At least GOP is trying to show spending restraint

Once again I am left scratching my head at the media and the goings on in our nation’s capital. Everywhere I turn I am bombarded with how the government shutdown is the fault of the Republicans. I am also hearing predictions of dire straits if the government does not quickly re-open for business.

First, I think we need a little lesson in government. The budget of the United States government often begins as the president’s proposal to congress which recommends funding levels for the next fiscal year, beginning Oct. 1. However, Congress is the body required by law to pass a budget annually and to submit the budget passed by both houses to the president for signature. On April 15, 2010, in an unprecedented budget failure, House Democrats not only failed to pass a budget – they opted to not even propose a budget. This has led to these pesky continuing resolutions that we have to deal with. We must remember that the Democrats controlled both the house and senate at that time. Since then, we have yet to get a budget, although the Republicans have produced a budget which the Democrat controlled senate refuses to consider. The budget will require both sides to compromise, and that seems unlikely. To be fair, I can hardly blame the Republicans for refusing to stand down with Obama threatening a veto on any budget that he does not get his way.

Now we look to the Obamacare fight. There was much talk about defunding Obamacare. That is not what this fight is about. The Republicans have simply asked that the individual mandate be pushed back one year as part of yet another continuing resolution. This seems very reasonable as the president himself ignored the law and pushed back the employer mandate.

So what will be closed down as a result of the current impasse? Not much will change for the majority of Americans. National Parks and Monuments will be closed and non-essential government employees will be furloughed. Other than that, social security checks will still be processed, taxes collected, and the military will not miss a beat.

Once this crisis is finally diverted, we will be facing yet another crisis on Oct. 17. That is the day that our new debt ceiling will be hit and we will be forced to endure another round of blaming and finger pointing. The truth is our government is addicted to spending. Both parties are equally guilty. As to the current shutdown, I believe their is lots of blame to go around. At least the Republicans are attempting to show some fiscal restraint.

Jay Owens

Waterford