“Man bites dog” is news, runs an old adage, but “Dog bites man” is not. Yet “Democrats pass 1st budget since ‘09” still made headlines over the weekend and it is hard to tell into which category it fits.
It should go without saying that in a two century-old republic the government passing a budget should not be news. Doing so should be the first duty of a financially responsible legislature; living within it should be the second. But this is the first time in the current administration that the United States Senate – the self-styled “world’s greatest deliberative body” – has taken the first step, and it will likely never take the second.
For the bad news about this “budget” is everywhere else: it passed with a bare 50-49 majority at 4:38 a.m. on a Saturday morning in March, with no Republicans in favor and five Democrats defecting; it will never be reconciled with the considerably different budget that a Republican House passed earlier this month; and even if enacted it would authorize higher taxes and a record $3.7 trillion in spending.
Yet even in a nation staggering under record debts and deficits, Senators somehow found the money to pay for carry-out in pizza (for the Democrats) and barbecue (for the Republicans) for their all-night session and to hire cars to drive them home.
So man bites dog, or dog bites man, and the era of irresponsible spending and continuing resolutions continues. One wonders: how long?