So we've got a new pope. His name is Francis.

It took the college of cardinals, what, 15 minutes before agreeing on a new leader for the Catholic Church, the largest multinational conglomerate since Howard Johnson's went into Chapter 11?

Despite serious theological and fashion conflicts that make the problems between East Coast and West Coast rappers look almost trivial in comparison, the cardinals were quickly blowing more white smoke than a studio session featuring Snoop, Wiz Khalifa, and Kottonmouth Kings.

Compare that to the U.S. government, which hasn't passed an actual budget in years. That's supposed to change over the coming weeks, as a new budget season gets underway, just in time for spring.

The House Republicans' budget was written by P90 X enthusiast Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. He promised a budget as lean as his turtlicious 12-pack, but Ryan's plan actually grows federal spending by a whopping 42 percent over the next decade.

The Senate Democrats - who hadn't written a budget in four years - delivered a plan that raises a trillion dollars in taxes and spends even more than the Republicans want to.

President Obama was supposed to submit his spending plan weeks ago but missed his deadline because he'd gotten too wrapped up in the planning of this year's Easter Egg Roll - he wanted to make sure that the kill list for that event is 100 percent accurate.

He's already said that he's not gonna sign on to any budget that he thinks "guts" Medicare or Social Security - and doesn't restore funding for core government activities like White House tours. 

So we may well go another year without a budget, which wouldn't be the worst thing in the world. Without a budget, real federal spending has basically been flat despite the best efforts of everyone involved to jack it up.

A billion Catholics may be grateful that the College of Cardinals runs smoother than an altar boy's cheek, but in the good old USA it turns out that gridlock has worked pretty well to restrain government spending.

Indeed, if and when American taxpayers see the white smoke signaling agreement rising over D.C., we'll all breathe a little worse.

For Reason TV, I'm Kennedy.

About 2 minutes. Produced by Joshua Swain. Written by Kennedy and Nick Gillespie.

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