Back on July 30th, at 3 a.m. Jerusalem time, Israel’s Knesset passed a budget.

The vote approving the spending plan for the next year came after 15 hours of debate and it prevented a collapse of the government.  Under Knesset rules, if a budget bill is not passed within three months of the start of the fiscal year, the government is dissolved and elections are called.

In other words, Israeli politicians were forced to compromise on a spending plan or risk losing their jobs.

That’s what we call motivation.

If the United States government operated under a similar rule, it’s likely that nearly all of the current politicians in Washington would be long gone.  Congress hasn’t passed a budget resolution and all the necessary spending bills on time since 1996.

Since then, the Congress has relied largely on continuing resolutions, temporary spending plans that have to be approved, on average, several times a year. But as former U.S. comptroller general David Walker says, that’s not the worst of it.

“Even when Congress does pass a budget and required spending bills, they only control about 38 percent of total federal spending—and that percentage is declining,” Walker writes.  “The rest is ‘mandatory’ spending, and it’s on autopilot—largely Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and interest on our national debt.”

So let’s get this straight.  Congress gave up years ago passing an actual budget, opting for stopgap spending measures to pay for only 1/3 of the total cost of government. The current government shutdown means it can’t even accomplish that.

The seeds of the shutdown were sown when President Obama and the Democrats passed the Affordable Care Act with no bipartisan support. That conservative backlash triggered the Tea Party movement that sent Republicans to Washington who are fixated on overturning the law.

Republicans mismanaged their attack by linking the defunding of Obamacare with legislation to keep the government running.  Senate Democrats and the President won that battle, but now they are churlishly refusing to negotiate with the Republicans on any issues.

While the political posturing continues, the country’s budget woes deepen, as the non-partisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget pointed out last month.

“Continually rising deficits over the long-term are driven by a significant increase in spending on entitlement programs and interest payments on the debt and revenues from an inefficient and outdated tax code that will fail to keep pace.”

We have real problems in this country, which are not impossible to overcome but will require difficult negotiations and tough decisions.  If our elected officials can’t get it done, perhaps we should take a lesson from the Knesset.

 

 

 

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Comments

  • DWM

    While the political posturing continues, the country’s budget woes deepen, as the non-partisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget pointed out last month.

    “Continually rising deficits over the long-term are driven by a significant increase in spending on entitlement programs and interest payments on the debt and revenues from an inefficient and outdated tax code that will fail to keep pace.”

    I know, let's fix our problems by adding another even larger entitlement program and going even faster in debt. That will solve all our issues!

    • Hop'sHip

      So you recommend we drive up interest costs by flirting with default?

      http://www.drudge.com/news/172832/t-bill-market-rising-over-default-threat

      • Charleston,WV

        Hop'sHip: The rising is interest rates for the T-bills is result to offset inflation due the excessive amount of money that our Treasury is printing.

        • Hop'sHip

          Inflation?

          http://www.usinflationcalculator.com/inflation/current-inflation-rates/

          • Charleston,WV

            Hop'sHip: I never said inflation was the problem, instead that the Fed uses the interest rate to control it, as stated. I swear sometimes you and I are implying the same pts, but speak of a different tongue.

          • Hop'sHip

            Well then they should be reflected in the overall CPI. Inflation has remained well within the target set by the Fed. If I was to rank the problems facing the country, inflation whould be nowhere near the top of the list. Now unemployment.....

          • Charleston,WV

            Never said hyperinflation. Said inflation. I don't use the (http://www.usinflationcalculator.com/inflation/current-inflation-rates/) calculator. The calculator from the BLS will allow you to select a good (eg, milk, bread, oranges, coffee, gas, electricity) and if you follow the table you will see that these mentioned good have had their prices inflate since 2003.

          • Hop'sHip

            Looks the same. A whole lot of information. Which chart should I look at to find the hyper-inflation that you see? The one I referenced used BOL statistics by the way.

          • Charleston,WV

            Actually look on the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nice try though.

            http://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/surveymost?ap

  • Hillboy

    Two comments...

    1) I disagree that the "seeds of the shutdown were sown when President Obama and the Democrats passed the Affordable Care Act with no bipartisan support." The seeds were sown well before then. Even more than Obamacare, the seeds of the shutdown have to do with the aggressive gerrymandering of congressional districts that has created numerous "safe" districts that are competitive only during the primary elections and not the general. This has resulted in the election of a disproportionate number of people toward the edges of the political spectrum and made it harder for moderates to get elected. It's no wonder it's harder for the two sides to negotiate--they start further apart. I'd like to see a movement toward some way of delineating congressional districts in a less partisan manner. The way it is done now, regardless of which party is in control in a given state, is just bad government. Congress is supposed to be representative--it is not.

    2) Hoppy is correct that Obamacare was passed with no bipartisan support, if by that he means no Republicans voted for it. That does not mean Republicans had no influence on the content though. If you compare Obamacare to the Republican healthcare proposal submitted to congress in 1993 (as the alternative to Clintoncare) the similarities are striking. Both called for the individual mandate, both included subsidies for low-income people to buy insurance, both required that insurers offer a standard benefit package, and both restricted insurers from discriminating against buyers based on pre-existing conditions. The individual mandate, which is now a sticking point for conservatives, was then hailed by conservatives as the free-market solution for controlling health care costs.

    Neither Clintoncare nor the Republican alternative, of course, made it into law. But, Obamacare essentially delivered everything the Republicans asked for in 1993. The fact that Republicans are not celebrating their victory can only mean one or two things. Either they want to deny Obama a political victory of passing bipartisan healthcare legislation or the Republican party has become increasingly conservative so that what was acceptable to conservatives in 1993 is not now. Both are probably true.

    The increasing conservatism of the Republican party, however, does not reflect increasing conservatism of the American people, although it may seem that way in WV. It is a product of excessive gerrymandering, which has made it harder for Congress to do what they are supposed to do. Unless gerrymandering congressional districts is controlled we can expect the same crap to continue.

    • mntnman

      Pretty smart comments.

    • Wirerowe

      The affordable health care act was passed in 2009 when the federal fiscal condition was much better than it is now. Because of that it is proper to reevaluate the fiscal impact as it is going to be implemented. If the AHC was revenue neutral, it won't be even with revenue enhancements included, we would not be having as strident debate as now. Approximately half of the states will opt out of the new Medicaid requirement so this will reduce the fiscal shortfall. Most people would be for universal healthcare if it didn't increase deficit and thereby the debt. To call people names because they are convened about the debt doesn't seem real constructive. A study in the Washington post yesterday showed that the people in every state hue become more conservative over time. It is the height of hubris to think that anyone that is not liberal is wrong about the goings on in Washington.

      • Hillboy

        Wirerowe, regarding the Washington Post study... I'm not going to debate the findings since they are similar to other polls. However, they don't indicate an on-going trend. Other polls have shown pretty consistently that the American public tends to become more conservative in their poll responses when a Democrat is president and more liberal when a Republican is president. That seems counter-intuitive but it is well documented. Because it is so variable pollsters refer to it as a mood rather than a trend. So, I disagree that there is an on-going trend of the public becoming more conservative.

        I don't dispute that there are way more conservatives than liberals in the US, but I believe that ultra-conservatives are disproportionately represented in Congress, especially the House.

        I appreciate that you withdrew the name-calling accusation but I noticed you didn't withdraw the hubris comment. If you think I am guilty of hubris I think you misunderstand my point. The Democrats are just as guilty of extreme gerrymandering as the Republicans---Maryland and Minnesota are two good examples. Conservatives have benefitted more only because they hold more state governorships. If the numbers were flipped the Democrats would take full advantage. This is not about partisanship---it's about good government.

        We have the information and the technology to draw congressional districts in a much more sensible way. Right now that information, from census data and voter registration rolls, is being used, with the aid of computers, in the most partisan way by both sides. If we had more districts that were competitive in the general election I think we would end up with congressmen who were more likely to be willing to negotiate and congress would actually be able to function.

        • Wirerowe

          Points well made on the gerrymandering. It is a huge problem that some districts are automatic Ds or Rs. Clearly it is for them and not us.

      • Hop'sHip

        Wire: I assume your comment was in response to Hillboy's. Could you explain what you meant by "To call people names because they are convened about the debt doesn't seem real constructive" ?I read Hillboy's comment a couple of times and confused about in what "name calling" he was engaged. Could you elaborate? That doesn't seem to be his m.o. I don't remember him ever dismissing someone's argument because they have "crazy eyes".

        • wirerowe

          you are right hops i read it and he didn't say that . i was wrong. My apologies It is humbling that somebody actually reads what i write. I didn't dismiss your argument. I was merely trying to point out that Paul Krugman was not a reliable analyst. He is a partisan pundit nothing more or less.Krugman is still as crazy as the first day I saw those insane eyes.

          • Wirerowe

            Hops he is extremely partisan. Keynes said that in the long run we are all dead. In the short run if we don't deal with the deficit and debts that are going to grow at very high rates with the aging population we are figuratively going to die. Expansionary fiscal policy will not deal with the huge growth in structural employment and underemployment. At this point it will just add to the deficit. We have a very dangerous easy money policy with the Feds continuing to buy bonds likely through the 2014 election. Enough expansionary government policy. If he really cares about jobs he should support policies that allow the richest energy country in the world to fully develop those resources, train our workforce for the jobs that are there, and support the companies that are growing here and bringing manufacturing back to the country. Growth will come from the private sector and proper government policies to support that growth will be the drivers as much as federal fiscal and monetary policy.

          • Hop'sHip

            I think he commands tremendous rspect as an economist. He is admitedly a Keynesian, and Keynesian economics has been greatly misrepresented as "always calling for more government spending." But you are right that he would not concur with your contention that this is a time for austerity economic policies. He argues that the time for government austerity is when the economy is booming ("full employment") and when government spending truly does crowd out private investment. Right now, he would argue that the biggest crisis facing our country is long-term unemployment and the impact of that on our social fabric. And in his "crazy' eyes any comparison between us and Greece IS truly crazy.

  • Wirerowe

    Market up almost 200 points as a deal may be in the works. I would bet the farm that any deal doesn't deal with entitlements or 2014 spending cuts. The tea party does not have enough backing to rein in the government or politicians of both parties. Our federal fiscal problems are not self correcting. you cannot spend or borrow yourself out of debt. There is no magic bullet to fiscal restraint other than dealing with it. I am not encouraged.

    • The bookman

      I believe any deal will simply be a short term extensions of the debt ceiling and a continuing resolution, both of which will have stipulations related to debt reduction and spending reform...more of the same nonsense to give the parties the ability to save face...both have backed themselves up against a wall with all the bellicose bravado...the markets know the president will unilaterally raise the debt limit as was discussed last time using executive privilege...congress doesn't want that precedent...jack lew just stated that the president would not allow a default...period! No conditions listed as a back door..

      • Wirerowe

        Well stated. Though I think that the President would rather have the political cover of having congress raise the debt limit. In the end a bunch of idle threats by both sides signifying nothing.

  • DonaldH

    It appears the Obamanites are in full panic mode as their messiah, in an AP Poll, has approval rating down to within 1 point of Bush's lowest rating... And when a rabid wild animal is panicked,,, they reach-out and attack --blindly and wildly,, Attack WWII vets; attack the bereaved families of the US Service Personnel KIA'd--even attacking children with Cancer--- Have Harry Reid and his political cronies no shame----- Hey, watching MSNBC has taught me something-- How to deploy attacks just like the left!!!!

    • James

      Correct DonaldH !!

  • MojoJojo

    It's all George W. Bush's fault. It's all because of the greed of Haliburton and Dick Chaney. It's the radical right wing Tea Party's fault.
    Barack Hussein Obama is God. He is allah. BHO is our savior. BHO will lead us to the promised land, paradise.

    In TD's world, insanity reigns supreme!!

  • ScrotumBrainTD

    It's all George W. Bush's fault. It's all because of the greed of Haliburton and Dick Chaney. It's the radical right wing Tea Party's fault.
    Barack Hussein Obama is God. He is allah. BHO is our savior. BHO will lead us to the promised land, paradise.

    In TD's world, insanity reigns supreme!!

  • mntnman

    Is everyone else weary of the partisan nonsense and bickering? Even pundits like Hoppy would help things if they simply stopped the blame game; focus on solutions. The media enables the blame game -- call politicians out; ask them for solutions.

    My daughter recently took a job, her first after graduating college; she is a recruiter for her company. When we talk she tells me all the things the company does that make her job harder than it should be, that sometimes it's impossible; then she says, "They (the bosses) don't want to hear that. They want me to do my job. Its up to me to find solutions." So she did. She is getting a raise.

    If we, government and the citizens, stopped the recriminations and realized that we need to seek solutions we can all live be with, then perhaps, just perhaps we can work through this. Or we can continue to call each other communists and nazis; that has been working so well for us. Seeing the problems is easy -- we need solutions, that will pass into law. I'm tired of the blame game -- just do your job and govern; or retire and let someone else try.

    • WVU 74

      Completely agree with finding solutions to problems. Most of us solve problems as a routine during all our working lives. We gather the facts as we find them, then draw our own conclusions.

      We have come to accept a daily bombardment from the pundits assigning political motives to any proposed solution. We simply can't find out what is fact, anymore. Why should we ? The pundits will do it for us.

      In addition, the same can be said for those presuming to tell us what to believe. As a citizen I find it appalling that I need to be told that I have to accept exactly what this (or any) President says, as being honest truth because only the President has all the facts.

      Perhaps I need your impressive posts to help dispel the gloom of the day.

    • bulldog95

      Now we have matter that we can agree on, do you job, govern or retire.

      Sadly that will not happen with brain dead voters voting the same time and time again. This is not a D vs R issue either.

      I propose a litmus test, an easy question that anyone should be able to answer before they get to vote. It could range from who is teh current vice president, who was the first femal supreme court judge, who was the first black supreme court judge, which president freed the slaves.

  • Tag

    You are correct, John. I think Henry Ford said it best: "Any man who thinks he can be happy and prosperous by letting the government take care of him had better take a closer look at the American Indian".

    • DonaldH

      Henry Ford also said: "Beware of the International Jew"

    • Harpers Ferry

      Did Ford mean American Indian or American Pakistani?

  • Harpers Ferry

    It's a two way street. Sure, just like everyone else, I blame the Whigs, but it's also Martin Van Buren's fault. He should stop trying to be like Andrew Jackson. And, Van Buren doesn't even speak American as a first language, he speaks Dutch. Tells you everything you need to know right there!

  • john

    Washington DC has become isolated from the rest of the country, all the problems, that the established ruling class create has no affect on them. Obamacare is just the latest example of how the progressive establishment in BOTH parties think they should be excluded from the laws they create. Conservatives have to stand up and fight both democrats and republicans to try to slow down the decline of the United States; remember Obama thinks we should be taken down a notch for a the bad things we have done to the rest of the world.

  • CaptainQ

    Hoppy, it was seem that the GOP's attempt to 'save' the country with this government shutdown could be the very thing that destroys it. At this point, the reason why they're doing this doesn't matter. Holding this nation hostage to get their way (a) won't work and (b) will demolish nearly all the goodwill the GOP has left.

    Notice how little Obama and the Dems are doing to end the crisis. They KNOW they're in the driver's seat on this! They're going to sit back and force the Republicans to come crawling to them to end the impass. Sure, in the meantime the nation will suffer more and more, but do you think EITHER side (GOP or Dems) actually CARE about that? Of course not! All they care about is getting reelected, period.

    To rephrase that ancient Roman adage: "Congress and Obama fiddles while America burns." There's no incentive for them to pass a budget and end the shutdown. The Israelis have the right idea, but we all know what happens to 'good ideas' in Washington, they never see the light of day.

    • Fred

      Well said CaptainQ. I vote out every single one of them.

    • DonaldH

      CaptainQ, you act as if they re-elect each other...

      • CaptainQ

        Well DonaldH, with their egos, I wouldn't be surprised if they did believe that! A pox on BOTH political parties for this mess!

        • DonaldH

          amen

  • Medman

    Two major flaws in our Constitution is the lack of term limits and the requirement that Congress pass a budget prior to the beginning of a fiscal year. Otherwise, it is the best one in the world.

    • James

      I agree with Medman !

    • Charleston,WV

      I too am in agreement and was thinking the same thing this AM en route to work: Term Limits and balance the budget.

    • Martinsburg Resident

      We meed a Constitutional Convention & get those two amendments into our Constitution. We The People need to take the lead... our elected officials are only concerned about the next election.

      • 2XLPatriot

        Agreed. I fully support the 28th Amendment that is circulating. Hoax or not, it would definately make politicians take notice.

  • TD

    That kind of motivator would be a great thing for this congress. Fact of the matter is on inauguration night 2009 a group of the Republican leadership, led by Eric Cantor, had a meeting in Washington and agreed that they would oppose and obstruct EVERYTHING the new president did. Their stated goal was to make Obama a failed President. They have admitted to as much and since that day they have not wavered from the plan. This during the peek time of the financial crisis their policies helped create!

    During the current Republican created crisis, their last stupid trick cost us a downgrade in our credit rating, they already have almost everything they asked for. Obama has already agreed funding for the new budget is at Republican levels, not the level the Democrats want. Eric Cantor said that in a speech two months ago.

    Their long range plan is to make us so cynical about the government people just get sick of it an give up. That way they can have their whole agenda, tax breaks for the wealthy, deregulation of Wall Street, etc... It's a disgrace what the Republican party has turned in to and as for making people sick of the whole thing, they've already achieved that.

    • The bookman

      Spot on with the first sentence...then you attempt to convince us all that not only are you so astutely plugged in to know the chronology of this issue but that you also possess the gift of knowing the long term republican strategy of the congressional leadership, thereby reading their hearts and minds...hoppy's commentary directly related the inability of this congress to pass a budget... House and senate...the house actually passed a budget that not only set spending levels of the 38% of the budget that is discretionary, but dealt with the reforms necessary to reduce our need to borrow ad finitum...that was leadership....that was passed in May of this year...not only did the senate not take it up, they did not offer anything counter to it....that is not leadership...this country has operated on cr's for far too long, kicking the proverbial can down the road all the while...it was stated yesterday that you are most likely making the "kool-aid", and I believe you to be somewhat intelligent...try taking a step back and looking at this issue in an honest and forthright way instead of always making a knee jerk comment about those dastardly republicans...shouldn't we pass a budget? Is there some upper limit that we should continue to borrow? If the democrat lead senate doesn't have an idea other than to leave things at current levels and continue to borrow to cover the gap, shouldn't they at least get out of the way of those who do have ideas and who have passed a budget in the House of Representatives by a majority of its members??? Here's hoping not only are you not a lost cause, but that you may even change the recipe of the kool-aid you serve!

      • TD

        The Speaker of the House said in an interview with Leslie Stall, when she asked "you won't even say the word compromise?", he answered, "I reject the word".

        It is beyond stupidity that any party would place that person as their leader in a democracy. Oh sure the House Republicans passed their budget, that is their wish list of how the country should be ran, and as explained above they will not budge from it. THEY DESERVE ZERO CREDIT FOR ANYTHING, BLAME FOR EVERYTHING!

        • The bookman

          I know the truth hurts... Evidenced by the all caps you lace into your comments...but are you suggesting the republican controlled House of Representatives should have presented a budget that did not include their ideas? They did their job...the senate should have passed their budget with their ideas included...send them to conference committee and work out the compromise!!!! Not boehner's place to compromise his budget before it is time to have the give and take...like it or not that is divided government ...Harry Reid does not want to move forward...I believe because they have no ideas(opinion since I, unlike you, can't read his heart and mind). All that having been said, it is certainly well beyond the time for difficult choices...status quo is not listed in this multiple choice question of how to solve our financial situation in this country.

          • bulldog95

            Bookman:

            All you can do is shoot down his lies and misinformation. Just like yeterday he was going on about red states getting more than blue states as a rate of what they pay in and get out. Well I found a map or two of this and at the top was tru blue New Mexico. Also on the list was blue Florida and a red state WV? WV a red state?

            Well the short of it is, that when TD goes silent, hes been beat just like yesterday.

          • The bookman

            Can't reply to you so I'll have to reply to myself....3 trillion in cuts don't happen just by proposing them... No one will agree to the details of what those cuts are and where they come from...Obama gave no details...he stayed insulated from the political fallout...they created a bipartisan commission to outline them and they failed leading to the sequester...doom and gloom did not commence as was predicted and so here we are...so while you are on your soap box tell us, oh seer of seers, where should we cut...everyone knows it's entitlements...the republican budget sparingly addresses it...and everyone on the other side starts the same old clamour...killing old people and pushing them off the cliff...well here we are still entrenched in the same old argument ...guess they were right...you really are lost in the wilderness!

          • bulldog95

            TD, we all know that those budgets done over 10 years is a joke.

            Cuts are done on year 6 or higher, while the taxes are collected starting year 1. Then after all the taxes are collected and set in stone, the budget is done next year and all those cuts are null and void from the new budget, thus the cuts never happen. If those evil republicans proposed the same budget as Obama, only front loading the cuts and end loading the taxes, the dems would vote no on it too.

          • TD

            What ideas? Obama offered the grand bargain 3 years ago, cut 3 trillion in spending for 1 trillion in new tax revenues, Boehner says "I believe we have a deal" then goes and meets with his Republican masters and is reminded "we do no deals with Obama". That has happened on numerous occasions. Obama agrees to meet him more than half way, Boehner sounds hopeful, thrilled that he has gotten such a good offer, then meets with the masters of the party and turns around to reject the deal.

            Republicans will never agree to any reasonable plan because they cannot accept a Democrat President. Look how they treated Clinton the whole 8 years (ongoing investigations that cost $70 million and led to nothing) and Carter for that matter. Now with the TEA party rearing its ugly head the situation is even worse.

            They are soooo STUPID they will flirt with crashing the entire world economy all the while people like yourself, you seem to be somewhat intelligent, give them support. There in lies the problem.

      • DonaldH

        Only thing TD is plugged into is MoveOn.org; HuffPo and Jon Stewart-- even though he must not watch the latter too often are he would know Stewart is more in line with House Republicans on the individual mandate as we witnessed Stewart ripped into Kathleen Sibelius in an interview on his show this past week... There is another good interview out there with Andrea Mitchell- NBC News interviewing Congressman Sean Duff-- It not only puts the ineptness of the News Media on stage it also perfectly defines the Republican goals,, which is NOT defunding Obamacare-- as so many wrongly believe....

        • TD

          The individual mandate is the brainchild of The Heritage Foundation. They originally were selling it as the, "take personal responsibility for yourself" part of their ideology. ONLY WHEN Obama said that sounds like a good idea did the Republican party turn away from it. They were 100% behind it when Romneycare passed in Mass.

          But as stated earlier they will obstruct and disagree with Obama on everyhting, EVEH WHEN IT'S THEIR OWN IDEA!

          • Charleston,WV

            "The individual mandate is the brainchild of The Heritage Foundation" occurred during a period in our nation's history when we were not running record high deficits, had a debt:gdp greater than 100%, had an aging population, a massive entitlement spending, and a poor economy.

          • DonaldH

            BS real conservative,,, if I were I wouldn't reference an independent source...

          • RealConservative

            DonaldH is peddling too. Let's be clear.

          • DonaldH

            Again, you are not up to date in the current political conversation and/or you make crap up as you go... in either case, go peddle your non-scenes elsewhere....

  • Spell Checker

    After next Wednesday it will not matter. My advice: visit your bank today. Avoid the rush.

  • Wirerowe

    Hoppy our country is in deep dodo. The national debt is $17 trillion. The unfunded liability of Medicare alone is nearly 3 times that. Future obligations under Social Security and Mediciad add to the red ink. An addict can not begin recovery until he or she recognizes that there is a problem. The addiction of the American people is to demanding services that they are not prepared to pay for or willing to pare back. Until they recognize this addiction all the George Washingtons, Abraham Lincolns, FDRs, Ronald Reagan's, Churchills, Bill Climtons Kissmets, or add who your want would not matter one iota. We are not primarily where we are because of poor leadership. We are primarily where we are because of an electorate of whiners and deniers.