Monday, March 19, 2012

Political Budget War Set to Begin This Week

With House Republicans set to announce their 2013 budget sometime this week, a political war over the budget will likely soon begin. Unfortunately, this war will be less of an argument over policies and more a fight to gain the political upper-hand heading into November.

President Obama's budget, which was released in mid-February, has fallen victim to a series of attacks stemming from a CBO report released last week. The report said that Obama's budget would produce a deficit of $977 million, $75 million larger than the White House projected. When looking at Obama's budget in relation to the country's debt situation, this graph shows White House's budget falls directly in between the CBO's baseline projection, which assumes that current policies will not be extended by Congress though they often are, and the CBO's alternative fiscal scenario, which is based on current policies being extended.

Despite this improvement on the CBO's alternative fiscal scenario, Republicans have been predictably tough on Obama's budget, but now it is there turn to release their own budget. Their likely goal with this budget, which is the same as Obama's likely goal with his budget, is less to provide legislation that will fix our country's financial woes and more political. Republicans think that if they unite behind a budget and pass their budget in the House, it will be a huge win for all Republicans, especially considering that the Democrat-lead Senate has not passed a budget in over 1000 days. Democrats hope that Republicans can't find compromise in the House between the more moderate establishment Representatives and the farther right Tea Party Representatives.

No matter which party comes out on top, the looming budget battle is less a sign of a functioning democracy and more a sign of a political system that consistently puts politics over policy.

1 comment:

  1. Is it really politics over policy? I think many Democrats would argue that Obama's budget is necessary in terms of policy as well. Democrats are generally interested in providing for social welfare programs, a military, education, infrastructure, etc. It is difficult to decide what spending is most important, and like the justification used for the bailout Democrats may feel that it is ultimately better for the economy to spend now and continue climbing out of this recession.