Congress reminds me of a couple who asked me to advise them on their finances. They had already gone bankrupt twice. The local banks begged would they please not even drive past their offices any more.
It is not the stink of Congress’s bankruptcy that brings these folks to mind. It is how they handled the thorny subject of their budgets.
“We just don’t do a budget,” the man told me. “It would look so awful that we just choose to ignore all that.”
Congress is doing the same. For the first time in 35 years, no budget. Word around Capital Hill is they will not pass one before the November elections.
Now, they should pass a budget. If they were responsible, they would. But I cannot blame them if they do not.
They are like the bankrupt couple. If they pass a budget it will make them vomit. It is in their interest to avoid retching. It will make the voters nauseous too. And guys running for re-election try to avoid such things just before the election.
There is a government in the Caribbean that did the same thing recently. It did not come out with a budget before the election. For the same reason Congress is avoiding a budget. I’m talking about the nausea thing.
You see, budgets deal with reality. They tell us how much money is coming in. They tell us how much is going out. If they are in the red they tell us where and how we will borrow the difference.
In the red? The 2011 budget has caused a shortage in red ink. Prices of stocks of red ink companies have gone through the roof. Two hundred tankers slopping over with red ink are anchored offshore. If we switched from red ink to using oil in budgets we would have no problem soaking up the oil that spews into the Gulf.
The red ink for 2011 will be way over $1 trillion.
The budget is going to have to spell out some nasty, nauseous stuff. Such as tax increases. On you, and you, and you. Forget about that promise to protect the middle class from tax cuts. Campaign promises are like ice cream on birthdays that have no calories.
There will likely be more taxes on the businesses and entrepreneurs that create jobs and grow economies. More taxes mean fewer jobs and less growth.
The budget may have to spell out some cuts in spending. Cuts in some of your favorite programs.
And the budget will reveal something about the current Congress: They got it wrong. They brought forth the largest bailout package of government spending in the history of the world. This will cure what ails us, they promised. This will deliver millions of jobs.
Well, it didn’t. A budget would remind you, the voter, of this – and just before the elections. A budget would hit you with higher taxes, just before the elections.
A lot of these guys figure the voters may boot them out in November. So why bend over and make it easier? And the cynical ones figure that whoever comes in with the next budget will look like villains. So why not leave it for the night shift? That is appropriate. The politicians have been poking around in the dark for some time.
From Tom ... as in Morgan.
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