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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

“Budget needs decisive leadership, action”

There really can never be any peace up on Capitol Hill. Once again, a budget deadline looms in Congress. Because our government has been funded by temporarily continuing resolutions for some time, it can be quite frustrating, no matter which side of the budget debate you fall. Assuming that the government is still functioning by time this column runs, it will be due to one more stop-gap measure with minor cuts attached.      

Perhaps the Republicans are banking on receiving small cuts every so often as part of a compromise with the Democrats. Perhaps they think that $3 billion at a time will eventually add up to constitute much larger spending reduction. Perhaps they have some secret plan, but, really, they just seem to be lacking in vision and bold action.  

Here are some realities: Republicans gained a large mandate last November, and yet they cannot push for drastic cuts because Sen. Harry Reid still reigns as majority leader in the Senate. But the Democrats know that continued spending holds no appeal with the majority of the American public, and so they allow Republicans small cuts. Reid knows that his party still holds enough power that any government shutdown would, to some degree, be blamed on Democrats.  

Both parties appear to be holding out on one another, waiting for the other to blink. Political scheming and plotting leaps to the forefront, while substantive policy is pushed to the back.  

If the Republicans were truly serious about the issue, the continuing resolutions would stop. They would present their cuts and send the ball to the Senate’s court. When Democrats call foul, blame the extremists in the Tea Party and demand compromise, the Republicans would, politely but resolutely, refuse.  

Call it extremist. Call it irresponsible. Call it what you will. But this is really the type of firm dedication that is needed right now. When the United States has a $14 trillion debt, it is well past time to draw a line in the sand and stand up for fiscal responsibility.    

Now, Reid, I understand that you and many within your caucus love to spend money. Heck, many in the GOP love it, too (the last eight years are a testament to that). You say there is room for compromise, and yet you cry foul when the scalpel is applied to any, and I mean any, part of the budget. And then you make comments like this: “”I will not support tinkering with Social Security. It is not an emergency.””

Explaining the falsehoods in that last statement alone would take up a whole additional column. Needless to say, various entitlements at the state and national level, and the liabilities associated with them, have the potential to drown this country.

So we are basically to the point where Democrats are sticking their heads in the sand and Republicans are balking at the idea of leading.

This is why a government shutdown, while unlikely due to the aforementioned Congressional dynamic, is something that might actually be a blessing in disguise.

An inconvenience? Most certainly. But then again, if and when this country collapses under the weight of its own fiscal negligence, it will be an even bigger inconvenience. With a temporary shutdown, politicians might then see the need to get the country’s fiscal house in order.  

It doesn’t much matter how the following days unfold, for the budget battles won’t end any time in the near future. But if Republicans were smart, they would call the Democratic bluff. They would present their $100 billion in cuts and go with it. And then, they would propose even larger cuts.  

So if you Republicans want to retain credibility with those who swept you into power (no, Reid, it was not just those radical Tea Partiers who made it to the ballot box), keep chopping away at fiscal insanity.  

Or you can continue to waver and go with the “”safe”” stop-gap measures. With that approach, it will only take about 4,600 more of those continuing resolutions (assuming cuts in the range of $3 billion a pop) in order to gain control of this country’s debt problem.

Choose wisely. Otherwise you soon may be known as “”the party that likes government slightly less than the Democrats.””   

 

— Tanner Weigel is a sophomore studying Spanish and history. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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