia ? with military force if necessary ? not somebody who may have been a Russian intelligence asset since 1987.

    Unfortunately most of the GOP (including the incomprehensibly popular Rand Paul) have sold their souls to a hostile foreign power. If we want pro-military politicians who are serious about national security, we need to vote Democrat.

    1. Do you believe everything Putin says, or do you only believe him when he’s saying something bad about Trump?

  15. There is a space reserved on Pg7 of the dead-tree Chronicle for the daily ‘Trump is a big poopyhead’ story, and I’m sure there is a staffer charged with providing a menu of them at the editorial meeting for selection.
    Well, sometimes the pickings get a bit lean:

    “Girl finds Santa gifts despite Trump’s ‘marginal’ comment”
    https://www.latimes.com/nation/nationnow
    /la-na-trump-santa-girl-20181226-story.html
    (couldn’t find it in the e-Chron)

    Yep, that orange hitler wondered if a 7YO wasn’t a bit old for that sort of stuff, and “santa” left her stuff anyhow.
    So there, you big poopyhead!!!!!

  16. Good article. Governments first function is to protect the individual rights of citizens by upholding the U.S. Constitution (which every oath of office says they will). This which includes secure borders as without borders you have no Constitutional Republic. And while it is nice to root for an on time budget, I root for a limited government, limited taxes, balanced budget. Perhaps once again with the feds abiding by the 9th and 10th amendments? When 51% of the people vote in career politicians who give them entitlements with 49% paying the Republic dies.

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  18. When I was in military budget school in the mid-90’s, one of the items they discussed was how discretionary spending would eventually be crowded out by entitlements. Looks more and more like that is happening today. Entitlements are easy for politicians because they are popular and most are managed on auto-pilot with automatic cost of living increases. Politicians keep us focused on the shiny objects while ignoring the ginormous deficit we’ve run up…and we have all helped to run it higher. Takers just vote in the givers.

    1. They’re all going to be crowded out by interest on the federal debt.

  19. The last thing we need is a competent Congress. Better that they go away and stay there.

  20. “in the four decades since the current system for budgeting and spending tax dollars has been in effect,…”

    And what significant event occurred prior to the current system being implemented? “Tricky Dick” Nixon removed us completely from the Gold Standard. Since then, the budgeting process has been nothing but a blank check for Congress. No accountability. No repercussions.

    And for the love of god, can we please quit calling it a budget and call it what it really is…a spending plan. The word budget, by every definition, implies a finite amount of funds.

    1. No. The 1974 Budget Act made impoundments illegal. Before that, the President could refuse to spend money authorized by congress, giving him an effective line item veto on most spending. After that, Congress got a blank check.

  21. But why submit budget? Then you might have to have hearings and debate. You might have to explain exactly what your spending the people’s money on and why. You might have to justify your decisions. What a bother…

    1. Almost as troublesome as declarations of war, those pesky budgets.

  22. shows Congress is unnecessary.

  23. It’s Mommy and Daddy’s fault that little Donnie won’t stop screaming on the airplane because they haven’t given him his pony yet.

    Bad example, that probably is their fault.

    1. Too bad little Hillary has been screaming for twice as long and three times as shrill. Sometimes telling a rotten child “NO” does end up producing positive benefits.

  24. MAGA!

  25. Congress is a lot of things, but incompetent they’re not.
    Just look how many times they voted to give themselves raises, made their cronies rich and gave billions to federal bureaucracies only to have these agencies “mismanage” they money allotted them.
    Congress incompetent?
    Hardly.

  26. The shutdown is 100% on Mitch McConnell. He could have that damn bill passed with 51 votes in a single day.

    1. He is clever enough to know that sometime in the near future that means Medicare for all would become law with 51 votes, signed by President Klobuchar. He’s probably even clever enough to know that a $5 (section of) wall is a pointless monument to Trump’s ego that would take centuries of litigation to even get off the ground instead of a necessary infrastructure project.

      1. Yep, a lot of treason from fo,is like you Tony. Really need to scrape you all off.

  27. I hope they keep this clown circus going. It is entertaining and I really don’t care about the so called shutdown. Does not affect me at all.

  28. There’s no argument that the biggest part of our debt is due to entitlements. But people who justify increased military spending based on a percentage of GDP are weird. What does our need to defend ourselves have to do with the size of our economy? We’re not fighting Hitler. Do we really need 3 million people on the armed services payroll? Jeez.

  29. Congress’s incompetence is easily explained this time. It is all TRUMP’S fault. (sarc)

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