When the Math Doesn't Add Up...


I love math. I generally love budgets. I do. I like the clean lines, the expectations, the limits that I can't cross but can come dangerously close to (and realize I am being a little dramatic here, I never actually cross lines, be it budgetary-, driving-, coloring-, or otherwise). When you look at the current budget just passed yesterday by the House and the President and Thursday in the wee hours of the morning, some things just don't add up...

So what happened? Basically a two year deal was struck in which Democrats got more domestic spending while Republicans got more funding for national defense and everyone was...happy? I am not sure that anyone was actually happy. Mitch McConnell said so himself, referring to the deal as admittedly imperfect. It was certainly a smart compromise, from a political perspective. Both parties needed this budget to go through (especially after the brief but damaging government shutdown last month) and were willing to do some things to ensure it would happen. And happen it did.

The proposal passed the Senate in the very early hours of the morning on Thursday with 71 votes in favor (not a typo, it really was 71!) and then the next morning in the house with 240 - 186 before President Trump signed it into effect. The only holdouts were the disaffected Republicans and Democrats who saw the problematic gaps in the budget beyond the political concerns. Nancy Pelosi stood for 8 hours (in 4 inch heels! I am still amazed and suffering from sore feet by proxy) and Rand Paul spoke through midnight this past week expressing their frustration that the budget was only addressing some of their party's main concerns. Different politicians, different parties, even different chambers, Pelosi and Paul represented the important hold-outs who recognized why this is hardly a victory for either party nor the people they represent.

Looking at who won and who lost, it is increasingly clear that neither party can claim victory, nor is this truly to the benefit of the public. Democrats got domestic spending, sure, but we are no closer to a "solution" on immigration than we were before the McConnell Pledge marked the end of the three-day stand-off between Democrats and Republicans in the Senate. Meanwhile Republicans have now raised the deficit significantly, much to the dismay of the more conservative side of the party, and the deficit seemingly has no other probably trajectory than up as taxes have been slashed but spending expanded.

I can't blame either party; no one wanted another government shut-down and the challenge of budgetary compromise is no small feat. But no one deserves praise here, either. At the end of the day, this was a prioritization of politics over policy. That may make for a short-term victory, but it only feeds into the longer-term issue that remains to be addressed.

Adding to the deficit and failing to take into account shortfalls in revenue can only result in greater financial issues in this country that will (someday) need to be reconciled. Until then, let's forget about the budget for another year? [She wrote factitiously, as she thought that would be the exact worse thing for democracy.]

#2018 #budget #shutdown #House #Senate #Congress #Pelosi #Paul #politics #policy

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