Thursday, May 26, 2011

Who’s Having a Budgetary Meltdown?

The fact that the Obama budget couldn't get a single Democratic vote in the Senate has me thinking along these lines:  Suppose you had to decide whether party A or party B is in worse political shape on the budgetary issues that will dominate our domestic politics for the next two years on the basis of these, and only these, facts:

(1) Seven months ago, Party A won an unusually nationalized mid-term election by a landslide;

(2) Party A has already passed a House budget resolution that is broadly consistent with its winning campaign pitch;

(3) Eight-ninths of Party A’s minority Senate caucus voted for the House Resolution the day after its candidate lost a House special election in which a very unpopular feature of that budget resolution figured prominently but its popular features didn’t figure at all;

(4) Although Party B controls the White House and the Senate, it couldn’t come up with a single vote for the only budget proposal offered by its own president this year that’s specific enough to vote on;

(5) Despite controlling the White House and both houses of Congress for most of that time, Party B hasn’t been willing or able to pass a budget resolution in either house for two years and wasn't willing even to stage a vote on the upper-bracket tax increases that will be an essential part to any Party B budgetary proposal;

(6) Although Party B still controls the Senate, it can’t even get a budget resolution through the Senate Finance Committee.

Maybe there's something wrong with me.  I can understand why you might say that you can’t base a reliable estimate of the comparative strength of the parties on these facts alone. I can even understand why recent political history might incline you to believe that Party A has gone insane. But I can’t begin to fathom how any reasonable person aware of these facts could be confident that A is the only party in trouble on budgetary issues.

No comments: