My View From The Country

What Did We Learn From The Latest Federal Budget Crisis?

The Republicans were embarrassed and outmaneuvered; it’s obvious they don’t know how to even be a token opposition to the policies of the Obama administration.

I’m a fiscal conservative, so I abhor the economic policies of the Obama administration. However, I think it is safe to say that he is one of the best politicians of our time.

Most people earn the right of being called a good politician by finding compromise, by enacting key parts of their agenda over time, and finding the consensus to do it. Obama isn’t that kind of politician; his stance on the continuing resolution/debt ceiling angered some folks because he refused to negotiate, but that’s essentially been his stance since taking office.

His message for the last year has been – “go ahead shut it down. I dare you. I will destroy you; surrender or be annihilated.” I can understand the defiance of House members, who essentially have been told that their powers granted by the constitution are no longer valid. Still, they were no match for the combination of the Obama administration and the media.

The House didn’t surrender without a fight. They were bound and determined to address the deficit and some of the underlying causes to its continued growth, as well as some of the major problems with Obamacare.But it was understood going in that the Obama administration held the leverage in that it could make the government shutdown as painful as possible for the American people, who would quickly grow weary of the impasse.

Republicans began with a losing hand, but they thought they could force the Obama administration or the Senate leadership to the negotiating table, which most pundits thought could get them a few concessions. Instead, they lost everything. Not only did they lose the battle of public perception, but didn’t get a single concession. In fact, what they won was the right to have Harry Reid write the agreements on both the debt ceiling and the continuing resolution.

One pundit remarked that the Democrats didn’t get everything they wanted. After all, Reid wanted $1-trillion increase in the debt ceiling, and had to settle for only $986 billion.  

Obama is most effective president ever

The Republicans were embarrassed and outmaneuvered; it’s obvious they don’t know how to even be a token opposition to the policies of the Obama administration. Conversely, Obama will go down as the most effective president ever for enacting his policies. This is remarkable, considering that the country is deeply, and almost evenly, divided.

Obama was looking to radically transform the direction of this country for the long term, both structurally and fundamentally. He talked about bipartisanship and unity in his campaigns, but when transformation is your goal, compromise is just an unwanted delay. And he has had the political acumen to avoid having to compromise. The end result is that simple things like just passing a budget, or more difficult things like taking over 1/6 of the economy via Obamacare, were either ignored or rammed through without even symbolic input from the opposition. 

Some will argue that it isn’t so much Obama’s political prowess as Republican incompetence, but I think it’s Obama’s political prowess. This debate is a classic example: the deficit is exploding, the world has seen the impact of out-of-control spending and growth of government in the fall of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, and the collapse of the economies in statist countries like Greece, Spain, and Iceland. Everyone understands we can’t continue to spend the futures of the next generation forever – eventually the money will run out.

Despite Obama’s claims of recovery, the U.S. economy remains in shambles, unemployment is historically high, and America’s competitiveness and stature in the world has eroded dramatically.   This recent budget fight even coincided with the rollout of Obamacare, which all the polls show a majority of Americans disapprove of. Even the biggest fans of socialized health care are calling the Obamacare rollout an unmitigated disaster. Even in this environment, Obama won a complete victory without making a single concession. 

 

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The Republicans will inevitably do a lot of soul searching. Already, they’re debating whether the more conservative elements of their party, the moderate leadership, the media, or simply their lack of being able to tell their story effectively is at fault. The thing is that nothing was solved; the fundamental problems that created this battle weren’t addressed, just kicked down the road a few months.

Supposedly, there should be negotiation on the important matters. But why should Democrats compromise when the Republicans provided them with their complete and total surrender?   

President Obama will go down as one of the most powerful politicians of all time. Democrats controlled the government his first two years in office and every piece of his agenda was enacted, pretty much on party-line votes. When Republicans gained control of the House as a voter reaction to what was perceived to be overreach, everyone assumed compromise would rule the day. Instead, Obama ignored Congress and continued to implement his agenda without legislation, budgets, et al. It’s a strange confluence of events that allowed this to happen, and it’s difficult to imagine any other president or politician ever having such ability again.

Most amazingly, however, is the simple math. The U.S. is spending far more than it takes in, and the debt is growing to the point that it threatens the Republic’s very viability. This isn’t disputed, but we continue to spend more and do nothing to change our financial standing.

 

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Discuss this Blog Entry 6

Hollis Thaxton (not verified)
on Oct 21, 2013

You are out of touch with reality. The deficits are coming down. We know who is responsible for the shutdown. For the last 30 or 40 years a faction of the Republicans have demonized the government. The group in the house refused to work on the budget. Obama and the bipartisan senate had passed a budget but the house just waited for an opportunity to shut the government rather than work on our problems in regular order.

Gene Schriefer (not verified)
on Oct 21, 2013

Republicans blame the "Democratic Congress" for their debt increases. The trouble is that Congress was only Democratic 8 out of the 20 years, and in those 8 years, on average, Congress passed smaller budgets than the Republican presidents requested.

Add up the debt under Reagan and the Bushes. We can't blame Reagan for the debt's increase until his first budget took effect, October 1, 1981. Then, for 12 years until Sept. 30, 1993, the Republicans ballooned the debt. Later, George W. Bush took over.
Under Reagan and Bush: $3.4 Trillion increase in the debt.
Under George W. Bush: $6.1 Trillion.
Total: $9.5 Trillion. (without counting interest)

Clinton stopped the bleeding in just three years and then dropped the debt from 67% to 57% in his last five years. Bush wasted no time in reversing this progress with his tax cuts for the job "creators".

avatar (not verified)
on Oct 23, 2013

Yes. Debt increased under Reagan and Bushes because they continued to spend but refused to bring in enough revenue to pay for it. Had you rather have tax and spend or don't tax and spend? We're going to spend. That is plain. We can discuss for what.

Donald Ferguson (not verified)
on Oct 21, 2013

Read it and weep

Historical Debt Outstanding - Annual 2000 - 2012

Includes legal tender notes, gold and silver certificates, etc.

The first fiscal year for the U.S. Government started Jan. 1, 1789. Congress changed the beginning of the fiscal year from Jan. 1 to Jul. 1 in 1842, and finally from Jul. 1 to Oct. 1 in 1977 where it remains today.

To find more historical information, visit The Public Debt Historical Information archives.

Date

Dollar Amount

09/30/2012 16,066,241,407,385.89

09/30/2011 14,790,340,328,557.15
09/30/2010 13,561,623,030,891.79
09/30/2009 11,909,829,003,511.75
09/30/2008 10,024,724,896,912.49
09/30/2007 9,007,653,372,262.48
09/30/2006 8,506,973,899,215.23
09/30/2005 7,932,709,661,723.50
09/30/2004 7,379,052,696,330.32
09/30/2003 6,783,231,062,743.62
09/30/2002 6,228,235,965,597.16
09/30/2001 5,807,463,412,200.06
09/30/2000 5,674,178,209,886.86

Anonymous (not verified)
on Oct 21, 2013

I don't care who you are or what type of enterprise, it is impossible to spend more than your income for very long. It is absurd and incompetence to try and operate without a budget.
The country needs fewer politicians and more statesman.

on Oct 22, 2013

If you judge "leadership" on getting your way all the time and pushing your own agenda through at all cost, ignoring the other branches of government, the Constitution, and the people you are supposed to represent, then you can count any good dictator as a good politician by Obama's standards. Just count him right up there with Castro, Stalin, and Hitler.

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What's My View From The Country?

As a fulltime rancher, opinion contribur Troy Marshall brings a unique perspective on how consumer and political trends affect livestock production.

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Troy Marshall

Troy Marshall is a multi-generational rancher who grew up in Wheatland, WY, and obtained an Equine Science/Animal Science degree from Colorado State University where he competed on both the livestock...

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