David Broder’s column today in the Washington Post opens tellingly:
Jim Nussle took a little time off from his campaign last week to handle a small chore in Washington: writing a budget for the U.S. government.
In the piece, Broder examines the offhandedness of the GOP’s handling of this huge task. I recommend the whole column, because it describes how this Congress is on track to meet the fewest hours since the Congress of 1948, and because it spears GOP hypocrites like this:
Democrats were trying to reimpose the budget rule known as “pay-go.” That requirement simply says any spending increase or tax cut is to be offset by a comparable saving. . .
Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, the Republican chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, led the effort to defeat it, arguing that it would inevitably force a tax increase . . .
Four years ago, Gregg said: “If we do not do this, if we do not put back in place caps and pay-go mechanisms, we will have no budget discipline in this Congress, and, as a result, we will dramatically aggravate the deficit . . .”
When [Sen. Kent] Conrad quoted those words, Gregg replied: “I was right then, and I am right now. Times change, and the dynamics of what is happening around here change substantively.”
Oh, GOP Congress, I am sad for you. It must have been so easy when Democrats were in charge, and they kept running the finances responsibly, so that it was easy to argue in favor of crazy things, like simultaneously increasing spending and decreasing revenue. Not so fun trying to keep all your campaign promises when there’s no adult around to make sure things work out.
What was that old campaign item you guys used to have? Fiscal responsibility? It looks nice. I think we’ll take it.